Poem: Song of the Skogsra


Note: The poem was inspired by an entry in George M. Eberhart’s two-volume encyclopaedia of Mysterious Creatures. In a section relating to Feral People, he refers to a case that took place in 17th Century Sweden, where a young man was sentenced to death for having a love affair with a ‘Skogsra’ – ‘A Wild Woman of The Wood.’ There seem to be three angles for consideration: that the being was a wise woman/shamaness with whom he was undergoing an initiation – hence why the act would have met with so much disapprobation from the Christian Authorities; that the Skogsra is a yeti/big foot-type creature (that have also been known to interbreed with humans); or that the Skogsra is a faery/feminine nature spirit. In the poem, the Skogsra is very much described as being a conflation of those first two suppositions. I hope you enjoy it.

Another day lost in this cruel world,
Another day at the gallows,
But what crime hath he commit,
This young man, so sweet and sallow?

Tender, pale, handsome was he,
But a drunken fervour crazed his eye,
He saith: “Why only in the name of love
Must the innocent be seen to die?

“I die not for love of human flesh,
No woman hath shared my pillow;
The one that I love hides in the hills,
And dances between the willows,

“Yes, the Skogsra is my lover!
The Skogsra is my lover!
Unless I can hath my wild woman free,
I will not live for another!

“No clothes defile my true love’s skin,
No home, nor house, has she,
Her body is covered with moss-soft hairs,
That kindle a flame in me


“She belongeth to a strange, secret race,
That live in the old, sacred woods,
The church says they are demon-folk,
But to me, her kisses taste good!


“In the forest they found, they found us entwined,
Making love in a sweet, silken glade,
My head was between her hairy, strong legs:
In pleasance, her fingers were splayed.

“She tried to save me from these Christian brutes,
To beat them back with her mighty arms,
But they blew her down with a musket shell,
And my love was bereft of her charms.

“’Kill me now!’ I shrieked to these men,
‘Kill me now and set my heart free!
You accuse me here of savagery,
But in the mirror the true savage you’ll see!

“’For in the name of your phantom god,
Christ died on the cross for your sin,
And you kill and kill and kill all the more,
So all can die for your sins again

“’You hang me because the beast within,
Made me love the beast without,
But a beast I am, and a beast I’ll be,
Though I have no horns or a snout!’”

And so, from the gallows, they dropped him down,
Like a sad pendulum he did swing,
And it made me sad to see a young man die
With his heart such a fine, noble thing

I take it upon myself to see his legacy out,
Now into the woods do I roam;
Mind, heart and loins, lusting to find,
The place where The Wild Woman moans



Poem: From Trump to Stump


Were you to cut-off the arms of Donald Trump
You could rename him ‘Donald Stump,’
Roll him around, fat and feeble,
Like an over-sized, presidential weeble

Reduced to only torso and tush,
No atomic red button could he push,
Yet with tongue still intact – his verbal diarrhoea
Will still cause chaos with North Korea

Oh, Stumpy, dearest, start no nuclear war!
It would be such a tedious, glowing-green bore!
I’d sooner see you as an amputee hobble
Than convert all the world into a new Chernobyl

So, Donald, darling, be the bigger man,
Kindly reduce your own lifespan,
With your imagination so apocalyptic,
Isn’t about time for your fit – apoplectic?

To rob you of your power – and leave us alone,
Without your bad breath poisoning our ozone,
And while you’re in your tongueless retirement,
We can see about the process of nuclear disarmament

For war is just the game of the misguidedly rich,
And if King Jong-un and you wish to beat eachother with sticks,
Please do it in privacy of your own sex dungeons,
Instead of getting us involved – you asinine curmudgeons!

But I’m sorry, Donnie, if I’ve hurt your feelings today,
Don’t rattle off another tweet – don’t lose your toupee!
We can resolve it over drinks, my dear darling Trump,
Once we’ve cut off your arms, and renamed you – ‘Donald Stump’

Poem: Kali Makes Good

Kali has put away all her severed heads
And skulls – “No longer,” says she, “will
I be a lady of gore, but a lady of love!”

