Category Archives: poems for adults

you know the kind of thing


This has been written for the Christmas poetry gathering at Worthing Library on Friday 11 December 12 noon …

Festive digestive
A biscuit with a seasonal theme
An olfactory Pandora’s box
A sweet-toothed boy’s dream …
… but not a custard cream

Festive yet overly suggestive
The cheap and tacky Christmas card
That tries to be funny but tries too hard
Words certainly not penned by a bard
(the exclamation mark is a hint – you’re meant to laugh at this bit …)
Don’t give it to auntie, you’ll leave her scarred

Festive but … arrested
The office party dressed as Santa’s elf
The seasonal pub crawl arranged by stealth
‘Go on – it’s Christmas!’ ‘ But it’s bad for me health …’
Honest officer, I didn’t think it would break …
Now I didn’t think celebrations would cripple me wealth

Festivity nativity
The biggest star in the universe
For the biggest birth in the universe
The celebrations go on for weeks
But the birthday boy often gets forgotten

So here it is merry Christmas everybody’s havin’ fun
‘Doctor, I’m suffering from overload on an empty commercial beanfeast
that seems to have forgotten what it’s for’
‘A simple diagnosis – you’re suffering from tinselitis’

Leave a comment

Filed under culture, poems for adults

Live poetry set at The Upmarket, Worthing 29/11/09

Featuring a lot of recent poems from this blog, this was recorded for the legendary Vobes podcast, presented by Richard Vobes, usually from his Worthing beach hut, but this time as part of Empty Shops Radio …esr-russ-live

Leave a comment

Filed under Brandon Cummerbund, culture, poems for adults

Rusty spade

It’s National Poetry Day
And I have not, so far, written anything poetic.

Maybe I have said something of a poetic nature
to someone.

Thinking about it, I’d consider that unlikely.

It’s possible there might have been
an action
a glance
or a thought
that might be considered
in some way lyrical.

To be honest, it’s not been that poetic a day.

But it’s National Poetry Day,
so I’m writing this.

Which may not be much compensation
for today’s poetic vacuum.

But it’s the best I can come up with.

Some days words are your paint
your instrument
and the love of the universe coiled in sound.

Other days, they’re a heavy, slightly rusty spade
that doesn’t really do the job.

This was one of those days.

8 October 2009

1 Comment

Filed under poems for adults

Stop w(h)ining …

It’s communion, Jim, but not as we know it
The bread is still there but the wine has now gone
Official instructions are rather hotchpotch
The wine’s for the vicar, and we get to watch

While we worship the Lord with hymns loud and anthemic
The bishops are worried we’re spreading pandemic
We don’t all want swine flu, it’s a pig of a bug
So don’t you dare kiss in the Peace, or go hug
Handshakes are dangerous, so make do with a shrug

Never mind that the Bibles are passed hand to hand
Why the chairs haven’t been swabbed, I don’t understand
And then there’s the newssheets and door handles too
All viable ways to share in the flu

If it gets too much worse they may make us stay home
And watch Songs of Praise till we’re blue in the face
So let’s give them one big liturgical groan
We’ve had it with law so let’s hear it for grace

Next we’ll have Britain’s Got Swine Flu
with Cat Deeley
Maybe it’s just a plot to stop church
getting too touchy feely

August 2009

Leave a comment

Filed under culture, poems for adults


Tony Blair
Tony Benn
Tony Booth

Toni Basil
Tony Bennett
Tony Jacklin

Toe knee
Knee toe

Woolly jumper – overtones
Halfwits – semitones
Feargal Sharkey – Undertones

Old school – sepia tones
Old tech – Binatone
Old amp – tone dial

Steady drone – monotone
Reedy drone – Casiotone

Tony Hancock
Tinny tannoy makes Kiri Ti Kanawa sound like Tiny Tim

This has been a Tone poem

17 September 2009

Leave a comment

Filed under poems for adults

Owed to Les Paul 13.08.09

farewell Les Paul.
The genius
behind the electric guitar.
The guitarist’s guitarist
The axeman’s godfather
The ultimate
guitar hero.
The man who asked:
what happens
if I wire this up?
And plug this
in here?
And turn it up?
And what did happen
was the twang
and the riff
and the power chord
and the razor sharp
note cleaving the heavens
and ending up nailed
to your guts …
The sustain
and the gain
and the sweet pain
as the highly strung
plugged in
turned up
and engineered
a slice of soul-tugging
heart-twisting melody
That charmed the birds from the skies
Appliqued them together with gossamer harmony
Set them free to soar on dizzying runs
Before machine-gunning them in mid flight
with 12-bar heat-seeking tracer fire
That left a firework imprint on eternity.
Until one of the strings broke.

You never knew what you’d started, Les.
You really deserved a better name.

Take it to the bridge
in the key of genius.

13 August 2009
Upon the death of Les Paul, 94

Leave a comment

Filed under culture, poems for adults



This a sound poem which plays with the sound of words and revels in the responses and rhythms they stir up. At the end it features actions which only work in live performance, rather than on the printed page.

NB Popocatépetl is the second highest mountain in Mexico, and an active volcano

Popo cate petl
Poppa cata petal
Pot a cat a petal
Pot a cap a petal
Pot a cup a petal
Pot a cup a petrol
Pick a pocket or two?

Pop a pack a kettle
Pop a plaque a kettle
Pop a plaque – and pedal!
Pitter patter?
Pluck a pepperoni Nazi?

Hippo pota ricotta pepper
Stock a flock a mocha chocca
Tic a tac a picker nicker
Not a battered tipple
Blot n scat n stipple
A cat!
A petal …

22 July 2009

Leave a comment

Filed under poems for adults, poems for kids

Lawyer Lee


was a lawyer

Who did

no wrong.


Leave a comment

Filed under poems for adults

The shortest poem I ever wrote

The shortest poem I ever wrote

It had no rhyme

Nor reason

As you have


Leave a comment

Filed under poems for adults, poems for kids

Attention span


I have

an extremely


Leave a comment

Filed under poems for adults, poems for kids