Starting Over

A poem written for a friend's dad who sadly passed away this year:

Car and the kerbside, our permanent goalposts.
Days in the sunshine can't come to a stop.
And in darkened window your dad holds a tea-towel;
Smiles at your overhead kicks. Spion Kop.

There in the kitchen, your biggest supporter,
Watches the game with one eye on the grill.
And though all your dreams be tossed up and blown,
His reflection remains in the window, still.

Still his reflection is there in the window;
Still his heart beats, as the grandchildren play.
He's there in the garden; he's there on the driveway;
He's there for the bedtimes and throughout the day.

And Lennon songs fill up the house with the past.
They ring through the rooms to dispel the pain.
And clasping the photograph forty years on,
You Imagine those two Starting Over again.

Published 28th Jul 2016 | Tributes


One written for a well-known DIY superstore!

Stop for a flapjack, a teacake, a brew.
The aroma of coffee and toast is the cue.
Step out of the chaos and hullabaloo.
Our bright orange aprons are waiting for you.

What will it be sir? A table for two?
Chillax in the corner; take in the view.
See there in the distance the filler, the glue -
The foreground adorned by the nail and the screw.

Comprehensive selection of carpet shampoo.
Beyond there, the compost - John Innes number two.
There's the pipe that you carelessly put a nail through
And the bathroom displays: 10% off a loo.

And the rivers of paint: the turquoise, the blue,
Complimentary colour chart one can leaf through.
Kaleidoscope colours, a bespoke Xanadu.
As you sip at your latte, would you write a review?

Whilst assessing the Do It Yourself you can do
Our romance-filled cafe will make you feel new.
Find us on Facebook, in Wigan or Crewe -
We're next to the gents, at your B and Q.

Published 31st Jul 2016 | Just for Fun

Bin Day

Another for the dads:

In the distance that familiar sound;
He under sheets in the heat.
Then a jolt and realisation
That the bin lorry was in the next street.

Exploded from bed and flies downstairs -
A trembling blur of fear.
The seconds ticked like bombs;
The iron man pulled near.

A curse and scramble for the keys,
He knew this one was tight.
The cat had run for cover
As dad burst into the light.

What caused him to forget that day
His duties, as a man?
Why so did he refuse to scan
His refuse collection plan?

Was it time that took its toll
And turned his aged brain to jelly?
Or raw fatigue or overwork
Or the football on the telly?

Hydraulic jaws were closer then,
The morning filled with racket
Of clanking, thundering metal arms
And men in yellow jackets.

The bins were dragged with sweating hands
At top speed down the drive.
(And in these magic moments
Ain't it great to be alive?)

And when they rested by the gate,
He stood with burning pride.
Eyeballs filled with joyous tears
And nerves electrified.

So he ran and spun and thumped his chest
In the early morning breeze.
And like a scoring number nine,
Slid down the street on his knees.

His shouts and whoops increased
Before that truck had even gone.
And he'd have taken all his clothes off
If he'd have had any on.

Published 31st Jul 2016 | For Dad

Dustbin Dad

Dustbin Dad

It's in the job description
It's written in the law
Finishing everybody's plate
Is just what dads are for.

He does do lots of other jobs
Just look at all his lists
But eating what we don't want
Is the reason dad exists.

But his happiness is halted
When the bin men do arrive
‘Cos we stand him out on Tuesdays
At the bottom of our drive.

Published 31st Jul 2016 | For kids

It's Only a Wasp

A poem written for all teachers who have ever had their lesson destroyed by a wasp in the classroom.

It’s only a wasp, or a bee – I’m just guessing.
It could be a monster, the way they’re all stressing.
If it was, it might eat one, which could be a blessing.
But there’s no way of resurrecting my lesson.

It flew in through the window around half-past ten.
There’s been no meaningful work since then;
When a wasp’s in the room, they can’t use a pen –
To be honest, they only write scraps now and then.

At 10.31 my class were advised
To keep writing, stay calm – but I wasn’t surprised
That by 10.32 they were all hypnotised –
And not by the lesson that I had devised.

There’d be less of a stir if it was an alsatian –
A black-widow spider. A drunken relation.
I’ve tried all I can, but they’ve no inclination
To tackle this crucial exam preparation.

