Monday, April 30, 2012

The Princess

suggests the topic 'Castles'

(A true story)

Once I was a Princess, but that was long ago.
The Castle sat up on the hill; our house was down below.
The Churnet River ran between our house and high estate
But the influence it had on me was immeasurably great.
I would gaze from my bedroom window when the moon was riding high
And I'd see the romantic turrets etched black against the sky.
I became a romantic, a writer of poetry,
All because of a Castle floating in a starlit sea!
What a wonderful experience for a young girl in her teens.
I consider I was privileged to grow-up among such scenes.
Alton Castle was founded by Bertram de Verdon and built on a rocky precipice overlooking the River Churnet in the 12th century. It was substantially reconstructed during the 15th century and subsequently was damaged during the Civil War. In 1847 it was significantly reconstructed by the Catholic architect Augustus Pugin as a Gothic country house for the 16th Earl of Shrewsbury.The site was taken over by the Sisters of Mercy in 1855 and the presbytery became their convent. The castle remained a private residence until 1919 when the Sisters of Mercy bought it for £3,500 to extend their boarding school. The school closed in 1989 and the castle was left empty until in 1996. In 1996 it was established by the Archdiocese of Birmingham as a Catholic Youth Retreat Centre. 


This subject may repel you, if you're not domesticated!
Six days a week housework's ignored; I absolutely hate it!
You could say I'm semi tidy, merely doing the things I must,
Happily ignoring things like untidy drawers and dust.
But, come Sunday, I am quite transformed into a hausfrau! Yes!
On Sundays I catch up with myself and accumulated mess.
I wake filled with a fervour that's almost heaven sent!
I never go to church but I am called-on to repent!
My Grandma used to say to me 'I love getting in a hum'
And I have taken-after her, as, also, did my Mum.
Energy throbs through me as I empty all the bins;
I feel I'm doing penance for all the past week's sins.
I sort the newspapers, do a wash, go round with a feather duster,
Clear the fridge and sweep the floors! What energy I muster!
You see, I am retired and so my weeks are full of fun.
 I socialise continually, so nothing else is done!
I manage to cook a meal at night, but admit that I'm half-hearted!
My husband gets the shortest shrift! It's a wonder we've not parted!
Above you see the kitchen, after it's been 'done';
Outside you see the seat that I then sat on in the sun.
My Sundays are not glamorous, or even vaguely naughty;
I'm at home while all mankind seems  party-mad or sporty.
But don't cry for me (Argentina), tomorrow is sure to come,
And I'll be so delighted I spent Sunday 'in a hum'.



chose the illustration!


'The door's ajar!' she snapped at me!
In her normal hectoring tones.
Her voice was like a discord
Seeping right into my bones!
'Oh is it!' I quipped back at her,
'It looks like a door to me!'
'I suppose you think that's funny!'
She shouted 'Well, tee-hee!'
Of course I closed the errant door
For I always do her bidding,
But I'd reached the end of my tether
And I knew I wasn't kidding.
There, on the table stood a jar
And I began to muse
On where I'd really like to be;
The way of life I'd choose.
I'd like to soak in hot water
With a good crime book to read,
With glass walls all around me!
That's all that I would need.
The vision that I conjured up
Was so, well, darned seductive,
That my present life seemed untenable
And completely unproductive.
'This is a jar!' I shouted out!
'And I am sitting in it!'
A life of freedom lay ahead! 
And I was about to begin it!

Which word would he prefer?


'The robin is the harbinger of Spring!'
Great sentiment!
Great visual picture!
Awful word!
Use 'harbinger' for 
The looming threat,
The fear of the future,
The symbol striking terror to the soul.
But for Spring? No!
'The robin is herald of the Spring'.
'The robin is the forerunner of the Spring'
'The robin sets the stage for Spring.'
Harbinger is a hard word,
A strong word,
A black word.
Maybe my choices are crass and obvious,
But at least they are
Like Spring itself.

