Ode to Siskin (our cat)



Sister and kin
Siskin, Whiskin, Siskie, Whiskie, Pusskin, Whooshkin,
Our names tumbling, adoring,
Affectionate, light-filled as your fur.

Your fur:
White, personal-warm, soft, gleaming
Bright as sunlit snow,
Fragrant as woods,
Thick for losing stroking fingers.

We met across the species divide
And found you wanting nothing
But a simple ride:
Food, warmth, affection,
A sill to look at the moon,
Your rent
a display of content
and for a stroke or a comb
a purr of entitlement.
Purrkin, Softkin, Sleepkin
Where are you now?

Siskin of the large vocabulary
Meaow became hellos through the night:
Hallooow Ha-a-lloo-aw,
“Siskin: Shushkin.”
Then through the day
finding a lapkin
yes, there, purrfect
Yes, risk a hand below
Siskin loving thiskin
then whizkin, time to go.
And feed me now, Naow,
Siskies biscies
I mean it, Na-OW
Not long a hungrykin,
Oh tubkin, pudkin
Where are you now?

Siskin friskin in the sunkin,
Exposing your tumkin.
Siskin risking shitting in the seed bed,
“Siskin Stansfeld: No-oh, ahoy, no-oh.”
Increasingly deafkin
Coming in grubkin and rubkin,
But always lubkin.
Siskin, dear siskin
Where are you now?

We buried you among oak roots
In a picnic basket
With your wind-up mouse
For the kitten in,
And a sprig of lavender,
Blood weeping from your nose
But your fur still warm,
Shining on, glosskin
Oh siskin, misskin, final kisskin,
Where are you now?

Siskin of the no worries kin
No future
or pastkin
in each moment you were in
Siskin, blisskin
You live on
in your teaching.


Charge of the brexit brigade.

With acknowledgements to Alfred, Lord Tennyson (who wrote the initial poem about the disastrous charge of the light brigade in the battle of Balaclava) and Julian Armistead (who came up with this analogy).

Charge of the brexit brigade.

1854 and someone has blundered,
as is now evident
from the latest intelligence:
‘They have guns to our sabres’,

But orders are in place now
and orders are orders:
charge means charge,
and you do not review orders,
– only execute them –
(too late for intelligence).
So: ‘charge for the guns’
and ‘there’ll be no ‘U’ turns’

Ours not to make a reply
but to carry our flag
with brave and glorious acquiescence
and charge on into the valley of death.
Ours not to reason why
for ‘charge means charge’,
and charge we must:
‘charge for the guns’,
with sabres held high,
Ours but to do and die.