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John Wood


Shipston, England, UK

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At the Pool


John Wood

With stress of business faraway!
At the pool, on Holiday!
A World apart from local squalors
torso’s bronzed to honeyed colours
quiver in anticipation
throb in eager expectation
of the pleasures yet to come
when, far away from thoughts of home
one lets one’s natural passions rule
sweet indulgence!, by the pool

But do be careful Mr Shaw,
sublime Ms winter who, with awe,
now gazes on your glistening paunch
which no restraint at home could staunch
may seem to be an easy catch
who, on some fertile foreign patch,
is wooed and won with honeyed phrase
by bald accountant, based in Hayes
but, be assured, she’s after more
than you can give her, Mr Shaw!

And whilst in lounge and bar she seems
the very creature of your dreams
the truth is somewhat more mundane
as you will realise when the plane
returns you, in a few more days
to 17, The Crescent, Hayes
where leaden skies will all too soon
replace that oh so perfect moon
and golden limbs on sandy beach
will seem forever out of reach!.

Alas!, the effort that went in
to getting fit and thinking thin
has come to naught, the truth is that
your still as old, and bald and fat
and life is still as bloody cruel
as that Ms Winter, by the pool!

The changing of the seasons mean
we are not now what we have been,
though Winter comes but once a year
it’s not with Mr Shaw, I fear!!

Poetry, The Great Debate


John Wood

From tiny basement hovels to the salons in the cities
the air is inspissate with rumours, it appears a squalid crime
is about to be committed by some poets, who’ve permitted
their judgement so to fail them that their poetry must RHYME!

The literary establishment, of course, is up in arms
and worse, it seems, is yet to come. Believe this if you can
Some poets now embrace a view ( though, mercifully, a precious view)
their work might be enhanced if they should seek to have it SCAN!.

This meretricious nonsense, it is nothing more than that
does not accord with any forward-thinking poets view
and if such tripe should come my way I think that I can safely say
I would nail it in the toilet, and so my friend should you, also.

This group avers that poetry of old, this weary stuff
the twittering of simple souls like Arnold, Keats or Blake
has much to teach the modern school, pshaw., the ravings of a fool!
The criticism modern poets nowadays have to put up with!

I much prefer the modern style, where passion and conviction reigns
and style metre and substance play a secondary part
The latest "user friendly" school, where Ayres and Zephania rule
this is, to me, the acme of a modern poets achievement..

I have said as much in recent weeks at meetings up and down the land
in a bid to flush out who’s behind this sinister new trend
It appears it’s some old timer, who is known as "John the rhymer"
and I seek your aid in bringing his daft ravings to a very speedy close.



Gentle readers spare a moment to consider one whose views
seem certain to inflame in others passions I had thought long spent
I plead for justice in respect for those whose passion, intellect and art
caused them to write their work for more than just the rent!.

"In poetry There’s room for all" tis often said, and so there is, but don’t be fooled
in thinking that this means it’s all the same
There’s some that’s good, and some that should be gently hung in darkened rooms
and left, without a further thought, to moulder there, like game!!.

The Ironbridge Gorge


John Wood

Beyond this sacred soaring arch, two hundred years and more
have passed since stolid Shropshire men brought forth an iron Jerusalem
and held the World in awe.

The fearsome flames on Lincoln Hill, by coal and steam engorged
the bellows roar, the anvils ring, proclaimed this new awakening
a world was being forged!

No mighty tomb of Mausolus, nor flaring Pharos light.
No Temple of Diana hides, nor bronze bedecked Colossus strides
in this, now tranquil, site.

and yet, this iron beneath your feet might tell a nobler tale
The modern World itself, begat of Derby, Newcomen and Watt
was born at Coalbrookdale!

Parnassian Excommunications


John Wood

Your Great Debate poem rings of my own composed some years ago.............

Parnassian Excommunications
( Doggerel Rules )

To Hell with Prosody, and Curses on Scansion,
No asylum for either in my Father’s mansion
Though ‘tis lavished with a myriad fine rooms,
Expunge this pair by the dash of swift brooms;
Ne’er anoint the insipid paws of finical guests,
Ostracize Poetic vermin and all Literary pests.

Yea, Crucify the foul demons of Elegiac couplets,
A preference to begetting antler-capped triplets
Than be bound by the Tenets of Pedantic Verse,
A Res Judicata oozing from an insolvent purse.

Consign all Iambic dogmas to char at the Stake,
Afore mine Inquisition shalt the Anapests quake,
Trochee and Spondee alike, we cast thee Asunder,
Alcaic Epos divested of their grim Awe and Wonder.
The Petrarchan sonnet form, grown prosaic and stale,
With Aeoloic stanzas, Convicted, are next to Impale;
Steeds hackneyed and lame clutter the Literary stable,
But no contraband victuals adorn this Muse’s table,
We pronounce thee Passé, and commit to the Hearse,
‘Tis small wonder the Modernists resort to Narrative verse.

