Don’t hit your grandad with a golf club, William,
it might just hurt, and it isn’t very kind.
He shouldn’t have laid it down in the hall,
leaving it out there, for you to find,
and I know he says that he doesn’t mind,
but his blood makes a mess upon the wall
and it’s a ten hour wait for an ambulance call.
The symptoms of a mild concussion
are difficult to detect at all.
Monday 28th November 2022 8:55 pm
The past is forever being reinvented,
Edited, culled, amended, purged,
Would we recoil in absolute horror,
If something closer to the truth emerged?
Our tethered lives, our scatty brains,
The grubby compromises made from Day One
The fighting out of bombastic battles,
Until only our battered shells remain,
Fleeing home, through the driving rain.
Most days are be...
Wednesday 23rd November 2022 3:50 pm
Thanks to Ruth O'Reilly and ALL FM in Manchester, J.G.Barwell (aka John Botterill) was able advertise his new poetry anthology, Released on Licence ( Poetic Licence) the proceeds of which are going towards the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Ruth is a brilliant presenter and we name-checked Writeoutloud, of course. Here is the link, if you would like to have a listen:
Monday 21st November 2022 2:35 pm
In New Malton, there is dignity in death,
When you have coughed and hacked your final breath.
A single bed to sleep in, on your own,
Horizontal, blameless, alone, in peace,
In regular, neat rows of fine-cut stone,
With plastic flowers placed at the head.
A dignity, denied to the living,
Is generously bestowed on the dead.
The fallen leaves obey clean symmetry
Thursday 17th November 2022 9:43 am
It was the era of Mods versus Rockers.
Scooters, Ben Sherman, and Parka coats,
Motorbikes, Levi’s, and slicked-back hair.
Pumped up teens, who thought they were hard,
Fighting in lumps on the promenade,
During sunny sixties bank holidays.
Rillington, my village, was solidly greaser,
Not a single scooter was ever seen.
We had a Motorbike Club of our very own,
Sunday 13th November 2022 8:46 pm
A Tuesday night in The Union Pub.
Willy, Gareth, Ian, George, and me,
Like members of an aging rock group,
Settling down, convivially, to discuss
Our imminent, sold out, comeback tour.
A manly hug as we reached the door,
And we felt a glow of friendship,
Like bathing in the summer sun.
We drank our Yorkshire bitter
And relived all the fun!
Refought all the battle...
Thursday 10th November 2022 1:27 pm
“One more jelly baby, grandad,
Then it’s over, final… finish.”
William swept his arms, flatly,
Across his infant chest
In a gesture of finality,
That I could believe in,
I watched the sugar-coated treat,
Disappear before my very eyes,
He seems to swallow it, rather than eat.
Another day, another school run.
William, bedraggled with bag and c...
Saturday 5th November 2022 10:28 pm
Some lad was doing ninety
in a forty mile an hour zone.
He passed me on a corner
In a car he clearly didn’t own!
What was the flipping hurry?
Was his stupid house on fire?
Had his brain been deprived, abruptly,
Of a vital connecting piece of wire?
Or was he a founding member
Of a firm called ‘Morons for Hire?’
Some fool was doing ninety
In a speed restri...
Monday 31st October 2022 6:49 am
I first met this pretty poppet
on a sunny, Monday afternoon.
We were formally introduced,
though, to be fair, she was halfway
through quite an interesting snooze.
I was instantaneously besotted!
Three weeks old and she had learned so much!
Juliet nestled, affably, upon my shoulder,
listening, intently to nursery rhymes,
discovering meanings in stor...
Sunday 23rd October 2022 9:09 am
Sorry I have been quiet lately! I have missed you all!
I have been putting the finishing touches to my first poetry anthology
called, 'Released on Licence (Poetic Licence)
It has been published on Amazon for £6.50 and proceeds, should there be any,
will go to the Teenage Cancer Trust who supported my daughter ten years ago through her lymphoma.
I hope you ...
