A Voice Outwith the Crowd.

If the cap fits!  Try as I might, I have never been able to conform for the sake of it.  It’s just not in my DNA – and, for that, I am eternally grateful.  Opinions belong to the individual, however; to those who are interested and passionate about life – and who care enough to want to be heard above the crowd.  Writing has long been my release and, in a world which is becoming increasingly lost, there is so much to be said!  Often controversial – to be fair, usually controversial – sometimes the words flow more easily in verse.  This page is testament to that and home to poems I have written about subjects I feel strongly.  Nothing if not cathartic!   

No Game …

I’ve had enough, there is no doubt
The fridge is bare, I’m all cleaned out.
I’ve tried to maintain a voice of cheer
But the towel is in, all hail King Lear!

Charlie Watts has gone, the Stones are three
Thanks for the memories and the reverie.
As for ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’?
Beloved?  A classic?  Oh, no, inflammatory!

The world’s gone mad, there’s no denying
To surpass the gloom is increasingly trying.
The rhetoric of fear is unabating
Inject the children while we’re waiting!

A year and a half has come and gone
Life is no more but we soldier on.
Daily statistics, manipulated, are still fed
Nothing’s changed, don’t think, just obey and be led.

Meanwhile, boost your immune system, take Vitamin D
For, if you fall ill, no doctor you’ll see.
Most, now, work from home for a better life balance
Take a call, go online, if it’s not COVID, it’s callous!

Millions are vaccinated, has it made any difference?
Has freedom been granted, restrictions been lifted?
It seems we’re going nowhere, confusion abounds
But the dots they are a-joining, the truth will be found.

Travel is impossible unless it’s to Bognor
Staycationers en masse, forget spontaneity, that’s an order!
Masks are ubiquitous, there’s a virus out there
The vaccinated need boosters?  No long-term data spells unaware.

Emergency legislation has been extended, of that never fear
Control, a powerful weapon, no liability, in the clear.
Wake up and take notice before it’s too late
Or sign your life over to government and state.

Oh, help, it’s depressing and so difficult to see
A way back to before when, at least, we were free.
The definition of Groundhog, every day is the same
Cue the bars, charge admission, this is definitely no game …

A Voice Outwith the Crowd
August 2021

Talking of Cowboys …

Like cowboys in a movie
You thought you had him beat
You drew your gun, he hit the ground
The end. No more. Defeat!

You turned and walked, white stilettos intact
You licked your lips (poetic licence) in glee
But he was down, not out, his gun still loaded
The shot in the back, you did not foresee!

So, the chaps are on, the hats in situ
The spurs they are a spinning
But how does one beat a clone of oneself?
There are no depths too low, I’m winning!

Like cowboys in a movie?
No, that could never be
For, here, there are two baddies
No goody that I can see.

It’s perfect, though, think about it
One will take the other down
The clones/clowns, in their bid for independence
Will ensure the Union’s crown.

A Voice Outwith the Crowd
March 2021

Dear Meghan …

Well, you’ve done as you intended, you had your say
The fallout was inevitable, the Family in disarray.
I wonder if you’re happy, feel vindicated at last?
You have Harry where you want him, at sea without a mast!

So predictable, nay so rehearsed, no greater part to play
And Oprah was the perfect voice to reach the audience you craved.
First sympathy must be procured, look dewy-eyed, downtrodden
For unprotected, unprepared, you reached the very bottom.

None of this was of your doing, you tried your best, you say
Kind to all, without a doubt, just the victim of racism at play.
You lost your voice, your passport, your life was not your own
The press attacked you for no reason, you wanted to go home.

The wedding cost a fortune, you were granted every wish
Prince Harry, the country’s favourite, what could possibly go amiss?
Who was to know you wanted it all, renouncing hierarchy and tradition
Ambition and fame, it’s all about me, haven’t you heard the news, I’m Meghan!

Meghan gets what Meghan wants and Harry proved the key
Beloved by all, I’ll play along, the perfect wife I’ll be.
I’ll stick it out for just a while but I am definitely no Kate
No life of service, not a chance, subservient, I ain’t!

No photographs of Archie, no details of the birth
Privacy is what I crave, I know exactly my own worth.
The tide has turned, the honeymoon over, butter melting, that’s a fact
Time to play poor little me, racism is where it’s at!

No protection, no security, concerns about Archie’s colour
What happened to the title, deserving like any other?
Did we say we wanted privacy, to lead a normal life?
Don’t be ridiculous, I want it all, I’m Meghan, Harry’s wife!

