Friday, 11 November 2016


My first effort at an acrostic verse is based on the letters of my name Alistair Parker and inspired by Lewis Carroll’s acrostic verseA boat beneath a sunny sky” of which the first letters of each line spell “Alice Pleasance Liddell”, the full name of his character in the tales of Alice, or rather his muse.

Agony is hard to bear
Like whiplashes on the skin
Insubordination is the cause

Stutter not if to be heard
Talk loud and clear and state your aim
Always fight your cause

Irreverence will not do
Revealing lack of faith
Peace is but a dream I fear

Attrition beckons death is nigh
Retribution fear ye not
Knowing seeing not forgot

Enemies we seek to forgive
Remember this day remember

In remembrance of those to whom we owe so much on this important day...


Monday, 7 November 2016

A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky - Lewis Carroll

A boat beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July —

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear —

Long had paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die.
Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream —
Lingering in the golden gleam —
Life, what is it but a dream?

Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll 1832 - 1898

This is an acrostic poem - one in which the first letter of each line spells out a word - A Boat Beneath A Sunny Sky a tribute to Carroll’s young muse Alice Pleasance Liddell, who inspired the famous subject of his stories.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Love is a Cuddle

Love is a Cuddle

A cute black ball
Of fun and cuddles
Rolls about
Curls up in huddles
Favourite place
All snuggled down
Mournful eyes all
Deep and brown
Tickle me
You know where
Roll me over
Under there
Paw that touches
Grips you tight
Sleeps close by
All through the night
It's more than that
Not just a dog
Someone to love
Someone who loves
A friendly wag
A knowing look
We settle down
And snuggle up, with Daisy

Inspired by Daisy, eldest daughters 5 year old miniature Schnauzer, who has become a much loved member of the family.

Written 14th October 2016.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Book Pile Poem - A Snapshot of Eternity

Book Spine Poetry is an internet meme that goes back to the work of artist Nina Katchadourian. In the early 1990s, she took photographs of stacked book titles that, when read together, created short sentences and stories.

More than decade later, the internet was in full swing and Katchadourian’s work inspired a viral revolution with its own hashtag, #bookspinepoetry. The meme is still going strong after more than five years. That’s an internet legacy.

I have interpreted the meme in such a way the the titles of the pile of books I used, provided the inspiration for a completely separate poem. Although it would be possible to consider the titles of the pile of books as a poem it its own right.

The original blog post that triggered this is outburst of creativity is here:-

The pile of books that inspired this poem

Creative minds evolve and seek solutions in the mind
To trap the things that we can see
To share, remember, to see again
Simple things and prepared minds
Find ways to trap the everyday
To turn today into tomorrow

With tools and technology we create
Each wild idea we tame and twist
In dark, rooms and sheds we toil
We merge the most unlikely thoughts
Of art and things, machines and minds
To help us visualise the world

In different ways to other souls
To trap the things the eye can see
Memories of things, we want to share
With those we love, for whom we care
Before the ravages of time destroy
Frail memories crumble and decay

We try to remember what we thought
Think a thought and it is gone
Pass the threshold, disappeared
Deleted, lost for ever more
Or so we thought, we turn the page
The thoughts of yesterday return

The taste, the smell, snapshots of the past
Return like vivid pictures, in the mind
Deleted now but never gone
Our memories live there on and on
In things, we like to store away
Things we’ll miss when they are gone

We thank creative minds that toil
To help us to recall the things that we forget
A photograph is all we need
To save, for ourselves and others too
Like insects trapped in golden amber
Our memories preserved for all to see

A snapshot of eternity…

Alistair J Parker
7th April 2016

Monday, 12 September 2016

What’s in a beard?

Crumbs from breakfast
Bits of egg
Sticky Jam
And hint of ham

Slurps of tea
The smell of beer
Coffee Cocoa
Completes the set

Scratch it
Lick it
Suck it pot
Or save for later
That’s beardy joy

The second of two poems inspired by a visit to my local Barbers Shop.

