Moment of truth

Politicians are all the same!

They’re all at it!

He/she said,

shaking his/her head

in muted disbelief.

This shows:-

a) Barely concealed pride in the vigour and drive of the human race?

b) A profound insight gained after a lifetime of study?

c) A cosmic sense of pity for the tragedy of the human state?

Although this collection features misdemeanours of politicians, the writer does not share the commonly expressed view, ‘Politicians are all the same, they are all at it!’ But rather, ‘ we are all the same and we get the politicians we would be ourselves!’

Public address systems can sometimes further confuse those whose hearing is no longer functioning at peak acuity.

Echo location at Waverley Station

Scot-Rail are happy to announce an ounce an ounce

that the train about to leave from platform nine a-nine a-nine

is the twenty eighty four to Strathmore and Singapore

through Japan, the Isle of Man and Bangalore alore alore

where the coaches at the rear will continue to Tangier,

while the front ones will advance to Norway-South or France,

and either Crewe or Waterloo; just take your chance or chance or chance

and if

you need us eed us eed us to explain plain plain

and repeat it, eat it, eat it, once again an-ain an-ain

or if you have been waiting far too long along along,

there is one thing we should mention,

pay attention ention ention at your platform



or you’ll find the train you’re waiting for has gone on on on on.

A prominent businessman has been lost at sea after absconding with a pension fund.

After the fall

After the crime,

‘lawyers looked for the cash in Lichtenstein,’

but they didn’t find it.

Perhaps there wasn’t any there,

or else they had forgotten what it was.

After all time,

angels looked for the peace of God in heaven,

but they couldn’t find it.

Perhaps they had stayed too long,

or else it was not there.

After the fall,

men looked for their rest on earth,

but they didn’t find it,

though they did know where it was;

lying just out of reach

beneath the skin.

For better, or worse

Look, here’s how it goes,

I bet

you bet

he bets;

just see him there, the odd one out, his back to us,

it is our business to encourage him.

We bet

You (plural) bet

They bet, and that’s the point

there are far more of them than us.

Our slogan is;

A land where every one’s a winner!

I hope that you can go along with that.

Yes. Well then

Thought           picture          Man

his wife and kids

smiling. Backdrop, Eiffel Tower!

The caption says,

‘I took them to a little place I knew’.  What

do you think?

‘Pardon my French’!  We

liked that one!

Still our plan is not to redistribute any wealth we have.

That does  no  good!

Instead I would remind you of the Indians

on their reservations; in our State

the only ones allowed to run Casinos


They have done well.

My word they’ve seen their talents grow

and now agree to bankroll us,

our fiscal debt.

We’re talking mega bucks!


Do you accept  ‘Donations’

to your party fund?

You bet!

Moment of Inertia

It is no use arguing with an elderly official

at the mail reclamation point,

no use at all.

You may press your case with specious argument

and think that his attention span is small

and with constant repetition

stress the source of your unease.

And he agrees,

“Yes all you say is true,

but you must know yourself,

there is nothing we can do,

as we do not write these rules.”

So, seeing the man in front

beat his head against the wall,

I thought

I might as well

take a slightly off-white handkerchief,

tie knots in all four corners and wear it on the beach

until the tide recedes,

leaving landlocked jellyfish

both sand-soaked and abandoned,

though some




and if they do,

I will retrace my steps

to pursue my own request

and see

postal workers pouring cups of tea.

I think they will not pour one out for me.

Bank Lady Blue

Bank Lady Blue,

your white, your brimful smile,

your cornucopia that pours

fiscal beatitude unending.

Your light is not reflected,

but shines out.

I walk on air,

I step upon cloud nine.

Come come away with me,

remove your uniform,

take down my sortcode,

debit my account again tonight.

Together we will mount the everlasting staircase

to the great celestial dance floor,

take our places there

and build our house of cards.

The Tiled Victorian Toilet at Rothesay

Tiled Victorian edifice at Rothesay,

Oh Edinburgh has desperate need of thee.

Does not this literary festival

call out for thee, or thy facsimile?

But thou, who never wilt accommodate

as many clients each year as fill these seats,

could’st reassure the anxious queues that form

at erudite events and endless signings.

Do not remain the privilege of few;

a modest toilet born to flush unseen.

The sludge man comes and night miasmas blow,

faint fragrant hint of medieval air,

while I remain here contemplating you

beside this mobile loo in Charlotte Square.

Jerusalem 1, UK 0

And did those feet

in ancient times

play football

and did they win or draw against much better teams?
     When did we cease excluding foreign champions

from our native sides

and were the transfer fees obscene,

more than ten miners earned throughout their working lives,

and was a well-turned goal the only thing

that brought men to their knees?