“I scarcely see how you can do that!”
Interposed her pet crow, whose sole
Livelihood depended upon her ability
To combine carrion with courtship

“No, I am done with all that!” she declares,
“No more will I thrust and frug until skin is
Worn away to bone and hoof,

“I will serenade the sun, and awaken to the day
In pleated skirts – I shall ice ski across frozen wastes,
And nibble on the nipple of every nunnery –
Not in the gnawing, blood-thirsty way in which I used,
But dainty and pretty, like a new-born kitten, that has not
Yet distinguished right from wrong –
Accepting one and deploring the other!”

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” scoffed The Crow,
“You were made to fuck the dust of the world.
You may work towards innocence and purity,
But you will do so with such impossible lust
And cruelty, that many would have refrained
From leaping into the grave, had you just remained
The war-hungry whore you are.”

But Kali was not the one to heed such words.
She put on her nun’s habit,
Assumed the form of a lamb,
And dawdled sweetly into the world.

But once a Goddess,
Always a Goddess

Kali travelled over dusty mountains,
Through endless fields of gold,
She tickled her cunt in old stone farmhouses,
And searched in the vastness to find the clitoris
Of the world

She travelled for so long that she forgot
Who she was and became a maid on a poor
Peasant’s farm

She sucked on the tits of cattle,
And so inflamed the appetites of the she-bovines,
They would go rampaging after the bulls, and leave
Them trembling, traumatized in silage barns

But then Kali forgot she was a milkmaid,
She tore off her clothes, danced across space,
Spontaneously, violently, and landed, uninvited,
On a madman’s star – and fucked him so violently,
He became sane, and afraid of his own sanity,
Doing everything he could to try and drive himself
Mad once again, like a chef trying to repeat a drunken
Recipe he knows he’ll never repeat

But Kali grew disinterested and drove herself elsewhere,
Landing on a sacred star, where sex and gender did not exist,
And peace and serenity reigned secure – within a week,
The planet was a forest of cunts and cocks – all the
Androgynous Ones were put to death, and the only
Thing more central than lust was eternal conflict and

Eventually the gods grew tired of this
And determined they must intervene,
And so, intercepting her as she hitched
A ride on a passing comet, they whisked
Her up to The Brahma Heaven that overlooks
The Earth

“Don’t you think you’ve done enough?”
Questioned Krishna, not knowing whether
To look amused or stern

“I don’t know who I am!” she cried
Triumphantly as a little girl, and such

Was the merriment of her ejaculated amnesia,
The whole heaven split in two, and went tumbling
Back to Earth.

When she awoke, she found herself beneath
A lime tree in a German park, with a sweet,
Dirty blonde woman sat beside her, stroking
Her false tresses and curls

“How can I do it, Stephanie?” she asked her,
“I try to be pure and innocent, and yet all I
Leave behind me is carnage and war –
How can I be as sweet and as kind as you are?”

Stephanie smiled and lowered her sweet blue
Eyes to meet those of the Goddess-bound girl:

“You are not designed to be sweet,” she said,
“And you can be sweeter by far by just being
Who you are. Listen to the words of your faithful
Crow – he will not lead you wrong,”

Then night fell, and the sky was as black
As a raven’s beard, and everything shimmered
With the dense foliage of his feathers, hypnotized
By his guttural squawk
She cuddled into his plumage, and,
In the softness of that sleep, she slowly
Returned to her original form, and the
Bandolier of severed heads regrew
As she nuzzled into his fur

And, closing her eyes as peacefully
As a little girl, she dreamed happily
Of violence and war


Poem: A Night at the Opera


A joyous night at the opera

Can be a perilous thing,

The performance might be glamorous,

But backstage is another thing


The tenor has a sore throat,

Soon to become oesophageal cancer,

And the mezzo-soprano has just lost a leg –

Good thing she’s not a dancer!


