My Mind, She Runs



My Mind, She Runs

I’ve always heard them say
That Golden Brown & Perfect Day
Are smuggling in some heroin
Cos that’s so rock & roll !
But I don’t think that’s such a feat
When looking at each lyric sheet –
There’s nothing there to threaten or cajole.

The Stranglers waltz around with metaphor
About…well, what ?
Some vagueries that lapse into an ideal love, perhaps,
To fox our trot, but little more.
And Lou is not opaque at all,
Just thanks for needed company –
And if it’s from a needle, well,
He fails to wink sufficiently.

Now, there’s no reason songs can’t hide
Another message deep inside,
But usually they’re straight ahead –
And if we let our fancies fly
We’re chasing diamonds in the sky
And swearing blind that Paul is dead.



The View from the Dock

Since I didn’t want to make light of a real trial, here’s an imagined courtroom sketch from Julia Quenzler from The Archers.


The View from the Dock

They’ll haul me in the dock, one day,
To face down my accusers,
And place my fate within the hands
Of twelve good folk and true.
I’ll shiver in the dock, one day,
The haunt of knaves and bruisers:
Where many made their final stands
Before the kangaroo.

But wait,
It’s not the judge
Whom I should fear,
Nor bailiffs,
Though they drag me here,
Nor barristers,
Intent to smear my name.
No, my innocence or shame
Is solely in the verdict of my peers:

This dozen-crowd,
As proud as me,
And stupid, sometimes,
And bloody-minded,
And feather-bedded.
Cunning folk,
And worldly-wise,
From bigwig sharks
To little guys:
Folk I know
Down to the letter –
Folk like me,
For worse and better.

And how will they view me, these folk ?
As one of them ?  An av’rage bloke ?
As someone who could someday be themselves ?
So send me down or set me free,
But you, m’lud, can’t humble me !
For justice, guilt and mercy comes in Twelves.



The Modern Way



The Modern Way

Hey, I hear you’re godless –
And your universe is empty,
And this life that you are living
Is your only shot at plenty,
And your death will be your ending,
And your birth was just a chance,
And your soul is just your neurons,
And your story is a minor space romance.
But are you happy ?
Or is your logic just a bluff ?
When you’re only made from dust,
Is this lonely world enough ?

Hey, I hear you’re godless –
But you say the Heavens wallow
In a myriad of wonders,
With a thousand more tomorrow –
And although our death is scary,
So much more-so is the chance
Of our ever even being,
To be living in this epic space romance.
I guess you’re happy,
It seems you’ve really found your style –
Hey, I hear you’re godless,
But it’s great to see you smile.





Pips in the Slips



Pips in the Slips

There’s no such thing as in-the-round,
For ev’ry stage has front and sides,
And despite ev’ry good intention,
Actors shall forget the wides.
So sit dead centre, free from such malarkey –
For ev’ry circle has its hierarchy,

Round tables, while we’re at it,
End up far from democratic:
Always there’s a head, and it’s
Whichever side King Arthur sits.
Then right hand, left hand, straight across –
There’s no disputing who’s the boss.



The Change

yellow and black butterflies cocoon
Photo by Pixabay on


The Change

Caterpillars metamorph, from juvenile to butterfly,
And maggots turn to ants and wasps and beetles, by and by,
And tadpoles can be newts and salamanders, toads and frogs
But when it comes to mammals, well,
There’s little change of which to tell,
For puppies only ever get to grow up into dogs.
But you know, that’s not quite true – we’re changing too,
Though the other way round:
See, larvae are more evolved than their parents –
Their bodies the new kids in town.
But we, you and me, start out as a fish
With proto-gills and a tail to swish
In a primordial sea of warm –
Then it’s time to move, to shed our skin,
And let our reptile-selves begin:
Engage, evolve, transform !
It’s time to metamorphosise,
We mongrel robots in disguise,
From instar into more-bizarre,
Our restless genes must shift and swarm
And take this blood-cold world by storm
By becoming the mammals, the furry mammals we are !
But don’t stop now, the urge ain’t gone –
I don’t know what’s next, but I feel it coming on…




Cell to Cell by Maria Cobo, using live bacteria as paint.



Hey kids, here’s fun to boggle your mind:
Take a bacterium, brainless and blind –
Now, a single-celled critter is never alone,
When three-times-an-hour it buds off a clone,
And each twin is twinning and growing the brood,
(As long as it’s warm and there’s plenty of food).

And so, in fourteen hours or so,
That single bacillus will grow
To fill a cubic millimetre –
After twenty, there’s a litre –
And in one day, a bathtub’s-worth
Of constant twenty-minute births.
That’s loads of germs from hardly any –
Two-and-twenty-one zeros-many !

But don’t stop now, let’s let them grow:
And in another day or so
They’ve reach the size of planet Earth,
And soon they match the Sun’s great girth,
And long before the third day’s out
They stand a cubic light-year stout.

And that, dear children, clearly shows
How statisticians lie and cheat
For while their figures all add up,
The real world is never neat.
They think we’ll never notice how
Their precious model’s skewed,
By casually just poofing up
An infinite amount of food.
And how do bugs within the ball
Increase in size where there’s no space ?
And never mind their gravity,
Of which we find no trace.

The lesson we should really learn
From all they get so wrong,
Is how such exponential growth
Can never grow for long.



James Somersett

Head of a Negro by James Copley


James Somersett

“Granville Sharp the abolitionist and Lord Mansfield of the King’s Bench are well known, but the eponymous defendant is more of a mystery.”
                                                                                                                              – The Sunday Items

He ran from the court
To the door of his champion,
Slaved no more,
And he knocked on the door of his champion
To show he was free –
He ran from the court and he ran from our history.

Did James and Granville then
Shake hands like proper gentlemen ?
Did they embrace, perhaps,
In a quite un-English way ?
We cannot say,
For James is never heard agen.

Did he and Granville,
As they bid goodbye,
Look in one-another’s eye
And share a smile and knowing nod
That seemed to subtly imply
“We’ve started something here, by God !”

Maybe he died that very day,
Or lived another three long score,
Maybe rich, maybe poor –
He went about his way.
The last we see of James
Is at that door.