Wednesday, April 29, 2009

a wronged lady's response

Sonnet LXI: Since There's No Help

Since there's no help, come, let us kiss and part,
Nay, I have done, you get no more of me,
And I am glad, yea, glad with all my heart,
That thus so cleanly I myself can free.
Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows,
And when we meet at any time again
Be it not seen in either of our brows
That we one jot of former love retain.
Now at the last gasp of Love's latest breath,
When, his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies,
When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And Innocence is closing up his eyes,
Now, if thou wouldst, when all have giv'n him over,
From death to life thou might'st him yet recover.

Michael Drayton (1563 - 1631)

Since there’s no help

(after Michael Drayton)

‘Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part’?
Tosser, don’t think you can fuck with me.
You want to show your groupies I've no heart;
--that’s if it’s even your poem; it’s not in free
verse; you’re dead ignorant about metre. Vows!
You can't be true for one day; time and again
you’ve emailed her, only pretending to browse
for bondage stuff -- I found your password, cuntain,
in your diary. So you can save your breath--
I have them all. You’re right, we’re done. Your lies
and alibis bore me to fucking death…
O, piss off! You can’t even look me in the eyes.
I’ll forward everyone all your filth to Ava;
You can’t just pour me away, like cheap, flat Cava!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

a fight on two fronts

A friend of mine, Anne Morgellyn, is fighting a battle on two fronts, against cancer and against incompetent NHS services. A distinguished writer and academic, she is a single parent with a highly talented daughter, Cara, a student at Christ's Hospital. Reading Anne's blog is a humbling experience, so strong is her fighting spirit and refusal to take her illness and poor NHS response to it lying down; see

I have my own memories of NHS incompetence --in my case my late wife's GP (now retired) at the same surgery in Truro. Anne praises highly the clinicians who have treated her; her complaint is against slothful, untrained receptionists, poor communication and dirty, depressing waiting rooms. If anyone has had similar bad experiences, do get in touch with her via her blog.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I was saying...

I was saying I'm forever changing my sonnet 'Through the fens'. This is my latest version...

Through the Fens

Hot summer, a slow train through Cambridgeshire.
After one halt, a country woman sat
in my double-seat. Merged almost into her,
I saw, etched by her tautened dress on fat,
motherly fen-wife thighs, corset suspenders,
a resurrection, their chunky contours plain,
immense and unashamed. The lesser splendour,
Ely cathedral, slid past the dusty pane.

She drowsed, we swayed; the flatlands drifted by;
I ached to touch, as pilgrims drew the power
of healing relics -- faint with desire
to let a sideways lurch propel my hand
to rest --‘I’m sorry!’ -- a moment on her thigh;
and she’d be moved by it, and understand.

Feel free to tell me which you prefer. Assuming you like either!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

hideous bug

Came back from the warmth of Madeira to be struck by a hideous bug, probably caught on the plane, which left me shivering for the rest of the day, despite copious blankets, fur hat, etc.. Only just recovering, four weeks later. Of course Angela took the charming photo.

through the fens

the 'lesser splendour'

A sleepy, stopping train through Cambridgeshire.
After one halt, a country woman sat
in my double-seat. Merged almost into her,
I saw, etched by her tautened dress on fat,
motherly fen-wife thighs, corset suspenders,
a resurrection, their chunky contours plain,
immense and unashamed. The lesser splendour,
Ely cathedral, slid past the dusty pane.

She drowsed; we swayed. I felt faint with desire
for that archaic vision: not from lust,
but as awed souls stroked relics for their power
of healing magic. If I should just
allow a sideways lurch to lay my hand
as if by chance there, she will understand.

An experience I had while travelling to Norfolk for a festival, sometime in the 1980's. Corsets were, of course, by then almost as archaic as farthingales. I guess the woman was about fifty, so by no means an old granny who'd never given up on her corset-wearing.

By the way --no, I didn't. Wanted to, by God. Was she aware of my fascination? I've no idea.
I chose the sonnet form to concentrate it. Difficult to write; have been changing it constantly. Tried to get in St.Etheldreda, the founding abbess at Ely. When her body was disinterred her hand was found to be uncorrupted, so was worshipped as a relic. Decided she was irrelevant.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

low, dishonest decade

Our last PM with principles and a sense of honour

Auden called the 1930s a 'low dishonest decade'. It could equally apply to 2000-2010. I find it astonishing that countries in the West have even discussed the use of torture, let alone enacted it and/or condoned it. Torture used to be a characteristic of barbarous regimes, like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union --one of their distinguishing features. Now we've joined the barbarians.

Then, Iraq... the 'sexing up' of reasons to invade, and the criminal indifference to what might happen after. Troops ordered not to interfere as louts and criminals looted the great Baghdad Museum!

The out-of-control greed of the bankers, wrecking our economy, and the politicians like Blair and Brown who encouraged them...

A Home Secretary, holder of one of the four great offices of state, claiming more than £20,000 per year in 'expenses' for her 'main home' --a room in her sister's house! Because it's 'within the rules'!!

The Big Brother scrutiny of us all... The abolition of rights enshrined in Magna Carta...

The 'Human Rights' gravy-train for lawyers, by which deadly enemies of Britain are kept here, paid for by British taxpayers.

The bland ignoring of white working-class people and what they believe and want.

The dumbing-down of culture, the insidious erosion of standards in education, the vulgarity of most TV programs.

It's all frightful and frightening.

I've been watching a couple of programs about Margaret Thatcher. She was our last honorable, and great, prime minister, brought down by pygmies. She had strong principles of liberty and patriotism, and was above all decent.

Monday, February 23, 2009



Lenin, in London for a Congress,
every morning dressed quickly
in his Kensington Square lodgings
pulled on his flat cap and hurried out
with one thought
in his icecold brain, one sight
in his piercing Tartar eyes:
the stall outside
King’s Cross Station selling
his favourite fish-and-chips.


