ross wallis - artist and artisan

art + music + poetry + photography + craft


Mal de Mermaid

Boiled Lobster headed
Slime of eel congealed
Shark skin throated
Puffer fish bloated
Dead fish stare
Seaweed hair
Jelly belly
Sandy wrinkles
Urchin’s pimples
Barnacle skinned
Sardine tinned
Beached whale
Bleached pale
Beach bummed
Mal de mer


Diseased trees
Scattered and sawn
An Apocalyptic Dantean
Infernal Great War scene


Who grieves for these trees?

The oaks are numbered
But the Ash, countless, fallen
Their days are numbered
Felled like an indigenous clan
By far flung man
Not what this reserve deserves
Once a caveman’s home
Once the cavemen roamed
Now a trampled

A fold in these rolling hills
Become extermination camp
Barrack upon barrack
For fowl fattening
For fast food
Birds that never flew
Nor knew simple rights
A wing for flight
A beak for grubs
A breast for sun
Trussed and oven ready
Pale dimpled skin

Drive in Modern Man
The gluttons gloat
Corporate bodies bloat
Cocks Crow to the bank
And whom should we thank?
Whilst food queues grow
Growth - Growth - Growth
Growth, like a malignant carcinoma
Eating the body of Gaia
Eating forests of trees
Consequences dire
Floats somebody’s boat, this greed
Exploitation, ownership, ego, creed
Ergo Eaton, want not need
Corrupt as a disease
Till every last drop
And every last tree
And whom might we thank?
Mendip AONB rant

If horses

Do horses in flip flops still clip clop?


A chorus of crocus push sharp viridian shards through the frosted crust of earth and turf where footfalls crunch

Crows caw in black silhouettes of branch bare against low pale moon like sun wreathed in misty morning vale and snow drops grow where last lay snow

From beneath the slimy burnt umber mat of dead lily pad beings from the dark depths stir and soon toads will croak, spawn will fill the pond, flies cloud, and birds beak reeds with which to weave

Prepare a nest for Bridie, who knocks thrice on winter’s door

Shrug off cape of cruel crone, let maids spring in and gambol in the spring

The day I died

The day I died
Planes flew overhead
The sun rose
Lovers sighed
The tide ebbed and flowed
Few knew I was dead
And of those who did
Few cried
Flowers grew
Cut for the bunch
Some made the wake
Ate a free lunch
Others had too much to do
Though they maybe thought of me too
Whilst doing their Household chores
Pondering death
Theirs and yours


Confronted by a seamless sheet
Affronted by its gleaming white
I can’t quite grasp the way to start
To make a mark, create my art
A scribble, a warble, a thought, a strum
With which the process is begun
How I have the audacity to believe
I can draw or write, compose or weave
A fabric from these discordant threads
A flight of fancy a fright of heart
With dread of failure from the start
Why even tread where angels fear
More fool I, I don’t get near
My mind a blank, no rhyme, no scheme
Clumsy fumbling, a romantic dream
Then somehow it begins to flow
Though how that is, I do not know
And though it may not be the best
At least there’s something there to show
Appeased, the muse has been addressed
A sew of seed that may yet grow


A spanner in the works
A stick in the spokes
A loose screw
A thorn in the thumb
A boil on the bum
A stone in the shoe
A stain on the spread
A wet bit of bed
A Snake in the grass
A mote in the eye
Pigs that fly
A smear on the glass
Devil in the detail
A heavy beached whale
Pain in the ass
A fly in the ointment
Constant disappointment
It all comes to pass
Everything changes

Time and Tide

The sea is stronger than the land
The shore it gently washes on
The water breaks upon the rocks
Reforms, recedes, and rushes back
A constant motion
Washing, wearing
The rock is weaker than the ocean
And so it’s been since time began
The sea breaks on the rocks, recedes, reforms
Comes in again, recedes, reforms
And so it cycles on and on
The sea breaks rocks, rocks worn to sand
And then the sand is rock again
And still the water washes on
As it has done since time began
Time and tide, sea and sand

Zen saying - time drills holes in stones

I don’t know

Now I know I don’t know what I know I don’t know
Though how I know I don’t know what I don’t know, I don’t know
If I knew, had a clue, or were given a cue
Then maybe that know I could go and accrue
But as I don’t know what it is that it is
I guess I’ll just bask in my ignorant bliss
If I knew, I might grow, and other knows flow
But as it is I don’t know what I don’t know I don’t know


