A work poem, with a working title

It’s been ages since I posted anything here. I wonder if anyone still reads it? 😀

Well, it’s April, Robert Lee Brewer has his PAD Challenge going on over on his blog, so I’m giving poetry a go again.

This is my effort for day 9, a work poem. As yet, it’s untitled. I felt like putting it up here, so here it is.

A work poem. (working title, too).

My father worked so hard,
all his life.
Up at six
into his truck
and off to god knows where.
There wasn’t an inch of Britain my dad
couldn’t give you directions to.
Clear, concise directions
they were, too.
He was like a walking,
how-to paragraph.
As I write this,
I am reminded of a better poem
by a better poet.
He talked about digging.
Dad was good at that, too.
Two alotments the size of football pitches
and a 16 by 8 greenhouse.
He grew all sorts,
the best potatos I have ever tasted
and will probably ever taste.
And me?
With this, I’ll hopefully,
at least,
a smile.

Happy birthday, anyway: a poem

I had to write this, and wanted to post it as another tribute to our brother who we lost far earlier than we should have.

Happy Birthday, anyway.

I wonder about the timing of things sometimes.

I had to go to the hospital yesterday
and one of the drivers who brought me back home
knew you. Ages ago, when he used to pick me up
on a regular basis, he told me
how he knew you. Something
about working together and some sort of rivalry, but
not being able to get to your side of the story
I just heard without really listening.
That was his history anyway
not ours.
Anyway yesterday, when he picked me up
he asked how you were.
Words can be more deadly than knives, even
the well-meant, everyday conversational ones.
I told him what happened,
he made sympathetic and surprised noises.
Everybody does, don’t they?
I do.
Nothing else any of us can do really.
It’s your birthday today.
I never knew you weren’t too fussed
on that sort of thing.
We’re a lot alike, you and me.
I remember, you cried
when you saw me after my first heart attack.
That’s why I always forgave your mistakes.
Like me, you were just too impetuous sometimes.
Never without feeling or love for those that mattered.
Missing you is a Newcastle win
and not having anyone who cares as much as I do
to talk about it with.
Or the latest transfer rumours
and signings. Did you see
they actually signed a mackem?
My faith is supposed
to give me an answer to that.
The trouble is, part of me, the part
that can’t let go, even now
still thinks you did hear that.
That somehow, you still see matches,
tasted half of the corned beef pasty
I ate yesterday,
smoked half of Sarah’s cigarette
or are feeling half the sun on your face
that I feel as I write this.
So regardless of what I am supposed to think,
happy birthday, lad.

Apology: a poem

I haven’t posted a poem for a bit so thought I’d do so today.

This one was inspired by the Guardian’s Poster poems feature which you can see a link to in the blogroll. This month’s prompt was to write about lawns.

I know you are wasted.

A path to our backdoors,
my neighbours’ and mine,
a temporary storage facility
for full bags of rubbish.
Never used for what
you are really meant.
I don’t know what else to do.

If I only had a garden path,
a front gate
with pillars either side,
like we had in Green circle.
There, every Thursday morning
as the birds were rubbing sleep from their eyes,
around the time I get up these days,
my mother or father would get up
grab the bags of rubbish
and put them on the pillars.
fat, misshapen Sacrifices
to the great refuse god.

If I could only do that now,
then you’d be free
to be what a lawn is supposed to be,
a place of reflection, writing.
A place for tea and croissants in the morning,
coffee and Madaleins in the afternoon,
or long, cool drinks of vermooth and Sprite
in those luxuriously warm summer evenings
that are all too rare around here.

You would be a place to take a book,
or just to sit and listen to the birds,
maybe even feed a few, a good way
to get rid of surplus bread
and draw a little closer
to nature.

This is what I would do for you,
for the two of us,
if only
things were different.
If only I
wasn’t so eroded.


This is my first time posting with the WordPress iOS ap. I’m using my iPad mini to post this. Also, this is my first attempt at a triolet–well, my first completed attempt, anyway. I’m really not sure about line 3, so I’ll call this an early draft, but I thought I’d post it to see if I could, from here. Here it is, anyway. I’ll just call it Triolet for now.


The blackbird sings despite the rain
There’s tea and toast for breakfast
Cars splash down the Main Street.

The blackbird sings despite the rain
Umbrellas dash to run their errands
The Jackdaw shouts his sharp complaint

The blackbird sings despite the rain
There’s tea and toast for breakfast.

Question and Answer: a poem

Yep, I’ve finally bitten the bullet and tried formal verse–if you can call this formal verse, that is. Ah the attitudes to and of disabled people, been wanting to write about this for a while. Lots of sarcasm and tiredness in this one.