Yet kind to those who seek asylum on our shores,

we let them work gold seams of their desire

in broad estates and tower blocks,

but go to war to keep the oil supplies for our machines

(and old folk warm)

and license GM crops and build

wind farms

on clouded hills.

The foreign secretary at the time of the Iraq war explains his position at the Chilcot enquiry

Good Nothing-doing Man

I thought,

This could be wrong,

but don’t lets leap

before we look

I think

that it

may not be right

and just a word from


would stop it in its tracks.

Nothing will hold me back

except the thought

there may be something


We should prepare for

rocky times ahead;


and here’s the point;

if I do nothing now,


of course

one can’t be sure)

it would

secure my chance

of doing

exactly the same


next time.

A Home Secretary may have indulged in a little professional licence

Home and Away

Home Secretary,

your home secret

is safe with us.

We are your sheep!


for which you cannot legislate,

creeps up

and leading from behind


a piece of cake;

we serve,

you cut,

and pass around the plate.

If we could say,

(in Latin)

‘Seize the day’


better still,

‘I know where you are coming from’

then we could file it all away

and let the matter rest.

Instead instruct us

setting moral tone-up

class less state lest

keeping one ahead,

equating one with all the rest,

leaves some

with negative remainder;


in this case,

found yourself

with catching up to do.

The Politics of Language

Shorter sentences!

Your party is the most to blame for these,

that start with and and have no verb.

No wonder word-crime is so rampant on our streets.

As for immigration, what

words from foreign countries have you introduced

to work much harder than our own, home-grown,

keeping the option to return them

when their task is done? Just one!

And, on the debit side,

what meaningless remarks have you released?

You have lost count! How do you plan

to deal with syntax,

which, you claim,

puts unfair burdens on the ill-informed?

Just look around!

No previous administration has

so much reduced its impact. It

has almost gone

and will do if we get another term.

Next we come to the congestion charge.

We plan to introduce a levy on long words,
collected electronically through your ID.

Anyone who thinks that they can park such things

and clutter up our minds

must pay;

the revenue accrue to those in need.

We're thinking of the one-word family here!

Spelling reform!

How do you intend to bring us into line

with European norms?

There, we have set up a working group

to text us their results.

This will attract the younger vote.

Then economics,

its effect

on the environment?.

Our trump card!


re-use of every word.

Inane reiteration,

did I hear you say

devaluing the currency of argument?


We can't agree.

and so

it’s Yes

to Christmas! Yes

to Santa Claus!



to everything

in threes

and fours.

Early One Morning

I came downstairs at breakfast time,

all in the morning early.

My husband was making eggs-florentine.

There’s something there for you to sign,

all in the morning early.

He worked so hard for the public good,

like Sidney Carlton or Robin Hood.

I‘ve a client who might be going bust,

so I moved some funds to an off-shore trust,

all in the morning early.

If this strategy should fail,

he could do time in a foreign jail.

Then he called back through the bathroom door,

it’s one you’ve often signed before,

all in the morning early.

I was feeling rather overwrought

and hardly gave it a moment’s thought,

So I drank my tea, which was none too warm,

and signed the old re-mortgage form,

all in the morning early

We always strove to do our best.

It helps to let the conscience rest

and when one man’s gain is no-one’s loss,

it does no harm to please the boss,

all in the morning early.

We had just completed our master plan,

to ease the plight of the working man,

by fighting for his legal right

to drink and gamble day and night

and all in the morning early.

But, was there praise in the tabloid press?

You can’t imagine my distress;

I was quite amazed when the headlines said,

She signed a paper she never read,

all in the morning early.

With only one course left to take,

next day when he was half awake

I made him sign on the dotted line.

I knew he’d see my point of view;

I said, we’ve just re-mortgaged you.

There are things you find that you have to do,

all in the morning early.

Quantitative Easing

The banks had known the good times,

but a fall was overdue,

leaving quantitative easing

as the only thing to do.

When you’ve passed out of the window

what has come in through the door,

only quantitative easing

lets you have a little more.

They had clogged the lanes of commerce,

bit off more than they could chew;

so the bankers were all straining hard

to see what they could do

to restore a healthy bolus

and relieve that sluggish feeling,

hoping quantitative easing

would start something coming through.

We imagine some committee

met to find the course to take

and they said, we need a slogan

that will serve to obfuscate.

And this is quite a good one,

as it doesn’t mean a thing,

but quantitative easing

has a rather knowing ring.

And the man who first decided

that these words could make a phrase

should become an national hero

winning never ending praise

and a letter from the Queen.

A knight in shining armour

in a gallery of rogues

wearing quantitative easing

like the Emperor’s new clothes.

Ruby Heartbreaker

Supposing someone said:-

Ignoring innocence

Lets loose licentiousness,

Venerates vain venial vice,

Instils idolatry,

Or overplays outrageous opulence.

