Monthly Archives: January 2013

Beautiful Devil

That beautiful face
Sweet yet out of grace

A mind deformed
Empty of regret.
Evil unreformed
The Devil truly met.

Flashing fury
Mayhem bloody.
The nurse just gory
Another study.

So this is He
The Devil disguised.
The victim’s plea


Mischance and Beautiful Devil are a pair of poems describing the same event.   They relate to a fine looking young man murdering a nurse, a complete stranger, who was standing at a bus stop in the Hospital car park on her way home. A photograph of the assailant accompanied the newspaper story and the combination of the murderer’s physical beauty and his evil struck me forcibly.  His looks were angelic yet his actions were devilish. Her last experience of life was of being stabbed to death after she had completed her shift in which she was an angel of mercy.   What causes one human being to wreak such murderous destiny on another?



What mischance, what mis-wiring of a human mind can bring
Such devastation, such vengeful passion on another’s head?
The Devil cloaked in beauty that could make the angels sing
Wreaked terror unprovoked, and cast the bird of evil on the wing.


(Mischance and Beautiful Devil are a pair of poems describing the same event.  They relate to a fine looking young man murdering a nurse, a complete stranger, who was standing at a bus stop in the Hospital car park on her way home. A photograph of the assailant accompanied the newspaper story and the combination of the murderer’s physical beauty and his evil struck me forcibly.  His looks were angelic yet his actions were devilish. Her last experience of life was of being stabbed to death after she had completed her shift in which she was an angel of mercy.   What causes one human being to wreak such murderous destiny on another?)



That Most Remarkable Game of Golf

The tale of a brilliant and plucky Liverpool boy defying the play of Titans

O ‘twas a most remarkable and memorable golfing game
To astound our host of most adoring admirers we stood tall
When three brave souls whose hearts are mainly free of blame
Manly struck and strove to welly hence the lightning ball.

Lightheartedly they said that by far the weakest of the three
Should gratefully accept their lordly grant of one stroke per hole
And so began a struggle waged by Titans, not including me
Clashing mighty shot answering subtle touch towards the flaggy pole.

First Southampton, with his whippy wrists and wrangled what’s-its
Pushed on the pace with thund’rous power against Glaswegian guile
Until the tables turned with rapier precision as Glasgow pits
His cunning chips and chops with many a pleasant curse awhile.

And all along the unheralded, the unbeloved , lurking in the sand
Lashed, cursed and clouted the sandy orb to notch some ghastly scores
Until, like a scented, sensuous sprite the scouser spirit came upon the land
Bursting forth to ghost unseen, reaping from heavenly watchers their applause.

The burnished two, handshaking in victory and defeat, chattering their joy
While yet the third had still not played his final putt to shake the universe
And all a’sudden their merry japes fell silent on their conquering ploy
As the unregarded, with silky skill rolled in the merry orb to justify this verse.

O what a wail struck up from Glaswegian heart, a victory snatched away
Southampton lived to strive again as Liverpool snatched the final play!



A coruscating, flashing 3-wood by the ancient Master
Tore this mighty hole to absolute defeat and shreds
While his puny partner toyed with unravelling disaster
Imperious the stride as on the green the Master treads.

A tiny cough to clear that icy brain before the rolling stroke
Like honey caressing the silky green to seal the sweetest four
And jumping joy engulfed the Master as realization broke
A Birdie snatched with consummate ease, the partner poor.

The fearsome Twelfth, sneering its size and called The Burn
Legendary with its runny brook and brooding bunkers grim
Our Master struts his happy talent and gambles at every turn
His golden reputation sealed by golf sublime, his figure trim.

In this most noble sonnet, should you sense the poet’s awe
Reflect, then turn the page and say, “What was the score?”.


This sonnet relives the majestic play on the 517yds hole that stunned the poet.


The Ballad of the Boys

On the day they let a Scoose marauder in
The auld boys sat there chunnerin’, makin’ a din
Why now do we stoop to admit a Scooser
When wha’ we need is a fine young mouser?

Ne’er worry thy ancient heids aboot it
He’s nae a challenge, he is nae fit
Tae break oor records wi’ his drivin’
But lift your eyes, his wee wife’s arrivin’.

An’ there’s oor Andy an’ young Derek tae
They shall make the Scooser upstart pay
Let’s see him wi’ his wee puny puttin’
Match oor champions wi’ chins a’juttin’.

An’ so the chatter spread aboot
The Scooser’s play was just a hoot
The auld boys fell asleep once more
Until they awoke to Scooser’s score.