On the Kolyma River,
reported the Soviet journal Nature,
a ‘working party’
discovered a frozen stream
in the permafrost, containing
a perfectly preserved prehistoric
salamander. They hacked out the
30,000 year old fish from the ice
and devoured it straightaway
‘with relish’.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lord Eastbourne

New Labour Life Peer Lord Eastbourne, with baby Maisie.
Above: PM Gordon Brown
(Shurly shome mistake? --ed.)

PM Gordon Brown announced today that he has awarded a Life Peerage to teenage miracle dad Alfie Patten, who conceived child at 12. Gordon said, 'Alfie will perfectly represent the many millions enjoying our magnificent benefits culture. His parents, with 15 children between them, receive £30,000 annually from the State, without working, and now young Alfie will carry on their tradition. It may well be that their family will chalk up almost a century of state benefits --what a tribute to our Labour government! Who better than Alfie to be our "benefits spokesperson" in the Lords? In the present recession, which is of global origin, and which the UK is better placed than any other country to come out of quickly, Alfie will speak for the one thriving, but still undervalued and often inarticulate, part of our society, the yobs, chavs, hoodies, drifters, and feckless teenage mums. I am sure he will argue their case for more funds with passion.'

Asked whether Alfie's ignorance of what 'financially' means might be a drawback, Gorden responded, 'Quite the reverse! I and several hundred bankers thought we knew what finance meant, but we didn't. Alfie knows that he doesn't know. That's a huge plus. I'm appointing him as my personal financial adviser.' He added that Alfie, thanks to his state and tabloid income, would be immune to the temptation of taking bribes.

Alfie wished to be known as 'Lord Patten', but was unable to since there is already a Lord Patten, the fat, smug former Conservative wet. He will therefore take the name of his home town, Eastbourne. His elevation is seen as the first move by the PM to strengthen his front-bench team.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

prayer gets re-instated!

Chirpy, intellectually gifted Hazel Smears, tipped as next PM

A follow up to the sad tale of the poor woman suspended without pay for offering to say a prayer for her sick patient (Feb 2 blog). She's won her appeal! (That shows how influential this blog is.)

It turns out the patient didn't even complain! But the nurse was still adjudged to have failed to observe 'equality and diversity'! O England my England.

Still, Hazel Smears is apparently tightening up the rules so that nurses etc. don't go around offering to pray for sick people.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I'm feeling bereft today. I've finished the novel I desperately wanted to finish. Day by day, for months, even hour by hour, I've had the enjoyment, as well as frustration, of musing about it in my mind, thinking, no, that scene isn't quite right. Then, at least for now, you can think of nothing else you want to add or change, and you email it to your agent. Then you are bereaved --or at least bereft. What is there now to think about? Of course, the agent will suggest changes probably, and you can muse again; but for now --zilch. And I miss my characters; I liked them. They're like well-loved guests who have vanished.

But you're still too full of their presence even to think about creating some new ones.

And even the cricket, whenever I've watched it, is dull.

snowy house

Snow in Cornwall is quite rare, except on the moors. The snow this week provided us with a very evocative image of the Coach House.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Nurse suspended for offering a prayer!

Caroline Petrie, a dedicated nurse, aged 45, has been suspended for several weeks without pay for asking a very sick old lady if she would like her to pray for her. The patient said 'No, thank you', and Ms Petrie said 'Okay'. But the old lady complained, and North Somerset Primary Care Trust suspended the nurse 'pending an investigation'.
Even corrupt police officers etc. are suspended on full pay prior to trial or investigation.
If I were very ill and a nurse asked me if I'd like her to pray for me, I wouldn't think that an unacceptable question. Miss Petrie is a Christian; I'd happily accept prayers from her, or indeed from a Muslim, Zoroastrian, or shaman. Couldn't do any harm!
How times have changed. This sounds like a combination of political correctness and fashionable militant atheism.
Poor Miss Petrie. I hope she's learned her lesson that it's a mistake to bring your religious faith into ministering to the sick. Don't bother with Christian love and compassion.
('Western Morning News', Feb 2nd.)

The story reminded me of an anecdote told, in my youth, by a local Methodist minister. He visited a dying farmer, and after a few minutes he said, 'Shall we say a prayer together?' The dying man said, ''Ess, if thee'st a mind to.' The minister closed his eyes and began to say a prayer, but was disconcerted to hear a strange sucking noise. ' I opened my eyes, and there was maister sucking an orange'.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

hello, world

Famous musicians asleep as they perform at Inauguration

Have been writing a novel, so neglecting the world as well as this blog. Now I rub my blurry eyes and catch up on some of the things that appear to have been happening.

Someone called O'Bama has been sworn in as President of the USA, I believe. There was a splendidly politically correct quartet playing a classical piece at the inauguration. Well, they weren't actually playing, they were miming; their performance had been pre-recorded. Fear of broken strings in the cold. Well, okay; but I still think it was an odd thing to do, given Obama's stress on honesty and integrity. Robert Frost didn't pre-record his poem at JFK's Inauguration, even though he was old and his voice shaky.
Cellist Yo-yo-Ma says, 'We were actually asleep throughout! Believe it or not, that makes it easier to fake a performance. I had a lovely sex dream. Obama's a great lover.'

Still, the swearing-in was a great piece of vaudeville. As was Dr Strangelove in his wheelchair.

Also, the news that we, the taxpayers, are going to give £12,000 to every family who lost someone in the Irish Troubles --including the families of terrorists. Could be, Obama will think this an excellent idea, and start paying out to the families of the 9/11 terrorists. It's barmy. It's an insult to the innocent dead.