Do saol, do turas.*


Along the beach of life

You’ll come across

Precious diamonds.


Sometimes the silver

Edges of your world

Will cast you sparkle,


Reach and pick them up,

Hold onto each one –

These are golden treasures.


Grasp glitter when it comes,

Time’s tide is fickle

And fleeting fortune fades.



This poem was inspired by the generosity of my special Irish friends.  Thank you, girls.


* Irish: your journey, your life.

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Has this orange lost its appeal?

* * *

Oooh, golden sunset-orange hue,

Hmmm, I’m going to make a meal of you.

Ahhh, when off your clothes I slowly peel.


Huh?     Suddenly naked, you’ve lost your appeal.


Saccharine anticipation

Sweeter than assimilation.


* * *


This orange has won its appeal

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The thumb-nail of a balmy moon

Means that he will pass by soon.

She’s kindled a candle set on the sill

To show him she is waiting still,

As he climbs towards the evening star;

So near, and yet, so far.


The loamy dusk soaks up the twi-

Light sandalwood-scented sunset sky,

As he wends his way up Blossom Hill,

He sees the light upon the sill

Through the aromatic gloam,

And wonders, ‘Is she home?’.


In inky shadows of the eaves,

Below the low-slung Tamarind leaves,

Concealed in her aphotic dim,

Tormented by the sight of him,

He doesn’t turn towards her door,

She dies a little more.


Bitter drowns sweet eventually –

She’ll watch him for eternity.

Since forty years their fate was cast

And bore the consequence of the past,

Surrendered to the village norms

Their dreams up to the storms.


The scars are gone, but broken dreams

Seldom heal, and go unseen,

Through aeons on a tide of tears,

Perpetual time and un-lived years,

Knowing that she’ll wait for him:

The patience of a pilgrim.


© Alex Barton 2013

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Four and Twenty Short Form Poetry, January 2013 issue

My short poem ‘Death & Me’ is published here – Thank you to Four and Twenty and also to my lovely friend Jo, who inspired this short piece.

© Alex Barton 2013

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Old Habits Die Hard


That Celtic Tiger you thought was dead,

Replaced by the Rat of Recession instead,

Still echoes in the repossessed pads of the glitterati

Who’ve tightened their belts, but do SO miss the party.


Judged by mini-breaks and brand new cars,

They compare their lives to movie stars.

Competitive consumerism is alive and well:

In the Ladies room of a well-known hotel


Friends compete and, oops, drop names

From underneath their blow-dried manes,

“Santa’s bringing an iPhone 5

To dear little Cosmo, he’s only five!”


Wholeheartedly agreeing that aging sucks,

Admiring Botox and tummy tucks,

The horror of having a wrinkled face,

Un-plumped bits or hair out of place.


The pressure to stay looking twenty-three

For at least the next half century,

Plastic surgery’s on the rise

No-one’s beautiful in her own eyes.


Can’t afford to buy food for the larder,

But she’ll still buy the bag ‘n’ shades from Prada,

Homemade facials & DIY blow-dry,

Designer ‘vintage’ from the bring-and-buy.


Moet’s made way for Prosecco,

Lidl and Primark now the way to go,

Not a whiff of Versace anywhere,

Still wearing her Laboutins from last year.


The Bank is spoiling all her fun

By cancelling her cards one by one,

And negative equity in varying themes

Haunts her sober, daytime dreams.


She’s eighteen months been out of work

But loathe to sell her sporty Merc.

Luxurious habits are hard to kill,

But don’t underestimate her will,


In her smooth and hairless guise,

To face Generation Spend’s demise,

And confront her braying creditors’ chorus,

Looking skinny, tanned and gorgeous.


© Alex Barton 2013

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Gargie Award


Thank you very much to talented writer and fellow blogger Ami Fidèle for nominating me (and my A Word With Christian Grey) for the Gargie Award.  Please take a moment to look at his excellent work. As a blogging novice this is my first award and so I am delighted and flattered that other people are reading and enjoying my poetry.  Since putting my poetry ‘out there’ six months ago I have been particularly moved, inspired and supported by the following writers, whom I have, in turn, nominated for a Gargie Award:

Boomie Bol

Leila Oarts

Brice Maiurro

Bjorn Rudberg

Kenyatta Jean-Paul Garcia

Sabio Lantz

Paul Milne

Karin Gustafson

Happy 2013 to you all.

