Giraffe

What kind of world
Will you inhabit
Once we are gone?
Will it be one
Of your own choosing?
New landscapes built
To youthful specifications,
A virtual world, or
Precarious solidity shaped
From the concentration
Of old-fashioned
Children’s toys – perhaps even
Those blue-and-red-stained
Wooden blocks
Of my infancy?
Will our groaning,
Grown-up legacy
Of piecemeal policies,
Poor housing, health,
And knee-jerk reactions
To old threats,
Half-remembered
Leave you with
Too little freedom
And too much responsibility?
However our teachings
Soak into your bones
It will be your turn
To roll the dice
And seek advancement
Or oblivion.
I hope we leave you
Prepared
And with sufficient
Tools to survive
What is
And what is yet
To come.

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Leadership Training

Welcome dear, to the asylum
Where the grown-ups are not in control
Mummy’s out chasing a rainbow
Daddy is home but not whole

So what do we do with our brother
Who needs to be petted and fed?
Just sisters supporting each other
When parents don’t get out of bed

If you grab a hold by one ankle
Then I’ll take the other and try
To tease out the worst of the tangle
Then soap, rinse and powder him dry

I’m sorry your tummy is grumbly
There isn’t the money for S’mores
I’ll find what I can if you’re hungry
And we’ll have a picnic indoors

I guess we’re not going out playing
While youngest’s a hole in her shoe
I’ve mended the bits that were fraying
But darning the rubber won’t do

Besides which it’s no longer summer
And coats are too short in the sleeve
So even the common’s a bummer
With chilblains it’s better to leave

The exercise video’s starting
We’ll all sit together to stretch
Now reach for your toes if you’re hurting
And think of the rich and the wretch

If we can just keep it together
As family’s good for the soul
There’s almost no storm we can’t weather
To pursue an impossible goal

So try not to pick up your plimsolls
Don’t want anybody to know
If they catch a glimpse of the cardboard
When walking along in the snow

Then mummy and daddy are over
They’d ship us all out to a home
And though there’d be food there forever
We’re better off here on our own

Human Rights

Rectitude and moral maze
Seem like to meet their end of days
In hands of saint whose might has ways
Of punishing our own delays

While failure to address unknowns
Has sold what titles to our moans
Could yet be called mere gifts or loans
With careful words we’ll leave these zones

Ally ourselves to no more men
And disbelieve reports of when
The road to peace was better ken
Of others’ culture, sword and pen

The velvet curtain will hold fast
And legislation will bow past
Poor sight-impaired judicial mast
Whose figure seems to fade, aghast

As scales are stripped of balanced view
No counterpoint, but reference, new
Established as alternate to
Our older values, now too few

To understand the loss we face
Try to supplant a lesser place
And see the bold, inhuman race
Condemn all pity, justice, grace

Awakening at last, too late
The image of our fellows’ fate
With little thought and careless hate
We’ll watch our own asphyxiate.

I’m a GI nation

He’s gone for a soldier
But soon will return
So we wave plastic flags
Leave a light on at home

And plan for the victory
Parties galore
For that’s all that happens
When boys go to war

Stay calm, drinking tea
Wiping surfaces down
Keeping busy, you see
‘Til they march back to town

We don’t weep when in public
You mustn’t let on
Just how frightened you feel
Tell the kids where he’s gone

Service widows and wives
Now our comfort and rock
As you’re all in one boat
Unprepared for that knock

May the day never come
When a photo and frame
Takes the place of the man
Who has lent you his name

The Monochromatic Spectrum

Like a rudderless ship
On course for a starry-eyed
Midnight encounter
With a bit of rough

Thus, drifting closer to our end
Inch nearer with each swell
We wave our hellos and shrug,
Add smiles to the face of disaster

Waiting for the wreck and the
Reckoning, ravaged by neglect
Of a careless captain, so
Careful to pander to each whim

Rolling with the tides
Uncertain of his course
But still steering, blind
On his broken compass

Meeting some razor-edged
Rock ‘n’ roll artist
For a one-night stand
Until we too, are fucked

Kidulthood

This is written for all those among us who had to play two parts at once, that of the child, the so-called dependent, and the often contradictory role of the full-time carer.

I pity those people
Who never were children
Who never knew life at its best

When rules were unknown
All the days seeming golden
Decisions meant – wearing a vest?

Maturity settled
Like dust on their shoulders
Through circumstance beyond control

And taking the reins
In the place of one, older
They gave up this part of their soul

So small wonder, the faces
In various places
Seem aged beyond years on this Earth

It’s hard for a kid
Doing all that we did
While absorbing an adult’s self-worth

Proverbs

Love, as though you’ve never lost.
Face your fears at any cost.
Learn some new thing every day.
Miss them when they’ve gone away,
But live your own life, find your feet.
Stand alone, dance in the street.
And on your path, stray if you will
To chase a rainbow and fulfil
Your every dream remains your own.
Ensure your child a happy home.
And to yourself, be ever true,
For everything is up to you.