Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Aston Hall

Alien Invasion in Aston

It is as if a spaceship had descended
A bloody great Jacobean one
Descending to destroy the muck and grime
The ugliness of what surrounds , calling time

On the careless buildings which abound

Squat and ugly temporary
Bland insipid monstrosities
That choke at its chimneys
And paw at its gates
Over run by mediocrity most ignominious of fates

A superior race with thought and care
With time to wonder what goes where
Should visit us fast
To conquer those who build not to last
For Holte and Watt were visionaries too
Not men for suffering architectural fools
Who allowed place and sightlines to be wrecked, blocked and mangled
All in the name of progress and new fangled

The alien forms would question the intelligence,
Of those who thought that the M6 had perspective relevance
To splendour and pride and artistic aesthetics
Not a bungled attempt at a transportation quick fix
So roll out your weapons and your powerful armouries
And flatten the offending to restore landscape harmonies.

The Long Gallery- Aston Hall

Where ladies pout whilst showing out
Escorted by husbands or young men
Where gossip slips from indiscreet lips
Of who, and what and when
With reports exchanged of Trafalgar or Waterloo
Or other tales of Empire derring-do
On the turn she might expose a heel, perhaps an ankle
Just a glimpse enough to make paramours thankful
Haughtily ignoring the gasps, the sighs
For really this was but light exercise
When outside rain might smudge a perfectly powdered nose
Or risk a stain on virgin white hose
When precipitation might flatten carefully coiffeured tresses
Or dampen the line of voluminous dresses
Which dipped, swept and ostentatiously swayed
At the distinguished , morning promenade

Groom to the Stool of the King

(Inscription above the fireplace in front of which the servants dined)

If service be thy means to thrive
Thou must therein remain
Both silent faithful just and true
Content to take some pain

If love of virtue may allure
In hope of worldly gain
In fear of God may thee procure
To serve do not disdain

If you are groom to the stool of the king
Whenever his aides came beckoning
It was your task to produce his throne
A seat of which he called his own
For kings do not attend a lavatory
Instead they come to him you see
A noble regal affectation
Providing comfy defacation
And because sometimes before relief
His majesty would sup upon gold leaf
The groom would sift the contents rough and runny
As where there’s muck there’s always money

Aston Hall

Grand avenue
A mile long colonnade
Such grandeur and flat bread in a

Great hall
Roaring fireplace
Hosting nobility
Impressing Kings in a room and
A half

Shattered fragments
Blown by Parliaments force
Munitions and splinters remain
In place

Tunnels and doors
To the church or beyond?
Escape route from foul treachery
And fear

Wealth and excess
In perfect symmetry
Subjugation and achievement

The Man in Tweed Meets the girl in Floral Prints

The Man Who Wore Tweed by Amy Rainbow

I was done running round after pretty young things
Had enough thrills and spills and the heartache it brings
And although debauched living was plenty of fun
It was high time my life as a nun had begun
So I dumped all the hair dye and ditched all the glitz
Swapped breath taking corsets for clothing that fits
Then I popped to the bookshop for something to read
And that’s when i met him the man who wore tweed

He was after a book called the mind of MacBeth
While I wanted romance not madness and death
But then as he queued he defended his choice
With such fire in his eyes, such delight in his voice
That I wanted to talk and to listen to more
For here was a passionate man I was sure
Then for once in my life I let him take the lead
And was asked out for drinks by the man who wore tweed

He was old, almost eighteen months older than me
But had manners and grace and was gentlemanly
We chatted for hours got drunk on champagne
Till the manager threw us out into the rain
And we laughed and began to walk home through the park
Where we sang in the moonlight, and danced in the dark
And then when he kissed me I melted weak kneed
That’s the moment I fell for the man who wore tweed

He inhabits my dreams and lights up my days
He pokes fun at my sesquipedalian ways
And i in return make the odd playful swipe
At his trilby and cords, at his slippers and pipe
But despite seeming utterly wholly mismatched
We’re both ready to end all that no strings attached
So yes i confess i will have to concede
That I’m smitten, bewitched, by the man who wears tweed

For a change I am sure that my judgement’s not wrong
More distinguished than handsome, more clever than strong
Quite unlike all the men that I usually meet
He’s a vet who breeds beagles and deals in antiques
It’s a meeting of minds not libido’s and lips
And i find that his company always outstrips
That of youths living loosely and spreading their seed
Yes, I’d far rather be with the man who wears tweed

He’s honest and tactile yet funny and deep
He plays jazz on piano and sings me to sleep
He’s the rarest of finds, a reliable man
And my friends think its strange, but I don’t give a damn
Because what they don’t realise and what they can’t see
Is he makes me feel safe and he lets me be me
Now my life is complete, I have all that I need
In my country retreat with the man who wears tweed.

