A booklet of poems entitled 'Southleigh' by Alfred Grosch,
price sixpence, has appeared in the editor's in-tray and we
will reproduce a poem from it from time to time. Further
research is necessary but it would appear to have
been produced round about the time of the
second world war.
The Village Sweet ShopOpen or Close
Do you remember from childhood days?
The little village shop
With their lovely cone shaped paper bags
Jars of sweets, and fizzy pop.
Acid drops, and chocolate limes
Jelly beans, and other treats
The excitement of a lucky bag
With a toy and treats too eat.
Space shaped flying saucers
Fizzy sherbet from a jar
Bertie Bassets liquorice Allsorts
Peanut brittle in a bar.
Sherbet fountains, Liquorice Comfits
Candy Shrimps and Catherine wheels
Lemon flavoured toffee Bon Bons
Are among our favourites still.
Blackjacks and fruit salads
Liquorice laces, red and black
Crisps with a twisted bag of salt
That made a tasty snack.
Lemonade came in a bottle
With a top you could unscrew
And a penny back deposit
Should you return it when you’re through?
No modern shop can be compared
To the sweet shop of our youth
Which probably helps explain the fact
Why I’m left with just one tooth.
Mr. Claudius Bartram ScottOpen or Close
Mr. Claudius Bartram Scott
Blows his nose I kid you not
At least a hundred times a day
And never turned his head away.
No hanky would he hold in place
To stop the germs fly into space
What he had he liked to share
Who caught his germs, he didn’t care.
In a pub on Friday night
He gave the customers a fright.
He sneezed with such tremendous force
He blew the darts way off their course.
A fellow drinking at the bar
Thought things had gone a bit too far
While trying to enjoy his beer
A feathered arrow pierced his ear.
The fellow’s wife was not too pleased
By Claudius’s gigantic sneeze
The dartboard’s where you throw the darts
Not stick them in some facial parts.
Patrons who sit near the board
Weren’t particularly enthralled
At having darts whiz by their ear
And froth sneezed neatly off their beer.
A game of darts should cause no danger
But if you’re playing with a stranger
Who sneezes at an alarming speed
That has the means to make you bleed
Perhaps the time has come in life
To spend the evenings with your wife
Just quietly sit. But don’t be barmy
Give up darts!! Try origami!
Coronation DayOpen or Close
The date was June the 2nd
In the year of '53
And Dad had bought a tele
For all the street to see.
He placed it in the corner
Made sure the plug was tight,
A picture was appearing
Although it was in black and white.
No-one then had colour
But the set it was our own
With its plastic imitation wood
And a really lovely tone.
The neighbours they were coming
To gather round the set
Some were friends from years gone bye
And some we just had met.
Mum really put a spread on
With spam and paste as such
Remember we had won a war
So there wasn't very much.
Mum made tiny sandwiches
With little chunks of spam
With just a touch of some mint sauce
Just like eating lamb.
The jelly was quite runny
On the spoon it would not stick
So Mum made semolina
That stuck and did the trick.
In all we had a good day
The neighbours they were grand
In unison we raised our glass
To toast the best Queen in the land.
MissyOpen or Close
About 8 years ago, while living in South Leigh, Sheila and I had a visit from a small black and white cat.
She was looking for a couple of servants and called on us to interview us for that position.
We must have passed because we have been her servants ever since. This is a poem about Missy.
Missy the cat, she's the Sheriff
She looks good with a star on her chest.
The star was the best they could buy her,
Shining bright on her black and white vest.
The town she must clean up was dangerous
It went by the name of South Leigh,
Mason Arms was the worst place to visit
No one bothered to go there for tea.
Hard liquor was all they would sell you.
Strong cocoa if you really were rough
Cigarettes that would blow away cobwebs
With the occasional pinch of strong snuff.
Bar room girls all danced on the table
Did the can-can and strutted their stuff
And turned all the men into jelly
Those men who thought they were tough.
Into the pub walked Miss Missy
Matching guns hanging down by her side,
She was looking for Annie the bar maid
A floozy she couldn't abide.
Miss Missy she loved her dear Johnny
He was a handsome and debonair cat,
Miss Missy was very determined
To find out what Annie was at.
The two locked their eyes across the bar room,
Annie's hand went down for a gun,
But the look in her eyes was of terror
She knew that Miss Missy had won.
