1978 PARTY TIME

A Night At The Fountain – etching by Stew Smith

We play desperate pool in The Fountain,
While Brookmill Road runs alive with old bill,
Saturday night climb up Deptford mountain,
Via St John’s Vale, kebabs make us ill,
We sing Realist songs very loud,
As we head for that party in Brockley,
Already roaring, the usual crowd,
Once again get it on with the motley.
In the kitchen there’s politics raging,
Rock Against Racism top of the list,
In the garden, laid on crazy paving,
Last years hippy sleeping dreamily pissed,
In the rose bush a skinhead takes a slash,
I spout on impending right-wing backlash.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 30th March 2021.

FOR LOVE OF THE PEOPLE

The stimulus programme is, in itself,
Artificial sop to society,
Used to portray Tories as a party,
That gives a shit about common people.
They only care about preservation
Of their position in power.
Such a ludicrous constructed monster,
Who behaves as if he’s the very state,
Louis Quatorze minus the gilded bling,
With mock American media room,
Desperate to demonstrate worthiness,
Of national love, ego gone awry,
This greed is good joker, so dangerous,
Somehow remains popular, even now.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 30th March 2021.

US & THEM OVER AGAIN

Separation is grim reality,
Walls, checkpoints, drones, armed guards, stolen houses,
Daily degradation is new normal.
Denied access to pandemic vaccines,
Dragooned in queues, kept for subsistance work.
The state disrespects human outsiders.
National flags fly high everywhere,
Politicians always stand next to flags.
Protesters are clubbed, tasered, gassed and killed,
News briefings tell of state security,
Rights are denied in public interest,
Society split deliberately,
Us and them, us and them, over again,
Britain, Israel, Palestine? Your call!!

Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room, 29th March 2021.

FREE TO FLY

Around ten years ago my friend Marc Gordon wrote this music based on House Martins sitting on power lines over our vegetables patch, I added this poem to it today.

We work in the garden to mend a fence,
A viciously cold gale blows from the west,
We now know what we need to renew gate,
Replace broken off poles, and chicken wire.
After an hour we head back to the house,
Black shape glides peripherally in view,
Six feet above my head red kite hovers,
Still in the teeth of this wild West Wales wind.
I see it’s head move slowly left to right,
Slightest twitch of wing lifts bird over trees,
For thirty endless majestic seconds,
It arcs across the field, loops back to me,
Soars high over our house then disappears,
Free to fly wherever the wind takes it.

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom 27th March 2021.

WAITING FOR THE TIDE TO TURN

Recorded by Scene Red in 2013 at LTS Studios in Llanon, Ceredigion. Released on the album Tales From Dolwion by Deep River Records, Deptford, London, SE 8. Available from Bandcamp.

I’M SITTING IN THE ANCHOR AND HOPE
DRINKING WHITE SHIELD WORTHINGTONS
THE BOY FRANKY’S MOORED AT THE QUAY
AND I’M STARING OVER BUGSBY’S REACH
I ALREADY KNOW SHE’S LEAVING ME
GUESS THAT’S WHY I’M GETTING DRUNK
THE RIVER LOOKS A GOLDEN PICTURE
A RED SAILED BARGE HEADS INTO THE SUN

I CAN’T CRY NO MORE
I KNOW IT’S OVER
I CAN’T CRY NO MORE
I KNOW IT’S OVER

THERE IS A ONE EYED RIVER CAT
SLEEPING ON A COILED UP ROPE
JOHNNY EDGE SITS IN THE SUNSHINE
SPINNING UP MY LAST PIECE OF DOPE
OLD NORTON FROM THE BOAT YARD
TELLS US SOME CLAPPED OUT JOKE
I’M WAITING FOR THE TIDE TO TURN
BEFORE I SAIL OFF A SINGLE BLOKE

I CAN’T CRY NO MORE
I KNOW IT’S OVER
I CAN’T CRY NO MORE
I KNOW IT’S OVER

WHEN YOU CAN’T CRY NO MORE
YOU KNOW THAT IT’S OVER

Harry Rogers, written in my car, sometime in 2010.