Friday 14th October 2022 10:40 am
It’s unfair to heighten expectations.
It’s too early to make a judgment call.
I am no real expert in physiognomy,
But, as I gaze down at your lovely face,
There is no shadow of a doubt at all,
Intelligence, friendship, beauty and love,
all flow freely through your every vein.
So may you, with happiness, now proceed.
You have all the support you could ever need,
Sunday 2nd October 2022 2:37 pm
Born in London, as a new day dawns,
We wake in Prague to greet you,
New Zealand sees your beauty, too.
Majestic, infant Mercury,
Speeding, instantly, around the world,
Though your perfect tiny toes are curled!
We gaze at your loveliness from afar,
Full of awe and love and wonder,
At our brand new, dazzling Northern Star,
The brightest light which shines!
Thursday 29th September 2022 4:09 pm
(Based on an Internet post I read last night.)
In a cost of living crisis
We all have to take a stand.
I took a tenner from my pocket
And rolled it around in my hand.
After a moment's reflection,
I was hit by an obvious thought,
So I drove off to a mansion,
On the opposite side of town,
Popping that tenner though the letter box,
It won't take long fo...
Monday 26th September 2022 2:54 pm
Our tram car sets off upon a mighty jolt
And proceeds with haughty, indignant haste,
Which seems to suggest there is no time to waste.
The speed increases as we race down the hill,
We're holding on tight to the guardrails, still,
Before we slow down to an easier rhythm,
As we turn round a corner and start to climb,
Leaving tall buildings and hotels behind.
Friday 23rd September 2022 6:30 pm
All summer long the land was parched and dry.
The leaves were brittle, and we craved the rain.
Our grass was yellow, cracked and baked,
But the clouds were barren, the land still ached.
The drizzle began as it approached eleven,
Larger drops fell as the due hour called,
Ere glorious torrents descended from heaven,
Splashing down in life-restoring vigour.
Like the tears...
Monday 19th September 2022 12:56 pm
We live our lives in an uncertain state.
Should we commit or hesitate?
If we waver at the top of our swing,
We go all floppy doppy
And miss the damn thing!
In life, as in golf, we have but one chance.
You can be a wallflower,
Or join in with the dance.
Let your jig be a riotous fling!
Propel that ball with a powerful swing!
Place your head...
Wednesday 14th September 2022 11:46 am
Whether her life was short or long,
She pledged her service to the nation,
And the Queen was as good as her word.
All our lives she was always ‘The Queen!’
Intelligent, impartial and serene.
When she was needed, The Queen was there.
She even 'looked after' dear Paddington bear!
Remaining steadfast, loyal and true,
A rock upon which we could all depend,...
Monday 12th September 2022 9:50 am
We travelled the North Norfolk coastline,
To sample its famous sea air.
There were guillemots and sea gulls
Flying around, without a care!
We journeyed on to Cromer
For fish and chips upon the pier.
Should we stop by in West Runton?
To face the mammoth? Did we DARE?
We walked through sunny Sheringham
As the weather was set fair.
Holt! Who goes there?
Thursday 8th September 2022 4:15 pm
Rising late this morning,
I missed Clouds One and Two.
They had flown off into the distance
To be ensconced into the blue.
Clouds Three and Four were, sadly, no more.
They collapsed in the ether, as I opened the door.
The Holy Trinity of Clouds: Five, Six and Seven,
Were suddenly spirited back up to heaven.
Cloud Eight was delicate and hard to define,
So, I decided to s...
Wednesday 7th September 2022 9:55 am
(With apologies to Dr Johnson)
Will I ever be sick of Sheringham?
Will I tire of the chugging, antique train?
Will I be overcome with a dark ennui,
When the pavements become speckled
With soft, gentle, summer rain?
Will I eventually weary of the rolling waves,
Of the gurgling foam, as it rides up the shore?
Will I say ‘no’ to ice cream wit...