Do not ask who’s funeral
For whom the bell might slowly toll
It’s your children’s children’s children
Who will pay the toll for our crude oil
We’ll see too late the mighty folly
Of burning every oily dollar's worth
And those not yet upon this earth
Will bear the cost if ever they’re birthed

Written on the XR picket of the Houses of Parliament, with Big Ben tolling in the background

All My Anger

All my anger
All my rage
In this age when politicos swear blue
That black is white
The oil spills
Like blood spurts from a mortal gash
The slash and burn for cash
Handing out corporate deals
Stealing from the poor
Taking the future from our spoor
And rain falls like tears
Pools in Fear
While fires rage on ravished soil
A woman with a sour face
Screws up my angst
Spits it back in my face
Red and angry as a newlyborn
Again the harbinger of fate
I want to say 'I told you so'
But by then it’s too late

Written after supporting the 'Red Rebels' at a climate change vigil in Langport - it was market day, I was handing out leaflets, and a stall holder took one - but then said 'I hope this is nothing to do with climate change, or it will go straight in the bin' I said it was, and asked what troubled her - she said something that I didn't quite catch about the flooding on the levels, and it being due to rynes not being dredged - but I didn't get why she was unhappy about climate protesting - so I went back later to talk to her, to try to discover and understand her point of view - but she got really angry and threw me off her stall - wouldn't engage at all.

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A world of Crazy

A market place soliloquy
Soros Gates vacc free 5G
A nut to fuck the head
Better red or dead or high
The end of the of the world is nigh
This guy defiles what’s here and now
A soapbox derby of the uncouth
Peddling the strangest twisted truth
Even for this age of eye rolling lies
Scrolling through the slapclapcrapchat
Who’s to defend this Emerald Isle?
With its septic monarchy and jack
Sceptred separation to Duchy or Aldi isle
Vainglorious and vile the dark satanic mill
Iron revolution/spinning jenny
Boer war/concentration camp
Irish jokes/potato famine
No close examination
Anti-semite aristocracy
Opium trading for China tea
We call ourselves the civilised
But what a shameful history
I can get why this chap vents his rage
This fast food fowl caged animal age
The sunpun setting in the west
With a page three double D cup breast
Some enhance, some reduce
The UN agenda spreads child abuse
(Allegedly) though Reuters disagrees
While politicians whats app redact
The flagship BBC has foundered
On a berg of the PC
My nut says ‘part of the conspiracy’
All the facts unfounded
Commeth the hour those in power
Ban the boats placards and votes
An orange chalk circle on derby day
Top hats and shades/Jockey brigade
As we charge into the valley of death
Abigail the newlyborn Jesus child
Thrice denies the worlds richest witches
Who call the shots or is that ai bots?
The earth is flat some still believe that
Step in the path of a truck
If you wish to be truly fucked
East meets west when you travel far enough
Right becomes left
And you are back where you are
With a nut on a mission
Handing out flyers
And expounding his deposition
To any who will listen

Stinks Rotton

Motions passed on the floor of the house
(Turds tend to float)
Privatise all public services
(Not my vote)
Somehow our notion of public service
(Privatise the NHS!)
Went down the pan with the Mail and the Sun
(Wipe my ass)
Flushed through the loo with the poo
(While we know who gets flush)
Straight into piles for the filthy rich
(Divvy up the dividends)
Borrow money to share with share holders
(Robbing us all)
While the rest of us swim in shit
(A public inconvenience)
And the shits that run the companies
(Not even Brits)
Brown nose the bums that run the country
(Or is it visa versa)
Discharging their duties in our waterways
(And charging us consumers)
For their lack of public mindedness
(Are they taking the Piss?)
Is it Futility to want state owned utilities?
(Of the people, by the people, for the people)
Our money spent on infrastructure
(No more rich shits robbing the piss poor!)
Proper public scrutiny!
(No more Here here! To stinking verbal diarrhoea)
We can all sit on the throne
One for all and all for No. one
(Or Two)


A Venus, smooth hard alabaster breasts
Aphrodite, far from human’s flesh
Those romantics, with hollow hearts
Paint with a penis dreams of private parts
Pubic hair photoshopped out
Was the muse amused? I somehow doubt
The blood, the sweat and the tears
Motherhood’s wants and fears
No poets wet dream
Reality is in a baby’s night time scream
Trying to possess a little death that’s fleet
Obsessively carving the goddesses perfect feet
Life passes like sand through our fingers
We grow old and we wrinkle
Impermanent as castles to the tide
Seaman stains on Phryne’s marble thigh
Marlene Dietrich on The Dreamer’s wall
Napoleon’s Mona Lisa in the bathroom hall
Hitler’s Aphrodite, Lee Miller’s naked body
Men of power withered to time’s wrath
And equestrian statues topple
As water is stronger than stone
Our bones will one day crumble
We’ll end our lives alone

