'Surely it is a magical thing for a handful of words, artfully arranged, to stop time. To conjure a place, a person, a situation, in all its specificity and dimensions. To affect us and alter us, as profoundly as real people and things do.'

                                                         Jhumpa Lahiri - My Life’s Sentences, The New York Times

An Angel

I thought I saw an angel.

An angel in disguise?

There was just something about her,

Something in her eyes.


The way she almost glided,

As she moved across the place.

A look of innocence and kindness

Was imprinted on her face.


Going about her business.

Breathing light into the air.

I wonder if she saw me,

Or sensed that I was there?


This being didn’t have wings,

At least I couldn’t see them.

Perhaps to blend in quietly

She could use them as and when.


I thought I saw an angel.

It’s difficult to explain.

If you had been there in the room,

Maybe you’d feel the same.


Sometimes between wake and sleep,

When lying in my bed,

I dream she visits me; a

Gentle kiss on my forehead.


I’ll never forget that angel.

The way she made me feel.

There’s no question about it –

I’m certain she was real!

© Marc Harris 2014

The Park Bench

SFX – Night time outdoors - wind, rustling leaves, creaking branches, running water from a brook, occasional distant horseshoes and carts throughout – until ‘It is Christmas day today’.

This is me, and here I must lie – for now. (Pause) I have made my bed for the night. I am stretched out on a park bench, with a thin blanket pulled over me for protection from the elements. (Pause) I am exposed, and yet I feel reassuringly safe, as I am partly sheltered by the low overhanging branches of a majestic oak tree. She must have been standing here for well over two hundred years. Imagine living through two centuries of seeing in a new year? (Pause) She creaks and yearns throughout the night – or perhaps that is me? (Pause) The soothing, hypnotic sound of a nearby brook keeps me company. (Pause) I am awoken in the early hours by distant horses and cart wheels, both tackling the uneven cobbles. In the stillness, I can see my breath. Then suddenly, a robin appears on the arm at the end of the bench. There is room for both of us my friend. (Pause) What can I give him, poor as I am? I have no food to offer. We stare at each other for about a minute, and I wonder if he is contemplating using my beard as a nest! It flutters away as quickly as it had arrived. (Pause) I try to get back to sleep. (Pause for new scene.)

SFX – Morning outdoors - running water from a brook, birdsong, distant church bells ringing.

It is Christmas day today, and a new year will be fast approaching. Nineteen twenty-two has an optimistic ring to it. I shall raise a toast later, with a small prayer to those whom I have known and loved. (Pause) I have complete faith that next year, will be a brighter, calmer one for us all.


© Marc Harris 2020

Brief Encounters 


I used to be a medium,

When purchasing my smalls.

But middle age spread's taken hold,

I can't wear them at all.


There seems no point in donning them,

If walking is a drain.

When constant repositioning

In public isn't game.


It's time to give in down below,

No pinching in the butt.

Or even worse a DVT,

These pants are out of luck.


When they were new in ‘92

I thought I was a hunk.

Perhaps it’s not my belly and

It’s just that they have shrunk?


No more excuses, now’s the time

To visit M&S.

Can’t think of anything that’s worse

Than shopping I confess.


I'll never look as trim as him,

That model on the pack.

Suppose it's too late in the day

To think I'll look like that?


They used to be far simpler times

But now we’re spoilt for choice.

It’s not just boxers or Y-fronts,

New things you have to hoist.  


“Would sir like hipsters, trunks or slips,

Or maybe classic briefs?

I recommend the microskin,

With stretch built in the weave.”


“Our thermal comfort’s all the rage

Or this soft cotton blend?”

All I want is a basic pant.

This drives me round the bend.


A thong feels wrong, and way too cold.

I could not look my best,

Unless I concealed it, so that

It’s covered with a vest.


I can’t help thinking if they’re clean,

Or been tried on before.

And should I buy two-dozen pairs,

In case they’re made no more?


I’ve had enough with all this lark,

I think it’s time to go.

There’s only one thing left to do,

That’s to go commando!

© Marc Harris 2020

The Funny (And True) Tale of Barry Cryer - Comedy Legend, Aged 85 and a third.

July 2020

I had one of my occasional crazy ideas, wanting to send my writing to a well known person, and thought that Barry Cryer would be a good writer to contact, to see if he would be willing to read my play, Blast from the Past. Perhaps he would forward a few lines of ‘praise’ or comment, in order to help me with my promotion of it? I have always enjoyed his style of humour, had a good feeling that he would reply, and knew that his opinion would count. As his website was not connecting, I couldn't send an email, so after a little bit of investigative work (perhaps I should have accepted that private detective job 30 years ago? That's also true by the way!), I managed to find his address, and posted off my play to him with one of my distinct letters - sometimes one has to use a little chutzpah!

