How many webs are there?
Far more, it seems,
than I’d have thought
before frost traced their patterns sharp and white.
Who built the tree house?
Rosie and Anna and Thomas and we,
we built the treehouse –
the Christmas Tree House, more accurately.
'When does the post go?'
'When it's collected,
my own true love.
Will that suit your purpose?'
Why has this been tied up here?
As otherwise the bag would fall
as surely as its leaf friends
fall into litter.
How many peanuts?
540 in the average jar,
and so some 20 billion in a typical year
of round-the-world consumption.
Where did this come from?
We happened to bump into Anne -
though not as hard, as she explained,
as she’d bumped her car at exactly this point by the Co-op.
Why do cars park on the grass?
is the wrong question.
Why does grass insist on growing
where cars are going to park?
Do I like apples?
Well, I’d prefer pears
if they’d only sort being properly ripe
at just the time I want one.
Why are my wires?
is hardly a question
until you reach the crux of it:
How long is it going to be
before they move on
from closing offices
to sealing off boxes?
In 1980 there were 22,500 Post Office branches in the UK: by 2020 that had halved to 11,250. There are currently 115,000 post boxes.
Is this a Stamplug?
The problem with adjudging that
is that I have no idea
what a stamplug is or what one looks like.
The image was the first one to appear in a Google image search for what I thought was the made-up word ‘Stamplug’ on 11.1.21
What’s the Deal?
A shortage of burglars, deterred as they are
by security measures? Or a wealth in the area,
as proven by the need for alarms?
Shouldn’t This Be Hidden?
The very opposite of covert
may advertise that this is just an unconnected
box of paradoxical pretence…
Why Do the Days Get Shorter?
Because there’s less to do in them:
you wouldn’t want to stretch things out
That said, it evens out over the year: all parts of the earth receive the same amount of daylight, but differently distributed.
What to do?
I heard the advice
‘ignore all advice’
but decided to take no notice.
Are we in balance?
No-one suspects so,
and this kind of offset
won’t be changing anything soon.
Isn’t that a Robert Ryman?
They must have flown him in
to deconstruct the fresco tradition
in the framing guise of brick.
Robert Ryman (1930–2019) was an American painter best known for abstract, white-on-white paintings, often playing adventurously with the material of their ground and with how they appear to be framed.
Are you still here?
Of course: my creeping rhizomes
go seven feet below the surface
and each of me spews 100,000 spores.
Horsetail (Equisetum arvense), often called mare’s tail, is an invasive, deep-rooted perennial weed that will spread quickly to form a dense carpet of foliage, crowding out less vigorous plants in beds and borders.
What is Rust?
Iron oxide, obv. But is it part of the metal
or merely a coating? Luckily
I only ask the questions…
Too young to die?
I know, I know.
It’s simply the start of an annual cycle longer than us.
And yet I had the thought.
Wind back five hundred years
and these might have been ill-fated maids –
born again in floral form,
retaining their anaemia’s complexion.
Shakespeare, in The Winter’s Tale, speaks of chlorosis as ‘a maladie / Most incident to maids’. There was a legend that young unmarried girls who died from this anaemia – of which one sign was a yellow-green complexion – were turned into primroses.
What is Craquelure?
Not the temptation to make bad jokes,
but wondering whether that old-paint effect
might be achieved by artificial means.
Half a million craquelures - cracks in the paint - run across the Mona Lisa.
How to be crazy
without being paving, albeit fairly close.
Or is it me that's cracking
on the path to being crazy, albeit as a road?
This must be a pine cone
pretending to be an ear of corn.
For were it an ear, pretending to be a cone,
how would it have fallen from a tree?
I believe this is from Pinus strobus, the American-originating Eastern White Pine known as the Weymouth Pine in Britain.
that there was a lot of black ice,
but I didn’t see any -
which is why it’s odd that I slipped.
Think of all the ways
they can disport themselves,
and you'll wonder why the Elastic Band Kama Sutra
is yet to be published…
a real nowhere sign
tells us we’re in nowhere town
at a time when nowhere is the only place to go.
Who drains the drains?
Not I, says the gutter, that’s way beyond my job description.
Not I, says the river, I'm well out of range.
Looks as if I'd better fetch a straw...
Why the warning?
So I can check out camera positions
before committing any crime.
Yet what crime is worth committing in this empty field?
If glove makes the world go round
what a shame
that this should be
so very compacted and wet.
The lowest form of wit, you say?
I never heard that before.
My congrats on such a cutting counter!
Deciding from what distance
to photograph the lorry, I worried a little:
if they’re always near and far,
what happens if your move is local?
As below, so above?
Not yet, but soon - this is a rehearsal
for when spring returns,
restricting the leaves to the tree's reflection.
If business is slow
this time of year,
they may be in a niche too far...
Toy breeds: you’re exempt
on the assumption that you can’t reach.
Others: when through, please bark three times –
the doorbell isn’t working.
If your dog can’t read –
I’ve heard Great Danes aren't great with words –
please shout the bone out loudly as you hurl it.
Which way round?
Whether owners take after their pets
or pets take after their owners,
how come she's isn't walking a leopard?
for resembling the snow they appear in
but after Schneetropfen – 17th century German pearl earrings.
Thought I’d drop that in...
Are ducks with one leg Catholic?
Do bears shit in circles?
Does the Pope swim in the woods?
How much do I love nature?
Let me count the greens:
ivy, bramble, grass, trees, moss
bus stop shelter, lamp post.
Logic or aesthetics?
Of the many arrangements
of three cuboids on offer,
what made the bin men choose this one?
Is there a message
in how pollution leads to beauty
when the science of optics
has its way with oil spills in the wet?
is fleshy, but rather bland:
the delicate notes are all reserved
for the very tip-tips of the fingers.
