These are the everyday verses of a woman freethinker.

Written sporadically over a period of more than 40 years.

Untutored in the man made rules of poetry they are merely the minimal and mildly rhythmical  expressions of ideas - philosophical and personal - as they occurred and demanded to be written.

The subjects may be serious or fanciful, but not trivial.

I take any opportunity to read my poems because that is the way they come alive.


Pity the Poor Believer Breath of Life Fate? Aggravation
The Perfect Woman The Life and Times of Violet Elizabeth Promises Promises
The Tractor Potman & Four Boys Cats On the Death of my Mother
Should I not wake The Motorway The Jogger Patience & Bolshie Woman
Good Girl   3x Peace Poems A few more verses?
All Things Bright and Beautiful Charity On Writing Verse
Fear The Night Road   Links



Promises Promises

They give us a problem
Then the give us an answer .
That only they can provide.

To a God shaped hole
They give us a God
Along with a book of instructions.

They say we want immortality
So promise us life everlasting
With the sureness of heaven to boot

They say we fear death
So they threaten with hell
And a judgment day just to make sure.
They say we want unconditional love
And come up with Jesus.
Oh yes?'

They say we are weak
Don't know how to behave
We're human, so what's that about?

They say we are poor weak and sinful

"Made in the image of God"

Is that just to confuse us - or what?




Pity the Poor Believer
    Pity the poor believer,
    He's having a really hard time.
    Defending his god, and his churches obsessions.
    It's weird superstitions, and doctrines divine.
    All the sins of his church, he'd not noticed before.
    He's doing his best against all the odds.
    But it's really hard going and not very fair
    without any reason or rhyme.
    Pity the poor believer,
    It comes as a bit of a shock.
    Betrayed by his God, and called to explain
    What 'everyone else' has done wrong.
    The grief and deception, the conflict and war
    All the cruelty man can inflict.
    And all in the name of his peace loving God,
    And his only son Jesus Christ.
    Pity the poor believer,
    He's not had to do this before.
    No-one dared question his age old beliefs
    God's word was the law, and the bible his proof.
    With these and his priests, he need never question,
    Contradictions he can't understand, not even thought of before.
    Once it was simple and faith was enough,
    It's just not like that any more.



    I find that people think that not

    believe in 'free will' & 'fate' is

    contradictory. I wrote this to explain:-

    Do I believe in Fate?
    You are who you are.
    The product of your genes.
    The chances of your life
    Your learned experience.
    You can change another
    Another can change you.
    But you are only who you are,
    So can you change yourself?
    The person you are now,
    Is not the one you were.
    Nor yet the one you will become.
    The sum of life so far.
    Don't believe in fate,
    Or self determination.
    But power to change another,
    As others have changed you.



The Perfect Woman?


There she stands

Above us

A lesson to us all

Beautiful and flawless

Eyes downcast

Modest in her glory

No tea towel, apron at her waist

No sweat upon her brow

No blood, no gore, no ugliness

No crying baby at her feet

Serene she stands



No complaint comes from her lips

No harsh indictments.

Just soothing compliments.

Forgiveness and Devotion.


June 2007


Two Secular Peace Poems

These were written to be read at a meeting of peace activists many of whom assume that their religions are the only legitimate basis for peace activism. I see secularism and the struggle against superstition and sectarianism as essential for world peace. I needed to say this without confronting them too harshly

1) A Secular Prayer for Humanity

Let us not ask to be delivered from evil.
But deliver ourselves and our country

From Superstition born of fear.
From Prejudice born of dogma.
From Poverty born of Greed
Competition born of culture.
From Racism born of ignorance.
From Conflict born of power.

For these are the causes of war.


I also read my much earlier verse inspired by a leaflet created by the Women's League for Peace and Freedom on war toys. The argument is that too many men do not grow out of the child-like excitement of guns!

The inspiration for this little verse came from an early leaflet on why not to buy war toys- The main point being that some people never grow out out of the excitement and the message of that childish 'fun'


Toy Guns

Bang, Bang
Fall down
"Again!" "Again!"

Shotgun Pellets.
Band Bang

Real gun.
Real bullets
Bang Bang



Learning the Lessons

Look Back

Look back and learn from the past.
Look back to the prayers that did not get answered.
To the death and destruction of past generations.

Look back to the old divine order,
To the buying and selling of women and children.
Betrothal for power and gain.

Look back to the armies of Christendom
With knights and saints at their head,
Bringing the heathen to heel.

Enough of this talking in riddles.
Look back to the cruel suppression
Of those with diff'rent beliefs.

Look back to the burning of torture
Of those who dared to oppose,
And the wholesale oppression of women


See now what hinders the making of peace.
How the age old beliefs still hold sway.
See now what it is that keeps people apart.
See still the sectarian strife.

