Thursday, March 27, 2008

Newcastle Serenade

On the train to Newcastle
I can hear music
A five-piece band
Guitar, sax, bass, drums
And a silky female vocal

I look around
Ah! There –
In the luggage racks -
Giving the train
A syncopated swing

The conductor
Sways down the aisle
With the microphone
She sings
Money makes the world go round…
I am tempted to join in
But instead
I point out to him
That we are in
A dedicated quiet carriage
And suggest that he takes his band
To the buffet car
Where customers might enjoy a little cabaret

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bob Wolf - The Quest Begins

by Roger Stevens and Michael Leigh

The sky was as blue as a blueberry fool
The fields were as green as peas
The smells of Autumn drifted through
The decayed traffic lights and trees
Reminding Bob of cheese

Bob closed the gate and walked away
With scarce a backward look
His mother watched and bit her lip
And as she hung the beetroot on the hook
A tear splashed on her library book

Oh, Surrey wastelands -
Once green belt
That held life's trousers on
The empty houses, broken dreams
Once so alive with children's song,
And the merry click of Playstations, all long gone.

Bob walked along the dusty streets
And whistled as he strode
A favourite song from years gone by
About the Highway Code.
From a drain, a robin crowed.

But what was that?
Bob's heart stopped.
A ghostly sound. A soul in pain.
Like hogs loosed on a frozen heath
Like rats run-over by a train
(Bob's heart began to beat again
And he sighed with great relief)

On the road there lay an upturned van
That bore the legend V
Cautiously Bob tip-toed past
But then, a breath, an icy blast
A monster was upon him fast
Its mouth a hole of blackest black
Its head two hippos in a sack
Its claws as sharp as brie

Bob drew his trusty sword and then
He threw his pencil down
For art would not discourage it
Our Bob thought with a frown

The ghastly thing towered over him
Like a tower towering high
It's shadow whiffed of sulphur
And its feet of dead-dog pie
What do you want, vile creature?
Cried Bob, fearing the end.
When all at once the monster hushed
And said, its voice a silky sigh,
I only want... a friend

So, Bob felt sorry for the beast
He asked, What is your name?
Some call me Ice-cream-of-the-soul
Others call me Shame
To many I'm Death-upon-a-stick
My mother calls me Slim
In legend I am Discouragement
But you can call me Jim.

For many years I've been alone
Like a watch without a strap
Lying forgotten in a drawer
As Time drips like a broken tap

That drips all of the time
Upon some long neglected, faded map
The creature sniffed
The creature sighed
And then committed suicide.

But Bob took pity on the beast,
Reviving him with mouth to mouth
I'll call you Fred, he said. And we
Will do the thing that we do best
Have adventures on our quest
But first we'll have a little rest
And a cup of tea

And thus it was
Bob found a friend
Some one to talk to as they strode
A companion for his journey
Along the Surrey Road
And as they walked they talked of spots
And why giraffes explode

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Suspense Haiku

It's unexpected.
Midnight. A knock on the door.
You open it.


Big Questions

I’m in Hereford tonight. There’s a festival going on and I’m visiting schools over the next couple of days. Taking the time to sort through my notebook. Here’s a not-yet-finished poem.

About to eat a pizza in a Pizza Express
A Sloppy Joe, classic base

Remembering gazing through the train window
The rich dark greens of waterlogged fields
Water sitting and sparkling like grey ice

And red-brown rushing water

Thinking, it’s only pointless in the long term -
Life, its brevity
The final un-witnessed
Blinking out of time

But plenty to do in the short term
Excitements to plan or capture
Or turn loose from their iron cages

It creeps up behind you when you’re away from home
And you realise that human connectivity
Is invisible at best
Running along fine wires
Tiny explosive electrical charges

And you ache for the illusion of human contact
As you move in so many directions
All at the same moment
To get precisely nowhere

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Getting There

Some say it's better to travel than to arrive. But actually I'll be glad when I get to the finishing line of this new-look blog. I've decided to go with for the music section. If you click on the strange Wonky Finger thing down the left-hand side you should be able to hear some of the tracks. I'll be adding more...

When it's all done I'll be visiting everyone. It'll be interesting to see who's still around and how my friends and acquaintances in blogland are getting on.

I'll be getting some more poems up too. I'm slowly getting another book of "grown-up" poems together.