UNPLANNED OBSELESCENCE

Virtually real nostalgia resides
In old, long lost, cobwebbed memory banks,
Below bottomless steep digital learning curves.
How many people can access archives,
On ancient pre internet floppy discs,
Locked securely in heat proof data safes.
Reports, novels, poetry, non fiction,
Social history, cultural milestones,
Sitting in lockable plastic desk files,
It’s not that the data is not wanted,
Nobody has the hardware or software,
Everyone moves on 2,3,4,5G,
Now, a CD stuck in my car player,
Still plays, good job I like John Fogerty…..

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 26th March 2021.

NEW AUTUMN SHADE IN STOCK

Like lichen rampant on prunus hedges,
Union flags flutter from public poles.
Relentless theft of enemies clothing,
Plus non stop foment of fear and loathing,
Stream of consciousness policies spew forth,
Articulated from our leader’s cuff,
Bright blue passports for pints in British pubs,
Refugees stockaded in dank wormwood,
Children with prospects? Who the fuck are they?
Surely we should treat all kids just the same?
September, seemingly, so far away,
Pregnant with austere fiscal promises,
As next budget pushes non block chainers,
Over post furlough unfungible cliffs,
We’ll revel in long covid new normal,
Jabbed full of fake algorithmic dream memes.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 25th March 2021.

PLUCKING LILAC BY GREENWICH PARK

LILACS IN A VASE By MARY CASSATT

She leans against the wall,
Butterflies all around,
Faces slightly away,
Staring down at the ground,
She resents intrusion,
As the cameraman.
Catches her so mardy
Not a part of his plan

She’s plucking lilac by the park,
Wishing she could be somewhere else,
Anywhere but here now with him
Plucking lilac by Greenwich Park

Drops petals to the floor
She’s had enough of this.
No more sultry poses,
Nor puckering her lips.
Thinking she must go now,
Get far away from here,
He looks into her eyes,
Resentfulness is clear.

She’s plucking lilac by the park,
Wishes she could be somewhere else,
Anywhere but here now with him
Plucking lilac by Greenwich Park.

Harry Rogers, Amended in the Yellow Room, 25th March 2021.

CLARITY IN DARKNESS

Recorded in my bed, used duvet as a percussion instrument.

Dial down the democracy dimmer switch,
Strange conundrum as the light fades away,
In the darkness clarity increases,
Horses, dogs, armour clad riot police,
Brought sharply into crystal clear focus,
Batons weilded against young activists,
Young non violent direct activists,
Clubbed as they sat, serried, outside cop shop,
Provoked beyond anger to protection,
Erupts into the mayhem of riot,
Such smooth precision duly delivered,
Gift wrapped to home secretary’s doorstep,
For her rehearsed despatch box diatribe,
Power of darkness now simply blinding.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 23rd March 2021

HOLIDAYS IN EUROPE?

Wealthy glide by in slick electric cars,
Feed fake dreams about holidays to Mars.
I wonder how much lithium there is?
Will gig economy slaves earn enough,
To purchase these fantasy carriages?
Days when families drove to Lake Como,
Or to cheap French campsites near Biarritz,
Seem impossible now ports are shut down.
To take the ferryboat to Tremezzo,
Sip Apparol Spritz in Alpine sunshine,
Beguiled by clouds tumbling from peaks to lake,
Such memories so fin de seicle.
As quiz show prizes rise ever higher,
Europe is become a funeral pyre.

Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room, 23rdMarch 2021.

THE CHAIN

The chain of command stretched beyond repair,
Gaps in links appeared where least expected,
New laws proposed, pushed life to the limit,
Now we see the consequential damage.
Sat in the street the young poked out their tongue,
As the young will be ever prone to do.
Who gave the order to smash in their heads?
Who issued armour? What was in their heads?
The force prevails as we all count the cost,
Thoughts of public service lie trashed, and lost.
BBC concentrates on burning vans,
Sick politicians wring their blood red hands,
Information age turns right in the dark,
London high command instigates the spark.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 22nd March 2021.

