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Five hundred miles
on a fistful of millet,
arrowing homeward,
following sun or stars,
lodestone or ley lines,
who can say?

In a recent documentary
fiendish avian psychologists,
seeking to pinpoint
the trick of it,
appended a series of handicaps
and hindrances.

Off flapped the little chaps,
bearing frosted contact lenses,
nostril plugs,
magnets like millstones,
but no ill will, it seemed,
towards their tormentors,
whom they beat, repeatedly,
back to the loft.

You have to take your hat off to a creature
balloted so often on living conditions,
voting with its wings,
Put your spouse
in a wicker basket
on the night train to Huddersfield,
             and you will scan
   the horizon
                               in vain.


Not to mention Vivaldi

More than daffodils and lambs,
or mellow fruitfulness,
more than sights and scents,
the seasons sing to us
our vital songs.
Without Summertime,
the livin' would not be easy,
the fish, lethargic,
the cotton, stunted.
No Winter, no wonderland;
and only Autumn can make
the leaves drift by my window.
But, most of all,
if they took away the Springtime
my fancy would have
nothing to turn to,
or you, my dear,
to be younger than.




As the maestro
flips his coat-tails
over the back
of the piano stool
I insinuate
a packet
of cheesy snacks
and retire
to savour
the sound



We struggle to erect
the music-stands
and deck-chairs
of life only
to find
the song
the sun



To begin in the mists of prehistory,

(as Alexander Pope might have had it):


All nature stands stiff-legged ’till God decrees,

“Mankind must learn to dance, let there be knees!”


And there were knees.

Now flies have knees and fleas have knees

And hairy chimpanzees have knees,

Bird’s have knees and bees have knees

(the bees’ being, of course, the best).


There’s left knees, right knees,

black knees, white knees,

knees indeed of every creed, and nation:


Slavonic knees, Teutonic knees,

Angelic and demonic knees,

Conventional and quirkish knees,

Albanian and Turkish knees.


Strong knees, weak knees,

Grenadian and Greek knees,

Slav knees, suave knees,

Chic knees, and meek knees:


The humble nun has pliant knees

to bend in fervent prayers,

The Nepalese have giant knees

to scale the Himalayas.

Beloved of both the nuns and Sherpas,

Knees – so neatly multipurpose:


The sporty French ride bikes with ’em,

The hearty German hikes with ’em,

The Dutch block leaky dykes with ’em,


Knees – your flexible friends:


Lowly perch for saints, or sinners,

Handy stand for TV dinners,

Nature’s nimble, springy hinges,

Broad, or slim as Fred and Ginger’s.


History abounds with notable knees:

Genghis Khan and Julius Caesar,

Marilyn Monroe, Mother Teresa –

every one possessed them.

Lord Nelson sported sunburnt knees,

befitting of a sailor;

Napoleon wore dungarees

and thus his knees were paler (and, of course, boney.)


So, wearing shorts, revealing knees,

gives keys to our identities –        

(‘by their knees ye shall know them’):

Chimney sweeps’ and miners’ knees

are battered, bruised and grimy,

While Martian knees (which come in threes)

are little, green and slimy.


Knees obscure and knees renowned,

Knees to make the world go round,

Knees to make the heart grow fonder,

Knees to roam the wild blue yonder.


Knees of Cubans, Poles and Gurkhas,

fit for mambos and mazurkas,

fit for foxtrots and fandangos,

Highland Flings and torrid tangos.


So remember, never denigrate your knees –

these most universal of all joints:

the spice of life, the windows of the soul;

they can move mountains,

or launch a thousand ships.


Whether noble or plebeian, Kuwaiti or Korean,

Grecian, Venetian, Tahitian or Fijian,

Russian, Prussian, Chinese or Thai knees,

These are the Knees of the World

All human life is there!

Games To Be Played

When Nobody Comes

To Your Party

  • Musical Chair

  • Hold the Parcel

  • Sardine

  • Suicide in the Dark.

What am I?


The moving ballpoint writes and leaves behind

my blue-black patterns of alternate stress;

the strong succeeds the weak, as you will find,

and medium and message coalesce.

Self-reference is postmodernism’s curse

And I am what I am,  . . . . . . . . . .  †


(†  Answer:  I am Bic verse ! )


†   Warning – these poems contain no savage indictments of society, and shed no light on the human predicament.  I’m not really the savage type, and the human predicament has already been distressingly well illuminated by countless others.