Selected Poems by Rob Godfrey

To see a black cat
on a black bin
on a black night
you donít look directly at it
you look away
and youíll see it from the corner of your eye
Peripheral vision
and on a different level
writing poetry
is a bit



The Yank In The Tank

We chased limelight to Tower Bridge
to see our dreams hang in the air,
where once stews sucked on Eckett's ridge
and cholera took Bill Sikes' lair.
I caught my breath, your gymslip dare,
as little girls sang songs to Dave,
the thrusting piles of finance there
now plunged into Fagin's moist grave.
We thought it was rather quite brave
to swing with dollymops and rats
in such a very taboo place, save
for chic bistros and yuppy flats;
and I gave you a crooked grin;
you said: "shut-up and drink your gin".


E ad a good innings

Time please, gents, the lid is closing.
A cart-shaped wreath, a toilet farce;
the lads are lashed, the women pass
smelling salts (Dan's decomposing).
A yellow grin, for Mo's just seen a
therapist, her cough all tarry,
joining in Dan's death safari:
3 packs a day to emphysema:
a last bet on the Old Kent Road,
some jellied eels and rancid toad
in the hole and auntie Glynis
almost followed from too much Guinness;
with flowers, dirt and coined regrets
we turn away, light cigarettes.




For Maz

If I could write such joyous pain,
the mellow flux, the ecstasy,
the ink portrays a starry mane,
an orbit reaching apogee:

disintegration, c'est la vie
for qualia that race in space;
a tea ball dance with gravity:
creation is a lonely place.
Hip volatiles and ions trace
consummation in the sky.
Erato shrugs and turns her face
towards a fond goodbye.

Cognition clicks, ideas won,
skin will warm beneath the sun.



Merde A La Puissance Treize

White worms drop down from pussy's arse
to join the heaving, cack caked floor.
The flies and mites sup rooster cum
and dance around where rubbers score
fecal byways. By the barn door
a hen sits on her rotting brood;
all maggoty, the sulphurs pour
into the heat where pigs once queued
for lies and pain and carrion food.
God's animals don't mind the smell
and defecate right where they sit;
yet barnyard creatures know quite well
that humans, too, are full of shit.



The Sid Vicious Memorial Bench

A little yellow duck leaps up
to snatch my burning cigarette.
Sheep-snot stained shirt and a cup
of Cap de Merle where willows pet
Sidís memory. No nailed regret,
beneath the bench the shadows lean
with razor grass they turn and let
the nightmare stuff, the sweat-soaked dream,
dissolve in cool depths, opaque, unseen.

Les canard chew polystyrene.
Raised beaks see off the geese then flay
young, spiky plumes, fluorescent green,
while crap seeps down into the clay;
but ponds donít care about the way
frogs always make discordant sound,
and swifts and swallows have to stay
aloft, while we stick to the ground;
where vicious Spungens downed and drown.



Spiritual Mornings

One day I kissed Lois Hunter
while Billy Bunter stole the milk,
summer hols stretched to the stars
our confidence was spun like silk.

A different ilk, it seems,
in sad deceit of manhood ways.
Your touch still lingers in my mind,
the yellow bruise of playground days.

Our rush of discovery,
shy, ductile
vernal palms between the bushes,
the dirt beneath our fingernails,
humus data
for the poem to make sense.



Suspicious Packages

We will return to Hammersmith
and cackle over Rotten Row,
those cavalry killed by the whiff
of compost and the crack below
the Union flag. It's time to blow
a bloody hole in Bishopsgate
and steer tourists towards Heathrow
with flying limbs and a blind date.
No statues for our good and great,
no heroes stand in M.Tussauds;
our lives are filled with waxy hate,
we'll cremate children for the cause.
We go to work on Monday mornings
with packages and coded warnings.



Sitting on a hillside in the Wye Valley

This poem is dedicated to the 11,000 sailors who died in the Atlantic convoys during World War Two. They sacrificed their lives in order to keep Britain from starving.After the war, farming methods were changed in order to make Britain self-sufficient in food. These changes radically transformed the British countryside.

Beneath the angry, untamed sky
Stretch pleated folds of timeless stone
The perfect countryside's reply
Beneath the angry, untamed sky
The angled hand of man's supply
A landscape shaped and raped and thrown
Beneath the angry, untamed sky
Stretch pleated folds of timeless stone.

These bodies rot, the flag is flown
In corduroy fields where corn cobs grow
Eleven thousand all alone
These bodies rot, the flag is flown
The forest cowered, the cables thrown
In Finisterre and Scarpa Flow
These bodies rot, the flag is flown
In corduroy fields where corn cobs grow.

