Tag Archives: social commentary

Industrial Landscape


Charred chimney blackened

horizons wreathed in

cotton from the mill,

coal from the pit,

spinning wheel spun

ocean depth burrowed;

dark and darkening,

surrounded railway terminals

clanking clamouring,

crashing their weights

freights of billets and cables,

smithied and forged from

molten steel heaving hissing

endless streams whiter than

the eyes of those snap-tinned men;

fire-breathers off the graveyard shift

criss-crossing paths with their

cock-crowed young mates,

on crammed jammed rattling trams

rolling home to neat-boxed quadrangled

estates where daytime lungs ache

for more of that air and

early evening eyes strain for

more of that light

doused too soon by

charred chimney blackened horizons.



Picket-Line :-Fryston Colliery 1984

Day breaks over the Pit Wheel,

its gaunt circumference

dormant and proud;

Along the arterial tarmac that wends

its way down into the village,

oil-drum braziers waft showers of

redflecked orange-sparks over

huddled dufflecoat figures;

Engrossed in the “Crack”

weather-etched faces drain

dregs from shared flasks,

warmed hands pass round

the last of the fags,

snapshut their hollow snap-tins;

Vigil-wearied eyes scan the morning grey

middle-distance trying to make

out the shape of flitting lights,

waltzing their way slowly along

the road,two long vehicles

preceded by four shorter ones;

the cavalcade shimmering like

technicoloured morse-code,

blue and red and blue and red;

Around still flickering braziers,

huddled dufflecoats curtail

their banter and begin to

form cohorts to greet the

arrival of another day,

as it breaks over

the Pit Wheel,

its gaunt circumference

dormant and proud.


Purpose and clarity are submerged in a cacophony

masquerading as a state of Fugue ;

So it is we remember who we are ,

then we choose not to remember and then

choose not to choose what it was

we were supposed to remember ;

Gazing languidly into the apparent void ,

marvelling at a chaos that is simply

an Order we as yet have failed to comprehend ;

Discordant notes are part of a melody

we do not recognise and cannot hum along to ;

and the scribblings of idiots

are a treatise on their own mortality .

Seven Million

Birthday candles all in a row
all unlit none aglow ;

Birthday cards that were never sent
birthday presents all unspent ;

Missing holiday snaps and first days at school
unbuilt sandcastles and no April fool ;

No sports day success,no end of term joy
vanished forever that girl and that boy .

( Footnote :- Since the introduction in the UK of the Abortion Act 1967 ,some 7,000,000 pre-birth humans have been legally exterminated. )


We’ve been here before .
at the abyss’ edge daring
ourselves to stare right in ;
cajoling one another
with all the fervour
of middle ranking bank executives
leaving work late to-night;
With wifey and kids at home ,
and the endless toil of years
wearying your souls over
mortgages ,cars ,holidays
and that swedish furniture ;
We’ve been here before ,
gesticulating with wagging finger
at the madman ,the lunatic ,the psychopath ,
the sociopath ,the misanthrope ,the zealot ,
the bigot ,the fanatic ,the extremist ,
the revolutionary ,the reactionary ;
those who know what the game is really all about ,
zero sum.
No way out.
We’ve been here before.

Hard Times of Old England

Half of England is waiting on a phone call
to let them know that there’s room at the trough ,
the voice of their Masters telling them
knees are for bending and caps are to doff.

Half of England is waiting to go to work
and be allowed their share of the swill ,
the voice of their Masters telling them
they’ve accepted those terms of their own free will .

Half of England is still waiting on a phone call
to be told where and when to go ,
the voice of their Masters telling them
England is on the road to recovery you know .

Half of England is ingratiatingly grateful for work
though few know the reason why ,
working conditions look all too familiar
like scenes from , ” The Bridge on the River Kwai “.

A Child’s Fairy Tale

All animals are equal

but some animals are

more equal than others ;


all join in the family fun

getting ready for slaughter in the midday sun ;

Piggy piggy trough trough

snout snout snout ,

lives in the mire

no-one gets out ;

Eat eat eat belch belch belch

snuffle snuffle snuffle ,

silly little piggies never found the truffle ;

The Sun sets and all hope smothers ,

for Fathers,Sisters,Mothers,Brothers,

who without knowing lived for the profit of others.

Politics of Austerity

Our three great Parliamentiary parties

the incompetent , the stupid and the greedy ,

concur that joblessness and poverty

are solely the fault of the needy ;

Government departments with their indifference

misinformation and bureaucratic sloth ,

have decreed that the poor and jobless

can no longer afford to be both ;

Budget cuts here there and everywhere

cuts to top rate taxes amongst others ,

lead us down Wall Street again

to the door of Lehman Brothers .

( Footnote :See also the recent similarly themed poems , “Welfare dependency” and “Economic Crisis” )

Celebrities Caught on Camera

We know who Charles Saatchi is now
though we already knew her name ,
with your hand around her throat
it’s you who entered the Hall of Fame ;

Sat at the Mayfair restaurant table
lenses recognised her face ,
they saw her frightened look
as you sat there in your place ;

With your hand around her throat
your eyes had that kind of stare ,
you wanted it kept private
but got caught out in a camera’s glare ;

Your hand pictured round her throat
in the middle of your act ,
despite all your denials
those images remain the fact .