Rules: (to be followed, or not, as you wish . . . )

1.  Display the award badge as prominently on your site as you are inclined.

2.  Publish a post to inform the world of your achievement.

3.  Nominate some fellow bloggers.

4.  Indicate to your nominees that they have received the award.

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kate and wills dolls

People love to take the mickey

Of those with privilege and money,

But silly pranks turn tricky

And then it’s no longer funny.

Caught in the midst of a tasteless joke,

Piss-taking tragedy of late

Means that I’ll no longer poke

Fun with poems at Wills & Kate.



by Alex Barton Sept ’12

Deep in remotest South of France

Kate thought she’d like to take the chance

To lie by the pool under Provençal soleil

Sipping a fruity Beaujolais.

Apparently she lit a Marlboro Light too,

But this is conjecture and probably not true.

Pleasantly warmed by late summer sun

She noticed her bikini top come undone.

An all over tan seems like a good idea

‘I’m sure no one can see me from over here’.

Unbeknownst to the innocent young thing

A paparazzo’s lens was zooming in.

‘Sacré bleu’ and ‘Oh là là’,

The Duchess of Cambridge without a bra!

The Duke of Cambs said ‘We’re not amused

That our right to solitude has been abused.

Kate has been snapped without her top

Intrusion like this has got to stop!’.

Invasion of privacy: quelle horreur;

They’re out to get that editeur.

Photos that caused shock-waves and ripples

At the unusual sight of royal nipples.

The French think they need to keep it real

Bare boobs in France are no big deal;

Typically British to be such a prude

We do it all the time: there’s nothing rude.

The Palace feel this carry-on is lewd

And will make certain that the culprits are sued.

The lawyers accepted the case in a flash:

A job like this will make tons of cash

Most people don’t care: they’re only tits,

We’re all of us human and got the same bits.

Never mind Kate, your dignity’s intact.

It could have been much worse, in fact.

Remember Fergie all those years ago

Caught sucking that balding Texan’s toe?

Now that the unwelcome peeping’s been curbed

You can enjoy your tanning undisturbed.



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sports personality

It could be Brad, how bad,

Maybe Jess, anyone’s guess.


Or Mo, who’s to know?

Chris Hoy, will he be the Boy?


They’d love it to be Andy,

Or Boatman Ben –

Victory their modus operandi.


The Rise of Rory is a sporting story,

Or will Ellie win the award from the telly?


Success is no stranger

To Nicola Adams or Katherine Grainger.


Can David Weir get near?

Sarah Storey may find glory.


Gary, Clare and Sue are here,

Goodness gracious: WHAT A YEAR!

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The fir-tree gleams with coloured lights

Putting on its Christmas show,

Sparkling eyes on snowy nights

Underneath the mistletoe.


The fire’s dancing in the grate

And we can too, just make it slow,

Will you be my Advent date

Underneath the mistletoe?


It may be chilly, I don’t mind,

When we run through fields of snow,

Coz later we’ll be intertwined

Underneath the mistletoe.


While the world is celebrating

We’ll be kissing, hearts-a-glow,

To the music, hips gyrating

Underneath the mistletoe


Snuggled here when midnight chimes,

We’ll sway in gentle concerto,

Grinning at the happy times

Underneath the mistletoe.


o-er, hang on a minute . . .

All that wine and Christmas drink

Has left me feeling faint and so

Into your arms I’ll gently sink

Underneath the mistletoe.


I feel myself begin to sway

Clasp me tight & hold me . . . whoa,

I think my legs will soon give way

Underneath the mistletoe.


Christmas time is such a laugh

But my head is reeling to and fro

And, oh my God, I’m going to barf

Underneath the mistletoe!

merry christmas

© Alex Barton 2012

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books 2

(to be read in a library whisper)


Through the library he quietly crept,

Stealthily past librarians’ looks,

Toward the aisles he gingerly stepped,

Plunged into rows of regiment books.


