Low Spirits

Here we go, it’s the usual tedium.
“Why are you restless, Spirit”? asks the Medium.
Why does she keep asking? She already knows.
I’ve told her before , it’s the state of my clothes.

In the land of the living, as a fashion designer,
my style was impeccable. Nobody finer.
So think how it felt. I could not have been sadder,
meeting my end when I fell off a ladder.

Paint-spattered clothes and my knees through my jeans.
Old Nike trainers I’ve had since my teens.
I can’t meet my Maker in togs such as these.
What should I be wearing? Oh, Armani please.

But no, in my scruff, I just waft around here,
with a headless princess and the odd Cavalier.
Just look at their finery. Puts me to shame.
OK, they’ve no heads, but they’re smart just the same.

And if that’s not enough, just to add to it all,
the paint stains are Homebase, not Farrow and Ball.
Is it too much to ask, for crying out loud?
The ones who died naked at least get a shroud,
with long flappy sleeves and the eyeholes cut out,
so they can go haunting and howling about.

If I was a Buddhist, I’d not feel so low.
At least as a Buddhist I’d get one more go.
I’d wear my best suit and die at a wedding.
But sadly I’m not, and the chance of me shedding
my nemesis garb is not within reach,
so I’ll weep and I’ll wail and continue to screech.

Maybe going to Hell’s a solution of sorts.
With it being so hot, I could just wear my shorts………
(Calvin Klein of course).

No Malice of Fourth Thought

Our super-fit Olympic winners
Inspired we lump-like sofa-sinners,
With Jess and Mo and Chris and Laura,
And Vicki – how we all adore her.
The country celebrated headily,
Crunching crisps and supping steadily.
We’d many medals from the North,
But who remembers who came fourth?

Fourth is the cruelest cut of all.
They trained and strained and hit the wall.
It seems somehow to be so wrong
They came away without a gong.
It’s patently just so absurd….
No medal if you come sub-third?

So “nearly there”, so “not quite made it”,
So “just fell short”, so, “no parade” it…
Seems so harsh, so mean, so tough,
So “sorry, not quite good enough”.

So “no cigar” so “no champagne”,
So “go to Rio, try again”.
So “very near and yet so far”,
So “sorry, don’t know who you are”.

We need to put it in perspective.
These athletes, far from ineffective,
When their banners were unfurled
Became the fourth best in the World.

Fourth in the World! I’m telling you,
That’s more than most of us could do.
These are no slouches, no slow-pacers,
Let’s hear it for the world’s Fourth Placers.

So come on then, Olympic fans,
Let’s raise the roof for also-rans.
The world needs more heroic triers,
The gritty type that still aspires
To greatness though they’ve had a knock.
Focused, steady as a rock.
Though they didn’t come first or third or second,
They’re clearly a Fourth with which to be reckoned.




It can be windy, Whitstable,
But the mill on Borstal Hill doesn’t go round.
Upkeep isn’t cheap
And you can’t buy sails in the sales.

So there it stands.
Restored but bored.
Wanting to give it a whirl,
Wanting to fly, but wingless,
Its spindly black cross
Unmoved by the breeze.

It’s a marker for those at sea,
But that’s not what it wants to be.
It’s been home to a painter,
But that ain’t a patch on milling –
not half as thrilling.

It went against the grain.
A mill can feel pain.
Longing to get back to the daily grind,
The thump and creak of the stones.

It yearns to do a proper job again.
To be proud.
To have its millhood restored.
But no sails, no chance.

So its best bet is a holiday let.
But when the wind blows,
It remembers what it was.
And dreams.


The Grapes of Froth

You know he’s got a wine box though he’s using a decanter.
He can’t fool me, and I can see through all that wine buff banter.
“Decanted from the bottle”, he says “at great expense”,
But if you try to challenge him, he gets a little tense.
It’s never seen a bottle, it’s from a box instead.
There’s just one little giveaway. It’s got a foaming head.


That’s the Spirit

A glass of brandy perks you up,
And whisky makes a warming cup
in coffee. And when you’ve got the gang over,
Vodka’s good (there’s not much hangover).
Whilst Crème de Menthe’s green mint entices,
Drambuie with its secret spices
makes a change from most liqueurs.
When glum, a rum your spirit stirs.
But, if on romance you should ponder,
Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.


Toupee or not Toupee?

My Wife can spot a toupee
At fifty feet or more.
She clocks a Baldy with a wig
Before he’s through the door.
That careful way of walking,
That subtle colour change,
That slightly plastic parting
That took hours to arrange.
I have no way of knowing
If she always gets it right:
To ask a bloke “Is that a wig?”
Could land me in a fight;
And if a really good one
Looks just like proper hair,
The owner isn’t going to shout
“You can’t spot this, so there!”


Canal Pleasures

It can be a menace, Venice.
It can be wet, and yet,
On a day when the sun shines,
And the wind whips the top
Off the chop
On the Grand Canal,
And the boats ply their trade
In a parade
Of taxis, buses, barges,
And smiling Japanese,
Ill at ease
Packed in shiny gondolas,
Photograph everything,
Including me.
That’s when I see
What Canaletto saw.
What’s more,
It’s what made Byron
Fire on
All cylinders,
To satisfy his young libido
On the Lido.
But beauty that can so entice
Has its price.
So beware the winsome welcome.
You’ll be fleeced,
From richest to poorest,
As a tourist.