The backstage-crew are all well-to-do,

And often puff with pride:

“We only help you actors out

From a sense of noblesse oblige!”

The basso profundo is profound indeed,

He can scarcely move from his chair,

And if you think you’ve seen a mountain range –

It’s just his derriere!


The piano accompanist has a glass eye,

And it often goes a-roving;

A shrill F# sent it down the aisle –

Towards Hereford it was last seen moving


The conductor – he’s another matter together,

You should hear him scream and shout!

But after the show, he likes a pint glass or two,

To reinforce his gout


And don’t get me started on the chorus,

On our reputation they are a blot,

Most of them can’t remember the words –

I think they should all be shot!


And so you see, it’s all just an act,

As we dance in gleeful rage,

For we all return to weeping and moping,

As soon as we’re off the stage


And though half our members are close to death,

The fat women will not stop singing,

Decapitate your own head if you like –

Your ears will still be ringing


What a splendid night at the opera,

Though the altos went on ad nauseum,

And the stage manager had to be twice disinterred

From his grandmother’s mausoleum


For he’s a secretly a vampire,

But don’t let the audience know,

He might be inclined to drink their blood,

But he’s easy going as stage managers go


Still, we do it, year after year,

Out of perseverance and love,

And I hope you’ll forgive me if you see yourself

In any of those above


But on and on the show must go,

Please tell me you’ve brought some liquor?

And fervently pray to the god of your choice

That the bass’s arse won’t grow any thicker!



Poem: Cardiff Central – A Poet’s Journey



Cardiff – you have soothed and slayed me;

I need only inhabit you for the space of five

Minutes to assure myself that the madness

Of my pent-up prophecies is as nothing to the

Weather-beaten wastrels who prophesy and

Harangue on your wind-cavilled corners – even

The Mayor crawls along in a sleeping bag,

Piled-up garbage auctioneered by seagulls,

Steel bins rattle out West Indian rhythms,

And those that rave against the wind that rages

Against the too solid dreams of architect’s shopping

Bills, can find their muse in a pint – a pill – in the cold

Delectation of needful starvation – in a parka – in a tree –

In a saucer of coffee – in a needle. Like geometry hurling

Away from the simple primacy of a circle, girls and trend-

Tortured boys find ever more deviant ways in which to clothe

Themselves to conceal their hollow nothings. Noise, noise,

Everywhere, as we pilot a city that feels like a ship sailing

Drunken over vertiginous seas


And then to the museum, where I navigate past Bacon,

Doig, Monet, Picasso, Daumier, and a bevy of French

Impressionists, before I find heaven in the 18th Century,

Only to be kicked out ten minutes later. I admire the

Curvature of faces – scenes from Goethe – and every

Pretty girl I see seems to be a hollow chuckle in the face

Of my celibacy. I can entertain Mediterranean phantasies

Within the safety of a frame – feel the sensuous warm winds

Of French-Italian orchards from the 1800’s – love-uplifting

Paradises so far removed from the tragicomic melancholy

Of Wale’s capital city.


And no one has ever told me that I look Welsh:

French, Polish, Russian, American, Canadian,

Norwegio-Scandanavian, apocryphally European –

But never have I been observed to be a Celt in the

Country where I have haphazardly arisen. Could I

Be said to belong to this country anymore than I

Belong to this century? A classicist! A classicist!

Some idealist hangover from another aeon when

One could squawk to the cries of Aesthetics, Ideas,

And Irreligion! When to think, to speak, to read,

And to think meant more than just a brand name,

Or the production of a meaningless YouTube video

That is sure to make some yuppie millions.