Bathed in anxious anticipation,

Through the library he quietly crept,

Putting on gloves in preparation,

Sweating palms, his pulse-rate leapt.


Down the spines his fervent gaze swept,

Eagerly searching ‘fiction’ for ‘D’.

Through the library he quietly crept,

Knowing exactly where it should be.


Deftly hidden in folds of his cloak,

Surely no ordinary biblioklept –

Stolen to order: his thievery bespoke,

And out of the library he quietly crept


Thanks to a prompt from dVerse Poets Pub this is my attempt at a Quatern.

What’s that? A sixteen line French form composed of four quatrains.  It has a refrain that is in a different place in each quatrain. The first line of stanza one is the second line of stanza two, third line of stanza three, and fourth line of stanza four.  Each line should be 8 syllables, which I haven’t stuck to . . . but I have tried to make each line 4 metric feet.


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Photo:  Kenya post-election violence, 2008*


Nepotism and lies

Of those that claim

Corruption and tribal ties

Do not exist,


They’re made up.

The Powerful prioritise

Personal gain under political guise.


A suffering nation defies

Democracy’s demise

And generations of apathy with



Those who defy are

Crushed like flies.


The promise of hope slowly dies,

Like fireflies under African skies.




*The United Nations estimates that there are still as many as 17,000 internally displaced refugees in Kenya.  The next presidential elections are scheduled for March 2013.


(A while ago I read somewhere on WordPress the phrase ‘fireflies under African skies’ and it stuck with me and partly inspired the piece above.  Sorry, I can’t remember whose blog it was, but thank you, and if it was you, please let me know, so that I can thank you personally).

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stormy tree


Woken by a scream

As of you I dreamed

You yelled for me, it seemed,

(Did I hear your voice or was it just the wind?).


Blowy autumn attitudes

Skipped across the latitudes

Whispering blustery platitudes,

(Did I hear your voice or was it just the wind?).


Against the weeping pane

The splattering of rain

Beat staccatos of your name,

(Did I hear your voice or was it just the wind?).


Salty spray sang out to me,

Lusty storms across the sea

Crashed the surf-scuffed scree

(Did I hear your voice or was it just the wind?).


Naked branches swayed

Their tempestuous ballet

Words were whipped away

(Did I hear your voice or was it just the wind?).


I thought I heard you call

From your distant shore

Through the midnight squall,

(Did I hear your voice or was it just the wind?).


Clambering from my sleepy daze,

An after-dreaming haze

The shutter bangs and sways:


(I didn’t hear your voice.  It was just the wind).


© Alex Barton


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A fellow poet’scone and reminded me,

I made an omission, so it would seem,

I forgot to mention the delectable Cream Tea.

Dollops of jam and lashings of cream,

Served in tea shops of the West Country

On fine bone china with a gingham theme

To ladies of the Dorset Bourgeoisie.



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Does one say scone,

To rhyme with swan?

Or scone,

To rhyme with bone?


Eaten for breakfast with eggs and ham?

Or afternoon tea with butter and jam?

With bergamot-y Earl of Grey

Or milky Builders’ Tay?


Accentual tautology

Results in classist proclivity,

And on condimental predilection

Rests prejudiced preconception,


Pass judgement if you must:

Lower class or upper crust?

People are quick to opinionate

When it comes to the way we enunciate.


© Alex Barton 2012

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If you knew the story, you wouldn’t laugh,

Of poor old Nooks who fell in the bath.

Looking forward to a relaxing soak

She slipped and, ‘crack’, her knee was broke.


Everyone panicked and called the medics

Who rushed her off to orthopaedics.

There followed days in hospital

To recover from the wretched fall.


Dozens of doctors prodded and poked

‘We might have to amputate’, they heartily joked.

But did she complain? Did she hell!

Always cheerful, and smiling as well.


Now many months later, she still can’t walk,

While specialists continue to ponder and talk.

She’s bored of being pushed around in a chair,

And taking the lift instead the stair.


Now, I think I have a cunning plan

Requiring neither x-ray nor scan.

