Parliaments of the Absurd

Disappointment? Disbelief?
Dismay? Disgust? Is there a word
Like Weltzschmerz to describe the grief
The disappointment, disbelief –
As if a word would give relief
A’s for Arseholes and Absurd
Disappointment, disbelief
Dismay, disgust – is there a word?

The Emperor! How bright his crown
Is shining in the blinding light!
There’s unicorns upon his gown!
The Emperor! How bright his crown!
All hail! We follow him to town
(‘Dear God, he’s got his cock out!’ ‘Quite’)
The Emperor! How bright his crown
Is shining in the blinding light!

There are no words, it seems to me
Analogy will have to do –
A piss up in a brewery
An Emperor, who seems to me
To have his cock out – do you see
The tumbleweed and smell the poo?
There are no words, it seems to me
Analogy will have to do

Disappointment? Disbelief?
Dismay? Disgust? There is no word
Like Weltzschmerz to describe the grief
Distrust, disgust, and disbelief –
There are no words to give relief
In Parliaments of the Absurd
Disappointment, disbelief
Dismay, disgust – there is no word

© Gail Foster 30th January 2019

Here Speaks The Magic Work Of Raymond John

Inspired by the writings of Raymond John Burt…


Here speaks the magic work of Raymond John

Intrigue in reference, delight in phrase

I’m curious as to what, my friend, you’re on

That powers your pen to so the mind amaze

Let he that has an ear be still and hear

Let she who has an eye seek out the light

For here some crazy wisdom doth appear

On wild wings of angels in the night

For Love and God and Death and Grace and Hell

Within your words take buttered toast and tea

More syllabub, Beelzebub?  Pray tell

What syllables might set the Sibyls free

Get thee behind me, ghosts, take flight, be gone!

Here speaks the magic work of Raymond John


© Gail from Devizes 2016














Strange Poets

light on metal


strange poets never cease but to amaze

with words describing things we had forgot

or never knew to start with; who knows what

may move another poet’s muse to phrase

the simply indescribable in rhyme

within a string of sentences enshrine

the essence of complexity sublime

with every word a jewel within a line

strange poets see things hidden in the light

and force the formless mist within to matter

express the indefinable and flatter

dead love to life and nothingness to sight;

by use of sense and symbol and the will

they stir to movement that which once was still


by Gail



Devizes Carnival tonight! Watch out for Roger…!

Roger’s libido had increased significantly in his eighties, in inverse proportion to the decrease in his hearing and cognitive ability. The long suffering Betty had tried, despite her arthritis and utter disinterest in such matters, to accommodate his needs; there had been cringeworthy forays in to swinging, unusual items appearing in the shed and furtive gropings on the bus to Swindon.

“Carnival tonight” said Betty, one September in the late afternoon. She was baking buns for church on Sunday, and a warm waft drifted through the house and in to the garden and the Devizes air.

“Carnalville?” said Roger “What goes on there?”

“Oh you know. Dancing girls. Men in dresses. People standing on street corners. Sounds of pumping and banging. Drinking. Over excitement. Unwanted pregnancies. Rubbing up against strangers. The usual.”

Roger liked the sound of Carnalville very much indeed. An appropriate occasion for the Calvin Kleins perhaps. And an extra Viagra.

It was going to be a very interesting night.

by Gail

Secrets from the Museum

The Duke's Vaunt

Boat Race Day

 The Sign-post

Review published on the Marlborough Open Studios website

Secrets from the Museum

Inspired by a John Piper lithograph of Long Street in Devizes found online, Kate Freeman joined forces with Marlborough Open Studios and Wiltshire Museum to collate this very special little exhibition of hitherto unseen pieces from Wiltshire artists of the past and present. Those of us moved to seek out these delights were able to view the work of Ravilious, Tanner, Piper, Moore, Arnold, Inshaw and others as well as the paintings and etchings of the less well known.


Some pieces, such as the drawing of Wolf Hall, made no pretence at great art but intrigued as glimpses in to our rural past. A portrait by Thomas Lawrence left no significant impression but information that it had been painted at age 15 shed light on the start of the artist’s journey, and the dark painting of the execution of Rebecca Smith was brought to life with the knowledge that ghouls from miles around flocked to feed on her pain. There were variations on theme of Avebury stones and wind blown barrows, and opportunities to identify lost locations.


The works were gleaned from the BBC website, an illustrated catalogue and the museum’s archives. David Inshaw had loaned several of his works including the recent ‘Cerne Abbas Giant lll’, a different view of a classic image, haunted by ravens, and Couple Dancing, a moment of spontaneous affection observed by seagulls; light streamed through John Piper’s stained glass window and quirk peeked from his lithographs; there was the Ravilious ‘Boat Race Day’ bowl, from a private collection, which shone with a glint of Grayson Perry; Henry Grant captured a ‘Bustard’, Henry Moore took us ‘Inside the Circle’ and Robin Tanner over ‘The Meadow Stile’.


For those of us who respond to art instinctively and emotionally rather than with an academic eye it is our immediate response to a work that matters. The curator and I both particularly enjoyed ‘The Duke’s Vaunt’, a pen and watercolour view by John Stone, a little known artist, of an ancient tree in Savernake Forest that at one point could embrace within its trunk twenty school boys and a small musical band; and ‘The Sign-post’, an 1930 etching by a former Art Master at Marlborough College that delicately depicts a lonely crossroads somewhere on the Plain.


Works from the cabinets will be returned to the archives this week but work on the walls will remain a while. If you blinked you may have missed this, so keep your eyes open for Art, in Wiltshire and beyond, and enjoy the knowledge, inspiration and sheer delight it brings.


Marlborough Open Studios continues through July.


by Gail