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Poetic License

by The Crows Of Albion

A Step Towards Winter I look into the mirror’s depthless space and note the wrinkles that, somehow have grown into something I wish I didn’t own. The knife of age has cut into my face. The greys within my hair have moved apace from where the bird of youth had lightly flown to make a nest of life that it could own. I wish it hadn’t sprinted in that race. Yet – later, standing on a wind scarred rock that jutted from the fields of pristine snow. Where rivers etched like lines upon a page. I came to see the beauty, not the shock, of time’s tattoo upon a constant flow of seasons, that lack colour in their age.
Domestosterone I’m tougher than a brave marine, in hard-worn battle gear, all decked out in camouflage. There’s nothing that I fear. You may have taken all my mates, but they were old and weak, you’ve never met a foe like me - I’m tough as fucking teak. I laugh at all your vain attempts to seek out and destroy, for when I’m in my element I’m proud that I annoy. I smear myself on surfaces, I hide in subtle bends I know my mere existence disgusts you and offends. You wash your hands and worry that I might survive your war, so you scour and you shower to rid me from every pore - but, just like a true guerrilla, I will choose my time to fight. When you least expect my action I will have you in my sights. You’ve looked for me both far and wide, in every hole and pipe. Despite your best intentions I still evade your subtle wipe - on worktop, chair, toilet seat, sink and windowsill, I am the awesome nought point one that you will never kill
Composed At Braunau (April 20th 1889) Die Erde hat nichts mehr zu zeigen, fair, alle hier unter dem verdrehten Kreuz blutig, als das, mein Kind, mein Engel von Braunau. Ich nehme ihn in meinen Armen und einfach anstarren auf dieser Wechselbalg in meiner Obhut gelassen. Seine Geburt, heute, ist sicherlich Himmels Verlust und berührt alle meine Grautöne mit Regenbogen Glanz. Die Welt liegt schlafend, immer noch so ahnungslos solcher Potenzial, ruhend in dieser Schale. Vielleicht ist der Donner am laufenden Band in den Himmel, wie eine dämonische Kloster Glocke, weckt ihn, und als ich ihm in die Augen schauen, Ich sehe premonitory Flammen der Hölle und zu hören, die Toten, die in seine Schreie hallen. Earth has not anything to show more fair, all bloodied here beneath the twisted cross, than this, my child, my angel of Braunau. I take him in my arms and simply stare upon this changeling left within my care. His birth, today, is surely heaven’s loss and touches all my greys with rainbow gloss. The world lies sleeping, still so unaware of such potential, dormant in this shell. Maybe the thunder churning in the skies, like a demonic monastery bell, wakes him and, when I look into his eyes, I see premonitory flames of hell and hear the deaths that echo in his cries.
Lair Of The Snow Spider there are domains so deep that no one will tread so dark that they are blind in these dank places the air is still and sound is soft and mute into this darkness snow falls settling in the nooks and crannies dusting the branches with its ice grasp can you hear it the soft sly scuttle of a many legged thing making its way towards the bright glazed canopy spinning its web of gossamer thread between limbs around trunks across the path of unwary travellers until beneath a false light cast from white reflective surfaces the lair of the snow spider is complete and there she lays in wait for the human fly
Winterfylleth (October) We die! We die! scream the old men of the trees, as their grip slips from skeletal fingers holding them aloft. They fall to earth in a blaze of golden glory, coming to rest at the feet of great oaks, sycamores, birch and elms. Rustling in their cardigans of orange and amber like dry skin in crimplene. Those they have left creak and groan - Remembering. Children hurling denuded femur and fibula - deadfall wood - high into canopies of fire, to dislodge the skulls of horse chestnut and acorn for their playground games. All the while the old men whisper We die! We die! as their bodies rot into mulch and a heavy scent of decay arises from their death beds. Never has the passing of ancients been so glorious.
Noticed 02:51
Noticed I lived my life, most often, like a ghost, ethereal, drifting from room to room, a chill chasing me from pillar to post. Rippling across the senses of those whom, in solitude, sought meaning in their life before they passed beyond it to the tomb. I was not noticed by them, or my wife who gladly let me rest in silent shade whilst stabbing at me with a nagging knife. Then, resting in the bed that we had made she didn’t notice that, tonight, I died - my spirit passing to the night brigade. Her tears were dust, those moments that she cried. I saw all this from high above the scene as doors to purgatory opened wide. I could have grieved for all that I had been, but something in me wanted to be free, something dark within wanted to be seen. So I ignored the light that shone on me, turning away from heaven’s golden gate. I threw away salvations twisted key. I chose to take an otherworldly fate, to challenge death and break his rigid laws. Look for me when the hour is getting late. At last you notice when I open doors, you look around, your eyes awash with fear, jump at the sound of distant creaking floors. Your senses tingle, knowing I am near, aware, though dead and gone, that I still care. I whisper it so softly in your ear. I run my fingers gently through your hair. Closer than close. A permanent nightmare.
Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia Dearly beloved We are gathered here To denounce Satan In all his guises. But How shall we know him I hear you ask. Well The Book Of Revelations Tells us That he shall be identified by a number And that number is Six hundred and sixty six The number of the beast. A fear of that number is called Hexakosioi Hexekonta Hexaphobia And we have one of our congregation Here today Who is sorely afflicted By that complaint Let us hear his story…… His dog craps in my garden to the sound of metal rock. His kids creep round my greenhouse scrawling balls and giant cock. His wife is bruised and beaten all around the fucking clock. His preferred weapon of choice is to hurt and maim and shock. Home from church on a Sunday, he has a bonfire burning - pitchforking rubber tyres and dead meat that is turning. I whip the washing in quick (You see that I am learning), while he stares over my fence his face a mass of gurning. I swear his head has two horns that protrude like little bumps. His chimney coughs and splutters - a sulphurous cloud it pumps. When he laughs my cats screech loud, and their hair falls out in clumps as shelves and windows rattle and all my best china jumps. Got post for B L Z Bubb waiting to let the cat in - I took it round - he was out Well! Mrs Bubb got chatting he spend hours in the basement when all she hears is scratting and some strange incantations sung in archaic Latin. All hell broke loose last Monday - plagues of locusts were released, I called the cops in anger - for a little while it ceased. I want to sell my semi, so please call to view at least. I live at six, six, seven I’m the neighbour of the Beast.
Totem 04:22
totem Maple wood smoke drifts across the pine And firs curling into Inuit ghosts that pace stealthily from tree to tree. Towering totems carved with bird wolf bear and snakehead calling to the old gods that we were here we lived and died in these ancient forests silver river slithers through the granite cutting inlets where canoe and kayak bobbed and weaved in search of salmon and trout before the coming of the white man and his devil-brew liquor that made us happy numb and angry for a while before it tore away the wise and gentle masks of our priests Old Crow Flats Bluefish Caves Algonkin Arapaho, Assiniboin Atsina, Chippewa Cree, Crow Dakota Haida, Hidatsa Huron Iroquois, Kutenai Tionontati in the green and silver wilderness we sleep awaiting the return of the trickster raven
Class Action 03:41
Class Action A golden apple hangs aloft, corrupt flesh - rotten to the core and when it falls, it lays a while until the vermin come to gnaw. A bloody tide, ebbs and flows against Britannia’s exposed shore while God’s still lapping his sinners up In distant, godless, fucking war. Don’t vote for the bastards any more They give to the rich and take from the poor You’ll end up dying in a nuclear war Don’t vote for the bastards any more A Tory with a mouth of lies feeds the rich and damns the poor - choking on his ill-begotten gains, I hope the coins stick in his craw. To rid themselves of opposition they cook a rancid meal of law, then feed it to the innocents who lay, prostrated, on the floor. Gordon, Tony, Ed and Dave, flirting with the Grantham whore, whom we cannot speak against, but told to cow and bow in awe. I am a kind and gentle lamb but even I can take no more. I want to curse and rant and rave and let them hear my Lion’s roar. For when they sit in gilded glory, totting up their Bonus Score – while you are counting bedrooms in your council house of mud and straw - remember strength and unity, the things our ancestors fought for. Stand proud you grandchildren of Albion - Thus spake the hardcore troubadour.
Vermin 00:43
VERMIN A broken body, matted red, tossed in the air by wailing hounds. The quick, brown fox is spinning, dead, amid the banshee bugle sounds. The inane braying still abounds when port is drunk and fables spill, about the right of man to kill an animal who, turning back, stood proud and noble on the hill and faced the crimson vermin pack.
