When the words won’t come
And the rhymes run dry,
When the tunes won’t hum
And the airs won’t fly,

When the metres break
And the scans won’t flow,
When the beat won’t take
And the one won’t go,

When all the lyrics stutter,
And when all the choirs mutter,
And when all rhythms splutter,
Sing along, sing along !

We cannot all be nightingales
With perfect breath to fill our sails,
Or even decent banshee wails –
We were not built for song.

We have no need to score each stress
To make ourselves be heard –
If tending slightly to a drone or whine.

But if you’re rendered music-less,
Well, take our flat and spoken word
That life goes on in monotone just fine.



That Old Old Song

love song


That Old Old Song

I must have heard ‘I love you’ sang,
In ev’ry song they always sang,
A hundred thousand times
Or more –
And wanted to believe it…

I must have heard them sing about
The love they had to sing about
A hundred thousand times,
I’m sure –
And who could disbelieve it ?

And yet, no matter how they sing it,
Still their songs can never swing it –
Love is not, and they can’t bring it in,
No matter how they rhyme.

Have they got nothing else to sing,
In all the world and ev’rything ?
Because their endless songs are wearing thin
The hundred thousandth time.

I must have heard ‘I love you’ sang,
I must have hoped and also sang,
A hundred thousand times
Or more –
And never did achieve it.



After the Aftermath

broken vinyl


After the Aftermath

I heard a cautious plucking
Of a rubber-banded string,
And a nervous, tuneless whistle,
And a doorbell’s lonely ring.
While the birds were oddly quiet
Till a starling risked a ping,
And a chorus of the grazing ewes replied.

As note by chord by tonic,
So the melodies returned –
For all we needed silence,
They cannot, will not be spurned.
We’ve lost them many times before,
But somehow never learned –
On the day beyond
The day the music died.

I heard the constant background hum
Change key,
To slowly raise the dead –
From tinnitus to industrial thrum,
In C,
Inside, outside my head.
From the tapping in the plumbing
To the footsteps that I tread,
Even my heartbeat was a drum
Which would not be denied.



One, Two, Three, Dead



One, Two, Three, Dead

Where are all the protest songs ?
Where is all the agit-pop to tell us ev’rything is wrong ?
I hear they’re out there, chanting still –
But somehow never reach me, and they prob’ly never will.

Where are all the protest songs ?
I mean, I know that pop has always
Been obsessed with love and lovers.
It’s rare than politics belongs
Beside the sugar on the airwaves,
Saving all its love for brothers.

They try to set the world to right,
But only in a quiet corner of the dial, late at night,
And fight-the-power-chords and tears
Are never crossing-over into unsuspecting teenage ears.

Best to use the tools you find
By marching to a funky beat
And tapping into pop’s romance –
For if you want to move the mind,
Then first you move the feet,
By making earworms of your chants.



Compulsory Mechanical Licence

assorted title cassette tapes
Photo by Vova Krasilnikov on Pexels.com


Compulsory Mechanical Licence

Sing it if you want to,
Cos I cannot stop you.
Pay me my royalties,
Do with it as you please.
For once a song is out there,
Then it’s out there for ev’ryone –
It’s out there for evermore,
They’re all out there together.
Until I’m dead for three score ten
And then it’s all for free forever.
But until that day,
If the author gets their pay,
Then the artist gets to sing away.
Permission isn’t theirs to grant,
And nobody tells anyone they can’t.



Desert Island Diss

on the beach


Desert Island Diss

Eight songs ?  Just eight songs ?
Then how will I even survive ?
Eight thousand is nearer the mark
To keep my spirits alive.

Eight song played back-to-back
That’s half-an-hour-ish, tops.
Just half-an-hour of paradise
Until salvation stops.

Washed ashore with a gramophone –
The wind-up kind, I’m guessing.
You’ll need a bigger bribe than that
To get me to confessing.

It always sounds such agony,
This torpid, tropical clime –
I’ll take the grimy, busy rain
Of cities ev’ry time.

There’s Bill and the Bible, as well, of course,
So that’s the loo-roll sorted,
But for my pick of luxury,
I’d like to be deported.

Eight songs ?  Just eight songs ?
Is that all you’ll allow ?
If music is so rare and cruel,
I beg, please drown me now…