BR> Missy's guns they came up a blazing
Annie staggered a little and fell
Now Missy was free to love Johnny
While Annie had a ticket to hell.
Homeless ChristmasOpen or Close
Homeless people, hungry people,
No cosy home to warm these people.
No chestnuts on a burning fire,
Or carol from a touring choir.
No wreath of holly on their doorway,
No sign of Jesus born on this day.
No Christmas cards with snow and holly,
Or a short, fat man all bright and jolly.
No indigestion medication,
No presents from a close relation.
No binge drinking on the street,
No gift of socks to warm their feet.
No 'Happy New Years' shouted your way,
For the homeless it's a normal day.
My Birthday TreatOpen or Close
Today we went out for dinner
I was 80 and feeling quite old.
My family were all there to greet me
I was the only person not told.
The location was really quite perfect,
The food was the best that you'd find,
The company very congenial,
And conversation was almost refined.
The choice from the menu looked tasty,
With large helpings of beef, pork and ham.
The only thing that was missing,
Was a voluptuous Kiss-O-Gram.
No one came who was dressed nearly naked,
No buxom wench that I had to tame,
Then in walked an eighty year old granny,
Who stripped with her chrome Zimmer frame.
First she rolled down her flesh coloured stockings,
Pulled a glove off by using her teeth,
Then undoing the front of her cardy,
Revealing her vest underneath.
Unleashing her provocative powers,
She started to play with her hair,
But on me her charms they were wasted,
I had fallen asleep in my chair.
I'm too old for life in the fast lane,
I'm too old, to walk anywhere,
And as for an ageing old granny,
I'm too old to bother to care.
My life should be quiet at 80
My family is what I need best,
Not a tired, decrepit old Granny,
Who just wants to show me her chest?
Youthful DaysOpen or Close
Scabby knee, with broken skin,
Black, blue bruises on his shin,
Trousers half-mast about his knees
Wouldn't stop the coldest breeze
While socks that garters should restrain
Fall down, then on the shoes remain
This is the livery of a boy
Who when asleep is his mother's joy
Hands he never would allow
To come in contact with a towel
His face detesting soap and water
How Mother wished she had a daughter
A Fair Isle jumper Granny knitted
Always tight and never fitted
Blue and green, pink and red
To wear to school filled him with dread
Misfortune seems to follow boys
Like break bones, and smashing toys
A toy the makers do declare
Will never break, or need repair
Is often first to go to pieces
In the hands of little beasties
A toy the makers do decree
Is not covered by a guarantee.
NHS Cut BacksOpen or Close
Very soon it will be smarties
That a doctor can prescribe
With medicines so costly,
The ones that help you to survive.
We will call the smarties Happy.
For at least they make you smile
You may not feel much better
But they'll help you for a while.
For depression take a blue one,
Influenza take a red,
If the symptoms still persist,
Then you sweat them out in bed,
Green will cure many things
Coughs and cold, and sudden sneezes.
Distemper and bubonic plague
And lots of tropical diseases.
If blood pressure is way up high
And nothing gets it down
Look deep into your smarty box
For the magic colour brown.
And when you can't sit comfy
With a burning fire in your back
Don't bother with a doctor
Just take a yellow and two black.
The NHS is done for
Governments don't care
Pharmacists they do their best
While the doctors all despair.
Smarties aren't the answer
Won't make your illness go away
But their magic will work wonders
As they lift you through the day.
The AlligatorOpen or Close
When walking alligators in the park
It might be best to wait till dark
So should they do that dreadful deed
A poop and scoop is what you'll need.
When chasing after tennis balls
What if the creature trips and falls
Who sticks a plaster on his knee?
I'll tell you now it won't be me.
The vet's the man for sticking plasters
And mending beasty type disasters
He's taught to do this to the letter
To say 'Oh dear!' and kiss it better.
Pets should be a friend for life
And should he ever eat your wife
Just stay calm and never panic
It's so healthy if your wife's organic.
He will learn to do her chores
Washing. Ironing. Scrub the floors,
To cook the meals, and so much more
So you'll need to buy a pinafore.
After all it must be seen
That you keep your reptile clean
So a saucy apron tied neat with bow
Will protect his scaly bits below.
Alligators can be a life long friend
On which you surely can depend
He'll fill your days with sheer delight
But be careful when you kiss good-night.
