Previous Poems 3

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Topical Poem.


The fine weather is here at last, and happy people are driving around with their windows open and their impressive sound system impressing everyone.

 

                                                     TRESPASSING 

‘Forgive us all our trespasses’

Is now the common trend;

To ‘trespass’ is an ancient crime

Yet people will pretend

 

That trespassing on land’s O K

Despite the flattened crops -

Be it by ramblers, or the Hunt,

Or rowdy picnic stops.

 

And trespassing on private time

Is much the modern game

With double glaze, or Timeshare calls

And many more the same.

 

But out of all the trespasses

There’s one which most repels -

Intrusive music, played all day

At a million decibels.

 

‘Forgive us all our trespasses’

Is often in our prayers;

But as for noise polluters - well,

 I shan’t forgive them theirs.

 

 

More Poems for Places.

Back to the Cotswolds. The Cotswold way traverses the whole of the Cotswoldsand passes through some oddly named places. It can be quite hard going.

The Cotswold Way

 

We planned to walk the Cotswold Way, and started out from Bath

With rucksacks, boots and anoraks to try the Cotswold path;

With sprightly steps and happy hearts we felt we’d never tire

As we left the ease of Avon and crossed into Gloucestershire.

 

                        Up Wortley Hill and down again

                        To Nanny Farmer’s Bottom,

                        Through Blackquarries, we took the lane

                        And swaggered into Wotton;

                        We climbed the top of Wotton Hill,

                        And, though that took its toll,

                        We all, enthusiastic still,

                        Pressed on to Nibley Knoll.

 

The pleasures of the Cotswold views demand we stand and stare -

At Drakestone Point and Tubb’s seat we drank the Cotswold air;

More slowly now, down Stinchcombe Hill, through Dursley, up CamPeak

Our limbs were aching, feet were sore, and joints began to creak

 

                        The path, however, onward sails,

                        Our hearts began to pump

                        At views of BerkleyCastle, Wales,

                        And Hetty Pegler’s Tump;

                        Past Nymphsfield, Coaley, Edge - and soon

                        We saw, from BirdlipPeak,

                        A very welcome Air Balloon*,

                        The best sight of the week.

 

*A well-known hostelry on the Cotswold Way

The last lap of the Cotswold way we finished in a haze;

Cleeve Hill was steep, the church at Hailes had seen far better days.

We plodded into Broadway, climbed past Dover’s Hill half dead -

We’d walked the Cotswold Way, but spent the next two days in bed.

 

Decisions

 

Decisions used to blight my life

And ruin all my fun,

Indeed, if I’d not had my wife,

Then nothing would get done.

 

At last we reached a compromise –

I’d make the major choices,

And leave the lesser ones to her.

We speak with equal voices –

 

She chooses all our holidays

And what the kids will wear,

And where we live, and what we eat,

And if we’ve cash to spare.

 

I choose if we should lose the pound

And join the EEC,

And if the world is really round

And the date of World War Three.

 

I used to hate to make a choice

But suffer that no more –

My indecision was a curse

(but now I’m not so sure).

 

Well-known poems always get parodied. This is no exception, though it is important to use as much as possible of the famous form and words to produce something which is in total contrast to to original.

I thought I would dedicate this to Justin Rose!

JOIN THE CLUB

 I wandered mostly with a crowd

  That drifted over gorse and greens,

And could be heard to curse aloud

  At random stops in woodland scenes;

Or, when our luck was really tough,

We spent a morning in the Rough.

 

As frequent as the many stops

  To manducate a Milky Bar,

Were wildly executed chops

  And not a score approaching par.

Some, playing through, acquired the habit

Of pointedly exclaiming, “Rabbit!”

 

We sought instruction from the best -

 The foremost on the golfing scene -

And could not help but be impressed

 By such advice at Hole Nineteen;

We drank - and drank - but little thought

Accompanied the Scotch we bought.

 

But sometimes, by a winter fire,

  In vacant or expansive mood,

Their recalled words once more inspire -

  That is the curse of turpitude:

And thus is resolution found

To go and have another round.

 

 

More Silly Verse for Sensible Kids (it's nearly Summer Holidays)

Dance in the Deep

 

On a beautiful sunshiney summery day

A family went for a sail,

And Father was Nelson, in charge of the ship,

While his Daughter scrubbed decks with a pail

 

And Mother, as usual, was fully employed

In the Galley, preparing the food

While their son was bored totally out of his mind

And was thus in a very bad mood –

 

So he turned on his radio walkman, and played

His favourite tunes at full bore,

Till his Father said, “SHUT IT!  We’ve had quite enough

As I often have told you before.”

 

Then he snatched up the walkman and threw it away

So it fell with a splash in the sea;

It continued to play, but had somehow changed bands

To Ballet, on Radio Three.

 

Now, the fishes around there could hear every note

For undersea sound travels fast;

They had never heard anything like it before

And one said, “Some Music – at last!

