More Ranting from the Bum

a collection of poems by

Steve Cartwright

Cover Painting by Steve Cartwright

Contents

Do not be Afraid of Death

Fuck Father’s Day

God Rest Ye Merry Fucking Gentlemen

Have you not Learned

I Remember Me

The Taming of the Shrew

Do not be Afraid of Death

Do not be afraid of death
Yearn for it bring it on.
Kill yourself now, you and your offspring.
Dig them a mass grave.
Throw yourself in.
End the charade.
It is infinitely preferable to the death you breathe and eat
in the supermarket hell
Spewing shit and death by music through their vein factories
Killing you like scurvy
With their mucus blocking,
Stapling you to their café floor
And bombarding you with pretend fishmongers and
bakers with their hired props and their pantomime
uniforms eternally grinning, as the mother Tesco goddess
squats in her birthing and squirts another sticky egg
from the slime of her proboscis
Violating the old cinema, the billiard hall, the working
mens club, the corner shop.
Swallows them whole,
Then pukes them back up homogenised into the new
hygenic fantasy factory
Demolishing the old buildings and revamping them
tweely as sepia photographs hanging in their gallery,
Glorifying their heritage,
Celebrating their allegiance to the working class,
Announcing their dedication, their servitude, their
loyalty, their union.
‘Your supermarket’ they deferentially proffer, after the
carnage.
Overseen by the sacked miners
Scourged of their manhood
Boiled and poured into security guard neatness, sharply
seamed.
Vacuous cardboard effigies, mindlessly deployed,
advertising orderliness.
In their terror-brown uniforms they draw you in to the
scraped, plasticised, hair netted, showered, hosed-down,
clingfilmed, shrink wrapped servers, guiding you gently
onto the treadmill,
Ushering you in,
Winding you through with their here-to-help stickers and
have a nice day.
They are our maties, they love us, want us to give birth to
their babies.
We’ll soon wear their t-shirts.
Like football club fans we will parade our preference and
state our allegiance,
Lost in these death markets eating their sadness
Overwhelmed by their cleanliness and conformative decency
Screaming for more and drugged by their additives,
celebrating promotions.
Proving our loyalty.
Hating their competitors.
Beating their fans up in the street,
And kicking their fucking heads in
Like religion.
Herded in our monster cars by the brown shirt sharp suit
robot ex-miners
Into team ASDA or Sainsburys Morrisons Waitrose
The super league of death mongers
Hosed down, checked, security coded, fingerprinted eye
retinaed, ATM’d, pin coded investigated
Laminated.
And feeding their happy to help, have a nice day, time
murdering sanitized matey matey call again see you later
shit pop music dripping, ‘your supermarket’ bile ridden
slime of sham eternally in to your dead lives.
Rail against it.
Shit in their sink.
Piss on their watercress, infiltrate their delicatessen with
huge doggy turds pull down their promotion panties and
pull out their plug.
Wake up now.