The Last RoseOpen or Close
Next spring the Snowdrops will be blooming,
Daffodils come close behind
Bluebells then complete the picture
In reality, and not just mind.
Spring buds will soon become a flower,
Their beauty there for all to see
Heavy perfume overpowering
That tantalizes the busy bee.
So much beauty to behold,
Colours far beyond our dreams,
Watch dragonflies, dipping and diving,
As they dance above a flowing stream.
Not long ago we had fresh roses
Rainbows for your eyes and mind
Now withered heads are all that's showing
We just need winter to be kind.
Now the year draws to a close
Flowers shed their final bloom,
Shrivelled petals now hang dying,
Like holly in a heated room.
Thank you God for all the seasons
Thank you God for sun and rain,
Thank you for the autumn shadows,
And Winter, now it's back again.
James CagneyOpen or Close
We were tough little kids in the fifties,
Just as tough as the men on the screen,
Like James Cagney we could poke with our fingers,
Curl up our lips and try to look mean.
But James Cagney, his Mum didn't dress him,
No home knitted jumper for him,
Just a suit with room for a holster,
And a hat with a well fingered brim.
You wouldn't find James in a jumper,
Not one knitted by his Granny or Mum,
Brown shoes and fancy gold waistcoat,
But to a jumper he'll never succumb.
Not one that was knitted in Fair-Isle,
Brightly coloured, and stretch in the wash,
How will I look when I'm getting older?
In a stretched jumper and gangster moustache.
It's hard to be tough when you're thirteen,
With pressure of being the boss,
And wear cloths that your mother has bought you,
Or she's likely to be ill-tempered and cross.
Today's kids wouldn't be such a problem,
If short trousers they all had to wear,
It's hard to beat up senior people,
When your knees are dirty and bare.
Why Computer, Why?Open or Close
For crying out loud computer
You are slowly ruining my life
My hair's falling out by the handful
And I've started browbeating my wife.
You were put on this earth to assist me
And give me your priceless support
Not stand like some waste of time statue
To scrap you, is my final resort.
Your Google isn't responding
Your spell-check has no will to live
Your hard disc is tired and weary
Your memory has a head like a sieve.
Sending emails, well it's quicker to cycle
Least you know they'll arrive there this week
What happens when they leave my computer?
Where you send them, is entirely unique.
I'm not sure you're fit to recycle
Or fly-tip by the side of a lane
But believe me, you nasty computer
It's the end of your dictatorial reign.
If Birds Return?Open or Close
If birds ever came back as humans,
I wonder just what they would be,
A blackbird would be big in business,
And probably have a degree.
His dark suit is right for a banker,
Or to sit at the head of a board,
He'll be an expert to deal with all finance,
And a knighthood would be his reward
Now a starling is more of a trader,
With a barrow up Petticoat Lane,
Selling sun cream and tiny bikinis,
When the weather is pouring with rain.
He surrounds himself with his cronies,
So called friends who tell him he's great,
In his iridescent suit he's a dandy,
It's his merchandise that in a right state,
The jackdaw he would sit there in judgement,
His prisoner, a murderous cat,
Who ate many birds and their feathers,
Grew to be notoriously fat.
The judge would find the cat guilty,
And place a black cap on his head,
The cat knew from this simple gesture
That he'll hang from the neck until dead.
Sparrows would come back as children,
All going to secondary school,
With uniforms dark brown and modern,
They'll look so incredibly cool.
They'll be good at football and rugby,
All sports that require a crowd,
The girls would win medals for hockey
Making parents exceedingly proud.
A song thrush would make a fine teacher,
Teaching music his specialist thing,
He would take all the children for music,
Their singing would herald in spring.
In his waistcoat he would look very handsome,
A gold watch adorning his chest,
For service to music he'll be honoured,
An OBE would be sure to impress.
A bailiff, that's a job for the cuckoo.
After all when it's said and done,
He spent all his life throwing birds from their nest,
Evicting folks from their homes, much more fun.
He'll take their possessions and sell them,
Getting the best price that he can,
It's sad time for the poor homeless people,
When their life's in the back of a van.
Fly TippingOpen or Close
What's the fastest growing thing,
That the modern world has seen?