Monday 5th September 2022 6:43 pm
Sitting here sipping my coffee,
Gazing out at a sun-kissed lawn.
I drink it all in. The cooing of doves,
A sparkling rill, the murmur of a breeze.
Intricate weavings of wooden webs,
Amongst the branches of magnificent trees.
Nature is still thrusting upwards and outwards
From this garden, designed two centuries ago,
By people who planned for, a...
Sunday 4th September 2022 9:58 am
On the double seats in the Palace Cinema,
With a tense new girlfriend, out for a show.
Trying to make sense of ‘Enter the Dragon,’
Our sweaty hands became entwined.
Did she want me to kiss her?
I just didn’t know.
I carefully eased her head towards me,
And I shared her chewing gum,
For an hour or two!
Not long ago…
Time passed on and we didn’t go back,
Friday 2nd September 2022 8:33 am
The rain has started falling,
The nights are drawing back in.
Dreary uniforms adorn our shops,
A new school year is about to begin.
A bead of sweat runs down my brow,
I wake up early from a troubled sleep.
The beat of that drum is distant now,
But Back to School is still a trauma,
A river which runs so dark and deep.
In nightmares when, by chance I rove,
Wednesday 24th August 2022 11:07 pm
I can’t afford to service the Porsche!
I’ve cancelled our holiday to St Tropez!
I don’t have enough left to heat the pool!
And what will all our posh friends say,
When Jemima leaves her boarding school?
Her parents are too poor to pay!
From any rational point of view,
We’re living, now, a dream come true.
Our gratitude, though, is seldom expressed:
Old age pensions ...
Tuesday 23rd August 2022 6:27 am
The last one of a thousand pieces,
Ridiculed and taunted me.
I could feel its jagged edges,
Poking out from my old settee.
A Stanley knife was the answer.
I cut a neat slit across the back.
I soon stood in proud possession,
Of the missing piece I lacked.
It was the moment of completion,
Like the day we married, you and I,
Bringing joy and exhilaration!
Friday 19th August 2022 11:14 pm
Who will look at my photographs,
When my time on this earth is gone?
Who will shine my cups and medals,
When my final sun has shone?
A journey to the council tip,
Will neatly dispose of my stuff.
Records of the money I earned,
Which was never quite enough…
Life, flattened like a sandcastle,
Washed away by the incoming tide.
Some will have memories, but they ...
Monday 15th August 2022 11:38 am
I’m a middle-class achiever,
It’s Waitrose, not Aldi, for me.
I am all the things I have ever despised,
The epitome of petit bourgeoisie.
I have a comfortable life,
With my beautiful wife-
My detached home in the country!
I sip Chilean red wine,
In the Summertime.
Well, all year around,
I rage about social injustice,
Or jot it down, saf...
Thursday 11th August 2022 6:59 am
Power dressing, shoulder pads, big hair.
At the tender age of twenty-three,
I listened, closely, from my lonely bed,
To spectral footsteps on the stairs…
I wondered, grimly, if they came for me!
They echoed a measured, ghostly tread.
Paralysed by fear, I lay stock still,
Immobilised by my sense of dread!
Who, or what, had invaded my head?
From my upstai...
Monday 8th August 2022 7:56 pm
“Have you got a present for me?!
William asks with a high-pitched
Lilting rise and fall…
But I have no presents ready at all.
“You had all presents, William,
The last time you came!”
Every time he visits us,
His question remains the same.
“Have you got a present for me?”
I then considered a poetic reply,
To circumvent a potential rift.
“William, every mom...
Friday 5th August 2022 8:30 pm
That really was England winning a cup!
Please do not adjust your sets!
Put black type on your C.V., girls,
Before the world forgets!
We don’t need ancient history,
Grainy images in grey and black,
Sad reflections on our years of hurt,
You have brought our football back.
When Chloe Kelly removed her shirt,
After slotting the ball in the German goal,
And threw that...
Thursday 4th August 2022 12:35 pm
It was my first day at the Woolgrowers,
So, they gave me a special job.
