First Love is Always the Hardest

The Young Astronomer by Olivier van Deuren

First Love is Always the Hardest

I’ll gladly say I love you,
If you don’t ask if I love you
More than all the stars above –
For what mere girl can stir up so much love
To turn the sternest head ?
Nuclear fusion, supernovas, black hole cuties,
Diamond-cored and shifted ruby-red –
It isn’t fair that I compare you
To the very heavens’ beauties
Turning all the inky velvet pearled –
For they are truly gems from out this world.

I’ll gladly say I love you,
If you don’t ask if I love you
Till the saline seas run dry.
For what mere girl can draw out such a sigh
To spring the harshest heart ?
Continents crashing, mountains leaping, plates migrating,
Magma-cored and slowly wrenched apart –
It isn’t fair that I compare you
To the very land creating
Granite, quartz, and crystals, forged and furled –
For they are truly gems within this world.

I’ll gladly say I love you,
If you don’t ask if I love you
Even more than life itself –
For what mere girl can equal so much wealth
To spark the jadest eye ?
Bejewellèd beetles, primrose blossom, eagles soaring,
Helix-cored and left to multiply –
It isn’t fair that I compare you
To the fruits of blind exploring –
Trunks and scales and proteins tightly curled –
For they are truly gems upon this world

I’ll gladly say I love you
If you don’t ask if I love you
Like a this or that or other-hand
For what mere boy can try to understand
What all this wonder means ?
Ricochet rapture, all things quickly, nothing mildly,
Empty-cored and barely out my teens –
It isn’t fair that you compare me
To a firefly flitting wildly
Through the endless lures in which I’m swirled –
I’ve never known such gems for all the world.

Running for Office

Romantic Evening by Brent Heighton


Running for Office

That first date, you never told me
How afraid you are of moths,
Nor ever interrupted me
To lean across the tablecloth
And gently touch my knuckles like you do
(But didn’t do that night)
To carefully explain how you
Must always sleep upon the right.

You never said how many times
You have to check you have your keys –
Between the starter and the main
You somehow managed not to sneeze,
And while you kept me giggling with your jokes,
You wholly overlooked
To mention just how zealously
You like your pasta undercooked.

You didn’t squeak a pip about
Your overfondness over wine,
That keeps you too afraid to drink.
You didn’t think to spin a line
Of how you’d always rather lie
Than have an argument.
Or how you never understand
Just how your paperbacks get bent.

I guess I’m glad you never told me
What was lying there in wait –
For had I known, I doubt if I’d have
Ever risked a second date.
But when I think of who was sat across the table,
On display –
If that were all you were,
I think we wouldn’t still be here today.



The Longest Day of the Year

stonehenge england
Photo by John Nail on


The Longest Day of the Year

She was born at Solsticetide,
And so they named her Summer –
Blond and bright and beautiful,
And all the Spring a comer.
But once the longest day was done,
She felt the nights draw in,
Just waiting for the Winter low
To let the next begin.

Now I will barely notice how
The evenings have crept,
Until the clocks have messed about
To show how dusk has leapt.
But then, she saw a greater change
Than I, from day to day,
For she grew up in Lerwick town
And I down Jersey way.



April Love

Shipping on the Clyde by John Atkinson-Grimshaw


April Love

It rained the day I met you,
It poured the day you left.
And truth to tell, the drizzle fell
From rapture to bereft.

You deluged, and I let you,
Then you stormed right out my door.
And as you swept, the heavens wept
In tawdry metaphor.

My memories are wet through,
My hope is all washed out.
I do not need the sky to bleed:
My tears face no drought.


woman in blue striped flannel shirt holding a book indoors
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on



We all of us have sneaked a look
Beneath the fly-sheet of a book,
And fingered off her jacket, bared her boards –
Within, she’s nothing but a prude,
Her marbled end-sheets firmly glued,
Her bindings taut and frayless in their cords.
Her underwear is stiff and plain –
Her paper blouse must block the stain
Of endless greasy paws and sweaty hordes.
But she is flimsy in her gown,
It tears and creases, lets her down,
As grasping, eager hands make careless wards –
The better writ, the more she’s read
Until her spine is cracked for dead –
So dogs shall ear all good books, save the Lord’s.
And worse, the paperbacks !   Those dames
Who proudly bare their racy names
Across their breasts, like penny-dreadful broads –
Yet she too welcomes ev’ry leer,
Her first of many lovers here
Who gorge all words she joyously affords –
Though she’s still crisp and virgin-white,
Her pages quite uncut and tight,
That readers must tease open with their swords.



Hill Spheres



Hill Spheres

The Earth could have a ring, you know –
The Moon as well.
Perhaps they have already done,
But that was then.
There would be nothing left to show
So who can tell ?
Unless, of course, they’ve yet to come,
Though who knows when ?