 

Such a sound makes me feel I could rhythmically wriggle

The whole way from England to France,

So get with it, you lot, and join in with me

And we’ll all have an Undersea Dance.”

  

They began with the Dance of the Four Little Skates:

Then the Snook Flakes were equally good,

While the Flying Fish Fairy received much applause

Together with Red Herring Hood.

 

The music then stopped, which allowed all the fishes

Some time for a chat and a rest;

But, after a breather, they all quite agreed

That the Sugar Plum Dolphin was best.

 

Now, most of the Sailors were quite unaware

Of the fun they’d caused under the spray,

For Father was tight-lipped, and Mother was cross

While their Son sulked for England all day.

 

But their Daughter had seen all the fun going on

And said, “I know just what to do -

The NEXT time we sail, as well as Tchaikovsky,

I’ll throw in some Offenbach, too.”

 

I was intrigued to see an article that suggested employees in bookshops never had any time to read. What a shame!

 

Angst at Ottaker’s

 

Dear Sir, I’m paid to sell your books

To earn an honest penny,

But I don’t have the time to spend

Investigating any.

 

cannot access any book

By process of osmosis,

And lugging them around just leads

To osteoporosis.

 

I therefore beg you to arrange

By managerial power

To let employees all enjoy

A literacy hour.

 

I might then encounter Heathcliff

Or consult the wise Parsee

Who helped the Rhino get his Skin –

I might even chat up Darcy

 

Or other heroes of Romance;

But I know, within my bones,

Without this hour, my life’s bereft.

Yours truly, Bridget Jones.                                              

 

 

The Wasp

The nest is now completed, and

          Protection work is done;

The larvae have all hatched – so I

          Can idle in the sun.

 

I’m thinking what I’ll do before

          Cold Autumn strikes me dead –

Some useful garden scavenging?

          Or something else instead?

 

To hell with being purposeful

          Or useful! I, for one,

Have just decided I should be

          Entitled to some fun.

 

I’ll make a point of buzzing into

          Half drunk cola tins,

And, with my friends, ensure that folk

          Won’t dare use litter bins.

 

I’ll do the rounds of fruiterers

          And feast on ripened plums,

Or hide amongst the seedless grapes

          To sting unwitting thumbs.

 

I’ll also hope to terrorise

          Those picnicking al fresco,

Or eating packaged sandwiches

          From Sainsbury’s or Tesco.

 

Then, as my life draws to a close,

          Declining with the sun,

I’ll sting a few more people for

          A final bit of fun.

 

But do not judge me harshly, since

          Your Government, it’s said,

Stings more of you than I do – and

          It never ends up dead.

 

More Silly Verse for Sensible Kids

 

 4 The Dinosaurs’ Dilemma

 

The Dinosaurs were really cross

As cross as anything –

They didn’t like one little bit

The beast who was their king.

 

Their King, of course, was always called

Tyrannosaurus Rex,

For Rex (a Latin word) means king

(But this you know, I ’spects).

 

Well, anyhow, Tryannosaur

Was not top of their pops;

He’d eat up poor Iguanadon

And crunch Triceratops –

 

He’d gobble up Diplodocus

And then come back for more - as

Soon as he had finished him

He’d start on Brontosaurus.

 

The Dinosaurs all met to think

How they could lose their fear,

When one of them at last thought up

A Brilliant Idea.

 

“He is too fierce for all of us

And no-one could be meaner.

We’ll sack him, and appoint instead

Tyrannosaur Regina

 

A QUEEN would be more gentle and

Might leave us all alone.”

This was agreed. T Rex was sacked,

His wife put on the throne.

 

They hoped that she would nibble leaves

And feed off tender shoots

And share with them their fruit and greens

And help them dig for roots.

 

BUT NO! The Dinosaurs were shocked,

And then began to curse –

For though their king was really bad

Their Queen was EVEN WORSE!

 

Not only did she chase them all

And eat them without pause,

She taught the same behaviour to

The young Tyrannosaurs

 

Who ate up all that they could catch

Till NONE were left. No doubt

That this is why the Dinosaurs -

AND Tryannosaurs – died out.

 

 

Cloud Cuckoo Land

 

Imagination is a wondrous thing

It lifts our sights above reality

And lets us enter realms of peace and hope

And out of usual day to day banality.

 

We can imagine what our lives might be

If crude reality would disappear;

But crude reality, insistently,

Says, “That’s cloud cuckoo land,” with knowing sneer.

 

But what if this reality was wrong?

Perhaps we should begin to make a stand

And all promote the general benefit

Of better living in cloud cuckoo land.  

 

 

The Edge of Insanity

 

The writing of poetry once was considered

A sublime and significant art

When a thought or a sentiment, feeling of mood,

Could be captured, in whole or in part.

 

The Greeks would use poems to back up a point,

Believing that poems were true –

That poets had thought long and hard about life

Before deigning to offer a view.

