Sunday, November 30, 2008

217. While My Back Was Turned!

(See 214 and 216 for my SUNDAY SCRIBBLINGS and SIMPLY SNICKERS entries.)

Forgive me if this story is already well-known! I have only just discovered it and I'm full of enthusiasm. Please read one of the many full accounts that are on the Web.


To paraphrase T.S. Eliot,
 'My life's been measured in coffee spoons'.

A bit of work, a bit of chat,
A bit of harmless this and that.
But was I really on a mission,
Or did I give myself permission
To play at work and work at play,
And flit about from day to day?

Really! Since 1961
What exactly have I done?
Just built a 'harmless' little life....
Teacher, mother, friend and wife.

Meanwhile, while my back was turned,
Someone with real ambition burned!
In our thirties, way back then,
He turned his back on affairs of men.
While I just skittered about the place
A stupid smile on my fatuous face!
No, it wasn't quite as bad as that,
But it was no Magnificat!

Mejorado del Campo, a name that rings,
With the liquid sunshine of Spanish things.
And it is there that Justo came
Not to anguish, not to blame,
But to build his own stairway to the sky,
Year by year as time went by.

Removed from his Order, for he was ill,
He felt a heavenly calling still,
And he sold some land for the wherewithal,
To build a Cathedral, high, wide, tall!

Yes! A Cathedral! Give some thought
To hobbies like knitting, bird-watching, sport!
Just think how I have spent my time
Writing nonsense things in rhyme!
For forty years, you must agree,
We haven't shown much constancy.

Whereas Don Justo made a start,
With religious fervour in his heart,
To dig and delve, and scrimp and save,
All the way till he reached his grave.
On his own he made foundations,
Without any plans or specifications.
Built the walls and built the piers!
Single-handed! For forty years!

Now Don Justo and I are old.
His story continues to unfold.
He works each day on his great vision,
Not always with excellent precision.
In fact, the powers that be have stated
That his great Cathedral is over-rated;
That it isn't safe. They come from the town
And view its magnificence with a frown.
He knows that, one day, it must go.
But still he works, though he's old and slow.

But for now it points up to the sky
A little quirky but wide and high.
How he's laboured, how he's yearned!

And all of it while my back was turned!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

216. A Winter's Tale.

Memories are precious things. And some of the most poignant and precious are, in themselves, slight. This memory is slight, but it is always with me.


The play was over.
All the giggling and terrible acting were done.
We were young village girls
Performing at a neighbouring village hall.
Was it two miles from home or more?
The distance escapes me.
Does it matter?
All that matters is the stars.
That and the frost.

Transport arrived to take us home.
Some would have to 'start walking'.
(In my memory we walked all the way.)
Does it matter?
All that matters is the stars.
That and the frost.

Five of us linked arms
And started walking homewards.
We didn't speak;
We had done with laughter
And bad acting.
Were there five of us?
Does it matter?
All that matters is the stars.
That and the frost.

The memory of that night
And that walk
Is with me still.

'A Winter's Tale'
Demands snow and a full moon.
We had no moon, no snow,
No Christmas-cardy
Effulgence of night-time glory.

We had a dark blue sky,
A billion stars,
And a road fast-crisping
In the icy stillness.

The air was bitter.
Our breath billowed out,
Temporarily clouding the stars.
Branches, whitening before our eyes,
Stood stiffly,
Surely ready to snap.

We walked in unison,
Briskly, because of the cold.
One could almost say we marched.

No words were spoken,
Yet such a sense of companionship
Pervaded that night
That I remember the silence
As a meaningful conversation.

We spread out
Right across the vehicle-free road.
(This was 1947 remember!)

What a poor old 'Winter's Tale'!

No lights,
No snow,
No 'Ho! Ho! Ho!'
No holly berries
Or 'Christmas Merries'
No decorations
Or fond relations.
No carol-singing
Or present-bringing.

Except for the
Sound of flinty feet
On the fast-frosting road.

