Poems by Caleb Barron



Week 6, Trinity 2019
P is for poem, which I write.
O is for oranges, which I bite.
E is for everyone, who are here.
M is for mate, who drink beer.
Poems are fun, they’re where it’s at.
I‘m you’re new poet laureate.

A sonnet for Trinity

Week 8, Trinity 2019
Oh Trinity, thou, my fickle lover. Thou look’st on me, radiant as summer’s sun, Then rain’st on me,
which is just a bother. Thou giveth and taketh, both pain and fun. My love bring’st punting: river,
prosecco. She bring’st croquet and cricket, and picnics, Tortoise fairs, tinnies on Port Meadow. This
jollity may fool, disguise her tricks, For she punctuates the year with exams And endings. She
precedes isolation; Makes you lament, reflect. It’s over, wham! She waveth goodbye with salutations.
My love, I cannot deny you please me, Yet you deceive me love, my Trinity.

Do you know the place I mean?

Week 2, Michaelmas 2019
There’s an “Indie” Café Round the corner from me.
You know the kind Of place I mean.
Mismatched chairs, Overpriced coffee.
Unwelcome stares From the barista “artista”
As you sip your English Breakfast tea.
Do you know the place I mean?

They always dispose
Of their used ground coffee
In a way, I suppose,
That would be unlikely For a big chain.
They hand it out in bags
To use as compost.
Bags you feel obliged
To hold onto,
In case you decide
To turn your 4 by 4 patio
Into a vegetable patch.
Your hypothetical carrots
Or broccoli will surely
Benefit from the
Second hand caffeine.
Do you know the place I mean?

They call their Danish pastries,
Scandinavian bites.
There’s 13 different options
Of blends of roast bean,
And about 1000 varieties of herbal or fruit tea.
There’s 6 types of milk,
Not a single one dairy.
That’s not to say vegan options
Are wrong,
Just a comment really.
They host local stand up nights,
And gigs for student bands.
They’re artists, activists, abstractivists
And they’re coffee is 6 pounds.
They’re message is clear,
Communal and environmental,
Until you discover they’re owned
By the guy that started Nero’s.
Far from independent,
They’re just branded as “Indie”.
Far from communal,
They’re profit margins are obscene.
Do you know the place I mean?

There’s a “Boutique” Restaurant
Just a little down the ways.
They’re a sort of French- Italian fusion that serve
Tapas-style plates.
At lunch they offer Ploughman’s (despite lack of connection
To theme) and charge
Fifteen pounds because
It’s presented on a bit of wood.
You come away with a
Mouth full of splinters,
But every mouthful
Is so instagrammable
That you ignore the fact that
The plate is flammable.
Instead, you bare and grin.
Do you know the place I mean?

They do regional specials
That are the same from Bristol to Aberdeen.
They do seasonal specials
That don’t change from Autumn to spring.
The menu changes
Around every 3 months,
In price only.
Those prices,
Along with names of dishes,
Seem pretty phony.
Just because your “fromage”
Is with tagliatelle
Doesn’t mean we don’t see
That it’s just mac and cheese.
Just because your
Chicken is free range
And organic
Doesn’t stop my scowl
When you call it wild fowl.
A three-course set menu
Doesn’t typically allow
For a coffee course
Because it lacks dessert.
This makes for a restaurant
That’s not bad,
But certainly not good,
Just somewhere in between.
Do you know the place I mean?

All the waiting staff
Have a sort of faux Mediterranean accent,
Except when you hear
Them chatting on
Their cigarette break.
For all it’s faults,
At least it’s a local gem.
Except it’s not
Co’s they’ve got them
On every street off
The high Street
In every town
In the country.
Do you know the place I mean?

It’s not just “Indie” Cafés
And “Boutique” Restaurants.
One has to be wary
Of so-called “Local” Pubs,
Supposedly “Musty” Bookshops,
And seemingly “Crusty” Bakers.
Independence is dead,
Long live the chain.
Our highstreets will never
Be the same.

You know what’s really spooky?

Week 4, Michaelmas 2019
You know what’s really spooky?
Cooking food for yourself:
Looking at the supermarket shelf
And knowing that you need to find
The ingredients that will combine
To make a meal that includes
All necessary food groups.
It’s no wonder I’ve put on weight
Since my parents lost control of my plate.

You know what’s really spooky?
Washing your own clothes:
You know everyone else knows
If you left it too many weeks.
You hate the day you reach
Those pants that are too small,
Yet you still make life uncomfortable
Because you always leave it too long
To clean your clothes and right the wrong.

You know what’s really spooky?
The thought of your future career,
And the places you might steer
Your life toward. You can’t know
You’ll want to be a CRO
Or a CFO, or a CEO, or C3PO.
But you gotta get up and go
Right now to find a lifelong job.
You mustn’t waste a moment to stop.

You know what’s really spooky?
The thought of buying a house
And finding the right spouse.
Just, renting a place for a while
And it not being utterly vile.
Paying electrics, as well as water,
Then the thought of kids, sons, daughters.
Not to mention, feeding them
Whilst making sure you get enough rem.

You know what’s really spooky?
The unending unceasing
Passage of time increasing
Seemingly as it keeps going by.
I think I’d rather die
Than carry on carrying on
As if nothing in the world is wrong,
As if I know how to be an adult
And won’t go off the rails and join a cult.

You know what’s really spooky?
The constant pressure to be aware
Of everything you need to prepare
Yourself for life, even if you’ve
No idea what fits your groove
Or floats your boat
Or gets you goat.
All you know is you want to be
Somewhere in the general realm of happy.

You know what’s not so spooky?
I reckon, you just might be.

