on Iran

Birmingham's children
could not be silenced by hate
nor Iran's school girls


n.b. School girls being beaten to death by Iranian security forces for refusing to be told what to wear and what to sing.

The Birmingham ‘Children’s Crusade’, equally spontaneous, filled Alabama’s police cells. The children knew that their protests, against violent racism, would clog up the legal system, without affecting the economics of their family homes, as a working parent being incarcerated would have done.

In Iran, the vicious treatment of women, is the response of men who have been told “No.”

CLP 18/10/2022

on Ukraine

soldiers smash classrooms
children attend school online
flowers for teachers


n.b. School No 2 in Borodianka was trashed by occupying Russian forces. The school still held the traditional new school year ritual, before the children headed home to virtual classes.

There is something very beautiful about the fact teachers were given flowers by the children to welcome them back after the summer.

CLP. 02/09/2022

on Ukraine xxvi

there is only so long left
of this public examination
all is organised to this end
our youth bent double
drowning in academic gas
interpreting Dulce et Decorum est
while the RAF shake the building
practising manoeuvres,
virtue signalling overhead


CLP 08/06/2022


in England
exam halls full
biros scribbling
humidity and heat
someone decreed the tie must be worn

they will hear nothing of the lark
catch not the cuckoo calling
cannot simmer in the slow burn to Solstice
the ticking clock
ninety minutes of mathematics

a pair of blackbirds flush out the jay
heron stalking by the weir
deep dwellers snapping at surface midges
reeds revelling with rainbow trout
two hundred children sat in rows

stretched out under the sun
barley feathering the fields
the school year runs
in laps that tighten the adult grip
on childhood


CLP 07/06/2022

on Ukraine vii

teachers train children
how to shelter under desks
essential life skills


n.b. Under the constant stress of invasion threat, imagine sending your child to school to be taught how to behave during a bombing run? Not unlike the USA, where children have to be taught how to respond to risk of mass shootings. While mankind learns nothing and continues to ‘profit’ from arms manufacture.

CLP 25/01/2022

On Playing x

Can you still call up that glee

in the pit of your guts

when wind picked up leaves and dust

devils spun the whole playground

into a delirious flock of crows

performing flips and twists

free-falling then swooping

up to hang on the vacuum formed

in the lee of a Scots Pine clump?


Arms out, fingers splayed like primaries

we whirled across the tarmac playing

kiss chase, ran ragged from wall to wall

making clattered flat-footed stops

and rushed to touch HOME! bricks

lungs aching from screams and squeals

of delight at being chased and disgust

at being caught and held and bumped

heads as a dry peck on chin, cheeks

or an eyelid or brow (only accidently lips)

except that wild day you let me

and it was so revolting and I ran away

and all the girls and boys joined in

the chase and held me while you kissed me

back and shouted out

with all your gut of glee

to the wind-whipped cheers of all

including the dinner ladies too



n.b. Picture above shows that hateful Perry boy, now embodied in a larger frame, but with same lockdown (3) hair.

CLP 23/01/2021

On Truth

Semper Paratus

My dad told me that this meant

“Always talking” 😳


n.b. “Always Prepared” is the actual meaning of my secondary school’s motto.

It went bust in 2020 after going independent some years previously…clearly not prepared enough. At least it provided a neat family quip to savour.

My sisters’ school motto was Semper Fidelis, one shared with the US Marine Corps, apparently. I’m not sure who would have won had St. Anne’s RC School for Girls ever gone to battle against that bunch.


CLP 31/12/2020