September 4, 2015

The Pizza Song (for Charlotte)

[Reposting due to a typo in the original]

When you eat a pizza you can do it with pizzazz,

You can jiggle it and juggle it and all that snazzy jazz,

You can flaunt it with a flourish, but whatever else you do,

You should never ever drop a piece of pizza on dad’s shoe.

September 3, 2015

Strange Meeting (after Wilfred Owen)

[This is a little different from my normal poems, but somehow Owen’s WWI poem ‘Strange Meeting’, in which a soldier confronts the enemy he killed, seemed a good starting point for a poem about the current refugee crisis. The rhyme structure and metre of the poem are Owen’s, and I’ve borrowed a few of his phrases. The irony, of course, being that while in Owen’s poem there was a sense in which both soldiers were in it together, in this poem it’s about the powerful being culpable for the deaths of the powerless]


It seemed that I had left the leafy shire,

And found myself on some forgotten shore

Of endless sands, where waves of time had welled

From far across the oceans of this world.

I walked along awhile, until I slipped,

And noticed then that countless bodies slept

As if they meant to catch the sun’s last rays

Of warmth. ‘Come on!’ I told them, ‘Rise!

Oh can’t you see you’re getting in my way!’

But still they lay, and so I asked them why

They did not move. And then at last, one stirred.

A tiny boy, who sprang right up and stared

With eyes that filled with tears of childish plea,

And in those eyes I saw not joy and play

But just a black and never-ending hole.

And by those eyes, I knew we stood in Hell.

His face, I saw, was marked with lines of fear,

And so I asked him ‘Boy, have you come far?’

‘From earth’, he said. ‘From this shared earth I came.

So tell me, is that some horrific crime?

Or do you think instead I should remain

And take the blame for wars that are not mine?’

I shrugged, but as I made to leave the scene,

He looked at me and said ‘I am your son,

Yet when you saw me knocking at your door,

You did not welcome me or call me dear,

Instead you named these people here a swarm.

The waves of war are fierce. I cannot swim.

And so, while politicians talked and droned,

I fell into the heartless sea and drowned.

Can you sleep now?’


September 2, 2015


We say ‘No more!’

We turn our backs

We slam the door

We fence the tracks

We call them names

We shut our eyes

And all that’s human

In us dies.

August 29, 2015


Like snails, we all have our own little shells.

And though you might think this quite risible,

Remember that snails’ shells are easily seen,

While ours are still there, but invisible.

August 23, 2015


I gazed up at the stars tonight;

Those gleaming, beaming points of light,

Each one a tiny shining speck.

And now I’ve got an aching neck.

August 20, 2015

There Was a Young Woman…

There was a young woman who lived in a queue.

So many people! But what could she do?

She waited for minutes, she waited for hours,

Through sunshine, through snowstorms, through thunder, through showers.

She waited for weeks, day after day.

Her face got all wrinkled, her hair turned quite grey.

She waited for months, she waited for years,

Till one afternoon, to the sound of loud cheers,

She got to the front of the queue, one December.

But why was she queuing? She couldn’t remember.

August 13, 2015

Why Not Do Some DIY?

Why not do some DIY?

It’s really easy – have a try!

You’ve got a set of shelves to make?

A doddle! Breeze! A piece of cake!

Let’s find the things you need to use:

Some nails, a hammer, drill and screws.

Then make a hole, that’s right, like that.

Oh whoops! You almost drilled the cat.

But never mind. Now use those screws.

Your pants are fastened to your shoes?

Oh, not to worry. Leave them there

And go and buy another pair.

Now give that nail a little bash.

Oh dearie me, what was that crash?

What’s that you say? The wall’s come down?

Well clear it up! No need to frown!

Next get that plank. The roof’s caved in?

Just shove the ceiling in the bin!

That plank is not entirely straight,

But still, be proud, it’s looking great!

The house collapsed? Don’t sit and cry.

It’s fun to do this DIY!

Your home is kind of wrecked, I know.

But why not mend it, have a go!

After all, you made that shelf,

And hey, you did it all yourself!

August 3, 2015

Traffic Jam

I know an old lady who swallowed a bike.

I don’t know why – it’s a strange thing to like.

Then to nudge out the bike she swallowed a car.

She gobbled it down, but it didn’t go far.

So to push out the car, she swallowed a bus

(The passengers made the most terrible fuss!)

And to shove out the bus, she swallowed a truck,

But it got half way down and it soon became stuck.

So to heave out the car, she swallowed a digger,

Then said to herself, ‘I need something bigger’,

And what she did next was swallow a plane,

(With the engines and all – just imagine the pain!)

‘I’m ever so full’, she said, ‘that I am,

‘And all of this traffic has made quite a jam!

Maybe these things all taste better on bread’.

But she didn’t find out, as now she’s dead.

July 31, 2015

Crumbs in the Butter

Who put crumbs in the butter, again?

It’s like finding sand full of rocks.

Who put crumbs in the butter, again?

It looks like some crust-pustuled pox.

Who put crumbs in the butter, again?

Like dandruff that’s fallen off bread.

Who put crumbs in the butter, again?

It’s lumpy and won’t even spread.

Who put crumbs in the butter, again?

And why can’t they just wipe their knife?

Who put crumbs in the butter, again?

It’s TOTALLY ruined my life.

July 26, 2015

Getting Moving

Sometimes we walk forwards,

Sometimes we walk backwards,

But when we hear there’s cake for tea

We all run snackwards!


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