Summer chills

I reached for a thriller
as holiday beach reading,
my spine a whole lot chiller
while corpses lay a-bleeding:
What evil under the sun?
I confess to no remorse:
‘And Then There Were None’
by grande dame Christie, of course!

A response to a fine tweet by Neil Philip, folklorist:

Continue reading


Do not, I repeat, do not attempt to change the password.

If you do we cannot be held responsible for the consequences.

The password is holy writ. It is the epitome of all that is intransgressible.

To change the password is to permanently and irrevocably alter the paradigm.

Any alteration of the paradigm will transmute reality into any number of possibilities.

Even fracture the space-time continuum.

Negate all that has pertained up to now.

So do not change the password.

You won’t just be locked out. You will luck out too. And nothing will be as it was before.

You have been warned.

The Joker

Teeth too big for his mouth
still he spits out bile with a laugh,
close-lidded eyes concealing disdain
for a populace he leads by the nose

Spared grillings by broadcasting ninnies,
cocking a snook at all and sundry,
a joke of a man, yet as serious a threat
as you’d ever get in a month of Mondays

His nodding head a pain in the neck
(though emphatically not for him)
he laughs all the way to the bank,
a loose cannonball on deck to scupper us all

Spinning a farrago of lies
the joker in the pack
may yet turn up trumps

Strong competition

Mr Overbite, Mr Four-Eyes and Mr Follicly-Challenged were competing to see who could be the most self-deprecating.

“The perverse arrangement of my teeth gives me a weak chin, which reflects badly on my character,” asserted the first.

Determined to outdo him the second said, “Far from making me look intelligent, my spectacles only accentuate the fact that I have weak eyesight and so renders me vulnerable.”

The third scoffed, “That’s nothing, my bald pate has younger men thinking I’m older and less virile than I am and therefore a total pushover.”

The sound of the school bell interrupted their discussion and they had to jump out of the way of the crowds rushing full pelt into the playground.

Tanka spillage

Bosherston lily ponds, Pembrokeshire

Hello, I log on
to your blog regularly.
Your humoristic
style is awesome, keep up the
good work!

A truncated tanka from the spam poetry archives. Tanka lines traditionally have this pattern of syllables, 5-7-5-7-7, but our poet ran out of inspiration, metaphorically clogging blue sky views


Llwyn Celyn outhouse walls

Wood and water, whitewash, iron,
rust spreading into cracks
and splits and grain;

history beckons, chronology shouts
In what order did these planks get laid,
what re-used, what good as new?

Llwyn Celyn, the Holly Grove,
had outhouses like these,
built in the six centuries since
the farmhouse was raised

What eye gauged, what hand fashioned,
what ears heard the thump of hammer,
the ring of nail,
the echo resounding?

Exercise written to this photo prompt for a creative writing class on attentiveness and feeling


Dungeness shingle beach, Kent

When the noise of inner city
— siren, shouts, traffic, trains,
door slams, blues parties —
gets too much,
when sleep is shut out

then seashore susurration
of surf sucking shingle
— irregular yet interminable —
shushes out of speakers
from blessedly ambient CD,
soothing the stresses and strains
of a jangled day

Exercise written for a creative writing class on attentiveness and feeling