Category: New Poems

New Poems: Knowing my place

Doff your cap,
Toe the line,
Do a good job,
Know your place,
Speak when spoken to,
Don’t talk back, keep mum,
Be reliable
Hold your knife properly,
Don’t leave the table until told to,
Watch your step,
March in time,
Defer to your betters,
Salute the flag,
Be punctual,
Do a good job,
Never argue,
Be polite,
Bow,
Scrape,

Be invisible.

If you do not do as you are told you have…

A chip on your shoulder,
Are bitter,
Difficult
A maverick
A born troublemaker
An outsider
A thief

Or worse
Political

Working Class

A writer

2010 – White Van Town – Didcot Council Estate
Each van a different worker living on this road it a Sunday.. the Thatcherite Dream made reality.


New Poems: The Moon Turned Dark

Moon Turned Dark

June 1783 a balloon of hot air made of paper is launched
then a test of silk and hydrogen that travels 15 miles before crashing
into the minds of two peasants who attack the monster
despite the authorities appeal not to be scared of these globes
‘which resemble the moon turned dark’

Next a sheep, a cockerel, a duck are swung into orbit like Laika
Tethered to another hydrogen sphere to test the air at altitude
They survive crashing back to earth and are examined by Pilatre de Rozier
Who in October 1783 becomes the first man to leave the earth
The blue and gold balloon rising in a shower of burning straw

The 7th January 1785 and Blanchard and Jefferies attempt the first sea crossing
leaving Dover they head for Calais rising and falling dangerously
all weighty objects jettisoned they finally threw their clothes into the sea
and make landfall at Blanc-Nez where Blanchard throws letters into the wind
the final weight they let go are bladders containing their own urine

13th June 1784 and Pilatre attempts a sea crossing in the opposite direction
twenty-seven minutes later it is seen drifting back over land
the two aeronauts observed frantically trying to keep the vessel aloft
The hydrogen ignites sending the two men to their deaths
Pilatre leaves behind the first matches, gas masks and a museum of science

The means to start fires, protect and survive and a mausoleum of ideas.

13th June 2021 fires burn bright in the woods near Calais at night
Sea crossings are planned and wind and sea watched for calmer nights
Eyes turn upwards at the leviathans in the channel the monsters in the air
Some cross easily others fall to earth or drift on currents back to land
The best nights are those when the moon turns dark and the fires are out

We test the limits of our survival from Paris to Mars, seek safe harbour
But the straw burning under our feet both lifts us and destroys our world.
Under the blue and gold backdrop of the live television pictures two men
Dump what they can into the sea, pray that the fires will keep them afloat
But can see the moon turned dark, the sea turned black, the world on fire.

A sheep, a cockerel, a duck
Float on across the burnt forests, the flooded fields, drowning in hot air.


New Poems: Loops

Loops

Sparkling green walls covered in frosted webs
A thousand hedges grid-locked our estate at dawn
October school-runs on foot, lawns damp with dew
We’d strip privet sticks and collect them in loops

One web on top of another until a sticky shivering
Vibrated in our hands, dew running down stalk to palm.
We knew nothing then, spun our own stories as we traipsed
Slowly toward a school playground fuzzy with chalk

Circles on walls, boards, exercise books and balls
Punctured and hiding below those spun nets
The exhaled breaths of football careers not yet dead
We curved balls endlessly at bare walls

They came back every time,thuds ricocheting
Against the garage walls our only release
Drum n Bass lives before we knew the words
Stamping out glam rock tunes in our heads

Now the lawns and hedges torn up turned to gravel
Commuter belt rentals cars packed in like terraces
Nothing breathing just dead ground that floods easily
The earth covered and the dreams we had floating away

Over the hedges, nets, lawns like vapour trails
Heading west to unknown futures no longer there.


A new boy in my old bedroom repeats an overhead kick
On a digital platform.
Dreams of escape as a ball lands in a net.
Cannot hear the milk train on the loop.

Ignores far sirens and sticky hands cradling the dead.

The Loop:

The London – Oxford railway line bypasses my hometown of Didcot on a single track known as ‘The Loop’ to thirteen year old trainspotters…

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