Question and Answer.

How do you manage at home?
Who cooks your meals for you?
Who does your laundry?
Do you have a lifeline?

Who cooks your meals for you?
Well the cat doesn’t have thumbs.
Do you have a lifeline?
Can I phone a friend?

Well the cat doesn’t have thumbs
so I have to do it myself.
Can I phone a friend
to bust me out of here?

I know what you want to ask, I have to do it myself.
Who does your laundry?
I’ll play the game to get busted out of here.
but How do you manage at home?

The Magpie.

I think I heard a single magpie this afternoon.
It was while I was eating croissants in my kitchen
and deciding not to have coffee with them.
I am sure I heard its voice, above the other birds
like the kid in the school choir who
sings his heart out
despite his tone deafness.
One for sorrow?
Or was he just some sort of manifestation
of my mood?
Just as stress has its physical implications
maybe this kind of sadness
and emptiness comes out as a single magpie
in a garden of sparrows.

An Invocation.

(To poetry).

I know you’re around here somewhere.

You might be hiding in the voice of my sister
who I haven’t spoken to for ages,
the help and company my niece gives me
despite her hangover.

You leap onto the desk with the cat
who catches some rays
where and when she can.
You’re in the warmth that touches my face
as it comes through the glass
of the front door, when I go
to unlock it for today’s visitors.

I know you’re out there
in the birds that sing in the sun-warmed trees
in the neighbouring gardens.
You’re in a baby’s first word
cherished by parents who waited
nine long years to hear it.

You’re in the aroma of bacon,
just toasted muffins
and freshly brewed coffee
that starts this day
that I have to myself
to try to catch you.

But are you the thing to be caught
or the thing that catches
like the fisherman’s line
cast over the page
from the senses
into the world
trying to hook what is beautiful
what is real
what stands out
to the one
casting the line.

If I Were With You

It would be parks and picnics all the way.

A doctor I know spent Christmas lunch
with his wife
on Ogmore beach.

It was one of our milder winters.
They just wrapped up warm,
took a packed lunch
and a bottle of something
and enjoyed each other’s company.

You don’t have to wait for things to happen
sometimes, you just make them happen.
Destiny is just a cop-out.
It’s always easier
to blame someone else.

I’m in my lounge again
alone, if it wasn’t for the cat.

Is this how goldfish feel?
Light and warmth coming through the glass,
furniture, my rocks
interesting for a three-second memory span,
swimming back and forth
between the lounge, bedroom
bathroom and kitchen.

Perhaps it’s time I took my own advice.
Make it happen.
Do something.
Break the cycle.
Find you.

On Beards And Trees: a poem

I just created this draft today, read it to my best friend, who loved it, so thought I’d share it here, too.

I’m counting this as my effort for day 5 of the April PAD Challenge, too, to write a discovery poem.

On Beards And Trees.

My mother hated beards.
Especially, it seemed, the idea
of me having one.
No sooner than I had even the hint
of one on my face
I would hear
‘I wish you’d shave, Simon,’
‘you need a shave, I know that.’
Sometimes, the message had no words,
just a finger under the chin,
or a sharp intake of breath
and the shaver would suddenly get put in my hand.

For such a long time, I had no idea
why I resisted.
After all, it was such a simple request,
full of love and pride for an offspring.
I have always had a good, electric shaver
which would do the job in minutes,
resulting in a clean and easier to wash face
and a happier mother.
It would even stop the itching
that always accompanies any kind of facial hair on me.
I always resisted, and sometimes,
resist even now.

Today, while reading a poem
in a book on poetry,
it came to me.
Shaving, was change.
The kind of change that subtracts from the present,
to add to the future.
Suddenly, I understood so much more.
That’s what the present does.
Makes room for change and improvement.

In the autumn, so many trees
shed their leaves. They go all winter long
waiting for spring
and new growth.
It’s so natural to them,
I doubt they even think about it,
or whatever is the tree equivalent of thought.

For humans thought might start with a sound,
a word,
or a remembered image
and come out as a smile,
a laugh,
a question,
‘do you remember when…’
or a poem.

Maybe, for trees, it starts as light,
but instead of photosynthesis into nutrition,
it comes out as the green
of spring, the golds and browns of autumn,
and the ice cold beauty
of winter snow on branches.

Maybe, if trees’ thoughts are like that,
they don’t care about losing leaves.
Maybe if human thought was like that
I wouldn’t care about shaving,
and cruelty and hatred
would be consigned to history lessons.