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 ?

Second-Hand Elegy

Empty Desk by Stephen Edmonds

Second-Hand Elegy

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.

Bankrupt Holiday

Bankrupt Holiday

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 !

Work is my Sunscreen

i don't know what dilbert's complaining about

Work is my Sunscreen

All Summer long
I’m working in a basement,
A windowless basement
All the Summer long.

It may seem so wrong
To not have a casement
To open in my basement,
When heatwaves prolong.

But free from the throng,
I’m happy with effacement
In my quiet basement,
Where I get along.

When the Sun beats strong,
I’m glad he’s kept adjacent
And out of my basement
Where he don’t belong.

Even Mao Zedong
Would leave me in my placement,
Would leave me in my basement
All my workday long.

Then home at evensong,
Still cool from how my day’s spent
In an air-conditioned basement,
All the Summer long.

Harvest Traffic

that's one way to trim the nedges


Harvest Traffic

Country roads in Summertime,
Tractors bar the way –
Trailers towering with loads
Astride the hedged-in roads, all long-the-day.

Gathering the harvest in,
Kicking up the dust,
Making ev’rybody late –
Because the corn won’t wait, and so we must.

Scattering a constant shower,
Unintended sacrifice –
Stripped from golden fields,
Their yields are fattening the harvest mice.

And we shall gobble up the rest,
The bread and beer and morning flakes –
So patience, as we fume to pass,
And thank them by the glass and loaf and cake.

For that’s the price of country living,
Farmers have to move their grains –
They fuel, with slow agronomy,
The whole rural economy down twisty country lanes.



Déjà Fait

circle of death


Déjà Fait

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
Just yesterday,
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.



Ovine Inspiration

focus photo of brown sheep under blue sky
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Ovine Inspiration

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.

Young Shepherdess Standing by William Bouguereau


gray and brown insect on green leaf
Photo by Egor Kamelev on Pexels.com



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

switch off the office


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.



The Uncarved Block

stones pebbles wellness balance
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com


The Uncarved Block

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.