Doing Ones Bit
Of course were concerned, who wouldnt be? I
think we have a duty
to treat the world responsibly, not reduce it all to
We try to practise what we preach; the day to day things matter;
theres nothing worse than lip service; inertias not an option.
Of course, a solid four by fours inevitable for the
even with the bloody thing, the school run can be a nightmare;
the children simply wont be seen in some commercial rep Mondeo
and Mums too frail to bump about in some claustrophobic rear.
Of course it isnt necessary to fly around everywhere;
we do try to restrict ourselves to just a few a year.
I never can feel
comfortable while sitting there emitting
And I generally follow the spirit
of greater firma, lesser terra.
Of course, there are some places which you simply have to
or half the holiday has gone while you mess about in trains;
they do need tourist lucre, lets be perfectly frank;
not much point in lovely air if youre sitting in a mud hut.
Of course we keep an eye on power; we do have bills to pay;
the whole house cant be glaring out like some giant Christmas tree.
People really have to try not to be so bloody greedy;
we have to share
the goodies round, not scoff them all ourselves.
Of course, the kids on one computer is a recipe for
hes buzzing with his tanks and planes while shes on
high street fashion
and, honestly, Giles would struggle now without his big
like the very first car, he says; once had, cant do
Of course we must recycle; what else can we do?
cannot turn the planet into one great stinking tip.
What kind of desperate
legacy are we giving to our children
if the landscape they look forward to
is a festering pollution pile?
Of course, dividing up the stuff is maddening and confusing,
and in the post-do debris, the tins finish with the papers;
simply pull a face at any hint of compost
and Giles thinks carrying bottles
around is strictly for the winos.
It has to be commitment now; the emergency is here;
has got to be the time to stand up and be counted.
Perhaps there have to be
some ways where the process must be gradual
but goodness me, were
getting there, were up and on our way.
You Know - Him
He thinks the Firth of Forth is a number sequence
wee dram a small percussion instrument.
He thinks Newcastle is two minutes
from the border
and believes Rob Roy to be a kind of larceny.
Shortbreads and tartans, bagpipes and heather,
he swallows every single
and if the subject of Scotland ever enters conversation
hell hoots mon obligingly along with all the rest.
The same species exist in the north-east of England.
They think the Venerable Bedes a kind of precious necklace,
have the Miners Gala down as a picnic for the kiddies
and Northumberland a
kind of suburb outside Hull.
Cloth caps and whippets, terraces and slag
always on the BBC with brass bands on the soundtrack;
go on about their trizers and their hizes
criticising people who speak with
And down here in Devon, where Ive fetched up for the
you see and hear them still, braying where theyre staying,
going oh, arr, oh, arr, just like Long John Silver,
their daily pronouns suddenly oy or moy.
to be a state of mind, its adjective, not noun,
being equipped with
glasses which see only stereotypes,
being far too lazy to allow for
experiencing travel as a narrowing of the mind.
Millie Elliot - Learning the Drill
Millie shouts out Mum, Im home and mutters
at long last,
her leotard carelessly flung on the front hall
One more day as a ballet girl has eventually and painfully past
and she can read again the mining books she keeps in her teenage lair.
A poster of a blasthole drill is secreted under her bed
and photos of
heavy duty stopers hidden under her unitard;
her future is clear enough in
her mind even though its never been said
and isnt likely soon
to be; all mining talk has been barred.
Its just not reet, lass, Dad had said,
pronouncing the subject closed;
theres only our pit left these
days, theres no more jobs to be had,
while thousands of ballet girls
are there to be properly rehearsed and posed
and youll always fetch a
weekly wage; just be told by your dear old dad.
Entrechats will bring bacon
home, glissades put bread on table;
pneumatic drills and underground
loaders wont keep your toddlers fed;
we all start thinking what we
might and end up with what were able
and it wont matter anyway
when youve met a chap and are safely wed.
So Millie bravely en pointed on, though sometimes on the
she could close her eyes and see the rock drills swathing a
way through the seam;
she gave her grande battements the best she had,
keeping them up to par
while knowing that only the shifts and shafts could
really fulfil her dream.
And then one desperate winter night in the
collierys dark and grime
an access tunnel suddenly gave way and
collapsed into piles of rubble
trapping seventeen men behind, who were soon
running out of time
because the shrinking pockets of air would lead quickly
to deathly trouble.
One of thems our cousin George, and
anothers our nephew Dean,
said Millies dad, and
what can we do, to save them from such a fate?
Ill put on
a tutu, should I, Dad, and demi-detourne off to the scene,
saving a ronde
de jambe for the pit and hoping Im not too late,
with an edge to her voice that silenced her fathers noise.
herself off to the accident spot with her pictures under her arm
she saw, just standing around, disconsolate men and boys
drilling rig was bust and trying to keep cool and calm.
Millie looked at the Boomer T1 D and then at her detailed
The piston end sprockets arent aligned; its as
plain as the nose on your face,
she said with a tut of withering
scorn for the so-called experts on mines
and after shed effected a
quick repair, the drilling went on apace
with Millie taking a driving turn
until all the trapped men were out.
Burn them tutus and
leotards, Dad shouted out with pride
as the whole relieved village
gathered around and, giving a mighty shout,
cheered the heroine all the way
home with a triumphant shoulder ride.