Go to the garden shed, and there-in,

There’s WD-40 in a blue-yellow tin.


A daily squirt of this oily potion

The offending knee will resume full motion.

Lubricating all swelling and pain,

And promptly Nooks’ll be right as rain!


© Alex Barton

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This poem is an example of ‘Than-Bauk’, a three line “climbing rhyme” poem of Burmese origin.  Each line has four syllables. The rhyme is on the fourth syllable of the first line, the third syllable of the second line, and the second syllable of the third line!

(photo © Alex Barton)

I want to teach

Him to reach out

And breach my trust.


It’s no surprise

Steely eyes hide,

Long disguised, pain.


Soft fur hides scars,

Broken heart beat,

Soul marred by hurt.


Puppy tail’s shy,

Delighted wags

Defy the past.


© Alex Barton 2012

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Tucked beneath the hedgerow’s shade

Safe away from combine’s blade,

She braves the gusting winds, her view

Across the field ploughed a-new.

Un-trampled by the hiker’s boot,

In her single breasted suit

Of brightest red.   Fragile but proud,

Beneath this winter gun-grey cloud,

The poppy’s purpose to remind you

Of World Wars’ One and Two,

And soldiers who still fight today

In Afghanistan and far away.

We’ll stand silent, an hour before noon,

Remembering those that fell too soon,

And die today to make us safe.

In her field, the crimson waif,

On the Eleventh of November,

The poppy helps us to remember.


© Alex Barton 2012

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Granny Sarah is full of delight,

Her village is going to party tonight,

They’re celebrating victory,

A jiwe-ya-maili  in history.

Jambo sana!

Barack Obama.”


Sipping several Tusker beers,

Whooping, shouting rowdy cheers,

Eating nyama choma,

And dancing to lingala.

Mazuri sana!’,

Barack Obama.”


The men will sit and kuvuta a puff,

While ladies imba and wiggle their stuff,

All the children cheka with glee

This’ll go chini in history!

 “Hakuna matata!

Barack Obama.”


* * *


Here are some Kiswahili translations that might help:


jiwe ya maili (self-invented expression!) Jiwe – stone, maili – mile, hence: milestone

jambo sana – A big hello

Tusker – popular brand of Kenyan beer

nyama choma – barbecue

lingala – popular Congolese music

mazuri sana – very good

kuvuta – to smoke

imba – to dance

cheka – to laugh

chini – down

hakuna matata – no problem


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The men of stone on Rushmore Mount,
What do they think as they look out
Across this vast and promised land,
Begot and formed by their own hand?

And are they proud of what they see,
Of this, The Great Democracy?
So does The Big American Dream
Still promise all it’s ever been?

Today as off to vote you go,
Remember dreams of long ago.
Consider the future and the past,
As you decide, your vote to cast.

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Dewy footprints at break of day,

Tracks upon the lawn.

Shadow’s chased away

By the sunrise early morn.


Under pergolas of hanging bells,

Bougainvillea in myriad shades,

Frangipani’s fragrant smells

Pervade the forest glades.


Cape Chestnut’s pink confetti,

And fiery Nandi Flames.

Every tree a memory:

You knew all their Latin names.


Carefully tended fruitiers:

Washington naval & stripy-lime,

The giant Araucarias

That Sacred Ibis climb.


We’d sit on the veranda

‘Neath spreading Acacia trees,

And purple Jacaranda

That used to make you sneeze!


The crickets start to hiss,

And the sun’s sucked up the dew.

You created all of this;

Mummy, your garden misses you.


Written in memory of Sue, 18.5.45 – 3.11.96

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Imagine a future mapped by throw of dice.
Impending crossroads: which way should she choose?
No lesser evil, neither option nice.
So much to gain, but scared of what’s to lose.

Just hesitate and through the cracks she’ll fall,
For in this limbo lies a damaged soul;
And quixotic thoughts achieve no end at all,
But hurtful indecision takes its toll.

Ricochet from head to heart the conflict goes,
Two scales locked in balance battle so
That parity cancels out its foe.
The weights are placed: which way will they go?

With augury’s sixth sense and conscience clear,
The Canaan she is seeking will appear.

