Towards Better Democracy

Good words, well written, better the world. Good literature betters the world immeasurably.

English still, in spite of it all

As with any coin, there is another
Side. The claustrophobia that drove
Me out. To find experiences broader
Than the narrow views at home
Constrained within an insular isle.

The smugness, the quaintness
The lack of modernity, the tweed
Look, hats on Sunday, a Prime
Minister, who just weeks ago,
A white, pink, in a multinational
Country, saying, as if from a pulpit,

“We in this country are Christian.”

He was elected to say that? And on
Whose behalf does he speak?

Since then, London, to its great
Credit, has elected its first
Muslim mayor. One in the eye
For the bigot in charge of the

Yet, when I go home
As I shortly will do,
I take with me much
That I couldn’t have
Gained should I have
Stayed home.

Too much to count
Experiences innumerable
Places seen, sure
But I am not a tourist
I go native.

I’m quiet spoken, with my
Sean Connery brogue
Humble, modest I hope.
Yet strident on page
Voicing what needs to
Be said, against injustice
Inequality, of despots’
Jackboot, make a naked
Foot, on which to stamp
And have him wince
In pain.

To look straight in the eye
Of all comers and tell the

True, I bemoan that I take
Back only the languages
I left with, when to so
Many I have been exposed

But is it the people I have
Met, the inner world which
Has made of me a cathedral,
Stained glass windows with
The light shining in.

The vast vault within me
Yes, yes, this is what I
Take home.

Malcolm D B Munro
Sunday 5 June, 2016


Filed under: poetry

Being English

What to make of this country
This monoglot, mongrel nation
The English that has me English
I can’t say I am proud.

I can’t find a word that
Doesn’t make me sound
Bombastic, obnoxious
No phrase I know works
To express what I feel
Pleased? That might do.

We are not like the French
I remember years ago hearing of
When a group of climbers
Were ascending Mount
Everest. Some altercation
Between a Frenchman and
An English climber had
The Frenchman proclaim,

“It is not I who today is
Insulted, but all of France!”

The language sounds a bit too
Perfect, still it is a lovely story
And it defies belief that such
A thing would come out of
An English mouth,

“If that’s what you think, mate
You’re entitled to your belief.”

No need to fight over the trivial

Unless at a soccer match.

No, I’m bemused, I am
From my country afar
As to how it is that we
Are as we are.

I remember, too, when
Flying into New York city
My first flight with British
Airways, in one of those
Ghastly American jets
Long gone that bent in flight
Like a soggy wet empty toilet

The cabin staff had this louche
Air, astonishingly professional
Worn over with the air that
English cricketers had when
They again won the ashes

This was some time ago
This dreadful penchant for
Making the difficult look absurdly

They have been doing it for
A long time,

“Oh, it’s nothing old boy, par
For the course.”

What has them give off
This air
I have always found
Everything extremely

But perhaps, too,
This attitude I wear.

Malcolm D B Munro
Sunday 5 June, 2016

Filed under: poetry


Expats we are called
A reference I despise
I who left his home

We don’t hang
Together, pining
For what we left
What would be the
Point, we can always
Go home

But colonial
Yes, I’m that
But curious
Other worlds
To see, other ways
Than those of our

Curious too
When we painted
The world the colour
Was red

The extent of the
Realm, held dominion
Yet behaviour

We did our share
Of subjugation
Divided and conquered
Sly on the side
Honest to face

What takes aback
Is to find wherever
We go, that despite
The infamy of our

Are still held in high
Regard, with a fondness
That confounds

What did we do
That has this
Desert, we did
Little different
Than others
Who are hated
Still to this day

Yet a dignity remains
When those of our
Excolonies learn
Where I am from

Malcolm D B Munro
Sunday 5 June, 2016

Filed under: poetry

An Englishman needs time

But so does the Lady
No rush to get it over with
A roll in the hay
All sweat, hot and bothered
Panting away

But slow, oh so slow
Yes, an Englishman
Needs time to do it
His way

A quiet satisfaction results
That does not call for
Fame, we’re not known
As lovers, boasting of
Conquests, how many lays

Of members like tree
Trunks, what hell
Would you do with them

To say any more
Would be to boast
And that is not what
We’re about
Little to say

But those in the know
Will hang back
To select what lurks
At the back of the pack
The best of the lay

Savoured at night
Longed for
During the day

Malcolm D B Munro

Filed under: poetry

Piano’s Triumph

The gallery is beautiful
Gorgeous, no gainsaying
The lighting inside soft
Diffused from Piano’s
Genius, the roof

The art on the wall
Made to glow more
By the aesthetics of the
The place
The space well proportioned
Floor dark stained strip
Wood contrasts