Fuck Father’s Day

Fuck fathers day,
Fuck mothers day,
What sham is this, what patronage that we demand a
celebration of our titles.
Seek praise and recognition for the role of mum and dad.
For things it is a privilege and joy to do.
What honour could there be in this?
Its everything you’d tell your kids that they should never do.
Don’t seek the approbation of the world, don’t do things
so folks will think you’re good and praise you up. Don’t
let anybody know. It spoils it if you do.
Do things for love, privately and with patience.
And because you want to……because you care.
Now they’ve made it like a war
Best mum or daddy in the world
Celebrate it you little shits or I’ll go mardy, belt you
round the ear, refuse to cook you dinner for a week.
And what about the parents that are not so good
Well should we expect our kids to lie?
There’s dads and mums out there that may not get an
Oscar for their performance.
What should we do?
Ofsted them perhaps?
Why not?
Maybe we should have a load of cards made up?
Could do better!
Dud!
Motherfucker!
At least there’d be an honesty in that
Shame or praise them with a coloured hat or badge.
But no
We know that what’s behind it all is profit
It’s just a way to sell more shit.
More chocolate, more flowers, more stinking candles,
Or cards with cuddly bears and cats at twenty quid a throw.
Just so the bankers get more cash
Or politicians claim their policies are working,
Inflation’s down, the economy is booming.
But really it distracts us from some other heinous crime
they’re planning
Goody icky parents
Looking after our kiddiwinkies.
They do not give a fucking shit.
Anything to shut us up
To keep us acquiescent.
Its just the same as when the bankers pronounce
themselves proud sponsors.
My arse they are
Don’t give us that you lying grovelling heap of shit.
We know that you’d do anything…yes anything to
wheedle yourselves into our shitty little bank accounts.
If you’re so proud don’t tell us that you’ve sponsored this or that.
Keep it to yourselves and then we just might believe
there’s a higher motive.
The supermarkets feed us with the same old crap.
Proud to be ‘your’ supermarket they ingratiatingly pronounce
O.K. mate well if you really are my supermarket I’ll be
round with the artic and fill the fucker up
Nice one Messrs Sainsbury, Waitrose, Tesco, Morrison and the rest
See you same time next week.
Proud you grovelling bastards proud?
You’d sell your Granny into prostitution if you thought it
would raise you in the public eye or shove you further up
the stock exchange.
Want some pride and recognition?
Earn it then.
Don’t carp on about your gracious deeds, who you sponsor
Just give your staff a better deal, better wages, etc.
And pay a better price to those you buy things from.
But no you can’t do that can you?
Your pride is just like fathers day
Like you
Its full of shit.

God Rest Ye Merry Fucking Gentlemen

Christmas is
Fat people eating dead animals
Sitting around the heaving table
As conversation flags beneath the glare of the T.V.
Pouring its shite into the mouths of babes who gobble up
the blue slime and refuse to come to the table
Caught by the P.C., the Xbox or the Playstation, killing or
mutilating innocents in their games of war
Or throwing women out of cars
And smashing their heads brutally into lampposts
And savagely raping them.
Satan’s claw has slithered red-garbed down the chimney
during the night
And loaded up the poisoned chalice.
Now begins the orgy of receiving, screaming out the
blandness of it all as presents break and wrappings mountain
And the giving becomes a nightmare of discontent and
More, More, More screams from the mouths of the awful children
As they belch their neediness.
And parents pander
And find nice things to say to placate these tiny thugs.
Meanwhile the face of the filthy monarchy stares out from the T.V. screen.
Removed by wealth and power, the majestic one gushes
out the platitudes of her station
Grinning with her aged and lizard features into these
dead lives as they celebrate the birth of Christ with sex,
violence and vampire zombie movies that now dance their
malice into living rooms across the land.
The run-up to these celebrations has been a crushing of
bodies into half-staffed shops surrounded by giant car
parks in shopping malls that proliferate and spawn at
the end of motorways that jam and bottleneck and spew
carbon monoxide.
And people stand in queues despising their neighbour
and the shop assistant at the till counter
So that anger, hatred and frustration gather on the
queues and belch forth from the malls and motorways
A vile infection
As if the Angel of Death had unleashed the frogs and
locusts and rivers of blood and boiling sores from the
stinking heat of the first layers of hell
Deny it,
There will be those who rage against this rant but they
are the oppressors.
The Johnsons, The Thatchers, The Camerons, The Cleggs
The four horsemen of the Apocalypse
Reigning up their steeds to force you in.
To feed you into the T.V., consumerist, money-fed ogre of capitalism.
And obligingly you go
Lemming-like
Over the Christmas cliff
Onto the jagged knives of hell.
God rest ye merry fucking gentlemen.

Have you not Learned?

Have you not learned?
How come you did not know?
How come you did not feel it resonate within your
conscience deep within your soul?
That with each agony we make,
Each pain we cause,
Each life we take,
We move a little closer to the jaws of hell.
Did you not know that on your soul there’d be a mark
For every time you failed to register a hurt for all those children’s pain
For every time you did not flinch as blood and sinew spurted out of these young babes whose agonies you caused.
For every time you did not wretch or tremble at the gore and at the awful fear that you alone had made
Did you not sense that you were digging your own grave
Did you not know that there would be a stain
Not from the hand of God but from the karmic laws that
actions trigger into play.
Did you not sense A God of Love
[to whom you one day surely will return to beg
forgiveness for the vile and awful things that you have
done]
Would never celebrate atrocities committed in his name
Could ever be a God of Love and yet ask us then to kill
and murder and to maim
Was there not something in you knew that this could
never never never be the way?

