Vigil on Mothers Day

What are we waiting for, mum?

Shh, darling.  People are paying their respects.

To the old lady?

She wasn’t old, my love.

So why did she die?

An accident.  No, not an accident… She was unlucky.

What do you mean, mum?

She was on her way home and then…

Yes, mum?

She met someone who wasn’t nice.

Not nice?

Not all people are nice, sweetheart.  Some of them are nasty and like to hurt other people.

She met a bad man?

It seems that way, yes.

How did she die?

We don’t know yet, baby.

But how?

We might know one day.  The police are investigating, trying to find out.

But she wasn’t old?

No, beautiful girl.  She was young.  That is why people are sad.

Why did they bring flowers?

That is what people do when they are sad.

But we didn’t.

No.  We didn’t know the lady.

But I want to bring flowers.

It is better for the people who did know her to bring them.  It will help them to feel better.  We are not bringing flowers so that there is space for theirs.

Oh.  When can we bring flowers?

When it is someone we know.

Like grandad? 


I don’t like it when people die.

I know, sweetheart.  Nobody does.

Why do people die?

It is part of life.

So she died because it is part of life?

Not exactly.

Then why?

I don’t know, my love.  I don’t know.

Brain, baby! Brain!

Curse these hormones
They make me cry
More for the plight
Of others – for kindness
At joy, or pain,
Or seemingly nothing
Than any worst of mine
Experience of life to date
How can I tell my eyes
To shed no tears
For those who die by fire
For those who risk
Both life and limb
To save another’s child
I cannot make myself
Immune to the suffering
Of animals, women, children
Nor even violent, middle-aged,
Mercenary misogynists
Whose words belie their actions
What are these thoughts?
These feeling of unexpected
And even unwelcome
Compassion for all things
All creatures, living and dead
Even mosquitoes, crushed
For being as they are
My bleeding heart would nurse
What good is such weakness
Am I now infirm of purpose
So blind to the darker side
Of human nature
That I would embrace it
Heedless of my own
And others’ safety?

Flounce, Fluff and Flattery

There is a world of difference
Between those who seek the
Company of women
To bask in it
Hanging on their every thought
As one transported
By the beauty
Of a strange and fantastical mind
And those who fancy
A quick in-and-out
Ego-boost before
Zipping their feelings,
Upping sticks and moving on
To the next conquest.

The difference is obvious
Even to the most casual observer:
One is the stuff of
Fantasy and freedom
Of late-night talks
And deep discussions
Long philosophising over
Personal projections
Maybe with a bit of
Barefoot dancing
And a casual pinch of laughter
Thrown in for good measure.

On encountering the other,
I will take the lonely
High road to nowhere
Hiking in stupid, pretty,
Too-tight shoes
Risking my own skin
To preserve sanity
Rather than share transportation,
Food or drink
In exchange for temporary
Flat-footed flattery
With bondage-grade
Strings attached.

I enjoy womanisers
Who enjoy women
In all their complexity,
But have no time
For bed-notch chasing
Egotists with
Straw for brains
And cloth for ears.

What do women want?

To be listened to
Sometimes even heard
To be understood
With no single word

Forced to pass my lip
When I’m in a mood
Gain no inch of hip
From the richest food

To have time to learn
What I want to be
With my choice made firm
But not thrust on me

To be given space
Not ignored or dumped
When my monthly face
Means you’re ego-thumped

To be free to choose
What good sense demands
Not resent the use
Of another’s plans

To feel light with air,
Water on my skin
Know that others care
How things sit within

Go at my own pace
Home by hearth and range
Move from place to place
When I need a change

Work for what I want
Hard and fast as Hell
But relax at night
With a friend as well

To have funds enough
For a pair of shoes
Strength to brave the rough
When I have the blues

Words to speak my mind
When I’m tied of tongue
Friends who’ll still be kind
When all’s said and done

So the world may see
With no need to hide
All the truth of me
Who I am inside


It always starts small
As it keeps a low profile
Not noticed at all
In the seasonal crossfire

Then builds to a hum
Ringing soft in the ears
Inner monologue numb
Overcoming all fears

With a perfectly rational
Obvious overture –
Bite stupid people
And chew on the furniture

