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.



Holy Smoke





Holy Smoke

“New Pope Francis I was a chemist before joining the priesthood.”
                                                                                                        Daily Standard, 13th March 2013

Black smoke rises,
No bells chime:
No-one gets to reign this time.
Too much ash
And unburned carbon:
No-one gets to put the garb on.
No red shoes
And no election
When the soot absorbs the spectrum.

Of course you knew,
Though could not see,
Locked-in within your conclave walls;
But did you muse
On chemistry,
With thoughts beyond the Sistine halls ?
Your former calling, calling still,
Electron shells that need to fill,
Covalent bonds that still attract,
Reagent spirits interact –
Until, born up on thermal wings,
The particles of life shall dance;
And crowds shall watch these benzene rings,
And trade their schooling for romance.
Francis, Francis, what get’s passed on ?
Less Assisi, more of Aston.

White smoke rises,
Bells are ringing:
It is you, this new beginning.
Within the salts
Have brought fresh air beneath the vaults.
Watch out, though,
For excess flack,
For white smoke stains as much as black.

Of course you know,
Though will you see ?
Locked-in, within your papal robe ?
Please don’t forget
Your chemistry:
It’s not in Genesis or Job.
So will you be the iron fist,
Or will you be the scientist,
And stress how best our souls are driven
Through the brains that we’ve been given ?
Till, born up on hungry wings,
We seek for ever greater knowing.
Who knows what tomorrow brings,
But will you join us where we’re going ?
Francis, Francis, reawaken !
Less Assisi, more of Bacon !



Swarm Over Hamelin

from The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Dominika Lipniewska


Swarm Over Hamelin

Thank you, sir, thank you sir, thank you a thousandfold !
How we were plagued upon, how we were festered !
Rodentine pestilence, vicious and far-too-bold,
Raided, invaded – our stores all sequestered.
For we had already lost every vat we had,
Every scrap we had, every foison.
And we had already tried every cat we had,
Every trap we had, every poison.
Not just the teeth or the claws was our worrying,
Not just the tapeworms or ticks from the ditches –
No, not just the nibbling and soiling and scurrying –
But oh !, it’s the fleas !  It’s the fleas and the itches !
Nobody worked, and nobody traded,
The strongest ones fled, and illness cascaded.
We would have offered you anything, made you the Pope !
Ev’ryone feared at the spectre amongst us,
And ev’ryone feared for the health of the youngsters;
Look to our children – their future became our last hope.

Thank you, sir, thank you sir, you have deliverèd !
Thank you for ridding our cellars of nestings !
Leading your river of rats to the riverbed,
Besting the beasties of pantry molestings.
Now is our artisans’ industry recommensed,
Thanks to the man in the bright-coloured suiting.
Talent like you displayed must be well-recompensed,
Must be rewarded to honour your fluting.
How much I wish we could honour our promises,
Honour the price we agreed in our anguish –
But all of our shelves are so empty and ominous,
All of our prospects still fester and languish.
Nobody’s rich, and ev’ryone’s starving –
So let us rebuild, before you come carving
Your portions of nothing to meet your retainer agreed.
Give us some time, for trade to be mettled;
Pray, give us some time, and all will be settled.
Look to our children, and teach them to follow your lead.



The Woo, it Burns !

Photo by Nicole Rathmayr on


The Woo, it Burns !

Fortunes held within our palm,
Expensive herbs in ev’ry balm –
They rarely cure, but rarely harm:
The path to homeo.

Crystals glow by candle-light,
As chanting stems the parasite,
And leeches cure our ev’ry blight:
The path to homeo.

Demons cast from fevered minds,
With toxins flushed through our behinds,
And massage even cures the blind:
The path to homeo.

Hands are laid on cank’rous moles
And prayer is used for birth controls
As tiny needles prick our soles:
The path to homeo.



Bright Satanic Mills



Bright Satanic Mills

My bow is of dull brown wood,
For gold does not spring:
My arrows have less divine good,
And more barbs to sting:
My spear is aimed not at cloud,
But targets more solid:
My chariot’s unburned and proud –
Efficient, if stolid.
Examined, explained, demystified,
There’s no room left for your god of Zion.
With science and reason, his will is defied –
For mine is a chariot of iron.



We Need More Gods



We Need More Gods

Why just the same old almighty creator ?
Let’s have us a dozen, let’s restate our mission.
We have to deregulate sooner or later,
And open up faith to the free competition.
We must raise the funding and research the data,
To set up a pantheic-forming commission –
We ought to have choice in our heavenly pater
And hire the divine in an open audition

Just think of the deities, wiser and greater,
With freedom to choose of which gods to petition –
They’re building their brand as a hero or traitor,
With two-for-one offers on prayers and remission –
And specialist markets will open to cater:
A Goddess of Love or a Wine-God musician –
And all supervised by the trade regulator,
To see they deliver on sin and perdition.



The Book of Common Prayer

nature sky sunset the mountains
Photo by NO NAME on


The Book of Common Prayer

In the days of the week,
And the months of the year,
We’re clinging on yet to our Paganite past –
In the gods we don’t seek
And yet still keep so near:
Forgotten the stories, remembered the cast.

In holly and ivy,
And heather for luck,
They still work their magic on God-fearing hosts.
In gargoyles so lively,
In faerie and Puck:
Heretical heroes now villains and ghosts.

In the names of the planets,
And shapes in the stars,
They still rule the heavens, till night-time is done
They never will ban it,
Too deep are their scars –
We praise our new God on the Day of the Sun.