I Remember Me

I remember me, just.
There’s a glimpse now only half remembered.
Somewhere back, way back, way way back in my memory
Before marriage before fatherhood before the years of
forced conformity got me
And clad me in a heavy heavy dusting of doubt and forgetfulness.
I can just, only just, see me now in the shadows of the half life.
Clinging to the man that I was meant to be.
Ringing songs from my guitar,
Chucking rubbish on the bonfire,
Growing things,
Watching the stars,
Walking in the holy snow,
Paddling on the shore line,
Gathering the sea and sun-drenched driftwood and the
dead seaweed dried and crunchy,
For the beach fire,
Laughing in the rain,
Eating fish and chips
And feeling Janet up in the hedge down the back gitty.
The wondrous swell of her soft and nubile breasts
And the thrill of her moist knickers
Releasing God in the salty fluid of my sex.
Belching joy at the ecstasy of living
Wild like the warrior
Free like the wind
Revering the Celt
Hating the Roman
Wielding swords with the Saxon
Hacking the Norman
Despising the monarchy, the rich, the oppressors
Screaming filth at the taxman the screws and the vicars
Shouting cunt at the government the dead legislators
The judges the bankers the vile politicians.
Bring down the system.
Sucking our blood, stealing our life force
As they feed our desires and big up our vanities,
So we barely remember the gods that we could be,
Feeding us shit through their robot the telly,
With its soaps and its sitcoms the lure of the lottery,
Stopping us thinking and stopping us talking,
Wrecking community keeping us walled in,
Feeding our children their shit on their screens.
Turn us to fodder to bow to the monarchy
To bring up a family, to get a big salary
T0 buy a big home, or a second in Brittany
To kill in their armies, to toil in their factories,
To live out our lives like we’re fucking machines.

The Taming of the Shrew

I could say I hate dogs but its not true.
I don’t really.
It’s what we’ve done to them I hate.
Pampering the twat things on bouncy wouncy or shitalot.
Wrapping them in doggy coats and doing their hair.
In my garden I hear them whining and yapping every
minute of the day.
Demanding to be let in.
Demanding to be let out.
Demanding play.
Demanding food.
Demanding walkies.
Demanding doggy treats.
The demanding twat things,
I could say I hate cats and actually mostly I do.
Cat hair, asthma, allergies, wet eyes, blotchy skin.
Soppy twat things mewing and cuddling up.
Demanding fuss and attention, begging, getting in the
way, needing, having to be fed.
Dopey, prattish things that share people’s beds.
Pussy wussys.
What happened to cats that ran wild, feral, free?
I don’t hate budgies, canaries, snakes, rabbits, mice or
hamsters but their owners must
Animal lovers shutting them in cages, stealing their liberty.
Then rubbing their cute little noses in it with their who’s
a pretty boy then or give auntie boo boo a ickey wickey kissey wissey.
Complete arsehole twats playing mummy and daddy with the lives of the once wild
Fuck sake.

Splodge of God

A Collection of Poems

By Steve Cartwright

Painting by Steve Cartwright

Illustrated by Maggie Stead

Contents

A Splodge of God

A Flotilla of Swans

Appleby

Cock Pheasant

Hare

Canadian Geese

It’s a Tow Path

Tangerines or Satsumas, I Dunno

Damson

What a Peach

Where Rapids Meet

Scotland 2015

Blackberry

I am Crow

Cypress

Dogs I’ve Known

Horses

More Horses

Pike

Primrose

Squirrel

Starlings

We are Swift

____________________

A Splodge of God

A circle of white roses surround the tulips,
Like a bodyguard
But smiling.
Yes, really smiling.
Contageously so.
Behind them the tulips strut.
A multitude of ruby reds and golden yellows lodged
between their tonguing leaves.
These tonguing ushers seem to set the stage and look full
well as if they’ve done the introduction and now are at
that point where they’re about to say;
“So, Ladies and Gentlemen……..will you please welcome?”
And there they are upon the stage
A splodge of God
And we, the audience, applaud
And gaze on in awe.