Oor records gone, by Scooser blasted
Which we saed were surely everlasted
An’ noo he struts his canny roonds away
There’s none tae match his canny play.

The ainly advance we have for sure
Three bonny wives dance on oor floor
Three bonny lassies wi’ bosoms heavin’
Stop the auld boys from quick a’leavin’.

Oor wee three lassies they ne’er ever chatter
They live fine lives, their bairns an’ granchiel’ matter
Which leaves oor buddies stormin’ doon the way
Breathin’ in the love o’ life itsel’, awhile they play.


Purple Town

Balls, plucked from the hat
Decide how the hand of Fate
Would crash amongst us
Red and Blue sent where
Some lived while some would die.

Intertwined, our scarves twist
Catch, unfurl and separate
Blue to the Villa, Red march
On Hillsborough, hooked
On fierce pins of Destiny.

Same streets, houses, pubs
Same mates, shops, schools
Friendships, jobs and rain
Split by loyalty, tied by blood
Split by fate, tied by love.

Everton blue, Liverpool red
Our people live, our people dead
Our City wept, our City bled
Everton, Liverpool, Kenny said
Together, forged, for the way ahead.


Lament of the Years

 The    Hillsborough    Disaster   1989

 Dedicated To:

The Ninety-Six

Those Left Behind

The Survivors



Being a Red, I wanted to look at the issues surrounding the disaster in 96 lines of poetry.
I hope that by composing it in the form of twelve separate poems it becomes more easily readable. In this way each poem can be itself, whether with free-flowing rhyming lines, blank verse, or with rather more difficult rhythms running through the lines.

As I wrote, I saw that some of the poems would be more naturally spoken by the female voice. Indeed, I see the Lament more as something to be spoken, rather than simply being read.

I hope you feel it does address the main issues of what happened on that terrible day.   With what will follow in the months ahead, I believe the flags and banners of this noble cause shall wave in jubilation as our people are vindicated. Justice shall see where blame should truly lie.



That we might taste justice and emerge cleansed from the lies of vipers

Twelve Poems
Eight lines in each
Ninety-six lines

  Dawn of the Day
Suck You In
And Spit You Out
Wrath of the Dead
Lament of the Living
Cold Hearth, Cold Bedroom
Seek and Ye Shall be Ignored
Perversion of the Truth
Lingering Lies
Cry Justice and be Heard
Brave New Report
The Call of Time

Copyright – Ric Johnson


Audio performance version:


Dawn of the Day

Dreams the size of footy pitches fragment into heady, new born day
As trousers, shoes, tops and socks spring together in flurried rush
Gearing Anfield’s army towards its shuddering date with destiny, alas
Sweet dreams persist, fuelled by love, hope and expectation, oh hurray!

Mothers, sons, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, cousins, friends
Meet, leave, shout farewell, see you later alligator, and hitch those dreams
To a Sheffield hell, there, crushed by nightmares mushrooming to the sky.

How can a day be this? A jewel squeezed and pulped into endless night.


Suck You In

Leppings Lane peoplefall, trippingfall, surging, pushing, crushing, squeezing
Tidal powers of flesh-energy scour and whoosh our darlings to despair
Sweaty, gasping, grasping, hoping, praying, swaying, fraying, flailing, and
Learning to be crushed and hushed and bushed and trashed and mashed.

While over there, just over there, lie empty concrete, empty spaces, empty
While the fools look on and on and on, while the heat-steam rises from our roses
As lucky leg jerkers are pulled like willing, desperate frogs to the upper stand.

Bright buttoned fools see not the coming nightmare, playing at ignorant gods.


And Spit You Out

And flat against the barrier as the distant crowd began to sing
The boiling mass of people screamed,  “You cannot see a thing
You cannot see us dying and succumbing as you drone
You cannot see and will not see that life is fleeing, fleeing, flown”.

And strolling policemen, scant concerned as pleas spill out like rain
As “Save us, Brucie, help us, save us”, makes a terrible refrain
Until dawning understanding broke and panic tore down the cage.

Spat out its broken, crushed, unconscious fans and left the others lying, dying, one injustice of the age.


Wrath of the Dead

We lie and float on a swelling, darkening sea
Nipped by untruthful fish, clutching us, flinching us.
Wrathful, vengeful, we fisticuff these chattering fish
Greedy for retribution against the fish-eyed masters of the press

Who peddle insinuation, meddling, and sullying the scales
Of justice, aloft and blindfold, hearing not our watery cry
Ours to be scored with lies as sharp as butchers’ hooks.

When, O Lord, shall thy mercy heal us here in the darkened sea?