Cycle Of The Scarecrow before she came I stood here for what seemed like eons with a blood red sun setting behind me my head full of nothing more than sawdust straw and dreams a hole in my chest where beetles scuttled happy come rain or shine my only fear that crows might see through me be brave and bold and strut towards me then peck out my button eyes now as the shadows grow long before me I feel a chill wind blow in from beyond the rainbow and the faltering steps of something coming from another place I jump Startled as a pale small hand falls on my cross-bar shoulder and I know my world will never be the same again A scarecrow in autumnal sheen thinks of all that he has been. His age old frame begins to lean as bitter winds blow in, so keen. He longs for days of evergreen, so buys back time, wipes the slate clean, gives his soul to the pumpkin queen - the witch who walks at Halloween. The scarecrow dreams of living free He thinks he’s gonna survive The summer sun, the winter snow, He’s never felt so alive. The scarecrow dreams of living free He thinks he’s gonna survive The springtime thaw, the autumn leaves, He’s never felt so alive. A scarecrow in the wax moonlight is snowed upon one winters night and as the crystals, soft, alight he dreams perhaps some day he might take footsteps off into the bright ice world. His skeletal delight some hours later, fat and white with snow-flesh - waiting for coal sight. The scarecrow dreams of leaving home He thinks he’s gonna survive The summer sun, the winter snow, He’s never felt so alive. The scarecrow dreams of leaving home He thinks he’s gonna survive The springtime thaw, the autumn leaves, He’s never felt so alive. A scarecrow in a cutting rain watches his slush slide down the drain and as it leaves, he feels the pain as bones of wood protrude and drain. Weak sunlight sows the sleeping grain as he is called upon, again, to stand guard over crops – attain dominance over winters stain. The scarecrow dreams of working hard He thinks he’s gonna survive The summer sun, the winter snow, He’s never felt so alive. The scarecrow dreams of working hard He thinks he’s gonna survive The springtime thaw, the autumn leaves, He’s never felt so alive. A scarecrow dries in summer sun knowing that, once more, he’s won the right of those, which he is one, to face the crows of Albion. Then as the solstice webs are spun and shadows lengthen, day is done – he knows that he cannot outrun what summers beetles have begun. The scarecrow dreams of dying now He’s not so sure he’ll survive The summer sun, the winter snow, He’s never felt less alive. The scarecrow dreams of dying now He’s not so sure he’ll survive The springtime thaw, the autumn leaves, He’s never felt less alive.
Dust 03:23
dust dust settles dead skin I trace my finger through you wishing you were here not gone in a cloud of dust not spread across my furniture like winterfall and so I don’t clean I sit and stare at the places you have been the places where you touched me kissed me before the rage and arguments before the crying and the hurt before you said you needed time to let the dust settle…..
Beneath The Watch Tower I watch the man who sits below the oak, his features twisted by the scars of time, a body wrapped inside a velvet cloak of moss, that wasn’t there back in his prime. He played amid the gnawing granite teeth that sprung from grassy gums of evergreen and knew nothing of those who lay beneath, but only those who, with him, danced between. Then one-by-one the dancers went to bed and left the man alone with only dreams - or fears that simple dreams might raise the dead. Pray tell who, in this place, would hear him scream? Dead flowers hang from vases, cracked and dull, their pretty bonnets overgrown with weeds - whose simple aspirations tug and pull to satisfy their parasitic needs. I stand so tall and proud with stony face, a voice left silent since the chimes of war. I want him to be happy in this place - not sad and bitter for what went before. As twilight hides beneath a heavy cowl of darkness, rising bleak above my spire, the hooting of a solitary owl snaps consciousness as taut as any wire. With a world, weary sigh he stands to leave – turning, but once, to look upon my face. I know that with that glance he still believes that I am God and he the Human Race.
Club 01:22
Club Whiteness The scream of children and the smell of cologne. Red dress flutters in the cool air across silken thighs. The flash flash flash of Paparazzi zooming in. Eyes locked on the Celebrity. The Swish Club. Whiteness. The screams of infants and the smell of fear. Red mist drifting on the chilled air across the twitching bodies. The crunch crunch crunch of heavy boots drawing close. Eyes locked on the madman. The swish of the club......
