Happy Birthday v.3

To celebrate this site’s anniversary, I shall be sharing my longest poem of all, conveniently split into fourteen separate sections.  So, stand by for two weeks of sci-fi adventure, aliens, and depression, all dedicated to the memory of the great Douglas Adams – because despite the title, the one thing I felt his books needed more of was hitch-hiking…

By the way, the accompanying pictures won’t have much to do with the poems, but will be an opportunity to showcase some of my favourite spacey art.

I should also take this moment to announce that I have finally exhausted my back catalogue, and once this upcoming mini-epic is done I have nothing else to offer.  At least, not today, but I intend to keep up a routine of writing two poems a week (at least), and will post these on Sundays and Wednesdays.  I have plenty more to say, I just don’t know what it is yet.

But before we go on that adventure, let us take a quick side-trip with a hearty slap on my own back, even though that’s physically impossible. I decided to give this website a quick Google, to see if it has been noticed. So, ignoring the results that lead straight back here, we have RhymingCouplets.wordpress.com. Ah, it’s not me at all. It seems to be by ‘iambictrix’ and likely no longer active. But hey, it’s promoting rhymes and it’s got a cool name, so go over there and show it some love. Next up is this Russian site, where they have borrowed my drawing of a young Isaac from Newton’s Cradle. Well, I say mine, I just ran across it online, so as kind as it was for them to credit me, they could have found it in the same place that I did. Still, nice of them to mention me. Moving onto NameDog.com, it shows that my website’s name was available for hire back in 2010, and ThaiZone.com shows us why – in 2009 it was pending being deleted.

I wonder what the old domain looked like way back then. If only there were some sort of machine that could tell us…hang on…! It seems that our new friend iambictrix didn’t always have a double-barrelled website, with the ‘wordpress’ bit noticeably absent. But things get even stranger in 2016, where we can see on the 9th of March that iambictrix had let their subscription lapse 309 days prior, and then no more snapshots until 4th October, when a few pop-up that cannot now be accessed – were these more beggings for renewal or perhaps a new custodian ? I do have a vague memory of idly musing on creating a domain with this name but finding it had been taken by a dating site. Good thing I did nothing about it for a year, or I’d have to have created ConcordingAdjacents.com, which wouldn’t have been nearly as popular.

But I’ve saved the last for best – Whitmore High School has faced-down lockdown by preparing a comprehensive list of independent learning activities for Year 8 (what in my day we would call the Second Years), including on page 13 from the drama department, and just look at who they cite as one of two “resources you will need to help you” ? I am so honoured ! If Miss or Sir wishes to drop me a comment, I can thank them personally (hey, perhaps they already have, but in disguise !) But oh, those poor kids, having to deal with my various arguments with God, grammar, and gated drums. And although I don’t use many swears, I really hope the pupils found them all…

Anyway, let’s take a detour from this detour with some more naval-gazing. Even after I post my poems here, they remain works-in-progress, though I don’t realise it at the time. Whenever I revisit a poem, I may spot a rhythm in need of a massage or an orphaned rhyme in need of a lover, a stray typo here or an errant comma there – and of course the work of replacing all semi-colons with hyphens is ongoing.

However, occasionally I spot a more fundamental problem, usually along the lines of the poem not actually being very good and certainly not ready for before the watershed. My solution is often
‘more poem’, adding verses to clarify a point or add that which I had previously neglected.

Knowing how some of you like to check-in every so often and catch up on the new entries, it is likely that major revisions to old posts would go unnoticed, and so this seems an appropriate time to link to half a dozen that have undergone the greatest change, and I’ll even throw in an extra fifty-percent free !
First up, a couple whose verses are unchanged but whose post-coda ramblings have wandered afar –

The Parable of the Mustard SeedI attempt some mathematics to calculate the plant kingdom’s obesity problem.

Forty-Eight – I detail the handful of stars that Ptolemy bothered to name as he mapped the sky, while being glad they were so few.

Then there have been a couple of days when I accidentally forgot to set up a post, and did so retrospectively so that no-one would ever know of my blunder (unless I were to do something as stupid as to tell them).

