Author Archives: Jonathan Mayman

stepping out

stepping out

this is it!
promised myself I’d tell them now
my first weekend back after starting uni
we’ve had a lovely meal
here we are sitting round the fire
the cosy home where they brought me up
they are so proud of me

in a moment
everything will be changed
they will never look at me the same way
will I and my friends be welcome?
what right have I to disturb their world?
I’ll be relieved to be out of the closet
but they’ll be out of their comfort zone

A pre-CHildhood

A pre-CHildhood

Overnight ghostly white fingers
have been creeping across
my bedroom windowpane.

Those icy digits have penetrated
the room. I can touch them with
my finger on this side of the glass.

In the grip of the evil Snow Queen
rather than that jolly Snowman,
I snuggle back under my eiderdown.

Who threw the first stone?

Who threw the first stone?

A usually respectable fellow
staggering home from a pub crawl.
Not aiming at that building
but at his pals down the street.
At the sound of breaking glass
they all ran off chortling.

The second and third by a youth
who made a habit of that sort of thing.
Broken window, empty building,
incentive enough to smash two more.
Would have been worse but for
a car turning into the street.

I’m not going to list the next 136,
it’s too depressing. Gangs
descended on the building like
packs of wolves on a wounded stag.
Hardly a pane remained intact
by the time the place was boarded up.


The Life of Insects

The Life Of  Insects
Episode 9: The Great Horde
Narrated by David Atterboy

It’s one of Nature’s greatest migrations.
No-one knows for sure what drives these ants.
Is it drought conditions in their natural habitat?
An increase in predators? Mass hysteria?

Here they are, marching across the desert.
First hundreds, then thousands, now millions.
Many fall by the wayside, their fellows
clambering over the bodies where they lie.

Reaching the sea shore they throw themselves
on any branch, twig, leaf – indeed any
piece of flotsam that comes to hand – and
cast off into the waves, grossly overcrowded.

These fragile craft all too often capsize,
countless ants are drowned, but there are still
vast numbers of them that reach the other side
and haul themselves up the beach.

Once again they swarm off, overcoming
every obstacle and danger they encounter.
Heat, wind, rain. Mountains, forests, rivers.
Scavenging birds, beasts and humans.

Are they heading for a particular destination?
Research supports the theory that they share
a mindset to join a United Kingdom of ants
far to the north across yet another sea.

They gather on the coast here in the jungle
milling about in their thousands, prevented
from crossing that final waterway by humans
intent on preventing them spreading further.

Innumerable crumbling anthills have sprung up
housing these frustrated insects, an eyesore
for local humans who (perhaps understandably)
consider the invasion amounts to a plague.

This is the final act in the drama, where the ants
meet their Armageddon. The jungle in flames as
bulldozers level the anthills, pest control officers
advancing spraying poison gas as they come.

The surviving ants scatter, no longer with
any idea of what to do or where to go. Sadly,
only entomologists show interest in their fate,
every one else is glad to see the back of them.




Dry wit

Dry wit

You couldn’t help liking
Mr Jones our PE teacher,
his deadpan quips legendary.
Even ploughing up and down
that unheated outdoor pool
was made bearable by the
ironic commentary of Jonesy,
standing there in his tracksuit.

He never ventured into the water.
Could he swim? We doubted it.
But he still somehow managed
to get a life saving medal,
simply by being in the boat
of the fisherman who rescued
a boy in difficulties on a
school trip to the Lake District.

Half Time

Half Time

all to play for
leading by a wonder goal
my idol scored

a breather from TV
in the garden
Anfield roar in my ears

my replica shirt
COUTINHO on the back
straining at the seams

ignore the fact
grass needs cutting
beds need weeding

balancing the football
on an outstretched slipper

like a true Brazilian
flick the ball in the air
kick it arcing high

clears the fence
straight into the top corner
of next-door’s greenhouse

met by
a tinkle of applause
an outraged yell

let there be light

let there be light

I rise early
from a restless bed
of thrashing limbs
tangled sheets
flashes of white
in the darkness
in the shuttered room

out onto the cliff walk
under the night sky
high above the ocean

pale behind cloud
the sun rises
from a seething sea
of suppressed rage
crashing waves
splashes of brightness
in the gloom
of the rocks below

from time to time
the troubled murmurings
of the tide burst into
an angry roar
long-suffering gulls
riding the up-draughts

then the sun
emerging from the cloud
lays a gleaming pathway
across the sea
reaching towards me
on the cliff edge

as the light intensifies
I feel its warmth
and relax