A rich benefactor
Wife of oil
The fortune on
Which the city is
Feet of clay

A collection
Larger of its kind
Than all in the world
The Capital of that

If you’re a fan you
Will make a pilgrimage
Not disappoint

Nor does it stand on its
Own. This collector
Knew artists of every kind
And was adored, bequeathed
Of their works, a chapel
Unique lies beside

You can’t say a jewel
In the city. It’s white
But adds to its

It hasn’t got so much of

Malcolm D B Munro
Sunday 5 June, 2016


Filed under: poetry

Sleigh of hand

We’re fooled by these are we
Not. That’s the intention
Isn’t it. To draw upon the
Gullibility within us

Those three shells
The prophet for the rain
That never comes
The fruit machine
That never matches the fruit
The lottery, buying tickets
Week after week

Buy two and get one
Free, 70% off the original
Price (still inside our exorbitant
Profit margin, but we won’t tell
You that)

Sticker price, volume discount
Preferential buyer, air miles
Read the fine print

Shaman offering medicine
You’re not going to complain
If you die. Soothsayer, toothless
Lisping in your ear
Panhandler millionaire
A family to feed

Court attenders telling
Ruler what he wants to
Hear, the Fall from the
Wall; naked, butt naked

Ideologies, religions
Nationalism, your
Country needs YOU
Didn’t give a damn about
You during the peace
(As long as you pay your
Taxes that attend you to

Susceptible, eager to be
Fooled, pot of rainbow
The relative’s bequest
Of debts not paid
“I will leave it all to
You when I die”

But we dare not
Be cynical
For that would be

Malcolm D B Munro
Sunday 5 June, 2016

Filed under: poetry

Labour of love

No its not
In the sense of
Hard work
Like constipation
Straining and farting

To get it out
Annoying the neighbours
Sat alongside

No, its easy, effortless
Now, don’t make a mistake
Years have gone into
This growing

All that time in mental
Gymnastics, an unconscious
Practice in the head

No, it hasn’t been like that
It just spouted out like
A seed that lay in the soil
Where rain had not been
Seen for a very long time

But its flowering now
The perfume stinks from
The page, digital if you

And it is fun, Oh Boy
Is it fun.

Filed under: poetry

Does it disturb

Does it disturb
To have a poem
So aware of its

To be a dialogue
Rather than simply
To exist, an entity
In itself, a sort
Of thing

Do other poets
Do this. Does it take
Away from its merit
That it does not address
The world at large

As if from a triumphal
Arch, declaiming self
Appointed fame
Or the proclaiming
At the foot of a stern
Statue, staring across

A square, oblivious
To lovers sitting
Embracing on its
Plinth or pigeons
Sitting, shitting on its

Effigy, forlorn, of some long forgotten
Figure, inured to the
Passage of time
Or epitaph upon
A gravestone

“Here lies a dead poem
Upon this page
It is not mourned
No great loss”

Is it all postmodern
Funky, cool, like, of its time
Or too, well, like, self conscious
Speaking of an insecure, like,

Or simply an idiosyncrasy
After all, he’s English you

See what I mean?

Malcolm D B Munro
Sunday 5 June, 2016

Filed under: poetry

My Mother, again

Obsession, fascination. Former
Not, latter absolutely
So would any of you be
Were you to have met her

I had one of those inner eye
Glimpses we all have last night
She was bathing me. I must
Have been small. Parents
Don’t bathe big boys

She was teaching me
How to trim my toenails
How much love flowed
From her, more that the
Water from the bath
When we had finished

Perhaps it was that that
Had me trim my toenails
This morning

Though I usually
Do on Sundays

Malcolm D B Munro
Sunday 5 June, 2016

Filed under: poetry


So why does she fascinate
Readers and those who
Do not care for her writings

Is it that sense of ethereal which
Clung to her, some sense
That she did not really
Belong here on this strange

When she walked to the river
To step off its banks
Did her husband expect
Her back

Any moment. To make
Him a cuppa tea
And converse with
Him in her inimitable

“I’ll be back in a moment,
Just going for a walk.”

Yes, attractive, a beauty
If you like. More so than
Her sister. Talented
Beyond doubt

Whether beauty or not
She attracted around her
Those of undoubted
Merit, who stood at
The time, giants, or
At least, well known

Household names
But she is not known
As Duncan is, or Pankhurst
Or Earhart, of the same
Generation, are

Is it that walk to the river
With no prior announcement
Living in pain silently
Or her vagueness,
That remoteness
And never came

A woman we never
Got to know

Malcolm D B Munro
Sunday  5 June, 2016


Filed under: poetry

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