FOX SUPPER

It’s dusk in South London,
Towards Clapham, red sky
Deepens, darkest crimson,
Reason fades like sunset.
In a Vauxhall garden
Scattered white bread slices
Adorn the darkling lawn.
On deck, expectantly
Sits urban wild life freak,
Camera in one hand,
Chardonnay in other,
As he awaits his guests.
Radio newsreader
Is switched off in kitchen
Whilst announcing sad death
Of our democracy
At the bandstand vigil.
Last vestiges of light
Fade as the hedgerow parts
And the fox family
Trot acrooss flowerbeds,
No longer timidly,
But bold as bold can be.
In cells old bill scupper
Their community links,
But here, they pour more drinks,
Foxes enjoy supper.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 21st March 2021

OLD HORSES IN THE FIELD

Demo recorded at Last Track Studio with Annika Fehling and Markus Rill on 14th June 2014.
Alternative version of Old Horses In The Field with added drums and bass guitar.

Lyric:

I’ve been spending  my precious time
Watching the nags standing in the field
Lately I’ve been wondering what they see and feel
As they toss their matted manes into the air

Some days run kicking their heels up
Like they did when they were young young colts
They mooch staring though rheumy eyes
Waiting for that something to happen

Old horses in the field
Old horses in the field
Treat them well
Treat them well
Old horses in the field

In summer the smell of the orchard
Drives old stallions wild again
Come winter mud around hooves
Leaves running legs mired and tired
But oh the urgent nudging and nuzzling
People stand at the old five bar gates
With carrots and apples in pockets
Sweet treats for hard ridden mates

Old horses in the field
Old horses in the field
Treat them well
Treat them well
I know just how they feel

Harry Rogers, in the old study 29-11-2013

IN SUMMERTIME

Remember when
Wasn’t a crime
Sit on the beach
In Summertime.
Down to Penbryn
With picnic box
Where crystal sea
Runs through the rocks,
Blanket and book
Four pack of beer
Pencil and pad
Heaven is here
These are the days
Written in rhyme
On Penbryn beach
In Summertime
Is this the year?
Go there again
Soak up the sun
Don’t need a plane
More than five miles
Away from home
Still on lock down
Not in that zone
All that I want
Is to spend time
On Penbryn beach
In Summertime.

Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room, 20th March 2021.

TAKE ME BACK WHERE I BELONG

Me in 1948

LYRIC:

Take me back to the days before gas light
Take me back to the days before fist fight
I want to bathe in yellow candle light

Take me back to those long lost childhood days
Take me back to my mother’s loving gaze
I want to recapture her loving ways

Take me back to that two bed caravan
Take me back when I was her little man
I want to dream about when it began

Somebody
Take me back
Anyone
Take me back
Take me back,
Where I belong

Take me back to when I was ten years old
Take me back to before my life went cold
I want to return back inside the fold

Take me back before my dad was unkind
Take me back to my happy state of mind
I want to go there, see what I can find

Take me back to my brother’s kindly smile
Take me back beyond that old country stile
I want to take an inch, then take a mile

Somebody
Take me back
Anyone
Take me back
Take me back,
Where I belong.

Harry Rogers, in Harriboy’s Hut 8th June 2017.

BENEATH WILD WEST WALES SKIES

Wish I was walking the hills today with you,
Cotton wool clouds scudding in blue blue blue,
Spring winds blow softly through the rosemary,
Can almost hear you calling out to me.

Where the wild buzzard cries,
Whilst homing swallow flies,
And soaring red kite sighs,
Beneath wild West Wales skies

Under kitchen table cat crunches mouse,
Cold wind roars down chimney through empty house,
Things used to be inside my memory,
When once you walked across the hills with me.

Where the wild buzzard cries,
Whilst homing swallow flies,
And soaring red kite sighs,
Beneath wild West Wales skies.

Through final windows of this life of mine,
Storms still break on down into warm sunshine,
Pre summer ardour that we used to know,
Through my old veins this sap of love does flow,

Where the wild buzzard cries,
Whilst homing swallow flies,
And soaring red kite sighs,
Beneath wild West Wales skies.
Beneath wild West Wales skies.

