Blossom Rising

On the deaths of Major John Cairns Bartholomew, of Wadworthshire,

and a much loved Devizes tree…




Beneath a grey and monumental sky

In wild confetti clouds that dance in air

The blossom falls, all trees and men will die

However good, or beautiful, or rare

For years beneath the branches of that tree

Have lovers kissed and lonely mourners waited

All men and trees shall die, he, thee, and me

By that same force destroyed and yet created

The clattering of horses’ hooves, the sound

Of yeoman passing, ghosts that haunt the ears

All trees and men be gone into the ground

Till from the light new word of life appears

In red Victorian brick and petal glow

Are strength and beauty blended for our eyes

Good men and trees in season come and go

Such knowledge is the glory of the wise

Drink with your eyes each bright delight you see

And savour every moment of creation

For man will pass, and wind will fell the tree

And wine will fall on coffins in libation

If blood still flows like sap, then drain your glass

Enjoy the fleeting sunbeam in your ale

All trees and men will die, for all things pass

All moonlight fade, and colours turn to pale

Let hops be gathered, make of sunshine, hay

Add rosebuds, and ferment a heady brew

For trees and men shall certain pass away

As dark of midnight shadows summer’s blue

And soon enough, last orders will be rung

Sad flags will flutter half way up the mast

And dark laments for men and trees be sung

And rest be found for dear old souls at last

Learn wisdom, child, from ale and wood and bone

Brew love in barrels down in cellars deep

And find it there when you return, alone

To watch the man in blossom rise from sleep


by Gail

The Mourning After The Night Before

The Morning After - Copy



“Knock, knock” “Who’s there?”  I haven’t a clue

What day is it? Who’s at my door?

“Here is some breakfast I made just for you”

Says some stranger who slept on my floor

The sight of the eggs and the bacon and tea

Turns my stomach inside upside down

Migraine’s the price that I’ve paid for the glee

Of a banging night out on the town

“‘Ere, it’s New Year, do you fancy a beer?”

“No thanks, mate, I’m feeling quite rough”

I may have blacked out after midnight I fear

But now I’m…remembering…Stuff

Slowly but surely it’s coming to mind

As glimpses emerge from the fog

Of a twist and a twerk and a bump and a grind

And my new Christmas phone down the bog

I thought I was hot but in retrospect not

In the morning light nowt could be plainer

And that I remember I like not a jot

My naked and drunk Macarena

Oh me and my mates, we do get in a state

And last year we gave it some welly

But if anyone had not enough on their plate

We’d do onesies and pizza and telly

My mates are my life, we’re a pretty tight bunch

They’re alright, mate, they’re really all right

But last night I must have been well out to lunch

For I reckon I started a fight…

It was something to do with a girl I once knew

And a joke that she did stuff for money

And a fine upper cut in the queue for the loo

Well, I thought the punch line was funny

Oh, what’s in my pockets, this isn’t my coat

As I’m clearly not Super or Dry

And what are the words that are writ on this note

‘Bell me, baby, you’re totally fly’

And I’m going commando; hilarious bants

Will be had in regards to my loss

Much mirth to be had from the sight of my pants

On the top of the Market Cross

It’s not looking good, and tucked in to my hood

Are two gherkins all wrapped in a bra

Half a kebab and a squashed Christmas pud

And a wing mirror nicked from a car

I think I’m experiencing chemical guilt

And at some point I’ll have to atone

But right now I’m going to hide under my quilt

Crying blubbery tears for my phone


by Gail

Bar Humbug

In which there is much bad language in The Vaults (the best little micro pub in town), and Mortimer Cheese makes an unfounded allegation about Santa…


Not Bitter - Copy


 Mortimer Cheese wasn’t easily pleased

And he didn’t like Christmas at all

At the pub where he went for his grub and a vent

He would sometimes just rant at the wall

Particularly riled by people who smiled

He would give them a piece of his mind

He just didn’t get to where he was today

By being in any way kind

“Happy Christmas” they said, to the back of his head

“I think not” he would say as he turned

“Are you taking the piss?” he would splutter and hiss

Spraying mist from the beer he had earned

“Don’t give me that, about Christmas, you twat

All that tinsel and plastic and light

Santa” he said, “is a paedo in red

And I’m wishing for cloud on the night

As for the star and the kings from afar

I’m for Dawkins and none of that tosh

Jesus!” he said, “You are well off your head

Bring on the shagging and nosh!”

