Nessum Dorma

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, Herr Director announces him with pride:
“From the World of World Cup Football – From the World of Turandot…”
Then Derek’s Swanee whistle blows – Offside!

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, young ladies faint, revive then throw him flowers.
He pauses, pouts and puts them down his trousers – then puckers up and blows for hours and hours.

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, it takes men back in time to Rome.
They recall the tenor trio singing in the Roman baths – Pavarotti and the Spaniard and that other tubby gnome.

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the comet, the clarinets all chew and suck their reeds. Trombonists slide about and the tenor saxes doubt whether anyone has stolen all their leads.

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, the flutes praise God he’s standing out the front They join in the loud applause from Nigel’s Renta-Crowd of course.
When he resumes his seat they merely grunt.

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, the charms of fluting get a mite diluted
Paralysis commences; bar lines blur like broken fences and they tend to play again what they’ve just fluted.

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, flutes all jettison their earplugs with relief
When he’s not behind their ears they’ve no worries, they’ve no fears – but when Nigel’s just behind they come to grief.

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, the Conductor tries to help him all he can.
With his electronic tuner he proves flutes have made a bloomer – so they push and pull – (to where they first began).

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, our ‘Cherubino’ fills Mozart with glee; But ‘Fiddling on the Roof’ often earns us a reproof, as that cornet causes flutes to play off-key.

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, he attacks with ‘Wellingtons’ our tender ears; His notes ‘Bust’ more ‘Dams’ as he marches, bombs and whams: when he plays ‘Red Square’ we just busk ‘Gondoliers’.

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, the woodwind has a chance to concentrate –
On revenge; it has its start in this week’s ‘Exchange & Mart’ – we’re learning bagpipes to retaliate!


Life by Dozens

A dozen years of education; potty training, GSEs
Fleeting friendships; boring lessons; tiny world of Bs and Ds.
Clock-ruled, regular and guided – living like a train or tram –
Advised, directed, punished – fated – concealing what I really am.

A second dozen; freedom; power; jingling pockets; love on wheels.
Choosing, losing; seeing clearer visions of Time that quickly steals
This age of innocence awakening; age of finding where it’s at;
Age of exploration – ferries, planes and planning; finding a flat.

Then the dreaded noughty landmarks – placards haunt each kind roadside –
“Bill is 30″ – “Carol’s Forty!” Un-friends will not let facts hide.
Jobs, careers or simply work; partner problems; children; money
Mortgages and dull insurance… Middle-age is quite unfunny.

Another dozen sees you orphaned – maybe richer, maybe not;
Reaching for your pinnacles or vainly trying to hide your pot!
Jogging, eating less and buying wines to savour and enjoy.
(Gone the lager years and fags). Dreams of when you were a boy…

Saga years of leisured time – library-browsing – flights abroad;
Seeing corners left unseen before St Gabriel sounds your chord.
Concert-going; old friends’ funerals; intimations of life’s end
Fast and ever faster coming; (not my turn yet – fates forfend.)

The Final Dozens interspersed with dozes by the fire
Or forty winks on sofas while trying to hear a choir.
Preoccupied with grandchildren and ailments that keep nagging;
Right-wing views on everything – What, him? The man needs gagging!
I’ll string ’em all up. Send them home. It’s not like that today.
These Euro-Common-computer-bombs! In my time they weren’t Gay!”

Thus Shakespeare’s slippered pantaloon enjoys Life’s final age.
Are we all just mice on a treadmill? Well, who’s got the key to the cage?

Mia’s First Rainbow

Hours are ours to fill as we choose
Or lose.
How long does the sun take to rise
Above the sea – red golfball
On an instant’s tee?
Does a rainbow last an hour?|
Or outlast a shower?
Mia stands transfixed at the open door;
“Pink – yellow – top of sky”.
first small poem from childish eye.
Hours are ours to muse or lose.

Way to Goad

One for you, one for me –
Sam and Mia, four and three
Picking strawberries for tea
But eating them immediately.

Finally the last one showed;
Mia picked it, waved it, crowed
Going, going, going, goed!
Minxes sure know how to goad.


As we sat down to supper,
In our glass-walled room,
She lit a candle
Against October’s gloom.

The tiny flame gave little light
But in each wall of doubled glass
Sprang twin reflections burning bright.

The opened sliding door
Increased the score
To four and more – and more..
Whichever way one gazed
The tiny flicker multiplied,
Just as a single smile
Makes miles of smiles.

People in glass houses
Though forbidden stones,
Should light a candle
– and smile.

October 2001 on National Poetry Day

The Seven Sisters

One March – but nearly – April day,

Under an unseen sun,

The Seven Sisters misty lay

All waiting for some fun.


Young couples amorously strolled

And picnicked on the dizzy heights

All unaware, quite unalarmed,

Enjoying love’s delights.


The Seventh Sister listening lay

Under the yellowing sky

Then suddenly twitched her green-clad limb

In murderous jealousy…

Goodbye to Trains

Soon we will have lost

Our regular sightings

Of trains.


My mother appreciated them

With excited yells of

“A train, a train!”


But we thought

“Yes, yes, a train – so?”

Normal. Mundane.


But each day now

The building site grows;

Blocking, threatening, an actual pain.


Soon we shall no longer

See the 7.39

Flashing along the line,


Its dozen carriages

Making the rising sun

Flicker through the gaps.


I wish I’d been more appreciative

A train

Isn’t mundane

My mum was right

To let it excite her.