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  Waiting for Westminster

By Paul Marsden

Member’s life
1 Station sounds
2 Thirty minutes
3 An English Inquisition
4 Unstoppable, unwhippable
5 Demanding times
6 The Grand Old Man

King of emotions
7 Fighting for love lost
8 The hurt
9 She came in the night
10 Love versus hate
11 Suspicious eyes

21st century thoughts
12 The New Forest
13 Music
14 Demon drink
15 Calm
16 In control
17 Journey time
18 Tortured search for private peace
19 Time
20 Single man’s 21st century day
21 Heaven
22 Canned
23 Loch of Inchmahome

Suffering untold 
24 Metal chair 29
25 Eighty at Ligny 30
26 Just War
27 Kanypola
28 ABC to Blood price
29 Poisoned Play
30 Innocence
31 Sky’s eleven
32 Empires then and now
33 The Brits
34 Au Revoir
35 Man O'War
36 Mesmerising Wheel
37 Not a clue

38 Stars of Sorrow
39 Seasonal hair
40 Sirens of Tartara

 Member’s life

Station sounds

How many times have I sat on Wolverhampton late at night waiting for connections to Shrewsbury? Watching, listening to life on the platform. Freezing cold and shivering even on a summer’s night. A dedication to all those passengers waiting for trains and especially those desperately wanting more straight through trains from Euston to Shrewsbury. Keep on hoping.
February 1998.

Whirring and clanking the train strains to a halt
Flicking the magazine pages the sighing businessman waits
Children’s tired laughter and hubba break the stillness
Flickering, fluorescents reflect off the platform

Red dots down the tracks keep the humming engines at bay
Clink, clank the drinks machine coughs out a can
Thump, thump the greasy skinned youth rocks to his Walkman
Click, click, click the analogue clock wiles away the seconds

The impatient carriages hiss and creak
Bang, the blue waiting room door closes
Yelling guards in crushed red shirts saunter up and down
Bump, bump the train snakes away into the night

It’s just another night of station sounds

Thirty minutes

The House of Commons Chamber is the magnificent heart of Britain’s democracy. Its atmosphere is electric one hour and a slumbering bore the next. It is home to dozens of famous speeches and thousands of forgettable ones. But each week for thirty minutes the world tunes into the spectacle of Prime Minister’s Questions.
November 1999.

Tourists giggle with delight at the despatch box,
Where great Prime Ministers have stood in the dock.
A whiff of polish on the Commonwealth mahogany,
No witnesses present in the Public gallery.

Strangers hurry aside as Bobby calls “Speaker”,
Members whisper as they wait for her.
Glittering mace carried afore,
As the procession completes its tour.

Prayers ended with an Amen,
As the limousine leaves Number Ten.
Members turn their backs,
Shaping their question to suit the facts.

“Order, order” the curly grey hair bobs,
A frown reminds forgetful Ministers of their jobs.
A throne to backbenchers and Minister’s nightmare,
Medieval canopy, shelters that famous glare.

In sweeps the smiling Prime Minister,
Backbenchers straighten and stir.
Battle will soon commence,
As the Opposition demand ‘Common Sense’.

Fresh faced MPs with dashing silk ties,
Jostle to catch Madam’s eye.
Up and down the troops rise,
Each side eager to put their whys.

Cameras quietly whirl this way and that,
A point of order wearing a hat.
An Honourable Friend called,
An Opposition Member mauled.

Black bees hover above their heads,
Capturing every word that’s said.
Hidden away the editors write Hansard,
Including pitiful pleas of Members barred.

The Yorkshire growl questions Europe,
But Tony knows their game is up.
A string of figures refutes the cost,
And a roar of approval follows the witty riposte.

An English Inquisition

To Dr David Kelly, a victim caught up in the pitiful brawl between a desperate Prime Minister and a self righteous broadcaster. Rest in Peace, history will not forgive your tormentors.
July 2003

Gentle scientist inventing silent killers,
Through years of laboratory tinkering.
Protected source on wicked bugs,
Happy hours tending pink rose petals.

Buffoon holds aloft this little mole,
Blinking in the row of bright lights.
He barely sees the quarrelling brutes,
Nervously wiping his white whiskers.

Forced to walk the plank in parliament,
Distraught at demands for answers.
Political drama to cheap, sweaty hacks,
Torrent of black invective in the high court.

Tortured game ends when the despair overwhelms,
An English gentleman bowing to torrid spectacle.
Family lose him to sound bite and paranoid PM,
As he takes a walk in the park by a river of red.

