Shelves were empty in a Lidl yesterday.
When asked why, a manager said
it had absolutely nothing to do with Brexit.
(Repeat this refrain ad nauseam,
or ad infinitum, if you prefer)
We demand a rewrite!
We have to sort out the sausages
before the marching season.
Could this be the end of days?
I'm just asking for a friend ...
Thursday 22nd July 2021 12:51 pm
Last year was vintage.
But this year’s long, cold,
soaking spring left the garden
deserted, something missing.
No caterpillars for blue tits
to feed their young. We’ve
waited all this time, until July’s
heatwave, for them to come.
Even now it’s mostly whites
flittering about, perhaps
a wandering comma; the odd
gatekeeper, speckled wood,
no sign of...
Wednesday 21st July 2021 12:03 pm
‘Fuck being a dirty word that comes out clean’
Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
Kerouac writes like Hemingway
at the opening of The Dharma Bums,
it’s all there, jumping on a freight train
out of Los Angeles, his relish at sharing
his bread and cheese and wine
with an old hobo in the boxcar.
Reading passages from On The Road on TV
to a gentle jazz accompanim...
Tuesday 20th July 2021 4:37 pm
Gust of valerian explodes
from the backyard wall,
which looks as solid
as Alnwick's Bondgate tower.
in the tiny front gardens
of terrace homes
on cool summer evenings.
in the cottage next door
tell us cheerfully of a drugs
killing, a throat cut
for just a hundred pounds,
when we mention
Monday 12th July 2021 5:14 pm
'The goalkeeper’s fear of the penalty' –
but shouldn’t a striker fear it
so much more? The keeper isn’t
expected to save; the forward
is obliged to score. A penalty
can help break the duck,
if you’re blazing chances over the bar
that seem more difficult to miss,
going through a spell of bad luck.
And yet, and yet. Spain’s Morata
spurned a penalty rebound,
then missed his own pen
Wednesday 7th July 2021 9:06 am
salvia, laurel, hemlock,
With acknowledgements to
The Poison Garden at Alnwick Gardens in Northumberland
and written after England’s recent win against Germany
Wednesday 30th June 2021 7:46 am
Kipper pate in the cafe.
We occupy the beach
in our folding chairs
surveying the sea
like the two old pals
we have become,
baking in the sun..
The tide strolls in
at its own pace.
over the sand,
quarrel, a lapwing
calls across the river.
The wind gets up, the crossing
We look out for fl...
Tuesday 29th June 2021 11:37 am
Sent to the Co-op and its cold,
marble counters with a list,
'Divi’ number inscribed in my head,
lolly on way home as reward.
Slumbering summer day
reminds me of errands
many decades past.
Trees still deliver shade.
Dustpan, brush and broom
at the ironmongers.
on the supermarket shelves.
I remember things that had
to be crossed off the lis...
Friday 25th June 2021 9:28 am
Afterglow of a heat-heavy day,
salmon clouds in an indigo sky.
The field of cereal ready
to be brought in, still
resonating as the sun declines.
The tall buoyant grass,
cheery daisies and clover
that we crush beneath us.
It springs back as we leave,
as if we have never been.
Thursday 24th June 2021 11:50 am
The air is fresh and sweet today.
Nature is happy about something.
Our one tree promises a glut of apples.
Holly berries in the front garden.
Wild roses in our hedges,
the most I’ve ever seen.
Sun pauses at the door
of the summerhouse,
asks to come in. I open the door.
Wednesday 23rd June 2021 11:31 am
The end of the line
for John Betjeman,
in leafy Bucks.
Amersham Common became
after the coming of
railway in 1892.
Now locals face
A tremor in the Chilterns,
old allegiances cast aside
as true-blue Chesham
Friday 18th June 2021 10:37 am
BBC trying to get with the Sixties.
After it was played
compere David Jacobs
repeated the title in his
suave Light Programme voice
and only just the hint of a sneer.
The panel – people like
Eartha Kitt and Pete Murray –
looked at each other, trying
not to laugh. The last thing
they wanted was to seem square.
