Breakfast in the Ruins

post apocalypse

Breakfast in the Ruins

This !  This is the time I’ve been waiting for,
When the cars leave the street and the planes leave the sky
And only the zombies are joining my morning,
While sensible people are waiting to die.

And I – I am a rare survivor,
Finally special – finally alone –
Scrabbling the rubble of civilisation
Shaking off every habit I’ve known.

I never said my fantasies were pleasant,
Wiping out humanity with barely a shrug –
But there they lurk, just itching for apocalypse –
Not some ugly famine, but a quick and silent bug.

Do I feel bad, now something is happening,
Finally happening !, to strangers I never knew ?
I’ve wished far worse in my many listless hours,
But wishing them does nothing to make them come true.

I can tell myself that this is all coincidence –
Out of my hands to cause it, or repair –
So I might as well relish the sudden upheaval
If this is our doom, then I’ll guess I’ll see you there.

But of course, thanks to the efforts of nicer folk,
We’ll probably survive this, and probably forget.
And I will be just one more drudge on the treadmill,
Still dreaming disaster to spin the roulette.




girl with towers
Finding Myself by Cassia Arellano



Skyla McLeod, her parents named her,
Hoped to shoot her to the top –
Alas, the ev’ryday has claimed her,
Clipped her wings and let her drop.
She’s just a loser in the sky,
Although she knows it’s all a mock –
For now she only reaches high
By living in a tower block.

Skyla McLeod in her fairy-tower,
Watching the tiny people go,
Pretending that she has the power
To interrupt their to and fro.
But still, her life is not so grim,
When comes her prince, at the end of his shift –
Then she’ll let down her hair for him,
And he’ll ascend (though in the lift).



Bottom of the Barrel

organ grinder
The Organ Grinder by Vasily Perov


Bottom of the Barrel

I saw an organ grinder and his capuchin the other day –
He made an awful racket, and the monkey didn’t want to play,
And no surprise !, the poor bedraggled creature looked a broken thing,
Half-starved and half-exhausted, on a short and fraying string.
The organist was little better – no musician with a skill –
He simply turned the handle to produce the loud and flat and shrill.

I ought to add, this wasn’t in a smart and swanky part of town,
Because the rich have constables to move them on and shut them down.
Instead, they haunt the humble in the poorest, foulest thoroughfare,
In begging half a penny from the folks who haven’t one to spare.
But still I stopped, and watched that doleful monkey, as his master hawked,
And wondered what he might have dreamt of, if he only could have talked…

“I’d rather be a monkey than an organ grinder, any day –
We monkeys gets to leap and dance, and gen’rally to have our way,
And sport a hand-made uniform, and all the grapes that we can eat,
And always plays to cheering crowds from Berkeley Square to Gower Street.
And yet the world is quick to view me as a lackey or buffoon –
But grinders only get to grind, and grind, and grind all afternoon.”

I saw an organ grinder and his capuchin the other day –
And shared a knowing look, we three, of how they’d soon be swept away.



Middle Class Decline

people in train
Photo by Rishiraj Singh Parmar on


Middle Class Decline

The world goes by on its way to work,
Quite happy – well happy enough, anyway –
Where poetry books are barely a quirk,
So little do they enter the fray
Of the working world in its working week
To render it a freak to thus
See one being read on the bus.
With sales so low and style so high,
They see no need to try to fathom out
Just what some faff-about is trying to say.
Those pseudy slims are best ignored
By the sensibly-shod of the hurrying horde
On a busy and bullshit-less day.

What they need is football, and punk rock, and thrillers,
And X-Box, and coffee, and soaps, and painkillers
And roses, and downloads, and sheds full of spanners,
And gardens with blue tits, and holiday planners,
And magazine fashions and diet’ry trends
And so many relatives, hook-ups and friends,
So is it a wonder they haven’t the time
For the nuance of slam or the absence of rhyme ?
And the world goes by on its way back home,
Too busy for chapbooks of monochrome.



Christmas Bells



Christmas Bells

The churches used to ring-in Christmas Day,
With peels that rolled across the shires,
And towns with out-competing spires.
They may chime still, but who’s to say ?
Amid our busy, noisy lives,
The traffic and the nine-to-fives,
We’ve little use for summonses to pray.
For all the bells may toll the blues,
We never come to fill the pews –
But if we hear them chiming, that’s okay.
And if we don’t, well, never fear,
There’s plenty other bells to hear:
On doors and tills and phones, they ring away.
And even though we see no snow,
And even though we see no deer,
We cannot help but hear the ever-tinkle of the sleigh.



Commuter Without Portfolio

photo of suitcase on leaves
Photo by fotografierende on


Commuter Without Portfolio

Where’s my briefcase ?  What a caper,
What a stupid thing to lose.
Therein lay my evening paper,
Now I cannot read the news.
Whoops, there goes my blue Bic biro,
Gosh, there goes my travel card;
Not much pickings here, I know,
It’s not a case for Scotland Yard.

So who are you, thief or finder ?
Did I cast a wealthy look ?
Could you post my gas reminder
And return my library book ?
Just ignore my works’ outpouring
Bureaucratic paperchase.
So, you see, I’m pretty boring,
Pretty much an average case.

A Norse Discourse



A Norse Discourse

What shall we get for London, Ingrid,
Now that the Yuletide’s near ?
What shall we get for London, Ingrid ?
We’re almost out of year.

What do they want in London, Ingmar,
The city that has it all ?
What do they need in London, Ingmar ?
Can’t we give them a call ?

We want it to be a surprise, dear Ingrid,
We want it to impress.
We want to surprise old London, Ingrid,
We don’t want them to guess.

What did we get them last year, Ingmar ?
What did we get them then ?
What did we think of last year, Ingmar,
And can’t we get that agen ?

Last year we gave them a pine-tree, Ingrid,
Last year we gave them a spruce.
They’re surely expecting a pine-tree, Ingrid,
We can’t this year, by deuce !

But surely they loved our pine-tree, Ingmar,
Surely they loved our spruce ?
And won’t they need a new tree, Ingmar ?
It only has one use !

It’s true, they loved our pine-tree, Ingrid,
It’s true they loved it there.
They proudly placed our pine-tree, Ingrid,
In Trafalgar Square.

Then let’s give a tree to London, Ingmar,
A symbol of our rebirth.
Then let’s give a tree to London, Ingmar:
From Oslo – peace on Earth !