Bastardo! She was only seventeen,

Explain yourself! I found the Ship of State

Rudderless, adrift! The compass needle drooping,

Lurching down towards the world’s dark edge

Until some sweet rejuvenating force

Stiffened my resolve upon an upward course.

Captain art thou stoking there below?

Oh yes! I am! My fires will never sleep,

No. I will drain full passion’s red wine dry.

I serve all, lead all, take. With all I lie.

Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief

He was rich in hours and minutes

which he had in abundance,

and something to put into each.

Another was poor

in exactly the same way.

Some thought that one should give to the other

but most,

not knowing which one was which,

stole from themselves.


That was some smile.

It must have


at least seven

or eight

on the Rictus scale!

And did the earth then

move for you?

I’ll say.

Walking Wounded

See how he goes,

driving and explaining something,

looking sideways at us.

If I were the police,

I would not hesitate.

For justice' sake, put three points on his licence.

Do it now,

as this

is quite a serious offence.

They draw him up;

he winds the window down,

looking sideways with a most intense expression,

lips moving,

but his words do not make sense.

Now he gets out,



walking at us

as though the very sands of time conspire against him.


how he wrings his hands!

Central Business District

Smart, you can’t dispute it;

dark, verging on black,

Some say, the devil’s uniform,

but that is to ignore the good they do.

Then, see one on his own

and you will think

My word, he is a handsome chap,

his suit immaculate. That shirt

which, like the suit, just ought

to be completely out of fashion,


At first they seem so few,

but this deceives.

And why? You have to ask,

why here?

Such sociability is hard to understand.

What does this place provide

that does not bear the fruit

on which they gorge themselves?

Among that languid group

only a few show any signs of life.

Their feeding frenzy happens out of sight,

yet experts say,

they give back all they take, and more,

and find

their reputation undeserved,

for drinking blood.

Fool’s Mate Declined

As you say.

He said

I said


not wishing to fall

for the oldest trick

in the book

it was you

who say it.


He said.

Culture Channel

It’s eight o’clock!

Here is the muse and the pleasure forecast.

Workers at a literature reprocessing plant

have discovered a hitherto untapped vein of creativity.

A spokesman for the group has said,

The implications of this work are immense,

as the whole nation could become

self-sufficient in verse

by two thousand and eighteen.

Meanwhile it will be dull with outbreaks of pain.

Any lingering despair will be slow to clear

and could return during the night,

but spirits will lift late in the afternoon

when the whole land becomes swathed

in a band of light entertainment.

Wife divorces axed executive!  From a newspaper ca. 2005.

Divorced Executive Axes Wife

Oh Yes!

Oh Yes!

Oh Yes!

Hear Ye!

Divorced executive

axes his wife.

This scroll

has all the facts.


who does not wish

his name to be revealed


in an exclusive interview,

We knew

something was up


she bewitched us;


manipulative skills,

it seems,

were legendary at Court.

A fact

We only very recently,

found out.

Silence in Court

At the celestial courtroom

the jury is still out.

The court officials are angels;

they have a divine, cold, radiance

and will not intercede.

The Judge, the Thief and the Plaintiff

form an unholy trinity;

whatever is done to one

will be done to all three.

But the jury is still out.

(twelve good men and true,

whose like could never be found on earth).

It is not known if they will ever return.

It is thought they may await for a brief from God,

who, apparently, has failed to turn up,

though it is not believed

that He will ever be done

for contempt of court.

Panneaux manqués

Signpost just too far beyond

the turning it was standing there to mark.

So frequently discussed in hasty tongues.

Must signs precede the turn?

Do adjectives

always come before the noun?

And adverbs too?

To quickly turn,

quickly to turn,

to turn too fast;

the grammar, syntax, logic of the route.

La route,

priorité à droite,

the toot of horns,

where roundabouts,

to make things worse

circle the other way

and all you see of signs is the reverse;

wordless arrows in unblemished grey,

though obviously The French

can cope with this,

their necks made flexible by

frequent contretemps in parking lots.

But now, remembrance day;

a man mislead

into a lay-by here

and terminated by a stout stone wall.

The Poor, in Spirit

St. Peter looked up from his ledger

and his heart leapt.

It was Joe Bloggs in his clapped-out Ford Cortina.

He who,

all his life,

had only wished to go from A to B,

had finally arrived.

St. Michael and the angels gathered round.

Jesus wept.

Laughter in Paradise

And then God cried out aloud,

Oh sin-obsessed puritans,

I have had enough!



My chosen few,

should your fathers,

or your mothers,

seek to bind you round

with lesser commandments,

You will not be able to obey them.

Angels cottoned on almost at once

and started to fall around

with laughter



Dick Barton,

Special Agent.

Those drums should not have been allowed,

beating on the minds of the young,

and stirring feelings in the ill-prepared.

