SUNDAY 21 JULY  2024


Meghan Queen of Plots


This is a story of

Grossness not beauty

This is a tussle of

Fame versus Duty

Symbol of nation

Showbiz institution

Hollywood versus

The Brit Constitution

A D-listed actress

Whose aims were a mystery

Plotted to usurp

Aeons of history

She didn't scheme long

Thanks to rudeness it's said

At least unlike Mary

She left with her head

The US has fawners

Celebrity tapes

The English have castles

Dark nights and cold drapes

We don't go for Oprahs

We're a little more drab

But behind the show's light

Beware of the stab

The truth is you see

That to retain the Crown

We'll keep any old monarch

Factotum or clown

They're there to


Politicians and power

To ensure the votes

Stay in charge of the shower

So begone whingeing losers

Archie's crocodile tear

Count out your money

The Realm doesn't care

When the petulance fades

And the stars lose their bling

The State will still sing out

God Save the King

© Pat Prentice

The Floosie From La La Land

She came from the land of make-believe

With D-list briefs and a trick up her sleeve

While fame's lights glared she had it planned

To catch a prince and hold his gland

She got it all with a colourful twerk

But then found out that she had to work

Instead of a throne in a fairy tale

A full time job felt a lot like jail

So they fled and lied with a second-rate script

From a dumb conquest but then they tripped

They posed in the blaze and whinged victim

But their PR was flawed and their dazzle grew dim

Abandoning duty they joined the trash

In the sea of lures and sharks and cash

The cancel culture and bigoted woke

In the realm of tanned unsavoury folk

Now their dignity drains and they're not so grand

A fool and his floosie in La La Land

Winston's Rats

A gagged silent yard where it's always dark

The lights are out and the dogs can't bark

Ideas look behind themselves in fear

In case the thought police are near

Lavatory walls stare blank and wet

Their scrawls have dripped to the internet

Big Brother's rats scuttle in the street

Where tolerance and freedom meet

Bleak bricks cage the muted lane

While sympathy and reason wane

Assassins stalk words we hold dear

What you most dread is already here

Scampton Stamped On

I am a dog that dare not speak its name 

I was once loved by men of great acclaim

Dead for free speech along the hall of fame

Where fighting Nazis did not augur blame

But there is another culture now

Reflecting Hitler, Stalin, George Orwell and Mao

Where righting wrongs means doing something tame

Like making sure dead pets don't have a name 

Changing words and meanings is so lame

A beloved pet no longer has a name 

When language alters, nothing stays the same

Censor the facts and where is freedom's flame?

It sinks in history's foulest stinking bog

From which will crawl an even darker dog

Beware what is the new repute of Scampton

A place where heritage is being stamped on 

Where a slur of the Yankee nation

Flies in cultural appropriation

If Guy Gibson's life could now be fothered

He'd wake in shame and wonder why he bothered 

© Pat Prentice

* A warning for war criminals who have been found out


Tread softly dear Miranda

When you walk among the people You think they only watch the porch But they also see the steeple Remember dear Miranda

Your partner Mandy too

Your plans that were so plausible

You believed you'd see them through You soared so high Miranda Unleashed black bats in the air

But the wraiths will come to get you They're climbing the belfry stair

Why did you do it Miranda?

Afghans, Iraqis, Kosovans too

They're cold but your effigy's burning The crypt of history waits for you

© Pat Prentice

Hit-and-Run Hedgehog

I want to be a hit-and-run hedgehog

Squishing traffic in the dawn fog

I want to cross the motorway

Take my time. Amble all day

I want to be found in the morning

Safe and whole. Not squashed and swarming

I want to write off artic lorries

Then run off. Road-kill no worries

I want a pen pal in Australia

Roo-bar Joey. Killer, aintcha?

I want to get revenge for toads

Denting cars as they cross roads

I want to live in Lincolnshire

Puncture tyres and remain there

Not clay-roasted by a Pikey

I want to grunt, munch. And stay spiky

I want to crash through garden fences

Despoil all the lawn's defences

I want to evade nature's cadgers

Beat up foxes. Strangle badgers

So life is good and I feel great

Then I can safely hibernate

© Pat Prentice

* Some time ago, my daughter asked what retirement was like after nearly 50 years of journalism:

The Man Who Moves Mirrors

The man who moves mirrors glides across the floor.

But they take out his voice as he leaves by the door. The man who moves mirrors flew by the wires.

Now they're turned off they've put out the fires.

He witnessed, reported, the world from its heart.

Now he stays silent, unknown from the start.

He chased and he watched them year after year. Chronicled war crimes and lickspittle Blair.

Vile deeds in Westminster. Blowback Whitehall.

Tel Aviv, Langley, Press baron’s call.

Followed the light like a moth in a wood.

Flagged it for all in hope of the good.

Young men who marched off, brave and too few.

Killing for them while they betrayed you.

Demonised leaders, illegal invasions. Whitewash inquiry. Official evasions.

He knew all the secrets. Who lost and who won.

He knows who sired the leader's last son.

The M&M sweeties. He counted the aces.

Saw crooked arms twist submitted court cases.

