Too old for cold,I stand, now ,against the hedge,
Watching the snowflakes in the glare of neon street lamps.
Darkness has come early,and I think of country uplands and huddled sheep.
On Salisbury Plain,shepherds watched their flocks
Just as in Bethlehem two thousand years before,
And then ,exactly when?
“Between the wars”,it stopped.
Now we know there is no “Between the wars”.
And who decided
To cull the sheep and shepherds and the space for kindness ?
Now that same Plain still exists,but banned
And closed to human-kind,
For bombs ,not wombs
Nor for birth of lamb ,nor gypsy child ,nor Saviour
Where would He go today?

Bill,Bill,my mother’s dad mother’s dad
Down the coal mine he did dig
When he was but a young lad

He was never very big
He spoke in the old dialect
He had a dog, a pipe, no cig

Silent,smiling, starving wrecked
He sent kids to a soup kitchen
Learned to read, but knew few facts

Went to London,saw Big Ben
Still angry from the General Strike
Aye,he were a silent man

He walked at night, he had no bike
To the coal mine with his cat
The cat sat waiting till first light

Then they walked, he did head maths
His wife had died, the son was born
When he got home, he had a bath

His father worked in fields of corn
Peasants on the Chesire farms
The pay was poor, were up at dawn

He himself were on good terms
With his neighbours, Irish, torn
He went to Mass,so Latin learned

My mum was th’eldest of those born
She had me,my own dad died
She went mad, she was forlorn

Lost her mother, then she tried
To help her Dad with all her heart
Never wept and never cried

Then she made a different start
Met my dad and married late
So I am here with my own charts

Is it destiny or fate
Why am I down here, d’you ken?
I see you grandad, is it late?

Whistling in the dark

I went up to the blackboard and I wrote there, x,y,z
But the lecture room was empty, they were still in bed
I was feeling angry, so would you.I guess
I had written 20 lectures, I hoped for some success

I tore up all the handouts and threw them on the chairs
I rarely lose my temper, but why should they keep theirs?
I longed to explain Calculus, but noone ever did
Nor why Eve was neatly made, just out of Adam’s rib

I went into the Staff Room,I got myself some tea
I think it was the only thing that lecturers got free
Except those pens for whiteboards, and paper for our notes
Cheapest type of ballpens, sweets for our sore throats.

I got onto my bicycle,I went for a long ride
I could have has a wedding dress, if I were a bride
I could have had a coat of fur with matching hat and boots
But I went down to Foyles again where they might cook some books

Then I was in Dillons and then I went to Heals
I have got no furniture but I do know how it feels
I went onto the Underground to get to Finbury Park
Alas, when I got out again, it seemed to have gone dark

I came back home and drank more tea, the house seemed very quiet
I heard Leonard Cohen whistling in the dark