Office Shrub

Office Shrub 

I saw the plant through the window of the meeting room
A bedraggled thing –
Clearly wilted, but not yet quite in the waterless tomb –
Determined to cling.
But every time I passed, the space was fulfilling its mission,
Hosting a crowd –
I hadn’t a hope of providing the patient a little nutrition,
Or sparing the shroud.
Not unless I fancied talking of paradigm shifts
And stakeholder rights,
Or talking shop about new regulations and faulty lifts
Between doughnut bites.
Until, at last, while walking by on my way to the train,
And a forlorn glance –
The lights were out, but the hallway fluorescents leaked through the pane…
I took my chance.
I had just a drop in my water bottle, to break the drought
With barely a stream –
But I saw some dregs in the coffee cups that were strewn about
And a pot of cream.
And a leak in the corner of the room had collected on the window sill –
And that was its lot.
Then I never found that room so empty again, till a fire drill
Gave me a shot.
The rest of the time, I’d pass the window and flick my eyes,
To check its state,
But through endless workshops preaching the need to synergise,
It didn’t look great.
Yet when I finally proffered my notice, on my very last day,
I was glad to see,
That that poor and bedraggled little bit of green in amongst the grey
Was outlasting me.

Godless Devilry

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Godless Devilry

One day, I’ll be dead as a parrot,
I’ll feed the worms, I’ll buy the farm –
With neurons in my brain at peace,
As ev’rything I am shall cease.
One day – in my lonely garret,
Or else within my lovers’ arms –
But either way, when all is said,
They’ll tuck me in my final bed,
One day –
Aye, but not this day,
For this is the Day of the Dead !

So grab your tridents, grab your horns,
Your furry paws and crowns of thorns,
Tonight, there’s no-one weeps or mourns,
Unless it’s out of fright !
For this is a time to be alive,
In overdrive, till our veins run red –
There’s just no time to die tonight,
There’s a long long way to go before we’re dead.
At this time of year,
When entropy is near – let’s keep it light,
And laugh at our inescapable fate instead.

One day, I’ll be nothing but a past tense –
And that fact lurks at the back of my mind.
Ev’ry road will lead me to the grave,
With no prayer to pray and no soul to save.
It all makes simple, terrifying sense –
So I’ve learned to leave such thoughts behind.
For either way, come joy or dread,
They’ll close my eyes and shroud my head.
One day –
But not now, I say !
For this is the Day of the Dead.

So grab your accents, grab your cloaks,
Let’s haunt this technicolour hoax !
We’re just your av’rage mortal folks
Who laugh in the face of blight.
For this is a time to be alive,
Let’s joke and jive wherever we tread –
Who cares if we must die some night,
Let’s worry about dying once we’re dead.
At this time of year,
When existential fear is at its height –
Let’s laugh in the face of the mirthless void instead.

I cannot take any credit for the opening line. I just wish I could remember where I first heard it.

The Witching Hour

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The Witching Hour

Halloween falls as the clocks fall back,
When once more twelve is the mid of the night –
The dark comes early, and properly black,
For who’s afraid when the twilight’s bright ?
Gloom and confusion become our friends
To let the pumpkins glow so clear.
Halloween falls when Summertime ends,
When once more Winter’s the heart of the year.

So once again the world continues its Great War cosplay of tinkering with the time to appease a couple of farmers and the zombie lurch of tradition.

Appointments in Samarra

The Grim Reaper by Thomas Roth, showing a sculpture by August Schmiemann.

Appointments in Samarra

I meet the very best of men, too late,
At their very end,
I meet the kindest women, small and great,
As they unblend.
I also meet the very worst,
But even they become un-cursed –
I find a goodness in them all,
My temporary friends.

I couldn’t say what sends them on their way –
Biology or fate –
Who knows what dividends await ?
I’ve lost track of the holy text.
I only get to spend a minute or two,
To take them by the hand,
And help them pass on through
To whatever land shall be their next.

I meet the very best of folk,
And always just in time,
For one last breath, for one more joke,
Before they quit their prime.
I know not why it has to be,
Our sand runs out so fast –
But what an honour it is for me
To meet with you at last.