A Flotilla of Swans

A flotilla of swans scours the lake.
They are looking for trouble
Necks arching, craning chests thrust out.
Wings cupped.
Battle stations, they fan out, clearing a wider area.
Coots vanish, clear off.
Grebe dive under.
Mallard chunter indignantly, but yield, give up and
disappear all in a fl utter,
Jet off with whirring wings to a safer haven.
Bully boys, these swans now strut a threat of violence.
In groups they gather.
They bite, they hiss, they chase.
Arrogant and fi erce.
Lords of the manor; a monarchy upon the lake;
Privileged Porsches of the pond
They posture.
Menacing, they glide toward their prey with grim
deliberation.
Their power obvious
Great serpent necks poised and set to strike.
Wings arched in anticipation.
The neck dropped back
The body sunk down low into the water.
Then down goes the foot low on the accelerator.
Bursting through the water.
Fierce and mighty galleons of the lake they give no
quarter.
Not so cocky though out of the water are we Mr. Swan?
Great bloated lump of a body plopped on matchstick
legs and gawky orange feet that look like slippers.
Partially sighted you look cross-eyed down the angle of
your beak.
One could almost imagine you donning your spectacles
wisely and plumping down in to your library chair.
A glass of sherry and 40 winks perhaps?

____________________

Appleby

Appleby sang to me a million songs
When fi rst I took her, cracking ice
And chugging in the winter silence
Down the Ashby
Seeking the sanctuary of Stoke Golding
And the chandlery.
Buoyed by the Squirrel stove
We sat cosy
In the galley
Grabbing fi rewood from the forest
Free and easy
Wild and wanton.
Water gypsies lifting firewood
Dead and rotten
Cram it in the Squirrel
Steaming, drying, smouldering, burning
Giving us its body heat to warm us
Wrapped up in the chequered blanket
Cuddled up
Snacking on the chicken pie.
Shovelling down the mash and gravy
In the warm
Going nowhere
Moored up on the plastic mooring
Near to Bosworth
By the forest
Wandering up to Sutton Cheney
Where in the pub we slaked our thirst
Or pied a plate of crust and cheddar
Walking in the dark back down the lane
Full of love, and of each other
Close as we could ever get
Traipsing back to our last mooring
On the jet black blob of water
Above us such a stab of stars
Reminding us of where we came from
From some other time of bliss
Where memories of freedom, love and peace
Were what we’d always known.

____________________

Cock Pheasant

From the copse and safety of the wild he lurched
Scissor-like legs scurrying and frantic,
Out on to the open road the cock pheasant dashed
All decked out in his finery.
Plumes of emerald green and streaks of midnight blue
A touch of red somewhere to set him off.
No doubt he sought his lady fair cluck-clucking
from the field across the way.
Half blinded by the sun as he emerged out of the
shadow of his copse, he plunged in desperation out
on to the open road.
Hope and lust replaced his natural caution.
I saw him far too late.
Had he set off a mite before he would have lived
and rolled his love with all his swagger in the hay.
But those knitting needle legs hurled him seesawing into my path.
I clocked him with my bumper bar and guillotined his head
Clean as a whistle
Headless he stumbled on but conked out in
the gutter still fluttering, his sparkling robes besmattered.
A gush of blood flooding like a tap flew from his
neck and ebbed away his stunned and dying seconds.
The overtures she sang to him had surely sealed
his fate and this once lusty cock now fodder for the carrion.

____________________

Hare

Hare
Spangled in the belly of the moon
Egg-bearing
Harbinger of Eostre the Moon Goddess.
Lop-eared and long-limbed
Springing into Spring and Spring bringing.
Wild-eyed, purse-lipped and donkey-featured.
Doped-up,
Insane with joy,
Driven.
Unkempt, Hooray Henry’d and wildly whiskered.
Gangling and awkward.
Bonkers,
And yet deceptively articulated.
Leaping, dodging, wheeling, lurching, drifting,
Braking then accelerating.
Then static, soppy-eyed and staring.
Hare.

