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Riot Brigade

 

Flashed all their truncheons bare

Flashed as they turned in air

Cracking hell’s-grannies there

Dare not a liberal spared

All the world wondered.

Plunged in the tear-gas smoke

Right through the gates they broke

Press-hounds and puppies

Admiring the backhand stroke

Thrashing and thundered.

Points make prizes, praise

The first man to six hundred!

 

Hippies to the right of them

Hippies to the left of them

Horses behind them

Volleyed and thundered.

Rubber-bullets, shot and shell

Not a horse or hero fell

They that had fought so well.

Each rozzer-filth counts the points

Of broken skulls, legs and joints

Top shot will scoop the prize

Of points to six hundred.

 

When can their glory fade?

O the wild charge they made!

All the world wondered.

Treble overtime paid

To each of the Riot Brigade

A wedge of six hundred!

                                      [2018, from the comic novel The Wrong ’Un  cf. Charge of the Light Brigade, Alfred Tennyson]

 

 

The Penthouse

 

I have a flea.

 

He lives in the mat

By my feet.

 

I wonder

If he curses God

And hopes to die

 

Like me,

Or maybe Life is rosy

And complete

By sucking the blood

 

Of my feet.

Regurgitates Shakespeare

For fun, this fiend;

Fires his belly i’ the sun.

 

Live and let live, says the flea.  

                                                [2009]

 

 

 

Smashing Atoms

 

I was working in the lab late one night

Squinting at a proton with all my might,

The brute double-bumped before my eyes –

And now I’m down for the Nobel Prize!  

                                                               [2016]

 

 

 

I’ll Love Thee

 

I’ll love thee in thy springtime blush of youth,

Or when Life passes autumn shades of gold

And russet-red - too soon have turned to grey

 

Those happy days.  I’ll love thee of a truth,

Aye, keep thee close as when I once did hold

Thee in my arms – so soon have blown away

Those days like leaves.

 

Yet ’ere remains thy love for me

To blossom, dear,

As will my love for thee.  

                                       [2002]

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