Politicians are all the same!
They’re all at it!
shaking his/her head
in muted disbelief.
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!’
that the train about to leave from platform nine a-
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-
and either Crewe or Waterloo; just take your chance or chance or chance
you need us eed us eed us to explain plain plain
and repeat it, eat it, eat it, once again an-
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.
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.
Look, here’s how it goes,
just see him there, the odd one out, his back to us,
it is our business to encourage him.
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?
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 might as well
take a slightly off-
tie knots in all four corners and wear it on the beach
until the tide recedes,
leaving landlocked jellyfish
and if they do,
I will retrace my steps
to pursue my own request
postal workers pouring cups of tea.
I think they will not pour one out for me.
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.
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.
And did those feet
in ancient times
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-
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
on clouded hills.
This could be wrong,
but don’t lets leap
before we look
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,
one can’t be sure)
secure my chance
exactly the same
your home secret
is safe with us.
We are your sheep!
for which you cannot legislate,
and leading from behind
a piece of cake;
and pass around the plate.
If we could say,
‘Seize the day’
‘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-
class less state lest
keeping one ahead,
equating one with all the rest,
with negative remainder;
in this case,
with catching up to do.
Your party is the most to blame for these,
that start with and and have no verb.
No wonder word-
As for immigration, what
words from foreign countries have you introduced
to work much harder than our own, home-
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-
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
the revenue accrue to those in need.
We're thinking of the one-
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.
on the environment?.
Our trump card!
did I hear you say
devaluing the currency of argument?
We can't agree.
to Christmas! Yes
to Santa Claus!
I came downstairs at breakfast time,
all in the morning early.
My husband was making eggs-
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-
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-
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-
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-
There are things you find that you have to do,
all in the morning early.
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.
Supposing someone said:-
Lets loose licentiousness,
Venerates vain venial vice,
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.
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
not knowing which one was which,
stole from themselves.
That was some smile.
It must have
at least seven
on the Rictus scale!
And did the earth then
move for you?
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,
is quite a serious offence.
They draw him up;
he winds the window down,
looking sideways with a most intense expression,
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!
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,
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,
their reputation undeserved,
for drinking blood.
As you say.
not wishing to fall
for the oldest trick
in the book
it was you
who say it.
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
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.
axes his wife.
has all the facts.
who does not wish
his name to be revealed
in an exclusive interview,
something was up
she bewitched us;
were legendary at Court.
We only very recently,
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.
Signpost just too far beyond
the turning it was standing there to mark.
So frequently discussed in hasty tongues.
Must signs precede the turn?
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.
priorité à droite,
the toot of horns,
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-
and terminated by a stout stone wall.
St. Peter looked up from his ledger
and his heart leapt.
It was Joe Bloggs in his clapped-
all his life,
had only wished to go from A to B,
had finally arrived.
St. Michael and the angels gathered round.
And then God cried out aloud,
I have had enough!
LET THERE BE TOURETTE’S SYNDROME!
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
Those drums should not have been allowed,
beating on the minds of the young,
and stirring feelings in the ill-
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.
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!
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, you do pick your times,
I’ll give you that. Doorstep clinging, in-
purveying rhyme and half-
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 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-
sometimes not. The sign said
WINTER WEATHER PLAN AHEAD
in yellow lights. Silence again until
I wonder if we’ll see it
in the next approaching layby?
The Winter Weather Plan, of course.
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-
instead lets think about the
Winter Weather Wenceslas dot plan. Plain mad and
that is if he had one to encourage the faint -
who might have wished themselves at home in bed.
One Plan fits all
In gold illumination
CHECK YOUR TREAD
HIGH RISK OF
DEER ON ROAD
Bank Lady Blue
In the halcyon years before the Bank of Scotland encountered rough water, it mounted a high-
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.