____________________

Canadian Geese

In V-shaped groups of 8’s or 9’s,or single file in 2’s or 3’s
They surge dart-like; their necks craning, thrust forward, low
over Thornton water
Heading for the early morning gathering, the breakfast seminar
Where they crash startled into the grey and icy waters.
Massing in their thousands
Honking, walloping, yelping even… almost barking.
A cacophony of sonic hooray henrys booming out their
symphony of bellowing.
Resonating and echoing o’er the glassy surface of the lake.
Resounding round its shoreline growing ever louder.
Deafening, maddening, disturbing; coming to a huge crescendo
As more and more of these mad geese fly in and gather, join
the choir.
Then, as if there was an order from their forming ranks and
legions, mighty squadrons and huge battalions confer and
work together
Form up and gather
And then take off from runways in the water,
Forming V’s they fly together
Up and up and up and over
And perfectly they synchronize together
Slicing through the turbulence they sever like some giant cut
throat razor angled at the centre.
Round and round they do a practice run or two.
Then as they land, they flutter and then hover and then they
sort of dither
Then splash and plop back on the water
Practice over.
What primeval coding ties them to this ritual?
Tells them all to work together?
Makes them gather?
But now they’re off again, the practice done, the waiting over.
Now deep within their ranks there comes the order
The squadrons muster.
Resolute and organised they gather.
Form up ranks behind the leader.
Like giant planes they cruise across the water.
Still they honk and wallop just like they’re talking to each other.
You go there, you do this and you do that
Change the pace and swap the leader.
Move the fi t ones to the centre.
Work the turbulence together.
Look-outs find the feeding waters.
Then suddenly they’re gone and peace descends on
Thornton reser.
You can almost hear the ducks, the coots,
the moorhens heave a sigh and mutter
to each other
O thank God that’s over.

____________________

It’s a Tow Path

Shoo shoo shoo
To the moo moo moo.
Its a tow path
Not a cow path.
What’s wrong with you?
Its got a calf
And then it saw me
Like a bus
Its coming for me
Oh my Lordie
Its going to gore me
Bang Bang Bang
I have to clout it
With my stick
Thank God I’d got it
It does not stop it
Panic’s rising in my gullet
Have to launch another wallop
And this time it does seem to stop it
Just long enough for me to hop it.
Never thought a cow would do it
Caught me out right good and proper
Like a giant mad space hopper
Horns and flanks and flying udder
Charging down the tow path at me
Thought my time had come I tell ya.

____________________

Tangerines or Satsumas, I dunno

Tangerines or satsumas, I dunno.
A prod of thumb into the node
And the peel fell off
Easy as you like.
Corkscrewing
It spiralled off
And there underneath
Chubby little gob-sized quarters
See-sawing on my table
Veined with pith
Leaking juice.
The peel in curls leaning against the other curls.
A bit like the bowing slivers scraped by the butter knife.
Moonlike its cratered innards gape and dehydrate.
I got them from Lidl.
In that bit at the front where they sell things cheap.
Tangerines or satsumas
I dunno.

____________________

Damson

I saw the damson.
Nestling half-hidden in a carnival of foliage
Proferring its fruit like a treadmill down its laden boughs.
Bruised and dusted sugarplums clinging limpetlike
to their tentacles rose like the heads of rusting
rivets on a seam of steel.
Bulging like the tyre tread of an alligators tail.
I stripped a couple bare
Plucking each gem from its socket and gently
placing it in my carrier.
Ripe and wet and shining through their dusty coats
they will soon adorn my pudding.

____________________

What a Peach

This peach has somehow survived its neighbour.
Well just.
A gob of rotting flesh slides down its fleshy flank.
I wipe it off.
It’s still intact and edible, but having watched Kill Bill it
reminds me of a torn-out eyeball
And I gag at the thought of eating it.
Its glorious peachy youth has passed and old age is setting in.
A wizened wrinkling skin begins to hang upon its frame.
What shall I do with you I think.
It looks a bit like me,
Worn out,
Gone over.
The decent thing to do
would be to eat it
Put it out of its misery
And so I do.

____________________

Where Rapids Meet

Beneath Spaen bridge,toothrot tongued by rapids
eats a cavity into a leaning slab of slate.
A rockpool gathers in the gaping hole.
Lichens, yellow on the tree and mosses, more
caught than rooted on the stem, flower and hover twixt the branches.
Peat has tinged the water teabag brown and gobs of
spittle drift then break away where rapids meet.
Waters rush and dart and thrash and then, beyond
the rapids, splosh and trickle, then tinkle like drops
after rain pinging in the puddles.

