Just cry

Distraught man holding dead child

I saw your Facebook post,

About Gaza, the wounded, dying and dead.

The photos which had no right to be taken,

Of maimed children on blooded mattresses,

And parents screaming uncontrollably into the emptiness.

I looked hard through the comments underneath your post for sadness and tears,

But saw only anger and self-righteous indignation,

The very fuel for the engine of the next wave of death and destruction.


So, please don’t send me any more photos of dead children,

These tiny seeds of anger for next year’s harvest of hatred.

Each photobite a perch upon which your anger can rest awhile,

Before flying off to the next tree.

Please don’t tell me you know the answer.

Please don’t tell me you are right,

Because being right is the padlock on the door to peace.

Just cry.

A poem about life, death and tea

The teacup

After my grandmother died,

I wandered her house looking for traces of her,

Until I found in a cupboard an old china teacup trying to hide,

Ashamed of its stains and chips,

And worn out gold rim, sucked off by countless lips.

Pushed aside over time by ugly mugs, bigger and stronger,

Its fading beauty and lack of utility valued no longer.

Mourning the loss of its matching saucer,

Pushed under a plant pot in the porch,

Before being broken one day by a clumsy granddaughter.

Then I realised that this old object and my grandmother had lived parallel lives,

And the tears flowed free,

As I remembered a different time,

In which my grandmother was full of life,

And her little china cup full of hot loose-leaf tea.

Postcard from Davos (although, I’m not there … obviously) – it’s a poem

Roll up, roll up, for the greatest show on earth …

The men from the banks,

And policy think-tanks,

Crunch through the snow.

The movers and shakers,

And paradigm breakers,

Crunch through the snow.

The special advisors … dark suited clones,

Tweeting each other on their Apple iPhones,

Crunch through the snow.

The political elite and their PR teams,

The leaders-in-waiting plotting behind the scenes,

Crunch through the snow.

Men in dark glasses with tiny ear pieces,

Checking the crowds for Muslim extremists,

Crunch through the snow.

The media scrum circling like vultures,

The Hollywood stars playing ambassadors for culture,

Crunch through the snow.

The musicians and poets who’ll take to the stage,

The army of waiters on the minimum wage,

Crunch through the snow.


Gather round, listen up, take your seats, look smart,

The greatest show on earth is about to start.

The advisors and fixers huddle in groups,

Arrange meetings and greetings jumping through hoops.

Politicians make deals pulling in favours,

Make grand declarations riddled with waivers.

The big superpowers make agreements on trade,

Stand shoulder to shoulder handing out aid.

The men from big business make human sacrifices,

To protect their reputations and company share prices.

And finally, amidst shaking of hands and slapping of backs,

The world’s puppeteers stand together smiling and relaxed.

“We’ve reached an agreement, the world is quite safe,

We’ve agreed to disagree, and meet again next year … same time … same place.”

A short poem about the human condition

We think we’re so damn clever,

For making cars to rush to places we don’t need to be,

For creating complex sewage systems to flush our shit into the sea.

For inventing vaccinations for diseases we’ve created,

For building rotting food mountains while children die emaciated.


Well, consider this:

Do swallows need satnav?

Do foxes need to repent for their sins?

Do squirrels need fridges?

Do salamanders need artificial limbs?


We think we’re so damn clever,

For inventing money, corruption and poverty,

For wasting natural resources on plasma screen TVs.

For all the fancy gadgets and machines we’ve deployed,

So we can be the only species on the planet with millions unemployed.


Well, consider this:

Do peacocks need Armani?

Do birds take more than they need?

Do meerkats need Facebook?

Do ants have a word for greed?


We think we’re so damn clever,

For calibrating time so we’re always running late,

For turning natural food into junk making all our children overweight.

For cutting down forests and making mountains out of slag,

For flying to the moon so we can stab it with a flag.


Well, consider this:

Do worms need JCBs?

Do termites need bricks and mortar?

Do nightingales need Simon Cowell?

Do camels need bottled water?


We think we’re so damn clever, we think we’ll live forever.