Harriboy’s Hut – Aberbanc, 02/04/2018 

UPON CLAPHAM FIELDS

Opportunity to ride on coat tails,
Taken by bleaters who blow with the wind.
Not the vile murder made them change their minds,
Afore common vigil, all set to abstain.
Now that the people rise up in protest,
Not enough to say they didn’t vote for,
Behind gritted teeth they must vote against.
Such a dilemma, oh what a to do,
In the circus impossible to ride,
Two horses split, no longer side by side,
Forced to choose. To the left or to the right?
In Mandelsons coop chickens are spinning,
Watch them spit feathers, conundrum revealed,
Brave women have spoken upon Clapham Fields.

Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room, 16th March 2021

BRING ON VELVET REVOLUTION

The abuse of pandemic rules,
By rozzers who take us as fools,
On Clapham common, truth be told,
The old bill clobber young and old.
Now see the state intent revealed,
Women grieve on West London field,
Heavy hands push speakers to ground,
Arrest anyone who makes sound,
The gauze is torn from front of eyes,
Now, at last, people realise,
The path that we are going down,
Across the land, in every town.
Right wing Tories ramp up power,
They watch us all each hour by hour.
Soon they’ll pass new legislation,
Activist incarceration,
Lock us up, throw away the keys,
They’ll kick us whilst we’re on our knees,
Tell us all we must have order,
Prison camps preserve our border.
They’ve gone too far, what will it take,
To reign the rich, the cruel, the fake?
Strong resolve, point up solution,
Bring on velvet revolution,
To overthrow draconion,
Nightmares from crazed Etonian.

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 14th March 2021

JOIN THE AA (AGGRAVATED ACTIVISTS)

Aggravation will drive me to action.
When ritzy apologists treat us like
Wasps trapped inside hand carved wooden bottles,
As they poke us with sticks through tiny holes,
To make us buzz for their perverse pleasure,
That’s the moment I get aggravated.
The way establishment figures believe,
They have an inalienable right,
To continue to behave as if they
Are, in some strange way, better than we are.
Entitled to exploit us for profit,
Entitled to avoid their share of tax,
Swan around in Sunseeker luxury,
Stir up racial hatred to break our class,
Destroy all semblance of right to protest,
These are some things that will aggravate me,
So yes, you can say I’m an activist,
And also, damn right I’m aggravated,
It seems now, as people are promised a
Return to the old normal Shangri-la,
Is the moment to enact a state coup.
They can criminalise activism,
Through ill defined state run aggravation,
Their problem is they can’t defeat ideas,
Join us as Aggravated Activists.
Pissed off by the descent to fascism?
Join A A today, you know it makes sense.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 13th March 2021

HOW CAN WE TELL ANYMORE?

Reality, so easily transformed,
Perceptions nipped, tucked, manipulated.
Politicians, artists, tricksters,
each day,
Glide effortlessly between truth and lies.
How gullible, accept artificial
Replicants that live fake lives behind screens,
On screens, in front of screens, beyond the screens.
Immersed in games that shake life foundations.
Android companions now cherished daily,
Truth is irrespective in brave new world,
Millions live virtually, revved up
In Avatar existences, fed by
Rich cast iron blockchain cyber junkies,
Who care not one jot for consequences.

Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 12th March 2021

HEAR THE RIVER SING

Hear the river sing
Songs among the rocks
Gurgle in the pools
Swish on down the race,
Crash over the falls,
Ripple in shallows,
Swirl beyond the bend,
Roar after the storm,
And yet we long to
Swim in the hollow,
As early morning
Mist whispers the song,
Of a Teifi summer.
It will be here soon,
We’ll drift to the sea,
Beneath clear blue sky,
Covid behind us,
Older but wiser,
And happy again.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 10th March 2021

THE BAMBOO CHAIR

In 2019 I spent a few days with my good friend Steve Baird in Sandy Springs in Atlanta Georgia and we recorded some rough demos. This is one of them.