____________________

Scotland 2015

Mountains dollop and gullies drain them.
Varicose they slide into the loch.
Snow ages them, whitening their plaited braids and blue tinged
ice slices them and combs them.
Cloud, rain, sleet and blizzard heap frenzied showers upon them and the glaring sun is ever there to toss their heavy braids and dry them.
Scary Ben Nevis blows his icy breath and bellows.
Gods, they blast and scurry weather.
So much water.
Over dinner I spit chatter, prepare a sermon, entertain and ponder
Crack my aching brain and wrack myself asunder.
My neighbour spills an ageing odour, or is it me, I wonder.
Nearby a woman, bringing apples in her basket.
Brown teeth gobbing tobacco and munching,
Wheezing into her rattle.
A vast ricket down below and flying from her skirts reeks
of something old and dusty gathering in the knicker.
Then …eyes down for yon bingo and watch the entertainer countrify us with his witty banter puking
mediocre rock and roll and Americana from the mini discs that daub a perfect sickly backing on to each and every single number.
Oh so out of kilter with these Scottish lochs by which we
gather and which we have come to marvel at and ponder.
And so I hunt the bedroom and sit writing in my corner
then bathe and pickle and seek the solace of sweet slumber.

____________________

Blackberry

How the Blackberry goads me into her fearsome lair
Her maidenhood now robed in a shiny garb of satin and damask
Her eyelids droop
Her lashes curl.
Come gather me she calls.
Free me from this spiky stem.
Let my sweet and tasty juices melt and slither.
And let your cup be full
Come let me tempt you way beyond these fearsome guards
To find the portal that will free my cloistered daughters.

____________________

I am Crow

I am crow.
I am scavenger.
I dine on rotting flesh, old bones and spilled innards
The shreds of blown out tyres, flailed and broken on the
wheel host my feasting.
Sun drenched, peeled and bleeding limbs, torn from
roadside trees, prod my meat and dither in my gravy.
The offal of old lorry tethers and the writhing coils of
lathed up steel, slither in the grease of my tortellini.
Great plates of rims and red reflectors nuzzle in a stew of
garbage.
Old cats eyes wobble on my pudding or wither in my
custard.
Squashed beer cans leer crone-like as they shrivel,
creased as in the frozen moments of a wave dying.
Like dead grins, they pile up in my treasure trove and
tumble over.
I raid them for my goblets sipping water greased with oil.
Old engine innards stranded in lay-bys creak
upon the shelving of my larder.
These are my utensils.
I belch bolts
I fart screws and I shit iron fifi lings.
I am crow and I am scavenger.

____________________

Cypress

A huge Colossus
Mountain high
Shivering in the cool of a Summer Night
Thrusting upward to the sky.
A ring of stars swim round its towering head
Adorn it with a coronet of diamonds,
Gleam out against the black of night.
I lie beneath its mighty limbs and scour it’s length
It’s like some huge giant leaning back and looking
down frozen in the act of laughing.
An Asterix.
Calling out to me from whence I came.

____________________

Dogs I’ve Known

I have no pedigree for knowing dogs.
The first I do recall was Cindy a corgi,
She belonged to my sister.
Her regal ancestry however annoyed me
As do the monarchy.

Scampy leapt up at me fawning in a pet shop.
The last of a litter.
I bought her for my tiny daughter.
She liked Shirley more than me and this brought out
the excesses of my immaturity.
She was cowed in the company of people.
Savage with dogs
Like a schizoid.
She had puppies.
We named them after a constellation.
They were truly stars.
Their awkwardness caught you at the heart.
Scampy tired of their constant suckling,
Would wander off to kill a rat.
Half eat it,
Regurgitate it for the puppies.
I gagged as I watched the process.
Cute little puppies gobbling vomit.
Eventually we sold them all.
I remember them bundling my tiny daughter over as they
tumbled on the rug before the fire
And I remember Scampi when she’d had enough
scarpering up the Leicester Road.
Alas, she could never get away.
There behind in perfect single fi le the puppies trailed and
held the traffic up.
Scampi got arthritis and a heart condition.
I made a trolley for her back end.
Eventually though we put her down,
Her dignity gone
And so too the quality of her life.

