From afar
I watch the waters
curling round
the standing rocks.
White waves wash
on sleepy beaches.
Seagulls gathering.
Shellfish stranded.

Up blows the wind
scattering sand.
Out flows the tide
releasing land.

Sun now a shadow
set on the horizon.
Seashore now calm,
alone and remote.

1976, August


The Wrath Of Natures Creed

Rugged cliffs were lashed upon
by waves that gouged the shore.
Swarming gulls looked down upon
the surf that broke below.
Dark of night was lost within
an angry raging sea.
Seagulls wild, were crying for
the wrath of natures creed.

1973, November

It Came With The Wind

Why were the seagulls screeching loudly?
Why were the swallows flying high?
Why were the birds that live around me
flocking towards a distant sky?

Why were the rabbits digging burrows?
Why were the beavers building dams?
Why were the animals that live around me
taking refuge below the land?

What did I hear beyond the valley?
What is that noise that travels far?
What is the force that reaches to us?
Plays on our minds, tears at our hearts.

The birds, the animals, now the people.
Hiding from the carrier wind.
A refuge sought deep in the valley.
But now the force has found our sins.

1973, October

The Stream

Silver stream I watch you go
to the sea, so far away.
Rushing down the valley steep.
Onward in your endless way.

Past forests, fields, hillsides bare.
Gushing down the waterfalls.
Trickling o’er the rolling pebbles.
Sweeping round the solid stones.

Across the plain, wide and smooth.
Meandering through the village fair.
Below the bridge into the night.
Then sweeping out towards the light.

Slowly nearing the open sea.
Spreading o’er the estuary wide.
Seagulls swarm, screeching loud.
You’re lost forever, within the tide.

1973, July 

The Rambling Party

Part I: Acquaintance…

Such a bright and breezy morning,
off a-wandering I must go.
Over mountain pass and moorland,
towards the great unknown.
I’ll stride forth with much vigour
and a curious inquisitive mind.
Whilst immersed in my surroundings,
what things of interest shall I find?
There’ll be friendly outdoor people,
to be met along my trail.
I’ll make discourse with these natives.
Of my services they’ll avail.
So, farewell and adieu dark city,
as I embark upon my way.
I shall return upon the morrow
and relate to you my tale.

Down country land and byway,
into this mysterious land.
Onwards towards my destiny,
map and compass in my hand.
Past village, farm and meadow,
civilisation fades away.
The wilderness now beckons,
for my first adventure of the day.

There comes a blazing mass of colour,
preceded by a raucous, clamouring sound.
Apparently, a rambling party,
with a leader short and round.
Sporting a gold and crimson bob hat,
camera equipment weighs him down,
britches down to his ankles,
he wears a pixies malevolent frown.

‘Has ta’ sin four o’ mi party?
Natterin’ and gawpin’ about.
Supposed to keep up wi’ leader.
Mountain rescue’ll sort ‘em out.
Lost six more back in yon gorge.
Nancy’s wouldn’t follow mi down.
Too many bloody leaders!
Mountain rescue’ll sort ‘em out.’

‘Well then? Which way now?’
Cries a white head on the flanks.
‘Halfwit hasn’t a flamin’ clue.’
Inciting mutiny in the ranks.
‘There’s no footpath here!
Numbscull’s never had n’ sense.’
Such a curious rambling party,
now all impaled upon a fence.

So onward I do press,
with the ramblers in my wake.
Will there be any interesting markers
left along their trail?

I see a weary looking farmer,
lent trembling by a gate.
Hat askew, glasses bent,
mumbling ‘wasn’t a right of way…
a stick wielding female banshee,
they sent to negotiate.
But it’s never been a footpath,
his maps for some other place.’

So onward I do climb.
A grouse moor I declare!
A country lady’s hailing me,
arms flailing here and there.
‘Please don’t go through there!
I need to count my birds.
A rambling party passed this way,
now they’re scattered everywhere!’

Swirling mist ahead now parts,
To reveal a phantom hovering bare.
No! It’s four gibbering women,
all circling round a cairn.
‘Where’s the nearest cafe?
Have you seen a cream green bus?
We only had a loo stop.
They’re always in such a bloody rush!’

‘Alas ladies! Sanctuary’s at hand!’
I send the phantom on its way.
‘Back down in yonder valley
lies a friendly farmer by a gate.’

Deep into a fearsome gorge,
I bravely now descend.
A cordial greeting I do spy,
six revellers waving from a ledge.

I emerge onto a plain.
Someone kindly marked my way.
A levelled furrow of corn
snakes far along my trail.

Through gates kindly left ajar.
Over convenient gaps in walls.
Thus, onward I do press,
towards my now visible goal.

There stands a scowling red haired woman,
with a shrill and anxious note.
‘Hey! You! Have y’sin a rambling party?
Buggers are two hours late for t’coach!’

Part II: Reunion…

Such a bright and breezy morning.
It’s time to roam again.
Over mountain pass and moorland,
to meet some long lost friends.
I’ll join that rambling party
I encountered on those hills.
They really seemed quite expert
and promise many thrills.

I meet them at the station,
a cheerful, friendly crowd.
‘Are yer comin’ wi’ us then?
Are yer proper kitted out?’
I see many familiar faces
among this motley crew.
All raring for adventure,
‘hallo,’ ‘o’reyt,’ ‘howdoo.’

But where’s the gallant leader?
Our hero’s missing, overdue.
Then a screeching, revving vehicle
comes hurtling into view.
His car’s rammed into a pillar.
A ‘no entry’ sign’s knocked down.
Then, emerging from the carnage,
is our leader, short and round.