RUBBISH: yesterday it wasn't there,
Today, a toilet, and an old arm chair,
There's a mattress with a dubious past,
When first was made, was made to last,
Now lies in tatters by the road,
Part of some elicit load,
Builder's rubble, bricks and stones,
Worn out cloths, discarded phones,
Tyres with illegal tread,
Contents of a garden shed,
Gone the parsley in a gown of white
That was such a grand and elegant sight,
The hawthorn hedge once so rich in bloom,
Won't live to smell the lanes' perfume.
Birds and retiles, spring time flowers,
Begin to count their dying hours,
All this causes so much pain,
When someone dumps rubbish down a lane.
The Flower & Produce ShowOpen or Close
With a silver cup and money prizes,
For those whose veg is of winning sizes
It's time once more for all to go
To the Southleigh Flower and Produce Show
Take all your veg your cake and flowers
The ones thatÕs taken many hours
Just to hear the Judge declare
That youÕre the only winner there
Folks who slaved throughout the year
To watch opponents cringe with fear
Men who only grow one size
Who need to win that coveted prize?
Scented perfume from a rose
May mesmerise a judge's nose
But when arranged for all to see
Could win first prize of, 20p!
Home made marmalade and jam
All improved with an added dram
That brings a smile to the judgeÕs face
Who goes back for a second taste?
The auction now has just begun
With your pockets full of money won
Go see the Duke and do a deal
And have yourself a slap up meal. (Packet Crisps!)
The PrivyOpen or Close
The fire burns brightly in the grate,
You have to go, you cannot wait,
The rain is teeming down once more
It beats a rhythm on the door
Reluctantly you leave your chair
Put on your mac, that’s hanging there,
With cap pulled firmly on your head,
You reach the point that you all dread,
Open the door, out in the rain,
The blessed torch plays up again,
Instant darkness closes in,
As your walk of urgency begins,
Arriving at the toilet door,
You’re aware of water on the floor
Then as your trousers they descend,
It’s with the water they do blend,
Your trousers now all sopping wet,
“Please God provide a new toilet”,
You're feeling cold. Your spirit’s low,
Now you find you cannot go.
The Return of SpringOpen or Close
Winter's packed its suitcase, all ready to depart,
While spring has got her jacket off, waiting eagerly to start,
Shaking hands, they say farewell, we'll meet again next year,
Then winter quietly goes away, and a refreshed new spring is here.
First she sorts the weather out, evicting ice and snow,
Then heavy rain and thunder storms, and tells the north wind not to blow,
She replaces them with morning mists, and a softly blowing breeze,
Enough to stir the new formed buds, now growing in the trees.
The birds are in their finery all ready now to sing,
At the start of early dawn, they herald in the spring.
Snowdrops then the bluebells grow vast among the trees,
Butterflies and frogs and toads and the very welcome bees.
Birds they all return to us, soon start their courting song,
Building nests, hatching eggs, so busy all day longs,
In the evening as the sun goes down. You'll hear a robin sing,
It has to be the nicest way, that we can welcome spring.
The SnowmanOpen or Close
My face today's, a happy face.
For snow lays all around
From chimney pots high on the roof
To thickly on the ground
It beckons to me, quickly dress
To rush outside to play
The snow won't linger very long
Before it melts away.
I don my gloves, my scarf and boots
Took a shovel from the shed
Built his body, large and wide
To support his handsome head
Placed his head upon his body,
His face was carved with care
A carrot made a lovely nose
A string mop, was his hair
Lumps of coal soon made two eyes
Mum's hat which made him blush
He looked so suave and debonair.
Before he melts to slush.
The sun comes out, I look around
He's nowhere to be seen
The snowman's slowly melted
And the grass is sparkling clean
The snow which came, and gave me fun.
Will return another day
It comes and gives the world a wash
For spring's not far away.
SylvieOpen or Close
I never knew my grannies,
They died when I was young,
I don't know if they were fat or thin,
Bad tempered or good fun.
So if I could go back many years,
And choose one of my own
Then she would be a lot like you
She would have to be your clone
My Gran would be a short arse
And have a wicked smile
Dress like a granny
In a certain Granny style.
On Saturdays she'll buy me sweets
Or take me for a walk
When things were bothering me at school
She would sit me down to talk
After listening to my troubles
She would ponder for a while
Wipe away my troubled face
Replace it with a smile.
Then with words of wisdom
As only grannies can
What she tells me as a child
Will help to guide me as a man.
The granny that lives in my head,
She doesn't have a name
But as she is a clone of you
Her name must be the same.