And then I come to Daumier’s scene from Cervantes’

Don Quixote, and for the first time since reading it

I realized how much like the self-proclaimed knight

Of delusions I’ve been; the absurdity of my chastity

In a century that dwindles everything down to the

Freudian milestone of sex in the banal inadequacy

Of its own reduction; of my enraptured, ecstatic,

Fevered sensibility in a generation where to feel is

To be ill; to be ill is to be the pet demon of a diagnostician;

And to be diagnosed is to be sedative-dependent, kept far

Away from feelings, feelings, feelings – “O, feeling begone!

Feeling keep out!” the shop sign should say to the numb

Consumption of our over-shopped bodies – no sorrow,

No grief, no susceptibility, no surf on the surging spindrift

Of gurgling thoughts – just the pharmacy-sanctioned

Monochrome of apathy unfree and unwheeling.


Now The Poet, The Knight has taken himself to a

Shopping Mall coffee shop where he can linger

In a caffeinated-delirium pretending to be Samuel

Taylor Coleridge, or Samuel Johnson, though it is

Hard to make the verses or definitions flow when

You are listening to Ed Sheeran or Justin Bieber.

Puffs of coffee brewing plumes to powdered wigs,

And a blonde on a laptop opposite holds eye

Contact with me for longer than is either healthy

Or sensible. I do not hear the rustle of petticoats,

Nor the flirtatious bird-flutter of sequined fans; only

The flurry of keys on her Apple Mac – and because

Thomas Gainsborough is not available to paint her,

Snapchat will have to do instead.


Now then comes that awkward moment when we have

Both looked over at one another too many times not

To do something about it. I posture like a coquette,

Flirting with my own hair, playfully rubbing my Arabic

Scarf against my face in the drapery of suggested eroticism.

Perhaps if this were a Jane Austen novel I could have presented

Her with my card; some boring old matriarch of social relation

Could have tendered an introduction between us – but, try as

She might, she will not be able to swipe me on Tinder – and

As there is no drunken offender to call out my name, she will

Not find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram either.


And, so, what are we to find in the beheading guillotine

Pincer of this moment? This indecisive flirtation prolonged

By tension and poetized in free-verse’s diction? I no longer

Have any legitimate reason for staying; I have drunk all the

Free cups of coffee that my charm can acquire me – I am

Like a teardrop suspended on somebody’s eyelash that is

Destined to fall, but has not yet conceived the conviction

To do so. What would any woman want with this over-

Chaste wastrel, this handsome, yet aggressively gentle

Tatterdemalion? I need more than just limbs – but thoughts,

Feelings, the voluptuous teasings of genius to arouse me;

Whatever phantasy you have of me, I will entertain it as

Much as I will demolish it, as my mind swirls along the

Arabesques of foreign geometry, and I dream of kisses

Concealed in clouds, the softness of hands, of eye-contact

Over-prolonged, until your whole universe turns into iris,

Into pupil, and you can see everything in those rivulet-

Changing colours; until you are so consumed by romance,

That lust almost tricks you – no longer a hollow product

Of bodily desire, but one of the natural outpourings of



Ah, my skin feels like it is swimming in colour when it

Entertains such thoughts! When summer is not just an

Airy dream, but a tangible reality, and I am back in those

French orchards again, the atmosphere sucking me with

Slow delight, like a young child savouring a lollipop, or

A sex-suggesting young coquette slowly applying her



And all of these agile, Hyperborean thoughts are

Accompanied by the bladder-pressing knowledge

That I really need to piss. “To pee or not to pee?”

I question, loath to leave my perfect vantage,

Wherefrom I can scribble in my notebook, and

Occasionally, tentatively, glance up at the blonde.


And then the walk back to the train station, bright

Lights against darkened skies, the hint of fires on top

Of the cathedral, the flaming relique of religious

Conviction. Drunken assemblies of contemporary

Celts tossed about by their own uncertain tides,

The yawning mouths of crowded clubs invite like

Doorways into the discotheques of hell, guarded not

By Cerberus, but bloated bouncers, police mingling

With the drunkards they both protect and prosecute.


