The stars only show up When we open up our eyes, With our pupils set on f-2 To maximise the skies. With focus to infinity To catch the light-years light And fast-films for retinas To turn the blackness bright. Our long-exposure eyelids Are timed to lift their veil – Thirty seconds is enough, Or else the stars will trail. And then our nerves develop it With not a blur nor wrinkle – It’s just a little grainy As the pinpoints gently twinkle.
Puffing into Rugby, But this loco’s not a pipe, Shunting on to Inverness, With giant apples, ripe. Rolling out of Derby When the trees are like a fern, Let’s open up the fire-box, And watch the tubas burn. Pulling into Euston, Where the bowler-hatted rain – Then chuffing-up at Templecombe, With clouds above the train She’s right on time, in ivory black, But never bright cerise – The workhorse of the LMS, From Crewe to mantlepiece.
Bottled water ? What a skeeving, What an tosser, what a waste – A plastic-spewing aqui-thieving, Just to get the same damn taste ! Ever since the Romans dreamed Of aquaducts of running water, Engineers have turned their streams Into a torrent, piped to order. Teeth are whiter, homes are cleaner, Cholera and lead are gone – Footprints smaller, gardens greener – Thrown away for Evian ! Hipsters sip ’em, yuppies neck ’em, Horrified by simple tap. The only brand I drink is Peckham – Piss-off Perrier, you’re full of crap !
Roman numerals – They’re so bloody useless ! Their continued presence Is really excuse-less. Clocks are okay, Cos we know by position, But years shouldn’t need such Subtract and addition. Just how could the Romans Be quite so bloody-well thick ?, With numbers unwieldy For simple arithmetic.
Don’t put them on buildings, Or credits in movies – You’re being a snob Who wants to ‘improve’ me. Well, maybe with sequels, But stop after III – They get so confusing With eye before vee. Just how could the Romans Be quite so damn-well unwise ?, With numbers whose value Is so unrelated to size.
Compasses never point to the Pole, Not quite, They have their own North Star – It’s close enough to true, on the whole, Despite it also being quite far, Wandering through Canadian isles To sway The needles off the mark. But then, True North can sometimes be miles away From where the gridlines hark.
I recently came across an interesting theory put forward by Lance Weaver that true polar wandering had occurred during the last ice age, putting the top of the world firmly within Greenland, which might explain why Europe wascovered in ice-sheets while Alaska was mostly ice-free. I have no idea if it’s correct, and would welcome a chance to read somecounter-arguments, but everyone seems to be ignoring it.
Take the ends and pass them Left over right, Then under, round, and through, And pull them tight, And friction does the rest Between the coils, between the strands, And even between the fibres – Like a thousand tiny hands That hold us back And stop the world from unravelling. Sometimes it feels like we’re held in place By nothing but well-bound string.
These days, I let me wrists go naked, Unencumbered by the time – Shaking loose the shackles of knowing Of just how fast the seconds are going. I no more have to stress if I’ll make it, I no more have to hear it chime.
There are dozens of other clocks to choose On walls and screens and towers – So why must I also carry it round, And see that it’s hands are tightly wound ?, When we spend our lives in constant news, Surrounded by the hours.