Unstoppable, unwhippable

So they think they stopped me?
July 2003

Softly rising from the whipping hands
A polite request for democracy met with derision
Moment of pride searching the heavenly galleries
Calm appeal rebuffed by mocking adjudication

Man from the Scrob defying the braying mob
Refusenik set against the massed courtier ranks
Crossing the party line to protect the frontier
Land of hope painted in front of the home of the brave

From council house to Common House
Family couldn’t afford the music of the age
But he faces the music of an outcast
Preaching web of peace to stop the tribal slaughter

Demanding times
July 2003

This time is not yours, you belong to the people.
Happy to serve but a serious commitment,
To answer the pleas, questions and comments.
Elected to be a servant but surely not a slave?

Unshaven in a supermarket and anger about dentists.
Filling up on petrol met with a smile about the party.
Dropping kids off at school and kept late on Iraq.
Posting a letter and a message from a waiting hip.

Knock on the door urging support for a plan.
Ringing phone threatens suicide.
Emails galore expect instant response.
Faxes scroll out the request for help.

No escape from one hundred thousand,
No less a felling of high a debt.
But not a single worry about votes;
A thank you to a worthy community

An honour, a privilege to fly the logger heads.
Badged in town blue and party yellow.
Never easy to meet all the needs.
Yet always ready to stand up for the gentle folk.

The Grand Old Man
Dedicated to the remarkable William Ewart Gladstone – four times a Prime Minister.
July 2003

Born near to Christmas in 1809; a baby Scouser.
His father bribing his way to a seat at Lancaster.
A member of Pop at Eton prep.
At Oxford said Reform too far a step.

Close to entering God’s church to do His work,
Instead he entered the People’s chamber for Newark.
Staunch Tory Peelite at the age of twenty two,
Sir Robert offered him Treasury before Colonies too.

In Forty One William rewarded with VP Board of Trade.
Irish affairs burst forth. Should Maynooth be paid?
Started to save ladies of the night with secret tours,
And lost his seat over the Corn Laws.

But wary of joining Dizzy and Derby,
He found love with Catherine and little Jessy.
What was found with Elizabeth Collins?
Private huddles to exorcise those sins.

Aberdeen government, in charge of the pounds.
Free Trader, tax cutter with Liberal sounds.
Political elevation as his Budget shows no fear,
But thousands slaughtered at the Crimea.

Repeated attempts by Tories and Whigs to court,
Offering any office brings a sullen retort.
Never impressed with the Lord Palmerston.
Fifty Nine and Liberals unite at Willis’s, London.

Chancellor again but arguments raged,
The fearsome debates on paper duties staged.
The First Lord wanted money to arm,
And won the debate with cries of alarm.

He spoke for the common man in Lancashire.
Leader of the House ready for Russell to retire.
The crowd cried out for ‘Gladstone and Liberty’,
Champion of Second Reform widening democracy.

Chop, chop, chop wheeling his axe in the woods of Hawarden.
Her Majesty’s telegramme offers him a new home at number ten.
Government of Clarendon, Lowe, Granville, Bright and Forster,
Brings a national education system for all together.

Next to be tackled, army reform and ending flogging,
Accountability and professionalism for our soldiering.  
Secret ballots, civil service reform, protection for trade unionists,
All added to the proud achievement list.

Land reform and Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland,
Ends the ruling protestant elite’s hand.
Working day and night to secure,
A triumph of equality for the Catholic poor.

Fifteen million dollars ends the Alabama tensions,
Ushers in better American relations.
The ageing man spends many a night past midnight,
Toiling in the Commons on measures he is sure that are right.

Expected that the new Prime Minister will be Dizzy,
But he refuses and a radical budget is proposed by W.E.G.
Aimed to scrap income tax,
By reducing defence spending with his axe.

Six years ends at the ballot box, his first Ministry,
Swept away by Tories led by Dizzy.
His own six years finishes with Berlin’s peace with honour,
Yet Beaconsfield flounders in Afghan and South African wars.

So begins the Midlothian Campaign at sixty nine,
Thirty speeches in fourteen days time.
Brings acclamation and the Tories to their knees,
Securing the second and third ministries.

Staunchly defends MP Bradlaugh’s affirming right.
Number of voters doubles after winning the electoral reform fight.
But death for Gordon at Khartoum and Irish Home Rule,
Shatters the party into two; such a blow so cruel.

Health failing but wins again in ninety two.
Eyesight fading and shortness of breath but he is not through.
The Grand Old Man fights once more for Ireland against his foes,
His heart burns bright as Commons says aye but Lords say noe.

Years had passed and the Cabinet meetings numbered 556.
The radical leader goes home to Hawarden before his heart no longer ticks.
Sixty one years in the Commons and eighty nine years old,
Buried in Westminster Abbey; a grand life deserving to be told.