Lament of the Living

As the news crashed back to Liverpool and those countless ways beyond
That a chasm of darkness opened where once many a living person stood
With darling daughters and darling sons and many a darling father conned
Out of life itself, their future years, some lost to the promise of parenthood.

The shuddering shock of death’s precipice and the never-ending fall
Laid waste the countless loving hearts dismantled by it all
As silence displaced laughter, laughter, in the kitchen and the hall.

The ones bereaved lie shrivelled, shrunk, feeling the agony of it all.


Cold Hearth; Cold Bedroom

I remember now the emptiness and silence crushing my heart
Unspeaking chairs not listening and the table not taking my part
Making me an empty jug with an empty soul, turning me to stone
I cried to the Lord that I should not be, O God, I would not be alone.

I remember now that bedroom expecting him home to his unmade bed
And what remained of Friday night should be left just where it was, he said
That he’d return from the match to fix it and get rid of the mess just fine.

But he never came home and all I could do was to set up a sort of a shrine.


Seek and Ye Shall be Ignored

Blood-writers damn only themselves, printing all those despicable lies
While we shall forever denounce them, those fish-eyed ghouls of the Press
Who have flattened our voices and scorned us, despite our truthful replies
The battle lines are settled and fierce tears scald souls needing redress.

Just as waves surge over their seascape, the longer we’ll push our campaign
Our duty is clear, stand firm by our love, as we know our lost ones command
That as day follows night the truth must be told so fling back our heads once again.

We stand fast at our point in history, seeking redemption in truth’s distant land.


Perversion of the Truth

It would not have taken long for sweating, haughty minds to chase around and panic
For silvered hats and embroidered epaulettes in dread, to set the slimy system manic
Fevered conversations dribbling poisoned whisperings in our believing public’s ear
Infamous, infectious, gross and lying slander from such imperious mouths we hear.

Perversions swiftly reaching those who spider-spin the need for self-protection
An old boys club of pious uniforms intent on sleight of hand to justify inspection
A day of shame besmirching those whose duty lay in honour, betraying us, of course.

This day of shame leaps years with its cape of infamy and laughs to show remorse.


Lingering Lies

The headlines told of malcontents awash with drink and foolish, boisterous for the game
Of hooligans and senseless yobs arriving late to charge those old and shuddering gates
Their snarling purpose just to burst upon the terraces and reinforce their singing mates
Ignoring calls of growing fear beyond, cramming other red supporters to a crying shame.

And later still, in the horrors of the hour, our very own defiled those lying there, they said
Unspeakable but yet quite printable, the fish-eyed pressmen brayed their shoddy lies at us
Their accusations fast fed a listening world, desperate for moral certainty, as others bled.

These lingering lies, lying on us with the weight of mountains, crushing us, exhausting us.


Cry Justice and be Heard

Throughout the years, such broken years, heroic souls called to the Risen Lord
Wounded by the furious roar of enemies, their unbent story we fervently applaud
But never once did the heartbeat fail or the flag of honour lie unseen, neglected
They persevered against a blind, uncaring world against a verdict not respected.

The battle hymns of Liverpool thunder long across the grounds of mighty foes
While all our chanting boys and girls with loud dissent sang of shameful woes
And when at long, long last, astounded by a wicked, cruel and monumental lie

Our country with unhindered gaze said justice must be theirs, before we too shall die.


Brave New Report

And thoughtful heroes of the age unravelling the multitude deceits of cockroach liars
Four Hundred Thousand grains of sand to build a Bishop’s castle that certainly inspires
A blooming confidence in the scented rose that peers beyond the sullen, murky curtain
As this masterly accusation, alive with grim revelation, is set before a fretful nation.

Liverpool Cathedral in all its majesty, consoling these poor souls in tatters, yet proud
Hears torn-apart people, plagued by the paralysis of never ending grief, still pray aloud
And witnesses the sad-eyed Panel cry havoc against the liars with a lusty sword of fire.

This sword of reason, sword of truth, has set the stage for what we most desire.


The Call of Time

Tick tock, tick tock, can you feel the call of time?
Tick tock, Brother, can you spare another dime?
Can you tell that justice beckons as you try to creep away?
Can you feel deception melt when the sun has reached mid-day?

Do you think you’ll ever find the grace to simply speak the truth aloud?
Do you think that time’s passing makes forgetting simple for the crowd?
Will you call for water hoarsely when nearly dead and in despair?

Will you turn and weep for people you have hurt beyond repair?


Well, Beggar Me!

I turned aside a beggar at our Pisa taxi rank
But later thought my repelling horror stank
As he tutted, swore and shuffled slow away
One chance encounter not to make our day.