Lyric:-
She’s sitting out, in Greenwich Park,
Upon a bamboo chair,
Looks through a purple telescope
Whilst brushing out her hair.
This garden is a secret place,
She knows not what I dare.
I have been stealing apples for
My family to share
Her dress is white with gold damask,
Translucent skin so fair
Around her waist a chatelaine
Of silver she did wear
She looked so fine, I wanted her,
As swallows need the air,
But, deep inside, the truth I knew,
For me she’d never care.
Tomorrow I’ll be back again,
I hope that she’s still there,
While I scrump more of her apples,
Perhaps, even, a pear.
Next morn I spy her burning house,
Smoked flames reach everywhere.
Beside the purple telescope?
Her empty bamboo chair.


Harry Rogers
Aberbanc – In the hut: 22/11/2016
Ballad – Subject: Class – Unrequited Love

PINK DOG IN THE RED LIGHT

Recorded at Andy’s Gaff studio in Frome, Steve Young on guitar, Harry Rogers vocals.

Lyric:-

Selling art on the railings all day long
Tourists come and go looking for deals
Need a cold drink and something to eat
Take away the dusty taste of the street 
Go to Shepherds Market across Park Lane
The sun still shines but it smells like rain
Heading for the pub where the red light glows
A champagne pink dog and her working clothes

Whispers in my ear
“Coming home dear”
Softly in my ear
“Coming home dear”

Pink dog in the red light
Smile breaking my mind
Pink dog in the red light
She’s looking kinda kind

Get a bottle of Schlitz and her a pink gin
She watches the door as the night draws in
Bottles empty as the thirst gets slaked
Can’t tell if that smile is real or faked
Couldn’t care less really ‘cos it feels nice
Another pink gin with one cube of ice 
A squeeze of the thigh a tip of the wink
Another warm smile a drain of the drink

Whispers in my ear
“Come on home dear”
Softly in my ear
“Come on home dear”

Pink dog in the red light
Her smile breaks my mind
Pink dog in the red light
She’s looking kinda kind

In the taxi 
We’re going home
With a pink dog
Going home

Harry Rogers, In the study at Pencnwcau 29th September 2014

JAMMING IN ATLANTA

From Sandy Springs to Mableton,
That’s where I long to hang.
I’m on the plane in twenty two,
To meet my homie gang.
The Green Room
The Green Room
Gotta get back there
The Green Room
The Green Room
Gonna fly back there
The thing I miss the most of all
Is jamming in Atlanta.
That southern groove a music school,
Love jamming in Atlanta.
With Critter and Sean in Tucker,
Watch shadows on the moon,
Roosters strut and pandas pucker,
God how I miss that room,
Moonshadow,
Moonshadow,
Go jamming in Atlanta
Moonshadow,
Moonshadow,
Miss jamming in Atlanta
I watch Ten Thousand Pontiacs
Roar at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack
I howl the Wolfs’ Red Rooster blues,
I’ll soon be winging back.
The lovestorm,
The lovestorm,
When jamming in Atlanta
The lovestorm,
The Lovestorm,
Love jamming in Atlanta

Harry Rogers in the Red Bedroom, 8th March 2021

ON THE LEVEL?

The gates of London.

Illiterate economists,
Never ever on the level.
Across the North they spew their bribes,
False sympathy from the devil.
At home restless activists click,
Huddled all night over hot screens,
Build rainbows across boundaries,
Spun from the finest hope filled dreams.
A reckoning is on its way,
Whilst Tories cream the public purse,
Smell the rotten speculation,
Beneath rock bottom things get worse,
Bent City dogs eat each other,
Pandemic gravy has run out,
No place left to run for cover,
No more margins worth half a shout.
When the system runs out of gas,
Gangsters do what they always do,
Promise bigger crumbs from tables,
Then screw us all, from me to you.
Organise now, we must not wait,
Barbarians are through the gates,
If we do not then we will see
Tsunamis of austerity.


Harry Rogers, in the Red Bedroom, 7th March 2021.

LIAR IN A WHITE GOWN

Hancock has his half hour in a lab gown,
War declared on obese covid victims,
Health workers slapped in face with one per cent,
After the claps, the rattles of the pans,
We expect heroes to be tret better.
Paltry sums for those who give us their all,
Hancock, white gowned, as faux as faux can be,
Trumpets his victory delivered by
Those workers he insults with every word.
Soon road map will lead through gate to “normal”,
Beaches will fill with holiday fakers,
Throughout summer freedom ramps up and up.
No places left for crap leaders to hide,
We know they’ll take health workers for a ride.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 5th March 2021.