Common Sense Car



The roads today are chockablock
With vehicles, wall-to-wall.
Some are huge, some merely large
But few of them are small.
This wee Blue Beauty seems to me
To point the way ahead.
Most of us drive from A to B,
Rarely from A to Z.*
'If I ruled the world' (I wish I did!)
All cars would carry two!
Great big cars with one driver!
I say it will not do.
If we doubled the number of passengers,
Car numbers would be reduced.
Our roads would be dreams to drive on,
Unlike the ones to which we're used.
Then halve the size of the vehicles 
(See illustration above)......
The glorious space thus realised
Is what I'm thinking of.
Admittedly there are people
Who need to take up space,
Who need to drive long distances,
And, if that is the case,
Licences could be issued
To those needing dispensation. 
All others should be heavily fined
If they break my regulation.
Think of it! Half the traffic jams,
And freed-up parking spaces!
Think of the quality of the air!
Think of the smiling faces!
I am constantly amazed
That I've not been elected
To be the first Ruler of the Earth!
(Skulduggery is suspected.)
(Pronounced 'zed' by all reasonable human-beings!)


Beetroot! Beetroot! Thou art divine!
There is no better taste than thine!
Thy colour is so rich and rare;
A royal colour, I declare!
Thou liest rotund on my plate.
I cannot wait! I cannot wait!
Ah yes, but where's that hunk of cheese
To drive me into ecstasies?
They speak of truffles with bated breath!
The taste would bore me half to death!
But Beetroot, yes! Thou art divine!
There is no better taste than thine!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hidden World

The Wordle

asks us to use the words in the wordle


The great grey sea
Rolls endlessly
It's pewter sheen unfolding
Beneath the waves
Are hills and caves
And who knows what they're holding.
Not for our eyes,
A wide world lies,
One which we yearn to squander.
Through hill and valley,
Lane and alley,
The flocks and schools may wander.
This green world can,
Within its span,
Accommodate the features
Of sprats and whales
With waving tails
And a million other creatures.
We puny things
With lungs and wings,
Locked in a life diurnal....
The man, the swallow
Just cannot follow
The  intractable, eternal.
With beating heart
We feign the art
Of wallowing as they wallow
That otherness
We can only guess
And can never truly follow.


This is a poster, one of three,
Issued at a time of adversity.
At the time of their printing the British Isles
Were only a matter of a few short miles
From devastation and despair.
Hitler was in France 'just over there',
And he was viewing the other side
Over the Channel, which was hardly wide!
From near where I lived I could view the sight
Of French headlights flashing in the night!
With many others I was sent
To safety far away from Kent.
Then Britain waited for the War
To reach the step of its own front door.
France had been conquored by 'the Hun'
And we knew we were the following one!
The posters lay ready to be displayed
And preparations were quickly made.
Then, quite surprisingly, it started......,
The Battle of Britain! The Lion-Hearted
Young men gave their lives on high,
Sweeping Hitler from the sky.
The War still had many years to go
Before we saw the last of the foe,
But the fear of invasion never returned,
And Hitler's plans had been truly spurned.
So this blue poster was never needed!
It's cheerful message never heeded!
The posters slowly moulded away,
And it seems that none are left today.
And yet I think it was rather fine!
A lovely crisp and clear design.
The repeated use of the little word 'your',
Would have made one feel one could cope with War.
It's a little piece of history
That could have worked, so it seems to me.

Too Tutu

gave us the first line


A man had a notable knack
For acting as Jill, though born Jack.
When all pink and frilly,
He looked a bit silly,
And his girlfriend soon gave him the sack! 

