Three poems from The Edge Of England plus the complete lyrics to The Set List Shuffle and three songs from Murmuration.

Three poems from

 

The Edge Of England 

 

 

 

              

            A Reason To Write Poetry

 

            There is a reason to write poetry.

            Between the spill of speech

            and the lip glossary,

            stutter the syllable so that it steals the tongue,

            strutting off the roof of the mouth

            only when it's sung.

            Out comes the thick spit of something said

            that only half resembles the desired description, dead

            in the listening of others.

            Drumming, beat of the body, a bloodline

            beaten by the heart.

 

            Clearing up after the rock-fall

            it is possible to get to all

            words another way.

 

            Better to ink them to paper,

            preserve a curse in verse.

            There is still a reason

            to write broken English as it sounds,

            even though this spoken English

            is a cut above what's written down.

 

 

       The Ration Book

 

            I was born too late for ration books, 

            but now some of us live with foodbanks;

            no literature is required

            unless we write our own.

 

 

          The Edge Of England

 

       (i)

 

            They met on the edge of England, clothed in

            herring-bone and pin-stripe, others in off-cuts

            of uniform scavenged from the attic in a bold

            attempt to dress appropriately for the moment.

 

            They came to call light a day and pull down

            the night on this affair with continentals. All

            of these people are as one, they have come

            with their dogs and cattle, harps and horns,

 

            sabre rattling their saviour as if he were the

            King of Jerusalem. Men and women already

            dead to the north winds of the Baltic Sea, still

            parading poppies in honour of other people's

 

            deaths of whom they have no memory, too long

            dam busting their own borrowed histories. New

            soldiers will invent tales concerning pride of place,

            tell stories about events which oblige their heads

 

            to rumour. How they came to the edge of Albion's

            pleasant past and in getting their country back failed

            to recognise an Eden in England; a garden of a great

            remembrance they could not harvest for themselves.

 

            (ii)  

 

            "Later they will read of us and realise who we were."

 

            Oh, I see, you mean at some point in the future they

            will learn of your exploits and come to a conclusion

            about your integrity, maybe your motives. Pick up on

            your exceptional talent as a campaign for concern. 

 

            "Sure, that's exactly what I mean."

 

            Well, it's a good start. At least you consider I am

            interpreting you correctly.

 

            "Interpreting? You make it sound as if you're translating

            a foreign language." 

  

 

The Set List Shuffle

 

 

 

 

 

        1.  Over The Brow Of The Green Hill

 

 

            Over the brow of the green hill

            come Marc and Bella Chagall.

            Over the brow of the green hill

            come Marc and Bella Chagall.

            Leaving town,

            and not coming back until the world turns round.

            Pogroms, pogroms, pogroms, move on,

            pogroms, pogroms, pogroms.

 

 

            The flying lovers are drawn to acrylic skies

            but the Bolsheviks were marching before the paint had dried.

            The love-birds board a steamship to the USA,

            where Bella died on Broadway and Marc made Broadway pay.

            France became his place of peace in stain-glass blue.

            Let no thief steal your lover or the one green hill you knew.

 

            These are the most fantastical of days,

            there's a green hill far away

            where the moon is painted blue

            in seven different shades

 

            and Bella flies like a sea-gull

            guarded by a golden eagle

            counting sheep fast asleep

            unaware there's a wolf who wants to feed on them.

 

 

      2. Coal Black Buddha

 

            Coal Black Buddha on the window sill,

            Move him on a Monday but he's back there still.

            Move him on a Monday but he's back there still.

 

            Mighty bright satellite,

            Coal Black Buddha is a brilliant light.

            Coal Black Buddha is a brilliant light.

 

            Zen and the art of history,

            found contemplation in slavery,

            found contemplation in slavery.

 

            Charlie Haden wrote Chairman Mao

            a strange little tune that we still play now,

            a strange little tune that we still play now.

 

            The double bass gets some space,

            draws a line through Race and hate,

            draws a line through Race and hate.

 

            Black lives matter and that's a fact.

            Go tell it on a mountain, James Baldwin's back.

            Go tell it on a mountain, James Baldwin's back.

 

            The Promised Land is a place called home.

            Oh, I believe in the saxophone,

            I believe in the saxophone.