Now the train ride back home – polite conversation

With rugby fans on the platform, able to give an imitation

Of sociability, but too genteel, too alien, to fully commit to

It. A vacant seat beside me. I wonder what kind of woman

Could fill that seat – what kind of sensitive sylph could inspire

Me with love, and could commit to loving, and being loved by

Me? What will be the color of her hair? The sparkle of her eyes?

Her raison d’être? Her response to the vastness of infinite skies?

How will she inspire me, irritate me, castigate me, uplift me;

How will she understand and desire me without merely

Fetishizing me?


These lofty wonderings are disrupted by a conversation

Between some drunken Saxons who have just noticed a

Pair of women – a redhead and a brunette – who have

Had the foresight to bring a cheeseboard onto the train.

This is the all-inclusive inseparability of life, thought

Becoming reality, and reality inspiring thought.


And I feel sober, sensible, philosophic, dull: my

Mad Welsh brethren, I cannot compete with you!

So I sleepily return to my bookish bower in Abergavenny,

Where I will be grateful for more than just sleep.



Poem: The Mushroom Men


Have you seen The Mushroom Men?

They come out each night at half-past ten,

Spreading spores from their stores of spores

To furnish the fens with fungi galore!


They have a secret kingdom beneath the earth,

A place of mycelia, merriment, and mirth,

And once the stars a-shining they see,

Thence begins their mycological jamboree!


Through the use of their mycelial magic,

They spread toadstools, molds, jellies, and brackets,

And ‘twould be considered a sartorial mishap,

If an imp were withouten a handsome ink-cap!


So, let the fungal festivities begin!

Angels of Decay ushering happiness in,

These cancerous mushrooms will rise and rise,

Until they tower like mountains before our eyes,


Death-caps as large at the Taj Mahal –

Custardy molds consuming shopping malls –

(And since Donald Trump won the US election,

The White House also has a fungal infection!)


What a fine panorama atop this portabello!

From its summit I will bellow:


“Come out – come out – ye Mushroom Men!

Though it is not yet half-past ten,

We wish to look upon the overlords,

Who have, so thoroughly, transformed our world!”


Out will venture Oberon and Titania –

And Robin Goodfellow singing ‘Rule Britannia!’

With a charming procession of elves and fays,

Using shitake mushrooms as timpani


Enoki as mallets – and after a few psilocybin,

Soon this party will really be jiving!

Magonia and earth will be as one –

And we won’t stop dancing till Doomsday is done!


Alas! ‘Twas but a dream I’ve tried to relate

To you, dear reader, in poetic spates,

For now, their kingdom is still small;

But, if down the rabbit hole you’re willing to fall

We can grow great with The Mushroom Men,

And The Kings of Shambhala will rule again!


Poem: Thoth, My Cariad


Ancient Egypt in Wales,

Pyramids and ziggurats still punctuate

The Brecon Beacons, coursing down those

Hieroglyphic Pathways

Pharaohs tie themselves to trees.

Their subjects lacerate them with

Holly leaves – bleeding into ecstatic


This is an initiation.


They get carried down, deep underground;

Unmade caverns of coal, as yet unmined,

Anubis and Osiris descend with pick and

Shovel, elbowing out the dwarves and

Dark elves, resenting this mythological



“Ah, Thoth, my Cariad, my sweet baboon!

Shall I gouge out your eyes with Welsh love spoon?

Or ply you with pennywhistle until your sphinxian

Heart riddles me no more?

“I am lost in cobwebs and palisades.

I am worried about my figure. Do you

Still think I look svelte in this sarcophagus?

Or is that limestone fresco just not as flattering

As it used to be?”

I take up my reed – prepare to write:

I Am the great scrivener of these Holy Wells –

Scarcely able to uplift a pale of water without

Severed heads fortifying it with thought – these

Celts are a weird bunch. I wonder what I’ll have

For lunch? Roast Boar? – Crocodile steaks from

The Lands of Thebes? How I miss your sautéed



Of course, all the place names will have to change.

