Questions

Did I leave the oven on?
Did I lock the door?
Did I hear the stair creak?
Can I hear it anymore?
Did I shut the window?
Did I call the cat?
Did I send that email?
Was that noise a rat?
Can I pay the mortgage?
Who will fix the car?
Did I wash the school clothes?
Who knows where they are?
Have we any cereal?
Is there any bread?
When is my appointment?
Should I cancel it instead?
What’s that actor been in?
Why’s the wifi slow?
Did I pay the milkman?
Where did that spider go?
Have I put some weight on?
Are my clothes too tight?
These are things I think when I
Lie down to sleep at night.

The Wakeful

You who sleep believe the world stands still.
You miss the clatter of the postal trains,
The hiss of cats beneath the window sill.
But we, the wakeful, hear it all.

You who sleep believe the world sleeps too.
You miss the wailing of the hungry babes,
The cabs that come and go the whole night through.
But we, the wakeful, hear it all.

You who sleep believe the world packs in.
You miss the barking of the scamp’ring fox,
The reedy racket of a wind-blown bin.
But we, the wakeful, hear it all.

You who sleep believe that life shuts down.
You miss the footsteps of the night-shift gang,
The clink of floats that cart the milk through town.
But we, the wakeful, hear it all.

You who sleep believe we’re all at rest.
You miss the rustling as we shift and twist,
The heartbeat thudding deep within the chest.
But we, the wakeful, hear it all.

Nobody’s favourite

Row upon row:
Ordinary people,
Destined to be the last choice.
Nobody’s favourite,
Nobody’s prize.
Struggling to find their own voice.

One at a time:
Ordinary people,
Coming to terms with what’s real.
Nobody’s favourite,
Nobody’s prize.
Almost too frightened to feel.

Day upon day:
Ordinary people,
Never achieve what they should.
Nobody’s favourite,
Nobody’s prize.
They’d love to speak out if they could.

Sat at the back:
Ordinary people,
Afraid to step into the light.
Nobody’s favourite,
Nobody’s prize.
Just not equipped for the fight.

Never too late:
Ordinary people,
To show what you know you can do.
Be your own favourite,
Be your own prize.
The saviour you need can be you.

To-do List

I meant to wash the dishes,
I meant to clean the floor,
I had a list of jobs to do,
I wrote it out before.
But then I was distracted,
The list remains as long.
The laundry’s in the basket
And my schedule has gone wrong.
I should have done the shopping;
The cupboard’s almost bare.
I need to write a poem,
I should also wash my hair!
There’s still no dinner on the stove,
My coat remains unmended.
I’ve yet to wash the bathroom sink,
My plans have been upended.
I thought I was so organised,
I can’t help feeling bitter,
Imagining how things would be
If I hadn’t opened Twitter.

Ninety-six names on a Wall

On 15th April 1989, thousands of excited Liverpool fans travelled to Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield to support their team in the FA Cup semi-final. In a catastrophic series of events, fans were crushed in the pens and help was slow to come and poorly organised. As a result, Ninety-six of them died. This is for them.

Ninety-six names on a wall. Count them!
Brother and sister and son.
Ninety-six people who should have come home
After the match was done.

Ninety-six seats at a match. Count them!
Father and daughter and wife.
Ninety-six people who went to a game
But ended up losing a life.

Ninety-six names on a wall. Count them!
Woman and child and man.
Ninety-six reasons to cherish the truth;
Spread it as far as you can.

Ninety-six reasons to pause. Count them!
Mother and Lover and friend.
Ninety-six stories contained in a flame;
A fire that will burn without end.

The Essence of Me

Judge me not by what I wear
Nor by the words I know.
Don’t measure me by what I own
Or places that I go.
Don’t think you’ll get the mark of me
From languages I talk,
Nor yet by how my hair is cut;
Not by the way I walk!

Judge me not by who I know
Nor by the books I’ve read.
Don’t measure me by prettiness
Or witty things I’ve said.
Don’t think you’ll get the mark of me
From how I take my tea.
The way I burp the alphabet
Is how to weigh up me.

Wild

He runs along the verge, his tail hung down,
His fur reflecting red beneath the moon,
Home neither in the country nor the town.
He hurries lest the day should come too soon.
Light steals all prospects of a hearty meal;
A tender pullet or a careless hare.
He begs the wind such off’rings to reveal.
That he might snatch and carry to his lair.
Yet, many days his belly only sees
The stretching hours of starving fretful rest,
With nothing that his hunger would appease.
These are the times that form the wild thing’s test.
Unending seem the nights for such as he;
Such is the price to pay for being free.

Middle-aged Lament!

I’m so glad my eyesight is failing;
You should see the wrinkles I’ve got.
They stand out when I’m wearing glasses
But don’t seem too bad when I’m not.
I’m not on good terms with my mirror.
The view can be horribly cruel.
So, I tend not to go very near it;
I stand six feet back as a rule.
That’s why I rarely wear make-up.
It wouldn’t be smart, I suppose,
To apply the stuff without a mirror:
Leave mascara all over my nose.
Yes, I’m glad that my eyesight is failing.
It makes me look younger; it’s true!
But only to me. Unfortunately!
I wish everyone else’s would too!

The Photograph

The flecks in your eyes,
The curve of your face,
The swing in your hair,
Your bright, quiet grace.
The line of your lips,
The strength of your chin,
The slant of your nose,
The sadness within.
The tilt of your head,
The sweep of your brow,
The strength of your poise,
They’ve all faded now.
I can’t see your face
When my eyes are shut tight,
So I look at this picture
And miss you tonight.