The First Second-Coming – All the Virgins give birth in the Winter, it seems.

Foreword & Forewarned – If ever there were a manifesto poem for my collection, it would be this.

These three have had several verses added, since everyone knows it’s word-count that counts:

Jurassic Lark – Considering how long the dinosaurs ruled for, they’re well worth some extra.

Felis schroedingi – Half of part 3 and all of part 4 is new. More physics, true, but also more cat !

Pride & Vanity – Hogging even more limelight following extensive cosmetic restructuring and two additional verses.

And these ones have effectively been re-written from the envoy up.

Equant & Deferent – Ptolemy again, and how his model of planetary motion was almost better than Copernicus’.

– An eight-line poem for a one-line joke gets a whole new backstory.

Inktober Week (-and-a-half)

Any artists may already be familiar with Inktober, where every day reveals a new word to prompt an lunch-hour’s doodle or a quick sketch on the train home.

Well, I decided to take some of those words as titles in an attempt to beat back the block.  So this week (in the wrong month), I present my contribution to Inktober 2020.

Ah poetry – the consolation prize for those who can’t draw.











Juvenilia Week 2 – any improvement ?

Following on from the recently underwhelming week of early tat, and because I want to reach my third birthday next May before the barrel is dry and the cupboard is scraped, I’m once again fishing around in the week-old bag of lettuce leaves for the ones that not quite too-far gone – believe me, there are others in there which are nothing but liquid sludge.

These ones are just about presentable, especially after a few nips and tucks with the blue pencil.

The role of almost-shame consists of:

Five Loaves & Two Red Fishes

Calling All Stations


World Peace

The Rigours of Indolence

To the Future

Just Another Joe

Ecce Humanitas

Welcome to Juvenilia Week

Recently, I’ve been digging through some of my earliest poems from twenty years ago (I’ve written for longer, but it’s only since then that I decided they were worth keeping).  I have ignored them upto now because they are rather, well, rubbish…and yet, I was proud of them at the time, and were an important step onto better work.  Were they not salvageable, with some judicious edits and rewrites ?  Honestly…sort of.  They’re still not great, but just about make it over the threshold of what I’ll accept to be published, as long as they get a fair wind and sympathetic readership.

So, for this week, I shall be presenting some of my not-best works, as an encouragement to my twenty-year younger self.  Enjoy.  Or, at least, don’t wince too harshly, the wind might change and you’ll be stuck that way.

So, here they are:


Vanity by Numbers

Wearing the Clothes of Emperors

Blown on the Windrush

Propersome Grammar



Happy Birthday – 2nd draft

Tomorrow is this daily poetry adventure’s second anniversary, and have I got a treat for you !

Several years ago, a friend of mine was devising a piece of amateur theatre which I stage-managed, based around the laying of the first ocean-spanning telegraph cable in 1858.  His work was pretty experimental, but he had wanted it to be a musical of sorts and there were a couple of songs in it.  All of which got me thinking about writing a sequence of lyrics around the topic, a sort of soundtrack album to a film that never got made.

I should mention that that first cable failed after only three weeks and had to be replaced in 1866, but don’t look to these poems for too much historical detail.  There’s some, but it’s not a documentary.  And anyway, it’s dramatically more satisfying to imagine it as a single event with a false dawn and speedy follow-up.

So, starting tomorrow and continuing over the subsequent twelve days I present to you the The Transatlantic Cable !


St Jerome Writing
detail from St Jerome Writing by Caravaggio

The trouble with writing poetry is that there are far more writers of it than there are readers.  So pity the poor editors of literary journals who actually do have to read the stuff.  I can just imagine the brief slump they must experience when opening up my latest submission to find that yet again I have insisted of bloody rhyming.  So I thought I’d do the decent thing and punt them all into the cloud out of the way, where only bored googlers and desperate teachers will be in danger of finding them.

(I ought to say that two poetry websites have featured my in the past: Snakeskin and Lighten Up Online.  Thanks, guys !)

Anyway, I’ll try and upload a new one every few days.  Some of them might even be good.