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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD



Looking back,
there were decisions I should not have made,
there were decisions I should have made,
things I should not have said,
things I should have said,
people I should have forgotten,
people I should have remembered,
situations I should have avoided,
situations I should have arranged,
jobs I should have abandoned,
jobs I should have done.

But in the end, what difference does it make?
We will all burn out, as sure as the sun will.
In time we will succumb and disappear,
for we are what we are in life for good or ill.

Looking forward,
there will be decisions I will not make,
there will be decisions I will make,
things I will not say,
things I will say,
people I will forget,
people I will remember,
situations I will avoid,
situations I will arrange,
jobs I will abandon,
jobs I will do.

And at the end of this year, what will be different?
Will I write the same words, think the same thoughts,
write a summary poem exactly like this.....will not.....will.....?
Be someone else or be the same man?
We are what we are in life for good or ill.

Life, the rough, the smooth,
the pleasure, the pain,
greetings 2014,
off we go again..............

Saturday, 28 December 2013

"TIS THE SEASON TO BE KERRY!

Saturday mornings* won't be the same 
without Kerry's charm & toons 
but wait a wee minute, all is not lost,
for she's off to the afternoons.

End of an era for Weekend Extra,
Saturday's lose but afternoons gain,
We say roll on 20th of Jan
And good luck to Kerry McLean!



Happy New Year!

*BBC Radio Ulster

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

CAROL SINGER, THE CAROL SINGER


From my book Only Yules & Verses available here:


Carol Singer, the carol singer
Practiced every night
To keep her voice in top-notch trim,
So clear, so crisp and bright. 

On Christmas Eve the gathered choir
Wished her solo well,
She took a breath but nothing came,
Not a decibel. 

Carol Singer, the carol singer,
Hot lemon drinks and steam,
Lived through the nightmare
That should have been a dream.  

She lost her voice and panic struck,
So many lozenges to suck,
A singer without the vocal touch
Is frankly less than nothing much.

Carol Singer, the carol singer,
Next Christmas looks so bleak,
For will the virus strike again
And make her voice go weak. 

Like all those oldie movies
In creaky black and white,
Her only option left could be
A mime of Silent Night.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

SALUTE THE WORD by PROFESSOR M. R. Ali (BOOK REVIEW)

SALUTE THE WORD
by
Professor M. R. Ali
Matador
£9.99



The press release that accompanied my copy of "Salute the Word" explains the intentions behind this collection - "....a testimony to the power of words and ideas; a fascinating journey from one language to another and from one culture domain to another, leading us, ultimately, to familiarity....influenced by the diversity and richness of language as the author injects English with an Arabic perspective."

I thought at first that I was in for a challenging time, dealing with obscure and cryptic themes, bogged down by heavy intellectualism and deep analysis.  But, to my surprise and, I must say, relief, from the outset, the poems, varied in theme, are written with a light touch and a love of rhyme.  Sometimes the rhyming, rather like rap music lyrics, is a little overdone but no one can deny the poet's enthusiasm for having fun with words or finding that precise phrase that touches the heart.

The collection opens with The Pen ("The pen is a faithful friend of the human being....."), a kind of "This Is Your Life" of the writing instrument and it's importance in the history of mankind, it's uses and abuses, it's characteristics and personalities.  It is a good opening poem that sets the tone for what's to come.  We read of love, thoughtfulness, giving, endurance, knowledge, family and hope.

I enjoyed The Barber Of Exeter Street because it brought back many memories of going for a haircut when I was a boy, listening to the chatter in the waiting area and talking to the barber as he snipped away. "A silent barber is not usual and cannot function, part of his work is to keep talking from beginning to end."  Modern hairdressers talk away but about banal things. Proper barbers had/have opinions, stories, jokes....a dying breed.

The longer poems are as interesting as they are entertaining.  The Cucumber Epic is a fun ride through the joys of food; Sinjab From Punjab is an amusing romp about squirrels; Human Epic looks at the head, heart and soul of mankind: "We will never fully understand ourselves...."; Lovers Around The World freshens up the age-old themes of romance and human relationships: "Please, don't forget your love brochure as you leave through the door."

The Five Senses In Haiku is a playful sequence towards the end of a book that is funny, touching, considerate and personal.

I enjoyed the "Salute The Word" collection.  Sometimes the rhyming is a little wearing, occasionally forced, but overall the book is uplifting, full of spirit, a testimony to the love of words and, importantly, fun.

Friday, 6 December 2013

WIND OF CHANGE

Wind of change,
shrug of apathy,
breeze of sighs,
howl of despair....

....the flame wavers,

sways, flickers,
splutters as a door opens
or slams shut.