I'LL CALL HER SYLVIE
The Village PubOpen or Close
The walls said, "Come in stranger"
The chair said "sit you down"
The bar said "are you drinking?
I've not seen you around"
The fire said "come sit with me
Be drawn in by my flame
Enjoy our humble company
We're so glad that you came."
The menu said, "come see my list
I've more then you require
All meals come with a choice of veg
Or what else you desire
With potatoes either chipped or boiled
Or baked within their skins
The food we serve is always fresh
Not from packets, nor from tins."
"Our food is quite delicious
It's cook fresh every meal
The steak cooked as you like it
Or there's tender pork or veal
There's Abbot Pie in Guinness
Lemon sole for something light
And if you like Italian
The tagiatelle, cooked just right".
Mr Oak tree's in the garden
To watch the children play
With a fence all round the garden
So small children cannot stray
It's a garden to relax in
The Village social hub
There is no finer place on earth
That can beat the Village pub.
MugabeOpen or Close
What kind of man can rule by force?
Yet show no pity or remorse
Can't have a feeling left inside
To commit horrendous genocide
He robs his people, they've nothing left
Some would even welcome death
He is now a man with ample wealth
Collected be dishonest stealth.
Soldiers leap to his commands
To gather in all he demands
Black or white no one is saved
As they become a modern slave
A slave that has no place to run
To escape from soldiers with a gun
He doesn't care about your plight
You try to run, you're shot on sight.
Now bulldozers have wrecked their town
Their squalid homes have been knocked down
Rats and mice run everywhere
Yet it's rats who put the people there
At night the old and children freeze
The time is ripe to catch disease
What on earth must people do
To have a life like me and you.
Please countries, hear the people's plea
Open your eyes so you can see
All it takes is common sense
And no more sitting on the fence
How many more lives will it take
To admit there's been a huge mistake
This man should never have the power
Remove him from his Ivory tower.
The Bag LadyOpen or Close
Who is the bag lady?
Where is her home?
Does she have family?
Why does she roam?
Her belongings she carries
Every mile that she walks,
Never stopping to gossip,
Rarely stopping to talk.
Her bags are her sideboard
They contain all her home,
Is it all that she owns?
When the rain falls at night
Where does she sleep?
When it's time for a meal,
Where does she eat?
For washing and toilets
There are places near by
But you need to pay money
There must be times she could cry.
Our lives are in order
Our house is our home
Not like this poor lady
Who is destined to roam.
Shoes are in tatters
Worn down at the heel
Her feet are neglected
Walking becomes an ordeal,
Her skin is all shrivelled
Burnt brown by the sun
Surely someone must love her
There must be someone?
People in Parliament
In comfortable homes
Find some way of helping
Those destined to roam.
This is dedicated to a lady who
Walks the road between
Botley and Farmoor
And has done for years.
The Hedge LayerOpen or Close
On frosty mornings, you will find him
Armed with just his Billyhook
Carrying on the old tradition
From a time before the doomsday book
All his lifetime he's laid hedges
Built dry stone walls when a call would come
Skills begotten from his Father
Who passed them downward to his son.
His strong brown fingers bend the bough
Plait's the branch both neat and strong
Helps the boundary to survive
Make firm the hedge where birds belong
Once an art form, near forgotten
Cut hard a hedge and bend to shape
A strong defence for man and cattle
Built from nature with no escape.
He'll be a man of timeless patience
Committed to the work in hand,
His energy is never wasted
His is the work that's in demand.
He'll talk of pleachers, and binders
Grubs the hedge, to tease the soil,
So wind and the rain will not bother
The creation of the hedgers toil.
Noah's ArkOpen or Close
God sent Noah an E-mail,
Stating just what Noah must do,
You must build a big boat, one that will float,
Then fill it with beast ftom the zoo,
With animals you'll also need insects,
And wasps with a sting in their tails,
Some snakes and two bats, and don't forget rats,
Why Noah, I think you've turned pale?
You don't need to question my wishes,
But please do as I'm telling you too,
Build the boat ftom wood from the Cypress,
Then bring the animals on two by two,
Two lions, two tigers, two of all living things,
And some cows to give milk: for the crew.
Now Noah, he thought this seemed funny,
Who would help me to sail this great boat?
