Friend and ex-AstraZeneca colleague, Phil Turner, mentioned to me that the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, had decided not to pen a tribute for the Queen’s 90th. and challenged me to do my best/worst to fill the gap. Not being a great fan of the monarchy, here’s the result. It’s a skit on Richard Stilgoe and Peter Skellern’s wonderful “Joyce the Librarian”. Look it up on Youtube. You won’t be disappointed.


A skit on “Joyce the Librarian” (Richard Stilgoe and Peter Skellern)


Taurus, not Arian,

ninety and talks with a plum,

wears crown jewels and glasses,

is above upper classes

and wonders why waving arms numb.

Whilst her reign still persist,

she’ll have RSI wrist.

This being a monarch’s a chore;

thinks, “George, my great grandson,

my darling, so handsome,

my subjects, like Wills, will adore.”


George wasn’t aware that

his granny was rare, that

her portrait adorned our bank notes.

He thought she was funny

not carrying money

and all ladies had pearls round their throats.

When he started to read,

there quite quickly took seed

republican wild ideas …

it just didn’t seem fair

that his own granny’s share

was bigger than other old dears.


Now Liz, our regina,

had visited China

been given a red book by Mao.

This present she handed

to George which fire-branded

the poor little chappie, like “Wow!”

A people’s republic,

that’s luvverly jubblic,

it even peopled his dreams.

So, George, next-but-one king,

mad, stark staring bonking,

started to go to extremes.


On her hundredth birthday,

he argued for fair play,

convinced ERII that’s enough,

suggested vacation,

though post-abdication,

with her bling, her bangles and stuff.

So, who to nominate

to head up a new state:

the short list was George or Becks.

but the public said, “Gosh!

We’re not having Posh.

That’s worse than having a Rex!”


Perhaps because latterly

George’s friend, Natalie,

was winner of this year’s “The Voice”,

from two referenda

George returned in splendour.

He was clearly the people’s choice.

Happily ever after

with unsuppressed laughter,

the nation at last had its way

and for thousands of years.

So, give three rousing cheers

for the People’s Republic UK.


IamBIKE Pentameter: cycling sonnet tributes to Shakespeare

Cycling UK’s Sam Jones has penned a cycling sonnet based on Sonnet 18 and thrown down the mitten to others to do likewise (154 to choose from). Here’s mine inspired by Sonnet 130.

The Yellow Orrell: My Road Bike’s Frame

My road bike’s frame is nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her rear light;

If toy tops spin, her wheels have scarcely spun;

If metal gleams, the mud her forks doth blight.

I’ve ridden cycle tracks seem smooth and wide,

But no such rides gives she for many weeks,

And though like attar scents, to nostrils glide

Her foetid lubricants, she makes faint squeaks.

I love to hear her spokes, as round they whirr,

Though music hath a far more pleasing sound.

Her gears may slip and make no cat-like purr.

On hills my road bike’s treads cling to the ground.

And yet, sweet, steel-framed steed, my love’s undimmed.

When up astride I’m never heavy-limbed.


PS I wish I’d come up with that phrase “IamBIKE  pentameter”.


Here’s Will’s original Sonnet 130:-

                        Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks,

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound.

I grant I never saw a goddess go;

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.


“Work” and “Steal Works”

On Tuesday, 12th. April the theme at the Snow Goose Speakeasy was “Work”. As this is the title of one of the poems in my “Seconds Out” collection, I was able to read that, but in the light of what’s happening to the steel industry, I wanted to write something topical and the result was “Steal Works”, which turned into a bit of a clunky rant.


The month of February’s renowned

for lovers’ trysts, St. Valentine’s,

when secret passions may be crowned

and pledges made: “Will you be mine?”s.


And while you yearn and heave those sighs,

admire her nose, her every quirk,

toast with champagne those sapphire eyes,

there’s someone here who has to work.


Of course they say that love is blind.

It’s sometimes deaf and often stupid.

For me, this is my daily grind.

I’m Eros, also known as Cupid.


My arrows pierce each lover’s heart

Seven twenty-fours, three-sixty-fives.

One guess who makes each winging dart

till swains are husbands, girlfriends wives.


So gaze into those limpid pools,

write sonnets to her perfect lips,

but far too soon that ardour cools

as she puts weight on round the hips.


I’ve busy days, but 14th Feb

is just another working day

Demands on me don’t seem to ebb

yet no-one talks of double pay.


Withdraw my labour? One of love?

You have your union. I have mine.

And when at last push comes to shove

I’ll be there for your Valentine.


Steal Works

We used to have our industries that gave most people work.

The only wheels that turn now’days are on the banker’s Merck.

The system we now live in is mad, crackers, just plain daft.

All the way to their banks the hedge fund managers laughed.


For the miners have been shafted and now the steel works don’t.

We’ve people crying out to work, but “Computer says they won’t”.

It makes the decent folk despair and start to go berserk.

Is it too much for them to have a proper chance to work?


They want to earn a living – and not just a “living wage”.

No wonder they see red and that it puts them in a rage.

It’s not that we’ve gone green for we’re still burning loads of coal.

These days they have to ship it here, ‘cos we’re all on the dole.


So, salute the Papers Panama. To them take off your hats.

Soon we’ll know who are the offshore, tax-dodging bunch of prats.