What’s on TV?
It depends: do you get cable?
And if not, where’s your aerial?
Most of it is rubbish anyway.
Towering Passions Burning Baptism Spark Blaze
Incendiary Injustice Burst Inferno Flames Inflamed
Flammable Trail Bright Materials Fire Remark
Just part of her boots remains
I said, and that unrecognisably charred.
But it was me the sergeant accused –
of wasting his time.
Why do birds peck the yellow crocus most?
There are theories you can google,
but I reckon it’s the lack of beetle-black ones,
which they’d be on in a flash.
The crocus has a rare plurality of plurals: ‘crocuses’, ‘croci’ and ‘crocus’ are all correct.
but it’s one o’clock:
they may well be out to lunch.
How many cars?
When the calls comes for photographic evidence
I will be ready to cover
five minutes of Feb the 21st.
Picture shows the Metrocount Vehicle Classifier System
We all have our goals
but are they aligned,
let alone shared?
And which of them is right?
I don’t think there’s a multiverse
because I can't believe
that I'd end up in the one
that features Celebrity Squares and Love Island.
The local question
of why Wood Road has metal posts
but New Road’s nicely retro-styled in wood
may be one to ask the Parish Council?
The browns dropping down
meet the home brown of ground
and go down to the depths
from which all future browns come around.
Now we have the greening of stump discs.
But what should we name this mossed-up part
of what was once a tree?
Tredge (noun) plural: tredges
The near-flat remnant of a tree now cut down. Believed to be a portmanteau of ‘trunk' and ‘wedge’.‘
The branches / Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures / But we have only a tredge’ - anonymous early C21st after Henry Reed's 'Naming of Parts', 1942
You say no entry
I say no problem,
I’m perfectly happy making no progress,
living a life that’s only ever now.
I know it’s prickly as an argument
for getting us from a to c, when b involves a cliff path route
that’s up and down far more than it’s along.
there are no limits.
Sometimes there are gapswecannotleave.
But I suspect a limit has been reached.
Gorse can get
no friendlier than when
pretty much the same flowers
sweep away the sharpness with a new broom.
The common broom (Cytisus scoparius) is pictured, as opposed to gorse (Ulex europaeus)
The stretched and compressed
of the matter is this:
why are there more letters in ‘short’
than in ‘long’?
the padlock’s been left unlocked.
On the other I reassure myself:
how likely's the fence to be stolen?
Here’s my entry
in the least interesting local statistics contest,
highways section: 40% of road signs stand on wooden posts,
30% on concrete and 30% on metal.
If your granny’s a bit of a cow
or your father’s one for pigging out
here’s the place to rest them up
before their final rest.
Bag up the thrushes
frogs and moles:
this is how you pave a garden
to do your best for worms.
Anyone for tennis?
I suspected not.
But you need to accept the nature of the game
when all the clubs and courts have been locked down.
Wherever I make my home
that’s not my hat –
for it were
I’d hang it in the hall.
It’s a start
but if even the fraction of solar output
that makes it to earth could be harnessed in full
we could power ten thousand worlds.
Tempting as it is
to climb a tree on fungal steps
the only exercise I plan
is of my self-control.
I crept up
but SUDDENLY –
at least by the lumbering standard of pigeons -
it was off in a blur of coo.
And, to cut to the concrete
nub of the matter:
when and how and why?
Had the lids been swapped?
If so, I saw on second glance,
more than these three bins were involved
in what must have been a complicated multi-business business…
The advantage of this wall
is that when it falls -
as all walls must in the context of eternity -
it won’t be hard to build back, won’t be hard at all.
Who’s stolen my lorry?
And more to the point,
how did they do so without so much
as ruffling its cover?
She was distraught
Now they were a couple
and nothing could take away the pain
of having once stood there.
The outside mat
is puzzling. You can wipe your feet,
all very well and good for the soles -
but then what?
In the clearing
where everything is what it’s going to be,
you need only look beyond to see the future.
From the Middle Dutch
tails of which they may resemble,
tales of which involve me gentling a spring-kissed cheek.
'Catkin' is a loanword from the Middle Dutch katteken, meaning 'kitten' (compare also German Kätzchen). This name is due either to the resemblance of the lengthy sorts of catkins to a kitten's tail, or to the fine fur found on some catkins. - Wikipedia
Car for sale
One careful owner,
albeit with a rather narrow
entrance to the drive.
If you’re immortal
there’s no time not to waste – just as,
if you’re going to sail your boat round the garden,
it might as well be upside-down.
This makes me think of tipping points
proving closer than I think –
even when I’ve fine-tuned that
for thinking that’s what I think.
I myself like Bud
and there’s much to be said for consistency of taste.
Marriage is based on it. But is this the house
of someone who should seek a beer divorce?
I suppose is this:
couldn’t they have carried the bench around the net
instead of pushing it through?
'But I want to enjoy the daffodils
myself, not provide pleasure to others…
I guess that means
it’s OK for me to pick them.'
a positive spin
on the beauties of spring
but petal drops are set to poop the party pretty pronto.
there are hardly any flowers in the park:
the notice is superfluous or tardy.
Maybe I should move it to our garden?
Are three heads better than one?
Only if you’re multi-tasking.
Daffodils – unless you count being in poems
as doing something – are not.
is common or garden –
in this case garden, though I see they've escaped
to the ambiguous territory of a bank just beyond.
to the ambiguous territory of a bank just beyond.
Better red than dead?
Perhaps. But what I’d ask
the red dead-nettle’s
‘Red, where is thy sting?’
One must respect
the grape hyacinth's cheek:
neither a grape nor a hyacinth
yet making a claim to be both.
I think of narcissi
as social plants in not-quite-golden, not-quite-daffodil hosts –
but here’s a singleton,
staring into the lonely pool of its self.