Look forward

Look forward to shedding irrational belief.
Look forward to thinking anew.
To ditching the old superstitions
To a new dawn of rational thought.





The Life and Times of Violet Elizabeth

My what a beautiful baby. Strong, healthy and bright as a button.

Never mind her not being a boy.

Take no notice. A girl is easier to raise than a boy. More pliant and sweet.

It used to be different of course.

“You will need a son to ‘provide’, take care of you when you get old.”

Where did that come from I wonder?

How many men do you know, who care for their elderly rellies?


As she grew, all that was forgotten. Delightful!  Enchanting! What a Darling.

So sweet in her frilly wee socks.

She does have her tantrums of course, and doesn’t she know her own mind?

But then, what is new about that!

As she grows she’s a bit of a tomboy, as she joins in the rough and the tumble.

But cries when she’s hurt by the boys.

Soon she will learn that to stay in the picture,  other ways will have to be found.


Poor Violet Elizabeth. She tries to join in. Why won’t they let her join in?

She can run, climb and hide.

She may be spunky, but they won’t let her play, she can’t be one of the gang.

She’s clever too. But is that a problem?

Should she compete or co-operate, defer to her elders and betters.

In order to join in the fun.

But the top boy won’t let her, she’s only a girl, and his gang is only for boys


Now she’s learning what everyone likes. Look pretty and help mum and gran.

Drama Queen  they can take in small doses.

Doing homework’s a bit of a bore, a drag and a chore

But she knows it’s the way to get on.

Now she is coming into her own, her brothers are spotty and gauche.

While Mum and Dad worry about him.

Her paths are perfectly clear. Wife and mother, career girl, leading lady, a star.


What a beauty, how clever, what promise. Sparks desire wherever she goes.

Every cygnet a beautiful swan 

Looking after her man, her mother and child. Good grades, brains and beauty!

What more could anyone want?

Now the past, the present the future, her station in life wife and mother .

While her man gets on with his job.

She struggles with, juggles with family life, if she wants to have all that is promised.


In the wide, wide world, other issues arise. She wants to join in, to enter the fray.

‘Bin there done that’ as they say.

She knows about kids, and ‘community life’. Knows about doctors and teachers and vets.

About aging and housing and rubbish.

She knows about health and living conditions, and finance and pensions and politics.

Though Violet Elizabeth’s a treasure.

These are serious issues that need first class brains to sort out.


She knows about wars, and fighting and killing. She knows about cruel and violent men.

And the power of church and of state.

But Violet Elizabeth’s a woman – what can she possibly say – that we do not already know?

Run along Violet Elizabeth.

Go do your womanly things, serious stuff is man’s business, and needs men to sort it all out!

Join in, speak, write if you must?

But please keep out of our way, don’t argue, confront us - and certainly don’t contradict.


May 2005



Pot Man

Pot-man keeping order
Shuffle round the bar.
Ends his daily usefulness
Downs another jar.
Bitter, stout, lager, mixed?
Who cares? not he.
Appealing eyes Defy rebuff.
Dog-ends and a pinch of snuff.


Pot Man' and 'Four Boys' - two verses on afternoon observations in a West End pub. 1982 


Four Boys

Four boys sit,
No time, no place
Suspended on the edge of space.

Gazing limp
Observe the scene
No mind, no face, no go, no been.

In the Green Man
Up West.
Amid the hustle, no go, no zest.

On the brink,
Just looking on
Inside, yet out, looking in, looking on

Magic snap
Time "gentlemen please"
One to the loo, three still in frieze.

Smoke from the lips
Words from the mouth
Animation, the moment is gone.




    The Tractor
    I'm sitting on the river bank, summer hazes rise.
    The sound and swoop of summer birds,
    I feel the need for words.
    The smell of heavy country air. The time of new cut hay.
    The antics of a tractor provide my cabaret.
    Prancing, darting through the trees, it's heavy jaws aloft.
    Rising, falling, turn about, like some ungainly beast.
    It's ritual dance performing to an unseen mate
    Hidden from my view, she watches,
    Gazers at, admiringly his thrusts and pirouettes.
    (Such erotic dancing, from a tractor seems absurd,
    Yet there it is for all to see.
    Cavorting in a secret field.... perhaps I shouldn't stare!)
    Impressed to see his massive arms lift high a ton of hay
    Gyrating back and forth, vibrating moves the very air.
    She wonders at his manlike powers,
    to lay the land so bare.
    The haywain grows, just stubble left, one second, all is still.
    Instant death, no cough or twitch
    To show that life was there.....


Breath of Life


Breath of Life

The human personality is like the wind.
Most hold a steady course...... with peaks and troughs.

From the first gasp and gusts of......
Air rushing in and out of tiny lungs.

In mood and action
Some rise and fall, blow hot, blow cold.

Others rage and storm and lash their lovers.
Rant and scream at life's injustice.
Storms and hurricanes scatter debris.