King of emotions

Fighting for love lost
October 2002

Idolised love of seventeen.
Handsome face riven with pain and clutched stomach.
Blind eye unseeing, courage unrelenting
Hairless staggering of breathing corpse.
Days tick away, yet mission accomplished!
‘Goodbye’ cries the fragile skeleton.
Peace found and torched passed.
Keep the faith, take the risk, enter the game.

True love of twenty six.
Strength built from tortured emotion
Happy times borne of kinship
Joy of soul mates hand in hand,
Stabbing pain at silence surrounding
Eyes of brown lights fires of hope
Eternal being of one shared knowing
Keep the faith, take the risk, play the game.

Self love of twenty nine.
Self belief chariot carries ambition but success rides destiny’s horse.
Wind in the righteous mane keeps the passionate heart beating.
Grip your feet in the stirrups of pride.
Unsheathe the sword of anger and slay the doubter.
But that cry of revenge is a howling hurt.
Victory snatched against all odds.
Keep the faith, take the risk, beat the game.

Defiant love of thirty three
Demanding shoves in the face of anonymity.
Hurting digs at a questioned war.
Refusal to be quiet, truth at Trafalgar.
Ripping suffocating chains calls the bluff 
Distant enemy whispers a memory.
Time to be true and break free to smile at tyranny
Keep the faith; take the risk, forever a game.

The hurt
Losing someone dear – my dad.
October 2002

Disease robs the fragile fun of growing up
Rage consumes innocence and drives ambition
Fire sweeps veins of retribution
Stress dissolves pools of deep love
Tears sting and splash in streams of hurt
Misery hurdles despair to break thoughts of failure
The hurt, the hurt, the hurt.

She came in the night
January 2003
She came in the night,
Dark hair, alive billowing as a trapped kite,
Marching forward, confident and right,
Her hips swaying and her red lips tight,
Then that smile so devastating in its might,
Tongue rippling across teeth so white,
Breasts rising as I feel the urge to bite.
Eyes stalking its prey, she’s relishing the fight.
Who would mess with this amazing sight?
In awe of womanhood so sexual and bright,
A wondrous sweet smell exacerbates my plight,
Arching her back, stretched to its full height,
I am captured forever, dazzled by feminine light.
As she came in the night.

Love versus Hate
January 2003

Evil’s right hand is hate,
Impregnating the souls of the weak.
Searching out to prey on the shallow,
Seeping into pores of the bully.

Evil lets slip its sly smile,
With its loyal lieutenant of pain.
Despatching hate to hunt the haunted,
Desperately seeking to spread its poison.

Love calls on its finest weapon,
Swooping the land and soaring hearts.
Fathering hope that runs so deep,
Feathering the faces of the innocent.

Love’s clarion call to decent people,
Carried by hope to shatter the doom.
Rising to shine over the hill of hate,

Raking the land with conquering love.

Suspicious eyes

July 2003

Slate wet sky and droplets of stone underfoot.
Green eyes glare out their anger,
In one of our moments of suspicion.
Sight frozen with sadness,
Wailing heart too afraid to speak
Light enters but darkness fills your mind.

A quartet of crickets chirp their evening song.
Brown irises give withering look.
No escape from those search lights.
A look that cuts my heart,
Slicing through its tender muscle.
Fluttering lashes betray stinging tears.

Who sits in the cool silent shade?
Will I ever be forgiven for unmentionable sins?
What whirls behind the tunnels to your thoughts?
How often do you roll those balls of fire?
Why will those black pupils stay tight as a needle’s eye?
When will those beacons of love smile again?

21st century thoughts

The New Forest

I have seen the enormous growth in mobile telephone masts. We all need them for our hectic daily lives but the consumer society triumphs over the countryside.

October 1999

Locals pine for the past.

A nation of green and copper, bushy forests,

Dropping their autumnal canopies,

Cropped back through ages of agriculture.

Occasional tufts of timber tradition left.


But we are making progress!

New shoots appear across the land

The New Forest is thinly spread but growing quickly.

Glinting branches round, smooth and rarely swaying.

Their boughs spindly, spiky, tall and straight.


The New Forest’s seeds are bought in every High Street

In a self righteous shriek we cry:

Stamp out the seedlings appearing in our backyard.

Yet we all carry a talking seed with its Big C worries.

And spread the trees of despair.