And the vision of periwinkle stars.

Vive La ?

 The words in blue are the opening lines of the 1949 movie 'Adam's Rib'.


I admit I'm part of the problem, so who is there to blame?

The world is becoming 'sameish', with everything the same.

It's been happening forever, but, in my time, it's gained pace,

And now a place that was unique is just every other place.

It happened with the Romans, when they madly 'Romanised'.

Their influence on Britain still cannot be disguised.

It happened with 'The Empire' when Britain ruled the waves,

Resulting in the cricket for which every Indian craves.

I've lived in different countries, adding a 'Pommie' touch,

Even though the natives didn't like it very much.

So this isn't an accusation; just a sigh for times gone past,

And a geriatric whimper for a mix that's come too fast.

I lived in the South of England, only twenty miles from France,

And I longed to see that country. In my teens I got my chance.

As I stepped down from the ferry the Frenchness blew my mind!

Everything was different! Smells of a different kind!

Buildings looked exotic! Chatter sort of sang!

That wine, that sky, that elegance! That other-worldly tang!

It wasn't a case of better. It wasn't a case of worse.

It was just that everything I saw was England in reverse.

Now if I take the ferry across that narrow sea,

I'm faced with Marks and Spencers, MacDonalds and KFC.

Everyone speaks English, eats sushi, or ragout,

Everything's pseudo-foreign; you must agree that's true.

Oh the monuments are national, but they are in the past,

They're just an ancient backdrop for an up-and-coming cast.

So when I see the photograph of all the different races

Who've walked the Bridge, having arrived from hundreds of other places.
I feel no animosity, for I'm an immigrant too,

But I kind of yearn for times gone by when  the world was still quite new

And a trip to a foreign country, like my early one to France,

Was enough to make one shout out loud 'Vive la difference!'

(The climbers on the bridge represent the nationals who have made Australia their home.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

214. Ouch!


A response to the SIMPLY SNICKERS prompt.

My response to the SUNDAY SCRIBBLINGS prompt is number 216.


They glide and glimmer with golden grace
(That's put the buzz words in their place!)

Also 'in place' those gorgeous bustles!
Underneath the silk that rustles 
In colourful swathes of red or beige
There's a horrible sort of metal cage
That keeps their rear-ends nicely rounded
And causes us to be dumbfounded.
Imagine! When one longs to settle
On a seat, a piece of metal
Pierces one's dainty derriere
And causes one to wince and swear!
But did they swear in those long-lost days?
Did they even know  any fruity phrase?
Or did they merely smile sedately,
Still so ladylike, sweet and stately?
I bet they carried on a treat
When at last their outing was complete.
And when they reached some private place
They actually let themselves grimace!
When they'd stripped-off camisoles,
Corseting and folderoles;
When the flesh was on display
In a quite abandoned way,
Surely they had to scratch like mad!
And think of all the scars they had!
Folds and creases, fiery marks
One doesn't associate with parks.
In the park they looked so neat,
Straight-backed, elegant, and sweet.
Yet underneath chaos was reigning!
And not one lady was complaining!
And what of those gentleman that we see
Parading their masculinity?
When female bodies were revealed
And nothing any more concealed,
Did they say 'Alas! Alack!
I thought you had more at the back!'

(On a much more serious note turn to my PLUS blog for a telling cartoon.)

213.Off-Course Of Course!

Lynda of gave me permission to use this photograph for a poem. It is one of a series of about six that chronicle a street scene in Portland. Let's hope the poodle found a tree quite soon!


Percy the Poodle was crossing the street,
Attached, of course, to a lead.
'Thought Percy 'Goody! There's a tree!
 Exactly what I need!
I'm bursting to cock my back leg
And that tree will be just great!
And, while I'm about it, I'll have a sniff!
 It might lead me to a mate!'
But what is this? His mistress has veered
Way off towards the right!
Did you see a poodle with his legs crossed?
 That was Percy....Right?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Number One

                                    By Kat
I have just discovered that my BLEND (Blog Friend) Kat has painted one picture in his life. This was it.
I think he should continue to paint, don't you?
The news from India, Kat's homeland, is very worrying today. So this is a little sort of get-well token.
(The first of many.)