Later we had a lurcher.
Twiggy, scared of her own shadow
Sort of blue
She was probably cute
But died after an accident in which she shattered her thigh.


Then Rosie the boxer came.
She was the most ugly dog.
Her facial distortion so extreme she outshone beauty
Kicked it into touch.
Her features melted any heart
And her long-legged athleticism and fawn and white
markings made her the star attraction
Except for the drooling and her tendency to raid the
fridge and piss in the kitchen.


The other dog I knew was Fudge.
As vile a dog as I have ever known.
It didn’t bark, it shed hatred.
It could not be trusted.
Eventually some sanity prevailed.
They took it to the vet put it down.
The world is now a better place.

One other I recall.
I was five.
On holiday.
Tethered to the kitchen table was a bullmastiff,
White and pike-headed with pink eyes.
It had bitten the butler at the hall and been relegated to our house.
Like Fudge, it exuded a massive evil and I prayed for it to die.

____________________

Horses

Personally,
Not being a member of the upper classes,
I have only ever known three horses.
The first was Sue
Pony trekking somewhere in the Black Mountains.
She turned her head slightly
And nudged me over the cliff.
I think I heard her laugh
But neigh that would have been a step too far……..
Surely not.


Later as I sat up on that huge back,
She galloped,
Neigh literally took off for the homestead,
Heedless of the howling whoahs, the yanking bit and
the fat space hopper bouncing on her back.

Back at the farm I watched her and her horsey mates swapping stories.
A sly look my way had me wondering again.

One other time,
My three children, three horses, my wife and I pony trekking.
“No we wouldn’t need an escort, it’ll be fine”!
On the high field another gelding flung itself sideways
and rolled in a pile of horse shit.
This behaviour it seemed was infectious.
The horses, Pudding, Soldier and Mars Bar joined in
the shit-rolling debacle.
My children thrown.
Much later with the children back on their shit covered saddles
We rested by a wall.
Soldier by far the largest horse you had ever seen
Felt the need to impress me with its bulk.
With a slight lean it crushed me.
Again I thought I heard a giggle.
Neigh surely not.
It couldn’t be.
Not again.


My last and final tangle with an equine being was
somewhere at the seaside.
As we trotted through the farm gate the horse
breathed in.
The girth slipped
And I rode through horizontally.
That clinched it.

____________________

More Horses

I’ve just remembered three other equine occasions.
At the farm shop I leaned into a stable to stroke a horse.
Hector it was called.
It bit me, the bastard.

A gypsy horse I tried to feed with an apple did the same.
Luckily this time I had my leather coat on.

One more equine encounter I recall
My children
Three years old perhaps
Feeding an old nag tethered in a field in Broughton Astley
My learned equine experiences warned me this would end in disaster
Not wishing to project my own fears onto my uninhibited offspring
I watched as they played under the nag’s sagging belly
And pulled some horsey naughty bits
The beast continued chewing
Seemingly oblivious
Pleased perhaps
A faint look of surprise upon those equine features
It just shows you they’re not all out to get you.

____________________

Pike

One lucky last cast on the Calder and pikey took my spinner.
A contest deep and mighty then ensued
As deep into the depths it plunged
And bent my straining rod
And stretched my squealing twine.
On and on the battle raged
With leaps and divings
Feints and twists
Till finally old pike was spent.
Exhausted it yielded to the final winching of my groaning reel
And slipped into the shallows
Where in the windings of my landing net
I sealed it’s sorry fate.
But here it’s will returned.
Its energy came rushing back.
It thrashed and squirmed and raged and raved.
Oh such a serpent.
Now bowed and grounded
But still screaming hate.
I dragged it with the net to higher ground and
smashed it’s head in with a brick.
I watched it’s body tremble,
It’s death rattle.
I felt it’s soul come leaping out.
That vicious head.
That shark of teeth.
That fearful shining torso.
All now lifeless dead and spent.
Splattered on the bank.
At home I slit it’s gut,
Took out its bowels,
Cut off it’s head.
I sliced it up in thirds.
Two parcels in the freezer.
The last I ate for dinner.
Will this mad act of violence from me, the Hunter,
now register as karma on the akashic scroll?
I think not
Since no more frantic victims will fall prey to pike’s mad jaw.