Enough is enough, it’s not going my way, call the private jet, let’s go
Friends in high places, deals to be made, Oprah is waiting, don’t you know?
It’s all about thriving not just surviving, right? I need to tell my truth
The greatest fairytale of all time, I call it, and that’s a fact, forsooth!

What about Harry? Oh, yes, he I married. He’s happy, I told him so
For what he’s lost, look what he’s gained, the privacy to grow.
Netflix, Spotify, private jets, 16 bathrooms, he can’t complain
His family, his brother? Well, they’re in the past, our fortune will ease the pain.

A Voice Outwith the Crowd
March, 2021

By Her Own Hand

To the best of my knowledge
I wasn’t there
I can’t remember clearly
I was not aware.

From recollection
I can’t recall
29th March?
Well, sort of, that’s all.

I am First Minister
That, I do know
But to pretend I’m infallible
That just isn’t so.

Still concerned about him
Of my loyalty, take note
But where is the evidence
For me to revoke?

Subject to redaction?
Not my fault I’m sure
Notes of meetings not forthcoming?
Attempts to obscure?

Last to give evidence
Yet, seemingly so unprepared
Blanks, inexplicable
By contradiction, snared.

So totally gripping
I watched it unfold
The noose quickly tighten
As bravado was sold.

To fall on one’s own sword
Who’d have thought it? Such disdain
But, today, powerless to stem the flow
By your country, you were slain.

A Voice Outwith the Crowd
March 2021

WOKE UP!

Mary had a little lamb … is that ‘allowed’, please tell?
“Don’t be ridiculous!”, came the reply, you deserve to go to Hell!
To speak of Mary, in this way, is nothing short of blashpeme
And, as for Jesus? ‘A little lamb? Good grief, most definitely obscene!

‘I’m not going to spend my life being a colour’, that’s what Michael said
But that’s exactly what he did, from black to white, instead.
George Floyd’s death became Black Lives Matter, injustice has to end
Give me the power, I’ll use it well, first, history, I’ll amend.

Tear down the statue of Edward Colston, graffiti that of Winston
He saved us in our darkest hour but that’s only your opinion.
Forget ‘the many’, think of ‘the few’, surely, he was racist?
He was white, he was privileged, that’s enough, context unrelated!

David Hume, philosopher acclaimed, there is a ‘tower’ in his name
Important to me, my lectures were there, when to Edinburgh, I came.
But a Masters student, of one year only, took umbrage at his memory
Letter? Slave plantation? Change the name! Guilty of white supremacy.

Hang on a minute, there is still more, what of ‘Last Night of the Proms’?
In the name of ‘woke’, they tried to revoke tradition and its very core.
‘Rule Britannia!’, ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, these words cannot be heard
To hell with history, it’s 2020, WE want justice for George Floyd!

The World of Disney? This can’t be so, please tell me it’s immune?
Happy ever after, films spanning the years, adored by me and you.
For goodness sake, please concentrate, look for the negative and you will see
That Peter Pan is racist, Dumbo, too. Lady & The Tramp? That’s three!

Hey, this is working, people are listening, scared to criticise
The ‘Tyranny of Tolerance’ is a mighty foe, designed to terrorise.
No gender specifics, call me ‘it’ or ‘they’, I’ll choose what e’er I please
Life, as it was, is dead and gone, this is the world according to me!

Life is unfair, I’m not happy, who said anything about self-esteem?
This victim culture’s gaining momentum, the brief, once more? Poor me!
What to do is absolutely nothing, sit online, pick a subject and attack
Minority group? Even better, who’d be fool enough to hit back.

Colour and gender, the two key words guaranteed to give free reign
Black Girls Hike? Surely not? Has the world, truly, gone insane?
Change ‘black’ to ‘white’, designed to incite, that would never be accepted
Discrimination? Not at all, move the goal posts, that’s expected!

No standards, no morals, forget manners, why bother?
Bias is rife, everyone’s aggrieved, attack in packs, that’s an order!
Common sense and intelligence? Consigned to history, it would seem
And history is the new swear word for, back then, they were mean!

What gives ‘the few’ the right to dictate, history to delete?
It belongs to ‘the many’ and ‘the many’ object, learn from it, don’t just bleat!
The ‘Tyranny of Tolerance’, bullying, be sure, is cunning in its guise
But give an inch, they take a mile, reveal their hand, expose the smile.

For ‘woke’ is a victim culture, birth dictates the joining fee
Some bemoan the hand they’re given, some accept responsibility.
Ultimately, we walk this path, alone, one life, one chance, one legacy
Change the ‘o’ to an ‘a’, wake up to ‘Poor me!’ Love yourself, that’s the key
And start living!