The flame reacts 

but remains alight
defying the power of darkness,
leading the way,
to a place of the possible.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

STRONG WINDS

The howls, the gusts,
the hedgerow sways,
the tree bends,
the honest truth
that nature sends.....
strong winds and umbrellas
are not the best of friends.......

......and they're not too fond
of fence panels either!


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

RUDOLPH THE BLUE-NOSED REINDEER

From my book Only Yules & Verses available here:





Rudolph had a cold,
It might have been the flu,
The reason the Doc suspects
His nose has turned bright blue.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

DEER, DEER


From my book Only Yules & Verses (Funny poems & silly jokes about Christmas) - available here:


Dasher and
Dancer and
Prancer and
Vixen and
Comet and
Cupid and
Donner and
Blitzen and
Rudolph -

Dear, deer, deer,
Deer, deer, deer,
Deer, deer, deer,
Santa sighs,
For every November and no mistake,
He has to do a stocktake.

Monday, 2 December 2013

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING

From my book Only Yules & Verses (Funny poems & silly jokes about Christmas) - available here:



Christmas shopping,
Christmas shopping,
Really makes me dizzy.
Why can’t Christmas
Be in June
When the shops aren’t quite so busy?

Sunday, 1 December 2013

WENCESLAS WEATHER


From my book Only Yules & Verses (available here:


Good King Wenceslas looked out
And did a double take,
Despite all his initial doubt,
He rubbed his eyes awake.
Brightly shone the sun that day,
Sweltering hot and sticky,
He thought as this is Boxing Day,
The forecast’s a bit dicky.

“Bring me shorts Bermuda-style,
Bring me sun tan lotion,
Bring me cola by the crate
And ice cubes by the ocean.
Bring my sunbed by the pool,
I can’t believe this weather,
I can swim around all day
In the altogether.”

Good King Wenceslas’s dream
Ended with a bump,
He fell out of his bed it seems
And bruised his ample rump,
Groggy from his accident
And dazed and half-asleep,
He gaped out through the curtain gap
To see snow six-feet deep.

Friday, 29 November 2013

POINT ME THE WAY TO MY ABODE

This is not an original from me but it came to mind.

An alternative version of Show Me The Way To Go Home, to be sung as a less than sober toff:

Point me the way to my abode,
I'm inebriated and I need some kip,
I had a little drop of intoxicating liquor
and it's gone right to......the top of my anatomy

No matter where I may perambulate
over land or sea or atmospheric density,
you will always hear me crooning this tune,
show me the way to go home.



Thursday, 28 November 2013

PLAIN PACKAGING

A train of rolling bandwagons,
Politicians jumping on and off,
Coz they know what's good for the plebs,
And no mistake, hats off to the toff.

Now it's cigarettes in plain packaging,
The latest political wheeze,
To stop the public from reading
"These are ciggies" with relative ease.

Will it make any medical difference,
Almighty God only knows,
But it's a notion that might spread wider
And, how far it will go, well, who knows?

Ban words from the pages of books,
Make everything plain, dull and boring,
Like radio without any sound,
In this game of political points scoring.

In shops put all of the bad food
Into unlabelled cardboard packs,
All the booze in opaque plastic bottles
And all fashion to be made out of sacks.

Newspapers' pages all blank,
Magazines have had their day
TV pictures a thing of the past,
As all around us fades to grey.

Everything sold to the public,
Online, from racks and off shelves,
Needs rules and legislation
For we need to be saved from ourselves.

Oh, bless all the politicians,
Doing the jobs they think they should.
What the hell do we all know,
When we've never had it so good?

Power is a sexy thing,
They say all power corrupts,
But the powerful need an exit plan
When the people's power erupts.

Ain't that the plain truth?

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

EXISTING

Stuck in the rut of your furrowed brow,
I feel responsible for some of your wrinkles,
the laugh lines, the agedness,
the southern-facing corners of your mouth,
the baggy eyes, a-droop as you sat awake
waiting for the shriek of the gate hinge.
I was as often not there as you were there,
two ships not even close enough to pass,
two spirits haunting different worlds,
two people once as one as one,
now existing as if all hope is done.


Monday, 25 November 2013

THE TRIVIA OF MY DAD

My father, for a short while, was a tailor,
not a job that suited him, if you'll pardon me,
but some nights he'd bring home triangular chalk,
the sort that marked cloth, the sort that was a toy to me.

It was velvety to the touch, not like stick chalk,
but great fun on a black or purple writing pad.
I remember little of importance about him
but I recall odds and ends, the trivia of my Dad.

Friday, 22 November 2013

STRICTLY CHRISTMAS

From my book Only Yules & Verses - available here:



Strictly come Dasher,
Strictly come Vixen,
Strictly come Donner,
Strictly come Blitzen,
Strictly come Cupid,
Strictly come Prancer,
Strictly come Comet,
Strictly come Dancer.

Ho! Ho! Ho!