a moment to reflect

we took the courses
which taught us how to
farm organically
be responsible
we practised permaculture
crop rotation
aquaponics, biodiversity
we sowed and seeded
planted, weeded
fed and watered
set our stores against the possible
apocalyptic eventualities
nuclear meltdowns
social breakdowns
stormy seas and changing seasons
from Humboldt to the Appalachians
from Goa to the Scottish Highlands
we grew our trees for fuel and fruit
hens for eggs
goats for milk
tanks collecting drops of rain
compost toilets, healthy grains
solar panels on our roofs
everything was future proofed
or so we thought and meant to be
yet we hadn’t accounted for or seen
the true predictability of man
when the shit began to hit the fan
how the hungry townsfolk would quickly come
to yank our veg from out the ground
to turn our livestock into dead
to fell our trees and steal our eggs
we would have shared
but did they care?
they never asked
just grabbed and yelled
having never taken time to listen
to our alternative ‘hippy’ views
on what would surely happen
if we didn’t change our attitudes
on how we lived
how we behaved
love and peace and leave no trace
and now we all have nothing left
nothing left to tend or gift
no seeds for next year’s crop
this date in time our final stop
no food on shelves
nowhere to shop
the world will be a hungry place
no longer fit for the human race
just desserts as some might say
but sad for those who tried to change
the course of destiny set in motion
by greed and wars and desperation
to be the richest at all costs
to own the most
to be the tops
well goodnight and good luck
you really didn’t give a fuck
we did what we could do
and now it’s really up to you
to feed yourselves on dollar bills
shiny toys and empty grills
that in your wasteful haste
to keep apace and not lose face
you hoarded in great quantities
leaving bitter oily aftertastes
your children’s bellies will distend
their stomach’s ache until the end
just like those African kids you ignored
on news bulletins in the days before
we realised something was amiss
upon this planet we made our own
not even looking back from outer space
could make us think
could make us take a moment
to reflect upon this rock
our one and only home

Inuits are not idiots but TV presenters are

in his shiny new sports utility vehicle
(named appropriately after an African tribe)
he slung his high performance knapsack
(named after a mountain range that rhymes)
and drove to the airport to meet the crew
eager and ready with all the equipment and baggage
a well-planned expedition accrues
high fives all round as they leave the ground
off to explore regions never before found
despite the presence of indigenous tribes (cough)
that have mostly survived quite sustainably (thanks)
“for hundreds if not thousands of years”
(your words Mr TV Presenter, not mine)
until we arrived with our first world problems
and (let’s not mention) those massive carbon footprints
leaving stains in their snow wherever we go
and tyre tracks in their sand wherever we land
and empty vacuum-sealed survival meal packets
wherever we feel the need to defecate
clamber and climb or machete our way through
with the help of low paid porters who already know
the way to discover the places they already knew
I know! Let’s give ’em new names instead of their own
like the ones we couldn’t pronounce, like Uluru
but in so doing are we not simply renouncing
those people’s very existence and understanding
of landscapes entwined with their cultural identities
that from afar we’ve been stealthily destroying
with our acid rain and global warming
and although now it’s quite possible for us to boldly go
where no white man has gone before
up fjords where the pack ice has partially melted
with kayaks and back ups and rifles nervously pointed
at polar bears hungry for some tasty white flesh
whilst the Inuit idiot grins from ear to ear
no doubt you’ll provide subtitles to make it clear
when he says the ice is broken, ice is gone
but hey, he’s nice and warm in his polar bear fleece
and he ain’t stepping foot on that dodgy thin ice
for all that you’ve learnt with your aerial drones
he could’ve told you back at his non-igloo home
over a seal burger and glass of icy cold beer
so next time, why don’t you give him or his wife
the camera, and let them tell their story
without your grinning white face poking its nose
where it no longer belongs . . .
I wonder if you’ll send him a signed copy
of your forthcoming book?
That’ll be handy to light the fire.








