Category Archives: Poems

Hello, and welcome to this week’s Friday Poem. I’ve not yet been swimming this week – if you consider the week starting on a Monday (I know there is some controversy about this – the ‘flat earth’ believers say the week starts on a Thursday afternoon at 2:17pm). Due to family admin, I’ve not had the time to go and swim, so I am having to wait until tomorrow morning to get back to the pool. But fear not – my sexy six-pack is now not obscured by fresh layers of flab. It’s obscured by the flab that has always been there.

As regular readers of this blog will know, I take inspiration for my poems from life in the majority of cases. Occasionally, the poems are pure fiction – but even then there is an element of the factual to the concept or theme.

This week’s poem is definitely inspired by real events. My Fiancee went to a conference in London this week, where the title was “#Next Stage Radicals” (check it out on Twitter). At this conference there was a goldfish bowl discussion between 5 Senior managers (CEO’s, Directors etc.) who were all called Bob (Goldfish). I’m joking – a goldfish bowl discussion is one that takes place infront of an audience so everyone can see and hear.

In this discussion, the CEO of a council in the North of England, spoke about how when he joined the council there was a problem with people not being able to pay their council tax, and in fact many were in arrears and were being chased for the money which wasn’t very successful but was time consuming and costly to the council. This new CEO came in and asked a very simple question: What if the fact that people were behind with their council tax payments was a trigger that something else was going on – rather than being wanton deceit or laziness?

To test this, they picked someone at random – a woman who was in arrears, on benefit but still struggling and went to visit her. They found that the woman was struggling to pay all her bills, including having enough for food. She told them that she had tried to get another job so she could pay off her debt, but had to give that up because her neighbour was very unpleasant and intimidating to her and her son, and to anyone who she asked to stay with her son while she went to work at the second job. She couldn’t afford a bus pass for her son to get to school, so he had to walk two miles to and from school. She didn’t have enough to buy a uniform for him. The woman added that she wanted to move house closer to her son’s school, but she was in rent arrears and the council had a policy of not allowing tenants to move if they are in rent arrears. The woman was clearly in a vicious circle and was struggling.

The CEO saw how the system was failing. Sending chasing letters to this woman was not going to get the arrears paid. So he decided to change things. He got rid of the rule about tenants in arrears not being able to move, and actually helped the woman and her son move to closer to the school, and away from the abusive neighbour. They found that the benefits she received were completely out of date and wrong. The council paid for the son’s Uniform (about £90). These small acts allowed the woman to get her second job, and start to pay off her rent and council tax arrears. Her son – who had previou ly been “known” to social services because of the downward spiral he was in – started making improvements and eventually was no longer “known”.

Of course, things were not as simple as I have described. It was a very complicated situation. And yet, such a difference was made by choosing to ignore what was apparent, and take a different viewpoint. I think it’s a brilliant thing, and would hope that it happens more often.

So that is what has inspired this poem.

I hope you like it.

Start With The Person

What if we did things differently?

How about we buck the trend?

Who’s up for throwing out the guide book

And starting things again?

Who says things have to be the way they are,

What makes it black and white?

Does because it’s what we’ve always done

Automatically make it right?

The world moves at a frantic pace

And the people with it too.

What once was thought of as best practice

May now not be actually true.

But change is always risky,

of that I will admit

But if making change is the right thing

Then shouldn’t we do it?

Our starting point must be people;

We build relationships and trust

Nothing else is as important

For in the end we turn to dust.

And like dust, all the savings

And financial gain we sought

Will disappear upon the breeze

And ultimately count for nought.

So who’s for a new direction?

Where are the pioneers?

Let’s work towards light and hope

And walk away from fear

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Hello, and welcome to this week’s Friday Poem. It’s Comic Relief today here in the UK, and people all over the country have been and are doing crazy fun stuff to raise money to support good causes both here and abroad. Also this week, the Brexit shambles has continued to drag itself along like a zombie that’s been cut in half but not shot in the head. It is literally painful to watch the politics unfold. Perhaps some of the desperate souls who will benefit from the money raised by Comic Relief are currently in government?

But enough of that. This week’s poem is NOT the poem I was going to post. I’ve made a last minute executive decision to terrify myself slightly by writing a poem on the spot about Red Nose Day. I have no idea where this poem is A) going to come from, and B) end up, but like the Pheasant said to the Partridge, I’m game if you are.

