Leicester – Night Shadows

Amos 070817 Alice 070817

In the night we talk,
Ghosts of a shared past, now immortalised;
On the fields of France and Belguim they died
But you believed the sacrifice was worth it
– cowards never prosper
But brave men give their blood for a higher cause
– Women’s voices needed to heard
– Their deaths were not in vain for that
The war to end all wars was a lie,
Women (and men) needed the truth
And that you denied
– They’ll build a statue to me
A statue of lies and needless deaths
– The cause of women shall go on
And so it should, but in the light of truth
– Truth?
Not in the shadow of deception,
Not in the opportunism,
Not hand in hand with those who exploit our kind;
– You are forgotten;
And you will one day be remembered for what you were;
I’ll bide my time for that, forgotten, remembered, statue or no.




There is a silence in the close tonight,
Fireflies fill the air, light without sound,
Though silence not yet total for life goes on –
for now;
What the opposite side of the bank holds, who knows
For the river slowly flows, no boat in sight,
The ferryman is not yet stirred,
No payment required;
So stand I here, observer, no participant;
There is a silence in the close tonight
But fireflies fill the air

A Leicestershire Christmas memory


Six days, six nights, or
Twelve days and twelve nights
Dylan Thomas spoke of Christmas
Snow in his childhood Welsh home;
Thomas remembers festive snow,
But I cannot,
My Memory defective
Or am I just slightly selective?

But Christmas is not just snow,
It is the happy voices of children,
Presents worn or played with
That is my memory of Christmas,
The pork pie breakfast, Stilton and Piccalilli
Turkey roasting in the oven with chestnuts,
(Or on an open fire, Jack nipping at your nose)
Sherry, trifle and chocolate liquors,
And Eric and Ernie arseing about on the TV

And then the films

Dream White Christmas
(You never doubted Betty would come back),
A 34th Street Miracle
proving once and for all that Santa really does exist,
Cue Colin and Renée
Outside that stationers
Snow swirling around
But of course fake for the cameras,
And at a door Hugh sings a carol for children,
(But no snow Actually)

Christmas Tree
Excuse for you stealing a crafty kiss
With that girl in your class you’ve always fancied,
(Or for Aunt Fanny to kiss you, yuk!)

So it might snow for six days and six nights,
Or twelve days and twelve nights,
But snow or no,
Christmas is a package of memories
Something to get you through the dark times
And we all have many of those

Remember Christmas
Keep it in your heart,
Don’t let the joy you feel pass
As the season and you in January part

This was originally written for a charity book my daughter was to edit and publish this Christmas, but unfortunately through lack of copy the book never happened; a disappointment to her and me. Still waste mot, want not I decided to publish it here. 

Poppy lies


Perhaps as we remember the fallen
let us not forget why they were there

Only boys in too many instances
in a conflict they wouldn’t understand

Put there in the interests of profits,
egged on by thoughts of king, country, empire

Paraded as heroes; our dead heroes;
sold short by fathers, mothers and us all;

Youth, tragic a whole generation lost

Fourteen Eighty-Five

When I think of an August long ago
Two armies on a marshy plain land field,
I see red and white majesty on show
A would-be king and one who would not yield
A battle royal to fight, kingdom to win
Ripping households dignity asunder,
Deaths between these kin normal, not a sin
Though all verity hidden in Stratford wonder.
Yet now buried deep within Leicester soil
The truth will out, no longer can be hid,
Twas a man who lost his mortal coil
Not a monster of just ambition bid;
When history’s victors through teeth lie
It is honesty, not just bodies that die.

First published October 2016 Welcome to Leicester anthology, Leicester, Dahlia Publishing



Life is a roller coaster;
But it isn’t;
It is a turntable, a cheese grater, a hot needle,
For those who believe life is something to be embraced
Let me say this;
Life is a never ending struggle,
An existence that we did not ask for
Of free will,
We are here as a product of nature,
The fertilisation of a single ova,
When the smiling face tells me to embrace this,
Let the idiot remember that it was none of my doing

Semper Eadam opus 1 – Janus and the grub


Splashing, bouncing, Victorian-fountained water awakes the once multi-gated city, newly but anciently royally blessed.
“Eh, ‘up mi duck” Anglo-Saxon refrains pierce the air; the chorus contrapuntal with the ringing rhythm of feet, an advance legion, pilgrim-like trudging to the temples of commerce or to the plain chapels of more honest work.
A bundle stirs in the doorway of an abandoned, desolate shop; sleep a luxury that no money can buy. It is as if nylon, rayon, dumped upon man-made fibres find the life that the creature cocooned within struggles to maintain.
Attracting pity and contempt in non-equal measure and coated in its purgatory, this sexless creature determines itself a grub, but still more fortunate than the stranger from a foreign land, met yesterday, not blessed with the grub’s only possession; Britishness.
In thanks, the grub recites a prayer:
Lord, bless me for seeing another day,
I know I am ignorant of your way,
Though I not be worthy of your good grace,
You have for reason chosen this, my place,
My betters deserve your best attention,
But forgive me if this once I mention,
That hard is the bed upon which I lie
Thank the angels for not passing our souls by.
In the distance, the sound of trains, speeding, slowing, stopping is heard. Ant-like they swarm from the station, some under double caution, and others turning green to red on single track to their temple or chapel termini. The grub spins this way and that, a withered white, thin tentacle outstretched, but is invisible to all but itself.
Unbeknown to the formicary, looking down on the fiefdom from his ivory tower, monument to art of a bygone age, a face, janused, issues its own prayer to civic pride, misnomer for man’s personal glory. The prayer complete, the face smiles and unperturbed goes off to ensure it looks to the future; forgetting with slippery ease cabs black as mambas slithering through crowded streets, passers-by bothered, bewildered, bored until attention elsewhere, the voices raised in protest are ignored. Now the blue and white kings, known throughout the world, with majesty royal buried deep bring forth the dream of butterflies, note-like, fluttering before his eyes; on each wing a pound sign their homage.
Semper Eadem, Janus whispers to himself, Semper Eadem. But in the shadows near to this self-made palace of his desires, DeMontfort, Newton, Wyygeston, White, always steadfast, autocrats all, look down, smiling stone cracks where once commandingly their black-teethed mouths uttered. Their influence stayed, these petrified guardians stand silent, whilst monstrosity to metamorphosis, the grub lies back within its cocoon and listens to the sounds of the refrain from within its shell: Semper Eadem, Semper Eadem. Always the same; always the never-ending, never forgiving same.