How about Abydosgavenny? Camelot and Cairo can

Couple into landmass progeny. And The Old God of

Oak will build a canal between The Thames and The

Nile, so we can keep the mercantilism of myth



The owls are hooting now.

The bats are roosting now.

The sun is flaring now.

The mountain hares are burrowing now,

Struck by the moon – transfixed by that

Lunar striptease, of Nephthys waxing into Isis –

Isis waning to Nephthys.


Abydosgavenny – Abydosgavenny –

Will the swollen Nile keep the Normans

Out – their cankers like castles – hoarfrost

On the waves – cold winds blowing through

Empty Tombs.

But the sky is still here.

We still have stars to aspire to.

And, on a bed of lapis lazuli wind,

We’ll sleep into The Valley of Kings,

Until Horus returns from Avalon,

With proud King Arthur at his side







Poem: A Troll’s Tale


As I went for morning stroll

I was accosted by two trolls,

Who chose to walk by me besides,

Matching my pace – stride for stride


These trolls were green as green can be,

As scum of pond – as lake of algae –

Their hair was matted, messy, and knotty,

Bespeaking an appearance severely grotty,

Dressed in rags, and uncouth chainmail –

(And a dagger, perhaps, lone men to assail?)


In short, they were an unpleasant pair –

I felt comparatively debonair! –

And I certainly didn’t smell so foul,

As these rogues, dogging me, cheek by jowl!


“What want ye trolls?” said I to them,

“Scourge of otherwise merry men!

Can chap not go for happy stroll,

Without being pestered by two trolls?”


“Well now!” saith the first, “the cheek of that!

Just because we are withouten silken cravat!

Us trolls ‘as fallen on ‘ard times;

We were not always so badly begrimed!


“Once we were Great Lords, respected;

Kings of Caverns, now neglected,

That once did brim with copper and gold,

And much else ‘twas pleasing to behold:

Like talking cats – and magical rings –

And lyres that strum without no strings!


We were men of renown in them times –

Who ruled the land? – Who manned the mines?

We did! – Ah, but fortune struck us from her role –

When something befell us, terrible,

For, when we mined the earth too deep,

We roused something dreadful from its sleep,

Faster than you can say ‘Conspiracy!’ or ‘PSYOPS!’

From out the ground emerged a giant Cyclops!


He squashed our women – he ate our cattle –

And no matter how fiercely we engaged him in battle,

We could barely give him more than a scratch –

Thus, from his tyranny, much more was hatched,

All the land was barren and blighted,

And so our glory days were soon benighted!”


“But wait!” says I, from me to Troll,

No bloody rivers do I see roll,

Abergavenny is a peaceful town –

Now raging Cyclops do I see frown!”


“That’s why we harried you – he’s on his way!

And means to be here by the end of day –

He’s just coming now from yon Brynmawr –

You’ll hear him roar within the hour!

He won’t be content to see just Abergavenny fall –

But Monmouth and Raglan – he wants them all!

And his ire, his wrath, will not be spent,

Until he’s crushed the whole of Gwent!”


“Yes, but surely not e’en a beast of this sort,

Would have the gall to take on Newport?

Tell you what we’ll do – we’ll divert him there,

And by the time he sniffs the air,

He’ll fall down drunk – hunker down abed –

And when comes the morning – we’ll bash in his head!

Then this Cyclops will harry you no more,

And your diamond mines you can soon restore!”


But as I continued on my stroll,

I was no more accosted by two trolls,

No more were they by me either side,

Or matching my pace – stride for stride,


I presumed by their untimely contraction,

That they’d gone to put my plan into action,

And I bid them well – as I strolled on,

Enjoying the sweetness of this sweet dawn,

Glad that just through enjoying my morning stroll,

I could make life more pleasant for a pair of trolls!