January 1999

Better than a whiff of perfume or a love note
Music goes to our hearts
The beat, the harmony, the melody of memories
Music rekindles the dream

The lyrics resonate to each of us
Music gives words meaning
Classical, pop, rock and thump, thump
Music to us is decided in youth

It gives us time to think
Music sweetly relives the reality of our lives
Eyes closed we remember smells of the moment
Music stirs our deepest feelings for life

Demon drink

April 1999

So tempting to disappear into your fantasyland
Your hot burning fuel slipping down
That wonderful oasis in the sand
Making my troublesome heart soar and pound

A first drink starts so happily
You can reach upwards to the stars
Bright and loud with life so easy to see
Pretty girls and fast cars

But watch out for the sting in the tail
Liver turning green
Debts piling up in the mail
Losing control and making a scene

Words spoken in a careless moment
A blurring world creeps up slowly
Make so many promises at lent
You forget the we, it’s only me

The secret is moderation and plenty of sleep
Take care when the guard drops
Don’t let the alcohol demons storms the keep
Forget the lure of the hops

Get life’s buzz through sport
Don’t be fooled by alcohol’s draw
Otherwise another binge ends up in court
Stop and think every island has its shore


If only people could learn how to relax. Me especially!
June 1999

Space for everyone,
A little time for each and all.
No worries, no stomach churning,
Just a gentle breeze and birds singing.
A field of swaying corn and summer sun,
A mind at ease and children’s laughter.

All the world in haste,
As the bronzed fisherman casts.
Lazy river with clear water,
Meanders round a field without a stir
Peace at last
Except for the child with no past.

In control

Life is too short and white collar workers seem to forget what is important. The pressures have never been greater to perform and sacrifice family life. Organisations must take the pressure off and it is families and communities who pay the price.

Clerk in his twenties and in control.
Stomach tightening and the brain races.
In control and fighting the thoughts.
 ‘I’m in control,’ he says aloud,
‘I can relax, I’m not stressed out’.
Thoughts flutter and adrenaline flows,
So many thoughts, so much to do.
Heart thumping, palms sweating.
He’s in control.

Manager in his thirties and in control.
The time is nearing, the clock ticking.
One problem, a second action, a third meeting.
Prioritise, manage the time, delegate and computerise,
Action and memorise the memo.
Make the deal and close the deal.
Thump, thump. Thump, thump.
Clock is ticking, sweat trickling.
He’s in control.

Director in his forties and in control.
Shake the handshake, Smile today’s hundredth smile.
Earn a hundred dollars an hour
A ‘smart’ guy who loves his wife.
The pension is building but the children are fighting.
The golf course calling but the sales targets need chasing.
Th…thump, th…thump, .
He’s in control.

Chief Executive, in his fifties and in control.
Boss at last; no time to celebrate.
Blood pressure rising and bald pate glistening.
Pain strikes, chest is crushed.
Lights go out, stumble into darkness,
Hear the sirens wail.
The wife thinks of the golden retirement years,
Heart stops pumping, nothing sweating.
Who’s in control?

Journey time
July 2003

Have we really cut the time of travel? Maybe but the wonder of the freedom of the car can be reflected at leisure in the long traffic jams.

Whishing wheat in a hawthorn breeze
Striding up the mapped contours

Clattering feet under dark mane swaying
Snorting beast under the bounce

Put, putting through swirling dark waters
Reeds curtseying to the narrow home

Puffing gasping white smoke down the line
Hurrying onwards, scything to the cities

Slow belching fumes from rivers of concrete
Criss crossing the land, packed with metal boxes

Journeys through history
Taken at the same time

Tortured search for private peace
January 2003

Teetering on the brink,
Wondering what the future holds.
Brilliance or genius so often asked.
Yet so easy to let slip,
Melancholy smothers the vision.
The anguished past surrounds,
A raging guilt to find salvation.

Oh the dream of simple choices.
The quest for nothing more than,
The challenge of nature’s seasons.
No more role playing.
No worries about the employed.
No constituents to behold.
When will that day of freedom dawn?

Yearning for the silent peace and honoured privacy,
Hoping for an escape to anonymity,
Yet the ego rises and
Greedily possesses the hidden soul.
A slave to the public photograph.
A hunger for the sound bite.
It squeezes out humanity and sells the spirit to the devil.


April 2002

No ticking but time is moving on,
A relentless, silent march.

Never ending, never stopping,
A defiant, decisive measure of our souls.

Night and day, mothers and babies,
Always tracking our birthdays.

Neanderthals light years in blood line,
An email sent in a blink.

Now we live for today,
And we shall love forever.

Single man’s 21st century day
November 2002

6, jolt awake, alarm’s blasting latest dance mix.
7, yawn and stretch, breakfast of hot tea with lemon.
8, shower away the sleep, running late.
9, curse the time, Damn! Camera flashes for another fine.
10, customer complaint, reach for the coffee again.
11, dreaming babes and booze in Ibiza’s heaven.
12, blood sugar low, reports to write and data to delve.
1, lunch, curled ham sandwich gone.
2, graveyard shift, caffeine fix so much work to do.
3, phone ringing and faxes spewing, when will I be free?
4, aching back, forced to listen to the office bore.
5, freedom bells sound, race through doors feeling alive.
6, driving home, weave through the jams in a traffic fix.
7, unfold paper, Its Nancy not Ulrika for our Sven!
8, watch TV dinner turn, ten minute wait.
9, slumped on the sofa, bottle of Bordeaux wine.
10, treadmill life, who will break this boring hell and when?
11, so switch off the lights, eyes closing for today’s lonely men

July 2003

Each to choose their Heaven,
Wishful dreams on high.
A soaring ecstasy, a perfect ten.
Questions answered; no more whys.