But then, that’s just how gravity
Is all around,
Its spheres of influence we must
Obey, or break –
Like how your eyes will grab at me
And grind me down –
Trapped about your orbit, I am dust
Within your wake.



The Valentine Virus

Lovesick by Keight MacLean


The Valentine Virus

February – season of mists
And sniffles and sneezes and snorts.
The lurgy is lurking, the palsy persists,
That no patent tonic or tincture can thwart.
My fluid-filled senses are under attack so,
And nothing can soothe me by Pfizer or Glaxo.
Instead I must mop them with Cussons and Lever –
The sweats and the shakes and the chills and the fever.

Is it just because my hands are swollen
That my nat’ral poise is stolen ?
Clumsy fingers uncontrolling,
Rolling like they’re locked in boxing gloves.
Is it just the syrup that I’m spooning
That sets my giddy head to swooning ?
Drifting in and out of tuning,
Mooning like I’m some young thing in love.
Either way, the outlook’s flaky –
Something’s come and left me shaky.
How am I to stem this phlegm cocooning me,
That’s strewn in tubes below and pipes above ?

Unless it is you who is making me bluesy,
Unless it is you who is laying me low,
Weary and woozy and bleary and boozy
I hate to be choosy, but say it ain’t so !
A cold front is passing, a hard sleet is falling –
I hope they will blow over once spring comes a-calling…
Yet if I’m infected by what I suspect –
Then there’s no cure can save me, and no ward protect.

Is it just because my eyes are streaming
That the world looks like I’m dreaming ?
Hazy psychedelic gleaming,
Seeming strangely vivid yet unreal.
Or is it my subconscious that I’m spying ?
All the drugs my brain’s supplying
Must have set my nerves to frying,
Flying off and sleeping at the wheel.
Either way, the outlook’s gloomy –
Something’s come and left me rheumy.
How can I declare my love undyingly,
When dying is precisely how I feel ?



A Litter of Angels

up pig


A Litter of Angels

And if I ask, she might commence
To stroll with me upon the croft,
And though I know she’s happy hence
To never cross our friendship’s fence,
I pray she’ll learn how much I wish I’d doffed
My shy concern, and share those eyes so soft –
And with this burn, I call on Providence
That we may chance discern
to glimpse that fabled herd aloft.

For surely must her ’mazement form
As pigs come gliding from the west,
And may she gape in wonder warm
As grunting gammons flock and swarm.
Atop the trees, the sows are in the nest.
Upon the breeze, the shoats are cherubs blest –
Such hogs she sees !  These razorbacks in storm
Shall rend her heart’s decrees
and forge sublime within her breast.

And ev’ry time their trotters pound
For ham-thrust launch, so ardour springs.
And ev’ry volant-piglet’s sound
Of flapping brings such sighs profound.
These airborne swine, these porkers shot from slings,
These boars divine, these swooping, free-range kings,
Such hope they mine when soaring heaven-bound –
These aeronauts porcine
shall speed her love on bacon wings.



To His Cold Mistress

Sophy Gray by John Millais


To His Cold Mistress

Shend me not, my mistress,
Send my not to Coventry,
Attend to kinder business, pray,
To mend and soften me.
Defriend-me-not, my darling,
Let me tender and atone.
Unbend a little, starling,
Ere we spend our years alone.
Shend me not, my mistress,
Send me not distressed and listless, pray –
O, end this plot, unblend us not,
Engender nor us misbegot:
For we have kenned such tenderness
And we have wended as we went –
We can re-friend such splendour, yes !
We can ascend and be unshent.

To shend is a wonderful if now archaic verb meaning ‘to put to shame’ or ‘to reproach and scold’.



Golden in the Fall

autumn autumn colours brown countryside
Photo by Pixabay on


Golden in the Fall

The leaves are falling down again,
They do so ev’ry year
It doesn’t mean a thing to you and I.
The days are full of wind and rain,
But we are not, my dear –
It is eternal Spring for you and I.

If trees have lost their beauty,
Then I guess they felt the need,
But we are still perennial and pure.
And even if we’re fruity,
Well, we sure ain’t gone to seed –
We’re nothing like Autumnal, that’s for sure !

The leaves are falling down again,
The boughs bear only rooks,
Or else are torn and splintered by the storm.
The frost may star the windowpane,
The ice may sheet the brook,
But we’ll just snuggle closer, safe and warm

If days are getting shorter,
Then our nights are getting longer,
And the season’s chill is firmly kept outdoors.
I don’t see why we oughta
Be beholden – we are stronger
Than the puny pull of Autumn’s metaphores.