 

            The fire next time is a blazing flame.

            That's how the Buddha got his name,

            that's how the Buddha, got his name.

 

 

      3. I Talk To Genius

 

            I talk to genius they are polite to me.

            They tell me what they do with due modesty.

            We can't all be clever to that extent.

            Only the brilliant mind can truly invent.

            What was once flat is now in the round.

            It must be amazing to feel so profound.

 

            Wake up! Plato! Scream and bleed!

            Help me! Teach me! Let me breathe!

 

            I talk to genius each passing day.

            It has become important to hear what they say.

            I might miss a clue that could help me to learn.

            It seems I have to wait, it's always their turn.

            Maybe a genius will knock (knock, knock) on my door

            and share the gift of light they so clearly saw.

 

      4. Specimen Orchid

 

            Once a month they fly to Zurich,

            she wears Levis and is so rich.

            Built her Empire with aid from Goldman Sachs

            then designed a garden of tranquillity

            in order to give something back.

 

            Fast cars on the rice paths

            produce ditches of water

            that plot a course to Saigon.

            Plant hunting bought

            a specimen orchid,

            she thought it

            very common to these parts.

 

            The rumour is they always voted Labour.

            Some say socialism saved her.

            Tends her flowers as if they are the prettiest of people

            who need the right conditions to thrive;

            we know plants can't be equal.

 

            They now own the Garden of Eden,

            stare at snakes but do not see them.

            She sends her friends email from a holiday in Brasilia

            but prefers old Zurich's bars

            to while away guilt and tedium.

 

      5.  King of The Rain

 

            King of the Rain said to me:

            "What I do I do for free,

            I don't need a salary

            to drown you."

 

            King of the Rain tells the truth:

            "Water's leaking through the roof,

            requiring no written proof

            to prove it."

 

            He falls, he falls, he falls

            and seeps through everything.

            He falls, he falls, he falls

            and soaks through anything.

            I don't need a salary

            to drown you,

            requiring no detailed proof

            to prove it.

 

            I can face the rain,

            I can face the rain,

            I can face the rain.

            We don't need another downpour

            but I'm sure there's going to be more

            rain on his parade.

            I can face the rain,

            I can face the rain,

            I can face the rain.

 

            Who measures the weight of water?

            Who measures the tongue?

            Who measures the weight of water

            once the rain has begun?

 

            King of the Rain

            is buried in the earth

            bound to the sodden ground

            he waters.

            We wade through mud

            watching the river flood,

            bemused by the deluge

            that engulfs us.

 

      6. Hollow Kiss

 

            Had he written it out in long hand

            it could not be worse,

            fragments of feelings

            from a good man's curse.

 

            I know this much,

            the purity of purpose

            is acrid to the touch

            and betrayal always tastes

            like a sucker-punch-embrace.

 

            Here is the hollow kiss,

            clichéd lies of lust

            more painful than the fist.

 

      7. Nina Simone

 

            Nina Simone, she moan, she moan, she moaned so bitterly.

            Don't let me be misunderstood, my baby just cares for me.

            Black is the colour of my true love's hair:

            Somewhere, somehow

            Take all men to the river bank, wash their grubby hands.

            Lady MacBeth has nothing on them, Mississippi Goddam.

 

            Nina Simone, she moan, she moan, she moaned throughout the night.

            There is no god and the stars too far, mean the moon is the only light.

            It's always there, it won't go away:

            Someday, somehow

            Vengeance comes with a glancing blow, the left hand chord will strike

            like thunder cut from darkness and delivered without a fight.

 

      8. Pretty Shore

 

            The freelance dancer tapes

            and the egg fried rice were a bad mistake,

            but the worse part was the 'Hippy-Hippy Shake'

            caught nude on camera in the fiddle break.

            He says the film was faked

            but the digital master has the time and date.

            Ballerinas want the coke cut straight

            (his fag of choice is St Bruno Flake).

            The dance comes clean at last

            with dirt leftover for the cocktail glass.

            I'm pretty sure.

            I'm pretty sure

            it's a pretty shore.

            More and more

            I'm pretty sure

            it's a pretty shore.

 

            Let's introduce Pretty Boy Floyd,

            He's made of money yet still annoyed.

            Giorgio says he runs a drug cartel,

            a dangerous dance though he jives quite well.