I shuddered that he saw me and approached
Targeted when I was otherwise engrossed
Challenged as arbiter of this beggar’s fate
I chose to lordly point him to another gate.

Poor sod, who would have chosen Hell?
Wherein only tortured souls shall dwell
Where cents and hopes jockey emptiness
While his less is more but my more is less.

He was not the only beggar I so skilful skirt
Others too I skipped aside to miss their hurt
Skipped onto the other, more pleasant, side
And played the Levite to assuage my pride.

Well, arguments fly in to champion my part
While others note and scorn my frozen heart
Where lies an answer, find me one just reason
Perhaps we’ll travel soon, quite out of season.


That Man Kelly

Forty-five minutes and we’re all done
Baked and frazzled like some currant bun.

That man Kelly, he’s to blame
His indiscretions a bloody shame.

He’s done it now, the suspected suicide
Nodding to the altar of another’s pride.

The political Magician, a-gleam with revelation
Certain in his piety as he dupes a doubting nation.




Sniper Billy Sniped…..Dead There: Somewhere

Pray you, out here, somewhere, I have forgot me
Where may I find my precious, unlived, mislaid life?
When last I knew I sniped behind some plum tree
Billy-fear-not immune from this so clamorous strife.

Well, Billy Boy, our politicians a-dream with swanky glory
Have spent your life and gleam, unhindered by your puny fury.

But now I sense a stilly difference has become me
A starry loneliness and longing – Where is my girl?
Our sniping party looking strange in death, I see
Swift chattering hail swarmed and cut us to a swirl.

Well, Billy Boy, our politicians a-dream with swanky glory
Have spent your life and gleam, unhindered by your puny fury.

Where have I left me? My understanding is mis-matched
So disconnected, separate, shorn of love and living flesh
Blinded in twilight, a splintered dream is quite detached
And yet I half-remember children’s laughter in a crèche.

Well, Billy Boy, our politicians a-dream with swanky glory
Have spent your life and gleam, unhindered by your puny fury.




Second Chance Encounter with the PM in a Crowded Pub

Ah! You still here?
It can’t be just the pleasant beer.
But as I was saying
Before those press boys came a-baying.
I’m sort of just a regular guy
With all that that then can imply.

Those Tories were a heinous crowd
In whom the country can’t be proud.
Our fortunes they had truly wasted
By sleaze, dishonoured and emaciated.
I’m sort of just a regular guy
With all that that then can imply.

A new dawn breaks from heaven’s east
And we shall all be newly policed.
A new dawn our children shall salute
Whence comes sweet sunshine unpollute.
I’m sort of just a regular guy
With all that that then can imply.

Don’t delve too deep for you may touch me
Cause me to wobble rather than to spin, see.
To rent and change this country, I’m avowed
With foreign fields awash and bloody bowed.
I’m sort of just a regular guy
With all that that then can imply.




New Headstones

We must consider, in this august Committee
Designing headstones, more’s the pity.

Fit for splintered girls and headless boys
Who fought and died for one man’s ploys.

World War headstones won’t suffice
As they would cost too high a price.

All that carving and all that pride
Surely unnecessary, on the other side.

Something simpler, rather bland
To quell Death’s fury at a one-man band.

The skirmishing Committee, all slithering, make a plea
That they be granted absolution from the magician’s legacy.


Envisaging a committee, its belief in the war shot away, wishing to disassociate itself from the war in Iraq.



Murmurs of Content

Have you noticed, Cheryl sweet
How Time slips under others’ feet
Yet we are still prevailed upon
To slip Hobbs and Per Una on.

To flash Chanel and fling the Bling
Our silken hose, our golden string
Our winning ways, our fabled charm
Still keep us safe and free from harm.

Yet many a scented man has winked an eye
Full many a head has turned as we pass by
Our slim-line tailored jeans and vivid blouses
Inspire essential talk in all the finest houses.

We think our flaming youth remains the reason
Why we are sweetly feted through every season.


Lie You So Softly

Lie you so softly in those sensuous sheets
As dazed in sleep you disconnected stir
Then mutter nothings sending me in pleats
As nostrils twitch at faint changes in the air.

Electrifying thrills of shapes beneath the folds
And all akimbo sadly sheltered from my view
An arm still braceleted appears and so unfolds
More silken body and your face emerging new.

Lie you so softly that your gold-bespangled hair
Extended on the pillow now star-like in its beauty
Rising with you as unawake and only half aware
Yawning yourself alive anticipating lover’s duty.



