Palaces

Members and Their Lordships squabble

As each pleads his Party’s cause

In this neogothic palace

Where they frame the Nation’s laws.

 

Plain stability in Portland,

Majesty-and-guardsmen staid,

Where the worthier are knighted

And prime ministers are made.

 

Early home of Queen Victoria

Near the statue of that boy

Who, through Barrie’s childhood magic,

Hooked a generation’s joy.

 

Tudor palace where the envoys

Yield Credentials to the Queen,

Dedicated to John’s brother,

By a park that’s always Green.

 

Where the Canterbury Prelate

Takes his Walk Down Lambeth Way

Just like other folk are Doing

Any evening, Any day.

 

Vanbrugh’s Italy by Oxford

Who should wear the Spanish crown?

Churchill fought and won a Dukedom

At a small Bavarian town.

 

Yellow Poem

Dorothy and Lion and Scarecrow

On the bricked and yellow road,

Only found a bogus wizard

From whom seeming magic flowed.

 

Gold and fluorine both are yellow

In their elemental state,

And in Column Five three members

Show the same chromatic trait.

 

On the roadside there are painted

Warning double yellow lines –

Park there and the law may levy

Punitive deterrent fines.

 

National Park in North Wyoming

Full of geysers and hot springs;

Nature comes to equilibrium

With the junk the tourist brings.

 

Yellowknife has one attraction:

Gold for those who delve and take.

Is this why it’s situated

By that frozen Great Slave Lake?

 

Card and streak and Rose of Texas,

Hammer, jersey, fever, bile,

Flag and spot and sea and pages ,

Relished by each xanthophile.

 

Leaning

As men of Pisa often shirk

When they are not too fond of work,

A clock was placed upon their Tower

So all could plainly see the hour –

Now as the hands make slow rotation

They have both time and inclination.

 

Poppies

Two orange poppies

With a smaller one that’s white

Between two pavings.

Why are they never damaged

By the tyres of shiny B.M.W.

Or by the super-fashionable high-heeled

Shoes of the driver.

 

Fine Tuned

Whoever planned the Universe

Decided it should be

A place complexities could form

Perhaps like you and me.

 

The speed of light, electron’s mass

Were fixed at values so

The stars and galaxies were born

And life itself could grow.

 

It may, some think, have formed by chance,

Quite how they do not say,

But why is it fine-tuned for life

If it was formed that way?

 

P.M.

A1 Tory, Mrs Thatcher,

Corner shop and Grantham bred,

Oxford trained to be a chemist

But became P.M. instead.

 

Teddy Heath had been the Leader,

On perhaps an ebbing tide,

So thought men in blue surroundings

P’r’aps a woman could be tried.

 

Privatising all and sundry,

‘Victor’ of the miners’ strike

With a Minister suggesting

Jumping on your unused bike.

 

Margaret Hilda, thrice successful,

Cast off by the rank and file,

Sent Upstairs to be a Lady

Though this rather cramped her style

 

Decorated with the Garter;

Kesteven was the domain

Of this overblooming woman

With her very active brain.

 

Beast

Where the thought of Mrs Perkins

Brought to Walter’s eye a tear;

Where the country folk play cribbage

As they sup their Wessex beer.

 

From a fifty-scoring circle

Sykes’s dog received his name,

Like a piebald sphere of sweetmeat

Nominally just the same.

 

John personifying England

Edict drawn up by the Pope,

Military spit and polish,

Phase which gives investors hope.

 

A la plaza de los torros,

A la sombre o al sol

Matador, traje luces –

Beast for whom no bell will toll

 

ONE TWO THREE FOUR

Squaring does not change its value;

Special on the Mobius strip;

Number of true loves permitted;

Locks that any good key will fit.

 

Only prime that’s also even;

Squared and doubled are the same;

Misspelt it is also also;

10 that has another name.

 

Bears who were deprived of porridge;

Musketeers and p’r’aps a crowd;

Leafage of a normal clover;

Cheers of which one might feel proud.

 

Horsemen who were seen on Patmos;

Brillig, double florin, groat,

Butane, independence, seasons,

April, march time , Bolingbroke.

 

Battle Fields

On a grassy Sussex hillside,

With each virtue but a clone,

Anglo-Saxons and the Normans

Fight to hold or win a throne.

 

Way above the Southern Counties

Hurricane or Messerschmitt

Slaughter so that it’s decided

If Great Britain will submit.

 

Moneycrats as five star generals

Policies make interests yield –

Yes, there will be dead and hungry

But without a battle field.

 

Blue Poem

She has doubtless read Endymion

And the odes of Horace too;

Algorithms never irk her

For her legs are clothed in blue.

 

This is not a glass container

Holding wine or come what may;

It’s the only type of bottle

Which will ever fly away.

 

When through Vienna Woods it sparkled

Waltzing words were Danube true

Gadgets, fripperies and travel

Mean it’s no longer blue.

 

Marriage for this bearded monster

Always ended in despair,

Since he drowned successive partners,

Ugly, passable or fair.

 

Sheep and cows are idly straying

In the meadow and the corn –

One might re-establish order

If that boy would blow his horn.

 

Thicker glass within a prism

Darkens white light into blue.

Newton, nineteen centuries later,

Quickly showed this wasn’t true.

 

Sapphire, bluejohn, gorgonzola,

Oxbridge, Lionel, badge and moon,

Peter, collar, blood and Tory,

Murder, ribbon and Lagoon.

 

Gases

The gas once called acetylene

Has which more modern name?

Which gas burns with a sort of squeak

When near a Bunsen flame.

 

Which gas evolved from smelling salts

Turns litmus paper blue?

Which gas elates, and so it’s said,

Induces laughter too.

 

Which triatomic ‘seaside gas’,

If levels were to fall,

Might not protect us from those rays

Which could destroy us all.

 

Which haemoglobin-seeking gas

Requires especial care ….

It’s formed when fossil fuels are burnt

With insufficient air.

 

Which gas when pumped into the air

Returns as acid rain;

The Pennine Hills were wooded once,

But bare they now remain.

 

Which is the main constituent

Of gases we exhale?

Which gas may fracking soon release

From layers of buried shale?

 

In sunlight there are spectral lines

Which gave this gas its name,

And now it’s used to fill balloons

Lest they burst into flame.

 

Julius Caesar

‘On the Lupercal,’ schemed Caesar,

‘I won’t seek out kingship yet …

I will thrice refuse the offer

So it seems I’m hard to get.’

 

‘Cassius,’ thought wily Caesar,

‘Bears a lean and hungry look;

Give me men who love their comforts,

Men that I can bring to book.’

 

‘Ah, Calpurnia,’ smiled Caesar,

‘We’re a noble Roman pair  …

Hodie Rex Romanorum …

You shall be Queen, My Dear.’

 

‘Signs and portents presage danger;

Tell the Senate he is sick.’

‘Caesar is above suspicion …

He would never play a trick!’

 

‘Caesar,’ cried Artemidorus,

‘On this paper are the names

Of such men who would destroy you …

All but one with selfish aims.’

 

‘Et tu Brute,’ whispered Caesar,

‘What betrayal friendship hides;

Augurers forbade me venture

From my house upon the Ides.’