Park Bench Plaques

Sitting on a bench in the park I spot
A plaque in fondest memory
Of John or Bill, Jill, Jack, or Jock
Who loved this spot, or not, who’s to know?
Their loved ones obviously thought so
Those who chose this seat of teak
This plate of brass
In Memoriam of those who passed
This way I passed this way
And I’ll pass too, pass on one day
Will I have a bench? a plaque to say
I walked these hills
I loved this view, this wood, this sea
This spot
The dog and me

Bums on Seats

It’s said we leave a version of ourselves
In every room we enter and leave
Maybe too an impression of our behind
Left behind on every seat
We seat our seat upon
That empty chair says ‘I’ve been here’
A pew, a row, a throne, a bench
A bench in Wells says ‘in memory of A Butt’
Mr Bottomly’s window seat on the Berlin train
Charles 3 too, long may he reign
My dad in the driver’s seat
My mum on the swing seat
Me on the stair, stool, potty, poof, high chair
The flat pack from IKEA or Habitat chic
All the seats on which I sit
Chairs have legs, arms, backs, and even ears
Do they remember, like homoeopathically
Or do we anthropomorphisies these mundane
appliances with human like faculties?
Or maybe Schrödinger’s cat is not where it’s at
It’s us who imagine us sitting there like that
I can’t say that I can say what I believe
But there is something about an empty chair…
And the bums that have squatted there
That is apt to me I believe
The aura that they leave

Ban the Boats

So it goes - a brave man or simply stupid
To invoke the rhetoric of the Nazi party?
The issue here was never clear
Who won WW2? Not the millions dispossessed
Return to sender? No home address…
Is it heroic to be dead - or just vainglorious?
Does ‘No More Boats’ Float your boat?
Does ‘No More Boats’ get your vote?
Enough of three word slogans!
The issues deserve more words that three
The issues deserve more words for sure -
To solve the conflicts before bombs fall -
Those underlying causes of war:
Inequality, xenophobia, nationalism, greed
The seeds of hate, we reap what we sew
And the trauma echoes on through generations
Slaving, colonialism, misplaced pride, genocide
Like ripples in time, to return like the tide


You had your shed, a view of the bay
Writing wiled away your day
I did your kids, food, clothes, and bed
No wonder I raged ‘Is the bloody man dead?’
You broke my heart, though my anger was brief
My screams of rage turned to tears of grief
With forty years life leftover to kill
Before I joined you on that hill
You had your shed, your poetry
I looked after your progeny
Our union of alcohol and infidelity
Passion and pain in that house by the sea
I wanted to paint, to craft words too
But history knows I deferred to you
Our love ‘like raw red bleeding meat’ I said
No wonder I raged ‘is the bloody man dead’
Then forty years leftover life to kill
Before I joined you on that hill
We were never gentle
We always raged
But you died too soon
It was I who aged

What I Got

Got to be happy with what I got
Happy enough to accept my lot
Not to crave after what I’m not
Just to be happy with my spot'n'pot
I do not want what I haven’t got
I do not want what I haven’t got


First time ever
Funny thing
The gym
A woman on a treadmill
With a screen of a country walk
Funniest thing I seen
A scene on a machine
Overdid it
Now I can’t lift my arms
Thinking of Tim
Funny thing he said
Can’t lift my arms
Now he’s dead

Machines with views


Botoxed to a waxy death
Lips plumped up like a feather bed spread
Helium filled balloons for breasts
Cunt clean shaven like a chicken plucked
Finger nail gelled as the real nail’s fucked
Skin browned tan from a can ‘cause you can
Bum pale bleached for a beach perfect man
Pink skin pinned back wrinkles filler filled
Pasty layers of aluminium cream smother like a pillow
A killer queen with an unattainable dream
To stay 18 like an unkissed briar rose
Or Snow White in her glass vacuum
Skeletal thin binge and chundering
A mare of a fairy tale
still feeling like a stranded whale

A bent backed barrel chested pot bellied version of me
I want to age like a twisted elm
A patina of copper bronze green dented tin
Kitchen knife sharpened stiletto thin
Still sharp as a bright as a pin
Though maybe forgetting the occasional thing
Forgive myself the ravines of age
I know where I’m going to
It Shows where I’ve been
Moonwalk backwards
Die on the job


