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Best Famous Rg Gregory Poems

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Written by Rg Gregory |

the rest home

 professor piebald
(the oldest man in the home) was meek
at the same time ribald
he clothed his matter (so to speak)
in latin and (was it) greek
it caused no great offence
to nobody did it make sense
to make a rude joke
in languages nobody spoke

once he'd changed the word agenda
at a home's committee meeting to pudenda
this sort of thing was tolerated by the other
inmates (except his younger brother -
a dustman all his life
who'd robbed the professor of his wife
and treated him now with disdainful anger
but to everyone piebald was a stranger)
well agenda/pudenda hardly ranked as humour
but there was rumour
piebald was said to have his eye on
nelly (frail and pretty in a feathery fashion
the sort perhaps to rouse a meek man's passion)
she wouldn't talk to him without a tie on

one such occasion burst the bubble
he spoke (no tie on) she demurred
refusing one further word
and so the trouble
piebald went white all over
muttered about being her lover
then shouted in a rage
(nelly whispered be your age)
i - two headed janus -
now pingo your anus
(less janus - i should have thought - than mars)
and pinched the dear frail lady on the arse
who died a second then exploded
swung a punch so loaded
poor old piebald eared it to the floor
the other old ones in the room
(more excited now than when the flowers came out in bloom)
were rushing pushing to the door

the brother stood across the fallen man
in total icy disdain
you academic lily-livered piss of a gnat
he hissed - and spat
into the piebald twitching face
drew back a pace
when wham - a seething body like a flung cat
lifted upwards into space

the younger brother was butted in the belly
(who staggered back hit head and made a dying fall
leaving a small red zigzag down the wall)
then this sizzling flesh-ball
fell on fluttering nelly
tore at her skirt
ripped other clothes apart
began kissing her fervently on her agenda
te amo te amo te amo te amo
(repeating it as though
it was the finest latin phrase he'd learned by heart)
crying abasing himself to her most wanted gender

she more dazed than hurt
clutching the virgin fragments of her skirt
a simpering victim in the rising clamour
old people now outraged beyond controlling
through the swing doors pushing tumbling rolling
armed with saucepans pokers knives
playing the greatest game in all their lives
attacked without compunction
the frenzied lover at his unction
a poker struck him once across the head
and professor piebald
once meek but ribald
dropped down undoubtedly dead

and even when the horror had subsided
and the arms of justice with their maker were abided
nelly stood rocking in her room
weeping for the heart-ache in her womb
that till then had hardly ever fluttered
and (only occasionally) muttered
if you have your eye on
me - my dear man - put your tie on

the home itself was closed a few days after
the house is riddled still by ribald laughter

Written by Rg Gregory |

christmas in a box

 the policeman on the streets
found christmas in a box
tipped it down a manhole
it wasn't wearing socks

a little old lady nearby - 
the poor sod's done no harm
she got hit with a truncheon
for spreading false alarm

the policeman then went home
pleased his job was done
called for his christmas dinner
but dinner there was none

his wife with the lodger
his children gone for good
he beat himself with his truncheon
and lay down in his blood

all the holly berries
all the christmas trees
gathered in the silent square
brought buildings to their knees

nothing comprehended
why such bitter bleeding
tore hate aside - redeemed a space
for joy to do the feeding

a ripple took the roof off
sun married the rain
christmas came with socks on
the box refilled with grain

a little old lady nearby
took off her winter coat
danced to where the policeman's blood
was rattling in his throat

she sewed him up and rolled him
round to the local bank
doled him out to everyone
whose lives had done a blank

policeman's blood and christmas socks
changed every single life
the children came home to freedom
and the lodger kept the wife

Written by Rg Gregory |

shape-poems (1)

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More great poems below...