Is this a far away, swaying ship?
On a tantalising blue horizon,
A promise fulfilled from serene worship
And slicing, brutal nightmare gone.

I’m flying through a cool star scattered dark,
Falling through clouds of bills and debts.
Gone is the never ending sea of circling sharks,
No more fears of sinking into the freezing wet.

Onwards and upwards to find the Angels,
A heaven for me with an abounding smile.
Happy days forever surrounded in echoing bells,
Skimming the waves for a golden mile.

October 2003

Waggling, wriggling power pipe,
Racing through the framed dark.
Rosebud reds flash fleetingly.
Shots of yellow flood the wall.
Rumbling, rattling can burrowing deep.

Ten million feet tremble above.
Dozens of crumpled, huddled bodies recoil.
Irises avoid embarrassed pupils,
Musk clouds burst from tanned blond.
Babbling, bits of talk intrigue the silent.

Never so close, never so apart.
Village hellos befriend a lonely stroll,
But no city smile breaks the pack.
Troubled, sad faces sway to and fro.
Mind that gap between cold concrete and steely shuttle.

Loch of Inchmahome
October 2003

Lazy, wisp of cloud, dances on the mirror
Sighing, wooden splash dip into the reflection
Autumnal beeches crowd close on shore to view the isle.

Walter’s comyng announced the priory prayer.
Great nephew namesake loved Mary dearly.
Chapter home to stone photo of entwined lovers

History’s sweet chestnut nurture Nun’s Walk.
Lost castle of tumbled stone underfoot
Future Queen boxed in to her sanctuary.

English Victorians day trippers name a lake
But Scots ne-er forsake their loch
And ice rink matches curl its length.

Hearty braveheart finds Labour’s roots.
Hardie’s friend fights for the poor
But his nationalist head lays in the church

Where lies the dead of this hallowed place?
Bled by leeches, held in God’s arms til his calling.
No infirmary or cemetery left but souls are safe.

Blessed isle never tethered but surely anchored.
Holding close your precious secrets of ages past.
Peaceful oasis and opus dei.

Suffering untold

Metal Chair

I totally and utterly oppose the death sentence. The cost is too great and propels humans to proclaim to be Gods. This poem was inspired by the American film ‘Dead Man Walking’.

August 1999

Death warrant signed,
Scalp shaved and metal chair shined.
Stays are all gone,
For he is a killer and a con.

The audience waits,
A mother pleads with the State.
Chains and straps tighten,
The son, father and brother whiten,

The executioner turns to the button,
One final chance denied by the Warden.
The young man cries and shakes,
Before the current flows and his back breaks.

Justice served or animal revenge?
An eye for eye belongs at Stonehenge.
A man dead and another family alone.
Surely his victim didn’t need another tombstone.

Eighty at Ligny

I went on holiday with the family to a French village, Flers in Northern France. Not far away lies a small cemetery for British soldiers who died in the First World War. Ligny-sur-Canche is found down a dirt road from the village and this sad garden containing eighty graves is surrounded by beautiful French fields and woods. Elsewhere we found up to six cemeteries in a single tiny village but this one place touched me. When my three year old son asked me why they had all died I could not answer him. This is my personal tribute to the fallen soldiers and their families in that terrible war.
September 1999

A tended garden in a field of France,
Walled with a wooden gate where butterflies dance.
A tall cross marking the precious spot,
Near to where each man was ripped with shot.

Two lines of dominoes standing upright,
A warm sun glinting off the Portland white.
Fifteen inches wide, eighty one years old,
Rank, name, day he died, age is told.

Red roses surrounding every named stone,
Lock in the poor man’s last moan.
Except those Known unto God,
Unidentified below the green sod.

Those terrible young deaths at Ligny,
Where sons and husbands numbered eighty.
Buried by their new found brothers,
In a war that broke the hearts of mothers.

Pourquoi? A child’s simple question,
No reason son, I could mention.
For freedom, for glory, an argument over borders,
Or were they simply following orders?

Fear lay behind each pair of eyes,
Answers were rarely found for their whys.
But each overcame their personal dread,
With courage and hope, knee deep in dead.

This oasis reaches back to an awful week,
September ’18, when the eighty were never meek.
Two months before the train ride of Wemyss,
Signed and sealed the first Armistice.

Just War
Why do innocent American lives seem to be more important than the innocent people in Afghanistan?