While tornadoes, wonderful to see
Leave in their wake a trail of trials and tribulations
Indiscriminate, people in it's path, blown and battered....

To settle where they may.
While others hardly cause a ripple.
Exert a downward force to keep the millpond still.

Gentle souls who whisper, hardly move the air.
Till death the merest breath
Sigh, now still.

2002 (?)



Patience is a virtue,
Possess it if you can.
You'll need it darling daughter,
You'll need it for a man.

You'll need it while you're waiting
While your chap props up the bar
While he adjusts his motorbike,
Or tries to start the car.

You'll need it for the hours
He spends, miles and miles away,
Watching cricket, football, golf,
Whatever's on that day.

Patience will be needed too
When tradesmen come to call.
You'll need it at the checkout,
And queuing in the rain,
You've got to go to town by train,
The damn thing's late again.

You'll need it at the clinics,
And for waiting at the schools.
Waiting is a part of life,
Try not to lose your cool

Patience will be needed too
When tradesmen come to call
They say they'll come so many times
Be glad they'll come at all!

Life is full of busy men.
Their time is worth a lot.
Have you ever wondered why
A woman's time is not?


Bolshie Woman

Hello! I'm here,
can you see me?
I'm not small or grey,
Or in any way

I'm standing at the bar,
queuing with the men.
I have money in my hand.
I am waiting to be served...
Serve me! damn you serve me!

If I walked into a shop,
Picked up goods and walked away.
You'd see me then all right.
The clue is that I'm 50,
An instant give away

When I was young and beautiful
I was visible to all.
Men like cats, always aware.
Not only would they see me,
But would hear me, with one ear.

My children always saw me
At least when they were small.
But one thing you'll discover is
The change from Mum to Mother is
A real trans-sub-stance-iation

If I really do insist on being heard
I'll have to shout.
Be assertive, bang about a bit, not pout.
Then you'll see, not me, but her.
The Bolshie Woman


Good Good Girl

Good Girl
  • I get ten out of ten for being punctual. At school,
  • Being punctual is good, excellent, teacher is never late.
  • I only get eight out of ten when femininity is better.
  • Going out, not being early, 'In a flutter', ten out of ten.
  • I get ten out of ten for being on time.
  • At work. But nothing for leaving on time
  • Ten out of ten for being ready, good girl. Being in!
  • Four out of ten for expecting the gas-man on time
  • Ten out of ten for attending on time, Appointments.
  • Ten out of ten for waiting waiting waiting......
  • Patience is a virtue.............
  • I get ten out of ten for being patient



The Jogger

There was this man
Jogging hell for leather down the road.

    Great fat thighs and bosoms wobbling,
    Wobbling Joggling.
    Great white legs, white arms, white vest.
    Great face as red as puce.
    Is he trying to get fit?
    (My God! he should).
    He'll give himself a heart attack,
    What if he falls down dead?

    Shall I stop and tell him so?
    No, no he's having fun.



Fear (1)

This fear that grips me like a vice,
(squeezed till I can hardly breath).
Fills my throat and gullet full
Nauseates am makes me heave.
Panic rises, shakes my reason,
Threatens now to overtake me.
Engulf my life and drown it out.
I cannot speak, say how I feel
If I should try the words would choke me.
Crowding, bursting in my throat.
Think of something ere it takes me
Into depths of dark despair,
From where I can't escape.
Don't anybody sympathise
Lest tears held down, spill out my eyes

And I am lost.


Fear (2)

Appear calm.
Don't shake.
Though your breath is stopped with fear,
Gushing panic fills your ear,
Still yourself,
Hold it under,
Don't give way.
Look at ease,
Be composed,
Try to smile.
Though your heart is beating wild,
Struck with terror like a child,
Swallow hard.
Shut your eyes.
Just hold on.




The Motorway

The despoiling of the countryside, disruption, and the realisation of the folly of so much fast polluting traffic is symbolised by the motorway.
    The Motorway
      I am ashamed to say
      How much...I love...the motorway.
      It's broad, bold sweep excites me.
      If they were the tracks of some gigantic beast
      We'd gaze, admire and wonder.
      The toil and sweat they represent.
      The savage navvy life.
      This slime-trail of a modern brute,
      Slicing, clean through the rock and clay.
      Reform the shape we never saw.
      Nature re-accommodates,
      Relentless to reclaim.
      No traffic lights to slow us down
      Free to soar and Glide like cats
      Ecstatic trip
      How can we contemplate
      An end to such a god?