Poem: A Winter’s Tale


Winter’s Tale, winter’s tale,

Bodies grouped into bed – Chinese,

Tibetan, brick-oven mattress, keeping

Their bodies warm. We clap if we think

There are ghosts around – ghosts need



Spices fill the air, vapours of

Cinnamon, cloves, cloven hooves,

Mulled wines and smoked viands,

Purling down the hall, rolling up

Chimneys to exchange greetings with

A night crisp and cold as a frost giant’s



What will the norns have to say

About this? They have kept my

Fate simmering in the larder for

Longer than I can remember, my

Family crumpled together, like

Skeletons in a crypt


Chinese, Tibetans – but certainly

We are in London – the mayor flicks

His yak-tail whisk, and hides himself

Under many skins –

Offerings to the Mountain Gods


“I am but one man – a friend

Called me a medieval bard – but

I have all of Tibet and China within

Me; perhaps, too, samples of Mongolia,

And blizzard-faced Siberia, where my

Throat-singing can still be heard.


“I should like to go to some fireside

Tavern, and tan my hide into the devil’s



“You see, he’s just been misunderstood.

We need the devil as much we need that

Which shuts him out.”


My cloven hooves clattered over

Cobblestones, streaky sludge from

Mysterious snow, where the wisteria

Faintly grows


I lay down in the cold.

I wanted to die.

I wanted my follicles to be

Fingered with the flame of

Every piercing frost.


And lo! The Lord of Frosts

Appeared before me in his

Glistering kingdom. He set

The sails astrand that lets

Every mucker know, his

Iceberg would soon come

Into land.


 “But my family!” I pleaded.

“My wife and her daughters

Are all squeezed into bed in

One Tudor room!

How will they escape you?

How will they fly from

Pneumonia’s embrace?”


“They won’t,” said the Lord

Of Frosts, coldly. “All freeze

Whom I dare to freeze. And

Have I not frozen? Your case

Is lost with me.”


“Please,” I begged him. “Is there

Nothing I can do to save them?

Take me – not them!”


The King of Frosts was not

To be appeased. He had a

Hunger for human women.

He wanted to feel their skin

Cripple beneath the

Tenebrosity of his arctic flesh.

A disgusting rapist of the realms.

Yet he dared call himself lord!


But then he had a thought:


“I have never experienced this

Thing called ‘heat.’ He said to

The man. “Give us leave to

Wear your body, and perhaps

Thy wife and daughters will be



“Perhaps?!” cavilled the man.

“Am I to lease my life on the

Crumb of a perhaps?!”


“What man can promise

Any kind of certainty

In a world such as this?

Take what I give you.

Perhaps they will be



The man nodded his assent.


Casting his soul out with a

Scream, The Lord of Frosts

Took habitation in his body,

And instantly founding it wanting

 In pleasance. But he knew this was

Only because he knew not heat.

Hence, findeth heat he must.



The man, meanwhile, was in

 A graveyard of shivers. Arctic

Demons sang out in symphonic

Shrieks to towering snowmen –

To Kings of Death, and Queens

Of Hate.


They ushered his chill soul

Into their almighty halls,

Racing through with blistering

Winds, and immense ravens with

Jet plane wings.


“We loves the cold,

We loves the old,

We cuddle death,

And the wind’s palsied breath!


“We loves the snow,

We loves the frost,

Into the icy sea,

You will be tossed!”


Thus, they tossed him into

The sea. He would try to cleave

His way out, but the only adjacent

Landmass was an archipelago of

Madmen, who would throw him

Back in again, laughing, every time

He tried to come aboard.



Meanwhile, The King of Frosts

Acclimatized himself to human flesh;

To the misery of chilblains, and the constant

Hell of living in an environment,

Never intended for life.