This poem (and the daffodil poem above) refers to Wordsworth's 'I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud', 1802, as well as the legend of Narcissus
Do not confuse
the hyacinth’s elongated pink
with the much more stunted lowercinth’s
ironically imperial purple.
Imagine being a celandine
and knowing that almost everyone
assumes you’re something else.
Or are these, actually, buttercups?
Holland has a billion tulips
we have eight.
But quantity is secondary:
we glory in our octet like a sea.
If I were a plant
I’d stay in the garden,
with prioritised ground and regular water.
Why act aubrietially, climbing down the wall to get out?
Ah, the netic
and nitudinous ic
of isterial and nificent nolia -
niloquent num opus of the spring!
Or, if you prefer to magnify word lengths: ‘Ah, the magnetic / and magnitudinous magic / of magisterial and magnificent magnolia - / magniloquent magnum opus of the spring!’ Moreover, the OED gives ‘Magnolious’ as a slang term for ‘magnificent, splendid, large’.
It comes to something
when sunflowers fade in the sun…
Is it down to soil, or location?
Or have we just not watered them enough?
I'm half crazy without even loving you
the way I do magnolia’s flare
and the sonorous depths of tulips.
Cosmic rays are all around
From supernovae to the ground
it takes them aeons
to manifest terrestrially as flowers.
Our sentries are Photinia
I’m not sure there’s any deterrent effect
but the steps are resplendent
when wearing such magnificent epaulettes.
If you believe that daffodils aspire to be trumpets
this pair won’t help your case.
But if you reckon they tend towards the inner ear,
then these would be why.
'Robust, fragrant, multiple award-winning Narcissus 'Tahiti' features large, double flowers, 11cm across, with multiple golden-yellow petals and vermilion interior ruffles' - garden shop catalogue
Which of us will not fall
and - at the same time - in space?
That said, I’m doing better than these camellias.
The time has come –
the end of March –
to double up on bud-to-bloom
and see how long the camenolia lasts.
These flowers may not be as real
as the emotions assuredly were,
but there’s a different kind of plangent
to bouquets that can't be refreshed.
The ageing process?
I know it well:
the rust, the bandage, the lumber past
what might have been the marker for a sprint...
When I run dry
by which I mean I go for a run
but can’t think what to write –
this is where I’ll come.
When the green invades the wall
we’re not concerned at all.
But when the wall invades the green
protesters will be seen…
Can I at least
lay claim to the lorry?
and soul mate, my best friend with the benefit of sox appeal?
If you should see my better half hanging around,
please ask her to hotfoot it back.
If unpainting the door
required as much effort as painting it first-off
I doubt they'd have bothered.
But here's the result.
When the stream delivers
you know it’s time
to reflect on moving on.
In Boxland all are classified
according to who they used to be.
You can peek in the boxes
but you can’t take anyone out.
demarking the limits of make-do-and-mend
as a gloss on the tactic of taking no action
because it’s assumed that all will be OK?
because it’s assumed that all will be OK?
Maximum dark is maximal richness
So were I a golden dung fly –
nice combination, shit and gold! -
this is where I’d feed.
If the car came off worse
I fear for the driver.
Or is this internally illuminated multi-aspect traffic bollard
just off in a sulk at being disobeyed?
How relevant is it
that Bluebell Knoll by the Cocteau Twins
is one of my favourite albums?
Ah well, I feared as much.
Dog football is serious
in these parts: not only is fair play emphasised,
a video ref is always on stream
to bring any misconduct to heel.
‘The fairest flower that ever bloomed’?
John Clare may have gone too far,
but as he hints –‘ It does me good, thou flower of spring’ –
their petals are among the best to eat.
Quotes are from John Clare: 'The Pansy', c. 1825.
Well, of course they’re here,
leaving the bed clear for daffs and tulips
to dance and maybe smooch a bit…
I’m awarding this non-zone
the non-poem status
of fences and lines that signify nothing
beyond their own lack.
‘I didn't mind the melodrama
the schmaltzy romance, even the horror
but when it came to the avant-garde
I pretty much had to move out.’
In a road in Ashurst
of these petals on the ground:
faces of Covid-19.
A reversal of Ezra Pound's famous imagist poem from 1913:
The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals on a wet, black bough.
That’s not my way then
though I’m nagged by the fear
that I could be falling
for reverse psychology or double bluff...
Three weeks on…
comes the post-tulip.
Longevity by mayfly standards,
but that is not our measure.
Energy, warmth, happiness, optimism
jealousy, grief, despair and mourning.
What aren’t marigolds supposed to stand for?
To me, they’re just orange.
See, for example, Petal Republic’s online guide
is looking good for his age,
his gender fluid in a modern way
that loops us back to the action of the plays.
Seven of Shakespeare’s plays feature cross-dressing characters, eg in ‘As You Like It’, Rosalind dresses as a man in order to reduce the chance of being attacked as she travels through the forest. When first performed - with an all-male cast - that had the additional confusion potential of it being a man playing the woman who was pretending to be a man…
The faster the train goes
the less time you get
to take your nap or read your book.
Should I make an alternate complaint?
(between Basingstoke and Winchester)
Who thinks of a rose
in terms of its seeds?
Yet these aren’t really dandelions
until their means to multiply takes off.
'I'm sorry Madam
but they're too square.
Any old cleaner could deal with your
When nature meets artifice
and both meet their shadows
the metaphysical implications
cannot be held back by a fence.
The Duke of Edinburgh
and though I’m nothing of a Royalist,
here’s the golding of a black bamboo.
The Rustonica is doing well
I guess the soil must suit it:
not just iron-rich,
but in forms a plant can easily absorb.
If you see a cowboy with a naked head
you may not realise he’s a cowboy
due his not wearing this –
but if you do, please tell him: here’s his hat.
