Thursday, July 28, 2011

A poem for REJ - Simon Eilbeck

Wastwater Lake: the water smooth
The hills inverted in its glass
Eyes scan the shore, seeking perfection
Settling for not bad - a stone
Flat, almost round, rough around an edge or two
Good enough.

Squinting into the sun, knees bent
Hand level with the water line
The stone pulled back like a drawn arrow
A breath, then release

The pebble flies in silence
Kisses he water and - yes! - on it goes
The glass ripples, hills distort
The pebble skips the water again
Ripples undulate and expand
The sky trembles in the lake’s image
The stone skips on
The ripples radiate and begin to collide
Rhythms syncopate and multiply
The water dances

A smile eases its way across a face
A laugh escapes - “Good enough!”
The water calms, the hills and sky return
Brighter, more vivid than before.

Thanks to Simon - a single memory of a moment many years ago, now brought to life just when I need it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Invisible Man

He wants to wear a uniform.
Make him stand naked in the dock.

He wants the world to know his face.
Fix an iron mask in its place.

He wants you to remember his name.
Give him a number instead.

He wants the spotlight of celebrity.
Pin him with the searchlight of infamy.

He wants the oxygen of publicity.
Give him the Zyklon B of anonymity.

He wants to explain what he did.
Give him four blank walls to talk to.

He wishes to be considered unique.
Solitary then, one cell, one freak.

And should he tire one day and beg a lethal drink,
Offer him water and even more time to think.

For him no gruesome martyr’s shrine,
Ashes cast among the ignorant swine.

You cannot debate with a man carrying a semi-automatic.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Which element of the Christ myth
inspired him to stride out firing
from the hip? The parable
of the sower spreading cartridge cases
instead of seed, planting an island of corpses
in place of the stony field? The example
of the Good Samaritan who finds it
justifiable to put the victim of thieves
to death, rather than tend his wounds?
The guest at the wedding feast who amused
himself transforming wine into blood?
Blessed are the gunmen!
It is easier for the meek to inherit
the Kingdom of Heaven with a squeeze
of a trigger? Love thy neighbour
with a single shot to the head? Suffer
little children ….?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Downing Street - Heathcote Williams

‘So now we are going over to Downing Street,’
Says a TV front man, ‘for their reaction.’
Though no one, in fact, goes anywhere at all.
The TV audience remains just where it is.

A Number Ten spokesperson then reads a prepared statement
Upon which the commentariat duly comments.
A fanfare of false hopes plays out, only to fade upon the wind,
For the building itself has betrayal in its fabric.

Sir George Downing, Oliver Cromwell’s spy, changed sides
At the first indication of Charles II’s restoration
Then proceeded to track down his old colleagues, the regicides,
And had them all arrested and taken to the Tower.

For having had his former friends hanged, drawn and quartered
Downing was rewarded with some lush acres in Whitehall
Upon which he erected several rows of gimcrack buildings,
Which the cunning Downing would rent out at high prices.


History’s CCTV cameras swivel away from the past to the present
Catching each new PM saying, on entering Downing Street,
‘I’m grateful to the British public for the trust it’s placed in me’
Only to exit as treacherous failures with burgeoning pockets.

Monday, July 18, 2011

News from Limerick

A red-head who runs a red top
Ought to know just when to stop
Smearing and lying,
Intrusive prying,
Phone hacking and bribing of cops.

Enter bold Knacker of the Yard,
But he didn’t search very hard,
Claimed when he got there,
News Corps’ cupboard was bare,
So the IPCC marked his card.

A grasping old fart from Down Under
Spent a lifetime amassing much plunder.
When answers were wanted
He let rip or ranted,
And followed up with a ripe chunder.

The PM, a public school fop
Despaired as his ratings went flop,
Where’s all the glory
The news is all gory
And this champagne just tastes like pop. Oh dear!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

On your wedding

When the seed is planted, no one knows,
For sure, if good will come of it, but
Still we fuss and tend in hope and then
The miracle takes root again. We see,
That out of love, love surely grows.

The ground may seem rough. The snows
And the frost may come, yet somewhere,
Below the surface, a secret comes to life,
Though fires rage above, it thrives,
That love from whence all love flows.

Though, all around, a gathering of crows
Bodes ill, through their raucous voices
We still hear the softer one. Above them all,
The dove soars high which bears the seed, so
That out of love, love surely grows.

A very happy posting!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

News Corpse

He first saw them coming,
way into the distance,
a party of men, a cart, a horse
on the shoulder of the hill,
walking the old corpse road.

He felt a strange foreboding.

So much so, that he insisted
there and then the doctors should
remove his right arm, so
there could be no chance
of the infection spreading.

The party on the corpse road kept coming.

His legal team drew up a covenant
with God willingly surrendering
his most cherished dreams,
in order to save his own neck.

And still they advanced.

In desperation, one by one, he gave up
his closest associates, his friends,
his own dear son.

And still they came.

He could almost make out their faces now
and the proud, black horse
and the cart with the coffin.

Steadily drawing closer.

He caught a glimpse
of his own reflection, sagging
flesh, a rictus grin splitting
his face, no light in the eyes.

And closer.

Finally, even his own paid household
went out with false messages, the death,
the whole world knew, was in the next
village. They had been misinformed.