So, with no clear direction and an uncomfortable amount of vagueness, here’s this week’s Poem.

I hope you like it.

Red Nose Day

There’s quite a lot to be said it seems
For sitting in a bath of beans.
And like the sauce that coats your parts
The good you do will spread quite far.
Although such acts may seem quite rash,
They do a lot to raise the cash.

If beans up your arse is not for you
There’s lots of other things you can do:
With almost no limit to your choice,
You could be sponsored to talk in a stupid voice
Or perhaps instead, if you are feeling brave
Raise funds by calling everyone “Dave”

An option – and quite a popular one,
Is to have some kind of ____a-thon.
A skip-a-thon, a sing-a-thon
A Vaseline and sequin thong-a-thon
A shave-a-thon, or floss-a-thon
You’re guaranteed to not go wrong.

Dye your hair, get a tattoo
Paint each alternate tooth bright blue.
Donate your train fare to this cause
And go to work upon all fours.
Just walk backwards – everywhere
(Please ensure you take good care)

Younger fundraisers can sell some cakes,
Or take bets and wagers on wrestling snakes
If snakes are risky – try a stick
But try to make it realistic.
Alternatively, washing cars is good,
Or an eat-a-thon, just munching food.

Of course, if none of these ideas are great
You could just simply go donate.
A pound or two – a five or ten
Whatever you can give there and then.
Because the issues and problems being faced
Don’t care where financially you are placed.

Homeless people, kids in care
The elderly alone, with no-one there.
Teenage carers, African schools
babies drinking water from muddy pools.
Prostitution, drink and drugs
Exploitation by crooks and thugs

People living in urban slums
Counselling for kids who have lost their mums
Or lost their dads, or have lost both.
Giving those who need it, hope.
Domestic abuse, and mental health
The poor who live in the shadow of wealth

This is why your legs are red.
Why you’ll smear bean juice in your bed.
And why forever, beans on toast
Will now bring flashbacks just too gross.
And worst of all, it will be as feared:

Bathing in beans un-sponsored, is just weird.

The Friday Poems – Volume One and Two are available to buy from Amazon – simply search for “The Friday Poems”

Friday Poem #113: Milestones

Good evening / morning /afternoon (depending on when you are reading this). I hope this Friday finds you well. It’s been a good week for me this week, as I have pushed myself further with my swimming at swimming club, and managed to swim 40 lengths which is 1000 metres. It was hard work, but I’m feeling the benefits.

Benefits are achy, yes?

I wasn’t sure initially if I should post the poem you are about to read today, as it is another personal one and also quite a sombre one. I’ve heard some sad news this week, and wrestled with the notion that I should perhaps post a funny poem to lighten the mood. The truth is, that at this moment in time, the poem you are about to read is the one I have to offer. Like all my poems, it just came to me and I’ve learnt just to go with the flow and just trust myself.

This poem is about my Mum and Dad and the years that have gone by since their passing (32 and 20 years respectively). I’ve noticed that much like when people have a big birthday – 18, 21, 40, 50 etc. the years since a loved one has passed away are observed in a similar way – albeit without as many streamers and balloons. Although, perhaps we should remember those we have lost in a more celebratory fashion and not always with sadness and tears? I’m in no way belittling the pain of grief and memory – if you get me talking long enough about the day my mum died or the day dad died, I will cry.

It’s shocking how many years have passed so quickly since my mum and dad died, and every day, week, month, as well as years since are each a milestone. Those of use who are left to mourn, choose to remember specific dates as the remembering – no matter how painful – is also comforting in a way.

This poem is about remembering.

I hope you like it.