Top ten pollinator
caterpillar catnip, not a bad looker...
I think it was the scuddy old name
that held the Yellow Beebliss back.
Yellow Beebliss (Jacobaea vulgaris) was formerly known as Common Ragwort.
Who’d have thought that
an iron chain could disguise itself
as a field of stone?
Or, do I mean, that pebbles could rust?
of the fence-window: security maintained,
yet the view unreduced.
Something feels wrong, nevertheless.
'If you suspect that special occasion
won’t be so special after all,
our limousines will cater
to your disappointment.'
This is like being stuck in a nursing home
forever: the tipping point
at which the head gets too heavy for its neck
may never quite be reached.
Rebecca Manson: ‘End of Season Sunflowers’, 2020, in her show at Josh Lilley Gallery, London -
Rebecca Manson: ‘End of Season Sunflowers’, 2020, in her show at Josh Lilley Gallery, London -porcelain, stoneware, glaze, steel and concrete
How long must a ruin-in-progress
be in progress
before it becomes
a ruin, with no such hope?
Might the older form of me
usurp its younger predecessors,
rather like a dandelion
effecting a total eclipse of its previous self?
Here's the computer
that lifts the bridge.
It seems to be signalling stop and go or up and down
at exactly the same time...
If this is the door
to inner peace
and eternal happiness,
I’m ready to go through.
(door painted on a wall in Bermondsey)
I envisage –
‘Emperor Trousers’ –
will consist wholly of holes.
‘I don’t like to boast
but facts are facts. Though I’m not that keen
on the strength of condom
that the vigour of my thrusts obliges.’
'I know that money
can’t buy me love
but I’m willing
to give it a try.'
(Image to follow)
Taping the road’s dashes into crosses
was about as much protest as you could get away with.
Now it’s just a whim.
How to take portraits under a tree
Don’t point at the sky.
Don’t allow the trunk to intervene.
If you hear a very loud creaking and cracking, move fast.
We’ll get to you quickly
to check on the volume,
dust off the mechanics
and cut back that wisteria the thieves love to climb.
Is it alright if I take two?
one to be crease-stained
by day to day use,
one to keep mint in my growing collection…
‘No offence meant, but what are you for?’
‘None taken. My function
is linking up posts that might have been lonely:
the fence as divider is very old school.’
If bluebells can be white
can heaven be hotter than hell? Can a desert
wilt in the sun? Can butterflies sting like bees?
Can all the human colours get along?
Either white horses are bigger then black ones
or this a study in perspective.
And, as David Hume would say,
you can’t distinguish purely from the photograph.
Given that ‘all our experimental conclusions proceed upon the supposition that the future will be conformable to the past’ (David Hume, 1737) we are basing our assumptions about the image on past experience of natural laws - which may prove an unreliable guide to the future - not on reason.
My question isn’t
whether you can eat them straight off the tree
but whether it’s crabapple’s onewordconjoined
or crab apple’s stretched-out two?
The word is ‘ruderal’
Old-man-in-the-spring the groundsel may be,
and dead by summer - but it’s one of the first to reappear
in places we’ve disturbed.
Among road marking specialists
the Petal Kerb's a matter of debate.
Does it mean you can’t park there,
or just that you should do it very carefully?
This is a poem
of the ilk that you find by googling the term,
though that might be stretching
the ilk of the poem...
Wikipedia uses this image for its entry on Ilk, ‘a village in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county, in the Northern Great Plain region of eastern Hungary’.
One of those days to ask
‘Whither the spring?’
and, given it seems to have withered without much sign of summer,
‘Just how many seasons there are?’
April 2021 had the lowest average UK minimum temperature for the month since 1922
for the flowers!
I can't tell you
How much they meant to me.
Roll on summer!
For this could be the finest mattress
I've ever seen on the street -
and right by my potentially superfluous hotel...
It occured to me that the words ‘potentially superfluous’ were potentially superfluous here,
so I left them in
Whatever this is called
I like the mix of modesty and assertion
and the story of how the last unnamed plants
called out to God not to forget them.
Myosotis sylvatica, commonly known as forget-me-not.
Have you ever seen a poppy that is pink?
I suppose so, but this rinky-dink struck me
in a way its cousins don't,
for all the positivity of their reds.
That’s reassuring. I’d better report this
as not being spam.
Such a shame I don’t speak Russian!
‘Everything is fine
till I’m due to be watered:
I can't think what gets into me
when I have to attend to myself.’
Re-seeding: The Sequel
is awaiting release.
The rushes don’t look promising,
but that may be a strategy to get the punters talking.
Plant Blown Over in Supermarket Drama
Fortunately, I didn't see it happen:
was quite enough disturbance for the day.
Preloved fitted bedroom suite,
delivered in handy modular form
for flexible and rapid self-assembly.
I didn't used to believe
in fairies. No amount of clapping
could have changed my mind.
But then I found this door...
Topsy’s shot up well beyond crazy
or she’s standing on her sister’s shoulders
or – hang on, yes! – they’ve bought a trampoline!
Now I understand
the phrase ‘a pool of light’
but wonder whether this
is just a puddle...
'Well, Mrs C
I look at it this way:
if they hadn’t wanted us to talk to each other
they wouldn’t have planted us so close together.'
If I were flower
I wouldn’t accept a bovine name
at the level of a shed or a pat.
‘Spread parsley’: how about that?
Cows do in fact like to eat Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris), so there is a reason for the name.
that ball needs kicker
less than kicker needs ball…
yet this one did look lonely.
There's a lot of bird call
in this picture: can you tell the blackbird
from the robin
from the thrush?
I had a girlfriend
called Fern. She hated the name
and never wore green.
I was frond of her, but it didn't last.
I am rather clinical
and that can be a waste
of my emotional potential.
