pexels-photo-934011.jpegElaborate, complicated or opaque!

That’s not the stuff I celebrate.

Keep it plain and simple me

Like to boast simplicity.


Over complicated, deep

Learning curve

That’s much to deep?


Some can do it

But not me.


Won’t expand, elaborate

For emphasis

I’ll just repeat.





via Elaborate

Do not alight here

Among my favourite examples of over complicated English are the signs of the platform of what was an international station saying, ‘Do not alight here’.

Do not alight here

There’s a sign as you pull into the station
It says,’do not alight here’.
No need for an explanation
You’re sure to know what it means?

We don’t want you planning to set it alight
We don’t want it set on fire
Be careful with your matches
Don’ set the place ablaze.

Or could they have kept it simpler
Said what they meant to say?
If they don’t want us getting off the train
Why don’t they just say?

Say what you mean
Mean what you say
Use much simpler words.
So confusing for foreigners
When you use such arcane words
You don’t need to say
‘Do not alight’
When you just mean
‘Don’t get off’!



Poetry in plain English

You’ll have gathered by now, if you’re not a first time visitor, that I do plain straightforward writing in clear, easy to follow English. I’d happily adopt another style if it worked for me,and I thought there were others who wanted to read it, but, as I expressed in the poem Voice; published on here before anyone was actually reading this, I feel like I’ve found what works for me. Voice has had 19,000 plus reads  on Wattpad so hopefully I’m getting it right for others too.

The truth is I had any pretentions to florid, discursive writing knocked out of me in a working career where ‘writing’ was a key part of what I did but for a very different audience. The ‘writing’ I did to earn a living was far from being creative. I wrote reports for decision makers.

My work was expected to be clear, concise and to the point. Brevity was the order of the day and the instruction was never to use a long word where a short one would do. We would never ask people to ‘peruse’ documents we suggested that they  should ‘look at’ them.

One of the missions I was given was to re-write the local authorities contract conditions in plain English. The lawyers hated me for it!

My ambition to write the great English novel is never likely to be realised. The Next Big Thing, as the poem of that name expresses, is unlikely ever to be written but ‘verse’, comes very naturally to me. I’m not always sure I can glorify it with the word ‘poetry’ but that is for others to judge and worry about. My mission, as the tag line has it, is to entertain. I’m sometimes seeking to entertain with a purpose but I try to express what I am saying as clearly and effectively as possible.

Todays poem, Red Lines, is a tribute to the manager who honed my writing skills with a liberal helping of red ink.

Red Lines

The report you have written
Is ‘basically fine’
The words are yours
But the ideas are mine.

I’ve covered it liberally
With red ink
Please rewrite
But don’t rethink.

I’ve altered all your capital letters
Crossed out all the “howsoevers”
It’s punchy now
All bullet points
You can rewrite again
If it disappoints.