Flying bomb straight ahead,
Driven by hatred, pilot dead.
Cappuccino chat, meeting by whim,
Fireball melts a screaming victim.

Bulging mother bomb giving birth,
Deadly baby boom floating to earth.
Explosions rip through bones,
Silencing the agonising moans.

Dust smudged face stained with tears,
Pleading calls to those held dear.
Ceiling drops, lines cut out,
Cushion of smoke ends the doubt.

Silent BLU canister painted yellow.
Boy plays in the dirt, mummy bellows.
American packet of peanut butter and jelly?
No, Russian roulette and torn open belly.

Just war or bloody retribution?
Innocent people separated by an ocean.
Houses of mud and concrete towers,
Precious lives ended in a bloody shower.

A visit to Malawi and a tiny village called Kanyopola opens my eyes to the worst and the best of humanity. The worst lies in the betrayal by the West and the best is found in the hearts of the African people.
October 2002

Dancing children greet the rumbling machine beast
A jig for food becomes a quiet huddle
Sadness coats the dust swirling around scabby skins
A Western beacon surrounded by the desperate and the dying

Harvest failed; a nation in famine
Sale of the century to feed the villages
Pots and pans, clothes and tools
All worldly goods gone but hope never lost

A greying elder tells their story
Four bags of maize for four people
Yet two hundred and fifty sit and stare
No maize, no food, no life

Sharing a smoke and swapping a joke
Young African lions hang their exhausted heads
No sex, drugs nor rock ‘n roll
Sitting and waiting for a reason to die

Little fingers cling filthy fading rags
Whispered shushes can not silence snuffling sobs
Maternal love cannot fill empty bellies
Warm arms cannot shield from the last darkness

Love keeps families together
Pride polishes the mud hut floors
Dignity kisses the lips covering the creamy smiles
Kanyopola laughs in Death’s face


ABC to Blood price
So Tony Blair thinks that the ‘blood price’ of war is worth paying?
November 2002

Boy dreams of scoring for Manchester United,
Playing next to Beckham and dressed in red.
Watching the TV game in Peshawar,
Praying quietly three times to Allah.
But he can’t play for his club,
No agent will spot this soccer cub.
He lies prostrate told by doctors to be thankful,
In spite of the throbbing pain that will not dull.
Alive but his right leg ripped off,
Agonising injuries making him cough.
Alone without a name in a hospital bed.
Another American bomb that left his family dead.

Staggering down hope’s road with dust caked feet,
Clutching moaning baby hanging onto empty teat.
Safety in sight at the border post,
‘Help us’, cries this mother ghost.
She pleads with the Police officer on duty,
Who hates refugees with a streak of cruelty?
His orders are simple - no one past,
The truncheon moves lightening fast.
Blood and confusion marks the retreat,
Back down the windy street.
Broken mother wailing, infant silent,
Battered head, so lifeless and bent.

Excited families crowd and jostle,
On an ancient bus the colour of autumnal rustle.
Eighteen inside and four clinging on top,
Taking the babbling passengers to the next stop.
Afghan innocents heading to Kandahar,
Above a F18 swoops like a falling star.
Pilot spots this ‘terrorist tank’,
Turns the joystick into bank.
Click the safety off the laser guided missile,
Coolly waiting for the flashing red dial.
Curse the roar of the million dollar liberator,
Cruel revenge in America’s war against terror.

Poisoned play
December 2002

Champagne fizzing in flutes, windows frame falling snowflakes.
Swirling ball gown hovers as nervous tuxedo waits.
World away from vodka soaked, souls quite wretched and lost.
Melnikova Street prepares to play to a full house of Nord Ost.

Cracks and bangs, shrieks and yells, theatre stung without warning.
Shock and disbelief in the band as the black bees swarming.
Time thumps in the breasts of the fearful, scared and those in pain,
Demands of free nectar from self righteous fanatics without shame.

Soft hissing tilts curious heads searching for the strange snake.
In the sleep deprived dawn the serpent slithers to create the wake.
Freedom arrives! Don’t despair as Alpha storms in,
To shoot and kill on the orders of Bush and Putin.

Three day survivors stagger out to gulp crisp cold air.
A hundred theatre goers sit stiff and empty eyes blankly stare.
Octet of musicians’ frozen hands fail to play a single note.
Why? Chechnya gripped by icy Moscow and denied one vote.
America screams that Iraq hides its gas behind an evil record,
Yet shrugs when the Russian bear releases its deadly hoard.
What is this world that cowers beneath US might?
Imperialism given a new name by an eagle’s claw of sleight.

God, we seem to be able to only watch and wait for this imperial war waged by the rogue superpower.
January 2003

Breathing dust in the Baghdad street,
Arguing with friends in sweaty heat,
Kids the same all over the world,
Laughing and shouting emotions unfurled,
Fights and shoves soon forgotten,
Not long before they become men,
But tonight they are still innocent,
No understanding of the power of the cent.

