Poetic License

by The Crows Of Albion



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


all rights reserved


Track Name: A Step Towards Winter
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.
Track Name: 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
Track Name: Composed At Braunau (April 20th 1889)
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.
Track Name: Lair Of The Snow Spider
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

beneath a false light
cast from white
reflective surfaces
the lair of the snow spider
is complete

and there
she lays
in wait
the human
Track Name: Winterfylleth
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 -

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.
Track Name: 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.
Track Name: Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia

Dearly beloved
We are gathered here
To denounce Satan
In all his guises.

How shall we know him
I hear you ask.

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

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.
Track Name: Totem

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
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
we sleep
the return
of the trickster
Track Name: Class Action
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.
Track Name: 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.
Track Name: Cycle Of The Scarecrow
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.
Track Name: 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
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…..
Track Name: Beneath The Watch Tower
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.
Track Name: Club


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......
Track Name: That Which Autumn Leaves
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.
Track Name: Thirty Plus Years In An Open Necked Shirt
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.
Track Name: Old Tyke Blues
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.
Track Name: A Step Towards Summer
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.

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