Category Archives: Outer Stumblings

For Those in Peril


‘For those in peril out at sea’ – the hymn of choice for we who know
How cruel the pounding waves can be along this callous, battered coast.
And, yet for all of that, I saw four fishermen at Anchorsholme
In combat with the thunderous storm, in oilskins, drenched to the bone
By deafening waves, still wheeling out their eight-foot wooden fishing smack
The wall of foaming, angry surf inhaling shingle, fighting back.
Then came the wave, at thirty foot in height it grabbed the flimsy prow
And hurled the vessel with such hate it landed, broken, upside down,
With all its would-be crew beneath; provisions for the voyage ahead
Now tossed and scattered on the plaster mountains of the storm instead.
And one by one, like drowning rats emerging breathless from the swell,
The fishermen, in rictus grins, fell scrambling amongst the shells.
And as the tide let out another roar and threw the wreck aloft,
The skipper, terrified, called out: “Per’aps wi’d better call it off.”


On the Knott


And in some corrugated field, a tower pointed at the clouds.
It dated from a bygone age, the soil around its base now ploughed
And fat with oats. In rough hewn blocks, precariously balanced stairs
Coiled upwards in a tightened spiral, hanging in the empty air,
Whilst arches held the walls above the swaying ocean of the crops,
And in the darkness just beyond came snorting sounds. We bravely stopped,
Convinced that we had seen six eyeballs blinking in the murky dark,
And egging one another on, we peered into the dungeon’s heart,
Where evil moaned in ghostly tones and demons shuffled in the deep,
Then screaming ran, as three brown cows emerged from where they’d been asleep.

At St Abb’s Head


We watched the angry, grabbing waves,
White claws in grey-green gloves that tore
The stacks of rock along the cliff
Then fell back with a furious roar
Frustrated that they couldn’t drag
The landscape into boiling seas,
And so instead sucked in their breaths
And smashed the shoreline. By degrees
The incensed panting drew us closer
To the edge, and holding tight,
We saw the ocean froth with hate
And spit its venom at the night.

Observations in the Public Gallery at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court


And in the slumbering afternoon the courtroom droned as magistrates
Went through formalities in tones designed to bore and obfuscate.
Breece Cameron Smiley, there’s a name that stuck forever in my head.
‘Grand Buggery’ his charge. I never found out what it meant, instead,
Some loud-mouthed skanks were drinking beer behind me, swapping lurid thoughts,
When suddenly a voice rang out: “Er…are you drinking in this court?”
“So? W’at y’ gonna do about it?” one girl asked with Grange Park wit.
Two doors flew open in the floor. Emerging swiftly from some pit
Policemen came with ashen faces, brandishing their gleaming cuffs,
And dragged the screaming feral girls out of the doors, then rather roughly
Barrelled them to cells unseen, with shrieks of “Oy, geddoff me, man!”
“That’s what,” the magistrate replied, returning to the case at hand.

At Chester


And in the middle of it all,
Beneath those mediaeval walls,
Beyond the round perimeter
Than spanned the amphitheatre
Built by the Romans, in the shade
Cast by the ancient palisade
That fringed the Norman cathedral,
In history piled up pell-mell,
There stood a Disney Shop!
That brought me to a sudden stop.
And as the long queues clearly showed
The tourists had gone there in droves,
And bollocks to our sacred past.
They wanted Donald Duck en masse.

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