My smiling mind shouts ‘Yes please’
Flying fast across the seven seas
For Laura

She’s deep inside my beating heart
Waiting for this love to start
For Laura

The bonds that bind me to this girl
Throw me in a whizzing whirl
For Laura

My head and toes and heart are light
As fancy spins me on this flight
For Laura

For boys and girls who fall in love
Will know the starlight from above
For Laura

As sunny joy and hope intensifying
Lead me laughing, singing, sighing
For Laura.


I Think For Hours

I think for hours
Then buy her flowers
I’m glad she made
Fresh marmalade
She is to me
A mighty sea
Of deep emotion
Without commotion
But with devotion
No self-promotion
True support
That’s never fraught
Keep up the trick
Through thin and thick
Just entertaining
While stimulating.


The New Macbeth

How now, that in the sightless, mean and sooty night
I am besieged with visions that affright me
Choke me, throttle me with their easy might
And curse a dodgy war I waged so morally?

And marching regiments of boys now out of time
Chant and unnerve my drenched, dissembling heart
They brandish severed parts to demonstrate the crime
Wading through sandy blood as recriminations start.

This shameful outcome I neither sought nor wanted
Where prophesying hags reveal a folly and such incandescent rage
Not on some ancient heath where lineage was granted
But here in Britain now, my gift of nightmare to the present age.

Reawakened medieval passions lead to daily slaughter
A fractured, ruptured, broken zone where all can die
How my silken tongue bodes ill for son and daughter
When I heaped on warring Iraqis a democratic presumption and a lie.




Drenched Am I

Glancing at you sideways when you know it not
Glimpsing fragrant moisture on half-open lips
That sweetest tongue alive with words of fire
Touches teeth a-gleam that sears me with desire.

Your face is peerless in its form so close to mine
As now your nose and eyebrow sweep my cheek
Drench me in warming scents from flawless skin
Stretching my so pulsing heart that beats within.

Those eyes quite glisten and reflect my truest self
Changing the while as thoughts flick at your soul
Agape with love that courses through true dreams
And close now moistly for our love is all it seems.

Those lashes lie awash on beds of deepening tears
As ardent lips are fired with racing thoughts of love
Then drenched am I with expectation quite fulfilled
Our joyous understanding gained and now instilled.


Beautiful Player, Beautiful Amour

I have compared you with all those summer days that Will has spoken of
And sly-eyed you across the chessboard as you richly mimicked Kasparov
Enjoyed the honeyed, dappled fingers reach mockingly to take my pawn
And burned with shame when first you laughed my poorly chess to scorn.

Those tawny and compelling eyes so brimful with condescension and such disdain
Mock and hoot those thoughts of mine revealing what I would truly, sensually gain
Yet leave the chess forgotten as bishops spill on knights and castles crash to floor
Cascading players vault beyond the candles and twine their burning flesh amour.


Twin Leaders

Strutting like fascists pumping hard, oozing pomp
Twin leaders, at twin lecterns now stiffly arriving
Muscle-bound mouthings from  twins on the stomp
Our language deformed with mis-facts so contriving.

Frozen smiles pucker lips seen on millions of tellies
While out there our lads fear lead in their bellies.

The leaders synthesize speeches with ranting rejoicing
Though casualties leap towards sickening highs
Hugely asleep to the grief millions are voicing
Swimming too deep in a tissue of lies.

Frozen smiles pucker lips seen on millions of tellies
While out there our lads fear lead in their bellies.




156 And Counting

Another three, another three
Smashed boys have gone to heaven
While in the dirt and in the sand
There lie remains of someone’s hand.
Surely this isn’t what the PM planned?

And don’t forget the other boy
Maimed and weeping, deep in shock
Splattered with mucus, flesh and crap
Victims of someone’s little trap.
Will this, at last, make the PM snap?

Don’t hold your breath
Don’t think about it
Just thank the Lord that you’ve survived
You’ll see the lads on the other side.
Remember son, it’s the PM’s pride.

Your ears and scalp are now quite separate
Skin’s been torched and seems on fire
Those eyes of yours that once did shine so
“And shall I see my love again though?”
The Chaplain feared it must be “No”.

But when you’re back in Blighty, son
Don’t visit the Clinic with your uniform on
As you’ll offend those separate, sensitive folk
And could be judged you did provoke.
Your plans are dashed, and at a stroke.

Surely this wasn’t what the PM planned
As bullets rip through Iraqi sand.
O Master, lead us to the Promised Land!

This poem was written in July 2002.  Since when the British Forces deaths have accelerated and currently [10 Aug 2007] stand at 168…………..and counting!