But just a little
The day is still young
In the earliest stages
It almost seems fun

The lockjaw of anger
Is yet to appear
So we seem sympathetic
Attractive, sincere

That base urge to maim
To draw blood and salt tears
Is but hours away
But we needn’t warn peers

From the unfeeling hordes
That besiege and beset one
We’ll find one to gnaw
As we taunt and upset them

Destroy inner balance
And harmony too
As our hideous hormones
Are trying to do

Until all resolution
Is quite overcome
With extremes and confusion
Becoming the norm

When confronted with
Any adversity – woe
Betide anyone near
That we see as a foe

Insensitive, careless
And boorish demands
Mean our sensitive system
Gets quite out of hand

But the terrible power
To hurt and abuse
Only really kicks in
When we’re lost and confused

When all possible outlets
Exhausted have been
And a valve must be found
So we let off some steam

Easing tension untold
Yes the terrible pressure
Of hormones unfolds
As they grapple for treasure

An evil attempt
To subdue, to coerce,
Browbeat, hold and reduce
Overcome without mercy

Conditions of truce
Are unknown and unwanted
Our womb without use
By these phantoms is haunted

A logical Lucy
With well-ordered mind
I’ll-prepared for the chaos
Of this moon-fed time

Finds all is abandoned
Her measured, good sense
Thrown aside without caution
To sit on the fence

Catapulted to fight
All her foes in a ring
With a lack of compassion
Impaired understanding

Into truly irrational
Total submission
The perverse hysteria
Of her condition

External to those
That one normally finds
In her head is the battle
Of womb-versus-mind

At this juncture do note
There may yet be an end
If poor logical Lucy
Retains a true friend

For this is the point
At which fitness is known
Where the most passive partner
Comes into their own

In performing the service
For which they were born
They will soon prove their mettle
As golden or gone

For their duty is vital
Ensuring succession
That morn follows midnight
As goes the expression

The future of man
Hangs on one technicality
Failure to meet it
May cause a fatality

Yet it’s simplicity
If one is willing
While women are sane
To apply ears and listen

For in an emergency
Nowhere to turn
Strong familiarity
Is a great boon

And longevity may be
More certain assured
If the man is familiar
With Lucy’s hoard

For the hidden location
Of chocolatey stash
May prevent the sensation
Of grab, twist and smash

So I’m sure you’re delighted
I’ll give you a clue
Check the tin by the cooker
The rest’s up to you

Mother’s Ruin

I had the bizarre experience the other day of being vetted by the mother of one of my collaborative partners, who seemed quite bemused to meet me in the flesh and find there is no romantic arrangement between us whatsoever. I write the lyrics, he records them. End of. This was the poetic aftermath:

Just thought I’d check you out
I worry for my son
You know he gets about
But never sticks with one

So I must do my best
As parent to my child
To sort through what is left
And stop him running wild

You seem a nice, young thing
Perhaps a little old
To be a one-time fling
Remaining pert and bold

Yet I don’t understand
You’re really not his type
There’s something underhand
I’m starting to dislike

I cannot fathom why
He still wants you kept close
When cuter girls and guys
Are thrown out over toast

Just how would you define
The nature of your part
My boy’s not yours, but mine
I hold keys to his heart

So I can lock it shut
To keep my precious boy
Far from the latest slut –
Temptations of a toy

I’m not sure what to feel
About this odd affair
You have no sex-appeal
And yet he seems to care

That I should not offend
Nor even entertain
Such notions of girlfriend
In everything but name

I guess you’re not so bad
The words are pretty cool
So sorry I seem mad
I sometimes act the fool

But promise me, my dear
Whatever else you send
Just so we both are clear
He’s mine until the end

Les Oiseaux

Les femmes sont comme les oiseaux.
On a certaines grandes specimens –
Celles aux chevelures tres compliquées
Colorées, parfumées, coudues jusqu’aux oreilles
Pour les faire sourire,
Et d’autres qui presque se cachent
Afin de se meler aux murs,
Se protéger dans une forêt
D’humanité grise et passive,
Et ne jamais se faire remarquer
Par celles qui les mangeraient,
Chance donnée.