The ballad of the small island

22 Nov

Listen! I tell the tale of the small island 

Who voted to turn away from the world. 

Well, the result was close, 

split nearly down the middle. 

It was the idea of identity.

Who’s in or out, 

who belongs, who doesn’t, 

who surly border guards should stop 

or allow to proceed. 

A thorny issue that stung,

drew blood.

It caused leaders to fall from their thrones, 


it sent shockwaves not just across a stunned nation, 

continent but the planet.

However, the staggering thing was that the politicians, 

those latter day monks 

that inhabited those Whitehall cells, 

seemed to have no plan.

Going for the exit may have meant 

going for the exit, 

but what about what happened next,

when you step over the doorstep?

The ship boarded tentatively,

 but what course should we lay Captain? 

Months have gone by, without detail, 

no real policy given, 

no direction.

Do we build a wall to keep out?

Do we negotiate new trade deals without the added clout 

of 27 brothers and sisters on our corner? 

All the while it’s far from quiet in the country.

Emotions were stirred like embers, 

sparking a conflagration.

Abuse given on buses.

‘Go home’ I’ve heard them shout, 

along with other obscenities,

Rampant bigotry 

spreading like poison in the vacuum.

Whilst silence, inaction 

Indecision reigns on that small island that voted to turn away.

To look inward instead of outward.

Oh small little island, how small you have become.


Dear children

29 Oct

Dear Children


Dear children,

Despite what they tell you, 

Despite those harsh tests they impose on you,

Where they measure you,

Unfairly compare you.

With fronted adverbials

Rough worded questions designed to trick you

They demoralise you.

Dear children,

Your curiosity

Your creativity is all that matters to me.

The Sphinx 

28 Oct

Pharaohs, conquerors come and go but the Sphinx remains….

The Sphinx 

I lie upon the arid sand,

A relic from an ancient land.

One face,

Many names


Horus on the horizon,

Father of terror.

My secrets are my own,

Such secrets unknown,


I’ve seen it all,

Mighty men,

Would be gods,



Keeping power by majesty, sword and gun.

Iron men easily corrode.

I lie upon the sands,

I gaze and smile,

Adored by those 

From beyond the banks of the Nile.

Aleppo 2016

28 Oct

News beamed

To distant to screens,

Of scenes of 1940s brutality,

1990s cruelty,


Lack of humanity in this young century.

This is a place where a ceasefire isn’t a ceasefire,

The writ of international law means nothing here,

Amongst the bomb pounded city.

While the world watches,

The Angels of death in the skies above

Unleash an apocalypse.

The ruins tell,

Where once, 

in ancient Aleppo people did dwell,

Now on earth we behold hell.

Grammar school

17 Sep

An education policy with the intention of turning back the clock, reinforcing, not breaking down a socially divided nation.

Grammar school

Welcome dear students

To grammar school,

For you my chaps who are born to rule.
A return to the good old days,

Mortarboards and school ties,

Perfecting the sneers from privileged eyes.

We can afford the extra tuition,

For admission based on examination.

to conserve, to preserve,

Our selective social position.
Carpe Diem,

Tempus fugit,

Latin mottos, a password,

a passport

To running this divided nation.

My lesson plans,

Don’t select based on background,

Do not deny opportunity.

A verb is a verb, a noun is a noun,

Whether you can pass an entrance exam or not,

It matters not.

In my classroom you can aspire,

To a future you can choose,

A verb is a verb, a noun is a noun.


31 Aug

Not a King,

An actor upon a newly marble stage.

Divi Filius,

Adopted by Uncle Julius,


But what’s in a name?

Made divine,

Constant with the annual passing of time,

Eighth of Twelve.

An actor needs a costume,

Armour makes way for priestly robes.

Warrior now builds bridges.

No to Rex,

He shall be instead


Cap of Liberty (peterloo) 

16 Aug

A poem commemorating the Peterloo massacre of 1819, when 18 were killed in Manchester just for seeking the vote.

Cap of Liberty

Peaceful assembly 

on the fields

Seeking reform, the vote,


Banners flying,

Topped with that old symbol,

The red cap of


They came riding riding,

Sabres drawn

Just like Waterloo,

A battle against lady Liberty.

Riding down and slashing

People like you and me

18 butchered innocently,

Red the colour of the blood stain

And the cap of Liberty.