I was holidaying from university,
And they thought I was a knob!
“Go to the warehouse, Johnny,
The boss needs a long weight.”
Well, being such a bright spark,
I did as I was told…
Standing at the storeroom doorway
Until I was numb with cold.
“Excuse me, can I have a long weight?”
Wednesday 3rd August 2022 8:59 am
I gave my today,
For your tomorrow,
I gave my young life,
To keep Europe free,
From fascist bullies,
I flew out from Oulton.
In the dead of the night,
To rain down shells,
From way up high,
Dodging the tracer bullets
Which sparked the night sky...
Raked with the gunfire
Our bomber dived, out of control…
And the order to ‘bale out,’
Friday 29th July 2022 10:10 pm
One year, the Thames was flooded.
I think it was back in Cameron’s time.
There were subsidies and grants galore.
“These terrible scenes of devastation!”
Were all that the Media could explore!
“These poor, benighted middle class!”
The Press couldn’t wait to kiss their ass!
At a similar stage of our climate crisis,
The City of Hull was washed away.
There was no talk o...
Thursday 28th July 2022 7:04 pm
It’s got to the stage
Of my mum’s old age,
Where I buy all my own cards
For her sign, and address them to me,
When she can summon up the energy.
So, I bought myself the birthday card
I wanted to receive,
The one I truly deserve,
Though some may wonder
At my nerve…
A line of superheroes bedecked the top,
Hulk, Captain America, Ironman, the lot.
Monday 25th July 2022 9:21 pm
Poetry is a passing smile.
The waft of your hair,
The touch of your hand.
Poetry is the whisper of the breeze
On a warm summer’s day.
Poetry is an act of kindness,
From an unexpected source.
A friendly greeting in the street,
From strangers whom we chance to meet..
Encouraging words on a greeting card.
Picking you up, when times are hard.
I overthink my p...
Friday 22nd July 2022 8:40 pm
Charlie’s marriage was stale and cold.
It had begun to go wrong as soon as they’d wed.
She said he smelled; her ways were too ‘old,’
So, he and Elma had separate beds.
The situation was desperate!
He couldn’t afford a divorce.
Charlie was in his forties,
The marriage wouldn’t last its course…
Naturally he sought out a ‘hitman,’
Someone of the highest repute,...
Tuesday 19th July 2022 8:20 pm
I am not a Cromwell devotee
He was far too puritanical, for me.
And a bit fanatical - banning Christmas!
Preferring to stand on his dignity.
His government was dictatorial
And inclined to pomposity!
This poem is rather cavalier,
But I pray that you revel in it,
Warts and all.
However, I couldn’t be a royalist,
The Divine Right of Kings
Cannot be condoned!
Sunday 17th July 2022 9:14 pm
"Scorecards! Cards sixpence each!
Get your scorecards here! "
The old man in the white coat was always there,
His booming voice echoed around the ground.
Balmy, sunlit weekdays at the festival.
Bright azure blue, and cloudless, skies.
Not even the merest breath of a breeze.
Seagulls squawking, eyeing up our sandwiches,
As we lay out our picnic on a rickety old bench....
Sunday 10th July 2022 12:54 pm
Mum’s Care Home is next to the cemetery,
Affording me some rather mawkish pursuits,
Like a health-giving walk amongst the dead!
This encouragement to physical exercise,
It occurs to me,
Is an exercise in egocentricity.
In my morbid ramble between the stones,
I search for those I may have known.
Based on the dates of their demise,
Or names remembered f...
Monday 4th July 2022 10:26 pm
(The shirt referred to in this poem, is now in my profile picture)
On the flight path from his junior school,
William looked, with interest, at the shirt I wore,
“That’s a repeating pattern, grandad.
Yellow, white, blue, red, and green!”
“My flabber is well and truly gasted, William,
You’re the brightest boy I’ve ever seen!”
Life’s recurring patterns crop up, remorse...