But this looks like a whole other level.
(St Thomas' Hospital, London)
I could have chosen
from several shots of empty lawn
from which the rook had fully flown -
but would you have believed the bird was there?
You really ought
to smell this picture,
then you’d have the point of it –
I’m not too sure I’d bother with looking.
There’s an oddly even pattern
to who’s up and about
and who’s asleep or out
in this tower block on the ground.
in this tower block on the ground.
The king of the birds
pooed by a pigeon!
There would have been trouble,
had the eagle not been made of stone.
Sooner or later
sure as landlines cannot move
there’ll be a root and branch review
of what to do with telephone boxes.
Welcome to the open society
No firewalls need be breached
to invite the neighbours and beyond
to gather in your garden.
The layers being
You expect it, but that rhododendrons –
who hardly show age – live longer than us
did catch me by surprise.
Who’d be a dapple?
Dappled is as dapple does
and dapple does what leaf and light
doubly direct them to dapply-do do.
‘If you don't like us’
ran their chant -
delivered with good spirit, if rather loud and maskless -
‘You can get the next train!’
(Canada Water to London Bridge)
The perfect meal
was enjoyed near here.
Perfect, that is,
for drumming up business for the NHS.
Too fast to be a guinea pig
too big to be a mouse, too dry
to be a beaver, too forward
to be a squirrel - what is this?
Life is simply full
of mistakes stacked up in the queue of their making -
though I like to believe
that some will be waiting a while.
Image is of a health advisory poster
Image is of a health advisory poster
How are you today?
Boxed-in by sameness?
Or in the purple-pink
of feeling welcome in the club?
Tranton Road is dead, alas!
The houses will be taken down,
the pavement levelled with the road
and any cars still parked, split up for parts.
about the old mob!
What a bunch of incompetents
we used to be.
Rarely have I seen
a less dangerous snake!
But what if its role is to tie you up
until its poisonous cousin slithers in...
I didn't start it
by having nettles:
you started it
by choosing to ignore them.
‘The relocation to New Cross Road
was a surprise – but angels are trained
to make the best of anything
short of the dreaded secondment to Hell.’
How to fit a vertical blind
Straight or curly are your primary options –
and straight, I feel,
is simply too conventional.
I'm not sure I could tell you
what wisdom there is in these marks
or how to make it manifold
but I am not terribly wise…
‘The beer’s on the fridge!’
sounds almost good.
Were the fridge not in the street
and the bottle already empty...
of Robim Hood; imspiratiom for Soms
and Lovers; Chanpioms under Briam Clough…
Meed I say noore?
I dread to imagine
The blood there must have been
judged by the bandaging needed.
Those murderous maniacs ought to be banned!
How many flowers
can claim to have a colour –
and not just a shade but the its range in full –
named after their own modest hue?
Though this sounds like a joke which gets it deliberately the wrong way round, it could be true: the etymology is unclear but for example Oxford Languages suggest it is ‘mid 17th century, the early use of the adjective being to describe the colour of the flowers of this plant’, ie ‘pinks’ such as Dianthus plumarius. Moreover, the fringed margins of the petals give rise to the term ‘pinking shears’
The mating rituals of traffic cones
are not my speciality
but this quintuple hook-up
looks like an advanced technique.
wool, brick, wood, stone,
moss, earth, ash, leaf:
nae sich a teary-weary spatch o’ groond.
From the online Dictionars o the Scots Leid:
Nae - no / not
Sich - such
Garrick – a corner patch of land
Teary-weary (adj) – boring, tiresome
Spatch (noun) – large spot, a patch
Groond – ground
Beyond here lies nowhere
you can reach along this path.
Need that stop me going?
This is the wisdom
of Glasgow City Council.
Yet I submit that in the absence of people
the streets would be fairly clean.
I’m not sure when I’ll be back
but would respectfully ask
that my cache, so systematically gathered and stored,
should not, please, be disturbed.
Let's face it
This banner’s seen better days,
this city too, this world.
this city too, this world.
But this is the one we’re in.
is quite the darkest shop
I've seen. Perhaps
They sell the night...
I spose, mst be
a breviatn -
bt 1 hrdly wor th troub.
‘Pretty in Pink’
swims into my head, then I wonder:
is this a plant dressed in a colour
or one with pink deep in its being?
Psychedelic Furs: ‘Pretty in Pink’ (1981), written by John Ashton, Tim Butler, Richard Butler, Vince Ely, Duncan Kilburn, Roger Morris. The flower is Osteospermum
In the battle of the Ashursts
Hampshire’s small-enough village
is ten times Kent’s or Sussex’s.
Any sports challenge ought to go well.
The name ‘Ashurst’ derives from the Old English words, ‘ash’ and ‘hyrst’, meaning hill, and indicates that the town was named for a hill on which ash trees grew. That sounds common, but there are only three such places in the UK, as opposed to – say – a dozen instances of ‘Newport’. They’re in Hampshire (pop 2,100), Sussex (pop 260) and Kent (pop 250). On 13 June, 2021 we travelled the 83 miles from the first to the second.
I don't think
there's a fountain in Ashurst,
only a Fountain Inn.
Ashurst water must be cider, whiskey, beer.
If this looks like a filtered image
I assure you not. But then,
as we’ve already noted,
this Ashurst's water’s strange.
Is the maze crazy?
Or does it just drive those attempting to solve it
in that direction? This is a school,
so they ought to know the grammar....
(Nursling C of E Primary School, Southampton)
It’s a simple matter
for a flower to rest.
lie in the getting up.
Here’s the plan
We remove that intrusive green notice,
cut down the tree to drive through a road,
build 62 new houses on the field.
My guess is
that the limit was exceeded,
and that the margin
may not have been all that small.
Time and tide
are inherent in all things -
even in Tarmac,
as the pavement breaks its stasis on the garden.
