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.


New worlds


Tomorrow I shall dream of a better life,
But I shall not need my body;
My spirit shall be free to the wind
My sight uncluttered by scars
My ears clear of impediment.
I shall dream for eternity,
Until dreams are no more.
Tomorrow I shall be without walls, without worry, without well wishing;
Tomorrow I shall be in a world of being, a world of new life;
What is this life I leave behind but regrets and longing?

Fallen from the tree


To say I am bitter,
Is to say not half as much;
Bitterness consumes me,
It eats my very soul,
For what life was meant to be bitter?
Sweet is the sound in one’s ear,
But it is the grind of the milling of the bitter crab
And yet what sweet juice can thee purvey
To pour into my troubled breast?
Oh a bitter life was meant for me
For only she can set me free.

River Dream

Rivers of blood

I dream of rivers,
But not of the fast flowing channel,
Winding its undulating path
Between rows of willows,
Silent sentries, heads bowed
On an English Stratford summers day
My dream is of a different kind,
Hades like the Styx opens in an
All too different landscape;
I see the earthworks,
The human moles burrowing sweat
Thrust out of time, out of place, out of breath
Knee deep in water and shit;
They stand ready,
A row of pawns in another’s match,
A shroud of momentary silence.
And then a whistle blows, a shout, a command;
To take that final, fateful step into oblivion.
Oh yes, I dream of rivers;
And all of them poppy red.

Humanity Lies

Refugee tragedy

For every one that makes it,
There are many others who don’t,
But so what?
They are just so much flotsam and jetsam,
So much human excrement,
A price worth paying for our own comfort.
But for every one of those that don’t make it,
Every man, woman and innocent child,
My heart breaks.
How can the world call itself a product of religion?
How can we proclaim humanity?
When we turn our backs on such suffering;
I will not buy into the lies
Of the self-satisfied,
Those who claim ‘charity begins at home’
‘It’s not our problem’
‘They brought it upon themselves’,
Let them lie to their conscience, not mine.
If humanity cannot look after the vulnerable, the weak, the dispossessed
Then there is no such thing as humanity
Either in concept or reality




Once in a dream I thought I saw Jerusalem,

But it was a figment of imagination,

A painted dustsheet

From a long forgotten play


Jerusalem was a childhood fantasy,

A yearning for knowing that whatever

Was wrong

It could be put right


Our Cross cannot be borne

Amongst the disbelievers,

Our crucifixion is now

And resurrection uncertain


Those who want to believe in Jerusalem

Had best roll away their own stones.