everyone knows very well
when a tortoise loses his shell
then everything goes to hell
everything goes to hell

oh misery misery me
I’m as wrinkly as can be
and a book is no company
for the evening

now the girls won’t give me a look
what fun can you have with a book
wrinkles was all it took
just wrinkles

Changing Trains


Changing trains at Stevenage
I had the urge to send,
by way of an apology,
this message to a friend:

‘You came back from the shops too soon
and caught me unawares,
I should have been a-hoovering,
not sitting on the stairs.

I should have been a shepherd boy
upon the hill at eve,
bringing in the wayward flock,
not reading poetry.’

But a magpie stole my glasses,
stole them just for fun,
he had no need for glasses,
he had already some.

Yes, a magpie stole my glasses
as I stood by that rail,
I couldn’t send that message then
so took the homeward trail.

bad priest

if I were a priest
I’d be a bad priest
and run a little card school
round the back

with a fag taped to my mouth
I’d shout my poems out
and give a ghastly time
to the devout

and in between these scenes
just for the old regime
I’d stand up there and tell
a pack of lies

but I’d give them all a drink
throw in the kitchen sink
with love –
no better priest about

do drop in

my door is always open
– do drop in

unless of course it’s closed
then don’t be bothering

don’t knock – don’t enter
please just stay away

I’m the only one
that I can see today

it’s not that I don’t value

it’s just that I’m the one
that gets on best with me

unless we have a row
in which case help

the bottle will come down
from off the shelf

then I’m in no state
for partying

my door is always open
– do drop in

All went well

All went well,
all went remarkably well.
The people were friendly,
except for a few,
the class was receptive
to thoughts old and new,
and when I departed
the coins that they threw
were probably
meant as a bonus.

Okay, someone shouted
I hadn’t a clue,
and several apparently
started to boo,
though the woman
who punched me
had had one or two
and I shouldn’t have
hit her back really.

I’m finished, a failure,
I blew it! I’m through!
I’ll probably end up
in prison now too
but I’d rather do time
than return to that zoo.
Yes, all went
remarkably poorly.

That’s the last class
I teach until Tuesday.

[first posted 4 Oct. 2013]