Poem number 71
He wrote a lot of poems but he wasn’t good with words
They’d tumble out all tangled when he tried to talk to birds
So now he’s old and lonely, writing poems of regret
Life’s an evil bugger, lest you ever should forget.
Poem number 120
Oh for the wings of a porcelain gull
Polished daily by wrinkled old hands
Never could porcelain ever be dull
To the spinsters stuck fast through the land,
The knickknacks and ornaments filling their shelves
Are a substitute, that much is true
But the ladies would never admit to themselves
That they’re lonely – there’s too much to do.
There’s dusting and wiping and polishing too
Every ornament shown to its best,
When accidents happen they’re mended with glue
Then put back in their place with the rest.
Oh for the wings of a porcelain dove
Such a gentle and limitless charm
The unexplored mystery of falling in love
Unlamented. A porcelain balm.
Poem number 131
I was younger then, and fitter
When I’d run you up the hill
My feet flying, the pushchair squeaking
Your shrieks. Delighted, shrill.
I was younger then, and stronger
When I’d carry you upstairs to your bed
The day too much for you, rest needed
Your arms round my neck. Head against my head.
I was younger then, and busier
When I’d plan my days around your feeds.
Your eyes twinkling in delight at the sound of my voice
Your goodnight cuddles all that a father really needs.
I was younger then, and tireder
Exhausted by nightfall, sleeping little, waking soon
Your 5am cries for attention heralded another ticket for the merry-go-round
Your demands for breakfast. The way you’d always drop your spoon.
I’m older now, and weaker
There are no demands. My time is my own to do with as I please
You’re grown up and you can feed yourself
But I’m bored. I wish I still had to plaster your bleeding knees.
Poem number 146
I wish I understood
What makes a poem good
Why some verses work and others just fall flat.
If I only knew the rules
I could use them as my tools
To build poetry that’s lovely, just like that.
But maybe that’s just guff
And the rules are not enough
Perhaps it’s all instinctive, inner light.
And I haven’t got that spark
So I flounder in the dark
Over roads of odes to nowhere, endless night.
Poem number 185
Get thee to a nunnery
You’ve had too much funnery
You’ve got one in the bunnery
You dirty little minx
You lost your little headery
And took that boy to bedery
And now I’m filled withdreadery
And needing several drinks.
I’d send you to the pillory
You’ve put me through the millory
I’ve really had my fillory
Your timing really stinks.
But nevermind that nunnery
I guess what’s done is donery
I’ll help you raise your sonnery
I love you, little minx.
Poem number 194
It’s four pm and Countdown’s on, a steaming cup of tea
In a china cup with saucer, and a cat upon her knee
The house is scrubbed and perfect, daily dusting is the law
But now the light from Countdown shows a crumb upon the floor
And she doesn’t move to fix it, doesn’t move to brush the mat
Doesn’t tut in pure frustration, doesn’t mutter at the cat,
For her heart – so fiercely guarded with a wall of pure disdain,
Never given to another, never broken nor in pain –
That heart so independent has just voted now to leave
In the middle of the afternoon, and nobody will grieve
For there’s no-one else who’ll notice that she’s sitting in her chair
With her silent eyes still staring though her brain’s no longer there
There’ll be no-one ’til next Tuesday when the postman rings the bell
And notices the cloud of flies and smells that awful smell
So for now she sits there stiffly, by her final cup of tea
As the Countdown clock ticks downward on her elderly TV
Whilst the crumb down on the carpet, unmolested, rests in peace
And her heart, so long imprisoned, can rejoice in sweet release.
Poem number 206
There’s half of a robin in the middle of the lawn
The top half. Just the head and a bit of the breast
Below that there’s carnage, where some kitty has torn
It savagely in two, and eaten the rest.
I always loved that robin. Twig hopping above deep winter snow
It brought comfort and familiarity, and thoughts of yule
But it’s not quite so comforting with its insides on show
But that’s nature. Capricious. And cruel.
Poem number 220
The famous people drop like flies. Another day, another dies
Those people that we’ve never met or even spoken to and yet
We mourn their loss as if our own, another death – another groan
But is the loss we feel for they – those stars that someone took away –
Or are our tears another part of something always in our heart:
The knowledge that our time moves on, and in the end we’ll all be gone
(Nomatter just how bright the sun, it still gets doused when day is done)
So when we see the famous die it tolls the bell for you and I
Another day, another groan. We feel their loss, but mourn our own.
Poem number 251
The Day We Burned Grandad
He burned in all his glory
On a Thursday, late in May
Not quite a viking send off
But impressive, in its way
A hundred people gathered
Men were men and women cried
Hands in laps and eyes on shoes
The birds still sung outside
We played some frank sinatra
And some jazz (his secret vice)
The vicar didn’t know him
But the things he said were nice
His sister spoke of childhood times
Of japes and scrapes and tears
The memories sharp and vivid
Through her own advancing years
Then we launched him, like that viking
To the sombre curtained sea
And we burnt him good and proper
Hankies twisted on our knees
And afterwards we gathered
In his garden, in the sun
With loosened ties and cups of tea
And sandwiches and buns
There was talk of golf and cricket
And the roadworks, and the news
Occasionally we spoke of him
And second guessed his views
Then eventually, as time moved on
The crowd thinned out once more
‘Til at last we waved the stragglers off
And gladly shut the door.
Just the four of us, alone again
The debris in the bin
A sherry and a cognac
One more toast to absent kin
It was done, this day of burning
And tomorrow we’d move on
To the thought that he had gone
But for now an early night, relief
We’d made it through the day
And he’d burned in all his glory
On that Thursday, late in May.
Poem number 318
Everyone Hears The Bell
They give you free buses – you wish you could walk
Your tv is paid for – you wish you could talk
They pay for your heating – you’re still always cold
The pension they give you reminds you you’re old
They’re trying their best
To soften the blow
But you’re always aware
That your time will soon go
The things that they give you
Are less than you had
Old age is a bastard
And time is a cad
But no-one’s immortal
And no-one’s immune
You’re young for a moment
Then death comes too soon.