They had got the Beatles
and those other lon...
Monday 24th May 2021 11:57 am
The only time I saw you; distant
view on a home counties airfield,
singing I Want You as a slow ballad.
My dear friend Dave, whose best of hearts
still let him down, introduced you
to me, lent me LPs. My faith
wavered when you found religion.
Caught up with your later albums
eventually, but that old hobo voice –
the same voice mocked by others
Saturday 22nd May 2021 8:29 am
Don’t blame Andy for Labour
losing Hartlepool. He never
voted in his life. Or worked.
More to the point, whatever
they try to tell you, he died
last year from Covid. Florrie
never got to say goodbye.
Tuesday 11th May 2021 10:23 am
People in the pub garden;
a warmth you’d almost forgotten.
Narrow boats on the cut,
the odd twee little cabin cruiser,
canoes, paddle boards.
People out and about,
ike a nineteenth-century
French painting. Seems like
a bank holiday, even if it isn’t.
Friends and acquaintances
rubbing their eyes.
Sunday 9th May 2021 5:29 pm
Dreich day late April, wind
keening from the Thames,
outside drinkers huddling
under frail, flapping,
Vauxhall interchange, maybe
one of the most inhospitable
places on God’s earth, now
intimidated by gathering gangs
of threatening towers
that look almost exactly the same.
Is this the way a capital ends,
not with the bangs of bombers,...
Thursday 29th April 2021 2:33 pm
Travelled for his health to the half-buried
city of ruins, halfway between
the living and the dead.
Fragments of columns,
toppled arches, broken aqueducts.
Took rooms in a second-floor apartment
at the Piazza di Spagna,
close by the sound of Bernini’s fountain.
Locks of hair exchanged
with Fanny Brawne
before he left for Italy.
Save it for me, sweet love!
Monday 22nd February 2021 5:14 pm
Signs tied to lampposts point
the way from the free car park,
past ambulance waiting discreetly,
help you to find the place easily.
Legions of people in hi-vis jackets
with nice, kind smiles bustle
about, wipe tables and chairs,
give you a number, tell you
where to sit. You discover
you’re getting the ‘right’ one,
much to your relief. And at some
moment when y...
Tuesday 9th February 2021 12:12 pm
A town in Ohio, suburb of Cleveland,
takes its name from the river
that runs through its heart.
The town and its waterfalls
are referenced in a song
by Canadian rock band
The Tragically Hip.
I’ve never been there,
and I guess I never will.
Which is a matter of some regret.
Give half a chance
I’m sure I would have loitered
in the Fireside Book Sho...
Monday 1st February 2021 5:46 pm
I began to be sorry when his carrot nose
seemed more like a last cigarette.
That jolly smile held a hint of concern,
his scarf far too big for his neck
Tomato eyes glowed in the shrinking face.
The fur hat was suddenly de trop.
He started to lean over, apologetically,
as if someone had struck him a blow
As the pale sun shone he looked quizzical,
Thursday 28th January 2021 1:17 pm
… in its attempt to raise funds to secure its future. Our current appeal https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/wolpoetry has five days to run – until 31 January – and so far we have raised just over £2,000 of the £10,000 total – to be matched by another £10,000 - that we originally set our heart on. This money is needed to develop the site, to pay new people to take us forward into a sustainable future. O...
Wednesday 27th January 2021 1:27 pm
Let it glow a little longer; don’t take
the tree out to the garden just yet.
This year is different. The winter
is darker, has an extra chill.
Forget newer sayings, return
to the old ways. Stay in bed late.
Leave the lights on till Candlemas.
Wednesday 6th January 2021 5:24 pm
I daren’t mention them by name.
A word proscribed by those
that see themselves
as arbiters of poetic taste.
A sight to cure all ills?
No, a cliché to be shunned.
Darkness arrives a little later
on these January afternoons.
Just noticing that
can lift the heart.
And here they are. I see them
peeping from the undergrowth
and hasten to cut it back,
Tuesday 5th January 2021 12:05 pm