I Shall Die In Mid-September

I shall die in mid-September

As the summer ends

With the trees half green, half gold

And the sun still afloat after dinner


I shall die as the summer dies

Still warm

With the echoes of TMS not yet muffled

Beneath the leaves of autumn.

I shall die as thoughts turn to anoraks

Sturdy shoes

Outside bulbs and one more cut before oiling

And storing the mower.

I shall die as the summer dies because I am the summer

In all its glory

I am endless days, cricket, the sound of distant music

The face turned skywards to feel the gentle sun

Through closed lids.

Not for me the darkened afternoons of winter

Those grey sludged pavements, whipping rain

Cold fingers

The endless search for warmth, no comfort

In a too distant Christmas.

When I die with the summer it shall be in triumph

All will be well

I will die with the fading summer sun, cold skin warmed

By the certainty that for me, at least,

The winter will never come.


Friday Verse

Two poems today. One written on the way into work, and the other on the way home. They’re both graduates of the Pick A Random First Line And See Where It Goes School Of Rhyme, but beyond that I don’t think they’re connected. I could be wrong though, it wouldn’t be the first time.

Lactose Intolerance

My brother stole my milk float
He didn’t get too far
He didn’t know my milk float
Was much slower than my car
I caught him and I groomed him
Gave his beard and hair a trim
Then I drowned him in a bath tub
That I’d filled with semi skimmed
I dried him off and wrapped him
In a bolt of purest silk
Then offered him to Dairy
(Holy Mother Of The Milk)
She took him and she beat him
Into full fat double cream
Then she beckoned, and caressed me
And I couldn’t even scream.

“Why’s The Swan Upside Down, Daddy?”

The swan is upside down today
Just bobbing on the swell
His legs look very rigid
I don’t think he’s very well
I guess he could be sleeping
With his head down on the bed
But no. That’s wishful thinking:
Mr Swan is very dead.
So now I’m in a quandary –
Do I tell the truth or lie?
Say that Swan is sleeping
Or explain that all things die?
I brace myself and tell the truth
And now I’m rather pleased:
The death talk’s done, it’s up to Mum
To do the birds and bees.

Doubting Tommy

Wrote this today while I walked home from work.

Doubting Tommy

“Oh ye of little faith!” they said

And thought that I was silly,

But still I couldn’t couldn’t countenance

That God could have no willy.


“But what about his son?” I said

“That Jesus bloke that died –

How’d his mum get pregnant?

How’d God’s semen get inside?”


“Immaculate Conception, dolt!”

Said Sister with a sneer,

“Mary was a virgin!”

Then she cuffed me round the ear.


“Balderdash! What rot!” said I

“You nuns are full of cack!”

So they took me to the basement

And they put me on the rack.


“A stretch will do you good,” they said

“And stop you being so silly.”

But it didn’t. I’m now 9ft 10

But God’s still got a willy.

Down The Tube

Down The Tube

How I hate the Underground

It’s busy and it smells,

It’s full of worn down workers trudging through their daily hell.

The stench, the crush, the dirty looks

Judgemental sliding doors,

Fagan’s silent army dipping deep to take what’s yours.

The heat, the stress, the nausea

The claustrophobic fear

That extremists and their backpacks could be standing somewhere near.

The constant risk of fire and smoke

The dread of being late,

Sardined within a warren, not the master of your fate.

The clear blue sky’s a world away

And freedom just a dream –

If it all came down upon you would they even hear you scream?

Our world is not Victorian

A man stepped on the moon

Yet still we trudge through tunnels through the crush and through the gloom.

Archaic, ancient, out of date.

A relic still in use,

We call it transportation but in truth it’s pure abuse.

It’s time to end the torture

The anachronistic plight

Of the folk who have to trudge to work through ever present night.

It’s time to find a better way

To travel through the town,

Men were meant to breathe the air, not burrow underground.

The Dentist

I’m due to visit the dentist this week, so I wrote a poem to mark that joyous occasion.

The Dentist

I sit, once more, upon the chair

Head tilted back ‘neath greying hair,

With eyes that dart from left to right

Whilst there behind me, out of sight

The Dentist fills his great syringe

And murmurs “You may feel a twinge

Of pain as I inject your gum,

But soft! Relax! Your mouth will numb –

I promise you won’t feel a thing

When, finally, the op begins.”

The needle slides beneath the skin

By Christ that hurts! It’s digging in!

But then the gentle soothing tide

Of anaethesia over-rides

And all is fluffy, thick and slow,

It’s hard to speak – my tongue won’t go

From side to side or down and up

I try to spit into the cup

But liquid dribbles down my jaw:

Reduced, I am, to little more

Than gibbering, imbecilic child

Whilst there above, anarchic, wild

The Manic Dentist laughs in joy

Then sets to work with sharpened toy.

I feel a tugging, nothing more

But in my mind I see the gore:

The blood, the flaps of orphaned flesh

Stained red, no longer minty fresh,

‘Til here, at last, upon this chair

I pray to Gods I hope are there

And promise, if I make it through

With mouth still whole enough to chew,

To change my ways, embrace the light

And brush with fluoride EVERY night!

High Visigoths

I tend to write poems in my head whilst I walk to work. This is one I wrote the morning after watching Metroland on BBC4, so I guess it’s my homage to Betjeman…

High Visigoths

The route through lovely Caversham, where once the Roundheads strode, is surrounded now by workmen grimly digging up the road. The second set of lights is gone, a pelican in lieu – though moved a few feet down the down the road where traffic tends to queue. The mosaic layers of tarmac sunburned into varied shades, of black and grey and black again, the scars that never fade. Traffic cones of orange – witches hats in all but name –  line up, fluorescent soldiers, past the pothole by the drain. And through it all pedestrians trudge on through narrowed paths, raising eyebrows shaking furrowed brows whilst workmen stand and laugh with a cup of tea in one hand and the other on a spade, ankles crossed and hats tipped back whilst resting in the shade. But soon they’ll don their workmen’s gloves and once more grasp the nettle: Drilling, scraping, paving, tarring, bashing stone with metal. Onward, ever onward, hi-vis jackets striding on, digging up and putting back until the past is gone.