Poetry Based On Middle English Lyrics

Based On Middle English Lyrics


1.   ‘Whanne ic se on Rode . . .’


When I see on screens

images far away

of people degraded


eyes fly-buzzed

by famine or loss,

I ought to ask

what is to be done

to mend the world,

disprove the despair

that concern is powerless,

pity powerless.


          2.   ‘Pees maketh plente . . .’


Peace nourishes plenty,

plenty develops arms,

arms encourage incidents,

incidents justify war,

war justifies peace.


  1. ‘Wanne mine eyhnen misten . . .’


When my eyes edge with mist

and my ears hiss,

and my nose sores with cold,

and my tongue folds,

and my face hangs slack,

and my lips mottle black,

and my mouth moons,

and my dribble runs,

and my hair dwindles,

and my heart grumbles,

and my hands palsy,

and my fears tighten –

the hearse will obstruct next-door’s drive.


Then I’ll be carted

from bed to floor,

from floor to stretcher,

from stretcher to box,

from box to earth,

and grass will blow there.

Then the world will rest on my nose,

and others will seek solutions,

it won’t trouble me where or how.

Postcard Sonnets: Scarborough

Postcard Sonnets: Scarborough



Pitching our windbreaker on arrival, the boys

at once devised a game to modify

beach into home: towels became bedrooms,

spade casts of sand breakfast, then heaped ice cream

topped with chocolate sea shells, two driftwood

99s phallic as tutti-frutti sarsens –

we got the hint, bought them melting cones.

This issue resolved, they loudly conferred

about moat, castle, available water,

their cautious glances inevitably

led to that endless, heaving broil of spray,

colours ceaselessly merging, lithe patterns

of wave and sound, until yelping decision

seized buckets, launched two mad hares at the sea.



I hope for sense enough to remember

until the day memory stops, the sight

of those two exultant, hand-clasped brothers,

bare soles slapping wet sand, all their free might

lent to reach the tide, their little bucket-

mould of towers, keeps, their hopeful legs

strong and growing, disparity of height

made meaningless by bond, prepared to lug

the whole ocean if need be back to base,

pour it out, fetch more, rushing in blue trunks

decorated with dolphin and shark – yes

sentimental, I don’t want us to think

of preciousness ending, knowledge it must,

our laughter as they streamed away from us.



On the drive home, fat with fish and chips,

the boys sing tired versions of Fireman Sam,

glad today at least, our masterpieces,

the best we’ve won. You put your hand

on my thigh as I steer and all I am

returns your touch. I do not understand

the flame behind our journey, destiny

half-determined by will. But already

night lit with stars covers the hurried land

we travel, urging it’s never too late

to enjoy miracled, chance-given days;

and sun burns a hole in the horizon

for tomorrow, open and unplanned

as love. No one regardful puts that fire out.




The football ground

shares chant and passion

with surrounding streets.

Vibrations touch wall and garden

then grow still.

People drunk on themselves.

Their noise, loyalties,

disperse like destiny,

deflated by failure

and success alike.


I drink wine in the garden.

Silence acknowledges the stars.

Blue darkening, a pause

before a lover’s revelation

too breathless to understand.

Distant traffic connects me

with the city I depend on.

This is the place

for which I was meant,

night above me,

a sea on which I float

face up like algae.

Freedom’s illusion

strong within me.


Summer night you seduce.

Is that a promise of wind?

The sky arches from my seat

far over the land

until it brushes waves,