Heatwave

You can tell when the weather is pleasant

By the horrible presence of knees.

And the definite lack of deodorant

In the scents that waft in on the breeze.

There’s a ban against using your hosepipe,

The heat causes rail delays.

The weather man tells us it’s scorching

And predicts it will swelter for days.

There are photos of girls in bikinis

In the newspapers and on TV.

Everyone’s saying it’s hotter

Than the mainland of Spain’s going to be.

You can tell when the weather is warmer

‘Cause the shops have all run out of Coke,

And the neighbours are out in the garden

And you’re smelling their sausagey smoke.

You can tell when the Brits have a heatwave

As they’re telling you how they can’t sleep.

How the air in their room isn’t moving

It’s enough to make anyone weep.

It’s not that it’s much of a problem,

At least, not one that’s likely to stay,

Since glorious weather in Britain

Rarely lasts past the end of the day.

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Controlling the Weather

I’ve started controlling the weather.

I know that it sounds quite absurd,

But wait till you hear why I say this

And then you’ll believe every word.

Last weekend I made a decision

To work on the garden, you see,

As long as the weather was pleasant

As the forecasters said it would be.

I got out my gloves and my wellies,

My trowel, my rake and my hoe.

I dug out the key to the back door,

So, then I was ready to go.

As soon as I walked through the doorway,

I felt something land on my face.

The raindrops got bigger and colder

And rapidly picked up their pace.

I looked at the grass and the soil,

And faced a stark fact there and then;

There’d be no useful work I could do there

Until it was dry once again.

The very next day, there was sunshine.

Once more I collected my tools.

But right the way over my garden,

The rainfall had gathered in pools.

It needed a few hours longer,

Enough time to clear up and dry.

I honestly felt really hopeful

When I looked at the cloudless blue sky.

I busied myself somewhere inside

Till I felt that it must be okay,

Then picked up my bundle of goodies

To work through the rest of the day.

But as I set foot on the threshold,

I couldn’t believe what I saw.

The sky was now full of bad omens

And it soon began raining once more.

But now, I know how I can trick it

Into being the dry day I’d love.

I’m buying a brand new umbrella

And I’ll shout to the heavens above:

“Just look at my brand new umbrella.

To try it out would be so good.

It’s lucky for me that it’s raining,

So I can go out in the flood.”

I’m telling you now what will happen;

The rain will just dwindle and die,

The clouds will grow smaller, then vanish

Leaving nothing but blue in the sky.

You see, I’m controlling the weather

It’s quite an incredible knack.

So, I can get digging and mowing

And wishing the rain would come back.

In the Fog

Everything looks cleaner in the fog.
The grime you know is there is painted out.
A silken veil adorns the tidy world,
In the fog.

Everything sounds softer in the fog.
The harshness and the shrillness are dispelled.
Inconstant hands are cupped about your ears,
In the fog.

Everything feels closer in the fog.
You sense you could reach out and brush the moon.
Its cotton wool connections fill the space,
In the fog.

Everything’s unreal in the fog.
Unclean, unquiet, disconnected world.
Yet many choose a path of self-deceit,
In the fog.

Hopeless

Well may the wind howl
And batter the trees,
Let the cold creep in
And make our breath freeze.
Well may the dark come
And rob us of sight.
Well may the fear come
And stalk us by night.

Sombre the music
Inside of your head
Persistent the devils
That bolster the dread.
Solemn the promise
That day will awake?
Cold, dark and fear come
Your spirit to break.

Sometimes there’s nothing
To reel in the day,
No mental candle
To brighten the way,
All of these terrors
Can paint your days black.
Then none of the sunlight
Will find its way back.

In the Bus Queue

She sat down in the corner of the bus shelter.  The rain pinged off the roof and formed a curtain in front of her and to the side.  Passing cars swished and rumbled through the night, their headlights streaking in front; she didn’t step forward to see their departure, but remained perched on the thin, sloped bench.  Gradually, the bus-stop filled up with familiar faces, workers on their way home, teenagers on their way out, mostly people she’d seen every day for months, but never once spoken to.

She wondered what it would be like to chat.  Just something as simple as “Rough weather tonight!” could lead to so much more: exchanging names, detailing destinations, sitting together on the bus.  Probably not a good idea.  She smiled to herself, imagining the weird scenario of unsolicited contact – of conversation.  Two women had stood in front of her and were talking about Christmas; they were discussing their preparations or, to be more accurate, lack of preparations.

