Tag Archives: wood


‘I’d rather be a hammer
than a nail’
goes the song
Although many of us
may feel that we are
neither the hammer
nor the nail,
but the piece of wood
on the end of it all.

And some of us
have been nailed so much
we are now full of holes
and have forgotten
what we are meant
to be.

Splintered and battered
we career from one
moment to the next,
surprised by time
which rarely waits for us
and often arrives
all at once.

Yet it may be
that we are in fact
works of art
being shaped by
an imaginative sculptor
who knows what we are
to end up as
and is prepared to
and shave off
our roughness
and inhumanity
until we resemble
who we were
created to be.

The hammer
and the nail
play their part
but only the wood
can become the
finished article.

One day I will be whole
and no

2 June 2009 (in the Sally Army cafe, London)

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The shelf stackers

This is another piece to mark the first anniversary of The Ice Prince’s cargo of timber washed up on Worthing’s beaches …

I must go down to the sea again
To the roaring sea and the tide
I’ve got 2000 tons of wood down there
I wonder if it’s dried?
It’s got to be someone’s decking
It’s bound to be someone’s shelf
Have you seen the twilight trekking
Loading roofracks by stealth?
My dream conserv-a-tory
Is stacked up on the shingle
The DIY man’s glory
The thought just makes him tingle
With some sawing and some planing
With his drill and Black & Decker
Some awesome light construction
Hardly make him a villainous wrecker
While his joints won’t be mortice and tenon
More Superglue and bodge
And his angles may look a bit wonky
More tumbledown shed than park lodge
It’ll be fashioned from flotsam and jetsam
The stuff that the tide just brought in
Like a boon from above, a woodworker’s offering of love
Strewn from the god of Homebases’s bin

You should have seen their cars go
Weighed down with the loot
Half a dozen splintered planks
Protruding from the boot
It may not be strictly legal
But many a blind eye was turned
And many’s a glass has been raised to the Prince
As some flaming good firewood’s been burned.
Nice one, Icey.

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Strange fish

This has been written for the Ice Prince arts festival – marking one year since Worthing’s wood invasion, due to the discharged cargo out at sea

You can’t see
You can’t see the beach for the wood
For the wood has become forest
Planks stretched aloft
Like the yearning arms of the crowd at the 100 Club
In 76, wanting to catch the salt drops of rebellion
Before they become the dried sweat of the ordinary
Pale pine fingers crossed
In hope of rescue
Cargo gone
Benches pressed
Decking bobbing
Shelving diving
And suddenly arriving
An angular invasion force
A splinter group that doesn’t mind being split
Or savaged with steel teeth. Or screwed. Or nailed.
Elvis would have liked our beach.
It once had a wooden heart.

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