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Simon Piesse Jun 20
Dear Don Alberto
Flamboyant Octogenarian
To a pair of weather-beaten families on the Camino
And to Backpacker Bridget from Granada via Barnsley
And to all who seek shelter from the Galician downpours
You sound
Like an Angel
As you hold aloft your otherworldly radio
And play for us Tina Turner’s
Simply the Best
On happy repeat.

Dear Don Alberto
With your doggy entourage
To a bunch of Ryanair Refugees on the Camino
And to uber cool Bridget naturalised Granadina don’t mention Barnsley
And to all who seek sanctuary from the Galician heatwaves  
You taste
Like a rustic slice of empanada
Rich deep and
Eternally replenishing itself.

You weren’t ever on our map
Don Alberto, were you?
The ID cards you offer up for inspection
Make us laugh at the farce of our controls and borders.

And so
To us make-shift pilgrims on the Camino
You show us how to journey properly
Dancing the salsa
On every roundabout.

Simon Piesse
This by our recent experience of doing a pilgrimage with 4 children.  First in hopefully a series. Feedback welcome!
Simon Piesse Jan 14
Today, I’m well.
I’m good,
I should say.
God, no!
Good God!
Up-welling of wellness.
Bow tied:
A bow-tie-kind-of-day day.

Sun furtive.
Won’t be long.
Shouldn’t expect she’ll be long.
Yes, she.
Sheer she-ness.
Just a Walkers crisp of a bit longer.

It is possible, I might add,
She’ll appear a fraction different
To what one can reasonably be expected to remember.

I’m good.
That is how it is said, in these parts, isn’t it?
Are you good?
Are you…
Up to the task, I mean.
Fit to fly.
Which sort?  
Wearing odd socks, again.
Accentuate the good.
Try to.
Left and right; or the other way around:
Right and left.  
Or could be both… fancy that!
Cream and chocolate, hey, superb!

Today is a wooly-hat-kind-of-a-day day, is it not?
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Lest there be gales.
What? No! Disaster!
Now, wouldn’t that be…
Wouldn’t that scupper things?  Do you think not?

I love my wooly hat.  
He’s got a name, you know.
Stitched with love.
So warm, it is.
Ready for jaunts.
With Rupert.
Up Horsenden Hill.
Too hot, soon.
Best to toss it in the bushes.


Perhaps I am under-dressed?
Am I?
Hard to know.
I’ll wear my bow tie again.
Yes, I’ll wear my bow tie when, that is to say, Assuming
The rules permit it.

God permits us
To revel a bit. Kick back.
Do you think God likes to laugh?
God, grant me the gift to laugh.  


Did you hear that?
Heating broken,
Not a peep.
Closed valve cylinder, limited warranty,
Manual unfathomable.

No viable option.
‘Northfields Community Library Welcomes You.’
The toilets better be warm!
I watched a wonderful production of Samuel Beckett's 'Happy Days' before Christmas and this poem, I think, has that feel.  I've tried to root it in my local area and capture something of the absurdity of conformity to abstract 'rules' that seems to be increasingly contentious and divisive in this Covid pandemonium
Simon Piesse Nov 2021
I sing again,
‘Though stone conceals  
The way you laughed
The day we met.

I sing again,
‘Though stone’s defaced
Your wonky smile,
Your honey lips.

I sing again,
‘Though stone forgot
The tunes you made up
Just for fun.

You ran away
To war, they said,
Without a kiss,
A little death now etched in stone.

Memorials in stone are dead,
Ill-equipped to help or heal;
Instead of poppies, stuttered words,
Sing again.
Memorials mask the raw emotion of human loss.
Simon Piesse Nov 2021
Dear Mr Tree,
What do you think of me?

Do you rate my life
Do you like my wife?

Dear Mr Tree,
What do you think of me?

When you put on blossom,
Do you think 'hello, handsome?'
Does your buxom bark
Contain some private mark?

When you drop your leaves,
Do you laugh at me?
As I stoop and scrape,
With bag and rake,
What difference do I make?

And when I'm old and mad,
Will you testify
You know the truth,
Or tell a lie?

Dear Mr Tree,
What do you think of me?
Each year I spend lots of my free time underneath the Japanese pagoda tree in front of where we live sweeping its leaves.  It's self-confidence sometimes jars with my self-doubt. Anyhow, today I went into reverie and was inspired to write this light-hearted reflection.  I hope you enjoy it.
Simon Piesse Oct 2021
Stop all the cars.
Shut down the coal.
Prevent Big Oil from dumping its ***** load.
Shake up complacency
And pull out the stops:

Let our leaders lead.

You are North and South and East and West;
Our sanctuary
At God’s behest.

The time is now to transform our ways,
So warming ends,
Now and always.

Simon Piesse
I was inspired by the punchiness / gut-wrenching-ness of W H Auden's 'Stop the clocks' poem.   It seemed apt to transmute this tone for the make or break climate summit at Cop 26 that starts today.
Simon Piesse Oct 2021
I lay on the counter:  
A coiled snake.
Are you here on holiday?
Matted clumps of hairs sprouted from every angle –
Part yeti, part buffalo.  
Adil put on ‘I am the One and Only’.  
Hope you don’t mind the music?
Adil grinned and then lunged forward, picking me up off my perch.
Where are you staying? Butlins, yes?  
Adil was really making an effort, here.
He swapped me for the electric one, bumping around on his face, as if I were in 007’s Moonbuggy.  Preparing the ground.
A dislodged crumb dropped like a stone from his top lip.
Crank, crank on the chair.  
Head back, please, Mister Bond, bit more, perfect!
Foam mushroomed onto the brush and, with it, Adil turned his face snowdog.  
Temperature ok, boss?
Still, nothing.
Adil crooned the chorus:
‘I am the one and only
Nobody I’d rather be.’

He shifted his weight on the chair, breathing heavily.
Eyebrows tensing, Adil plunged me into the molten water.  
With my exposed side bristling, I engaged the north edge of his chin and went for it.  
Did I slice through his Adam’s Apple?
‘Don’t tell me I know best
I’m not the same as all the rest.’

The pop beat kept me going.  
I carved out furrow after furry furrow
Till all his skin was as pink as a baby’s bottom.

Sweaty and weary, now, Adil held me in his left hand and, with his right, flicked the chair round to face the door.

A girl in a dress stood there, holding a bright red balloon.
Is that for you, princess?
No, it’s my uncle’s. It’s his birthday today.  

The air was rose water and streamers.

Thank you, my dear.
Thank you so much.
Thank you.

‘You are the one and only you.’
This was inspired by my first ever wet shave in a barbers in Redruth.  The barber didn't speak so I re-imagined the scene from the perspective of the wet razor.
Simon Piesse Oct 2021
To Ed  

What child were they
When piercing squeal
Grabbed the foreman by the *****?

What child were they
When putty tears
Smeared and blobbed
On the sheeting?

Running from
The construction pit
The thrill of sand and truck
Metal **** makes decent scar
That keeps the girls’
tongues a-wagging.

‘Always heed the ‘Keep Out’ signs,’
The stony man booms at the boy;
‘I told you not to wander where
Granite pavement yields to digger.’

Years ago, that child, was I and
Diggers now are doors and roofs;
Then here, one day, my own boy falls,
And blood comes oozing from elbow.

Running from
The construction pit
The thrill of sand and truck
But, how should I, with damaged tools,
Be the  
Grafter Dad
He’s seeking?
This recalls an incident from my childhood when I was playing clandestinely on a building site and went running and crying in search of consolation...
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