Twitter-compatible love poems for the RSC

The RSC is running a love poem competition to help decorate the set of their upcoming production of ‘As You Like It’. There’s a twitter category with a maximum length of 135 characters. I entered a few:

The humming when you’re thinking,
how I always feel so small,
the mess, that laugh, the endless fuss:
you’re such a pain. Please call.

It’s not the kisses I remember,
or that final whispered call.
Just your hand upon my shoulder:
that’s it, that’s all; that’s all.

I’ve stood upon the runways,
faced down their toys of war,
but it seems, alas, I’d let them fly
to hold your hand once more.

Take it from me:
this idea of love,
this empty, deadly, space.
Take it from me.

I could try and try and then one day
remember and not feel.
But it seems to me, if that’s the price,
I don’t much want to heal.

And a couple that didn’t make the cut:

I fell for you that wicked night,
I sang it to you then.
But no such luck, so from this spot,
I fall for you again.

Drag me through the gates of hell, my love
and lash me to the rocks.
Let loose the fiendish hordes, my dear,
I’ll wait.

Nothing special, but I like writing poems – it’s way too long since I’ve tried.

Storm: nine-minute beat poem from Tim Minchin

I thought the highlight of last year’s Godless concert was Tim Minchin‘s nine minute beat poem ‘Storm’. I looked it up afterwards and found a recording on YouTube, but it was frustratingly low-quality. Happily there’s now an official version from Tim Minchin himself. I love it:

Not safe for work or spiritual types.

WTF Sestina

A sestina is a 39-line poem, split into 6 six-line verses and a three-line finale. Each line must end with one of six specific words, and each verse must place them in a different order.

I’ve tried and failed to write sesintas. They’re bloody hard. But the WTF Sestina has a neat trick:

2punk4punk: do you like nirvana, omg
grndflr76: yeah, but they ripped off the pixies, lol
2punk4punk: i know, wtf
grndflr76: i have the subpop 7″ of ‘love buzz’, hahaha
2punk4punk: me too, stfu
grndflr76: yeah, from ebay, rofl


It doesn’t quite tell a story, sadly, but that’s pretty clever. Wish I’d thought of it.

National Poetry Day

A favourite of mine from Neil Gaiman. I’m not sure about putting it all here, so I’ll link to the full thing:

That day, the saucers landed. Hundreds of them, golden,

Silent, coming down from the sky like great snowflakes,

And the people of Earth stood and stared as they descended,

Waiting, dry-mouthed to find what waited inside for us

And none of us knowing if we would be here tomorrow

But you didn’t notice it because

That day, the day the saucers came, by some coincidence,

Was the day that the graves gave up their dead

And the zombies pushed up through soft earth

or erupted, shambling and dull-eyed, unstoppable,

Came towards us, the living, and we screamed and ran,

But you did not notice this because

On the saucer day, which was the zombie day, it was

Ragnarok also, and the television screens showed us

A ship built of dead-man’s nails, a serpent, a wolf,

All bigger than the mind could hold, and the cameraman could

Not get far enough away, and then the Gods came out

But you did not see them coming because

the rest.

Birthday Macaques

Thanks you to all the people who’ve left encouraging comments about my receiving an offer for the photography course. I’m still trying to decide what to do, but the support and advice is very much appreciated 🙂

I had a great birthday weekend. I’m currently listening to one of my presents: Jarvis. I’ve always admired his voice and songwriting style, although I only have the one Pulp album. I haven’t had a proper chance to get into this, his first solo project, yet, but I’m already in love with “I will kill again”. I also received Rodrigo y Gabriela, which I listened to while driving on Saturday and enjoyed, then played on my proper speakers this morning and was blown away. I can only imagine their guitars were designed for playing doorbell chimes at the gates of heaven. Wonderful stuff – many thanks to Skuds for plugging them on his blog!

Late last week I invited various friends to a party using the following ditty:

The 19th sun of the fifth month – it’s May!
bounds into the sky, screams ‘dude, I’m all yay!’
as at the hour of ten, in Dorridge-based houses
a group they do gather in glorious trousers.

They flee in their whizzers, across the country,
an hour they drive, and celibacy
isn’t a virtue nor even a crime –
forgive me my father I needed the rhyme –

and their journey resembles the Faraway Tree,
but less of dear Moon-Face and more of Monkey
Forest that they find with the use of their (wo)menthumbs
is swirling and gorgeous and not far from Trentham.