Alistair J Parker
12th September 2016


Hairy chins
Curly chops
Scrubby stubble
Fluff face

Manly moustache
Matey bush
Bushy sideburns
Hairy Muff

Twiddle pointy
Handle bars
Up they curly
Down they droop

Full set navy
Chin strap guards
Goaty artist
Stubble brush

Van Dyke swanky
Verdi twirl
Balbo pointy
Bandaloz the works

Trimmed and tweaked
Saucered and blowed
Oiled and waxed
Good to go

One of two poems inspired by a visit to my local Barbers Shop

Alistair J Parker
12th September 2016

Monday, 8 August 2016

Walk by the River

Rustling grass
Waders call
Chatter swooping
Probing mud
Grassy banks
Muddy flats
Rotting wood
Of staging posts
Boats are lying
On the mud

River wanders
Flowing down
Ripples swirling
Flowing fast
Tranquil placid
Limpid pools
Sky reflected
Curling clouds
Stretching seaward
Round the bend

Trees bent over
Walking past
Muddy feet
Pick carful route
Peaceful stillness
Waving reeds
Grasses rattle
Sky lark sings
Peaceful river
Calms the soul

Inspired by listening to a programme on Radio 4 “Playing the Skyline” about composing music inspired by the River Tyne.

Alistair J Parker
8th August 2016

Saturday, 2 July 2016

You Walk Along the Sandy Beach

You walk along the sandy beach
The grains crunch nosily beneath your feet
They shout and rave before the wave
Crashes down and washes back
To turn them over upside down
To jumble up and down and down and up
Causing chaos every time the water rolls
Into a wave to wash along across the sandy beach
Waiting till the tide does turn to quiet again
So the grain can settle down to snuggle up
To flatten out with just a ripple to be seen
To see the sea along the shore stretch to the clouds
From sand to sky and way beyond the sea the shore
Footprints in the sand says someone but it says who
Scrunchy sand beneath their feet before
They go blown away or smoothed by sea
Like an acquaintance meant to fade
Not like a friend that’s there for ever
Cemented into rock that lasts and lasts
Weathered down by rain and wind
And sea washed waves into the grains that
Tumble round in waves and land upon the shore
Rearranged at every tide they come and go
Ground down and thrown up into dunes
To blow away as wind does blow to
Slip and slide and scrunch no more
Away from sea and into land
The sand of time is running out
We wander here and wander there
Going somewhere know not where
Walking onward into the sky
Like sea and sand and shore

Inspired by The Dong with the Luminous Nose – Edward Lear. I think it was the two lines in the first stanza that did it,
” When the angry breakers roar, As they beat on the rocky shore”

Alistair J Parker
2nd July 2016

Monday, 20 June 2016

The Twittering Turd

The twittering turd is brown and long
It pongs and poops and stinks and stuff
It’s not much use for much at all
Just waste and water brown and round
Long and firm or splashy thin
Flock of sparrows, pudgy firm
Twice round the pan know there’s a thing

Full of bugs and bits of stuff
Grains and grits and flaky bread
From the bum it drops with grace
To splash into the hallowed place
The place where turds go, who knows where
To twitter on like turds and birds
Who’s ever heard a twittering turd?

This came from one of those absurd thoughts that plops into one’s mind occasionally, well my mind, today it was the notion of a twittering turd, goodness knows why! Nothing to do with Twitter, although on the other hand...

Alistair J Parker
20th June 2016

Saturday, 18 June 2016

The Shipping Forecast

Portland, Plymouth Lundy's next
The Irish Sea is where we are
Gales are forecast North and West
Force 8 for now and 10 for later
Veering backing swinging round
Precipitation in the air
Good to moderate sometimes poor
Low Millibars means squally showers
Inshore off-shore gusting strong
Calm descending all around
Shipping forecast sailing by
Time to shut the eye and sleep
Back to counting woolly sheep

Inspired by hearing Alan Bennett reading the weather forecast on Radio 4 Today programme on Saturday 18th June 2016

Alistair J Parker
18th June 2016

Monday, 18 April 2016

The Art of Innocents

Innocence and sense of awe
The child mind links with hand and soul
To draw and paint without restraint
The inner thoughts of mind
Unrestrained and unconcerned
The soul is bared in marks
Marks that look so innocent yet
Hide deep thoughts and things
Profound and simple things
That can not be said in words

The marks they make are made with thought
And feeling from the heart
The good the bad the deepest woe
Come flooding out as marks
Marks that make no sense to us
But hide a hidden code
No mark is made for markings sake
They mean so much to them
The artist in the child we see
Their way to say what’s there

What’s there is there and needs to out
To make a mark with pen or paint
Releases hidden words, words we see not say
Because they mean so much to them
They have a need for art
To bare the soul and shout, or
Quietly contemplate a way to be
To understated what pictures mean to those
Who feel the need to make a mark
To have a voice that everyone can see

This poem was inspired by my recent experience as a creative art facilitator with a group of year one children (5 – 6 year olds) at St Johns RC School, Poulton le Fylde. I am grateful to them for helping me to see what only a child can see, the power of art.

