The Right to Offend

The Right to Offend

Moses is a psycho,
And Jesus is a wimp,
Buddha is a lardarse,
Ganesh is more a gimp,
Mohammed is a pedo,
While Mary is a prude,
Yahweh is a rapist,
And Paul is just unglued.

Onan is an onanist
Who loves to bash the bish,
Zeus a sexual preditor,
Cthulu cold as fish,
Ra just gives us side-eye,
While Odin squints when viewed,
And Allah must remain unseen
Because he’s in the nude.

So sue me, dude.

Lift thou Up thy Rod

salisbury cathedral withstands the wrath of god

Lift thou Up thy Rod

Just as a church is crowned by a spire,
And just as the spire is crowned by a cross,
So the cross is crowned by a stiffened wire
That points heavenwards and reaches higher,
Showing God that science is boss.
From king to serf to country squire,
Nobody’s prayers and nobody’s choir,
To God or Thor or Helios,
Can stop the bolt of electric fire –
Not any pope or priest or friar
Can tame the spark and spare the loss
Like copper can.  And that is why
There’s a spike that jabs the eye of the sky,
With a finger raised to the holy man on high.

Salvation United

cute little boy with football ball on sports ground
Photo by Gustavo Fring on


Salvation United

Pick a team, son,
Any team you like,
But choose them well –
They’re yours now,
Your burden, your dream,
Through joy and hell,
Through triumph and strife –
For you must support your team
For the rest of your life.

Don’t ever think
That you can change –
For that’s disloyalty.
I know, it’s strange,
But you must persist
And treat them like royalty.
And even though
They’ll never know you exist,
You still must follow them
Through goalless draws and penalties missed –
Taste the myths and swallow them.

For they are your brand now,
Your Lord, your quest,
So bare their sponsor
On your chest
Sing in the stands, you never know,
You just might spur them on,
Or yell at the screen from your sofa,
Praying for goals –
Your wishful-thinking beaming over the ether.
Be a believer, wish upon
A star right-back, a sainted attack,
A keeper who saves our souls.

Pick a team, son,
Any team you like –
But just the one.
For now you’re theirs,
And all your cares,
Your misery and fun
Are bound up in their fortunes,
Highs and lows,
As the seasons run,
From half-time mid-life woes,
Until the final whistle blows
And your game is done.



Damnatio ad Bestias

is that aslan about to polish them off
The Christian Martyrs’ Last Prayer by Jean-Léon Gérôme


Damnatio ad Bestias

The lions weren’t alone in the Colosseum
To kill the priests –
Not that there were none,
But the Romans also had their fun
With boars, and bulls, and dogs, especially dogs,
To be the beasts.
Their moment was the lunchtime lull
When public executions filled the interval –
And some, I guess, were Christians,
Making up the Lions’ feasts.

Of course, a Colosseum death
Was for the criminals –
And Christians weren’t often used
To feed the animals.
Persecution was rarer than lions –
It happened, but only in spurts.
But how to vilify Roman indiff’rence
And un-martyred lack-of-hurts ?
We needed far more dramatic saints,
So unleash the lions and uncork the paints !



Teenage Timbrels

daddy, why do you love god more than me
Alas I cannot find who is the artist for this picture


Teenage Timbrels

Jephthah’s daughter never had a name to call her own,
Nor a life beyond her moral,
Nor a point beyond her sacrifice –
And so she nags us to atone
Just by being, just by dying,
Just by owning nothing but a price.
She’s just a noble loser, bewailing her virginity,
A shibboleth to adolescents searching for divinity
In mopey acquiescence.
A role model for the lonely nights,
But one of fleeting fame –
Discarded by her acolytes
Once they discover girls who bear a name.



Sunday Best

hats to heaven


Sunday Best

Just what is it with trilbies and churches ?
Men must remove theirs, women’s stay put.
Indeed, the Bible says that women must cover –
I guess God hates each bare-headed mother.
Men, shed your turbans !  Your modesty besmirches !
At least He lets us keep worn a shoe on each foot.
(Though women are free from such moaning and wails
To sport wedding bonnets and funeral veils.)

