Ah, Palmyra

We care more for ancient ruins
And destruction wrought on tombs
By whatever means they may
Than for lives that end today

While the blood and flesh and bone
Leaving everything they own
To escape the latest purge
Travel desert, sea and gorge

Those who voyage only land
On their uppers, close at hand
To the help they sorely need
Yet the politicians plead

Not to have to break their word
To the xenophobic horde
Those whose votes they barely won
From the hardened right, anon

Thus with bottle-necks and fence
We corral and harry hence
Workers that we sure could use
Grateful, welcome, unabused

Skilled and keen to integrate
To prop up our ageing State
In permissive company
Knowing just who let them be

As the fight takes to the skies
And the waves fill up with lies
We would throw away resource
Inconvenient and coarse

With no tally of the cost
Nor of what support is lost
Though our leaders might feel tall
While our borders stand, we fall

Street Scene

Stroll down any dusty thoroughfare
From Maida Vale to scruffy Shepherd’s Bush
They’ll ambush you on pavement then and there
Relieve you of your digits, prod and push.

Foot soldiers, armed with clipboards and ambition
Will tug at strings that tie the heart to purse
Their target: the conversion to commission
Of less-than-living wages as you curse.

The haves that make up half the knotty problem
Are touched for cash by those who live below
Embarrassed by their wealth, some may endure them
While others just ignore them as they go.

With one foot on the ladder of ascension
The other in the bucket of distress
They’ll tell you of the horrors one won’t mention
To try to hold attention and impress.

The passers-by whose means are independent
Whose social conscience privilege must prick
Are rarely found donating rent or pension
Confronted daily, skin must be quite thick.

While those who swallow pride and do the needful
Are debited directly for their pains
Their duty to society a creed. Full
Of charitable empathy and claims.

The boy who didn’t believe

His eyes told him tales of the truth on the page
As he gazed on in wonder at what lay before him

His ears let him hear all that came from the sage
While faithful companions took care to inform him

His hands brushed the wisdom both carved out and clear
And his touch held reminders of tangible reason

While tongue on his teeth flicked out, tasting the air
For a hint of the wind lends direction and season

But all was in vain, all fine senses quite useless
He wrinkled his nose and refused to be swayed

Afeared that his fellows might mean him abuses
He shut his mind tight and ignored all good faith

In place of his conscience mistook for conviction
The volume of ignorance over all proof

Provoking confusion and much needless friction
For stubborn and wilful his painful excuse

Respect slowly dwindled to fall by the wayside
While fatuous rhetoric ruled in its place

Contempt for authority lacking in substance
All those his compatriots filled with dismay

No lessons were learned by the boy in the bubble
Preferring his policy of Simon says

He polished the rod that he’d careful constructed
Preparing to swing to the end of his days

Internal Stereophonics

They tell me Joan of Arc heard voices,
Saw them as Divine
I wonder what that maid would think
If she heard some of mine

Instead of holy war, they preach
Of mischief; games of chance
When all is quiet and sedate
They call to me to dance

And bop along to songs it seems
That only I can hear
With lyrics flowing past my tongue
And pouring in my ear

The more I try to censor them
The louder they will sing
Until I struggle to accomplish
Much of anything

But let me keep my playlist –
As it helps me through the day
Encouraging each vibrant thought
While plodding through the fray

Technology’s no Idol
I don’t run on batteries
As smiling, I may mosh to keep from
Smiting enemies

Little Things

You only notice when they’re wrong
A door that’s left ajar
The draught from open windows
Some juice that’s far too sour

The fridge that won’t stay frozen
A tap still dripping – on
The eggs sold by the dozen
That still have feathers on

A bed that’s not been slept in
The car that’s double-parked
Sunglasses in mid-winter
A light on in the dark

The post that piles on doorsteps
To signal no one’s home
The drain that floods the highway
A misplaced traffic cone

The binmen in the morning
That wake the street at dawn
The drunk that sings his way back home
To pass out on his lawn

The bullies at the bus stop
Who pick on younger kids
The parents at the chain-store
About to blow their lids

The problem clearly stated
And obvious to see
We choose the things that matter
Whatever they may be

An Homage to Harvey

My conscience did prick as I sat here awhile
About some certain things that have made this girl smile.
I’m not too P.C., I can laugh with the best
But a slight has a cost, even when a mere jest.
So be wary, my love, as you open to speak
Of the deeds of an Imam and Rabbi last week
For ’tis better to laugh with the head and the heart
Than to poke fun at others – your comments do smart!
A quick wit is all very well, but take heed:
A slow tongue’s more pleasant, in word as in deed.