____________________

Primrose

Primrose.
A purple, deep as Old Souls, adorn her outer petals
And golden Coronets wink hexagons from her inner core.
Green tonguing leaves
Bunch up around her
Like hearth waves that spill out onto a beach
And then withdraw.
What joy she brings
Now posing for a pittance on a shelf at Lidl.ho could resist?
Not I fair maid.
My pound’s well spent
For you’ll be pouting your full lips at me for several weeks
In your poor plastic pot up on my sink.

____________________

Squirrel

The squirrel is a monster
Of delight ….of course.
A ball of fur and almost nothing more
And yet it leaps and jumps and flies and jerks that tail
And scurries round and up the boles of trees
And flies from branch to branch
And often tree to tree
Then prances on the lawn in search of hidden food it’s lost,
Always darting, checking, always moving
Unless disturbed
And then it freezes on the spot.
Such zest, such joie de vivre.
It is as if it’s driven by the light.
The cutest thing you ever saw.
Its feral joyful heart.
Its shape,
Its cheekiness,
Its energy,
It catches at the heart.
And yet
I killed a squirrel deliberately
Well …. an assist
Five years old and relegated to this planet.
In the wood at Hatfi eld
With my father and his twelve bore.
“Look Dad, up there” I shouted,
“There way up in the beech”.
He raised the gun and belched a murdererous spread
of shot
It hit the squirrel in the leg
And down it came
Claws grabbing
Crashing through the branches
It landed stunned upon the bole
Where daddy clubbed it with the butt and brained it
We took it back to Uncle Perce
Who chopped its tail off with an axe
And flung its body to the dogs.
A bob a tail we got at Luton market

50 years on
And my son Patrick found a squirrel
Dying in the road
A hit and run
Bleeding,
Screaming pain,
Crying for it’s kin.
Young Patrick wrapped it in a wodge of leaves
Whispering, caressing, loving, calming
Brought it to the roadside
And laid it gently down
Then found a bottle in a bin
Crying, agonizing
He knew what must be done
So out of love and out of Mercy
He brained it
Freed it from it’s awful pain.
The debt repaid.

____________________

Starlings

I’m depressed,
Doing a social work course at Perry Barr.
Stressed.
Winter in the 80s.
Dad dead.
I pass his grave on the train through Nuneaton.
Stare out the window into the rain.
In Birmingham the starlings gather on the town hall
in their millions.
A cloak of colour slithering as they settle, then rearrange.

I remember a similar gathering in Abbey Park some
years before.
They tried to shoo ‘em off,
The shit disturbing
Killing off the trees they said.
I doubted that.
My mind conjuring a parabola of their flying.
A three dimensional wave of intellect and of intuition
A pituitary of glandular cohesion.
Surely just this miracle alone would justify a bit of shit cleaning.
Pondering these thoughts
I stand alone on the station
Waiting for the next train to Perry Barr
The radiance of the starlings’ colours should enthrall me,
Lift me up
But it doesn’t.
Instead,
A purple daub stains my soul
And the sheer weight of their numbers
exacerbates my total isolation.

____________________

We are Swift

We are Swift.
Beings of the air
Almost permanently fl ying
We drink, we eat, we preen, we even sleep upon the wing.
In April, from Angola and the Congo, in our millions
We fl y epic and perilous migrations
O’er deserts and o’er oceans
Skimming on our sickle wings
To Europe
Where we feed and fatten on insect hatchings in your
warm moist air.
From May we mate
And nest in nooks and crannies
High above the hedgerows.
Then in August
We fly once more o’er seas and mountains
Back from whence we came.

Paintings

Treacle for Pudding

2015-08-24 16.48.55

Down the Cosmic Highway

Down the Cosmic Highway

Lament for the Gipsy

Lament for the Gipsy

Pond Sitting for Beryl

Pond Sitting for Beryl

Welcome to Insanity

Welcome to Insanity