Everyone’s A Critic

The loud purring
Of a sensitive soul
Rumbles across my lap
A gentleman-mouser
Whose claws are rarely
Sheathed in my flesh
Save for those few
Accidental motions.
He pauses in his
Hypnotic kneading
Of careful paws
Twitches a whisker
Opens a lazy eye
We are content
Devoted Familiar and
Current Provider of ear-scratches
Precious moments spent together
Do not last as long
As they once did
Those rare islands
Of near-silence
I try to spend
Such a distraction
Is sadly unacceptable
In company
My failure to stroke
Soft furry egos
While fingers
Play over lettered keys
And coffee cools
At a careless elbow
Lead to gentle taps
Polite, then more insistent
I frown and mutter
Trying to shake loose
Some old ideas
From new forehead creases
Transmit them to my dusty screen
Before the next
Set of demands is issued
By the charming pout
Of the other House Tyrant
Whose three-year-reign
Continues to sway
The working lives
Of all her subjects.
It is not enough.
I cannot please all
Of my many masters
Not this day.
As gentle snores fade to yawns
I sift through the tired
Dog-eared card catalogue
Housed temporarily for safekeeping
Within my rapidly emptying skull
Brain cycling faster
The vocalisation
Begins in earnest
Close behind my ear
He is starting to insist
“Pssst! Shush!”
It is a futile gesture
To try to silence
An old friend
The search continues
There are paws on my shoulder
Tapping, prodding
A hint of sharpness
A gentle shove
Hot breath on my neck
Can I find a verbal noun,
Subclause, or synonym
To convey my sense
Of panic at the first stirrings
Of any sleeping creature
Under four feet
But still a giant?
Too late.
I hiss my discomfort
At the sudden perforation
Of my thigh.
Time’s up once again.

The Music of Words

Gently lash me with your tongue
I will not try to speak
To interrupt the flow of one
Whose tempers fray the week
The sea that breaks upon my ears
Is washing you away
The fading sounds that fuel these tears
Are quieter today
Your practised script, articulate
I heeded as a child
When sounds that issued from your throat
Wrought protestations mild
Now older I’ve more strength to voice
Harsh thoughts that must be said
I understand that I’ve a choice
Of silence; but instead
With fingers jammed in ears I bellow
Drowning out your boom
These tones of sturm und drang that echo
Round the living room

Merry Wives of Windsor in a nutshell

A welshman, preacher, merry met
A frenchman, hot of temper, yet
A while they stood, and wagged a jaw,
Ere stag betwixt the trees they saw.

A beauty fair, and lover poor,
Adorned her hair with faun and flor
And caught thereby, in flaxen net
Three suitors, ill fish, none a pet.
One lover, penny-pinching flop,
One foreign boor, one drunken fop.

Two sires at odds, jealous of dam,
Convinced of cuckoldry and scam,
Employed the service of this beast
Hoping to convict at least the one
If not the brace. But yet, mistook
In faces fair the lusty humour
That their trials shook.

And in the end, as oft is true,
All well, all broke, all mended too.

Shakespearean Spoof

After ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’ the Musical, by the RSC:

Since what I am to say must be
But that which shocks this company
It shall scarce boot me to say
I liked it – for fear they cry
‘Alas! Alack! ’tis pity she’s a fool.’

But thus, if workers do befit
the ownership of poor opinion, thus
Why then, anon, I’ll state my case
And cry aloud ‘Egad! ’tis true,
I liked this stew.
Tho’ mush and mash and rant and rave,
The hero too did need a shave
And heroine a trim.

But Merry Wives, without a beard?
But foolishness, I am afear’d.


A mother hen – yet not a mum,
Took ducklings travelling for fun,
A day away she did devise,
And all the trip did organize,
‘We’ll go abroad’, she crowed, ‘Wahey!’
‘And later on, we’ll see a play…’
So fix’d was she upon this path
Her charges scarce did dare to laugh
At bawdy farce that after pud’
Turn’d out, Alas! to be no good.
In truth it was a sad affair,
A musical, with no tune there,
A play without a bit of fun,
But laboured jokes and scaffold’s hum.
The little ducks could scarce contain
Their disappointment at this shame
And thereof, loudly, did complain.
To which, the hen repayed in coin
And long and loud did scold and scorn
The ducks for having dared express
Opinions they ought not possess.