The purple-toed toad
the swivel-eyed aye-aye,
the flat-chested boobie that nests in the bum grass -
they’re all in my zoo.
This may be a water scooter
parked for speedy transit
from the trees to the town
but I remain to be convinced...
I think what this means
is the workers will take the job easy,
lounging around quite likely
surpassing the putative date.
If not quite the Roman Empire
this is as close to a glorious
decline and fall
as Ashurst is likely to provide.
(sequence shows a Camellia in Ashurst, New Forest, April-June 2021)
It will have been dark
for the urgent fumbling - the prickling
of the undergrowth - the nearly point - the passer-by
suddenly upon them - the bra in the brambles.
To see the whole of the park
through the hole in the park
you need to move around -
though maybe you can never see the hole.
(Sculpture is 'View', 2017, by Naomi Blake in Fitzroy Square, London)
Much as I like containing beer
there are times
when I’m glad
that I’m not a can.
Taken from a bus
that thinks it's a tram.
Not many trams, though, want to be buses,
and hardly any trains wish they were trams...
Even when it's white
even when it's partial
even when I'm spaced
I can recognise a poppy.
You can hang a pavement up
I guess, but why would you?
Same as there’d be little point
in ironing a slab.
(Edgeware Road, London)
(Edgeware Road, London)
The bad news is
you can’t see our clothes.
The good news:
they never wear out.
(Warren Street, London - In'ku is the home of )
(Warren Street, London - In'ku is the home ofUniversal Utility Limited, which sells 'clothing without season, time, age or trend; the philosophy being slow workmanship to create a life long product which won’t end up in landfill.'
That's all very well
but I’m staying here now
and won’t be again. Even a pigeon
would expect a decent discount.
If you can’t decide
which colour a gate
should be painted,
why not try them all?
I don't want any jokes
Well maybe I do,
but not that one.
What do you call a lukewarm poker?
Flowers of the Kniphofia genus are commonly known as Red Hot Pokers
The border strip
is proof that this vegetation
is wild within limits,
a teen lawn that can always call its parents.
As if it’s not enough
to be greenest transportation,
hybrid bikes have been developed
to integrate with plants.
(Chalk Farm, London)
‘Don’t call us’
I’m inclined to tell 'Buildforce',
judging by this self-promotion,
‘and don’t expect us to call you’.
All night beneath my window
that Belisha has been beaconing.
When will it ever
make up its mind?
(Carr-Saunders Hall, London)
Outside the restaurant
the tang of lemon
(Warren Street, London)
Actually, I didn’t
I just drove by to pick up the plaudits
and test their sincerity, which I found
to be excessive, given my lack of purchases.
More agrimony than I’ve ever encountered
more than any wife has been awarded
by way of cash to make up for the endless aggro
since the days when he would give her flowers.
Only later did I realise that I’d confused the locally common agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria) with alimony - aggro money if you will - which I’ve no reason to think is commoner in Ashurst than elsewhere.
The long and the short
and the middle of socks
is that they lack the conventions of cover
that so restrict the options of a blouse.
If hair were meant to be green
wouldn't it russet in autumn
and fall to the ground
with no need for scissors?
Tombstone skulls, memento mori
‘remind us that we’re going to die.
Yet is that not already covered
by the fact that it's a grave?
I say ‘petal’, she says ‘grass’
I say ‘grass’, he says ‘petal’
No wonder the seas are rising
and democracy is frayed.
The light bulb moment
was when we realised
we could store the power of illumination
in the beautifully opposite dark below ground.
(Notting Hill, London)
A dog rose is a rose
is a rose – although only fit,
I suppose, for a dog.
I love their crimson anthers.
At first I thought
the tree was mourning itself, but no –
just tending the corpse of another,
dismembered. Even so…
My wife, an ultra-Federer fan
is almost pleased when he is pole-axed by a Pole:
no longer need she worry that Roger will lose.
Somewhere between the lounge and the wild
three ducks fly up a wall.
I strain my ears
but cannot hear their call.
Actually, I didn’t
I just drove by to pick up the plaudits
and test their sincerity, which I found
to be excessive, given my lack of purchases.
(Savile Row, London)
There’s more to the lines of a railway
than railway lines, just as there’s more
to the words on a page than words on a page -
though maybe, in this case, there isn’t.
of the blooms must remain
for a foxglove to be still
I'm just off
to fly the goldfish,
swim the dog
and walk the parrots.
‘Any sign of Deadly lately?
Rumour has it he met his own end…’
Oenothera biennis, the common evening-primrose, is widely naturalised in England. The beneficial qualities of its oil make something of a contrast with the poisonous berries of the deadly nightshade, Atropa belladonna. I was called away by a marigold before I could hear Daisy's reply.
to a vigorous overnight drench
you can't see the dew
for rain this morning.
It’s good to see
that, here at least,
the authorities obey their own rules:
this flag is not inflatable.
Some name, I thought
Does it really look like an ox’s stare?
And – as it doesn’t close at night –
why should we call it ‘day’s eye’?
Leucanthemum vulgare may be a better name for the ox-eye daisy, also known as dog daisy, field daisy, Marguerite, moon daisy or poor-land penny. The name ‘daisy’ comes from Old English meaning 'day's eye' referencing those members of the family with flowers that do close at night and open in the morning.
All night I try to catch the beacons out
being all-off or all-on, but no dice.
Or rather, rather like a dice
that comes down showing seven.
Subsidiary point: 'a die' is the correct singular of 'dice', but the plural is substituted so often that I suspect the error has become the natural usage, as with 'less' for 'fewer' etc.
The mark remains
as if, from beyond the alphabet,
the letters could have
left their thoughts behind.
(Former Primark store, Margate)
Sorry Mr Hartley!
