Maximum Maxims



Maximum Maxims

We all cringe at clitches,
They bring on the twitches –
We see them as hackneyed and vague.
We look down on clitches
As droppings and glitches,
Avoiding them all like the plague.

But with such a dissing,
Just see what we’re missing !
Take heed, here’s a word to the wise –
There’s beauty in clitches
That awes and bewitches
The scales from over our eyes.

There’s wisdom on view,
And variety too,
Each diff’rent as chalk is from cheese.
By rushing past clitches
For linguistic riches
We’re missing the wood for the trees.

They still get it right,
Thought they often seem trite –
Familiar breeding contempt.
They’re seen as, these clitches,
Too big for their britches,
As language that’s drab and unkempt.

I know we get lazy
And pluck the same daisy
Each time when the going gets tough,
But still we need clitches
To scratch where it itches
When other words just ain’t enough

If we were more caring
We’d use them but sparing –
Then surely they’d still pack a punch
The wit of some clitches
Should have us in stitches
(But don’t, when it comes to the crunch.)

If used in rotation,
The next generation
Will not suffer famine nor feast.
Don’t wear out the clitches
Or park them in niches,
But gladly embrace with the beast.

Let’s let them lie low,
Take it steady and slow,
For a little will go a long way.
There’s life in the clitches,
New tricks in the bitches,
For ev’ry old dog has his day.



Terminator Traitor

eye rhymes


Terminator Traitor

This rhyme is too faulty, it just doesn’t sit,
It’s splutty and halty, it stumbles awry.
This rhyme is too salty, it rattles with grit,
It’s ragged and jolty, it’s sneaky and sly.

And there is your problem, your verse is a word-crime,
Demurred-crime, absurd-crime, an everyone-heard-crime.
So there is your problem, your verse is an eye-rhyme,
A dry-rhyme, a shy-rhyme, a just-couldn’t-try-rhyme

We’ve all of us done it, we have to admit,
We kick it and stun it, and hope they won’t espy.
We’ve gambled and run it, with rhymes not legit,
We’ve all of us spun it, and hoped it would fly

But you sir, yes, you sir, you jolly-well knew, sir !
Your rhyme is untrue, sir, it does not apply.
For shame, sir, it’s lame, sir, you must face the blame, sir
They don’t sound the same, sir, your rhyme is a lie.



Lost Quotations

lost quotations
The lost quotations noticeboard at the Poetry Library, London.


Lost Quotations

Is this how this verse will end,
As a barely remembered line or two
And all the rest a blur of forty years ?
When memory is no friend,
And anyway, maybe you never knew
The rest of it, if it never reached your ears.
At least you can still pretend
If you pin up a card with a precious few
Of its words, to the scrutiny of peers,
Then one of them yet can mend
The missing heart, and give it its due –
And spare it from the fate each poet fears.

Alphabet Soup



Alphabet Soup

Any fool can bake a poem,
Far too many do.
I was once a fool myself
Who thought he’d have a chew.
My fruits were mushy, overripe,
My verse a sickly brew:
With plums that withered into prunes
In scrag-and-gristle stew.

Any fool can bake a poem,
Ain’t no hill of beans.
I was once a fool myself
With burnt and stodgy means
But ev’ry sour mouthful will
Yet teach us fine cuisines:
We cannot dine on peaches till
We finish up our greens.

More than a Footnote

Terry Pratchett by Kevin Nixon


More than a Footnote

The dawn light is welling in the dams –
Hold it back a little longer.
The thunder is rehearsing for its roll –
Don’t give the cue, don’t let it blow.
The dragons on the moon are all asleep –
Let them dream, let them hunger.
The gargoyles are watching from above,
As are the dwarves from down below.

If we can only stop the Disc from spinning,
Maybe we can stop the ever-grinning-one
From winning,
Do you reckon ?
No, I know, that isn’t how it works,
And none escape from he-who-never-shirks,
Come the beckon.

And so the Disc must turn,
The dawn must gleam,
The lives must flow,
The turtle swim.
It isn’t fair, we scream,
Because we know:
It isn’t fair, it’s only Him.

So cuckoos are winding their clocks up,
And pine trees are counting the years,
And you, who saw it all, yet laughed at seers:
You are not there, you are gone –
Yet still it goes on.

You know, some say that no-one truly dies
If someone else remembers them in once-a-while.
My friend, I think you’ll live on in disguise
However long that we can read, and we can smile.



Love in Letraset

green and black industrial machine
Photo by Wendelin Jacober on


Love in Letraset

She asked if we could correspond –
She asked of me in Garamond.
She wrote how long her pen had dried –
She wrote it out in Franklin Wide.
She thought my slugs were growing cold –
She thought me that in Goudy Old.
She wept how I was needed back –
She wept it all in Cooper Black.

She’d search through slab and Monolith
To strike upon her perfect glyph,
And thought I could be just her type:
A heavyweight, not Candy Stripe.
When I wrote back, she liked my scans;
No Dingbat, I, nor Comic Sans –
My quick brown fox was framed and pressed,
And from her font my text was blessed.

She inked her heart across my page,
Italicized, in 10-point gauge,
In boring secretarial –
But god, I loved that Arial.
I flew upon its static chill,
As if she’d signed in Baskerville.
Her monotype shall answer me
As fine as Blackface Chancery.

Composited in forme and mould,
Our love is set in Gothic Bold –
We’re written on such plates as these,
My mistress of the matrices.
I place my serifs on your sort,
Your metal hot, your kerning taught.
You shape my bowl and soothe my stem:
My Century, my Requiem.


Circa Circumfrence

ancient of days
The Ancient of Days by William Blake


Circa Circumference

And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other…and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.
                                                                                                                                        1 Kings 7:23

There’s so many reasons for faulting the Bible,
From cud-chewing hares to the gross genocides.
There’s so many reasons, it’s scarcely a libel
To call God a fool, and a mean one besides !
There’s so many reasons for calling it tribal,
And local and ancient – the worst-of-all guides.

So many bloopers and so many slayings,
Just so many errors and terrors astounding –
Why do you focus on one of its sayings,
By claiming the value of pi is worth hounding ?
You won’t get the faithful to doubtings and swayings
With petty point-scorings that don’t allow rounding.