“It’s not even November yet.” Reminded one.

“It will be tomorrow!” Warned the other.

The bus seemed to be taking forever to come – probably because of the weather.  It wasn’t very reliable at the best of times; even though it was supposed to come every 15 minutes, they were sometimes there for as long as 40 or 45 minutes on a bad day.  Some people were starting to grumble and even more were shivering, since most of them had been soaked even before they’d made it into the shelter and the ones at the edges were still getting rained on, relentlessly.  In spite of this, nobody had sat on the bench apart from her.

A bus appeared in the distance, its bright window-eyes visible long before the rest of it.  The would-be passengers thronged forward, creating a squash along the pavement edge, passes and pounds in hands, scarves pulled tightly to block the torrent.  The bus swished past, depositing a dirty wave on the hopefuls at the very front.  An almost synchronised groan of annoyance rose and fell.  A Doppler of disappointment.

“Typical!”

“There were loads of empty seats!”

“I’m sending them the cleaning bill!”

“You’re lucky you were at the back!  Didn’t you want that bus?”

She looked up, shocked!

“Sorry?”

“Wasn’t that your bus?”

The woman had her head tilted as she asked the question.

“It’s just I noticed you didn’t move when it was coming and everybody else pushed forward.”

“I, I just … I was waiting until there was space.

“You’ll never get on that way.”  She smiled.  “People take advantage!”

“I don’t like standing at the front while the bus is moving.  It seems dangerous.”

“That’s true; I’ve heard of accidents happening because of people pushing to get on.  Not very nice.”

The woman sat down next to her.

“It’s very cold for October, isn’t it?  Feels more like January!  You don’t look like you’re dressed for this weather at all.  Aren’t you cold?”

“Not really.  I don’t feel it.”

“You’re lucky.  I’ve got four layers on and I’m still chilled right through.  Can’t wait to get in and soak in a hot bath.  If this damn bus ever comes, that is!”

The woman turned to look along the road.  There was no sign of a bus and the stream of headlights was beginning to dwindle as the rush-hour travellers would probably be home by now, leaving just the few unlucky stranded, like those in the sodden huddle at the bus-stop.

She was feeling a sense of unease.  Something she didn’t even realise was possible.  This was completely unprecedented.  In fact, it was so unexpected that she’d been convinced for several seconds that the woman hadn’t been talking to her, but she obviously had; it had been a proper conversation, making sense and everything.  She looked at the women from under her fringe.  She just looked normal, but she couldn’t be … maybe she was a ghost too.  No.  She’d said she was cold and in all the months she’d been dead, she’d never once felt any kind of cold or heat.  In fact, until she’d been shocked by the woman being able to see her, the only thing she’d really felt was the compulsion to come to the bus-stop and get onto the bus.  It even had to be the right one … the last one during rush-hour: the one that had killed her.

She realised that the bus had come, as she was inspecting the woman.  The passengers were filtering onto the bus in ones and twos and as the woman climbed aboard, she turned and asked her “Are you coming?”

She shook her head.  She didn’t want to be on a bus with somebody who could see her.

“Okay then” shrugged the woman “Happy Halloween”.

A poem about April for Chris B, inventor of the 5 minute quiz.

Hello shiny April. You’ve been gone so long.

Yet here you are, dancing and singing your song.

To rouse us from sleeping, to shake us awake,

With each stomping, Spring-loaded step that you take.

You scatter tomfoolery as you begin,

Then sit back and wait for buffoons to join in.

Renowned for your bluster, new life and for showers,

The call of the cuckoo, an abundance of flowers.

The panic of tax-forms, the National races,

The Marathon runners are put through their paces.

Is it true? Is it false that we’ve never had snow

In the last week of April? You have 5 minutes …GO!

Water runs.

Water runs, the possibilities are endless,

Whispering suggestions in your ear.

Lights that bounce and skim and scurry,

Swamp the boneless limbs that bind you near.

Sing the notes to bring the playful rainclouds.

Promise them you’ll free them by and by,

When they’ve made the river break its boundaries.

When they’ve joined the dewline to the sky.

Make a bed of all the leaves and let-downs.

Start again to show the soil you can.

Sleep until you have become the thunder.

Tell the world you know how it began.

Tell the world you know how it began.