 

For subsequent cultures the process evolved,

Until finally, sanctioned by time,

A poem was judged by its grace of expression,

It’s metre, its scansion and rhyme.

 

One modern day trend sets all this by the board ;

There’s no form - jot down any inanity,

Throw in some obsenities, lose any sense,

And then fall off the edge of insanity.

 

 

   

I wrote this poem about twenty years ago. It is, of course, based on Goldsmith's 'Deserted Village', and I try to convey some of the same anger and disillusion that he does when considering a system that knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing - where the only things that are valued are those that can be bureaucratically processed and filed, and qualities such as originality, co-operation and happiness find no place. (Where, for instance,in the assessment of Literacy Hour, does it bother to find out if a pupil enjoyed a book? For all Officialdom knows, the experience might have put the child off reading for life). 

Has anything changed? Has it hell. Why is there STILL a shortage of qualified Teachers, as opposed to qualified bureaucrats, applying for Headships? Why are so many children STILL leaving school barely literate or numerate?

THE DESERTED SCHOOL 

Beside the narrow road, cupressus cool,

There stands a building which was once a school.

The village children well recalled the Head,

Respected him, and did just what he said.

A learned man he was, with good degree

Whose love of learning was so great that he

Determined that the lettered world he knew

Should best be spread beyond the learned few -

The benefit of learning ought to reach

Throughout society. He loved to teach.

The rural school he taught in liked his ways

And parents of all classes sang his praise -

He’d time for every child, he knew each name,

And treated them as people, all the same;

He understood their problems, calmed their fears,

Inspired ambition, wiped away their tears.

And ruffians, who’d former lessons spurn,

Remained with him, and even liked to learn.

Everything they sought to ask he knew;

He found the time to teach them football, too.

     The Head began to find his natural skill

Diverted to accommodate the will

Of wooden-headed bureaucrats, who needed

To try to prove their dogmas had succeeded -

Forms must be filled, and boxes ticked or crossed,

Reports produced (those inconvenient, lost),

Time and resources spent on mass production

Of glossy brochures, and the introduction

Of scheme and practice, any old device,

Which formed the Chief Inspector’s prejudice.

     For months the Head had struggled with the task,

Attempting to supply what they might ask.

Night after night he scaled the paper mound

And often, at the end of it, he found

He had no time to mark a pupil’s book

Or take the trouble that he erstwhile took.

His work became a grind to find a way

To pay for the essential, day to day

Equipment for his school.  The final straw

Came when he wrote an application for

A mortgage on a house.  The news was grim -

No mortgages for low-paid folk like him.

He left the happy school he’d served as Head

And re-trained in Accountancy instead.

     He was replaced by one less qualified -

She was the only person who applied.

(The Governors were mortified to find

That so few people nowdays felt inclined

To teach.  The stress and poor reward

Was greater than most people could afford.)

She dutifully filled in forms, but she

Could not conceal a ‘C’ Maths GCE.

The school declined in numbers, as it would,

And soon the Council shut it down for good.         

The former Head, a few years later on,

Acquired the building for a modest sum

And, having gentrified the house and grounds,

Then sold it on for half a million pounds.

His sons are entered - he has thought it best -

To ‘muck in’ down at Eton with the rest.

 

     Ill fares society, ill fares the nation,

Which starves much of its youth of education.

In education, everything is lost

If seen, not as investment, but as cost.

 

 

It was all rather dramatic.

 

A twenty minute impromptu exercise.

 

We decided to spring-clean our family home

So we tidied and hoovered the floors

And we wiped round the edges of windows

And dusted the tops of the doors -

So we finished up all good and early

And thought we would start on the attic;

But we were not prepared for the chaos we found –

It was all rather dramatic.

 

There was pile upon pile of mortified flies

And boxes of children’s old toys

And mountains of files from student days

And daughters’ old photos of boys,

And sections of carpet all done up in rolls

Which, when opened, all crackled with static,

And off-cuts of lino and curtains and fans –

It was all rather dramatic.

 

We surveyed the piles of useless old stuff

Which admittedly once we thought treasure,

But seen in this light we clearly now thought

We should dump the whole lot at our leisure.

Then we shifted things round, though I’m bound to agree

That our overall plan was erratic,

So we shut up the loft and left things as they were –

To move them was far too traumatic.

 

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Latest comments

04.07 | 14:06

Hey, my next door neighbour's a poet..
...and I didn't know it!

Well done Tony, I shall peruse with interest.

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03.03 | 19:03

Its a bit warmer here so most things are up including weeds - the sea defences are damaged - 10.2 metre tide today, 50 knot gusts - and it goes on raining--

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03.03 | 14:38

What if, indeed, Tony! The title is succinct.

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21.01 | 00:30

Happy New Year Tony!
I just sent 'Trouble in the Channel' to Dan, he is about old enough now to enjoy it.
Cheers Jo

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