Written by Rg Gregory |

the buddha's tooth

 (for matt – 15)

in the first seven years you choose your howdah
having by then bare inklings of a journey
but where or why - confusion there to cloud a
judgement no more ready than a sore knee
to enter the lists of a whole life’s tourney -
but after this howdah-do (this introduction)
what’s to carry you where - from muddy fluxion

and glimpsing that a howdah does for two
(from seven years on the stirrings can be frantic)
you start to map the high ride (define the view)
and long for gilt and pomp (a touch of tantric)
relationships at best quite sycophantic
you dream of elephants clad in rich brocades
ideas to match your own fanfaronades

at fifteen then you’re really setting out
the sun’s dressed up to let you think life’s bright
your flag’s up front to give you extra clout
the chores are borne below (and out of sight)
you’ve made a noon of every slinking midnight
the continent is yours (let no one mock it)
yours the wheel to which all else a sprocket

in sri lanka in the kandy perahera 
every august in a festival procession
an elephant richly dressed (the stately bearer)
carries on its back in howdah-fashion
a casket (such the grandeur of its mission))
in which the buddha’s sacred tooth’s enshrined
an image that your journey brings to mind

that tooth’s the root of all deep human struggle
and life for each proceeds by that shrined truth
which (clearly seen) yet causes thought to boggle
in what dimension lies the total proof
that that enamelled shard is all-wise tooth
and not a figment of the brain’s rash wish
to puff dull want as in a cloud of hashish

old tooth (your truth) life’s slow (but rushing) voyage
that lonely cavalcade that buzzing dreams spell out
towards elusive man but keep you in your boy-age
a noble sense of self impugned by doubt
and yet (inside you caged) a regal shout
pomp should be there to honour your advancement
and you are right to sip from that entrancement

then be that casket the buddha’s tooth ennobles
have that howdah’s view of how dah world grows
choose your elephant well to ride your troubles
(let flag and rich brocade shine through such woes)
what others think can’t hurt what your heart knows
it’s a bumpy business this festive spirit’s trek
a well-sprung joy best cushion for your neck

Written by Rg Gregory |

jack – beyond the digits

 so here we are at last at the ten-boy
never to be the single-figure-aged-again boy
and all the trailing clouds that cling to the not-big child
can be blown away - you're up in your own sky now
clear-blue on some days (if on others windy and wild)

now you'll have to see yourself as the tall-boy
the take-it-on-the-chin and care-for-all boy
and looking at what's to be done and getting down
to doing it without boring parents laying down the law
it's your walk from hereon to your own new town

then you'll be able to grow into that free-boy
not hankering to be that sit-on-your-mother's-knee boy
and you'll find yourself with keys to fit in every door
you've been denied or dreamed of (keys towards the man)
and a richer jack will sprout from the jack you were before

so aquarian and water-dog and feb-the-fourth-boy
the i've-got-to-figure-out-my-south-from-north-boy
now you've double-jumped may your life bloom well
be kind to sweet matthew and let that deep sun shine
that's been nuzzling inside you in its young-boy shell

and we wish a happy birthday to the ten-boy
to the video-games and freaky-foresters'-den-boy
to the boy who takes pity on his dad's bald head
whose laziness is legion - seasoned with sharp wit
a boy who's perfect when he's fast asleep in bed
and awake not quite an angel but at least well-fed

Written by Rg Gregory |

doughnut denial

 (an ascetic poem for karen's birthday)

fancy having a birthday on a thursday
when you do the buying of the doughnuts
and others lick their sticky fingers
thinking good old karen letting
us share the eating of her birthday

not me of course - i sit at home (alone)
reflecting it is purification day
today and i do not have a doughnut
thank you karen for letting me have
a taste of self-denial on your birthday

and such a spiritual gain- in this way
you and i share the high-church position
while others lick the sugar off their lips
guzzling their souls away benightedly
with you great circe in your birthday play

luckily i have no envy of doughnuts
i sit here (alone) appreciating the pure
a step aside from doughy lust and greed
enjoying your birthday in its proper light 
-a time of abstinence starvation longing

