The image not the person
Is what we often see.
Sometimes this diversion
Makes prisoners of the free.

What are the examples
Spread across this land?
Do they answer people’s needs
Or our youth understand?

We offer them the glitter
Of pop and sex and drugs
While distributing litter
And supporting media thugs.

That life is one big party
Is a current theme,
But what if there’s no money
To support the people’s dream

What about the learning
Of craft and art and prayer
Is all this beauty churning
In places that are rare?

A secure foundation
Of ancient laws must keep
Rising through our nation
Which seems to be asleep.

Dream on fair youth
On stairways
Quietly getting stoned.
What is your inheritance
If we have not atoned?

If selling planes for warfare
Is what the people see
And getting, getting, getting
The new philosophy.

Who are the ones to profit
Out of those in need?
Not only the western world;
It could be global greed.

Each weary band of workers
Crushed into a train
Surrounded by the adverts
Of what they seek in vain.

Surely love and courage
Protect the minds of some
But who’ll repair the damage
The governments have done?



Must we pay BT
To stop these nuisance calls
That interrupt our daily lives
So often that it galls?
These tele-sales voices
Trespass on our time.
Should their intrusion
Be treated as a crime?

We have no debts
Or credit cards, or a
House to sell
Nor do we want your survey
And yes, we do feel well.
The suppliers of our energy
Though not cheap will do
We do not want to waste time
Discussing them with you.

As for double glazing
We have it don’t you know
So tell your company
Far away to go.
No cheap flight holiday
Will tempt us from this city
We are not as gullable as was
Walter Mitty.

Living in the real world
Seems to be our fate.
Not winning TVs, cars
Or champagne by the crate.
Our lives may not be glamorous
But I am aware
This may sound rather smug.
HELLO! Are you still there!


Are you allowed the morning
When the sun shines on a Spring day
And the daffodils belie mourning?
Are you still not able to pray,
As our future spreads like a gilded path
And the breeze persuades you
To laugh anyway?

The church bells are ringing.
All the market stalls are set up.
Joyfully the choir are singing.
A boy hugs a Staffordshire pup.
While the priest in a light filled church
Comes to offer the holy cup.

Can you venture to explore
The maize of city streets
Where you haven’t walked before
And where every language greets?
Will God send life this morning
Wrapped up in poetical words
Will you wake with knowledge dawning
Of his love with the song of the birds/


While she peeled potatoes,
Her mind was on higher things;
Such as W.B Yeats and Auden:
The poets who have wings.
As she dug the eyes out
Of a tough potato skin
She pondered on life and poetry,
On goodness and of sin.
And how many resolutions
Had wound up in the bin.

For vows that have been broken
Are hard to renew,
They leave a bitter token
Like a debt that’s overdue.
And a feeling that one’s worth
Is of the very least.
She decided it was better
To consult her parish priest
And to do this with urgency,
For her self doubt had increased.

Instead of this solution,
She thought to run for cover
And hide herself in poetry,
Then blame it on her mother!


I ventured into the city street
Then sojourned in the gallery.
The art in Manchester I went to meet
And there among the paintings I did stay.
Lowrey and Holman Hunt a must to see.
A fine collection of Wedgewood too.
The button collection enraptured me.
I designed one waiting there for you.

Then Yeat’s portrait by Augustus John.
And Albert Square painted by Pierre Vilette.
Pre- Rhaphaelites with great pleasure I looked on.
Ten postcards bought so that I don’t forget.
And while in Prince’s Street a downpour rained
I felt enfolded in a kind of peace.
Everywhere I found the art explained
Therefore my explorations did not cease.

I paused near sculpture by the great Epstein
Then on to pottery and craft’s delights.
It felt as if the world of art was mine,
Participating in creative heights.
The staff were helpful at the gallery.
It was a pleasant place to spend the day.
I did not leave ’till half past three,
Enriched by having time to while away.


I told my hostess I would cook,
But then I cut my hand.
So I went away to read a book.
I knew she’d understand.
Then arm-chaired with a nearby drink
I drank up all her gin.
“Her dress? What did I think?
I said she was too thin.

I stood up then on shaky knees,
Staggered across the floor.
Said, “Don’t mind me m’lady please.”
Walked out and banged the door.
Once on the gracious, lush, green lawn
A snail farmer gave chase.
He trod on my ancient corn.
I fell flat on my face!

“Oh! Mercy me! ” I cried aloud.
“I don’t deserve a friend
She’s really tried and done me proud.
I must be round the bend! ”
The snail farmer uttered a curse
Then marched off down the field.
Then to make matters worse
I rose staggered, and reeled.

Back to the house to find the Scotch
I lurched in through the door.
My hostess was keeping watch
And said there was no more.
“In that case ” I said in grief
“I’ll go back down the field.
The snail farmer will fill my glass
And to him I will yield!”

“You can’t!”, she cried
“How many gins have glamorised
his looks. I’ll find you gin
And Scotch as well!
Get back among your books!”

This was written to make Liz and John laugh while we
were staying in France. The Snail Farmer who lived next door,
we knew of, but never set eyes on!


There was a marriage
At St Bart’s the less,
A union this Vicar
Was ready to bless.,
All was traditional
As near as could be
Except that the bride
And groom were both he.

The wedding march boomed
As they walked by the nave.
It has to be said
These two were brave.
Hundreds of people came
To wish them well,
But there were others
Who damned them to hell!

No media attention
For two weeks, but then
It made national news
This marriage of men.
Some people were puzzled
As to how they should view
This cutting edge ceremony.
Between these two.

We were not invited,
But a good friend who went
Said he felt discomfort
As to what it all meant.
But they made history
The first so to do.
It took getting used to
Like anything new.

The happy couple left for a far country
shortly after the ceremony.
Written approx. 2007