Beneath the waves, down deep below
Stretch pleated folds of timeless stone
While livestock munch and machines hoe
Beneath the waves, down deep below
Lay crumbling hulks in phosphorus glow
The hungry fed, the harvest sown
Beneath the waves, down deep below
Stretch pleated folds of timeless stone.



Sand Castles

Wet sand, it sticks between cold toes
where mounds display so many flags.
Their shells are slippery and rank Ė
in paradise there is no smell,
just masks without expression.

I'll make a castle to keep out the waves
a lovely home for the crabs and mermaids

We lay foundations over death,
our hopes are built on fertile land.
The sea is rich beneath the breath
of magma and God's steady hand.

People are evil and God will destroy them
when I grow up I will live in a cave

Waves pass through the human swarm,
this energy is mc squared:
Oort, Centauri, the child moved
inside a sphere of solitude
a niche from where tachyons spewed
crude superstrings and other things
stewed in quintessence. All life
was one. All points were shooed
into a castle on the beach.

Why is it dark, it's not bedtime?
a monster's flying through the sky!

(no time to ask the where or why)
A burning dog licks its bollocks
and God becomes a grain of sand.



Sheet Metal Sonnet

"I'll cut your bleeding square throat back,
the wanky Gilbos are too blunt,
this square to round pox needs more knack,
Consultant's pulled another stunt.
The comic's drawn by some right runt;
me strife gives me a fucking fit;
'er Bodrum bum arf makes me grunt,
it's all a load of stainless shit".

The tea is brewed, a roll-up's lit,
with black bitch thumbs, a mastic grin;
sixteen gauge skin, Swarfega grit:
It'll all just end-up in the bin.

We're slipped a monkey from a Turk
and tell our shrinks about ductwork.




Black lines, black tiles, a furtive smoke
inside the drop space, where clicks and
clacks rise with the heat; wet rubbers hiss,
soft plastic drips, inside the sheol
a lonely dermis cackles over
thin metal sunk in dura mater.
The locks dissolve along with air,
flickers hurry to the surface
without minding the gap between
two sides divided by a rattle:
number one hundred and fifteen
now waits inside a paupers grave
his foreign parts forgotten.



Mind The Gap

Like Sherlock Holmes they stroke and shelve
lawnmowers, teeth, urns gone astray
(old Mr Moss, born 1912);
brown bakerloo strums Yesterday.
Who needs a Chinese typer, say?
or likes to taste bull sperm from Devon?
From bloody birth to dying day,
lost property of Mr Bevan.
Now riding a stairway to heaven
this white city is full of hate
for one-unders who like eleven
o'clock, and now we're running late.
Someone once loved these objets trouvťs;
their epitaph: yet more delay.




In the garden, beneath the citrus tree,
sunkissed slices, tangy sap,
stinging skin, segmented selves;
we pulled and peeled and purred,
beneath the citrus tree,
twisting, turning, tasting tongues,
biting bliss,
beneath the citrus tree, in the garden.



Westminster Sunset

This city is a fist, a sum
of storeys (knuckles bruise the sky);
its sores now soaked in sodium,
its roar drowns out the swallows sly
retreat. The Standard wires cry
where tumourous foundations criss-
cross caged clay and rodents shy
away. Terry and Julie kiss
amidst the rushing hours hiss
the scurry wags a question there:
perhaps there's more to life than this?
Fingers uncurl a circus fair;
beside Big Ben they see and feel
a trippy, turning hamster wheel.



Cloggie Cinquain

A dripping night
The dead combustion clicks
Our shadows shrink into the dawn
To die.

Guylian lips
I roll another Drum
while you suck the severed silence
and stare.

and feeling numb
penned by misted windows
waiting for nothing to happen



A Square Limerick

I have the dubious distinction of being the third person in the world to write a square limerick (the first and second beat me to it by a matter of hours). A square limerick is exactly the same as any square poem; ie, the words in the opening line have to be the first words in the following lines, and the words in the final line have to be the end words in all the preceeding lines. This is just about impossible to do with a limerick while still maintaining the rhythm. If you donít believe me have a go yourself (the trick is to write the final line before any others and then work backwards). Hereís my effort:

A man known as Smithers
man handles and delivers
known hepatic specimins, oh quite,
as in the organ on the right.
Smithers delivers quite right livers.


Commuter - An Installation by Rob Godfrey     Tintin Pages      The 2CV Alaska Challenge     Books by Rob Godfrey

Local Radio France     The Burgundy Blog     About/Contact