He monitored royals. Was there when she died. Paternity highlights. Heir cut and dried.

Who armed al-Qaeda in Yugoslav war.

Who nursed Srebrenica. What big lies are for. Tirana-cashed cheques. As quiet as a mouse.

Lucre-stained organs. The Yellow House.

Corporate dealings, the thief and the leech.

Censors, injunctions, phobic free speech.

Upset them in China. Passed Russian doms. Smelled burning babies. American bombs.

Aid convoys to Africa, food for the rich.

Bloated black children dead in the ditch.

Saw the toffs quaff while their boys died abroad.

And they opened doors for the alien horde.

Duplicitous delegates cheating the vote.

State decreed angles that don't rock the boat.

The PRs, the decoys, spin doctors distract.

With BBC, TV, or fake online fact.

The man who moves mirrors, cynical hack.

Whose mission was catching and throwing life back. A butcher adrift in a sea of pork pies.

Seasoned with slang. Are you watching who buys?

A vintner of verities dead on the vines.

Hooks to swallow, live bait between lines.

The mirrors he tilts and distortions he stalls.

Bending, refracting, dark shapes on the walls.

The door closes softly.

Stealth mute he will leave.

No point in telling.

The fools won't believe.

© Pat Prentice

* I used to catch the train to Charing Cross and wonder how the denizens of cardboard city had arrived there. There was even a dark side to Fleet Street. Some people fell by the drayside

The Roaring Days

I hardly acknowledge the roaring days

In my world of cold struggle and looking for drays

The babble and chaos and smoke in the lung

As I shuffle through camp ash and unfragrant dung

The afternoons dashing and fighting for balls

The mud on my muscles. The spit and the falls

Running and crashing. The heel of the hand

And shouting and scoring. The front of the band

Soap in the showers, the rub-a-dub-dub

The songs and the triumphs and first in the pub

Glasses and strong arm and jostle and barge

Beer race and spewing and shoulder to charge

Somewhere a new wife; the rim of the crowd

A blur on the edge. Indiscretions out loud

The hangover Mondays then Tuesdays and all

Hard selling and chasing the charts on the wall

Good years come harder; the mortgage, the house

Suddenly young men, much quicker, with nous

Late nights and shambling, too much to think

Too late for home life. Plunge over the brink

Wet Wednesday evening draught door left ajar

Enraged in the morning. The bailiffs. The car

Photo on telly; a young man and bride

Nothing to lose now. No pride

The charger you ride has no rattle or clink

To mumble and tussle in hunt for a drink

Pale looks of friends at the end of the day

The glow of the bar; turn their faces away

Ricochet off to a cold empty cell

Lavatory broken; the pit for a spell

No reason to get up. No sleeping; no bell

Building society can go to hell

Dog shit on flagstones. Darkness and wind

Smelly chip wrappers that mock, like you've sinned

Dirty car tyres, blue fumes and more throttle

Rotting ripe bins for the end of a bottle

Filthy old raincoat; stale sandwich; a toss

Coin, cardboard box behind Charing Cross

Flashback of giggles, blonde curls and blue eyes

She won't be there sobbing when her Daddy dies

Frost; fingerless gloves; raw ends of days

Fat vicars who lecture and Sally Ann ways

Documentary lights come and glare Christmas night

The stink and the piss; the brown stains and blight

Waiting now; twitching, and shouts in the sleep

The rats that screech out, and pop up. And weep

As I grab and bellow; fall over and need

Kicked by the coppers; sod them, and bleed

Rain and black thunder just down from Bank

Feet scuttle; home time. Like sheep but more swank

Then come back tomorrow; greed, rabble, and low

Half bottle of meths cider-mixed in the snow

Jabber and slobber and dribble and vile

Soot stains and sputum and hacking out bile

Clenching red entrails; black toes out of shoes

Finger-torn flesh in a fight for the booze

Pigeon lime licked off the back of a hand

Gobbed at and shoved and shunned in The Strand

Off now. I'll kill them. The braggarts, the brays

Back for good. Strong. The roaring old days

Lurching and retching and hitting the wall

Fuck them; I know them; I conquered them all

Bruised on the Masonry

I still have friends


I have secrets

It ends

Graduation Day

High above East Anglia

In Norwich football ground

A seagull soared above us

Without making a sound

Beneath was noise and bugles

Berobed in hat and gown 

Professors plump and certain

Students' fake renown

In batches called to honour

Receiving their degree

That cost a little fortune

Mass knowledge isn't free

Then out to life and hope to earn

A wage above the rest

Except it will not any more

Honours have failed the test

False promises and doctrines

Will fail to cut the mustard

Out in the proper market place

You don't season with custard

Strutting, posing, marionettes

The young can call them heroes

The main lecture that they pursued

Was how to ban sombreros 

Puffed chests of the faculty

Proud parents looking on

Fat pay for mediocrity

An academic con

Yet high above the UEA

The circling seagull flies

Ignoring dons and masters

And their thieving lies

Did uni teach it how to glide?

A clever master's caper?

The seagull rose above them all

With nothing writ on paper