April Showers, Hassam



I remember the tide of optimism; Summer was on its way.
Winter was receding; April heralded May.
As a girl I felt the sap rising higher, ever higher
As though everything in Nature was working to conspire
Against greyness, cold and lethargy, against discipline and school!
Then, every year it seemed the same, I became an April Fool;
While my heart was singing Summer songs down came the April Showers,
Battering the brave young leaves, decapitating flowers!
'Not yet!' the showers seemed to say; 'You still have a way to go.
Don't you feel a little chilly? We may even turn to snow!'
Was it good for my soul, maybe, to cope with disappointment,
When Summer made a date with me and then missed the appointment?
June, July and August still waved a beckoning finger,
But Winter kept a strangle-hold, determined it must linger.
And yet, that very fickleness was part of the Springtime joy.
Yes, April could be tantalising, teasing us, being coy.
But here, in another country, where Springtime just strolls in,
Where hardly anything marks the time when the warmer months begin,
I remember April Showers with a rush of real affection
And my heart is on a journey in a Northerly direction.

That's Nice!



A dip in the water; a shudder and shake.
What could be better for duck or drake?
A spread of the wings, a flurry of spray,
And the heat of the sun on a summers day.
That's when I say 'Oh what luck
That I was born to be a duck!'

(A Triolet)

The days draw in, the air grows cool,
The sun has grown a paler yellow.
A mist lies on the garden pool,
Where brilliant blue has been the rule;
The earth rewinds it's yearly spool,
The air is gentler, soft and mellow.
The days draw in, the air grows cool,
The sun has grown a paler yellow.

Day Trip

supplied the illustration and asked for a VERY short story


We escaped from the museum;
We're on our way
To have a day trip to the Bay.
Dino and Dinah, off on a spree.
We must be home in time for tea.
(140 characters)


It's a sure sign of the passing years......the loss of memory!
Those Easter Eggs! Those Easter Eggs! Wherever can they be?
My grandsons are demanding that I find them straight away!
I hid them oh so carefully awaiting Easter Day!
Did I put them in the kitchen, up on the highest shelf?
Did I succumb to temptation and eat the lot myself?
All right, Marvin! I'm thinking! Don't be such a brat!
Be a little patient! You're already far too fat!
Yes, Eric! I know I promised. But that was months ago!
No! I'm not sitting on them! I wouldn't stoop so low!
It's no good sulking, Henry, and slouching on the ground!
Go up into the bedroom and take a look around!
Discipline! That's what's needed! Make sure you tell your Mum
That I'm tired of being badgered every time you come!
But those Easter Eggs! Those Easter Eggs! Wherever can they be?
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! Is this senility!

Dreamless Sleep

asks us to use Lord Byron's words (in blue)

If I had a dream it would take me by surprise,
For night is unbroken darkness when I close my eyes.
Not for me the brilliant adventures, the flying-carpet view,
The colourful companions, the trips to Timbuctoo.
But not for me the nightmares, the standing at a height
Knowing I'm about to fall, the terrifying plight;
The gibbering monsters, cackling fiends and other nasty things
That, to the nightmare prone, it seems, the nightly darkness brings.
My nights are all black velvet, unbroken and serene.
Not to be feared or delighted-in, just peacefully in-between.


Tomorrow's Headlines! I kid you not!
Ones that are sure to hit the spot!
Tomorrow's Headlines I bring to you.
If only they were half-way true!

The Gorge




We had wandered through the gorge
Right to the very end
Past towering cliffs of rock
Repeating at every bend.
All grey and gaunt they were,
Devoid of softening trees.
And we were in such shade
We felt the stiffening breeze.
Then we came out to this,
A gentle babbling brook.
A view of trees and distant plains,
A scene from a picture book.

(A verse for children)

Rockabye Boatie, out on the bay;
Before very long we'll be floating away.
As soon as I'm closing my poor tired eyes,
We'll sail off in the moonlight way up in the skies.
Sister Jill will be floating along by my side;
I am sure she'll have Teddie along for the ride.
Brother Bertie will follow; he's later to bed.
He'll have a big ship and the sails will be red!
We'll all wave at Mummy who's still on the land;
We'll all see the hanky she has in her hand.
All night we'll go sailing past planets and stars;
We'll see Jupiter, Venus, Uranus and Mars.
When we open our eyes to another new day
We'll find that we're safely back home in the bay.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Rushcutters Bay. Sydney: Brenda Bryant



They rise, unblemished, on the hill;
Pristine, white and stark.
Rather like ancient ramparts
By the tree-shaded park.
They speak of romance and drama,
They speak of fairy-tale,
They speak of mighty heroes 
And maidens slim and pale.
But no! They are bed-sitters,
Full of commuters' gear!
How nice that, for a second,
I was transported to yesteryear!