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Savings all gone down the drain

Credit card refused again

Bailiffs knocking at the door

Demand my home and then some more

Pension stolen by the bankers

Theiving, grabbing lot of wankers.


No money, house or job: no life

The neighbour’s messing with my wife

A nicer bloke than him by far

But he drives better car

A twenty-twelve four-by-four

Mine’s a hatch-back with two doors.


Leave her, divorce her, that’s what I ought’er

But I’m scared she’ll take our daughter.

Since I’ve left the gravy train

Life will never be the same

Our good Lord, He takes the piss

There must be more to life than this?

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Morning lids flutter

Sensing empty space

Abandoned by you

 * * *



Dulls pain but not sensation

Frozen, but conscious

 * * *

Being a fresher to the blogosphere, this is my first attempt at taking part in a poetic ‘prompt’.  The prompt comes from Haiku Heights and the theme was ‘conscious’.  Actually, it’s strangely addictive writing haiku and far from being a challenge, I find the strict syllabic rules oddly helpful.  The haiku I’ve posted are my two favourite that I came up with today – I couldn’t decide which one I preferred as they are completely different!  I’ve really enjoyed reading the other submissions and the diversity of thought prompted by a single idea . . .


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Us fighting men have had enough

Of patrol and combat in the buff.

Making us go nude en masse

Just to save Prince’s Hairy, sorry, Prince Harry’s ass.

Facing the Taliban au naturel

Didn’t serve us very well;

The local folk are not impressed

We think it’s time we all got dressed.

Sand in every nook and crack

We really need our civvies back!

Tally-Ho! We’ve been courageous,

Please, no more parties in Las Vegas.



(if this doesn’t make sense please refer to my poem ‘Tally Ho‘!)

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Free-Fall Felix is such a dude,

But he has a secret, so it seems,

It’s that he eats no other food

Except for spicy beans.


How do you think he pulls those feats?

With gravitational force?

It’s all to do with what he eats,

And the side effects, of course.


Imagine guzzling beans all day:

A job for any stunt-man.

In this mono-culinary way,

He harnesses jet-propulsion.


A special space-suit was designed

Not to fall apart,

Polycarbonate and lined,

To with-stand a mega-fart.


Attaining terminal velocity,

His aim to break the speed of sound

By farting with ferocity,

Before he hit the ground.


So you think you heard a sonic boom?

We’ll you’re wrong, my friend,

That ear-splitting volume

Came from his rear end.


It gave him thrust and trajectory,

And a smelly spurt.

The fastest that a man’s ever been:

Mein Gott, how it hurt!


They made him land in the desert

Why was that d’you think?

There surrounded him an unpleasant

And quite revolting stink.


He’s said that was his final trick,

But what he really means,

Is his stomach’s gone hyper-tonic,

And he’s bored of eating beans!



(you may notice a little borrowed rhyming from Spike Milligan’s Silly Old Baboon!)

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Hollow waves break crowned in silver surf,

Relentless tumble onto glistening shores.

The damp expanse of mirrored sand

Reflects the bold blue autumn sky,

As the tide ebbs gently out

Leaving glassy pools behind,

Tempting chilly hands and shrimping nets

Into their hidden depths.


Seaweed squelches green between the toes,

Curious fingers glean crustaceous gems:

Mussels, limpets clinging tight,

Brittle starfish, hermit crabs.

Sea life treasures scooped in buckets,

As the tide flows gently in

Reclaiming the mini oceans as her own

And sandy feet head happy home.

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What a blow to English prudity,

Another case of royal nudity.

Prince Harry makes the headline story:

Snapped in all his Ginger Glory.

“Naked billiards, my favourite game,

Stripper Spike is my name.

I’m under orders to go starkers,

And you’re a bunch of nosey parkers.

Tally-ho! I showed my knob –

Only trying to do my job”.

Military spending has been reined in:

Fatigues have been thrown in the bin.

The M.O.D. has stipulated

That defence cuts will be implemented,

Troops are being packed off to war

With guns and tanks, and nothing more.