A Voice Outwith the Crowd
February 2021

Ode to COVID

I’m wary of the radio
I no longer watch the news.
There is no escape, it’s all about you
What happened to the right to choose?

Life in 2020, call that living?
Rather echoes of animals in a zoo.
Born to be free, now home is a prison
What happened to the right to choose?

Separated from family and friends
There is no me and you.
Loneliness and anxiety where once there was fun
What happened to the right to choose?

Life in a frame, one calls it Zoom
Just click and you’ve got it, a friend on a screen.
No need to travel, to dress or to move
What happened to the right to choose?

Fear is a constant, isn’t that the intent?
The figures keep coming, there is no relent.
Restrictions and rules, so much we can’t do
What happened to the right to choose?

The country is divided, belief or suspicion?
Masks or no masks? Acceptance or derision?
From lockdown to Tiers, constantly confused
What happened to the right to choose?

The acclaimed NHS is battling on
But winter is here and summer has gone.
There are more threats than COVID, there’s cancer, there’s flu
What happened to the right to choose?

As jobs are lost and businesses go under
People are in crisis. Suicide? See the numbers.
COVID, you’ve done this, you’ve unstuck the glue
What happened to the right to choose?

Is this a plan to exert control?
A communist state devoid of free will.
The vaccine is coming, arm out to infuse
What happened to the right to choose?

COVID, you have enabled the death of free will
Liberty is gone, rather, take a pill.
Sheep, form a line, you see nothing to lose
But me? I was born to have the right to choose …

A Voice Outwith the Crowd
January 2021

STILL MAGICAL …

It must have been August, I saw the first cards
The perfect excuse? This year has been hard.
But summer’s not over, yet winter’s begun
What happened to waiting for good things to come?

This year has been awful, the stress hard to bear
COVID and lockdown, isolation and despair.
Something to look forward to, that’s what we need
But Christmas means December, don’t spoil it, I plead.

Once it was magical, a time to wish, to dream
Families all together, so simple, no extremes.
The glistening lights, the smell of the tree and presents all around
I still remember, always will, every sight and every sound.

But the years have gone, nothing stays the same
Turbo-charged by technology, the once gentle life has been claimed.
Broken families, too much work, no time and no money
Christmas? Oh, help! It’s really not funny.

It started in August, the build-up, that is
The year, it was taken, start making that list.
No, is the answer, four months in advance?
There’s COVID, there’s lockdown, no energy to dance!

COVID is going nowhere, there is no room for cheer
You can’t do this, you can’t do that and don’t forget to fear.
Tempers are frayed as tiredness abounds; darkness is unrelenting
It’ll never get done, I’ve run out of steam; pass the gin, I’m dissenting!

Once I believed in Santa, that it would all fall into place
But that was then and this is now, he’s gone and so’s my faith.
Or is it? Listen! I love this song, it takes me right back when
Two little boys had two little toys and I’m a child again.

The magic is in the music, the songs which transport you back
To fairy lights, snow and gentler times when nothing did we lack.
Noddy shouts ‘It’s Christmas!’ and, suddenly, the world is alight
For it’s the memories which sustain you, make everything alright.

So, Christmas is still magical, close your eyes and you will hear
‘Merry Christmas, war is over’, it’s the end of a horrible year.
The sleigh bells, they are jingling, the song I hold so dear
Wham, ‘Last Christmas”, I give you my heart, now and for all of my years.

THE. END

A Voice Outwith the Crowd
December 2020

Below is a poem I wrote eleven years ago.  Dated November 2009, it is written from the perspective of a wild animal in a zoo.  One in particular, actually: Mercedes, who, thankfully, was to be the last polar bear in captivity in the UK.

In 2005, I spent many hours filming her for the Born Free Foundation, praying that she wouldn’t look me in the eye …  Captured as a cub in Manitoba, Canada, she was flown to Edinburgh Zoo to spend her life in a concrete enclosure, reduced to nothing more than a money-making exhibit for human entertainment.

Mercedes is long gone but, sadly, she is representative of so many more wild animals, born to be free yet cruelly sentenced to a life in captivity.  Beyond the bars …

FUTILE

What can I see beyond the bars?
Them.  Pointing, laughing, staring
At me.  Why?
Every day, relentless.
Futile.

What can I do in my concrete world?
Nothing.  Sleep, pace and more sleep.
Why me?
Every day, relentless.
Futile.

What can they learn from me behind these bars?
Nothing.  Dead birds, cakes and sweet corn, a diet for …
Not me.
Every day, relentless.
Futile.

But when I close my eyes, I can see
Endless skies, my family, life
As it was meant to be.
Not futile but free …

A Voice Outwith the Crowd
November 2009