The Nightroad

The Night Road


Over the coal black bosom of the land,
Lies the night road, a rope of gems.
Curving with its gentle contour,
Cutting deeply through its flesh.
Strands of silver diamante.
Constant in this wake of glitter,
Streaks of gold and rubies shimmer,
Pairs of brilliants flashing fire.
Rare, exciting threads of emeralds,
Warn of wayward pendant links
Out there suspended in the dark.
Golden studded satellites.
A jewel display, confined, unending
Sustained excitement to my brain
Mesmerised in high delight,
Gliding through this purring silent, galaxy in space




Who Am I?

Do I want to be me?

Or do I want to be someone else?

If I want to be me

Should I know who I am

And why I should want to be me?


If I want to be someone else.

Who or what am I wanting to be?

How can I know till I change?

Then I may want to change back.


Can I change who I am,

If I want to!

I can change my clothes, hair and style.

Or can I? Maybe I have to change first.


If I can change what I look like,

And if I look like what I am,

I must be able to change what I am.

By changing my lifestyle...........Or can I?



These beautiful healthy well-fed teenagers would rush in, throw off their things, and groan without thought " I'm starving"..........

For Joanne, Philip, Justine, David & Caroline 1977


Aggravation and contentment,
Boys and girls, endless arrangement,
Find acceptance and resentment,
Seeking sorrow and enjoyment
Hardly children, not yet adult
Each the other praise and insult.
Follow blindly every new cult
Life runs on in endless tumult.
Pranks and games co-operation.
Over-eat and mock starvation.
Adventure, refuge, celebration,
Love, commitment, aggravation.




Two Cat Poems


Cat Frenzie

Cat comes crashing through the cat-flap
Frenzied by the wind.
Every sense alert and needle sharp
Stares in panic Cold fur settles
Senses safety Subsides



No Name 

Today I signed her life away,
Our lovely, lovely cat.
Fifteen years, a happy life,
A lovely, lovely cat.

Remember, oh remember
Your funny little ways,
You made us laugh.
You made us love.
We owe you, pussy cat.

Before the winter froze you,
Before you died in pain.
I hope it was a kindness,
We'll miss you pussy cat.

We never did demean you
with a silly human name, so
For years of pleasure, years of love
Thank you, pussy cat.

17th October 1985



On the death of my Mother


Two Verses on the Death of my Mother

Suddenly there is no more hospital visiting
Suddenly there are no more 'ifs' and 'buts' and 'maybes'
Suddenly there is no more time.
Time to do what was not done.
Time to say what was not said.
The panic's gone, too late, too late.
Only time to sit and think.
To cry, remember
And regret.


Yesterday was busy.
The news, the fear, the waiting, the panic,
even now there is hope.......
Today is quiet and still.
There are empty spaces in the day, we try to fill.
All the waiting, fear and panic are over.
Her life complete

 August  1986


A woman on an Internet forum said that "Some people worry, when they go to sleep at night, because they are afraid they might die" and she thought that that was a reason why religion might be important to people, "especially as they grow older". This did not make sense to me.

Should I not Wake

Would dying be so easy?
No, I will grow old as my mother grew old.
I will age as best I can.
But I will not enjoy it if I don't want to.
Every age so far has had its ups and downs.
Why should old age not also have its compensations.

I am an atheist, I need not fear death.
I care how I live, and I care how I die.
But when I'm dead and gone, I'm dead and gone.
All problems solved, all worries at an end.
No heaven, no hell, no judgement day.
I will not be afraid, just angry not to know
How the world will get on without me!


More verse, wit, jokes & cartoons from an atheist perspective CLICK



Poets write poetry, the rest of us scribble.

Verse is judged on two levels - the form and the content.

The form may be prescribed or free.

The content personal or directed outward.

or expand a fragmentary thought to give it shape.

    -------------------------------------- But what can we DO with our verse?


Pictures hang upon the wall, music's in the air.

Where's your poem?.....In a Book.

No. It's............who knows where.

So get it out.

Brush it up.

Send it in, and

Read it.


You may not be a poet.

You may have only one.

A daisy may not be a rose

.........and neither is a tree !

-------------------------So how do we judge the value of our scribbles?


While one breeder may spend a lifetime creating 'The Perfect Rose'

The multitude of modest 'weeds' live out their lives,

survive where they can, give pleasure... and pain.

Each one as perfect at its peak, as any hybrid creation.

And a field- full cannot compare.

The rose may be entered into the show,

The latest beauty placed upon the pedestal, win the cup.

But the modest daisy, bell flower,or  grass, 

deserve our attention as well

for who knows what they hold for the future...

only time will tell.




So let us nurture the poetic 'weeds'.

Consider our verse, wild flowers of the art,

not dross - ignored or discarded.

Admire the rose ... and the daisy.

For plants like verse span time and depth.

Some, brief lives, seen by few, some exotic, admired by all.

While a Yew or an Oak spans the centuries,

Some last but minutes, then die.

There is one difference however.

While the plant weeds will always survive.

Wild verse is a delicate flower,

And lacking our care it will die.

------------------------------------------------------------------ SM

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