Martin Parker



Surveying now my bath-night buff
a burka would not be enough
to hide my ancestors’ reliance
on years of ill-judged misalliance.

For it is all too clear to me
that way back up my family tree
there lurked in Earth’s primeval sauna
a very ugly bunch of fauna.

These mis-shaped antecedents fixed
their minds on lust and freely mixed
with all who found “grotesque” compulsive.
Survival of the most repulsive

was something Darwin did not see.
He got it wrong. It’s here. It’s me!
And that is why I am emphatic—
my self-portrait’s for the attic.


After You

Now that you’ve gone and my life has moved on
and I’m done with the hum and the drum of you
and your multiple lies and my lack of surprise
at the dust of the crust and the crumb of you …

plus the times you returned despite bridges you’d burned
and the mad and the bad and the sad of you
and the woes and the pose and the lowest of lows
and the near-total absence of glad of you …

and the yeses, the noes and the stops and the goes
and the what and the not and the blot of you
and the hows and the rows and the who’s-to-blame-nows
and the God-knows-quite-why bloody lot of you …

Now my life is much better, each day more red-letter;
though there’s something I can’t quite explain about
my regret that I mind when I wake up and find
that you’re no longer here to complain about.


Martin Parker is a light verse enthusiast whose work has appeared in a variety of UK publications including The Literary Review, The Spectator, The Oldie, and The Sunday Telegraph, as well as in a number of wider-ranging publications and webzines more normally associated with “proper” poetry. His first booklets, Pick ‘n Mix and Rubbing The Lamp, contain some 90 poems which are not always as light as they may first appear to be, as does the subsequent No Longer Bjored, published by Happenstance Press. Details of all his publications together with examples of his work can be found at He is both Founder and Editor of the quarterly light verse webzine Lighten Up Online.