Firing Blanks

Uwe Kempe is a friend from Imperial College and those far off days, the late 60s. This year he had the ingenious idea of sending a greetings card from his home in Dannstadt which spoke so clearly for itself that it required no extraneous touches and could be “recycled” to others, a benign chain letter with a single link. This is what it said to me.

Firing Blankssmiley-card_uwe-kempe_170119

Inside the envelope is another

and in that a greetings card.

Two sunflower eyes, a plum tomato nose.

Two red pimentos generate the SMILE.

The card is blank,

but its message radiates loud and clear.

“Spread a little sunshine. Pass it on”.

Today, here it is again for you.

Inside the envelope is another

and in that a greetings card…


Clinging to the Wreckage

Reading recent Christmas updates from friends, I was struck by how the ravages of Time became a recurring theme and it reminded me of QC John Mortimer’s book “Clinging to the Wreckage”. He was referring to divorce cases, but here’s my interpretation.

Clinging to the Wreckage

I wake in the morning and lie there in bed,

mull over the thoughts running round in my head.

There’s a twinge in my calf, a wheeze in one lung.

I’m sure it was different back when I was young.


I remember how peaceful and soundly I slept.

I’d close my eyes tight and at once I was swept

into a realm where wild fantasies reigned.

Sleep recharged the batteries. Now I’m just drained.


When I rise from my armchair, I hear someone groan.

Now who made that noise when I’m here on my own?

Then I let out a sigh. There’s a creak in my knee.

I’ve a full repertoire of sounds deep inside me.


An orchestra’s waiting for me to conduct

my very own solo in which tendons are plucked.

My organs are played in soprano or bass

Sometimes there’s surprise or relief on my face.


Ingestion’s a problem. Digestion’s more indi’

with results which can best be referred to as windy.

I burp like a baby and in that respect,

in this second childhood, I’m already wrecked.


Next thing I’ll be wearing an incontinence pad,

not something which worried me when I was a lad.

I always imagined I’d be carefree and happy,

not frightened of laughing and sporting a nappy.


It’s not a state secret that I am disclosing.

Like Bach and Beethoven, I’m now decomposing.

Sans teeth and sans hair, slowly falling to bits,

I share this in common with all the old gits.


Young Man, so disdainful, there’s no time to scoff.

5 minutes from now, it’s your turn to nod off

and then when you wake up, well, what a surprise!

Overnight you’ve adopted your father’s disguise.

Girls, don’t feel smug and look down on your brothers.

A blink of the eye and you’ve turned into your mothers.

“New Year” and “Glimpsed. III”

Me again with a couple of offerings to kick off 2017. Halfway through, the first  poem suddenly decided to turn into a birthday tribute for Gabe Brodetsky’s 63rd. The other is the third in a projected series of snapshots (think word picture Instagrams).

New Year

A New Year itches to begin.

We’ve sent the Old Year packing

with parties, chimes and festive din.

We’re ready to get cracking.


We’re up by twelve, a wee bit late.

We grab a bite for brekkie,

resist the urge to vegetate

because we’re feeling yechy.


For soon it’s time to cook again

sating hunger, quenching thirst.

To start, a flute of fine champagne

welcomes in January the 1st.


It marks a day of note for Gabe,

one more year our friend has aged.

but that’s all in Life’s cycle, babe.

His thirst for that is unassuaged.


So, here’s to Gabe and here’s to Clare.

500 k he’s clocked up.

Now he sits back in easy chair

unless my facts are cocked up.


Up here in Macc,  it’s damp and grey

and I have got the snuffles.

Soon Trump accedes to my dismay

and countless feathers ruffles.


The people spoke and votes were cast,

though it’s tricky to be stoic.

I thought the Age of Reptiles past,

but here comes the Mesozoic!


Is Trump the darling bud of May?

Is Putin in his pocket?

Friends, carpe diem, seize the day

and Planet Earth? Don’t rock it!



III. It was like seeing the Evening Star,

a lone beacon in the firmament,

but this was not night sky,

but daylight and suburban pavement.

Resting on the autumnal debris of the quiet cul-de-sac,

a polished jewel glinted back the sun,

its brilliant, gleaming, untarnished sheen

demanding my attention.

“Look at me!”, it screamed.


Suddenly I’m aware the street is strewn

with tens of tiny metal canisters,

each blazing back the sun’s rays, dazzling

reflected sunlight as from snow crystals,

or shiny seaweed on a pebbled strand,

a dusting of Christmas glitter under the tree,

the lights of an outback settlement,

a hamlet snuggled on a hillside.


I’m hyperventilating on images.

I’m sky high, euphoric,

as butaned out as last night’s Bacchanalians

as I head off for the match.