Under a strangely scented sunhat,
camera equipment weighs him down,
britches down to his ankles,
he wears a pixies malevolent frown.
‘There’ll be no bloody loo stops,
lost ten o’ you buggers last week.
You’ll damn well stay wi’t leader,
That’s not Harold, nor Cybil, it’s me!’
‘Well then? Are ta ready?
C’mon don’t gaggle around.
Oy, new lad, you’re wi’ me.
We’ll park in Settle town.’

After a rather challenging journey,
we safely reach our goal.
‘Up Constitution Hill then!’
Our gallant leader roars.

Into a swirling mist,
we quickly do ascend.
Our intrepid party all strung out,
no telling where it ends.

Our track now peters out
on a vast expanse of moor.
‘Aren’t all here,’ our leader rasps,
‘but we’re only short o’ four.’

Through a maze of tiny fields,
our party sprawls out wide.
Ramblers climbing walls and fences,
anything but stiles.

A deep, dark wood now beckons.
This sees our leader in despair.
Tracks and paths all veering off,
his map’s flung into the air.

Our hero throws a fit now.
The map stomped on underfoot.
‘Even that soddin’ Pilot Leader
couldn’t get out this flamin’ wood!’

Then two long hours later,
we crawl towards a sound.
The survivors all jump and cheer.
We emerge in Malham Town.

So we march into a pub
and the locals scatter wide.
We indulge a liquid lunch,
while Harold guards outside.

Our leader’s well refreshed now.
Ten Bailey’s has he downed.
Singing ‘I’m a rambler, ramarambler.’
He marches us out of town.
‘From Manchester Way’ gets garbled
when the bull rears its mighty head.
It paws, it moos, it snorts.
And half our party’s fled.

So on up Fountains Fell now,
where a bog has barred out way.
Round it, we mostly wend.
Goodbye Ned, who tries to wade.

Into a farmyard gloomy,
we’re startled by a sound.
White fangs flashing everywhere,
a pack of braying hounds.
A sacrifice is called for,
so’s we can vault the gate.
‘O’reyt owd cocks’ greets Harold,
as he’s tossed into the fray.

A distant trumpet’s growing louder.
Horns blow sharper by the note.
Scarlet huntsmen loom above us,
on chargers honed and taut.
‘You’d best send forth your champion
if you wish to pass this way.
It’s private land, you’re trespassing
and we’ve had no sport today!’

our banshee fought quite bravely,
she lunged, she parried, she feigned.
But the duel was weighted heavily
and the shotgun won the day.

Alas we are but three now
and unarmed, we must turn tail.
We descend into a valley
and a river that seems in spate.

‘Now we need to form a circle.
‘Av’ sin’ it done on’t TV.’
Holding hands, we wade the river,
But it’s way above our knees.
Cybil, she’s looking doubtful,
‘This isn’t so bloody safe!’
While trying to throttle our leader,
She’s upended by a wave.

She bobbles down the river.
Arms flailing, backside up.
‘Now we’ll get some peace and quiet,’
grunts our leader, looking smug.

And so we are but two now.
Our proud leader contemplates –
‘Coulda’ bin worse y’know…
Could bloody well have rained!’

The sun has set, it’s dusk now.
We can barely see our feet.
Stainforth Force thunders below.
Its dark, its fast, its deep.

Lights of Settle, we’re safe at last.
I kiss the hallowed ground.
But where on earth’s our hero gone?
The leader, short and round.’

2003, July

Stars All At Sea

God dropped down for judging
on the wildest wintry day.
‘Let’s cream off all the best folk
and sail them far away.’

‘We’ll purloin a smuggler’s coaster
from a courtly clan of clowns.
No we don’t do rape and pillage.
And please hoist your ensign down.’

‘Indeed, one has bought a ticket.
Another one craves a ride.
Yes, we’ll be taking Charlie
and we also want his bride.’

‘Press gang a saintly bosun
and a good ol’ Christian crew.
First mate’s holy Benni.
Riding shotgun – George W.’

‘We’ve a Major and a mynah,
aye, that Tony lad that lies.
We must have that Miss Hamilton,
Plus hubby – don’t mention bribes!’

‘We’ve boys that like some action.
Cue Angus, Boris and Hugh.
Sweet little things from fashion,
come aboard Katie, and Naomi too.’

‘Say, have we any scribblers?’
‘Yes, Black Jeffrey’s in the hold.’
‘And what about a dribbler?’
‘Sure, Sven’s got ball control.’

‘We’ve a Michael for the poolside,
another to warble in the loo.
And one that’s into dangling –
no boys in bunks thank you!’

‘Hi! We’re both gay and Liberal!
We’d just love to lead your team.
Ooh look! It’s dreamboat Eddie
all dressed up in Royal Marine!’

‘Now all you priests of Erin,
be orderly and form a queue.
No, not behind young Graham,
he ain’t the boy for you!’

‘We’ve first rate entertainment
and some great reality shows.
Try poker with the Hamilton’s,
or watch Edwina snog Johnno!’

‘We’ve party games for grumpies,
led by Angus and Dave B.
‘It’s “pass the stash of snuff,”
“hide blind man’s squeeze and tease!”’

‘Rickie’s Judy strips on Tuesday.
Lap dancing’s Saturday night.
Young Harry you’re always welcome
But your props – you’ll need to hide.’

‘Not another manly Michael!
Found one sulking down in Spain.
No, not that handsome Princess.
And one fling don’t make him fay!

‘What! More luggage for the Liberals!
We already tilt hard to port –
With them crates of ale for Charlie
and that bust of Jeremy Thorpe.’

‘So, have we any stowaways?
Seeking sex, a snort, or sleeze?
Is that Cliff there in the shadows?
Toss Devon Annie to the sea.’

‘Hey! I were a Cunard purser!’
‘Who’s that paddling off starboard?’
‘The “hunk from Hull” they call me.
Any diarists I might court?’

2006, June