The title is a nod to William Maugham’s 1933 play Sheppey, which besides from being a rare celebration of working class life in a British play 24 years before John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger, also popularied an old Arabian story. It’s so well told that it’s a shame to have to point out the absolute zombified world of Predestination it implies.

Middle-Class Voodoo

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Middle-Class Voodoo

The Wiccans are newer than Mormons,
Are older than Jedis,
As ancient as Hubbard and Xenu.
For all that they claim to be Pagans,
They’re Beatniks and Hippies,
And Goths in a green hue.

And that’s all fine,
They’re free to be free –
With crystals and Maypoles and love-spells galore.
But there’s a good reason
They call it all New Age –
There never were witches at Salem, for sure !

So write your magick with a K,
And write your faerie with an E,
And dance around Stonehenge all day –
But you ain’t fooling me.

These magpies of Masons and folklore
Make far more sense
As their Twentieth-Century selves.
The Wiccans belong with the Martians,
From skiffle to hemp-heads –
Suburbanite dreamers and nuclear elves.

Uh-Oh

Nastia by Igor Vitkovskiy

Uh-Oh

The clock is ticking,
Fuse is lit –
So no more bricking,
This is it !
Oh no,
There’s still a long and rocky road to go.
Let’s chomp down on the bit,
For we’ll never get to reap unless we sow.
The walls are shaking,
Floor’s on fire,
The news we’re breaking’s
Looking dire –
Whoa-whoa,
Looks like we’ll have to take this blow-by-blow.
For if we don’t aspire
Then we’ll never overcome the status quo.
Our spirit’s flagging,
Muscles cramp,
Our mojo’s sagging,
Powder’s damp –
How so ?
We’ve faced the ebb, now let’s surge with the flow !
So up-and-at-em champ,
Cos when danger’s high, it’s too late to lie low..
We’re all we’ve got,
Let’s try somehow,
The iron’s hot,
The time is now !
Heigh-ho,
Let’s buckle-up and get on with the show.
It’s time to give this world some wow
And leave behind a golden afterglow !

Orogeny

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Orogeny

You told me how you loved me,
As deep as the magma beneath our very feet –
Erupting, flowing, building, forever,
Melting the stoniest heart with its heat.
You told me how you loved me
As tall as the Andes, and ev’ry bit as tough –
I thought we were raising mountains together,
But in the end, it was nothing but a bluff.

Fowl

The Flying Chicken by ARTCELO

Fowl

Chickens can fly, if they want to,
Turkeys too,
Though they rarely do.
Peacocks can manage the haul,
Tails and all,
When they need to shoo.
So don’t let anyone tell you
That they’re grounded – he hasn’t a clue.
They may be lazy, yes,
And yet these flightless always flew.

Carapace Steeplechase

Carapace Steeplechase

The pangolin and the armadillo
Are worthy mounts for a knight,
Though they only ever battle ants,
And their snouts are lacking a bite.

With a pingo-pongo-pangolino,
Clanking, swanking, tank–bambino –
Overcoat from head to toe –
Hi-ho for a skin of nails !

They’re faster than the tortoises,
And faster than the snails –
With scutes from shoulder-blades to boots,
In a bodysuit of scales.

But the armadillo and the pangolin
Are secret devils for a thrill –
They curl-up in their tightest balls
And roll full-tilt downhill.

With an armadilla-dilla-dilly-day-oh,
With a three-band-six-band-nine-band-go,
In a concertina rodeo –
Hi-ho for the bonded mail !

They’re tougher than the rhino,
And they’re tougher than the whale –
With clout – from a stainless-steel snout
To a tinplate-tempered tail.

Pangolin by Adam Tusk

Forget-Full

Forget-Full

There’s some things I’ve forgotten
That I know that I’ve forgotten –
That I notice where the hole is,
Where the synapses are rotten.
Yet there’s other things, I swear,
I never knew, were never there –
But they clearly weren’t important
As they fall into the air.