You couldn't make it up


John Wood

In DC, miles away from Blighty
Is there a phone in the downstairs lavvy
Connecting, via Salt Lake City
A President who, being savyy
Likes to relax, whilst sitting pretty
And talk to the Almighty?

Darkness, long before the dawn
At Chequers, from the public hid
On maps, behind a guarded door
Cherie’s crystal pyramid
Is finding, each day, ever more
cities soon to be re-born

Thus George, as pious as can be
Gains information from on High
Whilst Tony, our new-age Archbishop
Has Pyramid’s identify
The targets where the bombs should drop
to propagate democracy.

People who would do you good
Should be kept safely at arms length
The reason for this is because
They tend to use their massive strength
To liberate you with Just wars
And bathe you in your childrens blood

In Babylons ancestral halls
No Moslem savant could conceive
A dynasty might be o’erthrown
Nor nations doomed for years to grieve
By George’s astral telephone
Or Cherie’s crystal balls

The Night Mail 2003


John Wood

Out of the station so recently painted
Pausing at signals by accident tainted
Then up the long incline towards Potters Bar
Chasing the wake of the sleek Eurostar

No whistle no clatter no steam-spewing funnel
No glow from the firebox as, into the tunnel
The Portugese diesel, with Union Jack
Speeds towards Luton on Spanish built track

At Bedford an Ancient looks out of his house
At the engine which passes, as quiet as a mouse
And recalls in his minds eye, as though in a dream
The trains of his youth, in the great days of Steam

The Stanier’s, Gresley’s The Northern Pacific
Cross-rods and con-rods and valve gear terrific
And coal begrimed faces that grinned from the cab
As they roared through the Bedfordshire countryside drab

Through Crewe and then onwards towards Gretna Green
No lark and no lapwing as once there’d have been
No Railway works either for now it’s worth more
To rent out the space to a Sainsbury’s store.

No Steelwork at Corby, No Stockyards at Stoke
No smoke belching boilers, why, not even smoke!
No factory hooter, no steam whistle calls
From the cavernous confines of huge shopping malls

No Shipyards at Sunderland, nary a one
In a spot which once half the Worlds Navies called home
No glassworks in Glasgow, no pipeworks at Shotton
The smelter at Airdrie now long forgotten

Gone and forgotten the furnace’s roar
Gone and forgotten the iron smokebox door
Crossley and Lanchester, Vickers and Don
Strachan and Henshaw, forgotten and gone!

The past it was filthy, the past it was grey
And not user friendly, and green like today
Today we don’t need to build ships cars and trains
We buy them abroad and instead use our brains

This is counsel intelligent, prescient, wise
So why, as I write, are there tears in my eyes?

Etymological Encounter at Sainsbury’s


John Wood

He tottered off and left his nurse, lost his footing, and his purse and now lies covered by a sheet twixt condensed milk and potted meat.

"It’s his ankles, says his nurse, and at his age there’s nothing worse"

"Excuse me"

I find I’m saying. outside Spaniels cease their playing, a bee disturbs the pregnant hush, and thunders through a hawthorn bush!

"wouldn’t being taken to an exclusive spa and squeezed naked into a Jacuzzi with Clarissa Dicksson-Wright be worse by far? and force fed heron and avocet whilst Peter Mandlesson lurks behind the exercise bikes, prowls around the parallel bars, plotting God knows what and humming a tune from his favourite disc "Schoenberg, the Romantic Years" constitute the acme of our most secret fears?"

Blackbirds sitting on a telegraph pole prick up their ears, and then:

"they used them things in The Falklands War", a voice behind the cooking oils"

"Blew up our ships them Avocets", he’s got a cardigan, and boils.

Alright, Alright

"Suppose you were crouched on the lower deck of a cabin cruiser, there’s a pretty pass! night falling on the Norfolk broads and your hand stuck down the chemical toilet, no way to let the emergency services know of your plight, and there, outside, glimpsed through a porthole in the fading light is Peter Mandellson, cruising around, cruising round the cruiser in a rigid inflateable, obviously completely insatiable planning Christ alone knows what and whistling mirthlessly from his current fascination "Stockhausen the joyous years"

Surely a simple busted ankle would scarcely even rankle
When compared with such a vale of tears!

"Or, worst of all, bound with heavy twine, arms akimbo, to a huge dead elk in a deserted meat packing factory suddenly, the sound of coaches, mercy me, it’s PM again and 260 Millwall supporters, each of ém the size of small tank transporters, like monstrous roaches beetle browed and each with a little brontosaurus on a chain, a little brontosauraus!, your loudest cries would be in vain!"

By now Mr purse is sitting up and taking notice, It’s coming on to rain

"Charlotte Brontosauraus, this from cooking sauces, "she wrote Jane Eyre"

I do not say a single word, it would not, I think, be fair

"No yer pudding!, That was Charlotte Rousse!"

comes drifting up from cheese and low fat milk

"That is a pudding yer pudding" says, Mr Purse, "wasn’t it that who’d e’ say?, that Charlotte Elk"