Cowes, atop the Isle of Wight – East and West, though much the same – Victorian and seaside-y, With boats and seagulls running free. And not a single cow in sight – No running of the bulls – for shame ! No fording droves between the piers, No cowboys showing off their steers. And don’t come here in Cowes Week, right ! It doesn’t live up to its fame ! It’s not the time when bullocks battle, Not a trace of rutting cattle. Why then whet our appetite, To wastes its strange and lively name ? There are no bovine sacrifices, Just cream teas at tourist prices.
I know, I know, despite a spine of rolling chalk downs through the Island, Cowes itself sits atop clay…
Too far North, and barely notice, North, yet swimming in the seas – Where beaches should be icy-cold, There’s ice creams, tans, and mushy peas. There’s little snowfall on the coast As far as even Sixty-North, And days of t-shirt weather stretch For far beyond the Firth of Forth
It’s crazy how the ocean brings The Caribbean to the Clyde, While closer to the Pole than even Fuego is on the other side, And Trondheim firmly basks within Antarctic latitudes, Yet broadleafs line the verdant fjords To show their gratitude.
And not just warmth arrives all year, but rain – And rain it is, not snow – So Western Europe only works because Its crops and people grow. Too far North, and that’s the beauty, Norther than we’ve any right, When Winter Moons are long above And Summer Suns last half the night.
She sits on her first floor balcony, Overlooking Casterbridge Square, She sits and sips her cup of tea In the light West Country air – Here in her true-blue toytown Like a tolerated pet, Her flat dressed-up and she dressed-down, As she joins the Georgian set. Dorchester is hard on Hardy – Thomas, yes, but never Keir, And the local Labour party Is about to disappear. But the class-struggle can still advance With the taste of the elites – Should not all workers get the chance To live in pleasant streets ? And yes, she’s aware of their breeze-block hearts, And their ceilings lacking height, And don’t get her started on glazing bars ! But all-in-all, it does alright. Developers on best behaviour, Showing that they can play nice – But oh, the cost for a little flavour ! Beauty has its bogus price.
Of course, whenever HRH comes by, She must lay low As locals swoon and neighbours sigh At the whole boot-licking show – And even when it’s safe to leave And stroll about the place, The very streets still live and breathe With his family’s air and grace. She sees it in the names of roads, The names of buildings, names of shops, She hears it in the toady toads Whose croaking never stops But the sad fact is, its thanks to him That there ever was this town – It may be prim, but never grim, As sparkly as a crown. So yes, she knows, for all her gripes, It’s thanks to him, her joy – For were it left to lefty types Then tower blocks ahoy ! She sits on her balcony under the sun Over the flagstone square – And curses the Tories, but knows they’ve won – For she’d rather be here than there.
You sneer at Dresden’s quaint rebuilding As oldè-world and fake – Covering up the brutal past, Denying us our wake. But would you rather the concrete of Coventry, Cancer choking its former bliss ? For sure, we’ll never forget the War In ugliness as ugly as this. The Luftwaffe came and finished the job That the Council already began, And one of the prettiest towns in England Was levelled in line with the Plan. I hear that Dresden has too many tourists, So why is there only one ? It seems we have a ration of beauty, But blandness will run and run. The perfect place to film your dystopian nightmares Or kitchen-sink soaps – Was ever a town more grey and rain-stained ?, As the concrete bullies and gropes. It’s called ‘brutalist’ for a reason – Cos it’s raw like a wound across the eyes. And meanwhile Dresden is putting on her ballgown – Enough masochism – let’s rise !
Way down South, where looking up Is looking upside down – The Man in the Moon is wrongside-right, And the Plough ain’t even in town. The Dog Star sails above the Pup, Throughout the Summer sky, With Betelgeuse kept low at night And Rigel kicking high. To Northern eyes, where looking up Is looking strange and stark – The Milky Way is far too bright, The pole is far too dark.