            From where I sit you never can tell

            if he's high on royals or high on hell.

            Crack makes the floorboards creak,

            he treads softly but rarely speaks.

            Flicks ash at burnt-out stars,

            played Covent Garden in a walk-on part.

            I'm pretty sure.

 

      9.  Loach Song

 

             Just want a bit of it,

            just a little bit of a bit of it.

            Just want a bit of it,

            any old bit will do.

 

            White van visitation,

            they took it all away.

            Cathy is not coming home,

            Shelter will pay.

            Shelter will pay,

            shelter will have to pay.

 

            Tomorrow play the polka,

            never play the man.

            Choreography of tipping toes,

            sleight of hand.

            Sleight of hand,

            same old sleight of hand.

 

            Reflect on thy graffiti,

            blaze-burst hash tag spray,

            put it out in purple,

            fade to grey.

            Fade to grey,

            fade to concrete grey.

 

            Fly-pass to the by-pass

            balance on the bridge,

            give the girl enough rope,

            inch by inch.

            Inch by inch,

            inch by bloody inch.

 

            Who will point the camera?

            I, Daniel Blake.

            We're dancing in the asylum,

            the world now waits,

            the world now waits,

            the world cannot wait!

 

            Once he flew a kestrel

            on the wings of a dove.

            This is Ken Loach country,

            blood and love,

            blood and love,

            forever blood and love.

 

            The wind that shakes the barley

            is the same wind that shakes me

            stolen by a gang of

            petty thieves,

            petty thieves

            taking what I need.

 

               (Dedicated to Film Director, Ken Loach)

 

 

                                                Three Songs from

                                                Murmuration

 

            Murmuration

 

            There's a rumour

            of murmuration

            on The Levels.

            Along the screed track and wetland weed walk

 

            a five o'clock flock of bunting

            disturb the dusk of evening.

            Then raising

            from the reed bed come iridescent black starlings

            on the wing

 

            in a swarm form swoop,

            shift the air as protection,

            drift beyond dark dalliance

            in a display of murmuration.

 

            There are gatherings, we know that.

            Murmurings, we know that

            it won't be over

            until the dance is done.

 

 

              Jay

        

             A jay flew across my path

            and descended into the trees.

            I was pleased to see a bird as shy as one of these.

            Say, jay, jay, jay.

 

 

            A jay stays within the wood

            but today came inta-sight

            I'm outa-sight to spy a jay that wants to see the light.

 

 

            A jay keeps clear of magpies,

            squawking and making such a fuss,

            I wonder if that's the reason a jay comes to visit us.

 

 

            An owl will hunt the night,

            do what owls must do,

            I know the sound of 'killing time' calls to-wit-to-woo.

            Howl, owl, owl, owl.

 

 

             A jay and an owl

            are a different swirl of birds,

            the first is seen in secret the second only heard.

 

 

             A 'J' stands for jazz,

            Body and Soul, Night and Day,

            Round Midnight came the owl, in the morning came the jay.

 

 

         Off The Coast Of Fukushima

 

 

          There are ponies grazing on the stubble grass of Chernobyl.

          People watch the whales off the coast of Fukushima.

          Concentrated energy of uranium powered the supernova.

          Now the neighbors want to dig the stuffing out of Greenland.

          The wind turbines scribe the coastal sky as the sun dips.

          Fracking the Southern Downs will not provide any energy for it.

 

          Now the green eyed girl from Afghanistan wears the burqa (and who can blame her?)

          Mix a cast of darkening crystal to make a scary movie.

          And each coffee table camera-classic press-portrait will confirm it.

          The devil is wearing new clothes down at the crossroads.

          He knows she knows no knowledge that could harm him or anybody else here.

          Look at the damn picture, take down the damn picture, look at that wretched picture.

 

          They say the grizzly bear is nearly human in North Dakota.

          There are Bristol scientists studying particles of plutonium.

          A victim's mother slaps the face of a condemned man and saves him.

          An infinity pool in the high-rise heavens becomes a dive drop.

          The political gofer is swimming in a red and blue sea of bright shite.

          Waving our world goodbye as they watch the tsunami ride it.

         

         

          The lyrics to all twelve songs on the album are available on the CD disc.