To one who painted one,
From one who's not painted any!
Keep  at it, my dear Kat.
Let us see many, many!
When the world is looking grim,
We need a painter's eye
To point out all the lovely things
That may have passed us by.

Opposite Attraction


Like oil and water this is not the simplest sort of mix!
'Home-body' meets 'High-Flyer'! A tricky one to fix.
There's Aries, dressed-up to the nines, longing to hit the town,

And Taurus saying ' Let's relax.' and 'Why don't you calm down?'
Taurus can be a solid mate, rather dull but stable,
And always with a  weather-eye beamed on the dinner-table.
Taurus is a manager; Aries likes to spend;
But maybe they can compromise and do well in the end.
Taurus can be possessive, which can cramp an Aries' style,
But Aries may like to be 'possessed', sometimes, for a while.
In bed they'll both be really great, but, sadly, in the morning
Aries may still find Taurus dull. That's when Aries will start yawning!
Aries enjoys a conversation, problems must be aired,
While Taurus can be so laid-back the soul is never bared.
This frustrates poor Aries, who often may explode,
And even, when things get extreme, Aries may hit the road!
But, if they hang-on long enough, Aries will come to see
That Taurus can be a steady sign to have in a family-tree.
The home will become a haven, not just a some 'gilded cage',
And this is a couple who may grow close.
Like wine, they'll improve with age!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

211. Sasparilla


Sasparilla's been a word that's always fascinated!
Although I hear that, now, the concept's really rather dated.
Growing up in England, I heard this Yanky word,
And I thought it was the most romantic name I'd ever heard!
I was drinking lemon juice or something else quite boring,
While, over in America, the populace was pouring
This wildly stimulating drink down each and every throat!
Oh how I longed to pack my bags and get on the next boat!
The very word rolls off the tongue in a manner so exotic!
Surely it held ingredients quite dangerously hypnotic!
Picture a grey mid-winter's day in  a little British town
There's 'Rinkly' thinking of the drink, longing to gulp it down;
To be whisked away to join the Sasparilla devotees,
Lounging in gay abandon underneath strange foreign trees!
With President Roosevelt looking manly standing at the tiller
Easing his tension with a handy glass of Sasparilla!
With a young girl on a skyscraper wrestling a gorilla,
And winning easily every time she sipped some Sasparilla!
With Raymond Chandler writing books, possibly a thriller,
Getting inspiration from a glass of Sasparilla!
With Al Capone, a Mafia lad, but an efficient killer,
Demanding his favourite sustenance, gin and Sasparilla!
What an exciting life they led on the other side of the ocean!
Merely thinking of it now fills me with deep emotion!
Please write and tell me (making sure,of course, that it's the truth!)
How Sasparilla brought a reckless element to your youth!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

210. Mud Bath

The Bath area of the West of England is noted for its healing springs. This legend celebrates its founder.