You've got Sham, Ham, and Japheth,
That's enough to make any boat float,
But Noah I'm telling you this much,
I'm sorry I ever made man,
He's become so wicked and selfish,
So listen to my cunning plan,
The earth I will cover in water,
40 days you'll see nothing but rain,
So a holiday's out of the question,
Don't even consider, going to Spain.
Noah and sons went to Wickes,
But no Cypress wood could they find,
There were plenty of tools, and a nice metric rule,
But the timber was just knotty pine,
They had chipboard, plywood, and block board,
And a new thing they called MDF,
But God said it had to be cypress,
So they used Wickes toilets and left,
Now Noah's thinking was modern,
The E-bay the next thing he tried,
And there on the screen was some cypress,
Which Noah had two days to buy?
The wood was soon delivered,
And the ark they started to build,
With hammers and nails, and cloth for the sails,
You could tell that these people were skilled,
Then soon the ark it was finished,
Next they needed a name,
Titanic was one that Sham thought of,
But Ham said it sounded quiet tame,
What about Ark, cried Noah?
Japheth said yes that sounds about right,
And with such a short name, it won't use much paint,
So we just need a small tin of white.
Two by two the animals were loaded,
With animals all nose to tail,
There were just enough pens for the sheep and the hens,
While the parrots they perched on the sails,
Then the good Lord, just as he stated,
Sent the rain down to wash sins away,
Mrs Noah had just hung out washing,
It just wasn't the good ladies day,
40 days the rain it keep falling,
With the earth all depressing and wet,
A giraffe developed a sore throat,
But God had forgotten a vet.
The rain at last stopped falling,
But no land could anyone see,
So they all thought it best, to put a bird to the test,
And sent a Raven to look for a tree,
The water was now subsiding,
But the Raven found no place to land,
Then a Dove was sent out, and after flying about,
Came back with a form in his hand,
The water board beg to inform you,
And I've no doubt you'll all understand,
But because of a shortage of water,
The use of hose pipes is temporary banded.
The Lord he did as he promised,
40 days it had poured down with rain,
But the waters now gone and it won't be too long,
'til all living plants grow again,
So on earth corruption was over,
No murders, No violence, No sin,
Just Noah his wife and his children,
And a new world would start to begin,
So if you've been wicked and selfish,
And then you get caught in the rain,
Remember the Lord keeps his promise,
Is it time to start flooding again?
HolidaysOpen or Close
Do you remember back in the sixty's,
When holidays all came along,
You booked to have two weeks at Butlins
Two weeks of sunshine and song,
You'll queue each morning for breakfast,
At lunch time, you'll queue one more time,
For dinner it's the same old story,
The days spent just standing in line.
In the eighty's you're starting to travel,
With more holidays being taken abroad,
You could fly cabin class, very cheaply,
Which more people found to afford,
Flying to Spain people found was quite normal,
And going to France that was just the same,
The powers to be made it easy,
Dug a tunnel to allow for a train.
Today people really do travel,
With mountains all ready to climb,
And go chasing beasts on safaris,
Or goes pot holing to get covered in slime,
Backpacking in regions of Thailand,
Look for coral deep under the sea,
Though all of these breaks are quite pleasant,
They not really my cup of tea,
This year I'm going to Park Hurst,
For two weeks I'll be pampered all day,
With cordon-bleu cooking to die for,
All this and I don't have to pay,
My bed will be made in the morning,
All day I will polish my nails,
Two weeks of resting and comfort,
When you book in to England's, top jails.
Splitting LogsOpen or Close
I bought some logs from Farmer Brown
Away back in the Spring,
And often thought of all the warm
In winter they would bring;
I had in mind a roaring fire,
And I, my labours done,
Beside it in the slippered ease,
That day-long toil had won
But I, alas, had yet to learn
Some things I knew not then,
And one was big logs will not burn
Unless they’re split again;
That’s why I found my neighbour, Timms,
Defying time’s attacks
By splitting with apparent ease
Logs with a grubbing axe.
And it is now a sorry tale
I tell, my arms and back
Ache with the unaccustomed toil,
And seem as they would crack;
Though younger by a score of years,
And sounder in my limbs,
At splitting logs I’m nowhere near
As good as neighbour Timms.
December morningOpen or Close
Upon the bleak December morn
The sun, on winged chariots borne,
Pours down from spaceless, eastern skies
A blaze of light that blinds the eyes.
Meanwhile, except for tide and time,
The world stands still beneath the rime
Which coats grass, hedges, fields and trees
With such exquisite traceries.