2 Days later...

Amazingly, just a couple of days later, I received an humorous small hand written note from my 'new friend', signed Baz!

'Dear Marc,

Remember these? - A letter!

You didn't enclose a stamped/addressed envelope or include your phone number. Nobody does anymore (why?) so I found it on directory enquiries. I rang - you didn't answer (nobody does anymore) and you didn't leave a message (NDAM) so here it is - a letter!

Ring me - if you remember how. (Phone number enclosed.) 



(Barry Cryer)'

I couldn't believe how quickly he had replied, and it was very good of him to go to the trouble of finding my phone number, which I unusually hadn't included in my letter, as I really couldn't envisage him calling, and had in fact included a self addressed envelope. I was also surprised that he had given me his phone number - so I phoned him.

The answerphone message came on but half way through, Barry's distinctive voice answered. We had a very short chat (well, he didn't know me from Adam - even though he knew I was Marc.) I said that it was very rare for such a rapid response, and that usually, I either get a reply 6 months later or none at all. He apologised that he had indeed found the envelope, and would get back to me. It was a little surreal, talking with him. My letter had worked. Great!

Two weeks later...

A second short phone call. He was very sorry that he had not got around to reading it or sending me anything, as there was, "So much going on." That was fine. I wasn't expecting anything straight away - however long it takes.

The following week...

A third phone call, and this time, a longer chat. He was once again sorry for not replying, and said that he would like to be able to help me. I happened to mention that I had only recently noted that he had written material for my favourite stand up (or in this case, sit down) comedian, the superlative Dave Allen, and he went on to tell me a couple of interesting stories about him. This was now starting to become more surreal. Weekly updates from Barry, the man himself - with me chatting to this renowned comedy writer about Dave Allen etc! After all, he has written material for all the greats:- Les Dawson, Stanley Baxter, Jasper Carrott, Tommy Cooper, Dick Emery, Frankie Howerd, Spike Milligan, Kennie Everett, The Two Ronnies and Morecambe & Wise. I wondered how long this would go on for? Not that it mattered of course. As I said to him, there was no hurry (I didn't want him to feel pressurised.) He would obviously keep to his word, and I was just happy that he was going to be reading it.  

The following week...

I received a message on my answerphone, while I was lucky enough to be holidaying in Wales.

'You won't believe this. You must have given up on me. It's old Barry Cryer, Marc. Sorry mate, so much has been going on. And I read it, oh yes. And I'll send you something in the post. I'm an old luddite, I don't do email and all that stuff. Okay Marc, all the very best.'

How very kind of him. I returned his phone call, to thank him for reading it, and to explain that I had been away. "Oh no, don't be silly", he replied, "You're busy with other things." I asked him if he had enjoyed it. The answer was in the positive, and I looked forward to reading his thoughts on the script.

Nearly 2 Weeks Later...

I received another small hand written note with some delightful words.

'I found this fascinating from the start, dealing as it does, with the bleak subject of dementia, with an undercurrent of humour throughout. I find some other writers especially interesting, as their work is so different from mine and this represents the perfect formula. Read, absorb and enjoy.'

It was really generous of him to take the time to do this, and rather than calling him again, I sent a few lines in the post to thank him. It is now official - comedy legend Barry Cryer OBE, otherwise known as Baz, is an all round good egg and gentleman!

The Farmer’s Name Is…

Years ago we didn't know                                                                      

Who'd grown our fruit and veg.

Now proudly printed on the bag

Is 'Grown in Wales by Reg'.

© Marc Harris 2020


Old Age

When I'm old with trousers raised, 

Way above my middle.

Please ensure they're not so high,

That they touch my nipples.                 

© Marc Harris 2020

Celestial Body

My dear grandmother had always had an intense fascination with the moon from when she was young, passed down from her father. She respected the subtleties of nature and its rhythms. I remember the last time I saw her. I placed her hand in mine and gently kissed her; the softness of her skin belying her age. I can never forget her warm smile and the kindness in her eyes. I still feel a sense of pride that she entrusted me with her lifetime’s knowledge of planting by the phases of the moon. As I look up at the beautiful, bright, living sphere hanging in the sky; I know she is with me.  

© Marc Harris 2019

Make a free website with Yola