I think you'll find it's the exact same thing
under a different description.
Though if you're reading this, I take that back.
(Highgate Cemetery, London)
I would say
'don't confuse the art with the information'
if only I knew
which category to put this in.
Here stands the evidence
that time will go on
buggering you up
long after it's done with your body.
(Church of St Michael and All Angels, Lyndhurst)
I fly round as I wish
and take my pick of flowers for R&R.
Why settle for more?
The action begins
to the whoops and cheers of a seasoned crowd
making the most of not knowing whether
the only other action will be the weather.
(Hove: Sussex vs Kent was abandoned due to rain on 29 July)
This is how you park
if you’re getting back to nature
but not rushing
to change your lifestyle all at once.
seems to be a classic of the railway-side
even though butterflies
hardly ever travel by train.
Why is there something rather than nothing?
That’s the question that keeps the streetlights up at night.
but not that bright.
‘I’m the Swish Ver’
‘No, I’m the Swish Version!’
‘Hardly. I’m so swish
I don’t even bother to say so.’
Even Newlands is getting old
if not quite as old
as New College, Oxford -
Do you think they’ll make me
a cup of coffee at No. 32 -
if I ask nicely -
and let me use the loo?
Some help here...
I asked the meaning
and they told me to fuck off!
Head in mind
I mind my head
hardly minding where I'm headed
provided the two stay close.
The Hydrangea Cult
is known to be ruthless:
many a nasturtium has suffered
and I’ve heard that even thistles aren’t safe...
Death to daisies!
I'm not being callous but realistic:
death to all flowers,
all people, all structures, all worlds…
I see that 19, Dene Road
can't even get
their exclamation marks the right way up!!
The Flower Pot Flower
has some potential for sustaining itself,
but I do worry:
how will it disseminate its seeds?
of the absent convenience
is nothing more than you'd expect –
a politer formulation of 'piss off!'
Big for a sheep
small for a cow.
I’m feeling disgustingly
If this seems an eccentric subject, you might wish to visit my source, @TweetYourTurd, which displays some 400 contributions from people proud of their poos.
‘I’d like a hing’
I explained, ‘not a standard ring or your tasteless bling,
but an ecial hing as a special thing for my ecial one.’
The sistant looked otally blank.
Six legs, two bags and a head
wait for a train. The legs and bags are patient,
knowing no better. The head, too,
aware of how things go.
(Waterloo Station, London)
(Waterloo Station, London)
If you’re going to sue the Council
for falling on uneven paving,
I suggest you use this photo -
wherever, if at all, you may have fallen.
Shall I take a punt
on the slightly fenced existence
of a local poet who had no enemies
but whose friends disliked him?
Philip Larkin(1922–1985): ‘I have no enemies. But my friends don’t like me.’
Beyond here lies Hull
A fairly definitive end of the line,
though the start for Larkin
late away and, since 1985, just late.
The opening of ‘The Whitsun Weddings’ runs:
‘That Whitsun, I was late getting away:
Not till about
One-twenty on the sunlit Saturday
Did my three-quarters-empty train pull out…’
the Prospect Shopping Centre.
It seems to lack just three things:
shops, centrality and prospects.
Who doesn't love a renegade?
Next up climate protest, migrant rights
and several legalisation campaigns.
Or is it an unmarked police car?
It's nice to imagine
that flowers might be friends with me
but I'm slightly surprised that even a geranium
would think to befriend a railway station.
(Flowers provided by the Friends of Brockenhurst Railway Station)
I wonder how many photographers
have congratulated themselves on getting
an unusually good shot of a butterfly on buddleia?
I've never seen a shorter journey
from the sweet pea to the sea...
but I've never known a longer wait
for a line that took my first thought somewhere else.
I’m sorry but
the lines were underwater, officer:
I assumed the prohibition
applied to the parking of boats
Is she a sweet sensation?
Well, she could be:
I’d like to see her hairstyle rendered
pink and soft-ice swirly.
The laziest horse
I’ve ever seen
has wheels as well as legs
yet still demands a lift.
What is it about statues
that they cannot follow
a simple instruction
even when it's right beneath their nose?
(Portsmouth - the sculpture is 'Man and ball' by Giles Penny, in front of the Vulcan Building, Gunwharf Quays)
The respectful tree
bows down to me.
I say no need - I liked it more
when you let yourself soar.
Time is all
that time should be
when metal puts up enough resistance
to make it worth the while.
When chips eat chips
whether in Brussels or Brighton -
or Brentford or Brazil, if it comes to that -
there can only be one result.
(Belgian chip shop, Brighton)
Ah! Wild passion
in amongst the brambles and the ferns.
Presumably just an escape from a neighbouring garden
Of course, the passion flower was not named for sexual attraction, but for the suffering and death of Jesus.
Passions in balance
are the passions for me:
from me to you,
from you to me.
if you close the shower door
when you are outside the shower
you will not be able to enter the shower.
(Passfield Hall, student residence, London)
Oh purple balls!
Whatever did befall
your echium of cock?
Spheres of artificial flowers for the garden seem to be on a run of popularity
I don’t do drugs and I don't eat mammals
but there the problems end:
I don’t fuck any other class,
and can’t imagine drugs would take me there.
(The Breakfast Club, Canary Wharf, London)
I’m not so sure
that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger -
long covid, for example, or loss of a limb -
but can believe that tough conditions toughen.
I rather think
I tend to give a happy bin more rubbish -
which makes no sense: the chances are
the happy are well fed.
How many does it take to mend a road?
One to put the signs out,
two to arrange the cones…
pretty soon there's no-one left to dig.
Is there hidden beauty here
or is this is no more
than an excuse to use the word:
Let Us Not Forget
But how should we remember
who they were?
