John Whitworth (1945-2019)

God Squad

A toast to God the Daddy, a toast to God the Son,
And one more toast to God the Ghost, the Holy Three-in-one.

We are the sheep the blessed sheep the Shepherd has selected.
We walked the walk and talked the talk and got ourselves elected,

And now we stroll the holy hills, Eternity before us.
The Heavens ring as angels sing a Hallelujah chorus,

While, miles and miles below us, yawn the smoking pits of Hell
Where Satan and his horrid band in deep damnation dwell.

We are the blessed sheep, the blessed Bible-bashing winners
And Paradise is twice as nice when you can see the sinners.

My brother writhes in agony, all chopped and charred and chewed up.
It serves him right, the little shite. He had his chance and screwed up.

I told you so, I told you so, I told you so in spades.
You can’t succeed; your bum will bleed if you don’t get the grades.

It ain’t no fun, relig-i-ion, no drinking, smoking, whoring,
All Sunday suits and creaky boots, respectable and boring.

We paid the price, said no to vice, which tested our endurance,
And now we get the pay-off and collect on our insurance.

Hell glitters like a carousel that’s turning, turning, turning.
The fate of goats who got their oats is everlasting burning.

I am a saint, who says I ain’t? And every saint in bliss is
Embraced by virgin martyrs chaste, who smother him with kisses.

So here’s to God the Daddy, God the Son and God the Fairy,
The Cherumbim, the Seraphim and Holy Mother Mary.

Dog Days

The Dog Days are the last hot days of summer which precede the autumnal mists and mellow fruitfulness

I’ve been walking the dogs through the damps and the fogs and I love you,
           I love you I cry to the sky and the shuttering sun.
I’ve been spending my days counting all of the ways that I love you,
           And the sum of the ways that I counted amounted to one.
It’s the way that’s the best and it covers the rest and I love you,
           I love you forever since weather began to unwind,
Since the sauropod plod through the memory of God, still I love you
           Till the last lazy star fizzles out and the cosmos is blind.

You’re a child of the light, you’re a ghost in the night and I love you,
           I love you: I whisper it low to the loitering leaves.
You’re as flash as the flight of a meteorite and I love you.
           You’re the cream of the milk, you’re as subtle and silky as Jeeves.
You’re as pale as a bone and as true as alone and I love you,
           I love you: I sing to the crystalline ring round the moon.
You’re as black as the tone of the membranophone and I love you.
           You’re as luscious as honeydew sucked from a runcible spoon.

You’re as soft as the rose, you’re as solemn as prose and I love you,
           I love you I shout it aloud to the teetering trees.
It’s the way your hair grows, it’s the splay of your toes, yes I love you.
           You’re as sweet as the scents of September borne up on the breeze.
As the North loves a magnet or cops love a dragnet, I love you
           In the darks of my heart, in the swells of the wandering wave.
As the Lady loves iron or Baptists love Zion, I love you.
           You’re as pure as poitin of Knockeen, and as sure as the grave.

You’re so fresh, you’re so funny, so bang on the money, I love you,
           As a packet of vinegar crisps loves a lager and lime.
You’re so slick, you’re so smart, so exclusive as art, and I love you,
           As an old-fashioned poet loves patterns of metre and rhyme.
As an old fashioned poet I love you, you know it, I love you,
           Though I’m crumpled and creased and obese and as ugly as sin.
I’m a popper of pills and I’m late with my bills and I love you,
           And a world with you in it’s a wonderful world to be in.


I used to like the Rolling Stones. I think
I liked the way they used to shake and shout.
I used to like to dope but now I drink
To cope without the dope I do without.

I used to hate the middlebrow;
Middle-class England, middle-of-the-road.
I’d make the very devil of a row;
I was an intellectual little toad.

I think I thought I didn’t give a damn.
I think a lot of what I thought was crap.
I think the real me, the me I am,
No sweat (you bet)’s a better sort of chap.

I used to think I like what now I never.
I used to like what drives me up the wall.
I used to think I was so bloody clever
And now I never think a-bloody-tall.

A Song of Plurals

Oh the ox and the oxen,
The fox and the foxen,
The vix and the vixen,
The chix and the chixen.

All the mice in the hice
Are incredibly nice
But I wouldn’t look tweece
At the meese and the geese.

That boy is a youth
Who can wiggle his tooth
But this friends (who are yeeth),
They have marvellous teeth.

Of course all of the children
Have beet on their feet
Their fathren and mothren
Make sure they look neat.

Cherubs are cherubim
Seraphs are seraphim
Arabs are arabim
Sherrifs are sheriffim.