That Which Autumn Leaves The clowns were funny in the ring, as they joked and tumbled and fell - but in the camp, after the show, they made our young lives hell. Still in their masks of garish paint and drunk on Vodka shots, they cut and bruised and beat us, hatching cruel, twisted plots. I never saw the demons lurking safe behind the masks and who would have suspected them as they went about their tasks? We couldn’t tell our parents, although so great was our need to escape their vile clutches, “Blaming clowns, indeed!” So as they slept in caravans painted in autumn shades, some friends and I crept up on them, our young hearts so afraid. We lit a little fire underneath the sleeping nest and jammed tree branches in the doors. Oh, what a jolly jest. We banged nails in the window frames and waited for the screams when those inside rushed at the door. I hear them in my dreams. They cursed and swore unholy vengeance in strange Romany tongues, as flames and smoke lapped around them and scorched into their lungs The paint on every caravan peeled and bubbled like hell and we swore an oath between us that we would never, ever, tell. We stood at the far side of the field as the garish wagons burned. The shades of autumn lit the sky as one by one we turned. The shrieks in the night sounded like frenzied jesters frying in a three ring circus of the night. The children stopped their crying. The shades of autumn blurred across an unforgiving sky. We even raised the alarm ourselves As we waited for them to die. Our handiwork went undetected, just more ash in the rubble. None of us were suspected then and no one got into trouble - but now my friends have all passed on, as age comes to us all, every autumn I wait for them to come around and call. For every year since that fateful day, as the night sky burns in season of falling leaves and epitaphs, they seem to have a reason to return to that scorched cradle and pitch their caravan in the same spot in that killing field where years ago we ran. I fear them, not for our redemptive past but, because I see the eyes of Paul, Peter, John and Mark and hear their mournful cries spilling from the cracked and crumbled greasepaint faces of each and every ghost that visits me upon that night i dread and fear the most. When autumn visits with the clowns I come to realise, that I stand in the twilight of my life and winter, soon, will rise. The flaming oranges will pass and give way to the white, smudged with the ashes of my guilt and many years of lies. The clowns will wait round corners with their evil, coal-black stare and I will smell them first, the acrid scent of burning hair. In livery of orange and gold they will open the doors wide on their caravan of collected souls - and I will step inside.
Thirty Plus Years In An Open Necked Shirt. Johnny Clarke, Johnny Clarke a walking bag of bones staggers out onto the stage like Woody from the Stones rapid fire delivery sprays all with Salford tones jitters, jives, ducks and dives wrestling with the microphone Johnny Clarke, Johnny Clarke in much need of a comb showed us around Beezley Street left Psycle sluts at home a whirlwind force of nature dressed up in monochrome DNA of poetry with rabid, punk rock, chromosome. Johnny Clarke, Johnny Clarke raging zeitgeist troubadour kicked Chicken Town in the guts and left the audience wanting more cocky sexagenarian poet rock and roll right to the core spitting rhymes, rattling rhythms oozing class from every pore. Johnny Clarke, Johnny Clarke recent Salford Doctorate ask any man in the street he’ll tell you Johnny’s fucking great can I ask a massive favour? when Carol Ann has done her spate get this streetwise wordsmith as the first punk poet laureate? Johnny Clarke, Johnny Clarke with snaking, swivelling hips leads us into Chicken Town expletives dripping from his lips his banter between poems littered with jokes and quips off to check his pension then cashing in his chips.
Old Tyke Blues I woke up this morning - found my leg was dead. Slipped as I got up and banged my head, fingers to temple came away red, trail on the carpet where I had bled. Went down for breakfast - the milk had gone sour, turned on the toaster - a distinct lack of power. Go back upstairs, stand under the shower - water is freezing, been off for an hour. Out of the house at a quarter to nine, head is pounding because of the wine that I’d quaffed last night - I thought I’d be fine. Pain in my chest – not a good sign. Somehow I made it all through the day. No sight of the sun, just cloudy and grey. Dickheads in cars all got in my way. Stuck in a jam and my CD won’t play. Slipped off to the pub - tripped over the cat. Crisps were all soggy, beer was all flat Some kid in the corner acting the twat. Staggered on home and threw up on the mat. Being an old tyke I love to complain, I’m never happy unless the day has some rain. Coming from Yorkshire I relish the pain - sometimes it’s hard-wired right into my brain. I get into bed and reach for the light, my missus leans over - I’m thinking ‘a fight’. She kisses my cheek then whispers ‘goodnight’ and all of a sudden the world is alright.
A Step Towards Summer I look into the mirror’s depthless space, at what is standing in the shadows cast by light dimming swift with each day amassed and passing by me, at a startling pace. I sprint to catch the future in a chase that takes me on a journey to the past and makes me wish each moment used will last until the day they put me in my case. Yet – later, standing in the summer sun that spills upon a garden dressed in light, I see that seasons end and new ones start and if we wish to love what we have done we must be willing to accept the night and face each second with a fearless heart.


The first release from UK rock performance poet Ian Whiteley. The Crows Of Albion are a 2 piece band who have written musical backings to 18 of Ian's poems. Ian performs as both a spoken word poet and as The Crows Of Albion - utilising back tracks from these selections.


released March 29, 2014

Vocals: Ian Whiteley
Instruments: Martin Heaton
All Tracks Written By: Ian Whiteley & Martin Heaton
Recorded at Music Projects (Wigan)
Produced by: Martin Heaton & Ian Whiteley
Engineered by: Martin Heaton


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