A Meal For One

Still Life with a Wicker Bottle by Carlo Magini

A Meal For One

“The condemned’s last meal is the ultimate dining-in experience”
                                                                – Judge Janus Jeremiah

After months of bread and gruel,
At last, a dish to whet my lips !
But oh, to bring it now is cruel –
I’d rather lard and apple pips.

A final meal is offered up,
A host to help assuage your guilt,
It seems so civilised, to sup
Before the ritual blood is spilt.

And all the while, with ev’ry bite,
The butcher’s hungry blade shall wait –
I am your fatted calf tonight,
Just like this one upon my plate.

All these calories I’ve chewed,
And yet so little time remains –
It’s such a waste of decent food,
You should have brought me simple grains.

Balaam’s Asses

Balaam’s Ass by Gustave Doré

Balaam’s Asses

The Fundamentalists, they have it easy,
Claiming ev’ry King James word is true.
Of course the donkey spoke, if a little wheezy –
When God’s at hand, then that’s what donkey’s do.

But here in the good old C of E,
We never talk of the talking ass –
Like Balaam, we simply do not see,
And think the verse is lacking class.

Deep down, we know, you see, we know no donkey
Has the necessary lips, nor tongue, nor throat –
A quaint little fairytale, but quite the wrong key
For Sunday mornings – so not something we quote.

Now we’ve no problems with Holy Week
And the Resurrection – we’re all onboard –
But we just cannot accept that an ass can speak,
Not even for the Lord.

Spasibo

Make Love Not War by Weisser

Spasibo

Vasily and Stanislav,
Though really their names don’t matter to us,
And how many others we’ll never hear of –
Remember their actions, but don’t make a fuss.
No statues raised, and that’s how it should be,
They aren’t special, they’re just good men
Who held their nerve and held their breath
Until it was safe to breathe agen.
They did their jobs, and did them well,
And gently reinserted the pin.
They passed the test and lived to tell,
And took their reprimands on the chin.

Oak Apple Day

parasitic tree lurker
Oak Apple Gall Wasp by Milan Zubrick

Oak Apple Day

Little wasp, little wasp,
Laying eggs upon the tree –
Sting the one who would be king,
And sting him once again for me.
Little worm, little worm,
Wriggling in your swollen gall –
Bite the one who’s cowering,
And bite him twice for one and all.

But oh !, you’ve gone and birthed a hornet,
Let loose on us worker bees –
And king or queen, or brutal drone,
They sting the same – just ask the trees !
To rid us of a coronet
Will always leaves behind a gall.
The buttocks mould to fit the throne –
The canker ripens, warts and all.

The Only Lefty in Poundbury

Cottages in Poundbury by Chris Ison

The Only Lefty in Poundbury

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.

The Dandelion International

Dandelion Flowers Abstract Art Tapestry by ArtlandStudio

The Dandelion International

Daisies and thistles are blooms fit for socialists,
Sharing a flowerhead as a co-op’rative –
Pooling their pollen with petals in common,
A composite commune where sharecroppers live.
From grounsel to ragwort, these working-class blossoms
Are seed-making factories, union towns –
They all get to share in the dew and the nectar,
And all get to put on the sunflower’s crown.

Monte Rosa

Monte Rosa

Hamburg built, to take the Germans
Down to Argentina.
A prize of war, she soon was serving
Those who thought the grass was greener.

In her life, she’d carried Jews to Auschwitz,
But that’s over now.
Now she carried demobbed troops about,
A thousand berths from stern to prow.

Renamed for a Cotswolds river,
Some say that’s bad luck –
Fortune, though, would soon deliver
When her new name really stuck.

Under-occupied in Kingston,
Looking for some cash,
A bill in Parliament that worried some
Enough to make a dash.

She didn’t carry most who followed those,
Yet hers the fame –
The right ship at the right time, I suppose,
And with a poet’s name.

The Strongman & The Weakman

The Orator by Magnus Zeller

The Strongman & The Weakman

Populists will promise change,
And the public rally support.
These chancers sound like normal blokes,
Not like the usual sort.
They’re mostly charlatans and thugs,
With a grin and a big cigar.
And you wonder why the populists
Are ever popular…?

Perhaps it lies with the folk who flock
To lap them up with cream.
An unwashed swarm of Union Jacks,
All daring now to dream –
You love to sneer at their white vans
From your chauffeured Jaguar.
And you wonder why the populists
Are ever popular…?

The status quo has done you well,
But done them poverty,
Yet when they ask for change, you shrug
And say “don’t bother me”.
They may be serfs no longer
But they’re still beneath the tzar.
And you wonder why the populists
Are ever popular…?

With industry demantled,
With the money all moved South,
And those who have a full-time job
Still living hand-to-mouth,
Just to be called scroungers –
Well, that’s sure to leave a scar.
And you wonder why the populists
Are ever popular…?

Your ev’ry promise broken,
And their ev’ry glimmer snuffed,
They’ve tried to vote for Christmas
But the system has them stuffed –
Gerrymandered, rotten-boroughed,
Struck off the registrar.
And you wonder why the populists
Are ever popular…?

And just for once they had a voice,
And gave their answer loud,
And so you tried your damnedest-best
To nullify the crowd.
But hey, they all agree with you
In your trendy Shoreditch bar.
And you wonder why the populists
Are ever popular…?

They’ll end up disappointed
With the autocratic rule,
Unlike their current freedom
As a wage-slave or a mule.
I guess the shining city
Must seem ev’ry bit as far.
And you wonder why the populists
Are ever popular…?

But if they kick you out, no sweat,
You’ll join a dozen boards –
And still receive your payoff
To the unelected Lords.
And they claim there’s no democracy ?
Who do they think they are ?
And you wonder why the populists
Are ever popular…?

Working-Class Absolution

Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

Working-Class Absolution

White men ran the slave trade, true,
And I’m a man and also white –
But don’t charge me for grievance due,
I played no part in the blight.
While others wreaked this tragedy,
It’s not me, mate, and not my folks –
I come from village farmhands, see,
From ordinary blokes.
While others banked the whole affair,
Or clapped the chain or cracked the whip,
We never owned a single share,
Nor crewed a single ship.
So don’t try laying on the guilt
For crimes my bloodline never did –
The damnable at which you tilt
Were not my fam’ly, kid.
I bear no blemish on my name,
I bear no once-and-future sin –
Don’t think that you can judge my blame
By the colour of my skin.
It’s not me mate, and not my genes,
My hands are clean, my soul is light –
So spare your wrath for dukes and queens,
Not me, mate – get it right !
My ancestors were starved and bruised,
And sometimes even outright killed –
They all were wage-slaves, much abused
By the lords whose lands they tilled.
And so were yours – I get it, I do,
But they’re not you and they’re not me.
But even if my blood were blue,
My conscience still bloom free –
For the faults of our great-great-grands back when
Have died with them, and have passed away –
Look, nobody alive back then
Is still alive today.
For none of us in here’s a slaver,
No-one’s whitewashing the trade –
So please, just do us all a favour,
And find a new crusade.