Innocent American soldiers wanting payback,
Soon to storm cities in vicious attack
Shooting at the Republican Guard,
Macho swagger and muscles rigid hard.
Weeks of dropping bombs by tired pilots,
Missing tanks and hitting infant cots.
Where is justice in this imperial war?
No need for Bush to worry about international law.

Can these people not see the misery?
Greedy liquid gold advisers rubbing hands in glee.
Not caring about innocent names,
Metal ripping through skulls to splatter brains. 
A war pushed by greasy, oil men,
Concerned about the dollar and the yen.
Pulling strings in the White House,
Not difficult with a President Mouse.

Sky’s eleven
July 2003
Stripes in the sky lifts a gazing eye to heaven.
Blown away in minutes on day nine eleven.
Fanatics driven by hate and emotional heat.
Ruthless to their core terrorising  Big Apple streets.

The West penny pinching its golden purse.
Flying planes puncture boxes of commerce.
Fireballs reduce noble lives to memories.
Loved ones left in anguished tombs without keys.

Sorrowful city left wondering why?
Many dead but no place to finally lie.
Building site overshadowed by hanging questions.
Massacre that leads to a world of tensions.

Pray for understanding of the daily slaughter.
Can we not make the global suffering shorter?
Every life precious - Arab and American.
New way needed to bring hope to innocent children.

Empires then and now
November 2003

An Emperor’s army built his roads criss crossing a continent.
A President’s engineers spread a web around the world.

Submerging Sulis into Minerva bridges the conquered divide.
Golden arches gobble up the indigenous food.

An eagle marches to bring ‘peace’ to politicians in togas.
An eagle marches to deliver ‘democracy’ to politicians in oily suits.

Nothing can stop the thrusting gladius bringing genocide to the Gauls.
Invincible all seeing stealth bombers explode thousand of Afghans and Iraqis.

Imperial overlords with grand designs rage for peace,
Yet both Empires cry havoc and kill the innocent.

The Brits
June 2004

Independence born in Boudicca.
Hope rises from Arthurs Camelot.
Spirit of Glyndwr’s rebellions and Wallaces blood.
Fight forged against a mighty Armada.
Steel salvaged from Napoleons onslaught.
Passion and pride in Tommys Passendale.
Courage snatched in Dunkirks great escape.
Victory rooted in Agincourt, Waterloo, El Alamein and the Falklands.

British underdog lives forever.
Proud, upright, dogged and total refusal to surrender.
Justice dispensed by a good judge and a fair jury.
Giving life to democracy in the mother of all Parliaments.
In defence of a precious island,
Britain will stand alone to fight for values of truth and honour.
The band of brothers for Queen and country,
Never to surrender, never to fall.

Au revoir
July 2004

The relief pours over my tortured soul,
Right decision made for a left rebel.
Memories held dear, pride standing tall.
No big regrets, just small victories.

Would a father understand?
Saying goodbye to it all.
Eight long years coming to an end.
A rollercoaster of passion, tears and soul searching

Man O War
May 2005

Swirling breath of the panting warrior.
A capitance of eagerness for the battle.
To charge the smoking canon afar,
Through thunderous crack of loess shot.

No space for indecision, in the ranks of lions.
Hear not near roars but watch far away stars.
Follow the road where angels stagger,
Clutching, their throats full of poisoned fog.

His Pandoras Box has lost all hope
In a land of gourd filling his kapok chest.
The Union aorta beats for his Regina
but creel of fear consumes logic organ.

No, I refuse the delirium of death, he says.
Pour a patriotic lake into my heart and listen to it boil.
Pump steel springs and sprint to the finishing line.
Another line to cross; to live some more.

Spinning, fizzing shrapnel, slice through pride,
Crack, puff of red, fall and silence.
Chunks of steel, steam miasma off burning flesh .
Clawing mud, clasping hope.

Drops of blood, seep out of shrinking ventricles,
Rasping air from punctured lungs.
Body of sweet blood, saliva and shit
Abandoned in the kingdom of pain.

Faint beat and furrowed brow,
Moaning to Mother,
Brings diamante salvation
In the tortured sigh.

Mesmerising wheel
June 2005

Who he is

A freak in caprious mood,
Unconventionally defying convention
Erratic for days, outlandish on green stage, in front of the camera
No angel or idol, just loneliness.

Eccentric shows of bravura,
Spreading plumage to touch their dreams.
Revolting heretic of the Third Way,
Dissenting open throat against gagging henchmen.

The game

That septennial itch, unstable as seaborgium.
Rising up to the surface of cerebrospinal fluid.
Lustful ocean swamping the mind’s eye.
Blinded by the fish poison filtering out the beams of love.