For example:

that airstrip in the jungle, cleared by men who might,

or might not, have been working for our side,

but left certain mysterious clues there.

The chase

as the plane chunters down the runway

piloted by Jock,

who always kept a verry cool head,

while Snowy, reaching out one hand,


     Captain Barton Sir!

and Dick,

racing towards it,

just turns back to add,

  “take that  !”    


                 “and that  !”                                                       

 “and that  !”                                               

and the plane rises into the air.

‘Take that!’ was always accompanied by a sound  best reproduced by blowing out the cheeks and using the index finger to release the air by pushing the lip forward.

Person from Porlock

Person from Porlock, you do pick your times,

I’ll give you that. Doorstep clinging, in-the-region man

purveying rhyme and half-ideas to weary writers,

What’s your chatline then …..

…..‘In a vision once I saw …’

Hold off, unhand me soothsayer man,

I’m short of time, my plan for ending Kubla Khan is fading..

there was a hill … quoth he… so steep

….it’s one in four, or will be when it’s built.

On it I saw fair youths and maidens

riding strange machines with wheels of air I never saw

aught like to them unless it were

round spider’s webs that hang

on window panes or rungs of long

abandoned ladders. They

seemed to be out training for a thing they called

Le Tour de France, the air

is cut away before and closing in around

gives out the force they need,

but only if they stay behind the pack, then make their break.

Many will die, you know, of heat exhaustion. I

fear thee ancient sporting man!

Don’t worry son, this flesh is real, this bony hand

has never reached beyond the lowest gear. I

find it hard to understand

what you are on about. It sounds

like death in life, as though their souls,

that ought to fly, are dead and hung around their necks.

The cream of youth would never act like that

when there are better things to do.

Oh yes, I know,

but I have seen sad sights of what must come.

They hold strange things

and talk to any one at any time

and place and at the finish standing all in line

send pictures home

and Maidens singing to a dulcimer, however amplified,

at Glastonbury Tor, no more

than a short ride away,

will draw in crowds.

The Beatific Game

Two pontiffs

side-by-side before

the shimmering screen

fingering their beads and

praying that the Lord will

in his mercy teach

the other side to turn

the other cheek.


(mark my footsteps good my page, tread thou in them boldly)

forth they went together,

though, in this case side-

by-side and sometimes talking

sometimes not. The sign said


in yellow lights. Silence again until

I wonder if we’ll see it

in the next approaching layby?


The Winter Weather Plan, of course.

Oh God!

You must be madder than I thought!

You don’t think that it means..

It must, it does. Hold on tight and think

(for once) about it all.

I have. I can’t

Just planning what?

Before we left the house? Too

late for that. Or does it mean the winter weather’s there

or up ahead, or here? You need it pointed out!

No, won’t you get it in your head,

They’re only trying to help.. trying to prevent..

the worst, I doubt they could, it’s just

bureaucracy again, a slight upon the driver,

triumph of the desk-

bound, no!

instead lets think about the

Winter Weather Wenceslas dot plan. Plain mad and

that is if he had one to encourage the faint -hearted

who might have wished themselves at home in bed.

One Plan fits all

In gold illumination


and now,

what’s this?



Not to,

or from?


Not again!




1 Moment of truth

2 Echo location at Waverley Station

3 After the fall

4 For better, or worse

5 Moment of inertia

6 Bank Lady Blue

7 The tiled Victorian toilet at 8 Rothesay

8 Jerusalem 1, UK 0

9 Good nothing-doing man

10 Home and Away

11 The politics of language

12 Early one morning

13 Quantitative Easing

14 Ruby Heartbreaker

15 Rich man, poor man

16 Epicentre

17 Walking wounded

18 Central Business District

19 Fool’s mate declined

20 Culture channel

21 Divorced executive axes wife

22 Silence in court

23 Panneaux manqués

24 The Poor, In Spirit

25 Laughter in paradise

26 Airstrip

27 Person from Porlock

28 The beatific game

29 www.plan

Bank  Lady Blue


In the halcyon years before the Bank of Scotland encountered rough water, it mounted a high-profile advertising campaign featuring two employees. One a dusky myopic man with the aura of extreme wisdom, and the other a smiling blond woman, not quite at a certain age. The message the man conveyed was ‘trust’ whilst the woman offered joy and happiness and, of course, competence. Even in the full knowledge that everything has its price, it was hard not to feel that paradise on earth was but a stone’s throw away.

In poetic terms, there is no way that ‘Bank Lady Blue’ could be a title for anything other than a single poem and certainly does not apply to any other poem in the collection. Nevertheless a certain ambiguity, coming from the word blue, seems appropriate for the whole work. A better explanation for the message of the collection is to be found in the entry ‘Home and Away’ but this has little merit as a collection title.