A poem again that was written in the depth of winter at HMP Highpoint South. It concerns the elements, as in the title, but in the classical sense of the expression. Nothing complicated about the ideas, but some of the language probably requires a little reflection.


The essence of existence, the ultimate purifier

Within which swim the swift and slow

Ever moving from the high to low

Whose drought delivers deep desire

The sailor’s surface, the fireman’s friend

That douses enemy embers’ glow

That feeds us till our mortal end


And at life’s limit, when spark has flown

Solid in which we all must trust

Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust

Wherein our vegetation’s grown

Leggėd creatures on trough and peak

They stand; or lie beneath its crust

The grit of which all humans speak


Their speech expels of life the breath

The return is that which we inhale

Life’s rhythm pumps it without fail

Its absence certain sudden death

Within it fly the feathered, fast

Energy given to the yachtsman’s sail

Weather blown from places passed


The giver of our heat and light

Transforms the mighty molecule

Which shaped the sword, and tempered tool

We crowd together round its seat

Protected from the prowling beast

And kept away the ghastly ghoul

Transforming food into a feast


The ancients named four elements

The moderns give a different name

And play an academic game

Seeking sounder scientific sense

Upon which we wish to base our acts

Our elders thought they did the same

Philosophers famed for their faultless facts!