Milestones

Your story is the hardest to tell.
The one that makes the tears swell in my eyes.
Even though we both know
That the events described took place 20 years ago.
I’ve realised,
That although nowhere near as commercial
Or as advertised,
Death has milestones just like life.
It’s almost 21 years since you died.
And that was 12 years after you lost your wife.
I’ve now had more years without mum
Than I had while she was alive.
I mark your Birthdays – mum and you,
The anniversary of your death too.
And even though as I write this
None of those dates are due
I wanted to record that you are still
Always in my thoughts.
And I know you know that:
And you knowing that I know that you know
Is a fact.
Because even though you are no longer here to guide me,
Or to advise me
Suggest to me “yes” or “no”
I know you both have watched me grow,
Watched me struggle, adrift on life’s ocean
Often thrown to and fro.
You are still with me after all these years:
You’re in my laughter,
And the sting of my tears
When I think of you and miss you
Wish I could hold your hands and kiss you
Even though at 47 I’m sure I would do things that would piss you off.
So,
I’ll mark the years and milestones.
The distance since you left our home.
Not the bricks and mortar, wood and stone;
The home we made from our flesh and bones
And the way you felt, and the way you smelled.
The way you picked me up when I fell.
21 and 32 years
Like long dried tears
The milestones pass and fade.
You are equally out of reach and not out of reach.
The footprints of your memories on my beach
Do not get washed away.






Friday Poem #112: Beard.

Hello, and welcome to this week’s Friday poem. I hope your week has been a good one, and Friday finds you in good spirits. I myself have had a good week: on Tuesday I swam 30 lengths at Swimming Club – a huge increase on the initial 14 lengths I managed only seven sessions earlier.

However, this achievement did come at a price; Upon starting my 29th length, I got sever cramp in my right calve and had to wait several minutes for it to subside. Even when it did, I was so scared of it kicking off again that when I finally swum the final two lengths, I tried not to use my legs at all so I did the equivalent of when a dog drags its back legs along the floor – only in the water. Three days on, and my calve is still a little tender but I am stretching daily and will hope for the best when I have my first session in March tomorrow. The plan now is to do 30 lengths a session, pausing for two minutes between every two lengths, and gradually reduce the time I pause in between. That’s if my body holds out of course. From now on I will be stretching beforehand, and drinking water when I have my breaks in between lengths. Of course, I will keep you updated on progress.

Anyway, enough of that – what about this week’s poem? Well it’s simple: this week’s poem is about my beard. I love my beard – I like the way I look with it, and think it suits me very well. It’s been a long journey to get my beard where it is today, and this poem is just my little celebration of it – and of beards in general.

I hope you like it.

Beard.

Allow me to introduce you to my beard:
Don’t be afraid,
There’s nothing to fear.
It will not bite.
It does not smell;
It gets shampoo’d and conditioned well..
It’s grown and been shaped over the years
From way back when it first appeared.
And over time it has matured,
So of its quality you are assured.

My beard is trimmed by a man called Tom,
Who’s mojo with the beard is strong.
He cuts it back – like you would a plant
And thus it’s growing is enhanced.
Plus shaped and tended with such care,
There’s no finer barber anywhere.
I am my beard.
My beard is me.
Existing symbiotically.

You will discover, should you approach
My silky beard is beyond reproach.
It’s wonderful to run your fingers through,
(Ladies – please form an orderly queue)
To stroke a beard – much like a pet –
Reduces tension, anxiety, stress.
And furthermore, endorphins
Roam free when touching hirsute chins.
If I need to find my happy place
I simply stroke my hairy face.

But –
If you are thinking “a beard’s for me!”
Be careful and think carefully.
Not all men can this burden bear;
Not every chin can cope with hair.
Yes, a man grows a beard; it’s true
But a beard also grows it’s owner too.
The path to beardom is strewn with rubble
And bodies of men
Who can only grow stubble.

If you can preserve
And soldier on,
Past the itching phase
Until your beard is strong,
If you can stick with your beard
No matter what it takes,
Then grow your beard:
Because greatness awaits!!
th

If you like this Poem, then you’ll be pleased to know that there are two books containing more wonderful poetry of mine available from Amazon. Simply search for “The Friday Poems”!

FRIDAY POEM #111: WAITING

Good evening , and welcome to this week’s Friday Poem. If it is not evening either when or where you are reading this, then please replace ‘evening’ with a more suitable time frame.
I hope you are well, and that life is treating you as good as you hope it can.

There is an unintended, yet tangible link between the number of this Poem and its subject matter. For those of you who don’t live in the United Kingdom, 111 is the number we call for non emergency medical advice. So if it is late at night and ourselves or a loved one is unwell or in pain, but it is not a medical emergency, then we ring 111 and can get some advice and guidance, and if need be further medical help can be arranged. My daughter’s spell in Hospital with Pneumonia and fluid on the lungs, all started with a call to 111 at 11pm one night when she complained of stomach pain. 111 is am amazing service, and whilst no service is perfect i personally have always been grateful for the advice given.