'Ooooh! What a saucy title!' I hear the young girl cry!
'Mama says I mustn't read it! Oh dear! I wonder why!
I saw  her take a peek inside when she thought I couldn't see!
I wonder why it's alright for her but not alright for me!
Does it mention flirting? I've tried that once or twice,
But Mama is quite insistent that it isn't very nice!
Does it go as far as .....kissing? There! I've said that naughty word!
That's the most.....suggestive....... word I think I've ever heard!
I go quite pink when I think about the......things......inside those covers!
Holding Hands! And Valentines! And Courting! And ......yes.....Lovers!
I'm being prepared for marriage! I wonder who it will be!
I'm sixteen now and that's the future that's mapped-out for me.
I wonder if husbands kiss their wives! Oh, what a naughty thought!
I know it involves having babies; ladies talk about 'getting caught'!
I've no idea what they mean by that! But I find it quite exciting!
If only I could read the book! It looks terribly inviting!
They say, in a century or so, the sexes will be equal!
This book looks terribly thrilling! I'd love to read the sequel!

How Cardacious!



It really would be very hard
To find a more quirky business-card!
A plastic surgeon, dealing in busts,
Saw this card as one of his 'musts'.
Now, when you're rummaging through a drawer,
And saying 'Oh! What's this thing for?'
You will easily recall
That your bust is much too small,
Or, alternatively, too large,
Rather like the front of a barge!
And you'll say 'Now there's a great idea!
What luck I found this reminder here!
I'd forgotten all about my size!
Now's the time to perfectionise!'
With just that little bit of urgin'
You'll rush off to the plastic surgeon.
Then you'll find that, quick as a wink,
Your mammary glands are in the pink!


The local Garden Club invited me as a guest.
(If I'd been quizzed on gardening I wouldn't have passed the test!)
No, I was asked to read poems about the gardener's lot,
And I had to leaf through old poems to see what I had got.
The garden itself was lovely, the flowers a great display,
The members very welcoming; all in all, a lovely day.
But on a whitewashed wall I spied these relics from long ago.
Intriguing and attractive, hanging high and hanging low.
I thought they were a great idea; I 'clicked' and that was that.
And below see me reading poems in a shady gardening hat!


The Blue Beyond



Beyond the window lies the lake,
All ruffled by the breeze,
But beauty's taking second place
For diners, such as these.
The menu comes, they cogitate,
And everybody talks,
Of burgers, steaks and sandwiches,
And even knives and forks!
To see them so engrossed with food
Is pitiful enough,
But more so for a girl like me
Who's made of finer stuff.
My mind is on the blue beyond,
Stretching across the way.
I'm thinking 'poetry' and 'song'
While they have feet of clay.
But the rumblings of my 'inner man'
I simply can't escape......
'Pass me the menu, someone, please;
I think I'll have a crepe!'


If I take a ball of plasticine and knead it with my hand
It can take on a different shape, a new one I have planned.
And if I'm disenchanted with the shape I've now produced,
I can try repeatedly, till a new form's introduced.
To Nature, Earth is plasticine, reformable and plastic;
Experiments from eras past seem incredibly fantastic.
Try an Ice-Age form, then melt the snows, allowing something green;
Cleanse the earth of dinosaurs; let some other shape be seen.
And is the Earth a boring shape? Allow it to crack and crease.
Knead it, knead it, more and more. The changes never cease.
As for the little midgets, that think they are so grand,
They are less than nothing when they're held in Nature's hand.
And should they  slip between the cracks and get buried in the mass
There will be no-one to notice it and utter a last 'Alas!'