An Alternative View

[I don’t think I’ve posted this one before.]


I remember

a black and white photo of a boy

in bed on Christmas morning,

a model-plane kit on the blanket;

coloured in my memory.

I remember hands hurting in the snow;

throbbing pink after snowballing.

I remember no Christmas tree

but the dry weightlessness

of balsa wood and pressing pins

to secure wings to paper

plan; sharp addictive smell

of glue and drum-like tautness

of dope-stretched tissue across

wing ribs and fuselage; winding up

elastic band powered propeller. Its level flight

reward enough for patience.

I remember a solid fuel pack

when lit sent another plane

out of sight with a fizz and a buzz

and a burnt chemical stink. I lost that plane

when it flew over roof tops.

I remember gazing at grey snowflakes

drifting against a bright sky and wondering

why everyone said snow was white.



The theme for my writers’ group over the New Year is ‘an overheard conversation’- this is my flash fiction response. The part about Foreign Aid is a conversation I’ve heard more than once!

Parvati stands in front of the frozen food compartments with her mobile phone pressed between her shoulder and ear. Her voice carries but she isn’t shouting.
“Do you want crinkle or chunky chips?” After barely a pause she leans into the iced chasm and fishes out a large bag of chunky chips.
“Can you check to see if we need more peas?” Another microsecond pause and she brings out a large bag of frozen peas which she dumps unceremoniously into her nearly full to bursting shopping trolley. As she pushes it to the next isle she becomes aware of someone trying to catch her attention by waving her arms from the textile section.
“Hi Parvati – looks like you’re nearly finished.”
It’s her friend, Helen who gives her a quick hug.
Parvati hurriedly drops her phone into her red handbag. Helen is speaking, “Have you heard the latest? River View’s flooded again – water’s about a metre deep in numbers 8 -20.”
Parvati nods and says she is glad she lives on a hill. Helen continues.
“You know what gets me – all that foreign aid – it’s ridiculous all those millions could be spent on proper flood defences. And guess what? The Flood Minister’s spent Christmas in Bar-bloody- Bados!”
Parvati’s face contorts briefly in empathy and she jabs her finger for emphasis –
“I’d stop most of the foreign aid – I mean for all we know it could be going to fund ISIS. Anyway, India doesn’t need Aid – there’s too much corruption there!”
“Exactly – and you should know, eh Parvati?”
The two friends push their trolleys between the Dairy produce and the Ready Meal isles. Parvati heads for the Asian Food section and Helen follows.
Parvati points to a jar of curry mix. “Have you tried the Tikka Masala Paste? – it really does the job.”
Helen smiles and spits out a few more nuggets.
“I thought you’d be more authentic; why choose Pataks all the time? You should try the Bangalore Biryani Mix – look it’s on Special Offer.”
Parvati reaches for a jar of the Biryani and places it in her trolley.
“Well that’s me finished. See you Helen. Let’s hope the storms pass and we can get back to normal.”
Parvati heads towards a checkout while Helen continues her weekly shop.

PARIS SUMMIT – Is it too late?

london flooded

I thought I’d combine the seasonal trappings with the Paris Summit.

To be sung to the usual tune!


Fa la la la

We all know the sea is rising –
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Polar ice is surely melting –
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Keep on burning fossil fuels –
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Turn our backs on clean renewals –
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

No more polar bears on telly –
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
It is raining so bring your brolly –
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Bangladesh is sinking slowly –
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
We forgot that life was holy –
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

We are heading for extinction –
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
All because of air pollution –
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

The sky above is growing darker –
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
The next to go will be Gibraltar –
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Tis the season to be jolly –
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
But let’s reflect upon our folly –
Fa la la la la, la la la la.


Christmas Messages

marley's ghost

Christmas Messages

Through the rain
I read,
Bypass the Hassle
on the back of a bus,
but most people
ignore the injunction
and tie themselves
up in Christmas urge,
push and shove,
shout and shush.
A Christmas tree
in the arms of one
consumer terrorist
an accidental weapon;
flaying shoppers.
burst underfoot.
swell the sweet streets
singing of shepherds
and distant deliveries.

Tell the truth at Christmas


Tell the truth

She told her daughter that there was no such thing
as Santa and that his reindeer didn’t visit
and eat a plate of carrots;
but she also told her
she used to be a circus trapeze artist and her dad
a lion-tamer and that’s how mum and dad had met.
She didn’t tell the truth but tell it slant –
she told it straight with a dash
of make-believe.