Trick or Treat?

It’s a funny old world, isn’t it? My wife pointed out this house near to us a few days ago when she was walking the dogs so I decided to bring my camera when it was my turn for the canine exercise this afternoon. I don’t know whether this householder is being ironic with the careful placement of the Trump yard sign in among the tombstones, but that’s how I view it.

I think the window and door decals with the spooky eyes looking through the blinds speaks volumes too.

Good Luck America!



I am Iron Man

~ I am Iron Man ~


On the Seventh Day

I descend to my subterranean sanctuary

And, encircled by mysterious machinery

In my windowless room

I become Iron Man

Starting with the yoke

I smooth out the material.

I check the front and back for marks

And move onto the arms

That will encase my torso.

As I press ahead

Ensuring my garb is in top condition

I try not to think of the week ahead

Finally, my  task is over

And I place the five shirts onto hangers for my closet


Thelonious Monkey, felonious monkey

Several years ago I wrote a a few poems on a fun theme for no other reason than I liked the sounds of the words. They were inspired by: Robbie Williams’ “Me and my Monkey”,  the children’s book Slinky Malinky, by Lynley Dodd, and the the wonderful sounding name of the phenomenal jazz pianist Thelonious Monk (obviously).

Here is one of them:

Thelonious Monkey, felonious monkey

Thelonious Monkey is marked as a felon

For down in the market

He pilfered a melon

He hasn’t been caught yet

But oh, he was seen

Rolling his booty

Down to the green

The policemen were called out

To put into detention

This fruit­-stealing anthropoid

Who’s just seeking attention.

Adapted from “Mr.Crowley amuses himself with sawdust” ca. 1888 (I added the melon!)


ABACAB, the genesis of a verse



Rhymes are often hard to see,

and may even cause self doubt.

They’re sometimes in couplets of three,

but it’s not always an obvious pattern.

And sometimes (not here) there’s no key

so the reader has to figure it out.



Will we all wake up as “April Fish?”

Today is the first of April, traditionally a time when we are allowed to play jokes on people and generally test their gullibility.  When I was child we used to think this was great fun and even used to buy tricks from the joke store sometimes to use. It wasn’t always a great success for the prankster though and I do recall overstepping the mark by embedding some sort of tiny combustible device in one of my father’s cigarettes designed to make it sputter, and him not being best pleased with the outcome.

April Fools’ Day (or All Fools’ Day) has a mysterious origin, although it has been celebrated for centuries as some form of collective “release” as Spring opens up.

One line of speculation is that this tradition of fooling one’s friends seems to originate in 1582 when Catholic France switched from the old Julian calendar to the modern (and more accurate) Gregorian calendar, in accordance with the papal bull Inter gravissimas. This involved a reset of the days to catch up but also changed the way that the new year was celebrated, being moved to January 1st from the older “start of Spring” on April 1st. Back in those pre-internet (or electricity, or any other form of rapid non-word of mouth communication) there were delays in this message being spread across the nation and so, the story goes, some people maintained “the old ways” and were subsequently rewarded by their more enlightened friends by having fun poked at them, having paper fish attached to their backs and being called April fish (“poisson d’Avril”).

Others speculate that April Fool’s activities are tied to the Roman Spring festival of Hilaria (from the same root as the term hilarious), which legitimized a sort of “anything goes” celebration for a day, including dressing up in masks, playing tricks and, by the sound of it, having a right raucous time with little to no consequences to one’s actions!

Now, all this being said, I cannot but think with recent events playing out in the US media over the last few months, that we must be coming to a head with one of the most prolonged running jokes of all time: the Donald as a serious contender to be president for the United States of America.

Surely today will be the day when he opens a press conference by shouting “April Fools!” in his inimitable manner?


Restored and modified illustration from Puck magazine, 1912

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