She fingers my carnal appetite through bleary lights.
Grey smoke penetrated by sinful albumen.
Niff of musk clouds my neb and
Fleshy tool of talking flickers across lips.

Restless beast stretches inside pantaloons.
Smites snivelling quiet judiciousness.
Bottled Old Nick soaks out from each pore,
Washing aside a side fealty leading to her nest.

The act

Frozen ardour, thawed by a butterfly eye and
Heart sweetened by a silkened caress.
Infatuated by a warbling vamp is the
Wretched libido come fly again?

Deepest craving, addicted to another’s desires.
Coveting a stroke of that swelling button.
Yearning to enter a passage into her open scroll.
My post inserted into her tome of moans.

Peeling back pages of love notes uncovers a dirty heart.
Stripping seven years of devotion down, to a sinful, moment,
Exposing a beautiful body and throwing away, a beautiful mind.
Plodding on the wheel of unhappy promiscuity.

Prowling gaggles of candy floss for pink promise.
Lewd in look, charming in conversation.
Catching the girlish ache, cradling it into my web of seduction.
Crawling over sticky questions and thrusting into moist crevices.

Not a clue
June 2005

Talking time in Juvenilia,
Self important moments of injured pride.
So take your young urgency
For all the things that don’t matter.
Shove them up to karoo and
Don’t go looking for them again.

Shoes are for walking not mincing;
An important logo is light blue with an orb.
Look up at syringa in the sky
And remember who dies today
Just because they were born
Under a different constellation.

Don’t moan at the food on your plate.
Go to the place of huts
And c if u can find the water.
Kaleidoscopic Famine Canker without fries.
Hot days, empty stomachs
And big black flies.

Stars of sorrow
October 2006

Lying on a cold rock, I listen to the screaming mental cosmos,
As the spider of depression, tiptoes across bright stars of sorrow.

Hurtling mistakes, gravitate around Planet Guilt
And sling shot into a foggy bog of sorries.

Foetally clawing back twisted branches of sapling stupidity,
Nothing moves until a struggling fly of trapped chance appears.

Splinters of delicious smiles, nuzzling kisses and whirling hugs,
Shoot past my swamp of pleadings to recolonise history.

Tasting droplets of seawater, I strike away the regret
And my head meteors back to here, now and hated self. 

Seasonal hair
20th May 2008

My hair is in its late summer.
Breezy, wispy and ready for a harvest.
Gone are the early Spring days
 of a thriving, thicket of unruly thatch.
Yet I fear the sparse winter will be worse!

Siren in Tartara
20th May 2008

Beyond the passing crowd jangles turned to clinks,
Before I could see the one eyed girl tossing coins.
A bottle green eye cast a withering glance
As the next sovereign pinged skywards.
Why could no one see the treasures?
Why did no one notice the craggy, filthy girl?

I hesitated and my cheeks twitched in embarrassed spam.
She did not flinch and poured a steady gaze upon my soul.
I licked my lips and swallowed my hurt and tried to stretch my back.
I slid my eyes left to right and right to left. I crossed the street.
Gurgling turned to colic as the vacant sack in my belly protested.
I winced and ground my yellow teeth.

The last drops of tomato juice from yesterday’s tins,
Spilt onto the cobbles clung to spiky face.
Was there a hint of menace in her grin?
She spun the pretty keys of wealth higher into the sky.
My greedy mind begun to see
Conical mounds of rice, branches of bananas and pyramid apples.

I pushed through the mob and stood six feet from her.
I looked left to right and right to left.
No one leapt forward to pin my arms. No one shouted, ‘It’s him!’
With one swift beckon of four fingers I lent close in.
I offered her mouthfuls of sweet secrets from my old political vaults.
I whispered in bad breath nuggets of helpful scenes I had witnessed.

I lent back to examine her face. I looked left to right and
A man was running fast, pulling people out of his way.
I jolted, expecting the pain of seizure
And as he was on me he brushed past and was gone.
I looked back at the sapphire gaze.
She shook her head pitifully and weighed her treasure in her hands.

Finally, she nodded expressionless and stopped tossing the food tokens.
As she stood she let the golden circles fall and I saw dirty finger nails,
I pounced and she turned and ran into the crowd.
I felt the clammy metal and threw it into my tattered pockets and then looked up.
She was almost gone but not quite.
That child’s face coldly frowned.

Her lips curled and the sighted eye told me that I was broken forever.
In the instant she disappeared, I saw what I had become.
A final desperate act of a man no more. Not a beggar but a thief.
I didn’t see the white cone or the silver fish in the dim market hall.
I found what I needed at the ironmonger.
I coldly picked up the glinting strip and wrenched it into my throat.