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What passing grief for those who fall in battle?
Only the merest murmur of the press
A paragraph between the tittle tattle
With all the latest news of someone's dress.

A soldier's single death is not dramatic
No bugle call, no serried rank and file
There's no glamour in stress that's post-traumatic
Compared to new pics of an actor's smile.

I never served in war. I have no right
To take the part of soldiers or their kin
But maiming, burning, death or loss of sight
Deserve attention and remembrance in
A land that still sends doomed youth off to fight;
A land obsessed with how stars get so thin.
May 2010 · 792
If... (2010)
If you can keep your feet upon the flat ground
And draw the line at frivolous ideals
And tell yourself this downhill train can turn round
With just a bit more fat to grease the wheels
If you can reduce all the pressing questions
To a straight coin toss between blue and red
If you can close your ears to all suggestions
That there might be a wider choice instead

If you can vote the way your parents voted
If you can leave debating to the press
And disregard each novel concept floated
While wondering how we got in this mess
If you believe the latest polling numbers
Regardless of the leanings of their source
If you believe that while this nation slumbers
It somehow still can hold to the best course

If manifestos leave you feeling hazy
If your first thought is what's in this for me
If anyone who disagrees is crazy
And not just someone who thinks differently
If you would rather come to a decision
Based on the outfits of the leaders' wives
If anyone with hope, ideals or vision
Is just a naive fool to be despised

And if when you are at the polling station
You'll squash down any doubts that you possess
If you can put your needs above the nation
And never give a thought to its distress  
If you can steel yourself against reflection
And, promised real change, if you hold your nerve
You'll vote like all the rest at the election
And, what's more, get the leaders you deserve.
With apologies to Mr Kipling - who did write exceedingly good poems!
Apr 2010 · 645
Sonnet: The Editor
Incompetent, corrupt and on the make,
You know all politicians are the same
You know this public service thing's a fake,
A cover for one more expenses claim.

Don't read their manifestos (they're all lies)
Don't go to meetings: stay in, watch TV
I'll tell you just which aspects to despise
You can't trust politicians. Just trust me.

And if on polling day you hold the line
You'll send a powerful message, do you see?
The lowest voter turnout of all time:
Vote by neglect – that's true democracy.

I'll make the choice for you, so don't be sad -
I am the Editor, and I approved this ad.
Inspired by the following, seen in the London Metro, Letters Page, Monday, March 8, 2010:

"Voting Tory or Lib Dem won't change a thing. So, instead of wasting my time in a queue at the polling station to put my cross of approval against yet another useless politician who claims he can change the way this country works, I will be stood at a distance, laughing at everyone who buys into this illusion of democracy."
Mar 2010 · 702
Triolet 101
A triolet's first line echoes throughout
Its second line is also heard again
As if (within a cave) it was a shout
A triolet's first line echoes throughout.
These are the simple rules you must not flout
Only two rhymes, repeated by refrain:
A triolet's first line echoes throughout,
Its second line is also heard again.
Mar 2010 · 576
Sonnet: Phoenix
I still recall when I first saw you fly
Lifting yourself on wings that burned so bright
You traced your path across my darkening sky
Transforming me with unexpected flight

Awake or sleeping I still see your spark
In peace or action, sorrow or delight
Burned in my vision you have made your mark
With the eternal fire of that one night

When with your eagle-sight you saw my lies
And with your raven-strength you pulled away
And with a hawk-sharp claw severed our ties
And incandescent, turned the night to day

And as I struggled still to speak your name
You rose and flew away on wings of flame.
Oct 2009 · 489
Haiku 101
Now it's haiku time
Seventeen syllables dis-
-persed across three lines
Oct 2009 · 623
Epigram 101
An epigram's a scorpion thing:
A compact body and a potent sting
Oct 2009 · 775
Villanelle 101
Cling to your rhyme through high water and hell
The theme is set up in the opening line
That's what it takes to write a villanelle

Let your intentions ring out like a bell
Just fit the structure and all else is fine
Cling to your rhyme through high water and hell

Three lines a verse, make sure you use them well
So sense and structure gently intertwine
That's what it takes to write a villanelle

Impatience at this point can start to tell
But do make sure you stick to your design
Cling to your rhyme through high water and hell

Don't let the rhythm rush you on pell-mell
Just let your words emerge in measured time
That's what it takes to write a villanelle

And make sure that the message you refine
Simple is good, excess the biggest crime
Cling to your rhyme through high water and hell
That's what it takes to write a villanelle
Oct 2009 · 2.6k
Sonnet 101
A sonnet's what this is, that much is plain
There really isn't any need to stare
Its introduction's made in this quatrain
Two more will follow, then a rhyming pair

It is iambic, so it goes “dot dash”
Two syllables a foot, five feet a line
The rhythm takes you onward in a flash
The sense of structure's reinforced by rhyme

After the first octet, a change of mood
The sonnet's true intentions are revealed
Its themes are love and essence, nothing crude
Hard hearts begin to melt and ******* to yield

Then closure as it slowly slips away
A soft exit – a pyrrhic fall – spondee.
Read Shakespeare and Milton and all of the rest
Keats, Coleridge and Wordsworth are some of the best
Read Ted Hughes and Sylvia, Motion, Duffy
They say what I want to say better than me

Read Homer and Ovid, Basho and Su ****
Chaucer and Boccaccio they've stood the test
Read Donne, Spenser, Marlowe, Jonson and Raleigh
Read Shakespeare and Milton and all of the rest

Read Swift, Pope, Blake, Tennyson, and Rossetti
The two Barrett Brownings are of interest
For feelings romantic as true as can be
Keats, Coleridge and Wordsworth are some of the best

Read Larkin and Betjeman if you're depressed
Read Wendy Cope to enjoy all of life's zest
Yes please don't think I despise modernity
Read Ted Hughes and Sylvia, Motion, Duffy

And how about all those I haven't addressed
Yeats, Auden, Joyce, Longfellow, Poe and Shelley
And all of the others I'm bound to have missed
They say what I want to say better than me

But what of the poet, with poets obessed?
In prose I am prolix, in speech stuttery:
So where will you find my emotions expressed?
On MySpace, on Twitter, read my poetry
It says what I want to say

— The End —