Peter Hughes & Simon Marsh

The Pistol Tree Poems


this morning I'm listening to a little country music
by Schubert & liaising with the weather –
the naked sun did lift the sky but then it rained
& now it's putty & porridge cloud
dragging everybody's heaven to Leicester
ignoring my plans to mow the lawn
& plant some wild sweet pea seed
under the gloomiest section of holly
where Schubert has finally arrived too
did you manage to plant your rhubarb?
I think it needs a well-manured soil
& a little chimney to grow in
so it doesn't get smoke in its eyes
but grows long & firm in the dark
not like a shrivelled penis in the North Sea
teaching phonics to KS1 for £9 a year
didn't make Schubert very exhuberant
nor did beer with Mayrhofer
the poet who eventually threw himself out of
the government building where he worked
as a censor: talk about performance management
what grim times for artists & citizens
the public interested only in dance fads
& minor celebrities sucking each other's faces
Metternich kicking out Joseph II's reforms
banning controversial t-shirts in the capital
abolishing trial by jury in certain cases
5 years in prison for breaking an ASBO
over 3 million DNA samples held on file
damaging GM crops defined as terrorism
the Anti-Terrorism Act making it an offence
to advocate the violent overthrow of dictators
your internet history available
to entire herds of minor government voyeurs
citizens extradited to America with no evidence
profiles of 37% of black men held by police
peace campaigners prosecuted for causing
US servicemen "harassment, alarm & distress"
by holding a sign outside an American base
here the rain it raineth every day
even now in early May
but Berlusconi has been shown a door        vero?
Schubert was soon into deep mid-winter
I have done nothing wrong
that I should shun mankind
the road I have to take
has always been a one-way street

I heard a cuckoo at 6.15 this morning
& the house martins are back & building
the sun is trying to see us all again
for the cup final & rhubarb
is shaping to wave goodbye to this grey sky

May 12/13              Norfolk