They stopped outside his door.

He heard the black horse snort
impatient. He heard the wheels
of the cart creaking. He heard
footsteps on the cobbles.

Coming inside.

He would have been proud
of the coffin crafted from the finest wood,
its gleaming handles, the brass plate engraved ….

Rupert Murdoch, once thought of
as the most powerful man on earth,
now, like all men, food for
a democracy of worms.

This poem started with the title, News Corp mutating into ‘News Corpse’. Then I dredged up, from my own memory, walking a corpse road in Cumbria. I then flipped back to images of Murdoch in the back of a limo with that fixed smile on his face as it all went down the pan for him, a pathetic old man clinging desperately on to power. It occurred to me as the poem took shape, that some readers would start by thinking that I was writing about someone else and that the last stanza would be a bit of a twist. The question then was, should I inflict my macabre sense of humour on you?

PS. I’m doing fine. In fact, every news bulletin, seems to lift me no end at the moment. Can’t think why.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Birth of a Nation

A new country has been born. Ra!
New lines have been drawn in the sand. Ra!
A brave new flag has been designed. Ra!
Already the generals have aligned their forces. Ra!
Streams of foreign dignitaries jet in. Ra!
The choreography of ceremonials begin. Ra!
The brass bands make their play. Ra!
Politicians line up to have their say. Ra!
Fireworks rip up the sky. Ra!
Polite applause, away the visitors all fly. Ra!

A new tented city has grown.
Long queues stretch into the dust.
Sticklike figures shuffle through the ooze
Of open sewers. At the end of the line
A handful of maize, a cupful of water
To gratefully toast the new day in.
Almost lost in cacophony, a thin scream
Emerges. A young mother gives birth.
Two men with shovels prepare
The cradle where soon her stillborn son
Will be swaddled in Mother Earth.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Headline News





We at the NOTW say
When a ship splits at the seams
The men ( and woman ) on the bridge
Must carry the can.
Rebecca Wade’s hands were on the wheel
When the crew ran amok
And the ship struck a rock.
She must be first to walk the plank.
Hey! James Murdoch
When your star editor shows
She couldn’t manage a chip shop,
You don’t promote her.
James, you’re fired!
Mega boss, Murdoch, you’re only as good
As the men ( and woman ) you choose
To steer your ship for you.
Take over BSkyB?
You must be ‘avin a larf!
Rupert - it’s time
To go walkabout, mate.

PS Don’t think we’ve forgotten
The rest of you journos.
We’re coming for your jobs!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


I’ve just come down from the mountain,
where I went to commune on my own.
What I learnt when I climbed to the summit
is here on these tablets of stone.

You know of the old ten commandments,
the rules on how not to sin,
well forget whatever they told you,
stick the old rules straight in the bin.

Start with the fact that you’re chosen.
No one else got the slightest look in,
so logic dictates, when deciding their fates,
it is always you who should win.

Ignore all the guff on false witness,
the truth is not worth one fig.
Goebbels hit on the right idea -
if you’re going to lie - lie big.

And once you start lying, keep lying.
Convince the whole world you are right.
You’ll soon have them all believing
it’s day when it’s actually night.

It’s not wrong to covet your neighbour’s ass,
nor the ass of your neighbour’s young wife.
Take what you want, whenever you want,
if need be, at the point of a knife.

Take his home. Take his land. Take his water.
There’s nothing to stop you I say.
According to this proclamation,
what’s his is yours anyway.

Once you’re armed to the teeth, you’re almighty.
There’s no one can resist your plan.
Just remember to pose as a victim.
Try hard to look humble, if you can.

The question of killing is simple.
It’s fine in multiples of ten.
Then, should they choose to resist you,
then decimate again and again.

The laws made by all other nations
Are hereby declared null and void.
Lessons learnt over thousands of years
Consumed in the flames and destroyed.

I am the archest of all angels.
I speak with the voice of a god.
Let the world’s press bow down before me.
Now, write what I say when I nod.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Five come down to Devon View Ho.

Four battered wheelchairs standing in a row,
all facing westward, nowhere to go,
four bent figures, “Poor old so and sos,”
a carer whispers in your ear, “They were famous once you know.”

Sir Julian, tired diplomat, sucking on his thumb,
picking at his nose, scratching his bum,
eyes staring out to sea, mind half numb,
wondering to himself, “When will the others come?”

Medals tinkling gently, mad Major Dick
beats at the world with a walking stick,
beard and cardie thick with streams of sick,
curses and roars, gives the world another kick,

Gentle, loving, sweet sister Anne
searches in her mind for an old, copper pan.
She’ll fill it with ripe berries, as soon as she can
remember mother’s recipe for confused fruit jam.

Mistress George, still fire in one eye,
glares at her reflection asks what, when, why
am I sitting here and who the fuck am I?
Rages at the setting sun and the vanishing sky.

Do you remember as a child the overwhelming thrill,
watching them drive a caravan to the top of the hill.
They could go where they wanted, do what they willed.
Look at them now. It’s in there somewhere still.

Timmy died happy, mad as a hatter,
chasing rabbits in a field, didn’t see sheep scatter,
never felt the shotgun pellets mercifully shatter
the last of our heroes into darkest matter.