Two Minutes Silence

business businessmen classroom communication
Photo by Pixabay on


Two Minutes Silence

Ordered by social convention into inaction,
I sit at my desk and abstain –
I keep my head down and stare at my pen till I hear
The murmur of morning again.
Like most, I start on my shutdown at ten-fifty-eight,
And end at eleven-oh-four,
To cover the randomly-synchronised watches of colleagues –
And never mind minding the store.

Across the room, someone is typing.  (Is that still allowed ?)
Their rat-a-tat keystokes clatter.
A phone rings out the alarm, which nobody answers,
Till voicemail settles the matter.
I ought to be thinking, I know, of tommies and trenches,
Of birdsong, bombardements and screams –
Instead, I just notice this shuffleing silence-by-rote –
My thoughts are deserters, it seems.



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.



It’s Probably Important

filing cabinet


It’s Probably Important

Filing, filing,
They must be got in order,
Thought who’d be such a hoarder
To let them stack so deep ?

Filing, filing,
A papery assortment
Of doggery deportment,
And thoroughly asleep.

Do they rustle out in vain,
And yearn to be of use again ?
Or do they long to end their plight
With damp or flame or paper mite ?
Either way, the data’s piling;
Only remedy is

Filing, filing,
So endlessly abundant,
So battered and redundant,
So crumpled and a-crease

Filing, filing,
They served so well their placement,
So box them in the basement,
And let them rest in peace.



Stagehand Biog



Stagehand Biog

Beyond the tabs, there lurks this guy
Who hangs about in wing and fly,
Behind the flat and scaff and track
In creeping soles and black-on-black.
He waits in darkness for an age
To make his entrance on the stage
To set the prop and push the truck,
But only when the lights have struck.
So should you see him here tonight
Upon the thrust when all is bright;
If left exposed, a frightened stray –
Please pity him, and look away.



We Need More Gods



We Need More Gods

Why just the same old almighty creator ?
Let’s have us a dozen, let’s restate our mission.
We have to deregulate sooner or later,
And open up faith to the free competition.
We must raise the funding and research the data,
To set up a pantheic-forming commission –
We ought to have choice in our heavenly pater
And hire the divine in an open audition

Just think of the deities, wiser and greater,
With freedom to choose of which gods to petition –
They’re building their brand as a hero or traitor,
With two-for-one offers on prayers and remission –
And specialist markets will open to cater:
A Goddess of Love or a Wine-God musician –
And all supervised by the trade regulator,
To see they deliver on sin and perdition.



Rocket Roll

Blues Machine by Eric Joyner


Rocket Roll

To ev’ry band who never hit the heights,
Who play the clubs but never play the halls;
Whose name will never burn in lights,
Nor posters hang from bedroom walls –
Who always watch their fellow dudes a-strut,
And always think “We’re just as good as that !”
Who feel the calling in their gut,
But never feast upon the fat –
You’ve got the amps, you’ve got the tunes,
You’ve got your share of dweebs and loons –
Yet still you only smoulder, never blast.
You missed your chance to quit this town,
It’s gravity that keeps you down.
You’re only growing older and surpassed.

But ev’ry band with unloved riff and chord
Can always hope that Later Times may find
That album ev’ryone ignored,
And bring you forth to futurekind:
To fill the galaxy with your guitars,
And play your ballads on a thousand earths,
And sing your melodies to stars
For centuries beyond your births.
You’ve got the chance, you’ve got the pluck,
You’ve got your share of random luck:
May yet your thrusters fire, rockets gun ?
A soundtrack to the pioneers,
The very music of the spheres,
Could see you flying higher than the sun.



A God-Awful Small Affair

David Bowie by Carolyn Djanogly


A God-Awful Small Affair

Heard the news this morning on my radio –
Not the news on the hour, though…
This was news I had to know.
The DJ didn’t want to say, but did his best
Well, sometimes that’s the job, I guess.

Heard the news this morning on my radio –
But first they played a song of yours,
Though which, to my half-asleep ears, I couldn’t be sure.
My room felt like it were ten below
And I hoped that I were dreaming,
But it didn’t feel like dreaming,
So I rolled out on the floor.

Heard the news this morning on my radio –
Hell of a way to start Monday morning,
Making Winter that much greyer.
I always knew, but never thought you’d have to go
Always popping-up without warning,
Always working on the next long-player.
My room was cold,
And suddenly the world felt very old.

I tried to whistle you as I shaved,
But I couldn’t get a tune to sit,
And I ended up nicking myself a bit.
But I kinda didn’t mind,
Like you were still messing with my head.
And anyway, we shouldn’t wear black today,
But now, for you, I’m wearing red.

And hey, I only learned today
Just how to say your name,
Cos there was a right way all along.
But then, you always loved to play –
At being never twice the same,
And even your eyes could not agree…
So, I dunno, but maybe it was right that I was wrong.

Oh like Otis, Ode and Oaktree.
Oh like Oberon.

Not sure I ever understood
What any lyric meant,
Except the meanings that I brought myself, I guess.
But then, the tunes were good
And those hours that I spent
Decyphering your gorgeous mess,
The catchy lines you cut and pasted,
Never felt like they were wasted.
Anyway, they left their dent:
Each turn of phrase and smoky haze
Just made me wonder at what madness had I tasted ?

Heard the news this morning on my radio –
I have to drag myself to work,
But first I’ll put your record on.
What can I say ?  You made me glow
For twenty, thirty, forty years or so.
And then I woke this morning, and you’re gone.