As you now will have guessed, this week’s Friday Poem has a medical theme to it (of sorts). It came to me after I recently visited my doctor because of a shoulder complaint. I arrived a bit early for my appointment (better to be early than late kids), but then had to wait a long time to be seen as they were running late. My time in the waiting room inspired this poem.

Before you read this poem, I would like to state for the record that our National Health Service or NHS as we call it, is an incredible institution, and the people that work for the NHS are simply amazing. The NHS is understaffed, undervalued, and underfunded. It is taken for granted by the entire population of the United Kingdom, and for over 70 years the NHS has welcomed without question or judgement our sick and frail – both physically and mentally.

All that being said, having to wait in a waiting room is a soul destroying experience.

Here’s this week’s poem.

I hope you like it.

Waiting

The time wasted.
Outcome anticipated.
Better things to do,
And yet achievement not fated.
Yes, I chose to be here
But not to sit here
I came for an appointment
Not for disappointment.
Ignoring the others waiting
Yet straining to hear
For the name that is called
The summons to come;
Appointment times meaningless
Selected it seems at random.
Here is where life dies:
You can see it happening
In other folk’s eyes.
Conversations are whispered
And nobody tries not to listen
To what is being said
Every time a receptionist
Answers a call
Or receives a visitor instead.
Sooner or later you’ll see someone you know
Or at best an acquaintance – not someone you actually know.
You do that crap smile and nod thing
But don’t actually say “hello”
For to do so
Would break the silence
And go against the compliance
That everyone observes.
Don’t say a word.
Read a magazine from six years ago:
Always interior designs,
Or ideal home
To remind you of how bad your own house is
In case you’re not feeling sufficiently low.
Perhaps I’ll give the kids toys a go;
Anything to break the monotony.
I wonder if this is what it feels like
To have a lobotomy?
More waiting.
More staring.
The world isn’t caring
That I’ve got other things,
Better things to do.
And then I hear my name mispronounced:
“Laurence…….Magoo?”
I jump up in a rush
Because I don’t want to keep them waiting
And ironically,
When the doctor apologises for the delay,
I smile and say, “it’s fine.”

The Friday Poems Volumes one and two are now available in paperback and Kindle formats.
For volume one follow this link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1977087671/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_intBCbZ7CFSAX
For volume two, follow this link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1792791445/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_6otBCbTNC1CYD

Hello, and welcome to this week’s Friday Poem. It was Valentine’s Day this week, and all over the world people were swooning. Not with love, but with shock at the horrendous price of a Dozen Red Roses. Each year the cost of flowers skyrockets around Valentine’s day, and retails use the fear and desperation that is caused by the perceived need for love to make a fortune.

Who says romance is dead?

I myself, was very good – and very bad. I was good in the fact that weeks ago I booked a table for my Fiancee and I at the restaurant we first met at 7 years ago. I booked it early to avoid disappointment.
I was subsequently bad, by not organising a babysitter for our kids on Valentine’s night. Unfortunately, we were not able to go out for our meal, so we had a romantic mean for four with out kids – and I romantically washed up afterwards. We did have a nice bottle of Cava, and I bought 12 red roses.

Romantic failure has been a theme in my life – as the fact that I am not still with any of the previous women I have dated will testify to. However, there is one episode that failed before it even got started – and that is what this week’s poem is about.

I hope you like it.

Bus Girl

I never got to know your name.
You never asked me mine.
On separate paths that briefly crossed
One fleeting moment in time.

You smiled at me on the 53 bus;
I almost soiled myself in fear.
In a dream as I alighted,
I watched you disappear.

The bus moved off, on schedule
Transporting you away.
Resigning the moment to history,
I carried on my way.

I walked, pondering, to the town centre
To complete my shopping task.
Amazed that someone had smiled at me
Yet accepting the moment had passed.

Or had it? for as I turned a corner
I saw you smile at me again from afar.
I vowed to go up and speak to you
After buying a Birthday card.

My nephew’s birthday was the next week;
To miss it would be wrong.
So I quickly paid, and then rushed out:
Only to find that you had gone.