Alistair J Parker
18th April 2016

Friday, 18 March 2016

My Friend the Radio

Radio the way to go
The sound that fills the day
Soothing sounds to chill the spine
Or songs that we all know
Listen when you’re on your own
A friend at any hour
When sleep is scarce a voice is there
To comfort and to share

Philosophy and comedy
Some-thing for every taste
DAB and FM who will win
The battle of the waves
The News today and every day
The Archers will enthral
Book at bedtime play for today
The plots come thick and fast

Desert islands discs and chat
Music everyday
Woman's hour I learn so much
And blush at what they say
Politicians prattle on
And try to get their way
On Today and every day
Far too much to say

Listen nodding sailing by
The Queen is on the way
Shipping forecast so precise
Ends another day
Radio you good old friend
I'm off to sleep for now
Hope I wake and you are there
You are a friend I (you) know

Inspired by James Massiah, poet and wordsmith in residence with Radio 4, and many years of listening to the radio, particularly in the wee small hours.

Alistair J Parker
18th March 2016

Monday, 29 February 2016

The Birth of a Railway - The Birth of a Town

Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood was, a man of land and dreams
He lived at Rossall by the point, the north end of the Fylde
Rabbit warrens, sandy hills and marshes all around
At Rossall Hall he hatched a plan, a plan to take his name

Eighteen thirty was the year, a time of trains and steam
Making things was what they did in factories and in mills
Peter Fleetwood had a dream that one day he would see the queen
He’d build a railway then a town a port with ships that steam

The future beckons those who say that ports and railways are the way
Belching monsters hissing steam more than just a smoky dream
Futures calling those who hear, the forward way is written clear
He’d seen the Rocket, well impressed, George Stephenson, he was the best

He’s quite the man you need to know, he’s building railways good to go
The railways were the way to go, to go to Fleetwood and beyond
Railways steamships foreign lands smoking factories meet demand
Fleetwood is the place to be, to come by train, to see the sea

The land is bought, a port is born, the track is laid, a railway made
The railway days have now appeared and railway tracks are being laid
No muddy roads or slow canals, railway trains are now the way
Preston’s twenty miles away, we can visit twice a day

The great day comes the crowds are out, shouting waving flags about
Locomotive, splendid coaches, packed with ladies wearing broaches
Special people looking grand, drinking champagne with a band
We’re off to Fleetwood, clouds of steam, the engines chuffin like a dream

All aboard and yes we’re late, forgot the brown ale, but they’ll wait
Hissing clanking, belching smoke, snaking onwards gleaming track
Lots of people making hay cheering shouting all the way
Amazing sight a chuffing train faster than a human brain

Through a village, little town, past the houses, painted brown
Clicking clacking, on the rails, hear the whistle blowing loud
Kirkham, Poulton, bells are peeling, tranquil fields, and grazing cows
Over banking palisades, by the river round the bend, to the station at the end

The day was fine the crowds were vast, ensigns fluttered from the masts
Here is Sir Peter, knobs in tow, troop down the platform all a show
Stepping from the carriage doors, they strut their stuff, to massed applause
Congratulations left and right, it was such a joyous sight

Lots of pomp and beer and glee, by the river by the sea
New town nestles by the sands, healthy bathing, ain’t it grand
Crowded trains from smoky towns, bringing folk to breathe the air
New horizons open wide, a brave new town goes nationwide

In Decimus his trust he placed, to draw him up a winning place
Fleetwood Town does grow and grow, around the mount the roads do flow
Set out by plough the streets do show, neat little houses row on row
Fleetwood he of Rossall fame, had planned a town to take his name

The Queen she came with retinue by boat from Scotland’s shores
To Fleetwood on the way down south, to London town she did go
By train and railway don’t you know, the only way to go
She came and went with pomp and glee, watched by thousands from the quay

People came from miles around to see Queen Vic in the town
The band played loud, folk waved a lot, a fleeting glimpse is all they got
She’d gone before the mayor say; it’s been a very merry day
Off to Poulton for a stop to take on water not a drop

The dogs did bark the kids did shout, the Queen was chuffed and waved about
I am impressed; she deigned to say, as the royal train sped away,
I’ll be back here don’t you know, to go by train’s the way to go
A town he built, and railway ran, tell old Fleetwood he’s the man

Written when engaged with an art residency for Wyre Borough Council together with Left Coast, as part of a exhibition installation on the theme of the port and town of Fleetwood that was built in response to the arrival of the west coast railway from Preston. The railway provided a link from London to the west coast of Scotland.  With reference to the visit of Queen Victoria to Fleetwood on her return from Scotland in the Royal Yacht to link with the new railway from Fleetwood to London.
Alistair J Parker 
29th February 2016