The Girl in Floral Prints

Young girls are so exciting and dizzy and ace
How I loved all the wooing the chat and the chase
Skyscraper heels are fetching though not built to last
Especially ,as in them, girls cannot run fast
But discos become tiresome, tight trousers a bore
And I reckoned that I should get out about more
I knew that a bookshop would deter foolish bints
And that is where I met the girl in floral prints

She was browsing pulp fiction, a dubious start
My choice in light reading is usually Descartes
My mind raced like lightning have you heard of Macbeth?
“Of course I have” she smiled with the softest of breaths
She oozed self assurance and confidence you see
Arousing my interest in her biography
So I took a chance despite what others might think
Deciding to ask out the girl in floral prints

A little younger than me though well past her youth
Her sweet words entranced me refined, never uncouth
She quaffed champagne like water till she’d had her fill
Leaving me gasping as I settled up the bill
She spent all of my money, so we had to walk
Holding hands laughing smiling just happy to talk
My courage emboldened by lust and earlier drinks
I leaned across and kissed the girl in floral prints

With flowers on her dresses and blouses and skirts
All my intuition was to fear the worst
She’s smart and she’s spiky a real philosopher
Yet try as I might I cannot get cross with her
Her flat shoes are sensible, her make up discreet
She paints pictures of daisies on the toes of her feet
She’s sassy and funny with no highlights or tints
Causing me to fall for the girl in floral prints

My friends think I am mad, I don’t care what they say
Her early morning smile just brightens up my day
And when she stays out late and I’m wondering why
It’s only a meeting at the WI
In the kitchen she bakes cakes assiduously
In bed she’s more Ann Summers than Laura Ashley
With those clothes discarded she’s a bit of a minx
Oh I ‘m so in love with the girl in floral prints

I am proud to admit I’m the man who wears tweed
And there is something on which we are both agreed
A truth which is clear to us, so firmly impressed
Never make assumptions upon how people dress.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

The Gilbertstone

Hewn from the tallest cliff
The craggiest crag
The roughest rock
It stands defiant as a dragons tooth
Wrenched from unyielding ancient strata
To claim ancient lands
When monsters roamed, wolves marauded
And bears lay in wait
Yet this was Gilbert’s land
With the strength of a hundred oxen
And the determination of a thousand men
He dropped his rock, marker
Sign of his great giant’s power
Left to leave lesser giants in fear
And mere mortals in awe
Bulging menacingly from the ground below
As some would have it Giant Gilbert’s Toe

Friday, 21 October 2011

21st Century Theology

“And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves”

And they came to St Pauls
To challenge the usurers,
Snake oil salesmen
And false prophets
But the Dean moved
Them on
Health and safety
And lost revenue
You understand

Sic Gloria Transit Mundi

Dragged, no better than a beggar’s dead dog
Through Sirtes’ indifferent gutters
Eyes closed, dyed black hair matted

A shattered temple, exultant cries the farewell salute
To a Mad Dog whose day had come
Victim to grappling hands, time and hubris

Teeth now bared in empty shock, not anger
Fingers limp, no longer pointing
Fresh flesh flayed in expiation

In vengeance, in warning
In summary execution

Monday, 17 October 2011


The Message
Inert being
Yet when thrown carries a potent message.

It gasped
Under foot
Though once verdant
Now its sapped span lies prone spent and broken

Big Cat
The cats’ sleek shape
Lures all those around barely murmuring

Tired eyes
Meet morning light
Each sight a miracle in its own right

Child After Radiotherapy
Slender limbs
With sallow eyes
Too young to comprehend, consumed by trust

Boring People in Hospital Treatment Waiting Rooms

I prefer silence, quiet reflection
Interrupted only by the passing purposeful pace of a nurses flat shoe
Or the quiet invocation that it is “time to come through”

Where a book may be read, a trusty tome
Or ones thoughts collected
Over no more than hushed tones.

Unfortunately Mr McGill did not see it that way
As his voice boomed out the levels of his PSA
Statins he declared are certainly most dangerous
And that although he knew he shouldn’t, he always liked to make a fuss
You will be pleased to learn that as I thought about the name McGill
I didn’t have the heart to try rhyming it with just ill
It seemed too obvious , too pat, too trite
But the more I think about him I really just might.

He liked broccoli and cabbage , but definitely not onions
And was certainly not keen on other people’s opinions
His Dad’s birthday is on Friday, but there will be no to-ing and fro-ing
Although he is 86 he can’t be bothered going
Friday for him is simply no good you see
But at the weekend they might take him along to a carvery
Which is good because you can get potatoes veg and peas
Then the nurse saved us with “Mr McGill this way please”
But our joy turned to grief as she stopped to let him know
“Yes I’ve checked, come back at the same time, tomorrow

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


Some talk of fights, struggles and battles
As if a glorious campaign is being fought
Where the valiant are victorious, and the weak vanquished

Yet this in no equal contest
One not solicited, or sought
No challenge was laid down, or accepted

Instead a bitter withering rearguard action
Against a relentless foe
With fate and time on its side

It just came, to stay, an unwelcome visitor
From whom there can be no respite
Just an accommodation – an understanding

There will be no triumphs, or failures
The stoic may be overwhelmed, the supine reprieved
Sometimes just being, is enough

The brave seek no more than another day
Those who succumb desired that day no less.

Library Love

Our eyes met
I gazed
In fiction

She smiled
I beamed
We moved to romance

Nimble fingers scanned the shelf
She was looking for herself
I was dewey eyed

We whispered surreptitiously
Pulse clanging cacophony
In biography

Then her Mother appeared
Saying they had to go
And she was history