Val-deri, val-dera
Val-deri, val-dera
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha
My knapsack on my back


they burned women in the 15th century

they burned women in the 15th century
thank [god?] we’ve moved on a bit since then
but those at the bottom of the pile down here
are still controlled by the same kinds of people up there

the Monarchs, the Merchants, the Bankers
the Politicians and Military Generals
and yes, those Old Men of Faith

with the world now taking its last breaths
isn’t it time for us to stand up and resist
their wicked profiteering at our expense
their wicked profiteering at the planet’s expense

they burned women in the 15th century
slaughtered their men too in the trench graves they dug
sent their kids under their mutilating spinning mules
all of their lives spent scavenging for the dregs

from those Monarchs, Merchants, Bankers
Politicians and Military Generals
and yes, those Old Men of Faith

with poverty rising and bombs still falling
isn’t it time for us to say enough is enough
their obstinance is alarming and offers a warning
we need a new way of surviving these oppressive thugs

they burned women in the 15th century
for thinking and dressing in ways that wasn’t ‘correct’
and yet equality now is still only skin deep
the leap of change needed still out of most people’s reach

held back by the Monarchs, Merchants, Bankers
Politicians and Military Generals
and yes, those Old Men of Faith

and yet again we vote for them and pray with them
and hope they deliver us from all their evils
and never do we once realise they’ve sold us their lies
and things haven’t changed much since the 15th century

when they burned women for no justifiable reason
made weapons and wars for no justifiable reason
kept men, women and children destitute
for no justifiable reason

Monarchs, Merchants, Bankers
Politicians, Military Generals
those Old Men of Faith

now residing in hiding behind security you pay for
on the profits from products that you consume and pay for
with your low wages and long hours that you pay for
with your health and well being in tatters and tears

they don’t give a fuck about you and your friends and families
or whether women were burned in the 15th century
or whether whales choke to death on their single use plastic
as long as their profits make them fucking billionaires

Monarchs, Merchants, Bankers
Politicians, Military Generals
Old Men of Faith

I could go on but long poems about politics get less likes
whilst short ones about moons and cats go viral
it’s an internet black hole spiral and yes you guessed it
they control you and own that beast too

subscriptions paid for by you and yours truly, the less unruly
the underclass underwhelmed disengaged underbelly
that needs to start remembering all those women
they burned in the 15th century

with the collusion and knowledge of Monarchs, Merchants
Bankers, Politicians, Military Generals
and yes, those Old Men of Cloth

the same polluted minds that lynched ‘niggers’
whose ancestors were ripped from Africa’s womb
their opiate pills that keep you comatose most days
able only to process the fakest and simplist infotainment news

this has to stop – here the poet sighs
both the poem and the rot
listen to those around you
not those above you

the Monarchs, the Merchants, the Bankers
the Politicians, the Military Generals
and yes, those Old Men of Cloth


image from popularresistance.org


apologies in advance

all them words
all them books
all them poems
never did you no good
all them blogs
all them tweets
all them posts
never did you no good

all them likes
all them shares
all them comments
never did you no good
all them photos
all them videos
all them paintings
never did you no good

all them notes
all them quotes
all them thoughts
never did you no good
all them chats
all them spats
all them emojis
never did you  no good

all them friends
all them lovers
all them followers
never did you no good
all them steps
all them breaths
all them beats of the heart
never did you no good

(apologies in advance
if you catch me crying
when the planet dies
I’ve done my bit
now I’m tired

and it’s just complicated
that’s all)

what poetry can be found?

what poetry can be found
in the eyes of an abused child
or the mutilated body
of a bomb blast victim?

what poetry can be found
in a drug addict’s veins
or the scars and bruises
on a beaten woman’s skin?

what poetry can be found
on the empty plates of the poor
or in the dried up rivers
where water once flowed?

what poetry can be found
in the minds of the mad
or the trafficked soul
of a once proud nation?

what poetry can be found
in the terrorist’s ideology
or the promises of politicians
who lie and deny?

what poetry can be found
on a dying planet
or in the plastic filled guts
of beached whales?

what poetry can be found
in the closed ranks of men
or the narcissistic poets
seeking likes and affirmation?

what poetry can be found
when the pen runs dry
or the heart stops beating
with the essence of love?


