Tuesday, 22 August 2017


(A poem I wrote when I was a teenager, around 1959, a few years before Nelson was toppled from his pillar in Dublin)

Take Nelson down.

He dominate our town,
Is it?

Foreign man who fought French fleets,
Though remarkable his many feats,
What  do we to this man owe
That such respect for him we show?

He, with his one-eyed frown,
Looks our street up and down.
Cars and buses all around
Look little midges on the ground.

It is not fit!
Take Nelson down.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Domestic Ghosts

Old people are often visited by ghosts of their deceased relatives, easing their passage into the next life.

The young are afraid of ghosts,
But there is no need.
Our dead are all around us
Behind a screen.

When they show themselves,
It is to bring us calm
And accept life and death
As they are.

Their demeanour is friendly;
Their mood is gay.
If we are welcoming,
They will stay.

But as soon as we say,
"Go  now please,"
Without demur or sorrow
They will leave.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Lonesome Scot

Ne'er thay laired me hou tae winch,
An ne'er thay laired me hou tae coort.
Nae I gainder in the rouk
Unkennins as tae hou tae do it.

Thay laired me hou tae spell an coont,
An all the kintras in the warld.
But it ails me that I leared na hou
Tae woo a lass wi golden curls.

I see the wey they keek at me,
The lasses blythe and cannie:
Whate'er it is a man sud hae,
Thay deem I haena ony.

And it's becase the lame-legged wey
I habble to come in aboot them,
And hou I ganch and stammer then
To try to get wirds spoken.

What guid to me are all the beuks,
An all the problems solven,
While I gang forth all on my ain,
A lanely furr a'pleuchin'?

"English" version:

Never they taught me how to flirt,
And never they taught me how to court.
Now I wander in the mist,
Ignorant of how  to do it.

They taught me how to spell and count,
And all the countries in the world.
But I regret I learned not how
To woo a girl with golden curls.

I see the way they peep at me,
The jolly and cunning girls:
Whatever it is a man should have,
They guess I have not any.

And it's because the lame-legged way
I hobble to approach them,
And how I stutter and stammer then
To try to get words spoken.

What good to me are all the books,
And all my problem-solving,
While I go forth all on my own,
A lonely furrow ploughing.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Swinging in the Choir

One of the additional eleven poems added to the new edition of Outrageous Poems published today:

Swinging in the choir

(A fictional choir of course)

The swinging began
When the choir went on tour,
Each Soprano and Alto
Already a whore
When we sang for the Pope
In Rome.

Father McCarthy
Was at it a lot.
We found he was both
A sod and a sot.
With no altar-boys,
Every Tenor he tried.
With respect for the cloth
Each one complied
And welcomed him into
The fold.  

As we headed for home
We swore to stay mum,
But never forsake
What we had begun.

Choir swings every week
On each Thursday night
Leaving our spouses
At home.

Avoiding attachment,
It’s best, so we found,
To constantly pass
The partners around.
We hope to continue,
For swinging is fun,
For ever and ever,

Friday, 3 February 2017

Once I had a pen-knife

Once I had a  pen-knife
That could pare a stick so sharp
I could fling it at a lion
And penetrate his heart.

Once I had a pen-knife
That could shape a spear so fine
I could bring down an eagle
Or fight a crocodile.

Now I have a pen-knife,
But the stakes I mould
Perform no useful purpose
But pretty flowers to uphold.


What a masterpiece
Nature paints,
As sun sets
On tranquil lake.

An artist quite
Indifferent to who
His present master-
Piece will view,

A timeless view
Known equally
To megalithic
Man and me.

Yet once off!
Next day's event
Will differ to
A great extent.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Someone Else's Poem

Originally posted 7 September 2012

Sometimes, I feel that I have written
Someone else’s poem.
No wonder, then, one morning brought
Loud knocking on my door.

There stood a man with flashing eyes
And fluffy hair uncombed.
Are you Krunchie? Yes, I am.
You’re the man that stole my poem!

Sorry, I didn’t mean to.
I thought it was my own.
Well, I serve you with this summons.
And I’ll see you in court.

The judge was a stern-faced man
With a grim expression.
He asked me if I did it.
Seems he wanted a confession.

I answered, how can I tell,
Since I have not seen the poem
I am supposed to have copied?
I only know my own.

He told me my impertinence
Was a contempt of court;
And that I must go to jail,
Or moderate my tone.

But they provided me a copy
And I scanned it seam to seam.
When I could not read a word,
I knew this was a dream.

I made a guess and ventured this:
It’s different to mine.
The judge asked, how’s it different,
In content and design?

My poem, couched in simple words,
Has intellectual depth;
This is a pretentious poem
Of mawkish sentiment.

Says the judge, now a lady with
An Imperious frown,
This poem is sweet sincerity,
Yours has a mocking tone.

Yes, yes, I said; you can’t deny
How different mine is!
But Fluffy jumped up shouting:
He stole and mocked my whizz.

Triumphantly, I answered,
There’s no copyright in jists,
But only in expressions,
So, the case should be dismissed.

There IS no doubt the lady judge
Did not take my side.
She sternly said, ‘snot for you,
But the jury, to decide.

It was a jury of twelve ladies
With their breasts exposed,
Who scanned me disdainfully
From my head down to my toes.

The lady chairman of the jury,
Whose name was Lucy Sprockets,
Asked the judge to direct me
Take my hands out of my pockets.

I stand accused, like Jesus Christ,
Of stating something new
That challenges the web of lies
The world proclaims as true.

Whenever I record a poem,
It is heaven sent.
I just pass on the words that come -
Even to my detriment.

Blasphemy, the judge cries out;
What need have we of more?
This so-called poet would attack
Our values to the core.

We know what true poets would write:
Sound sentiment and view,
To guide folk on the rightful path
And keep us good and true.

They would not dare to upset
Sincere folks of dullish brain
Who need constant reassurance
That proper values reign.

Well, the court is full of dimwits
Who cover up their ears,
When I speak, for fear their world
Be stained by what they’d hear.

The judge addressed the jury then.
She said it’s plain to see
That Krunch’  has stolen Fluffy’s poem
And mocked it shamelessly.

The jury soon enough returned
With a question to be answered:
Could they take into account
My shameless, scathing manner?

Yes, said the judge, you surely can,
It is quite appropriate
To take full account of how in court
This scooundrel misbehaved.

They came back with a verdict:
I must give up my profits.
I laughed because the poem
Had made not one dollar.

But the laugh soon turned to tears
As damages were added,
And the fees of half the bloated
Lawyers of the planet.

And then the judge, smiling, added:
And for his contempt of court,
I order the imprisonment
Of this so-called poet.

And as I am carted off
Handcuffed and disgraced,
I wonder is there anywhere
I can dare to show my face.