“Angry German dents car with giant sausage” – The Times


Whose car is it ? Is it his ? Or does it belong to someone else ?
A brother who has cheated him out of an inheritance ?
A mistress who left him for a shorter person ?
Does it have a sausage on the roof rack ?
Or painted on the door ?
Does he see the sausage as a crude slur on the German people ?

Or is it his sausage ?
It is a giant sausage. How big could it be ?
It must be very hard to dent a car.
Is there a possible ambiguity in the word “ sausage” ?
An innuendo ?
Was the man particularly muscular ? Or the devotee
of some dangerous martial art ?

Or is he angry, not with the car
but with the sausage ?
Did he really intend to buy 250 grams of cheese, but had a momentary blackout, and found himself clutching the giant sausage as he stepped out into the street ?

Or perhaps, deep down, he hates the taste of sausage
but dare not reveal his aversion
as he is German.

That would be the wurst of all possible worlds.

Henry Reed’s new smartphone


I’ve got this thing about writing poems in answer to someone else’s poem. I was really pleased with the Robert Frost one I put up recently – in fact I was so smugly happy with it, I didn’t write a word for six weeks afterwards. I was starting to get that sinking feeling ( That’s it. You’re done. You will never write anything decent again…you’re old…you’re going funny…) I couldn’t find a way in. Anything I started looked dull, banal

When this happens ( and it does not infrequently) I look back at my recent stuff. Medieval saint- done that. Alan Bennett-ish jolly piece on sex orgy- done that.Why not write about the geese ? Done a piece on the lake and anyway, I’m knee deep in poems about geese.

And then I remembered a poem by Henry Reed which I’ve loved for years. It’s about his weapons training at the start of the second world war. He’s being lectured by a sergeant about the different parts of a rifle and at the same time, he’s looking through the window at the artless elegance of spring flowers.I couldn’t dream of matching that.

Then I remembered my new smartphone (Smart ? It’s stupid and small and neurotic and it hates me. It is surly and rude and cuts me off when I’m talking to people.) And I started to wonder onto paper.

I make no great claims for this. It’s not deep or profound.Your soul will not be touched. But maybe, hopefully, it will make you smile.

Henry Reed’s new smartphone

Today we have Making A Start. Yesterday
We had Taking It Out Of The Box and tomorrow
We shall have Disposal of Packaging.
But today we have Making A Start.

This is the ON button. It can be depressed
By the thumb. You can do it quite easily
If you have any strength in your thumb
So do not let me see any of you
Using their finger.
Leaves shiver and rustle
In all of the neighbouring gardens,
Never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

This as you see is the keyboard.
It is small, as you can see.
If you are not too banana-fingered
You can ring up your friends at times
Inconvenient to them and exchange pleasantries.
R snd thm txts.
Outside the trees
Semaphore autumn to a fading sky.

It is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb,
Like the ring tone,the screen saver, the voice search,
The 500 minutes+free texts +all the data you can eat,
Which, in my case, I have not got.

Perhaps my thumb is weak.

Beyond the window, geese
Call to each other in the sooty dark.

By the way, if you want to look at the Reed poem, you can find it here:


Come on, baby- do the Andrew Motion

Dylan Thomas
was full of promas
but he couldn’t resist
getting pissed.

Ted Hughes
had eccentric views.
He wrote about owls
and bowels.

Robert Frost
got dreadfully lost.
They found him, forsaken,
on The Road not Taken.

Mad Lord Byron
was an ace with the iron.
In his shirt, when appareled,
he looked like Childe Harold.

Cheese lovers

John Milton
was fond of Stilton,
But Percy Byshe Shelley
loved anything smelly.