Hopeful visits me each morning
He tells me that man is ruled by a tyrant
whose name is Ignorance
and given half a chance
He would seek to overthrow that tyrant
if only I would throw him some scraps of food . . .
I tell him I have no authority to fulfil his wishes
or indeed to fill his feathered belly
and why doesn’t he go fish
like all good fisherbirds do?
Hopeful tells me authority is based on falsehoods
whereas knowledge is authority based on truth
and why shouldn’t I throw him some scraps
as he is poor and I am surely rich
and man should not be ruled by the tyrant called Ignorance
but by knowledge instead . . .
Or by conscience I reply
for if I feed you my scraps
you will forget how to fish
like the fisherman who forgets to wake
and misses the tide . . .
Ah, the ‘time and tide that waits for no man’ saying
spoke Hopeful with reproach
is not your conscience the amount of inner knowledge you possess?
but for me that time is running out
and those tides share little fish . . .
Hopeful tried fixing me with his beady eye
but I was having none of it
I said: one day the tide will turn back in your favour
and what is left will go unsaid . . .
Let’s hope, said Hopeful, not convinced
that when that time does come
it will not be too late . . .
He stretched his neck to the heavens
and like all our morning chats
it ended with a defiant shit
a fearsome screech
and a preening of the wings
but sadly no scraps for lunch

With thanks to Hopeful the Seagull in St. Ives and Victor Hugo.


Was it worth it?
The new jewellery for the wife
And the plastic toys for the children

It’s just a tumour that has spread around the globe
By the men and women that live here
Soon we’ll be consuming again

Well, they’ll ask us
The children all cry, what will you do?
To change your ways by next Christmas

It’s just a tumour that has spread around the globe
Somebody said the oceans got filled in
With all the plastic we discarded
The result of this consuming

Without any thought for our world
Shopping for dear life
When we should be saving our home

It’s just a tumour that has spread around the globe
A news report of a washed up dolphin
Within a few years, we’ll be suffering
Notifying our children, we got it wrong

It’s all we’re skilled in
We will be consuming again

Without any thought for the world
Shopping for dear life
When we should be saving our home

It’s all we’re skilled in
We will be consuming again

Without any thought for the world
Shopping for dear life
When we should be saving our home
When we should be saving our home
When we should be saving our home

(to the tune of ‘Ship Building’ by Elvis Costello)

Instant Karma for the Human Race (with apologies to John & Yoko)

Global warming’s gonna get you
It’s gonna drown you in your bed
You better get your shit together
‘cos pretty soon you’re gonna be dead

What in the world were you thinking of?
Buying all that trash you said you loved
What on earth were you trying to forget?
Now it’s up to you to pay it back

Well you will all shine on
In the moon and the stars and the sun
Yes you will all shine on
But no-one will remember you

Yes you will all shine on
In the dust from where you came from
Yes you will all shine on
It’s down to you, and only you

on and on and on . . .
on and on and on . . .

(repeat until your dying breath)

kind of weird

cartridges for partridges
hunting dogs for wily fox
wire snares for sprinting hares
metal chains for dancing bears
thar she blows for breaching whales
garlic oil for garden snails
eeny, meanie, messy moles
shooting rhinos with crossbows
fishing tackle, slitting throats
sacrificing billy gruff goats
throw our plastic in the sea
top it up with poo and pee
budgies, parrots, love birds too
stick ’em in a cage will do
factory farms for pigs and cows
cages for the calves and sows
I don’t know where I’m heading here
but mankind sure acts kind of weird