Sonnets

A classic poetic form, consisting of fourteen lines of iambic pentameter. The two most usual rhyme schemes are ababcdcd-efefgg (English/Shakespearean) and abbaabba-cdecde or abbaabba-cdcdcd (Italian/Petrarchan). The move from the first eight lines (the octave) to the remaining six lines (the sestet) often sees a turn in the theme or the 'argument' of the poem. Dialectical, innit?

Gallipoli

Written on the centenary of the start of the appalling slaughter that was the Gallipoli campaign in World War One:

Rank corpses carpeted Gallipoli
At Russell's Top, Lone Pine and Suvla Bay 
By bullet, bayonet or dysentery
Eight months of folly fighting lives away
Young Albert Booth got out of there alive
From hell to hell, from Dardanelles to trench
No others from his landing craft survived
But joined the dead, the ANZACs, Turks and French 
One hundred thousand gone from those sad nations
And all for what? A great futility
Did lives not figure in the calculations 
Of Britain's First Lord of the Admiralty?
- Excuse me if I don't take out a sub
- To Winston Churchill's great admirers' club

N38 To The World

A Petrarchan sonnet (yesreallyon getting a night bus to catch an international train ...

I used to but I haven't missed this bus
At 5a.m., a half-full cart to take
The staff who clean and guard before you wake
Who start the engines 'fore the rest of us
From brief repose unwilling exodus
Hold open half-mast eyes on work-worn faces
Resignedly wishing they weren't going places
No chat, no caucus, nothing to discuss
But then I disembark and change my routes
And switch dimensions through a boarding gate
Some two hours later morning, bright debate
White, coffee-charged commuters sporting suits
While most of those on night bus 38
Were black and wearing hi-vis, smocks and boots

Death Row Diner

Get this! Hopelessly unthinking about the barbarity and injustice of state executions, we have a "pop-up restaurant" themed as "death row dinners". Pass the sick bag.

Sugar-Coated Sonnet

A sonnet written on the occasion of Lord Alan Sugar's resignation form the Labour Party:

So who invited that spiv to the party?
No, we don't want his cut-throat sort round here
His anti-social manners are so nasty
He's nicking all the food and selling beer
He's telling all my mates that they are fired
And acting like he bloody owns the place
His snotty, bossy, snobbery is tired
I'm losing friends who hate this public face
He came in with another party crasher
And now he's gone but not cleared up his rubble
He's got a better offer - somewhere flasher?
And now we're spared the need to take the trouble
- To turf Lord Cuckoo out of Labour's nest
- Which leaves the task of turfing out the rest

We, The Undersigned

I'm going to add my name to two petitions
My sense of right and justice is inflamed
I usually have no time for politicians
But those who keep their silence should be shamed
There comes a time to stand up and be counted
To put one's name to causes good and strong
Sometimes the moral high ground must be mounted
And bold lines clearly drawn twixt right and wrong

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