pearls before swine on the watercress line

old carriage heritage steam train

hints of brown faded blues

waiting in the railway siding

one hot afternoon

sitting waiting

hearing the hiss of steam

the birds singing outside

thinking of Addlestrop the poem

by Edward Thomas

with The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams

read by Geoffrey Palmer

searched found this on my ‘phone

this poem from 1917 the war years

played it in the silence of the hour

the piece came to an end

they’d never heard it before

had no place inside to hear the beauty

no feeling for its grace

I put my phone away

as the whistle blew

the train departed the station

leaving the moment discarded

as pearls before swine

on the watercress line

a fren’ of a fren’ tole me

the playground never goes away

a fren’ of a fren’ tole me

he does x on the weekends

gets drunk all the time

kicks the cat when he’s down

the neighbour four doors along

heard from her neighbour

she goes out dressed like x

all the time

gets home drunk early hours

falls out the cab with strange men

& her

& him

& on

with the gossip asinine accusations

behind hands closed doors minds

the playground battles go on

fighting for ascendancy

of your own little square patch

of nothing

no evidence no crime

whispers tittle tattle to tell teachers

help you think

you are one better than

mes amis

the walls listened

sucked up my self-pity

lost alone again

more nights of nothing

what to do when you know

of no other way?

as thoughts go round

around again

so I’d sit

hit the typer

try to put down

what I felt I thought

thought I felt

it is the lost kids

get caught over

over again

waifs strays

sucking up beatings

paper thin defences

nerve endings

ah but you know this

eh mes amis?

fast with the lip

poor habits I had for a while

being bad at the fist fighting

but fast with the lip

meant I took a few beatings

sure I’d say to myself

as I stood under a cold shower

hoping to ease the swelling

wash away the blood

he got told

will remember that cutting line

the oaf

shoving my friend’s girl to get to the bar

throwing a punch when I suggested

he get better dance lessons

I grabbed as he hit pulling his shirt clean off

as I flew backwards into the crowd

but I bet it was me the next morning

stiff & bruised who remembered

the important lessons

unfortunately being a slow learner

in breaking bad habits

that learning took some time

ethics n shit

I’m a therapist she tells me

cognitive behavioural therapy

with a misplaced air of defiance

got a certificate framed

hanging there on her wall

& I’m trying to be nice

if confused by the hostility given

asking after her theory of practice

how she works with the people

coming thru’ her doors

which hits her bedrock of no answers

seems to frighten her into silence

creates a sense of being attacked

beyond the reasonable questions asked

to me you seem a controlling person

& she flashes screaming shut it! shut it!

finger pointed in my face

& being a gent of the old school

I fan the flames of archetype

is this your thought process

how you hold others

help them find their way in the world?

but already I’m leaving

there will be no way forward

or answers here

a banal plastic grocery bag

he ended

took it both hands

& a banal plastic grocery bag

now we weep at the waste

nobody had told him

life is war

war all the time

the battle to be born

as a boy more susceptible to diseases

cot death accidents violence

but he made it through

until his losses mounted

skirmishes he got defeated in

the women the paid work things

the playground of the streets

thrusting faces in the crowd

who tf are you? who are ya?

struggle to gain an education

fighting the foe for top prizes

not understanding these wars

never end


you use your own hands

& a banal plastic grocery bag


I was a disappointment

that much was made plain

by silence inaction cold shoulders

throughout my long exile

they never wrote to me

unless I wrote first

& then the tone was of


I had not turned out how they wanted

though I could point out

first you find the right environment good soil

feed water tend for the plant you create

rather than toss the seed away

let it fend for itself

try to take credit when it grows thrives

piss on it

if it takes time to come to its own

which to be fair I did

but by then

I’d taken any credit away

from these disparate parents

each with their own failings

at plantsmanship

lack of green fingered care

but ignorance in spades

not that close

tho’ we’d known each other a long time

even if we were not that close

in distance ages friendships

we had just been involved in the same scrapes

had recognised a kindred soul back a while

continued in late night phone calls we did now & then

him talking of the black dog hounding his heels

his new love starting to fold

& I played him some gil scott heron

there in the background to remind him

we are all new here

he could always turn around

sure there’d be pain in the doing of that

but we knew hell is hot & messy

we’d already lived through all of that


it is possible to do that

if you’re not that close up

to a friends situation

watching the wind create waves

a rule we had

time to talk

so we walked up & over a high long hill

trudging over well trodden steps

watching the wind create waves

there in the tall grass

the rule we had

to not talk through our shit feelings

in the shit space we’d made them in

so here we were

climbing a long high hill

panting between breaths

the furiousness of feelings

I feel XX

when you do XX

when you say XX

your actions mean this to me

I feel

& holding on to the second rule

only listening to the words being said

not responding except to acknowledge

not in a passive way

how could that ever be

when climbing a high long hill?

Industrial Shaman 8

it wasn’t the occasional

waft of sage

drifting out of the windows doors

or the stranger noises

occurring within

but that sometimes my clients

my employers employees

would leave the job

he would weigh heavy

I pay you to get ‘em

back to work

increase productivity

help them to fit into teams

not to get ‘em fit to go

where I thought it prudent

to not state the obvious

my role was to help them

get their heads straight

find some peace in the world

& if that meant leaving

the daily grind in this place

that was a good result

I tried sorting his reasoning

well y’know if they decide to go

that’s one employee less

you need worry about

because more than likely

they were going to leave anyway

he needed sage I felt