Deployed to Helmand, Camp Bastion

Without a stitch of clothing on

Tally-ho! Take off your kit,

Don’t our fighting lads look fit?

Winning over hearts and minds

With birthday suited bare-behinds.

On patrol in the altogether,

Perfect for the Afghan weather.

The sight of British Soldiers’ bits

Will scare insurgents out their wits.

Mind where you sit, please keep it clean,

And don’t forget to apply sun-cream.

Tally-ho! Taliban,

Victory in Afghanistan

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Dear Mr Miliband,

The thing we cannot stand

Is the nasal way you’ve got

Of talking like you’re full of snot.

So at this party conference

Before imparting your deliverance

Take a cotton handkerchief,

Red spotted is advised, first sniff,

Then give a loud and mighty blow

To augment and enhance your rhinal flow.

It will make the Labour Party’s day

To be addressed in a de-congested way.

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Excuse us, Mr Grey,

We’d like to have a word.

All this ‘Mummy Porn’ you’ve spawned,

Is really quite absurd.

Fifty Shades of fear –

There’s no need to domineer.


Since when was bruising girls alright?

Bed partners should be equal.

What a load of literary shite:

Won’t bother with the sequel.

Fifty Shades of bin the whips –

There’s other ways to get your kicks.


This craze for sub-dom sex

Is really just insanity.

It makes our bottoms sore,

And causes expletive profanity.

Fifty Shades of erotica –

Leaves us needing arnica.


Despite the cash & private jets,

Egoistic bondage is bestial & mean.

Nipple clamps do nothing for us:

You can keep your sado’ dream.

Fifty Shades of all f***ed up,

We’d make you tear that contract up.


A man that makes us laugh

Is all it takes to get it right.

Loving arms and honest eyes,

Massage oil and candle-light.

Fifty Shades of things to gain

You don’t need that Room of Pain


Upon Egyptian cotton sheets

Take us to orgasmic highs;

We’ll give ourselves up willingly,

No need to chain our thighs.

Fifty shades of decent linen

Brings out our inner sex-kitten.


Don’t mind a bit of kinky stuff,

But nothing too extreme.

Like melted chocolate, silken scarves,

Jacuzzis full of steam.

Fifty shades of woven lies

You don’t need those cable ties.


Poetry & integrity

Are vitues we extol.

A man who makes us feel alive,

Who’s got a lot of soul.

Fifty shades of Self Control,

No need to tie us to that pole.


Iron out your issues

Or go to see a shrink.

Loving shouldn’t hurt,

It’s easier than you think.

Fifty Shades of less is more

SM beatings just make us sore.


Sort out your neuroses,

And put away your toys.

What we need is real men,

Not f***ed up little boys.

Fifty Shades & all the hype,

Christian Grey: You’re not our type.

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The Atlantic swells towards Gaelic shores

Carrying legends of swims that have gone before.


I tell of an island as green as can be,

Rising like a turtle out of the sea;

Surrounded by rocks and crashing waves,

Pebbly beaches and secret caves;

Vertical cliffs where sea-birds nest

Battered and worn by gales from the West.

Amongst the gorse there are goats that graze,

Browsing on heather in the sea-spray haze.


Now, once a year, at the end of summer

Swimmers compete to out-do one-another.

In this most competitive of swims

The first round the island is the one that wins.

The water is choppy, the tide is high;

In they dive under a low, grey sky.

Swim-hatted and eager with a mighty lunge

Dozens of people take the plunge


Diving from the slip-way they start the race

The guys at the front set a cracking pace.

Athletic strokes and goggled-eyed,

Spurred on & rallied by seagulls’ cries.

Hazards below from all sorts of things:

Rocks that can gash and jellyfish stings.

In a bright orange RIB are the RNLI,

On hand just in case, & keeping an eye.


Eager spectators crowd the shore

Cheer for their friends with a deafening roar.

The first body emerges with shiny, pink skin.

Quite out of breath, but pleased with his win.

Atop their green and grassy knoll

The goats haven’t noticed anything at all.

A curious seal pokes his head out,

Wondering what all the fuss is about.


The tide is ebbing away from here:

‘Slán go fóill’, until next year.

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