The Magpie.


Oh! What an elegant bird

So good to look at,

Wearing his formal clothes

But then,  they make that awful sound

That is so bad to hear.


Oh! What an imposing bird

Did you know, that when

He takes a wife,

it is for life BUT

he is so noisy to hear.


Oh! What an iridescent bird

Known as the Devil’s bird who

Sat on the cross of Christ

And unlike the Dove, shed not a tear.

His shrieks are shrill to hear.


Oh! What a superstitious bird

They collect in trees.

In Nursery Rhyme books we

Count them to see if we are to

Lucky or unlucky!

It is just his sound, so awful to hear,


Magpies, One for sorrow

              Two for joy

              Three for a girl

               Four for a boy

               Five for silver

               Six for gold

               Seven for a secret never to be told

               Eight for a wish

               Nine for a kiss

               Ten for a surprise you should be careful not to miss

               Eleven for health

               Twelve for wealth

               Thirteen beware, it’s the Devil himself.


(We saw 14 in a nearby tree – from our bedroom window.)



Low GI Bread. Poet unknown.

‘Low GI Bread’

Down at the bakers, I’ve heard it’s been said,

There’s an excellent special offer on Low GI bread.

So I put on my coat and set off down the road

For something to lower my glycaemic load.


And there in the window in prominent view

Was a sign confirming what I’d been told was true:

‘Live your life healthy, for you’re a long time dead –

Come in and sample our Low GI bread!’


The devil inside me said ‘I wonder if they know?

They say ‘Low GI’, but what makes it so?’

So I questioned the counter girl, would she comply?

She looked somewhat puzzled, then gave this reply…


‘Well, the ‘Low’ means there’s less, and the ‘I’ means ‘Inside’,

But as for the ‘G’, I can’t decide…

Could it be Garlic or Ginger or Goat?

Or (scraping the barrel!) a Gloucestershire stoat?’


‘Or Gherkins or Grapefruit, or maybe Goose fat?’

I suggested ‘Glycaemic?’ – ‘No, I don’t think it’s that –

Gammon? Or Gumbo? Or Guava? Or Gin?’

(She was beginning to wish that I hadn’t come in!)


Then a lady beside me said ‘Why would I pay more

For bread that has less of what went in before?’

That caused the girl’s listing of ‘G’ things to stop,

So we both turned around briskly and vacated the shop!


2 x short poems on Burning Desire.



Burning Desire, your hearts; on fire!

You are waiting for him coming.

Is that him there? Heart beats higher.

No, that’s not him. Emotions draining.


The toddlers’ burning ambition is

to walk. Holding both of mums hands

he totters across the room. Then,

Bump, he bounces down to the carpet.

Mum hauls him back onto his feet.

Now with daddy sitting in the chair,

holding his arms out to his son.

An anxious mum nervously lets

their precious toddler, take his

first steps unaided….

Straight into daddys’;

waiting arms.

Day 10. The Snowman by Wallace Stevens.

Day 10.  The Snow Man by Wallace Stevens.

One must have the mind of winter

To regard the frost and the boughs

Of the pine-trees crusted with snow,

And have been cold for some time

To behold the junipers shagged with ice,

The spruces enough in the distant glitter

On the January sun; and not to think

Of any misery in the sound of the wind,

In the sound of new leaves,

Which is the sound of the land

Full of the same wind

That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,

And, nothing himself, beholds

Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.


Day 9. Inversnaid by Gerald Manley Hopkins.

Day 9.  Inversnaid by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

The darksome burn, horseback brown,

His rollock highroad dancing down,

In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam

Flutes and low to the lake falls home,

A windpuff=bonnet of fawn-frowning.

Dregged with dew, dappled with dew

Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through.

Why heathpacks. Flitches of fern,

And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.

What would the world be, once bereft

Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,

Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

Day 8. Pastoral by William Carlos Williams.


Day 8. Pastoral by William Carlos Williams.

When I was younger

It was plain to me

I must make something of myself

Older now

I walk back streets

Admiring houses

Of the very poor

Roog out of line with sides

The yard cluttered

With old chicken wire, ashes

Furniture gone wrong

The fences and outhouses

Built of barrel staves

And parts of boxes, all,

If I am fortunate,

Smeared a blush green

That properly weathered

Pleases me best of all colours

No one

Will believe this

Of vast import to the nation.