Sorry, Elizabeth

queen elizabeth tower london
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

 

Sorry, Elizabeth

“Big Ben is only the bell,”
You smugly tell,
But actu’lly, we already know.
Except you’re wrong:
It’s the bit that goes bong,
And ev’rything else, above and below.
Big Ben is the bell,
And the clock as well,
And even the whole bloody tower !
Ask any you meet
On Parli’ment Street
Whenever he’s chiming the hour.

 

 

Newton’s Cradle

newton
Isaac Newton as a Child

 

Newton’s Cradle

A child is born in dead of winter,
Child to bring the summer in:
He teases rainbows from the sunshine,
Lets enlightenment begin.
He brings us universal laws:
For as above, then so below;
He shows the path that we must follow,
Teaches how the heavens go.

Brightly shines his star above
In both his eyepiece and his eyes;
His clockwork earth perturbs the sun,
His motion never dies.
He shows us how all things must love:
We all attract and all obey.
So promises the savant one
Who’s born on Christmas Day.

A child is born in dead of winter,
Child to set the world alight:
He mechanises all our fluids,
Magnifies the heavens bright.
He stands atop the giants’ shoulders,
Calculates the cosmic story –
From the leastest fractions upwards,
His the powers and the glory.

He wants to save the human genus
From the couterfeiter’s haul.
Apples are the fruit of learning:
Worlds shall rise to meet their fall.
He shows us how the warmth between us
Never really goes away;
Hark the one who keeps us burning,
Born on Christmas Day.

 

 

Little Drummer Boy

drummer boy
A Drummer Boy of the Royal Scots Dragoon by George Joy

 

Little Drummer Boy

Rat-a-tat-tat,
Came the boy with the drum,
In red coat and drumsticks
’tween finger and thumb
In his breeches of blue,
With his skin taut and true,
With a rat-a-tat-tat,
And a roll and a thrum,
He silenced the scrum
With a snare tattoo –
He may have been dumb,
And his feet felt numb,
But he pounded his drum
In a one-one-two.

He played for the Lord,
And the right of the sword,
With his rat-a-tat-tat,
And the planes and the bombs,
On his tom-a-tom-toms,
With a splat-a-tat-splat.
And he drummed-in the troops
With his patterns and loops,
And he drilled the recruits
In their berets and boots,
And he stamped his feet
For these proud mothers’ sons,
In a perfect beat
To their crack-a-crack guns.

On the holiest night,
With a rat-a-tat-tat,
He led the Lord’s might
With a gat-a-gat-gat.
And guided by drones,
So he led the bombs home,
Then marched all the dead out to Kingdom Come.
With a rat-a-tat-tat,
And a mournful hum,
So the innocents died
To the beat of his drum.

Not Only Pascal’s Wager

white dices on checked wood
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Not Only Pascal’s Wager

If God is not, and I believe,
Then my mistake shall matter none to me;
And when I come this life to leave,
I matter none to void infinity.

If God there is, and I abstain,
Then my mistake shall matter great and well;
And when I quit this earthly plain,
I matter none to He who saves from Hell.

If God is not, or God there is,
Still our mistake, for taking up this bet;
So ere our lives are done, know this –
They matter much, they might be all we get.

 

 

Salient Thoughts

Ypres

 

Salient Thoughts

Passing through Ypres,
We paused for a moment to take in the Cloth Hall.
By the cathedral we parked,
And we wandered the Grote Markt,
Charmed and yet chilled
By the way they had carefully rebuilt it all.

The shops were all shut –
(We’d come on a Sunday, just wanted a look)
English words blared from their posters and flyers
So locals or ex-pats ?  We didn’t enquire.
Their windows were filled
With helmets and biscuits and rifles and books.

Then down to the Menin Gate –
Far too triumphant and proud of its names:
Look at how many I bear !
They all did their duty and lie who-knows-where.
Just look at our killed !
And dare you resist us, and dare you lay blame ?

Rank upon rank of surnames,
With first-names reduced to only initials.
People I found myself wishing
Had told their nations to carry on fishing –
But instead, they had fought.
And here were their names, to make it official.

The flags barely moved,
And a few of us found ourselves holding our breath,
And it all seemed so lonely and still
And so thankfully long since the kill,
And yet still overwrought –
A faded and motionless orgy of death.

Ah, hindsight you rogue !
But let us not hate the hard lessons you tell.
So maybe it’s time to finally suture,
Time now for Ypres to find a new future.
And here’s a thought:
Maybe let’s spell it as Ieper from here on as well.

Mortal Remains

burial cemetery countryside cross
Photo by Mikes Photos on Pexels.com

 

Mortal Remains

These tombstones are listed, these crypts are protected,
Preserving the love and the pride that erected
These grand mausoleums and gravesides historic,
Their statements and passions to questions rhetoric.
Yet time shall erode with its rain and its frost,
Till their dates are obscured and their epitaphs lost.
It weathers their angels and softens their urns,
As lichens enshroud and subsidence upturns,
And insects will burrow in mortar and crack,
And ivy will clamber and marble turn black.
Yet do not repair them, their tarnish amassing;
Such monuments solemn are records of passing.

 

 

Roofus

ancient architecture building church
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

     Roofus

How do churches stop the rain ?
And send the downpours down the drain ?
That’s pretty simple to explain –

The footings hold the buttress,
And the buttress holds the flyer,
And the flyer holds the springing,
And the springing takes the strain.
The spring ribs hold the keystone,
And the keystone holds the kingpost,
And the kingpost holds the rafters
Both the common and the main.
The rafters holds the purlins,
And the purlins holds the sheathing,
And the sheathing holds the shingles,
And the shingles stop the rain.