How we celebrate the wars we call ours
A brave few, Our finest hours
The poppy, no opiate, a symbol instead
To absolve the bloodshed, the poppies red
But maybe not the visceral spillage of guts
The bugle calls for the beaches, breaches, flags flap in the breeze and old men proudly wear a chestful of tin
But do we forget about Dresden?
Carpet bombing in Cambodia
Napalm in Vietnam
The sloughed skin and melted orbs of Hiroshima
We turn our face away from the cries of the dead, victims of war, who wonder evermore what their sacrifice was for
And we glorify war, us living, our dead heroes live on in a myth of brave glory, the rousing songs we sing, a hymn to those
Who would rather be living


The bell knells for Nell
Once in a lifetime teddybear pooch
Snuggly wuggly poodlysmooch

Who will keep the squirrels in trees?
Pheasants from nests?
Trouble summer bees?
Give cats no rest?

There’s a Nell shape hole
Deep in my soul
A sad hollow feeling
C’mon Nell!
Heel dog heel!

The need for speed and greed for oil
That spoils and taints the air we breath
Another life broke to the wheel
A final breath, an inevitable death

I broke a wheel from a beloved toy car
Though only ten, I remember still
I cried for hours till I no longer knew
For why I cried, for me, for whom

Thousands grieving in the Middle East
My loss is minuscule and brief
But a drop in a mighty pool
This collective sea of misery
This unimaginable grief

Sitting on the bottom stair
With Nell no longer under there
Although it’s difficult to bear
It’s nothing to the deep despair
Of the mother mourning
Who knows not why
Another morning
Without their child

Olden Times

Rings of henge stones stand
Like Times Roman numerals hung
On an old station clock face
Marking neither minutes nor hours
But a megalithic sundial
Cocking the passing of the seasons
A precise celestial instrument
Telling of the passage of time
The wheeling of the planets
The cycling of the sun
The feasting and the fasting
Midwinter’s dusk
Midsummer’s morn
This fast life we live in
Measured in micro-milliseconds
Would it be good to go more slowly today
Wind down and look up at the heavens?

Christmas Carol

Echoes of King Herod’s time
Echoes of the Ghettos
At this time on the streets of Gaza
Go children to the slaughter
When shall we ever learn?
Red blood dripped in dust grey rubble
Misguided missiles flying
Dead, precious sons and daughters
The Star of David dipped in shame
Same for Palestinian black red white and green
Where are the wise men now? behold
All the pain and all the suffering
Perpetuating troubles
And hate, for some short term gain
And no, it isn’t simple
It’s never white or black
But let’s hope for peace and all thats good
Some clear dark starlit silent night



There are picket lines
Lines not to cross
Telephone lines
With wires crossed
The telephone operator
Is a smooth operator
With her curvy lines
Though she used to be a dancer
In a chorus line
At the theatre
With a prompt if she forget a cue
The lines that I she thought she knew
And whose line is it anyway?
There are fools in school caps
Who write lines on feint foolscap
There are rulers and rules, even at the swimming pool
Don’t run, don’t jump, no heavy petting…
There are lanes with lines
And double yellow lines
With signs like ‘stop’ and ‘bike lane ends’
They tell you what to do
And then there are queues
Stand in line
Await your time
At the post office counter - cashier number two
Columns and rows
And wonky spreadsheets at the PO
There is a thin blue line
That’s copper too
Plastic tape wrapped around a tree
Lines to inject, to sniff and get wrecked
There’s the East Coast main line - the LNER
The up line and the down line
The abandoned branch line
The new HS2 too
The sleek lines of the mallard
The lines of a ballad
Song lines in the out back
Being right on the right track
There are lines in the sand
There is the White Star line and the end of the line
The maritime lines of yachts
And knots like the bowline
Crows feet from staring at the distant horizon
And miles and miles of fishing line poison
Latitude and Longitude
And the international date line
County lines boundary lines
Isobars and contour lines
Solid lines and dotted lines
And then there is morse code of course
Parallel lines and plunging graphs
There are lines that are Plumb
Brick walls and city skylines
There are production lines in Bangladesh
Sewing seams in clothes
To produce the latest fashion lines
To clothe a model’s unblemished flesh
And Clothes lines too to peg the clothes onto
The District line and the Circle line
Pipe lines and fuel lines
Headlines and bylines
Liniear and lateral lines
Supposition and factual
And tow the partly line
Blood lines and Royal lineage
The family tree
Front lines like the Siegfried line and the Maginot
And the 49th parallel
Putting ones life on the line time after time
There are taught lines and slack lines
And for artists there are hatched lines
Infill and outline
And then there is Poetry
And a final bit of rhyme