“Oh wifey! Oh kiddies!” he crooned

Down barrel-dragon streets. Drunkards

Lurched glaringly out of newspapers,

And tawny owls screeched above; a

Midnight curse to all they do not




At last, he found his house.

He walked up the sooty stairs,

Screeching at any guardians of

The threshold who might prohibit

His malfeasance.


His wife and kids were on the

Second floor, crammed into a

Four-poster bed. In a palace, faraway,

A Haydn oratorio was carousing the night

Air. But, this was not a palace – just a den

Of sleep.


The Winter Demon could see inside

The dreams of the children. They

Dreamt of the redemption of hunger –

Of larders overwrought with cakes, and

Jellies, pastries, and hard toffees. No

Cinnamon smoked here – just the parlous

Perfume of ice.


The Winter Demon tried to see his

New wife’s dreams. But

Her dreams were only whispers

Of a plea, degraded into

Sepia – A Husband’s Return


The Frost King loomed over

The bed. He saw the piled-up

Coverlets, and was reminded

Of an avalanche – a love letter

From Abomination.


“Pneumonia, my pretties! Sweet

Lung-spattering pneumonia!”


“Stop that muttering, Henry Giles,”

Murmured his missus from the bastion

Of the covers, “and get into bed! Your

Heads all a-muddle from

Those night-terror colds! Get

In here where it’s snug and



“Warmth!” The Frost King drooled.

“That’s why I’m here!”

At his wife’s insistence, he stripped

Off his sodden, slush-soaked clothes,

And crawled into bed beside her. He

Did not know what to do. He had never

Shared a bed with a human woman

Before, except in the catharsis of



But the wife directed him. She

Cradled her soft, fat body against

Him, his loins nestled betwixt her

Buttocks like toad-in-the-hole. Then

She took his hands, and sternly clasped

Them to her milksome breasts.


“There you are, my dear!” she said,

Delighted. “That’ll warm you up! Just

You hold on tight, and those winter

Demons won’t plague my Henry

No more!”


“But I AM a Winter Demon!”

The frost king wailed miserably.


“Of course you are, my dear!”

Missus Henry cosseted him.

“Now, you just snuggle up

With your missus, now, and

We’ll see if we can’t thaw

That winter demon out!”



And, true enough, the Winter

Demon melted like butter in

The arms of his wife. And, except

For a little sniffle every now and

Then, no more was said about



But, what of poor Henry Giles?

Was his soul still floundering at

The Bottom of the Ocean being

Snapped at by sea demons?

I shall leave that for the reader

To decide. Otherwise:


It’s all in winter’s night, my friend,

All in winter’s night!



Poem: The Puzzle



I am whatever I wish to be –

A puzzle plucked from the puzzle tree,

 Saw me in half – cut me down the middle –

Make endless subdivisions of this immaculate riddle;

But, this Rubik’s Cube, though twisted, contorted,

Will not fancy its truth to be plainly disported;

For, as soon as a puzzle’s believed to be solved,

All mystery, all magic, all enchantment dissolves:

What was majestic seems weaker – plainer –

A lion king turned kitten by the lion tamer!


We ought not to worry if mystery go abed –

The Hydra will always grow another head,

Though complexity to simplicity can e’er be reduced,

Simplicity by complexity must be seduced,

Fear not, my friend! There are always more troubles!

To belch from the vat – the cauldron that bubbles –

I mean Chaos – the lap of illusion –

That brings causeless clarity to ripest confusion,

By amplifying the tiniest key change of delusion,

Saints quickly run amok in bedlam profusion!


We cannot go to the beach ever again –

The coastlines grow cluttered with madwomen and men,

Who take up their beach towels, and skin them as reefers –

Who cares what they are – atheists or believers?

Whenever you think you’ve discovered the answer,

Your conviction’s benign tumour will furnish a cancer,

Malignant as malignancy itself can be,

When you pluck a puzzle from the puzzle tree!

So I shall always be whatever I wish –

For I am the Fisherman – and illusion – The fish!