Being smiled at doesn’t happen to me;
It certainly doesn’t happen twice.
And losing the person who was actually smiling at me
Made me say things that weren’t very nice.

So I searched for you in the town centre;
Visited every shop time and again.
For three hours I looked for you smiling,
But my efforts were completely in vain.

Crestfallen, I trudged round to the bus station
To sit dejected at my homeward bus stop.
That’s when you appeared like a vision:
I nearly soiled myself again with shock.

This time, you had no chance of escaping;
With courage in hand, I approached and we spoke.
We chatted briefly, and then exchanged numbers –
What a result for this shy, naive bloke!

I floated home on cloud number 9
Which runs hardly ever in life.
I was stunned, shocked and a little bewildered
But inside was feeling really nice.

We had agreed to meet up the next weekend.
And I’d said that I’d call in due course.
But by the next day I couldn’t wait any longer
So decided to give you a call.

I typed the number you’d given me into my mobile
As my heart fluttered like the beat of a song.
But the number I typed wasn’t working;
Because I’d ended up writing it down wrong!

The fates had cruelly mocked me:
Snatched defeat from victory’s jaws
I had no way of getting in contact
And my heart fell and broke on the floor.

For the next week I tried to find you;
I practically lived on the 53 bus.
Searched daily all over the town centre
But alas – I was right out of luck.

It was over – before it had started.
Who knows what might have been?
I thought of her, but carried on living.
And then one day my phone started to ring.

And it was her! She was back, and was calling:
I’d forgotten she’d taken my number too.
She asked why I hadn’t phoned her
So I started to tell her the truth.

But then, before I had got even two words out
The fates decided to play more games instead.
My ears were split by a high pitched beeping,
And then my mobile phone went dead.

And that was it; I never heard from you again.
It was as if you had never existed.
You were gone – this time forever.
I’d had one chance and I missed it.

Life went on – as it does – and I moved on.
Life was kind, and indeed love was too.
But I’ll always remember you bus girl
And I wonder what happened to you.

Friday Poem #109: Should Have Been

Welcome to this week’s Friday Poem. Before we get into it, I thought I would share with you the fact that I have joined a swimming club. Regulars to this blog will remember last year I wrote a few blogs about the swimming lessons I was having, and my struggles with basic coordination and an apparent lack of ability to breath correctly. You can find these blogs on the “blogs” page of this…erm….blog. Anyhoo, since  writing those blogs I have made significant progress and am now confident enough to continue my swimming without lessons. That being said, I am still working on my technique, and have areas to improve in.

But the swimming club will be my chosen form of exercise. I lead a very sedentary life, and spend all day at work sitting down and do minimal walking during the week as I drive to / from work. I can swim up to three times a week, and my only rule is that each time I swim I swim a bit more that I did previously. I had my first session on Tuesday this week and swam 14 lengths of the 25 metre pool. These 14 lengths did not happen all in one go, but we spread over the 30 minutes I was there. Swimming is a great exercise and I’m really looking forward to getting fitter and healthier.

So, onto this week’s poem:
How many times have you calculated that after your monthly salary comes in, and you pay out everything you have to, you find that you have some money left over which you can spend on something you actually want – only for an unexpected expense to turn up out of the blue, and scupper all your plans for that treat?
Well, this poem is about that – after I experienced the very thing.

Here is the poem; I hope you like it.

Should Have Been

You should have been that jumper

Or perhaps those pair of shoes.

You could have been 75% of the cost

Of a valentine’s meal for two.

I wanted to buy some Blu-ray films on sale at HMV

They’ve got them all on offer

So they’re buy one get one free

You aught to have paid my dentist bill

(I hate going to that place)

Or better yet my monthly beard trim

When I tidy up my face.

You were going to be those trousers

The ones I need to get for work.

Or a bunch of “I’m sorry” flowers,

Bought pre-emptively for my girl.

You might have been that emergency Pizza,

When we couldn’t be arsed to cook.

Or rarer still – a treat for me

Of new pens and writing books.

You might just have been the catalyst

That finally saw me save;

The seed from which my money grows

Instead of always being frittered away.

We were going to go and see that film

The one that’s just come out

You know the one that got great reviews:

And everyone’s talking about.

But no; all of these things and so many more

Will now just have to wait in line

Because now I have to pay you first –

You stupid parking fine.