And evening: once the moon’s a mere whisper,
we’ll eat, therefore laugh (I am no sophister)
we’ll pierce the future with games (or a Ball),
so come one and all to the end of this
poem, with a cute little stanza that employs mis-
direction and know well if you can
come along, this lark it will rock: be better than

Slippy Sarah’s golden gherkin,
a menstrual minstrel’s mouldy merkin,
Roland Rivron’s lucky garter,
all nothing next to Andrew’s parter-y!

Which had the desired effect of appalling people sufficiently that they quickly replied with various levels of abuse, and on Saturday we headed out in an M6 convoy.

Monkey Forest, at Trentham Gardens near Stoke, is a free-range reserve containing 140 Barbary Macaques, of which only 10,000 exist in the wild. There are no barriers – the macaques regularly cross your path as you stroll around the grounds – and it’s surprisingly cheap: £5.50 per person is pretty good when you consider Warwick Castle is £13. I really enjoyed it. As well as the obvious attraction of (not actually) monkeys, the guides were knowledgeable and friendly, and with it being cup final day there were very few people around 🙂 I took over 150 photos with my cheapo 300mm1 lens and was happy with some of the results:

Just like us

The masseuse hits the spot

Macaque Yoga

This seemed bigger before. I don't know what happened.

I is Tarzan

One particular macaque took great exception to being photographed. I guess to him I’m the paparazzi. My favourites are, inevitably, the babies:

What is? Is for me?

Dual huntings

Oh dear

Macaque biologist

I wanted to go on the nearby Aerial Extreme rope course, but it turned out to take 90 – 150mins to complete, so I decided against it. I’ll just have to go back! After this it was back to a friend’s house to do very silly things with another of my presents: a remote-control Dalek:

Uninvited Guest


It has a button specifically for ‘EXTERMINATE’. It is fun times.

I had an excellent day, with wonderful company, great cookies and some very exciting presents. I must say a big thank you to the extremely kind online chum who bought me the surreal DVD – I’m very much looking forward to watching it! I am a very lucky person all round.

  1. 480mm with my 300D’s cropping factor []

Ah, Florence

If a hat is put onto Samuel,
he’ll scream and dance with delight;
But give the same hat to Florence
and she’ll kneecap you with a brick.

I don’t know. I’ve been giggling over this rather horrific yet strangely endearing little book. The spelling, grammar and poetry are all awful. Yet it works.

I’m once again off to London for the weekend. Have a fun time while I’m away, and don’t set fire to anything.

I’d Need a Lodge, After All

I think I’m not a monkey
‘cos monkeys live in trees.
I’m glad I’m not a monkey
as monkeys never sneeze.
The money’s not in trees these days,
the prices are too steep
I think, all things considered,
I’d rather be a sheep.

A sheep. A sheep. A wooderwongacowabunga sheep.

If I owned a baby sheep
I think I’d called him Fred.
He’d summer in the dishwasher
and winter in the shed.
He’d be a great companion
on long hot boring evenings.
And when the winter comes around
truly excellent for eatings.

A sheep. A sheep. A chewylugiebarbanooga sheep.

But if I lived in Switzerland
With a gay butler named Diarmuid.
Fred might get way too jealous, so
I’d swap him for a marmot.
For they’re extremely fluffy,
but I hear they’re sometimes divas.
and sadly they can’t cha-cha-cha,
perhaps I’ll get a beaver.

Friday Afternoon Poem

I don’t like to be immodest, but I’m so very good at thinking up ways of not revising. I really am. Hence the following, dodgy syllable counts and all…


I’m purple and folded and pretty,
and wait inside my cardboard baguette.
If only someone could get to me,
We’d have a time they’d never forget

But I’m made from recycled paper.
Last time round was not all that great.
Do I want to explode out of here again?
I think it could be too late.

I’m purple and folded and pretty,
But what if I’m rotting away?
Can I stretch and fit in like I should do?
Will they laugh and go elsewhere to play?

I don’t want to be soporific,
but I might well be damaged inside.
What if I collapse on unfolding?
What if they discover I died?

I will stay cocooned in my tube, I think.
I have only the one song to sing.
Who wants a crown made of paper?
I’m just an old-fashioned type thing.

I don’t need to be more than I am,
I can just. Stop. The world seems to reel…
Someone wants me, they’re trying to get me!
Good god, is this how it feels?

I’m dizzy but start to remember;
I’m still scared that I’ll fall into bits.
But it’s worth the risk and the terror,
If you find one who perfectly fits.