In the dimness of antiquity, there lived a handsome Prince,
Whose name has been revered and praised by all men, ever since.
Bladud was the young man's name; he knew his destiny
Was to rule his nation; to this end he studied constantly.
In search of learning he went forth and finally came to Greece,
Where he hoped to learn the ways of truth and dignity and peace.
But, sad to say, in Athens, he contracted leprosy
And a sad, disfigured Prince returned to face his family.
'You cannot rule' his father said 'You'd bring our family shame!
Flee somewhere far away, my son! Don't besmirch our regal name!'
His mother wept at her poor son's plight, and handed him a ring.
'Keep this safe as a gift from me while you are wandering.'
So the sad Prince left as a peasant, with neither hearth nor home,
Disfigured by his leprosy and destined the earth to roam.
'I must work to live' said Bladud  'Since no royal crown is mine.
I'll live as so many peasants do, herding the humble swine.'
So, for many years, he herded pigs across the countryside
Until, at last, they sickened too and many of them died.
He must have been a sorry sight, his remaining pigs were few,
And he was covered in lesions! What was a man to do?
But suddenly a pig went wild and galloped off until
It came to a pond of thick black mud, at the bottom of the hill.
It jumped right in and almost sank; it was in it to the snout!
So Bladud clambered in as well. He must get the creature out!
The rescue took a while, of course, as the animal thrashed and squealed,
But when it staggered to the bank, its leprosy was healed!
So Bladud wallowed in the mud, constantly, day by day,
Till his leprosy finally disappeared in a miraculous way.
Then back to his parents he returned, an older man, it's true,
But he showed his mother's golden ring, so everybody knew
That he was the rightful future king. And he quickly made it known
That his saviour had been a humble pig, one animal, on its own.
So Bladud founded a city, where healing waters run,
And he ruled in Bath for twenty years as his father's rightful son.
He governed with honesty and wit; his edicts all were sound
But he never forgot the lowly pig who'd turned his fortunes round.

Monday, November 24, 2008

209.Duck for Cover!

'No sex please, we're British'! Isn't that a well-known saying? Anyway, this joke complies with the order!


A woman carrying a duck arrived to see the Vet.
She was crying very salty tears for Cuddles was her pet.
'Doctor! Doctor!' she wept and wailed ' Tell me it's not true!
Tell me that Cuddles isn't dead! I don't know what to do!'
The vet put on his stethescope and placed it on the bird,
But not the slightest beating of a little heart was heard.
'I'm very sorry, Madam' he very gently said
'I'm afraid I have to tell you that your little duck is dead.'
At this the woman went berserk; she loudly cried 'Boo hoo!'
Refusing to believe that the words he said were true.
She began to question, she began to plead
'Get me a second opinion! That is what I need!'
'Certainly, Madam, if you wish. I'll see what I can do.
Although my diagnosis is quite definitely true.'
He rang a bell, a handler came, with a Labrador on a lead.
The woman, I can tell you, was very surprised indeed!
She was even more astounded when the dog leapt on the table
And began to sniff her  little duck as fast as it was able.
It sniffed the head, it sniffed the tail, it even sniffed the feet.
No sniffing in the whole wide world was ever so complete.
It clambered down  and sadly shook its head from side to side,
Indicating that the duck, had, very surely, died.
After the dog a cat came in and clambered on the bed.
The woman was so speechless that not a word was said!
Again the duck was sniffed and sniffed, and even gently licked!
The woman wondered, as you would, what sort of vet she'd picked.
The handler took the cat away, and then, as you'd expect,
The vet soon gave her his account. She hoped it was correct.
Amazed she saw that she'd been charged five thousand dollars plus!
The vet said 'Twenty dollars is all that comes to us.
But I gave you what you wanted; I did my very best;
The Lab report and Cat scan accounted for the rest!'

Sunday, November 23, 2008

208. Ooops!


They call us the Land Down Under
But see! We're the Land Up Top!
Look at this! Is it any wonder
We think we're cream of the crop!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

207. The Parting of the Ways


(Written for the SIMPLY SNICKERS prompt. A SUNDAY SCRIBBLINGS effort can be seen below.)


So you see a bird!

I aways knew we were incompatible!
How dull you are;
Seeing what you think you have to see.
Doing as you're told!
Your horizon limited by what you think you should see.
A mere human in a world of angels!
So bland, so conventional, so boring!

I'll give you the horizon;
That I also see.

But a bird?
Don't be absurd!

I see a grey, blotched wall
And an oddly-shaped window.
The top swoops down like a twister;
The left-hand side bears a startling resemblance
To a chimp begging for a kiss;
And, on the right, there's a hill
With an interesting cave.

I long to squeeze through that jagged window
And hover in that blue sky,
Like a bird.

But my own bird, not yours.

I'll pack my bags in the morning.