THE NITHERING

Brighton 2020

Chill winds blow across our spines,
Ice cold, so unexpected
Green shoots break warm surface soil,
We shake and tremble, worn out
After these twelve fearful months.
Thoughts of a third wave too much.
Every day across media
Shop keepers and publicans
Voice their need to trade again,
Such incessant clamour galls,
Journos do not have the balls
To call out this pantomime.
The qhastly opposition
Helps maintain austerity,
The already unprotected
Are joined by millions more,
Rains fall until September,
When dams burst, as taps turn off,
When the wards fill up anew,
Nouveau poor left nithering,
In total bewilderment,
Unable to understand.
Where lies Bentham’s safety net?
Full of rents and gaping holes,
Discarded by Thatchers clones,
It is all but cut away.
What follows is hard to tell,
Inside Pandemonium,
The dark capital of hell,
Fear of “the other” plotlines
Are dreamt up in Downing Street.
Once more draw Damocles’s sword,
Machiavelli ignored,
All the way to final hour,
Insanely cleave to power.
Provoking insurrection
In order to smash it down,
The whack a mole strategy.
All the while new variants,
Propagate willy nilly.
Yet hope still springs eternal,
Friends, family, and comrades
Go further than sympathy.
Trust in each other utmost
In community action.
If ever there was a need
To share and pull together
Against those who would have us
Take the blame and pay the price
For something not made by us,
It surely must be right now.
And yet Princes of darkness
Abound around and around,
And I feel too old and tired,
To run down the extra mile,
It’s up to those we brought up,
To pick up all our dropped reins,
And bring these wretched ghouls down.

Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room, 4th March 2021.

BUDGET?

Level up, level down, red wall, blue wall,
Tax up, tax down, oi lend me half a crown,
Put a levy on, hoover up some crumbs,
See the CEOs twiddling their thumbs,
Extend the furloughs, varnish over cracks,
Bring back two for one, pork pies and Big Macs,
Keep Matts’ health contract, no-one has read it,
Deny his big lie, forget he said it,
Big up the vaccines, claim a victory,
Consign the mistakes into history,
Tell all the people first thing in your head,
Soon life starts again, don’t mention the dead.
But the truth is, none of this is over,
In fact we’ll find it’s only just begun.

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 3rd March 2021.

THE LIGHT ON TYBEE ISLAND

That lighthouse on Tybee Island
Shines the river to Savannah
Where those old duelling pianos
Stomp Georgia rock blues all night long
I’ll ride the Amtrak from New York
To get me where I long to be
Way down south back to Savannah
On the riverboat in Tybee,
With a bowlful of shrimp and grits,
Fried green tomatoes on the side,
Some ice cold IPA to drink,
Then play stud poker as we ride.
Will I ever go back again,
The way things are, without the planes,
There is no way to live my dreams,
Locked down? Locked up is how it seems,
Still the light shines bright gleaming beams,
To guide us all back to Tybee.

Tybee Island Lighthouse

Harry Rogers, in the Yellow Room, 2nd March 2021

FAITH IN NATURE

She said
Put your faith in nature
It won’t let you down.
Along came Katrina
Blew her house right down
So she moved to Texas
To a trailer park
Where the ice storm took her
Froze her after dark.

If you
Put your faith in nature
It will let you down
No one can control it
Gonna let you down
Some folks say the sun is god
God makes forests burn
Rains wash out entire towns
Nature lets us down.

We see
Thousands die from covid
Every single day
Oceans warm, fishes die
What more can we say
Don’t put faith in nature
You can’t manage it
Nature is so random,
Who knows where it hits?

So now
All we can do today
Is to live with it,
Try to make life better,
Just a little bit.
Nature is wonderful,
In so many ways,
But don’t put faith in it,
It WILL let you down

Harry Rogers in the Yellow Room 1st March 2021