Rob Lock p.1

Rob Lock

PC Doggerel

First Class

On The Other Hand

The Book Case

Third Sunday in January

After studying pre-20th century literature at university I felt that I knew what was good, but not what I liked. Then I read Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney.  I have now been writing regularly, if not prolifically, for ten years or so. Like others, I try to honour particular moments and relationships by capturing their essence in words that might linger in the mind. So musing is good – and sometimes it’s nice to amuse. I also have to confess to tinkering too much with finished work, as you will already know if you have read this profile before…

PC Doggerel

Is using, when texting, ‘her/him’
unbearably woke?
Hard to know when you’re merely a bloke
just glad to be her him.
First Class

Just ten years younger than me, and streamed
by English facility, though half 
as it happens were born elsewhere.
Ben, from Nigeria, who came each day 
with bat in his left hand, football in right; 
Irish Vincent who knew what happens 
to boys who lie (about caps - poking

from pockets) Yes, Sir, they go to hell, Sir.
Then – friendly with Milton and Glendon, 
Jamaican born both – there was Elgin 
Joyeux, from St Lucia: quite adult, 
and pleasantly so, at thirteen. These 
were the people I thought of last week, 
with Yvonne, Lana, Rudolph and Faye,

when I saw, reddening with anger, and shame,
how one of the Windrush (invited)
generation – a child who’d arrived 
with his mother, on her passport –
a grandfather now, had been threatened,
repeatedly threatened, with deportation 
when host isle reneged into hostile.

And Elgin, that’s when I decided
to trace you on Facebook. Your photo 
and messages both bode well – but go back 
five years. Friend requests don’t register.
Something’s amiss and I fear for your life.
Never wanted so much to be told,
You’ve got it all wrong, Sir - no worries.

Copyright © 2020 Rob Lock
On The Other Hand

A youth – who could be named – stayed in last night,
finished his essay and applied to train for social work.
Emma, aged three, strayed from her mum the day before
in Abbeygate Street; this attracted the kindness and tact
of a middle-aged man who, finding her crying,
involved two teenage girls. Julia Dunlop, looking up
from her page, made accidental eye contact with Vern
who will, two children later, think of marriage.
Mrs Ruby Turner – sheʼs already outlived Frank,
had a tumour removed and avoided MRSA –
raised a modest amount with an unpublicised swim.

Copyright © 2011 Rob Lock
On The Other Hand read by Rob Lock
The Book Case

As we queued to get to Ann Frankʼs annex,
shuffling between Germans, Japanese, Israelis,
I looked to see which titles had been chosen
for the shelves put in to hide the giveaway stairs.
Encyclopaedias? Goethe, Tolstoy,
Anderson and Grimm in uniform editions?
Or the obvious cunning of The Bible and 'Mein Kampf'?
Just twenty-three Uniplex files and three brown boxes,
presumably containing archived orders, receipts,
delivery notes; recipes featuring Opekta spices
in the finest of sausages, beef and pork;
their pectin in jam, made from fruit
picked by young girls cycling out of town on Sundays.

Note: Annʼs father owned Opekta, a company selling pectin and spices.

Copyright © 2011 Rob Lock
The Book Case read by Rob Lock
Third Sunday in January
with Keats in mind

At his desk
listing rhymes for wings
looks through the window
to the north

where Tom lies freshly buried underneath the falling snow

brings his mind indoors

20th Eve of St Agnes today

bitter chill the owl for all his feathers cold

Poor Tom fears no more

warms himself with honeyed luxuries

has Madeline loosen her fragrant bodice by degrees


Isabella Fanny and early death

knows the signs in comes Brown between whose eaves he lives. Copyright © 2013 Rob Lock
Third Sunday in January read by Rob Lock


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