The office upstairs is pristine-abandoned, Glimpsed through the lift-lobby windows – Paperless desks and clutter-free intrays, Silent printers sulking in rows. Phones unringing, chairs unswiv’ling, Three-speed fans no longer swishing – Out of business ? But it looks so peaceful, Like they’ve chosen to all go fishing. They might come tomorrow, but probably won’t. So what do they know that the other floors don’t ?
Someone I sort-of kind-of knew, I learn has died. I heard the should-be-sadder news today, a fortnight on. It feels too late for grieving, so I haven’t cried – I vaguely wish I could, but still I’m dry inside. For truth – I feel removed, my slightly-closeness gone – I know I have no right to, but I feel a touch denied. But that’s alright, it’s just a touch, And maybe they’d admit that they would only half-remember me. I know I knew them not so much, But let me dwell a bit upon their insufficient memory.
Bank Holiday Monday – It’s just two Sundays in a row Why must we clone the one day Where the time ticks-by so slow ? The world is closed by three, As people lose their appetite – And though we know tomorrow’s free, We stay home Sunday night. Then comes the dreaded day When we have to do stuff, rain or gust, We must not let it waste away Without the National Trust. But here’s a thought, I say, When we need a break to stay ahead – Let’s all take off a Friday, And get two Saturdays instead !
It could be as simple and routine,
As lining-up the keyboard, square,
The practised switch to light the screen,
The pulling-up of a chair,
Or nudging the mouse, that nudges the brain –
With a ‘ho-hum, there’s that feeling again’.
It’s not even deja vu, just a mild surprise
It’s just a slow ‘oh yeah’ as we realise
That we did this very action in just this way
And we say ‘but that was only an hour ago,
Or maybe two, but not any more…’
But no – we know, we always know,
We’ve had all twenty-four since we did it last,
Our days tick by so slow and skip so fast.
Barbara Blacksheep bears a name Belonging to a shepherdess, A damsel in a dirndl dress. But Barbara won’t play this game – Whyever did her parents think Her life should be a nod and wink ?
Barbara Blacksheep, twelve years old, Is fighting hard against the path Her name intends to telegraph. Defiance, though, makes Barbara bold – She won’t be traipsing downs and dales From soggy Kent to chilly Wales !
For she’s a city girl at heart – The only sheep she ever saw Was supermarket mutton, raw. She’d struggle how to play the part – She couldn’t be a wannabo-Peep For anyone, not even sheep.
She doubts all that nostalgia, though – They weren’t romantic spirits, free, But serfs a meal from poverty. Yet things have changed since long ago – The modern herders of the moors Use phones and drones and four-by-fours.
But then she sees a painting in a book – A shepherdess amongst the gorse Just leaning on her crook – Rather chocolate box, of course, With unshod feet and peasant’s dress But in her eyes a knowing look That said here was a shepherdess That knew her pasture’s ev’ry nook And knew her ev’ry sheep by sight And knew she’d get them home alright.
She was maybe fifteen, sixteen, Not much older than Barbara now – The latter who would struggle between Telling a sheep from a cow Yet somehow, if she’d only end her war Upon her name, Then give her three years, give her four, To give herself an aim – And could she be that confident of gaze To watch them graze ?
And so she got to thinking deep About her future, taking stock – And made a choice to guard the flock. So Barbara Blacksheep will never lack sleep Counting ev’ry one of her charges As each bleats and bustles and barges.
She made herself a solemn vow To shield her yearlings from disasters As playing fields become her pastures – For she’s a playground monitor now – Her lambs aren’t sheep and kids aren’t goats, But tykes in woollen hats and coats.
A single clap, a sudden slap,
A thud against a desk,
A backhand swat, a black-red blot,
A mid-air Arabesque.
Someone let the flies in,
Let the flies invade our day,
And now we’re exercising
An impromptu cabaret.
So jump up to that buzzing sound,
And waltz your tiny partners round –
Until we run these flies to ground,
This dance will play and play.
The accent is just intended to show that the middle syllable is the one that should be stressed.
Wish I Were There I should be on holiday right now,
Instead I’m still at work
Still typing out reports that won’t be read.
I should be at the seaside
Cranking what-the-butlers with a smirk,
Then fish & chips on the prom, and late to bed.
I long to swap my bowler hat
For stetson, Panama, or fez
Instead of charting overheads
With Paul the Bore and dreary Des.
I should be on holiday right now,
Not swamped in endless work
While dreaming that I’m swimming in the Med.
I should be in a cocktail bar
With the just-met eyes of a sexy Turk,
Or a charming couple from outside-Leatherhead.
I long to be in Venice,
As my corp’rate stress unwinds –
But instead the sun is trapped behind
These beige Venetian blinds.
Ancient wisdom always seems
To favour pure and nat’ral artefacts,
The stuff of philosophic dreams
Of unmined hills and untapped cataracts –
Yet crying for such simple ways
From modern lives of iron, wells and mills,
They lounge and think away their days,
While harder-working peers must hone their skills
To hew and dig and chop and grind,
And turn the world into a workshop floor –
To build the surplus so a mind
Has food enough to ponder nat’ral lore.