New Year's Resolution

My loins are steeled my hams unstrung
My nerves are girded, my stilettos honed
My hero’s journey a song to be sung
There’s wind in my whistle, a job to be done
I’m suited sharp as a bright steel pin
Boots mirror polished to an oily black shine
With my slick locks greased and neatly preened
My razor sharp three piece creased and cleaned
I’m Whipped and ripped
And ready for shit
To hit the fan
I’ll not fanny round
Like gaggling fans
With a prince to be crowned
I’m the man of the moment
A man about town
A man with momentum
Adventuresome, hansom, all but hell bent
There’ll be no postponement
To whatever the spring might bring
Or the heavens rent
With a spring in my step I step into spring
With a brolly for wet and a scarf for the chill
I stoically stand
And I won’t be late
I sally forth
To climb that hill
Accept my fate
And take the pill

Light of Day

I long to see you in the morning light
Though the sight might fright in the morning light
Have you turned to stone in the night?
Or taken flight in the morning light
A will o the wisp dispelled like mist
Cupids bow blows bitter raspberries
Titainia’s tincture might delight a puck
But dissipate a sprite in the morning light
Nights bouquet, such sweet nosegay
Come morning bemoaning bare as bone
Yore knight in amour in heat of night
A rusty hinge in the damp of dawn
The unfurling petals of passion’s flower
Wither and fall in the morning light
Like discarded pants of the night before
The spark that lit the muse fuse bright
To Moon and swoon in the lyrical night
Waxen as waxwork in the morning light
Those rosey cheeks sweet in candlelight
Peaches and cream in the juicy fawn
Merely mottled and bleak in the light of morn
Dead fish beached by the low tide’s ebb
Kippers and egg in the morning light
The tickle of hair in the pillowed night
A bone in the throat in the morning’s stare
And that thigh and love’s sigh in the velvety night
Veined as Stilton and stained in the cold morning air
As callous as Carrara, as cold as stone
Marbled blotched bleached in light of day
A prince become toad in morning light
Less bold I’m told in the bright of the day

What is that beast?

How strange this form, nor man nor beast
With zest performs the strangest beast
It has to be from quite afar
Like some exotic Persian feast
A Middle eastern yeasty dish
It has to be that strange Gazhal
It has rhythm, it has rhyme
And to be sure a sense of time
It has lines, black and white
It really is the most bazaar
It just has to be that strange Gazhal
Such an awesome awesome sight
Though no zebra in these stripes
It really is the strangest beast
No sonnet would sound so sweet
The villainous villanelle could not compete
The odious ode would not outdo
It has to be that strange Gazhal
A haiku wouldn’t cut the mustard
A limerick would be a bastard
A Cinquain would sound so arcane
A Clerihew just would’t do
The strangest from, nor man nor beast
It just has to be that strange Gazhal
Romantic refrain of the East

I Hate Estates

Foxglove Heights
Peregrine View
The Mews

Green Acre Walk
Oak Park
Elm Close
Shady Grove

Jubilee Gardens
Copper Beech Crescent
Lark Rise
Ash Way

Strawberry Fields
Penny Lane
Honey Mead
James Dene

Letsbe Avenue
Dogend drove
Lovers layby
Ernest Heming Way
Desolation Row

Drax Tax

When I was young
We drove up the A1
Playing ‘eye-spy with my little eye’
And numberplate bingo
And far off away
Past York and Rotherham
We’d play ‘spot the stacks of Drax’
Near Pontefract
Belching black smoke
To the crystalline dale air
The Hyperboloids of cooling towers
Stacked on the horizon line, then towering
“It’s the cloud making factory”
Though droll, we’d ever say with glee
Though actually they burnt coal
And Uncle John worked for the NCB
I did a tour, I saw, in awe
This cathedral to electricity
Now they burn pellet wood
From virgin forest
Cloud and rain
Slash and burn
Cash for company returns
Costing the earth
To re-charge vibrator and handy
And the government applauds this ‘green’ ideal
Talks utter balderdash
Rewards the greenwashiness
Gives them mountains of cash
From the stash that’s our taxes
Playing drastic games of
Russian roulette with green house gasses
And a diminishing wilderness
Praise be to high authority
And the liturgy of Biomass
When a solution is plain to see
Use less electricity
And please please leave the trees be