Just what is it with toppers and churches ?
We might as well dress-down in sackcloth and soots
Than decked-out in finery, mumbling our prayers,
While tutting at any bloke hiding his hairs.
Men, lose your skull-caps !  Such hattery lurches
To thinking you’re working upon your kibbutz –
For men who wear hats are not resters, but grafters –
So the Lord wants your locks flowing free to the rafters.

Just what is it with bowlers and churches ?
Men’s heads are open, but women’s are shut.
How much of an insult is headgear undoffed ?
Does God rage in Heaven at brims left aloft ?
Men, ditch your toupees !  Our scriptural researches
Show bald-pate Elisha is nobody’s butt !
Or do we use ‘etiquette’ as a hypocrisy ?
That doesn’t sound like good manners to me !



I hope the hatted women in church also keep silenmt throughout, just as 1Cor 14:34 says to.



Wearing the Clothes of Emperors

Lady Godiva
Lady Godiva by John Collier


And They Shall Wear the Clothes of Emperors

Oh People of Coventry, turn not away !
For not only Thomas should view this display.

Oh People of Coventry, look not in shame,
She canters so proudly, erect in her frame.

Oh People of Coventry, unshield your eyes !
She wants us to watch her, to join her, to rise.

Oh People of Coventry, protest exudes,
So cast off your shackles, your breeches, your prudes.



The story is based on a real woman – Godgifu, Countess of Mercia, who survived her husband Leofric and died soon before the Domesday survey of 1086 (which lists her former lands).  The bareback ride doesn’t appear until the Flores Historiarum collected and retold by Roger of Wendover in the early HE 11200s (early 1200s AD), and Peeping Tom didn’t get a look-in until 11600-700s.

As for the poem, I wrote this so long ago that it feels almost as old as the legend.  Strange I was trying to channel socialist values through a protest over lower taxes !



The Rose & The Nightingale

a bit like the flag of japan


The Rose & The Nightingale

(after Oscar Wilde)

Poor little student, moping for a girl,
He yearns to have a crimson rose to give her –
“Shucks !” thinks a nightingale, heart in a whirl,
“I’ll plead with the rose-bush to deliver !
But woe, all its blossoms are white as a pearl…
…Unless I thorn my breast and sing a-quiver.”

Thus the little nightingale gives her life for beauty,
As nothing but a lacky to a human.
Raising future nightingales – that should be her duty !
At this rate, extinction’s surely looming !
The rose, though, is delighted with this unexpected booty –
With birdie’s rotting body, times are blooming !

Lonely in her dying breath, as atoms fall apart,
She thinks this makes a handy metaphor –
The poor romantic soul who bares her tender heart
For the callous world to savagely ignore.
(Like artists ev’rywhere, she demands we love her art,
And buy into her struggles and her lore.)

As for the student, he plucks the crimson rose
(Denying for this bud to spread its seed),
And seeks out his classmate with the pretty nose –
But she looks less than happy with his weed.
“But don’t you see ?  This blossom is a mutant !  I propose
To splice its genes and follow where they lead.”

“Pah!” says his paramour, crushing all his dreams,
“I’m bored with ev’ry rose and phlox and crocus !
For I’m in love with rubies, sparkling in the sun-beams –
I want to find a way to make them focus…”
The student is crushed – as is the crimson rose, it seems –
He’s had enough of love and hocus-pocus !



An Atheist in Heaven

5 6 7 open up those pearly gates
The Gates of Heaven by Dragon7350


An Atheist in Heaven

Upon my death, should my beliefs attest
To be so wrong,
And should my doubting self yet house a soul;
Which lurks obscure until eternal rest
Proves not so long,
Then rises up when summoned to extol,
And give account of faith, and weigh agenst
A common mark;
Then let it hold no shame and hold no fear.
And should my final form be then dispensed
Unto the dark,
Still my whole life was loving and sincere.