Warmest Regards

Week 6, Michaelmas 2019
Dear Tutor,

I am writing to ask for an extension.
Now, I make no pretension
That this was unavoidable,
But I hope this work might be voidable.

Recently I’ve just been super busy with stuff
Like plays and sports and welfare – it’s rough.
I know that this excuse has been used before
But I hope your forgiveness might be afforded.

I am deeply aware of where I’m at with work,
And my due diligence as a student I wouldn’t shirk,
But this past couple weeks has just been full on
And my ability to complete this task is gone.

Plus, I guess, I’ve been kind of ill too
And struggling to sleep this whole week through.
Please don’t let my insomnia
Ruin my record of academia.

Of course, I’ll have done all the reading for the tute
To retain my fair (to middling (to poor)) repute,
Assuming I’m even well enough to attend
As I said already, I’m ill, and may not in time mend.

Look, OK, I’ll level with you,
If levelling is something appropriate to do.
I’ve spent the last six days on YouTube
With endless content to consume.

You may not like it as an excuse,
But at least give me credit for telling the truth.
I’ve missed your deadline by quite a lot.
Chances of a first are really shot.

If I’m honest I wouldn’t write on this topic
In an exam anyway. So, I think I’ll just stick
To my guns and not hand this in,
Even if my work for this term looks a little thin.

You’re right, that wasn’t even the real reason
And so, if I must be appeasing,
I’ll tell you why I could not do this essay.
I’m poet laureate, I have to write a poem for every other Sunday.

Warmest Regards
The People’s Poet

“a bad poem”

Week 8, Michaelmas 2019
Apologies for a bad poem
the last few days have not been brill
I had a coursework deadline and I feel very ill
this may be then, it might be the time
So I leave you with one final line
this one goes out to my dear friend Rhi
congratulations on the end of your presidency

2Wrap’s Two Wrap Shack

Week 2, Hilary 2020
Welcome to 2wrap’s
Two wrap shack!
The one-stop shop
With all the top nosh
One can squash in.
We cop some flack
For only making one snack
That a lot of people can’t hack.
If you don’t think you’ll crack,
Then don’t hold back:
Order yourself the 2wrap’s
Two wrap shack
Two wrap stack attack,
The snack to keep The hunger back,
Or your money back.
You see, we don’t slack.
This wrap is no trap;
It’s a stack of two wraps,
Made by 2wrap,
And we call it attack
Because there’s a knack
To packing all that
Snack into two
Jam-packed wraps.
Now, you don’t need
To be a wisecrack
To think cardiac
When we rack
Up so many calories
In one whack.
You’d be a maniac
To not track
The nutritional drawback,
The proverbial smack
In the face
Might suggest we
Lack the tack
To not have setbacks.
What kind of quack
Doesn’t though?
We suggest you
Cutback during the week
Then let us hijack
Your snack regime
For the afternoon.

Flashback to
The mention of flack,
Not everyone can
Handle this snack.
We wracked our brains,
Had a little stay
In a mental bivouac.
We’ve devised
The 2wrap’s Two wrap shack
Two wrap stack attack
To be given to
Those who ransack
And aren’t setback
Or sidetracked
By a couple large wraps.
We reward those
Not taken aback,
That present
A counterattack
To the initial
Snack attack
And thwack away
Any semblance
Of lack of ability
To finish their meal

There are factors
Beyond that though;
Food waste
Is a fact we face.
That’s why we’ve
Replaced our old
Policy of packing
All left
-over wraps
Not consumed
Whilst snacking
And sending them
On horseback
To the back of beyond
To rot and
Not be eaten.
We saw the drawbacks
And now have a more laid
Approach in the shack.
You can’t hack
The stack?
Here’s a knapsack
To pack
What’s left of the wrap
So you can get back
To the track of your day
And snack as you go on your way.
Here at 2wrap’s
Two wrap shack,
We pride ourselves
On giving back.
That’s why
You don’t have to
Wait til you crack,
Just let us know
As soon you need
That knapsack to go.
If you brought
Your own backpack,
We’ll even give you
A few pence back.

So, come on down
To 2wrap’s
Two wrap shack.
Try the 2wrap’s
Two wrap shack
Two wrap stack attack,
The snack to keep
The hunger back.
Try for the plaque,
If you can’t,
Take it packed.
And don’t forget
On your way out,
We appreciate Your feedback.

I know my trees

Week 4, Hilary 2020
My Silver Birch,
You may besmirch.
My Field Maple,
Not your staple.
The great Scots Pine,
You consider fine.
White or Hornbeam,
Not you it seems.
But I know my trees,
My trees always please.

My English Elm
Must underwhelm.
My Black Poplar,
Not so popular.
Buck, Haw, or Black,
Thorn in your back.
My Wild Cherry,
Treated unfairly.
But I know my trees,
My trees always please.

For Common Lime,
You have no time.
My morbid Yew,
At sight you spew.
I like Dogwood,
Reckon you should.
Elder, Alder, Neither’s cool, huh?
But I know my trees,
My trees always please.

What of my Beech?
You, I beseech.
Nutty Hazel?
You’re ungrateful.
My many Willows,
You’d leave to wallow.
My Crab Apple,
You think crapple.
But I know my trees,
My trees always please.

My Juniper,
You think vulgar.
At my Aspen,
You seek aspirin.
My measly Ash,
You’d choose to slash.
My Holly Bush,
You’ve tried to shush.
But I know my trees,
My trees always please.

My Cornish Oak,
You stop to smoke.
My Plymouth Pear,
You’d rather rare.
You love no tree.
That, now, I see.
But you must know
That they can’t go.
I know my trees.
They don’t always please,
But if they were to cease
The crisis couldn’t be appeased.