Saturday 2nd July 2022 10:27 pm
A singles bar is a lonely place,
I was in there. Billy No Mates,
Waiting for someone to pour me a drink.
So, I snaffled some salted peanuts
From a tempting plate, right in front of me.
When a ghostly voice suddenly announced,
“You are looking most handsome, sir,
If I might be permitted to say.
Your clothes and shoes are elegant
And you sparkle, sir, in every single...
Friday 1st July 2022 9:15 am
Put that stone down and turn your back!
Look a little further within.
Guilt is ubiquitous. It crosses our land.
There is no one you can crucify
To take away your sin.
Stop screaming abuse at your TV,
Condemning the proclivities of celebrity!
They are no different to you, or me.
We know temptation only too well.
Faults you see in others, correct in yourself.
Tuesday 28th June 2022 2:42 pm
I gave you my words, my turns of phrase,
Those I’d accumulated over many, long days.
Now, you use those same words back to me,
In stilted lexicography, in dated old vocabulary!
A nasty fall, he scrapes his knee.
“Don’t worry, grandad, I’ll be fine!”
“Want to go for a walk, William?”
“Not yet, grandad. Maybe…. Later.”
Words to use but, maybe, later disca...
Sunday 26th June 2022 1:10 am
I half blew up a blue balloon
And left it, deliberately, untied.
Then... I let it go...
It was a childish piece of grandad fun,
Which William greatly enjoyed.
The balloon made a whoosh for the window,
Colliding, abruptly, with the double glazing,
Directing it up to the ceiling,
Farting out air on the way.
Anticipating its imminent death,
It made a sudden dash ...
Thursday 23rd June 2022 9:16 pm
I think I've contracted 'Long Poetry.'
It started a good while ago.
At first it was a mild disease,
Consisting of just the odd line or two,
With nothing much to show.
But, now it's coming out in stanzas
And in great long turgid verse.
I think it's a type of diarrhoea,
Or, maybe it's something even worse!
Words keep on pouring out of me
In the form of poetic dysenter...
Tuesday 21st June 2022 9:27 pm
The genesis of my narrative invention
Began in the throes of Catholic confession,
What counted as a sin?
Where should I begin?
“I have disobeyed my mother
Seven times, father,
I have used bad words
Three times, father.”
The numbers were arbitrary.
The sins, venal.
I had to confess something.
“Two ‘Hail Marys’ and an ‘Our Father.’”
The priest passed sentence...
Sunday 19th June 2022 7:39 am
I sit here, in the graveyard of my dreams,
Weeping stupid, futile tears,
For friends whom I have never known,
The chances I let pass me by
And for all the places I have never lived.
I did not live in Wentworth Street
And view Saint Leonard’s lonely church,
Halo'd by the setting sun,
Or wait in glorious trepidation
For my lustful new lover to come,
Monday 13th June 2022 7:53 pm
We are where we are.
We’re a planet, not a star!
It’s fair to say,
We need to raise the bar.
Still, we are where we are.
Can you afford an electric car?
Is renewable energy on the way?
Which of us will be able to pay?
Who’s forking out for the cladding
On all those high-rise towers?
Where are we with H.S.2?
Someone needs t...
Friday 10th June 2022 8:56 pm
It comes to something when,
In the cradle of democracy,
Words like “shameful,” “egregious”
And “failure of judgement,” carry insufficient weight,
With the man in question
(Or those who sit behind him,
Avoiding our eyes, studying their navels
And their imperilled majorities)
To bring about the change
Our country craves.
What would the Gray Report have to say?
Thursday 9th June 2022 2:47 pm
Whether her life was short or long,
She pledged her service to the nation,
And our Queen was as good as her word.
Her generation respects tenacity
Sharing her tact and diplomacy.
Life was to be lived with trust, honour
And consideration for one’s fellow man.
They don’t talk about their trouble and woes
But struggle to do the best that they can.
They scrimp, they sav...
Wednesday 8th June 2022 12:50 pm