Seven pints supped, he was just warming up

He had a few choice things to say

Some thought he joked with the words that he spoke

But most folk just melted away

One girl held a candle, despite all his scandal

They had once had a ‘thing’ in his car

In a zebra striped dress which she wore to impress

She watched him with lust from the bar

“Leave me off your list” he said, getting more pissed

“Not you love, I’ll come in your stocking

A quick in and out, that’s what Santa’s about”

And other things frankly more shocking

His blood pressure rose as the atmosphere froze

And his words chilled the air of The Vaults

It seemed a good crack to stay on the attack

So he started on everyone’s faults

The sad and the chubby, the hapless, the grubby

All punters were grist to his mill

“What’s wrong with you folk, can you not take a joke

You’re all bloody ugly or ill”

By quarter to nine he had well crossed a line

Malc the landlord said “Cheese Boy, you’re barred”

“More feckin’ drink” said the drunk man, “I think

That I’m better than you and well hard”

“No, you’ve had enough” said the landlord, “so tough

It’s time you went home to your bed

You’ve been nasty and loud, you’ve done Britain First proud

And you’ve told us we’re better off dead”

Mortimer grumbled, and stood up and stumbled

And pointed himself at the door

Knocking the bar so the big humbug jar

Fell off and smashed on the floor

“Humbugs for me” he said, grinning with glee

As he picked out a few from the glass

“I’m already sweet but these humbugs are neat”

So he necked three, and fell on his arse

“He looks a bit red” one kind punter said

“Take no notice” said someone, “he’s joking”

“Stop larking about and get the fuck out!

Oh bollocks, he’s actually choking”

“Call for the Doc!”  “But he called me a cock”

“Well call for the nurse then!”  “She’s pissed”

There was nobody there who had much of a care

There were only the folk he had dissed

A bloke at the bar, who’d been quiet so far

Who had hoped to escape any drama

Had listened to Cheese, with his bile and sleaze

And had pondered the workings of karma

Understated but cool, the bloke jumped off his stool

Someone whispered “A nice little mover”

He grabbed hold of Cheese and with confident ease

Did a swift nifty Heimlich’s Manoeuvre

A grunt and a shout and the humbug shot out

Made a ring like a bell on the bar

“I’m guessing that’s time then” our Mortimer said

“I’d best get me coat then, ta-ra”

As he swayed up the street he heard following feet

And a voice that was eager to please

The girl from the pub, who was stripey and sweet

“Bar Humbug” sneered Mortimer Cheese


by Gail

Two small rhymes for Halloween


Ghost Cat

If the tales of the white cat are true

He had feathers; a ghost cat who flew

Through the shimmering streams

Of the moon’s silver beams

Leaving slain doves in the dew


Wobbly Halloween

Don’t come trick or treating down here

We spent all our money on beer

Don’t knock at our door

‘Cos we’re scary and poor

Lend us a tenner for gear


by Gail


Sip the Flip

Sip the Flip


I drink because I am depressed

Mate, pour yourself this thought to think

And sip on it throughout the day

Did daylight always turn to grey

Is joy within an ice cube chink

Since when was love so far away

So near the edge of some dark brink

Your tears wet your quivered lip

It’s your life, who am I to say

That grief is in that glass you sip

So wet with tears you’ve lost your grip

Stop weeping for the missing link

And look at it a different way

I’ll pour you this thought, if I may

Could it be, Mate, do you think

That you’re depressed

Because you drink?


by Gail

Apple Barrels

Apple Barrels


Some apples make cider

And some apples not

Some ferment as expected

Some do not

There may be statistics

I suspect not a lot

That predict the existence

Of possible rot

Schrodinger’s cat

Is wise to the plot

A cat in a box

Or a wolf in a cot

In the barn there are barrels

To keep cold or hot

The cider is coming

Ready or not


by Gail