(Exeter College Chapel, Oxford)
Whether Red Bull speeds you up
must depend on the balance
of drug versus drag
and how well it mixes with petrol.
I feel I could cope with astronomy,
could learn the constellations in a night.
(Noticeboard with pins, Bankside House student hall of residence, London)
If the Stop Valve sign is dead
does that mean the valve itself
has met its fate,
that the sign is now a tombstone, toppled?
The pansies are friendly
They hope that you have a nice day.
But their range is limited:
that’s all that they can say.
I was going to get yo
something nice - and sexy too.
B t yo birthday
caught me on the gift hop.
(The Adult Gift Shop, Shirley, Southampton)
Come on down
you silly old bugger!
Or dare I hope it’s up?
I've kept this space warm long enough…
from the inside out.
I wouldn’t like that to happen to me,
but I understand the chances are 50%.
Three o’clock by dandy time
invites the question:
do I get three wishes,
or three chances of the one wish coming true?
Many folklore superstitions are attached to dandelions: perhaps the best known are that on blowing away the seeds, your wish will be granted; and that if you blow until the seed is all blown away, the dandelion clock tells you the time - an hour to a puff.
I'm not sure
what the birds
eat around here
but I hope I haven't eaten it too.
I see you plantains!
I won’t pretend I don’t –
waiting for the daisies
to drop their skirts.
sound a bit routine to me
I wouldn't want brown
but black or blue could both have their allure.
These are Dianthus caryophyllus, also known as ‘Pink Kisses’
Would the world be a better place
Were every cock the same size,
were worry removed
at the cost of surprise?
This cone is here to say
NO LITTERING THE RIVER
and NO PARKING either,
unless it's after six.
Thou art sick,
but ought to be happy as well as unhappy
for all of your vase-friends are dead.
Is it Tuesday today?
We all need structure in our lives
but I'm not so sure I'd like to be
so utterly defined by it.
If you're driving
Can you throw any light
on just how much
the speed of growth accelerates
in a hot, wet summer?
I didn’t believe
until the sun lit them up.
Now I don’t believe in the sun.
Running up Gillsmans Hill
scourge of my teenage cycling self,
sweet with chestnuts
but cruel as the years.
Death is no danger
more an immunity
against all the hazards
that can otherwise occur.
‘I found these bracelets
in the loft.
They didn’t look good,
so I thought I'd bring them in.’
So much may be wrong with the world,
but ee aye these are right!
Isn’t it cute
how the drips match the holes?
All they require is a little more camber
to flow into a union well beyond sex.
steadily, with fortitude.
Now I've come and, sad to say,
I do not need to go.
Who is T? I want to know
How come he hasn’t washed today?
And why’s he waiting here?
But T is not inclined to say.
What's the prime role
of this bi-functionally shaggy post?
Well, that looks more like an electric forcefield
than any likely path of light.
Lions don't need to drink every day
but they do need to eat.
This one has just had a drink,
so we’d better watch out.
(Liverpool Street, London)
Meet the flint stones!
They're a page right out of
(Norwich Cathedral - to the tune of the song)
of his faculties
will Charles still have
by the time he succeeds?
(Prince of Wales pub, Norwich)
If I were asked to play the sax
my eyes would probably pop
in the manner of Alan Barnes’s -
but should his?
(Southwold - I suspect an intervention on the poster)
You have to be long
longer, I suspect, than any local,
to be too long
to lie down in Lowestoft.
(Oulton Broad North, Lowestoft)
Due respect please
for the fully certificated silver medallists
in the hanging basket championships
for all of Lowestoft, 2018!
(The Wherry Hotel, Oulton Broad North, Lowestoft)
I rushed in when I had no need
to go under thatch
only to find that
the roofing made almost no difference.
(Oulton Broad North, Lowestoft)
I can’t decide
Is this jetty optimistic,
given the lack of water?
Or pessimistic, given the need for lifebuoy?
So what sort of use is it in?
I suspect they're not uses at all.
(Green Park tube station)
On with tradition
I won't be the first to grasp this rail.
Or to refuse to,
clattering down without caution.
(Regent's Park Tube Station)
This is how we pace the streets
with an ap attached
to claim the steps as real.
(Regent's Park, London)
You should see this tree
when lighting strikes a
and its pears light up
like a blaze of good ideas.
I’ve been sleeping in the garden
The stars are both magnificent
and quiet. But I can’t say the same
of the late night passers-by.
What this poster says is moot
other than that here’s place
prominent enough to justify
both pasting and peeling.
Proper rain requires a gush
Umbrellas should be insufficient, nakedness
the only means to keep your clothing dry.
This is proper rain.
I can't see a thing
but the means to see.
What I like
is how, having gone to the trouble
of making the purchase,
he doesn't use a pillow.
There’s always one
or maybe there isn’t:
when all are the same
you notice none.
Tell you what
‘You do the cooking, I’ll do
the gardening. You can help me out
If it gets too much.’
Dancing in the street
Dancing in the street
comes with the cachet
of wild celebration
but, now that I see it, it's stately.
This is the building site as crime scene
Whether they break the Health & Safety rules
or murder the supervisor
all will be ready.
As for wild berries
I like them
wanting to eat them.
I notice that Euston
has been rebuilt at vast expense
to improve the flow of passengers…
and this is what's holding it up.
(Euston Station, London)
We're I a maximally
flashy kind of chap
this would be my car
were I more than minimally flush.
(St Pancras, London)
How fresh is fresh
in the case of this pasta?
I’m allowing myself sufficient doubt
not to enter.
(near Bond Street, London)
This unlucky octopus, I thought
is not only stranded,
but has dropped an eye!
Then I saw it was an incidental light…
the new decoration is a loving recreation of the previous look
or the opportunity offered by lockdown
has not been fully grasped.
(Hotel near Euston,London)