several gift cards
Photo by Markus Spiske on



Berlin – City of the english Language,
All Thanks to Hollywood and Touristdollars –
With bilingual Signs to ease our Angst and Anguish,
And fluent Secondtonguers and subconscious Scholars.
From Burntborough Square to Prince Elector Way
Welcome to Berlinnington-on-Spray.



Urban Spiritual

telegraph pole
Wires by Tom Lantaff


Urban Spiritual

If the bells ring out from the crossing tower,
I’ll meet my love upon the hour;
I’ll meet my love, and we shall stroll
From the old gas works to the new may-pole.

If they call to prayer from the minaret,
I’ll meet my love on the High Street yet;
I’ll meet my love, and we shall wend
From the old canal to the new bridge-end.

If the trumpets bray the sabbath’s start,
I’ll meet my love in the Hounds & Hart;
I’ll meet my love and we shall roam
From the old duck pond to the new dogs’ home.

If chanting comes from the temple door,
I’ll meet my love by the superstore;
I’ll meet my love and we shall stray
From the old sheep track to the new free way.



So Many Locks, So Few Keys

door handle key keyhole
Photo by Pixabay on


So Many Locks, So Few Keys

Locksmithing looks like a lonely profession –
You get out to meet with the public, for sure,
But only the once, on your knees at their door.
You wrestle my barrel with little progression –
I’d naively pictured a surgeon-like skill:
Lockpicks and skeletons – rather than chisel and drill.

You work with me watching you over your shoulder,
Incase your tools gives my lockplate a nick –
What else can I do as we wait for the click ?
The drizzle picks up and your fingers grow colder,
Still trying to jiggle and jostle and jolt –
My whole life is trapped by a quarter-inch tamper-proof bolt.

And as for my neighbours – despite all your racket
While drilling-out, hammering, jemmying, screwing,
There’s none of them come by to check what you’re doing.
I s’pose I’ll take solace in how you must whack it !
I guess my old lock kept me truly secure –
A pity you must rip this hero from off of my door.

Finally !
You swing the door open to grant re-admittance,
My castle is taken – besieged, though benign –
And all my possessions are once again mine !
Though looking around, it feels like a housebreaker’s pittance –
My lack of ’lectronics and marble and chrome
Was probably all this time keeping me safe in my home.

You offer me three diff’rent grades of replacement,
With some anti-bump, anti-snap – and you grin:
“With this one, not even a locksmith could win !”
Though all this is pointless if I haven’t locks on each casement –
No-one will sweat on the strongest-held link
If the toplight’s ajar once again by the sink.

At last, I’m shaking your hand and writing your cheque.
Despite the assault on my fraught liquidity,
I have been saved from my own stupidity.
I show you at last to the door, which you brought back to spec.
“We shan’t meet again, I pray !”  Your expression
Makes me think locksmithing looks like a lonely profession.



Hounslow Fast & Hounslow Slow

Early 20th Century views of Hounslow High Street


Hounslow Fast & Hounslow Slow

All the stages came through Hounslow,
All the coaches heading West:
Driving on to Staines and Windsor,
Bristol, Plymouth, and the rest.
All the coaches came through Hounslow,
From each Western vale and down,
Stretching legs and changing horses
For the final push to town.

They all knew Hounslow then:
The drovers, grooms and highwaymen.
But nothing stays the same –
And so one day the railway came.

Only three miles north of Hounslow,
Yet those three miles meant a lot:
Steaming on to Slough and Reading,
Faster than a horse can trot.
All the West once came through Hounslow,
Then the bypass passed you by –
And little mark is left to show
From when this High Street lived so high.

There’s nobody to blame,
For nothing ever stays the same –
The world still comes your way,
But now they do not leave, and so they stay.



Unter den Linden

unter den linden


Unter den Linden

I was walking
Underneath the lindens,
Walking with my true love,
With Summer on the breeze.
We were walking
Walking in Berlin, then,
Walking two-by-two, love,
Underneath the trees.

I was walking
Underneath the lindens,
Walking with my true love,
Past the other fraus.
We were walking
In our finest linens
Walking two-by-two, love,
Underneath the boughs.

I was talking
Underneath the lindens,
Talking with my true love
About my life and times.
We were talking
Of how back in Swindon,
When walking two-by-two, love,
We’d be walking under limes.



Where the Hounds Lie Low



Where the Hounds Lie Low

All dogs come to Hounslow:
The Saxon mound of all the hounds,
From far and near, they gather here
Where no-one herds them into pounds.

You’ll find all breeds in Hounslow:
From native bulldogs, collies, setters,
Goldies, skyes, of ev’ry size,
A mix of strays and game go-getters

Exotics, too, in Hounslow:
Poodles, spitz and borzoi breeds.
Dalmatians, pomeranians –
They’re free of collars, free of leads.

A thousand woofs in Hounslow,
And coats of ev’ry length and hue:
From lab to husky, pale or dusky –
Snouts and builds are varied, too.

They all feel safe in Hounslow:
The afghans, dingos and pariahs –
They fear no more the dogs of war,
And tails are safe from dockers’ pliers.

All dogs are free in Hounslow,
Where jack russell and king charles meet,
With great danes cheek by jowl with pekes,
And mutts and corgis share the street.

A better life in Hounslow,
Where they’re at peace to chase their sticks.
All dogs, they say, shall have their day
To raise the pups and learn new tricks.

All dogs come to Hounslow,
The mound where hounds find all they need –
And from each guest we’ll gain their best
To raise a stronger, mongrel breed.

Green Park Gallery

green park
photo by Urban75


Green Park Gallery

South side of Piccadilly, up against the railings
Paintings by the vanload are displayed –
Portraits and streetscapes and abstracts are prevailing,
Lots of dogs and Monet fogs and sailing-ships a-sailing.
Will we find the next Van Gogh just waiting its unveiling ?
Or likely find there’s nothing makes the grade ?
It doesn’t bother me, for it’s still a fine distraction
Where even daubs and dabbling hands can bring out satisfaction –
But then, I’ve no intention of enacting a transaction,
Despite the fact their purpose here is trade.
Oh, sell them to the tourists and to trendies with some empty walls,
I’m just browsing through the upright and reticulated stalls –
Varied works in ev’ry sense, from almost-tempted down to scrawls,
But either way, I never leave dismayed.
Not pampered by the critics or what some celeb endorses,
But subject to the fickle winds of naked market forces –
Which might explain the presence of so many racing horses,
With prices set by what the punters paid.
South side of Piccadilly, up against the railings,
Unfailingly is London’s best parade.