Poetry – Roy (a poem for Roy Harper)


Household dissenter,

Absconder and antagonist;

Army runaway

And asylum breakouter;

Prison inmate,

Jazz marathon poet

And convention flouter.

Travelling busker,


Dauber on the city walls.

Gig talker,


Singer with the biggest balls.

Awkward and acerbic,

Sweet and melodic,

Laughing madly in the gale.

A stormcock,

A harper,

Creator of the epic rail.

Opher 21.6.2016


I wrote this one for Roy Harper. It came out while I was sitting watching TV one evening. I had just written my book on Roy and my head was full of it. I imagined him as a kid daubing hammers and sickles and swastikas on the Town Hall, running away to join the army, feigning madness and suffering ECT, later being locked up in prison and heading off busking round Europe. There was a lot to fit in. He’s had quite a life.

Roy is his own man – a man who gets up there on stage and speaks his mind on every subject. He is passionate and has strong views. He isn’t afraid to say it as it is.

There are not many people around who are prepared to speak out against the environmental madness, the crazy controlling society, war, poverty and religion.

Heaven knows we need them. Roy’s epic songs have kept me sustained through decades.

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