NaPoWriMo 2015.3: My Fellow Ministers

My Fellow Ministers?

Day three’s poem, which I didn’t get around to yesterday…I’ve had a go at a sort of mixed-metaphor vaguely-political poem, after the Leaders’ Debate on Thursday, with the ‘Fourteener’ 14-syllable form.

It starts with a little quote from The Tempest that had been bouncing around my head, for some reason, before going on to do something with the image of churches in scaffolding. I don’t know why and I’m not sure it works. It’s sort of a call to arms to vote. Sort of. But I wrote a poem. OK?

“My Fellow Ministers…

…are like invulnerable. If you could hurt,
Your swords are now too massy for your strengths
And will not be uplifted.”

The Tempest, Act III, Scene III

The Ministers all braced themselves to peer into the lens
And state their absolutes, their cases rigid and unchanged.

Around each one, an aura sprung, of metal tube and mesh
Like city spires in scaffolding, with weather vanes for minds.

Now lift your swords to their stained glass, their leaden tainted eyes
And place your massy cross within their box of shining lies.

2.28: Big Deal


The Sloth: A Big Deal (for real)

Here’s my news story-based poem (using pretty much just words from the article itself).

The story was from the BBC Science & Environment site and you can read it here and concerns new discoveries about the energy-saving anatomy of sloths.

So I felt any sloth poem demanded to be quite short and minimal. And noticed the scientists had used the phrase ‘Big Deal’ twice. Which, for an animal so energy-conscious – many things must be…


Big Deal


There is not much left

in the tank. 7 to 13 %

is a big deal.


For energy saving experts

anchoring organs

is a big deal.


Their stomach, liver, kidneys

and even bowels:

a big deal.


Nothing they do is normal.

They are ‘off the wall’.

An extremely slow

and low

big deal.

NaPoWriMo 2.24: Skag-Afforder

"Egg raining aloe vera"

“Egg raining aloe vera”

I loved doing the homophonic translation last year – which produced this vulgar thing from a Danish poem.

As I seemed to do well with Nordic languages I don’t know, this year I ventured to Iceland and vandalised this poem into English.

It is, of course, utterly ridiculous and – like last year – quite vulgar. This probably says something about the juvenile translation words, lurking in my subconscious, but I’m OK with that.

No, I don’t think it has much artistic merit, but it does conjure some amusing and slightly disgusting images – so I hope you enjoy it:




Egg raining aloe vera:

a lewd leg vile, born in

so poo-herding, unleaded mitt –

beggar bar and lemur.

Miley coke, your oaf and I, grasséd.

Ah, Aluminium Minion.

Log Fairy met Joke Diddum,

Fingered UK RyanAir.

Pass Jeff, or dingo-mule of grey.


Sam, that egg, ever owes.

Peek your paw after

a hymn, nesting hosier, licked, tinny:


all taps screw-loose, pooing, my eyes of Cheddar burning.


NaPoWriMo 2.21: Low Angle – a ‘New York’ poem…?

ImageThe ‘New York’ poem certainly made a long list of demands. To the extent that my poem came out something of a lewd scrap-book of overheard things or conversation snippets, with only a vague thread connecting them, that I could glean.

Maybe that’s how New York would want it: rude and random. I’m not sure – but here it is, anyway:


Low Angle


Monday 21st April, 17.59.

‘The moon is waning gibbous.

There is no interesting historical fact for today.’

Your Suzuki engine is stuck in slow reverse

while you systematically, starting at A,

one-way sext your contacts.


Jonny Cash rumbles on, dead: ‘I hung my head,

I hung my head, I hurt myself’. A one track mind

one minute, ‘We’ll meet again’  the next. Fuck you,

Japan, I trusted you and your consumer

electronics. A shipwreck sinks through

your window.


The rain migraines rhythmically

on that sensitive skin. ‘To be a cosmic tree,

you’re going to have to put down roots first.’

You’re thinking up the worst slap-you-in-the-face lines

you can: ‘Would you like to stick your finger

in my Whoopie Pie?’ Every cosmic green

of spring has a corresponding fag-butt

autumn brown, built-in.


You’d need at least a terabyte hard drive to store

those low-angle selfies. ‘He took me to Nando’s

and made me pay, then said he’d missed the last train.’

You walk home, tip-toe-ing over snails, those land-mines

with a shell full of slop. Weave through their slimy

ideas, until your third eye wanders and you hear

just one underfoot go POP.



NaPoWriMo 2.20: Sparse


Caught up! Here’s my take on the shell name, ‘The Sparse Dove’…This one was rather fun to write.




I realise there’s a lot riding

on these delicate feathers,

but what few of you get

 – well, those few that are left –

is how hard it is to remain

this pure, white and pristine

during a global apocalypse.


It’s quite a few furlongs

across the flotsam and jetsam

of what you fondly thought of

as civilisation. (That’s not to mention

those without arks, without wings

this untainted, who floated

a surprising distance.)


There it is, the biggest bit of the buoyant

detritus of sin. No idea where to begin

their journey without destination.

And I’m meant to saunter over

on these tattered scroll wings

to deposit what feels to me

like a while bloody tree.

Just so that you know

you’ve got somewhere to go?


Well it’s that, or my nest.

And that’s close. So close.

Just a light breeze away

in one of the groves.

And they’re quiet. Quite silent,

but for the coo-ing of neighbours,

an occasional flurry of lambs.


