Painted Lady

Painted Lady
Painted Lady

‘Painted Lady passing by,
Just a social butterfly.’
So they say, all unaware,
For their opinions, you don’t care

Is life just a pleasant hour
While you flit from flower to flower,
Turning hours to tranquil days,
Basking in the summer rays?

Is it impolite to ask
If this paint is just a mask?
Do you hide, with raffish flare,
All the burdens that you bear?

New Ploughing

New Ploughing
New Ploughing

Awake. Awake, good brown earth, your slumber now must cease.
Come, show us what you’re made of, for you shall have no peace.
No longer lie there, somnolent, in your verdant green pyjamas.
You lie in working farmland, not on a beach in the Bahamas.

You’ve crops to feed and germinate, give sustenance and cosset.
And grow them tall and rear them well on nature’s pluvial posset.
Up now, awake, though warmer days make slumber so seductive.
You’ve drowsed the year away ‘til now, it’s time you were productive.


Spotted Woodpecker Pair
Spotted Woodpecker Pair

‘Will you look at that?’
‘I can’t see any peanuts.’
‘Not peanuts, I mean look at that knot.’
‘Which knot?’
‘This one.’
‘What for?’
‘Just look at it!’
‘I am looking at it. Now what. Where are the peanuts?’
‘Never mind the peanuts, just for one moment. Just look at that knot.’
‘It’s a knot, OK, I see it. Now, where are the peanuts?’
‘OK, OK. Let’s forget the peanuts, just for two seconds. We’ll do peanuts in a minute. OK?’
‘Now, look at the knot.’
‘I’ve looked at it already. It’s still the same. Was something supposed to happen while I was looking at it? Because if it was – it didn’t.’
‘Nothing is supposed to happen, that’s not the point. Just look at it closely.’
‘OK, I’m looking.’
‘You see?’
‘Yes, I see.’
‘What do you see?’
‘A knot.’
‘Yes, a knot. But don’t you see?’
‘Of course I can see the knot. So what? Can we get back to the peanuts, now? The kids are waiting, you know.’
‘Peanuts! Is that all you can think about?’
‘The kids are hungry and I can’t see how this knot can help to feed them. But I can see how peanuts can.’
‘You mean you honestly don’t see anything wrong with that knot?’
‘No, just tell me – and let’s get to the peanuts.’
‘OK, I give in. You’re going to kick yourself when I tell you, though.’
‘I’ll risk it, just tell me.’
‘Oh for Pete’s sake, look at it. Did you ever see a worse example of a Granny Knot?’


Train going past
Train going past

Train going past on the railway track,
Carrying passengers, clickety-clack.
Some going there and some coming back.
Clickety, clickety. Clickety-clack.

“Quinquireme of Nineveh,” some people quote,
But Nineveh is long gone and a quinquireme’s just a boat.
It’s hold stuffed with trade goods and trinkets by the score,
But no room for passengers, unless you man an oar.

“Stately Spanish galleon,” rash pirates favourite prey.
Give them a broadside and chase them away.
But you can’t buy a ticket, no matter what you do.
Don’t hang around the docks, though – you’ll be press-ganged for a crew!

“Dirty British coaster,” history’s taken you as well,
Carrying coals to Newcastle, all smoke and noxious smell.
The cargoes you carried are not now what we need.
What we have are passengers and passengers need speed.

So, train going past on the railway track
Carrying passengers, clickety-clack.
Some going there and some coming back
Clickety, clickety. Clickety-clack.

John Masefield’s Cargos is one of my favourite poems. He died 52 years ago –  in May 1967.