Poetry – John Phillips – The Victorian Dance

John is so good at writing about social injustice.

The Victorian Dance

Visit the carnival, work in the factory, sell us your labour for pay.

Living for now as you look to tomorrow, apply for a meeting today.

Come and partake of our glorious heritage, phone and we’ll give you a chance

For there’s profit for me and there’s profit for you

If you’ll enter and join the Victorian Dance.

Vicious reality, Workhouse mentality, coupled with minimum wage

Mealy-mouthed managers, shouting and bullying, frantic to join the parade.

Cynically touting Victorian values to fuel and promote their advance

As they shamelessly use you, exploit and abuse you

To blindly perform the Victorian Dance.

So, come take a ride in my brand new Ferrari, I’ll show you what it can do.

I think you can see I’m a bit of a playboy; you know that I’m better than you.

Although I despise you I ‘l still patronize you, to keep you entombed in your trance;

Where your mind is deceived and you cannot conceive You are able to leave the Victorian Dance.

Poetry – John Phillips – Party

Another poem from John Phillips book Shorts and Shots.


Come to the Christmas party, revel in festive glee;

There’s going to be a disco, everything s for free.

Let’s put aside our differences, together we will stand;

The Captains and the Corporals, and various other ranks.

Let’s put aside our differences, we hear the Captain s cry.

It’s all for one and one for all, we really ought to try.

Yet these are those who cause the rifts; behind their walls they hide,

Their meetings and computers, their fax machines and ties.

These are those who call the shots, These are those who try

To twist the screws for more and more, their aspirations fly.

These are those who suck us dry, who leave us, home to crawl,

Angry, depressed, exhausted and of little use at all.

But sadly its no one way street, we too must share the blame;

With our back-shots, bickering and constant selfish aims.

As each man sings his own, self-song, ours, a sad refrain,

With swaggering, ranting Corporals, each trying to make his name.

We, the men who do the work, we are the men who can;

In unity and truth we stand as tall as any man.

Yet debts and doubts and poverty; commitments and our fears,

Mean we’re just the ladder’s steps to Management careers.

So now it’s time to party, in  drunken revelry.

Congratulate each other, with corporate bonhomie.

Maybe a new beginning? Most likely we shall see,

That everything remains the same within our factory.

Poetry – John Phillips – Rolling Year

Another one of John’s poems from Shorts and Shots.

Rolling Year

The land awakens; Nature’s bright domain;

A vibrant, new creation, breaking free,

Whilst birds proclaim that Spring is here again.

As Summer sun brings forth lush greenery

In wood and hedgerow, gentle breezes play

Through fields of Barley, rippling like the sea.

September sunset, seals the Autumn day

With multi-colours. Flocks of geese arise

To head for southern seas without delay.

A galleon-moon sails the Winter skies.

Below, amid a frozen land, remain

Bare trees, which bend to Winter’s bitter sighs.

Poetry – John Phillips -Meeting

  Another John Phillips poem from Shorts and Shots.


Let us hold a meeting,

We think it rather fine,

To sit upon our arses

And waste away some time.

Oh let us hold a meeting,

We’ll exercise our powers.

It’ll make us feel important,

We’ll make it last for hours.

We’ll talk of ballpark figures;

Corporate identity.

With plans, ideas and brainstorms,

We’ll waffle endlessly.

So, let us to the meeting room

Where none can watch us shirk

And as we meet, its someone else

Who’ll have to do the work.

Poetry – John Phillips – I should have taken

Another poem from John’s Shorts and Shots:

I should have taken

I should have taken more water with the wine,

But water’s simply not my style.

The Ruby Cabernet, the lusty Burgundy;

I know my wines, I am a connoisseur you see.

I should have taken more water with the wine;

I’m here to drink, not mess about.

No limits me, I’ve been around, I know the score;

Another bottle’s down, I’m always up for more.

I should have taken more water with the wine;

I’m feeling amorous tonight.

Hey girls! The open shirt, medallion plain to see,

But sadly, mind and body seem to disagree.

I should have taken more water with the wine;

Sometimes it makes me want to fight.

Who’re you looking at? Let’s settle this outside.

Feel for my broken lips, my wounded, manly pride.

I should have taken more water with the wine.

I’m down, I’ve fallen in the street.

My mobile’s broken, my keys are in the drain;

My wife has gone to bed, she’s locked me out again.

I should have taken more water with the wine;

The sickly gut, the aching head.

This time I’m really done, it’s no more wine for me; Well maybe just the one, or two, or even three.

Poetry – John Phillips – Faces

Another poem from John Phillips book Shorts and Shots.


Round and round, up and down,

Round and round, up and down,

Climbing, climbing, ever climbing,

Tarmac waves, eternal like the sea.