Written by Rg Gregory |

the eyes that haunt me

 there are eyes that refuse to exist
in the fresh air - they are invented
by the lies of paint or make their mark
in a memory that had a truth
to feed on but only by distortion

right now they sell a dream
i'd like to see the back of - they come
with a whole body rippling me apart
disturbing me with echoes of a flesh
so many layers down the light derides it

why can't i grasp it now
this love's reverberation of a sound
that tunes me deeper than my marrow
but runs from me when wanted to be real
(today's a dried pool whispering of an ocean)

the eyes (unreal or not) persist
life is at base such unreality - it stirs
surfaces through pretences who i am
each a wash of wish (its listless traces
the febrile flickings of a tight core's ends)

i'm struggling now for safety
want something from these diadems
this old light scores in me - these eyes
cradling me as i look through them
(won't let me go and i can't let them)

beyond love they cup aloneness
they're your eyes but my at-one-ment
(more to sing of than i can fathom)
sensing them calmly's the ripest pain
these eyes so poignant they daren't exist

Written by Rg Gregory |

two crocodiles gossip by the banks of the thames at abingdon

 two old lazy crocodiles are basking by the water
they get round to talk about the macdonalds' daughter

gemini gemini
have you ever set eyes on young stephanie

jiminy jiminy
who lives here in abingdon - the one who is two

gemini gemini
everyone knows she's a smart one that stephanie

jiminy jiminy
oh ever so smart - there's just nothing she can't do

gemini gemini
so smart - she could be a crocodile could stephanie

jiminy jiminy
she sees what she's after - then snap - and it's true

gemini gemini
if she came by here now - we wouldn't eat young stephanie

jiminy jiminy
oh no - we'd be too scared to even say boo

gemini gemini
so why don't we wish happy birthday to stephanie

jiminy jiminy
then straight in the water before she rings up the zoo

gemini gemini
don't be so daft - she likes creatures does stephanie

jiminy jiminy
ok - but no tears - or she'll raise hullaballoo

 and the two old lazy crocodiles who couldn't hurt a fly
 sing happy birthday to stephanie as she passes them by

Written by Rg Gregory |

shape-poems (5)

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Written by Rg Gregory |

a reader's de profundis

 in my reading of the moment i have learned
the figure next to christ in da vinci’s last supper
(a painting i have actually seen in a milan church
fragilely restored) is a woman – an honour earned
by mary magdalene who (according to research)
turns out to be christ’s wife – hang on what a whopper

cry those who can’t contemplate centuries of teaching
down the drain – who suck up to the precious thought
of divine purity (eternity’s abstention from all
the dirty business of the body) pasteurising preaching
let christ stay a product of the time before the fall
(da vinci had a darkness different from what’s taught)

mona lisa (amon-isis) – enigmatic smile and code
for male and female balance – offensive to the powers
that ran the bible their way (hoodwinked future ages)
turned the bright sun black to mask the path they strode
wrapped their ascetic bloodstreams in the holy pages
before which (even today) the congregation cowers

da vinci was an artist scientist (probably a necromancer)
had his own black sun – dabbled in the anti-matter
that official truth hates (creates) – that nurtures riddles 
through passageways that breed the ill-reputed answer
(soiled honour’s defence against sly caesar’s fiddles)
hissing its way lightwards through conspiracy chatter

christ had a woman at his right hand – locked together
(so da vinci had the painting say) like the letter m
the rumoured whore redeemed – the partner siamesed
into the one flesh – sharing the equal tragic tether
the whole edifice of the holy roman church teased
into collapse – virginal rose snapped at the stem

not that it seemed to make a difference – the vatican
still had its glory years ahead (its gory inquisitions)
da vinci stayed honoured in the breeches the word advanced
though its priests wore skirts – the brutality of man
multiplied its converts (scientifically enhanced)
not one power in the world changed its dirty dispositions

yesterday was aeons ago – tomorrow’s loath to come
no one really cares if magdalene was wife or whore
da vinci is someone to gawp at – all’s mutable (unreal)
what’s truth - we still know bugger-all (live by rule of thumb)
so educatedly dumb can’t trust what we think know feel
a thriller brought this on – half opened a not-there door

Written by Rg Gregory |

The Room

 It is an old story, the way it happens
sometimes in winter, sometimes not.
The listener falls to sleep, the doors to the closets of his unhappiness open and into his room the misfortunes come -- death by daybreak, death by nightfall, their wooden wings bruising the air, their shadows the spilled milk the world cries over.
There is a need for surprise endings; the green field where cows burn like newsprint, where the farmer sits and stares, where nothing, when it happens, is never terrible enough.

