Monday, August 10, 2009


I was six when
Mama was careless
she sent me to school
five days a week

One day I was
kidnapped by a band
of Western philosophers
armed with glossy-pictured
textbooks and registered reputations
'Holder of BA
and MA degrees'

I was held in a classroom
guarded by Churchill and Garibaldi
pinned up on one was
Hitler and Mao dictating
from the other
Guevara pointed a revolution
at my brains
from his 'Guerilla Warfare'

Each three-month term
they sent threats to
my Mama and Papa

Mama and Papa loved
their son and
paid ransom fees
each time

Each time
Mama and Papa grew
poorer and poorer
and my kidnappers grew
richer and richer
I grew whiter and

On my release
fifteen years after
I was handed
(among loud applause
from fellow victims)
a piece of paper
to decorate my walls
certifying my release.

(Kidnapped, Ruperake Petaia)

The diameter of the bomb was thirty centimeters
and the diameter of its effective range about seven meters,
with four dead and eleven wounded.
And around these, in a larger circle
of pain and time, two hospitals are scattered
and one graveyard. But the young woman
who was buried in the city she came from,
at a distance of more than a hundred kilometers,
enlarges the circle considerably,
and the solitary man mourning her death
at the distant shores of a country far across the sea
includes the entire world in the circle.
And I won't even mention the howl of orphans
that reaches up to the throne of God and
beyond, making
a circle with no end and no God.
The Diameter of the Bomb, Yehuda Amichai)

What a sight for my eyes
to see you in sleep.
Could it stop the sun rise
hearing you weep?
You're not seen, you're not heard
but I stand by my word.
Came a thousand miles
just to catch you while you're smiling.

What a day for laughter
and walking at night.
Me following after, your hand holding tight.
And the memory stays clear with the song that you hear.
If I can but make
the words awake the feeling.

What a reason for waiting
and dreaming of dreams.
So here's hoping you've faith in impossible schemes,
that are born in the sigh of the wind blowing by
while the dimming light brings the end to a night of loving.

(Reasons For Waiting, Ian Anderson)

Monday, August 3, 2009

mersey sound

info here.

Without you every morning would feel like going back to work after a holiday,
Without you I couldn't stand the smell of the East Lancs Road,
Without you ghost ferries would cross the Mersey manned by skeleton crews,
Without you I'd probably feel happy and have more money and time and nothing to do with it,
Without you I'd have to leave my stillborn poems on other people's doorsteps, wrapped in brown paper,
Without you there'd never be sauce to put on sausage butties,
Without you plastic flowers in shop windows would just be plastic flowers in shop windows,
Without you I'd spend my summers picking morosely over the remains of train crashes,
Without you white birds would wrench themselves free from my paintings and fly off dripping blood into the night,
Without you green apples wouldn't taste greener,
Without you Mothers wouldn't let their children play out after tea,
Without you every musician in the world would forget how to play the blues,
Without you Public Houses would be public again,
Without you the Sunday Times colour suppliment would come out in black-and-white,
Without you indifferent colonels would shrug their shoulders and press the button,
Without you they's stop changing the flowers in Piccadilly Gardens,
Without you Clark Kent would forget how to become Superman,
Without you Sunshine Breakfast would only consist of Cornflakes,
Without you there'd be no colour in Magic colouring books,
Without you Mahler's 8th would only be performed by street musicians in derelict houses,
Without you they'd forget to put the salt in every packet of crisps,
Without you it would be an offence punishable by a fine of up to £200 or two months' imprisonment to be found in possession of curry powder,
Without you riot police are massing in quiet sidestreets,
Without you all streets would be one-way the other way,
Without you there'd be no one to kiss goodnight when we quarrel,
Without you the first martian to land would turn round and go away again,
Without you they'd forget to change the weather,
Without you blind men would sell unlucky heather,
Without you there would be
no landscapes/no stations/no houses
no chipshops/no quiet villages/no seagulls
on beaches/no hopscotch on pavements/no night/no morning/
there'd be no city no country
Without you.

Adrian Henri

Love is feeling cold in the back of vans
Love is a fanclub with only two fans
Love is walking holding paintstained hands
Love is.

Love is fish and chips on winter nights
Love is blankets full of strange delights
Love is when you don't put out the light
Love is.

Love is the presents in Christmas shops
Love is when you're feeling Top of the Pops
Love is what happens when the music stops
Love is.

Love is white panties lying all forlorn
Love is pink nightdresses still slightly warm
Love is when you have to leave at dawn
Love is.

Love is you and love is me
Love is prison and love is free
Love's what's there when you are away from me
Love is...

Adrian Henri

A little bit of heaven fell
From out the sky one day
It landed in the ocean
Not so very far away

The general at the radar screen
Rubbed his hands in glee
And grinning pressed the button
That started World War Three

From every corner of the earth
Bombs began to fly
There were even missile jams
No traffic lights in the sky
In the time it takes to blow your nose
The people fell, the mushrooms rose.

'House!' cried the fat lady
As the bingohall moved to various parts of the town
'Raus!' cried the German butcher
as his shop came tumbling down

Phillip was in the counting house
Counting out his money
The Queen was in the parlour
Eating bread and honey
When through the window
Flew a bomb
And made them go all funny
In the time it takes to draw a breath
Or eat a toadstool, instant death

The rich
Huddled outside the doors of their fallout shelters
Like drunken carol singers
The poor
Clutching shattered televisions
And at last week's editions of T.V Times
(but the very last)
Civil defence volunteers
With their tin hats in one hand
And their heads in the other
C.N.D supporters
Their ban the bomb badges beginning to rust
Have scrawled 'I told you so' in the dust

A little bit of heaven fell
From out of the sky one day
It landed in Vermont
North-eastern USA
The general at the radar screen
He should have got the sack
But that wouldn't bring
Three thousand million, seven hundred, and sixty-eight people back,
Would it?

Roger McGough

mother the wardrobe is full of infantrymen
i did i asked them
but they snarled saying it was a man's life

mother there's a centurion tank in the parlour
i did i asked the officer
but he laughed saying 'Queen's regulations'
(piano was out of tune anyway)

mother polish your identity bracelet
there is a mushroom cloud in the back garden
i did i tried to bring in the cat
but it simply came to pieces in my hand
i did i tried to whitewash the windows
but there weren't any
i did i tried to hide under the stairs
but i couldn't get in for the civil defence leaders
i did i tried ringing candid camera
but they crossed their hearts

i went for a policemen but they were looting the town
i went out for a fire engine but they were all upside down
i went out for a priest but they were all on their knees
mother don't just lie there, say something please
mother don't just lie there, say something please

Roger McGough