No people here. No bickering.

No predators, or preying.

Just us prey. It’d be very easy

to stay. Avoid that murky water.


It’s a very long way over there.

A very long way. 

NaPoWriMo 2.19: Stopping Above Huddersfield on a Sunny Afternoon


The view from Castle Hill above Huddersfield

Here’s my rubaiyat (though I think I lost the rhyme scheme in the last two stanzas – gah!), inspired by how sound carries on a bright day, above an urban setting…The title is a nod, of course, to the Robert Frost poem mentioned on the NaPoWriMo site.

Stopping Above Huddersfield on a Sunny Afternoon

From the great lawn below, sounds shine up:
each dandelion instant, each buttercup
that dots the afternoon, this warm air’s stave
with symphonic gulps from each pint’s sup.

On her cracking patio, she’s trying to save
the barbecue from doom. Despite the grave
warnings on the sausage’s pack: Defrost
five hours. She gives her guests a half-baked wave.

He’s tracing each bubble, counting hours lost
last night. How many did he accost
in the primal lights of Lloyds No 1?
Yet no new contact, just lines crossed.

On the bus, they’re avoiding each other’s eyes,
holding singles tightly. Craving KFC fries,
a giant Pepsi. Alone, with the sun.
From the driver’ seat, a blackbird harmonises.

NaPoWriMo 2.18: Good Friday 2009


a tall empty form...

Something that started as a sort of ‘mock poem’ but I thought I’d turn it into a slightly less mock-poem…Based on a little moment five years ago:

Good Friday, 2009

I’ll straighten my tie, press
the shaking red icon to hang
up, glide a straight line
towards the light
coming through
the door.

It will knock
twice only –
slowly, precisely.

A back-lit cut-out,
a tall empty form:
“Do you want any
fish?” he’ll enquire.

“I’m sorry,” I’ll reply,
“this is not my

NaPoWriMo 2.16: Pet Shop Boy

“She’s the actual one, you know, who hooted through the hall of Hogwarts. In the film. Really.”

Up to Wednesday! The prompt/challenge was to write a ten line poem in which every line is a lie.

Here’s my poem, which seems to be part of the same ‘range’ of weird shopkeepers as last year’s The Pies of Awareness (a sinister existential baker) or this year’s A Charm Against Losing It As Spoken by Debonair Metapharmasista Crisby LeFross (who is, as it sounds, an eccentric pharmacist with a twist).

In fact, these may become a pamphlet of first-person poems by a whole high street-full of oddities…Hmm…



or Pet Shop Boy


She’s the actual one, you know, who hooted through the hall of Hogwarts. In the film. Really.

Not so active now. They’re nocturnal. What? Yes, in real life the eyes seem much more…shiny.


Peer in here – they’re such low-maintenance pets, clamped to the branches with their camo legs.

What’s that? You could say so. Yes, very similar. But they’re not, though. No. Not clothes pegs.


How about some drama from far-off Siam (that’s Thailand now). Look! A bit of one just fell off!

I know it’s not usual to keep several together. Or that they’re gold. No, the fins just look like J-Cloth.


You’ll barely lift a finger for this little fellow. Underneath that branch…So still, so calm. The gecko.

Yes, I have been in the toyshop next door. But this, this is your actual toy – I mean pet! Pet dinosaur.


Budgies: so bright! Like highlighters. Hmm. Pigeon-size? Err. Don’t touch! Oh…green, pink or blue?

No? I’ve so enjoyed our conversation. A key-ring? Every penny goes towards my conservation.



NaPoWriMo 2.7: Love Song of the Goblin

The dream home of Tomorrow, in which you might find the Goblin…

It’s a two-poem day as my brain was too fried yesterday…The other (today’s) will appear later.

So, catching up with yesterday’s prompt to write a love poem to a thing, here’s my offering. It ended up quite long, so if you can stick it out – thank you, there is a ‘pay off’ and I appreciate any constructive suggestions for cuts or other edits! 🙂


Love Song of the Goblin


Such Integration:

where before, we poor

humans had to lumber through

the morning chore of tea

production, in a number

of discrete actions:

no more.


Such Automation:

for now, the boiling water

of morning is poured on to the teabag

of your dreams, even before

your fleshy eyelids

have flickered.


Sentinel of The Modern Day:

you begin your boiling ways

at precisely the allotted tick.

As we kick off our fluffy

heads and robes, gliding

into one (of two) myopically

chrome and out-damn-spot

clean family cars.


Such Illumination:

dissatisfied with the distant

Sun, you add your cheery

and alarming glow to the throes

of a dawn chorus of factory-produced

daylight. Springing up, along the branch

that Britain was, alert to promotion, bonus

cash. Growing on the map like a gorgeous,

bioluminescent rash.


Such Reanimation:

now, in pixelated times, we save up

the promise stored in your recklessly

un-energy-efficient bulbs. Half a century

– no, more – from your peak, we keep you here

(though there is scarcely space) for the idea

that there is use in you. For moments, you rejoin

the Gleaming Highway of Time. When we children

of another century, want the ambience for a birthday

do just right. We put our ear to you for a tick,

or a Frankenstein fizz of electricity. From time

to time, we invite you, nervously,

to join us at the party,

as a light.



Addendum: here is the actual sort that we have on our shelf, as a light (and never, ever a tea-making device)…


A 1959-60 Goblin Teasmade, like the one we have on the shelf (and for which I have a curious affection).