Written by Rg Gregory |

absinthe and stained glass

absinthe makes the hurt grow fonder
the green fairy burbles what's this 'ere
when vincent (sozzled) knifes his lug off
all spirits then succumb to fear
depression takes the gloss off wonder
and people (lost) tell god to bug off
the twentieth century drowns in sheer
excuse that life is comic blunder
temporality dons its gear
forbidden thought soon rips its gag off

stained glass (you think) must be bystander
its leaded eyes seek far not near
the day's bleak dirt it learns to shrug off

the history of the race confuses
heady spirit with bloody need
nothing can stop the sky from tingling
intrinsic hope rewords its screed
assumes it must outlive its bruises

stained glass deigns to face the mingling
of atavistic search for creed
with each desire gets what it chooses
it tries to suck out truth from greed
and calmly pacifies the wrangling

lasting spirit allows no ruses
what's bottled dreads to pay much heed
between the two meek life is dangling

(from le trianon - stained glass window by berge)

Written by Rg Gregory |

personal request

 for what my heart held clear
and didn’t have the wit to show

for what my path proposed
and got lost in its diversions

for what my beginnings dreamed
and my ends cannot lay hold of

for what promises i made
and have not had the shine to keep to

i ask your understanding

for what i have been
and could not be another

i ask your love

Written by Rg Gregory |


 (to where the ashes of both
 my parents are strewn)

ok the pair of you lie still
what's disturbing me need pass
no fretful hand over your peace
this world's vicissitudes are stale
fodder for you who feed the grass

some particles of your two dusts
by moon's wish accident or wind
may have leapt that late-life wound
refound in you the rhapsodists
first-married days had twinned

i've come today in heavy rain
a storm barging through the trees
to be a part of this fresh truce
to dream myself to that serene
death's eye-view no living sees

a roaring motorway derides
machine's exclusion from this place
cozens what the gale implies
while overhead a plane corrodes
all feel of sanctuary and solace

i cut the edges off the sound
and let the storm absorb my skin
my drift unravelling as a skein
through paths no brain's designed
i want the consciousness you're in

too much a strain - my mind can't click
to earthen voices (whispers signs)
my eyes alert to this life's scenes
my ears are ticked to autumn's clock
my shoes crunch upon chestnut spines

not a bird singing or flying
i seize upon such absence (here
the death-sense dares to split its hair)
why with such a strong wind flowing
inside the noises do calms appear

today the weather is supreme 
it does away with frontiers - sweeps
breath into piles as it swaps
ashes for thoughts conjuring prime
life-death from the bones it reaps

abruptly flocks of leaves-made-birds
quit shaken branches (glide in grace)
first soar then hover - sucked to grass
flatten about me as soft-soaked boards 
matting me to this parent place

and then i'm easeful - a hand scoops
dissent away (leaves me as tree)
settles the self down to its true
abasement where nothing escapes
its wanting (earth flesh being free)

i'm taken by your touching
there's no skin between us now
as tree i am death's avenue
you are its fruits attaching
distilled ripeness to the bough

i possess the step i came for
my senses burst into still speech
your potent ashes give dispatch
to life's tensions - i travel far
rooted at this two-worlds' breach

 october 6th 1990
 (seventh anniversary of my mother's cremation)

Written by Rg Gregory |

understanding lemons

 lemons don’t let you admire yourself too much
they stick from their tree like awkward thoughts
demanding a truth be told even if the tongue
would prefer a far more sickly explanation

lemons are perfect though for the need to jump
straight out of bed on the eagerest of mornings
into the task that must have no nonsense about it
they have no truck with laziness or the idle hope

they can be easily misunderstood - their sourness
their association in sayings with the poorest of the lot
their way of squirting you in the eye when being cut
they don’t have much emollience in their nature

you can’t get that close to lemons - they stand firm
in their separate place asking to be respected - then
they will give what they’ve got like waxed nurses
offer you their own prim recipes for a healthy life