This miniscule demon. This pain in the neck.
This trespassing, murderous, venomous speck
(Only slightly more fun than an hour of Food Tech)
Has predictably left my classroom a wreck.

This beast in the room is causing real tension
At break they’ll all exaggerate its dimensions
But one thing’s for certain, I feel I must mention -
It can do what I can’t – and hold their attention.

Published 1st Aug 2016 | Just for Fun

Below Par

A poem written for a golfing enthusiast friend:

How straight it flew. How long it flew.
A heaven sent drive on the third.
Past windmill, o’er bridge
Full cresting the ridge
Green eyes gazing on, without word.

Three inches from hole it decided to rest;
Strikes of such style are few.
Casual but sturdy,
With a smile for the birdie,
I caressed it straight home for a two.

On subsequent holes, the same story.
Dream approaches, then in for the kill.
Then a selfie to tweet
‘Cos there's nothing to beat
Crazy golf on the seafront at Rhyl.

Published 1st Aug 2016 | Just for Fun

School Librarian

Bow down low, doff your cap.
Central point on the laminated map.
Tuck your shirt in; hush your voice.
Read the blurbs; make your choice.
Queen bee, bookworm; she's no fool.
Got your Dewey number, this shelf-styled jewel.
Make an appointment on her multi-coloured chart;
Researching for history; bunking off art.
Glasses on a chain; chunky-knit jumpers;
The school's Willy Wonka with her team of Oompa-Loompas.

The keeper of the classics for you to get lost in:
Steinbeck, Dickens, Joyce, Jane Austen.
Lord of the Rings, she's got a first edition.
Misspent youth by her own admission.
Up to her knees in Jacqueline Wilson,
Expert in Dante, Shelley and Milton.
There's nothing about Shakespeare that she can't teach -
And she sells pens too, for twenty pence each.

Published 1st Aug 2016 | Just for Fun

Gift Shops

Quite like castles and stately homes,
Old buildings throughout the land.
Museums make me feel dead smart,
But it's the gift shops I can't stand.

Shelves of shortbread, tartan tins,
Books on keeping bees.
Embroidered cushion covers,
Alan Titchmarsh DVDs.
Christmas jigsaws, painted eggs,
Coasters by the crate
Volunteers with homely names,
Mugs of Princess Kate.

So when I'm lost in cookbooks
And CDs from World War One
It takes all my nerve and strength
To keep calm and carry on.

Published 1st Aug 2016 | Just for Fun

The Undisputed Hanging Basket Champion of the Street

For a much-loved gardening grandad:

The undisputed hanging-basket champion of the street.
A constant in his greenhouse: flip-flops on his feet.
Heavy fingers delicately kiss the growing shoots;
Wrinkles by his eyes spread on like strong, far-reaching roots.

And at the door his other perfect seedlings stand and gaze.
Eyes fixed, rightly unaware that these are perfect days
Of scent that stays forever and of late September sun,
Of ice-cream on the patio and water pistol fun.
Of a million freezing platforms and walks along the coast.
Of late nights with the telly, and too much butter on their toast.

And while he binds the stem with twine to ancient wooden peg,
His shadows hold each other and wrap themselves around his leg.

Published 4th Aug 2016 | Tributes

Why Can't I Present Blue Peter?

It can't be all that difficult.
What problems could there be?
I could arrange a carol concert
Around the Christmas tree.

Climb up Kilimanjaro
With an adventurous southern bloke.
Interview some singer,
And give that dog a stroke.

I'm not much of a gardener
And my drawing’s not fantastic,
But I'm good with coloured card
And some sticky back plastic.

Alright, I'm not an expert
With spiders, rats and snakes.
But I've been to Chester Zoo once
I mean, what more can it possibly take?

And as for all the science stuff,
Well, I've got a GCSE.
If there's a show with dangerous chemicals,
It would be safest to pick me.

See, I've got all of the skills
That the BBC are after.
And my dad told me a few jokes
So we'll be OK for laughter.

Look, I won't have shaky fingers
When the camera does a close up.
And if I have to use sharp scissors,
I can always ask a grown up.

Published 11th Aug 2016 | For kids

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