Moor-land scrub and wild flowers,

Sheep and faces, always faces;

A bottle, cold; oasis in a burning land

And up, up; Climbing with the sweat and the cheers:

Go on Lad! Nearly there!

Faces like the Red Sea, parting.

Round and round and round and round;

Now with the land falling away,


Diving into the landscape;

Plunging, Hawk-like,

Twisting, turning, leaning-in:

Clip that apex. Hold that line

Faster, faster, sweat cold in the wind

Down and down, swooping, levelling,


Round and round, round and round;

Pick up the rhythm, settle down.

Riding a rippling, serpent, road;

Flowing past fields and faces,

Villages yellow and blue in the afternoon sun.

On and on;

Twenty to go, ten, now five;

Five to the final sea of faces,

To the final, frenzied, fling.

To rest.

Poetry – John Phillips – Green Pantoum

Another one from John from his Shorts and Shots.

   Green Pantoum

In England s rain-swept, green and pleasant land

Where being green is very hard to be

As many choose to fail to understand

And thus evade responsibility.

Where being green is very hard to be

When politics and industry conspire

And thus, evade responsibility

To profit and to furnish their desires.

When politics and industry conspire,

Misrepresent the facts to power their game

To profit and to furnish their desires

Deny the truth and so apportion blame.

Misrepresent the facts to power their game

As many choose to fail to understand

Deny the truth and so apportion blame

In England s rain-swept green and pleasant land

Poetry – River (a villanelle)

Another poem from John Phillips

Letter to Dylan

Hi Dylan,

You don’t know me and , to be honest, I have very little knowledge of you or your work. Some years ago I was in a pub in Laugharne and there was a picture of you on the wall. It seems that it used to be your ‘local’, at least, that’s what the landlord claimed. I can’t remember the name of the pub, but the beer was really good.

Talking of beer, my Grand-dad, Dai came from Aberdare and was a bit of a ‘local legend’. He once drank twenty-two pints during a lunchtime session and ‘turned up’ at opening-time, that evening in order to ‘carry-on the good work’.

   Anyway, concerning Poetry, we have a writing group in Hornsea and sometime, last year, we got to talking about poetic form, particularly The Villanelle, of which your poem ‘Do not go gently into that good night’ is generally known as the definitive example, against which, all others are judged.

   When I read this poem, it completely ‘Blew me away’. It’s brilliant. I thought, ‘Wow, I want to write one of these’ and so I did and here it is. It’s called River.

    This one’s for you Dylan. I hope you like it.



The river flows eternal to the sea

Beneath a boundless ever changing sky

Without regard for time or history.

Rolling through seasons, past or still to be.

Its  secrets, hidden, safe from mortal eye

The river flows eternal to the sea.

From rain lashed hills, who’s dank capacity

By swollen streams, its waters to supply

Without regard for time or history.

Midst banks of sunlit meadows, winding free

To darkling glades where myriad insects fly

The river flows eternal to the sea.

Through canyon towns, past walls of industry,

Who’s workers work to live and live to die,

Without regard for time or history.

To journeys end, a mighty estuary

Where countless seabirds wheel and wail and cry;

The river flows eternal to the sea

Without regard for time or history.

Poetry – John Phillips – Heavenly Bodies.

Another one from John’s book Shorts and Shots.

Heavenly bodies

The galleon moon

Sailing through the Winter sky

Tomorrow the frost.

The full moon is high

Reflections of hidden sun

Turning night to day.

Swooping hungry Owl

The hunters moon revealing

This evenings meal.

Darkness into light

Blue moon low over the sea

Rippling silver.

Behold the Great Bear

Master of the northern sky

Signpost for sailors.

Look to the night sky

Stars like a river of light

It’s the Milky Way.

The sky is alive

Autumn meteor shower

Falling like the rain.

Venus is rising

Lighting up the southern sky

Star of the morning.

Autumn sunset glow

Colours of the evening

Purple, red and green.

Fire is in the east

Clouds aglow orange and red

The sun is rising

The trees are smiling

Sunlight sparkles on the leaves

Summer here at last.

Sun is in hiding

Wind from the north sweeps the land

Winter is coming.

Poetry – John Phillips – Colours

Another from John Phillips book Shorts and Shots


The birds are singing

Blackbird louder than the rest

Daylight on the way.

Red against the grey

Sunrise lights the morning sky

The clouds are burning.

Searching for breakfast

Robin Redbreast struts his stuff

King of the garden.

Whiteness in the gloom

Snowdrops carpeting the wood

A promise of Spring.

See the flash of blue

Across the rippling stream

Kingfisher is here.

Wind is in the west

Blowing from indigo sky

Soon the storm will come.

After the sunset

Purple filled evening sky

Birds are flying home.