And what but yesterday was mire
Glows diamond-like with dazzling fire,
While on the stone roofs, ’twixt bunching moss,
The tiles shine with a darkling gloss.
Then oh! The fragrance on the air
Of pungent wood smoke everywhere,
As each small chimney stack assumes
A softly billowing mass of plumes!
My Neighbours’ HouseOpen or Close
My neighbours’ house is rather
Two rooms; one up, one down; that’s all
It may be humble but not mean;
And quite enough for one to clean.
The roof, half slate and half stone-tile
Will serve its purpose yet awhile,
Indeed, about their little house
I’ve never heard my neighbours grouse.
But then why should they, like a glove
It fits them both, and seems to prove
That happiness rests not on wealth
And splendour, but on mind, and health.
“Blessed are those whose wants are few”
Has in my neighbours’ house come true.
A Summer Morning In OxfordshireOpen or Close
The dew amid the misty sheen
Of morning sparkling in the sun,
Lights up, though day has scarce begun,
A million diamonds on the green;
Behind a faint yet perfect screen
Of filmy web but newly spun
Which seems from branch to branch to run,
Blooms softly now the eglantine.
While old man's beard and lady's lace
Mere weeds by gardeners decried
Festoon the banks on either side
And fill the lane with fairy grace
And, oh, how crisp the grass I tread!
How blue the clear sky overhead.
The Lane To Bamard GateOpen or Close
I like at times to walk along
The lane to Bamard Gate;
To hear the rising lark in song,
Or some bird call its mate.
I look to look at fields and trees
And cottages by the way,
And all the other things like these
That one sees every day.
For somehow when I walk the lane
I feel in better state;
Within my love and kindness reign,
There is no room for hate.
And I, my agitations shed
With all that is unkind
Discover there is peace instead
Of chaos in my mind.
Cogges TurnOpen or Close
From Cogges’ Turn ‘tis a pleasant mile
Or so to Marjin’s Cross
Especially when the countryside
Puts on its Autumn Gloss;
The road goes down into a dip,
Then rises up again,
Winds to the left , and to the right
Like any country lane;
You’ll find a cottage here and there
Until you round the bend
And see a chapel standing just
A few yards from the end
At Marjin’s Cross both left and right
Lies beautiful South Leigh,
Whose ancient church upon the hill
Still offers sanctuary.
PrimrosesOpen or Close
Along the lane as I, today,
Which, on a Summer’s morn,
I saw to my intense delight
Those harbingers of Spring
Whose name our forbears coined to note
The first flowers to appear
In England’s lanes and byways
As those of Summer time.
They clustered ‘neath a thorny hedge
Was quietly wandering,
I’ve seen the lovely, pink, wild rose
With countless blooms adorn;
And though the budding hedgerows were
Still faintly touched with rime,
As lovely as were these primroses
he Spring time of year.
The Limb BrookOpen or Close
You’ll find no penetrating gleam
Of sunlight on this narrow stream,
No hint of laughter, lilt of song,
As Limb Brook makes its way along.
In winter time its muddy brown,
Thick water swirling darkly down,
Fringes the willows with a froth,
Above the twirling, khaki broth.
In spring time and in summer too,
A lazy flow just trickles through
To hollows, where it stops and fills,
Then overflows to other rills.
But all the same, as it may seem
To some unbeautiful, this stream
Possesses charm, and holds for me
Quiet and tranquillity.
A Cottage On The GreenOpen or Close
A small thatched cottage in between
Miss Harrison’s and Station Farm,
Stands on the far side of the Green,
A picture full of old-world charm.
And there lives bright-eyed Mrs Gunn,
In that serene which men call “Age”,
With still, please God! some years to run
Ere bidding farewell to this stage.
Her pleasant smile, her voice so clear
When welcoming the visitor
Bring to our time the atmosphere
Of forty years ago, or more.
And so I hope that Mrs Gunn
Will long bide with us on the Green
And keep her small thatched cottage one
Where courtesies are heard, and seen.
South LeighOpen or Close
A few stone cottages cluster still
About the Church upon the hill
As they have done through countless years
Of human hopes, and human fears:
A little green, a patch of scrub,
A chapel, and a single "pub",
A road that wanders round about
The village ere it wanders out.
And, oh yes, I forgot the stream
Beside which one might sit and dream
Forgetting time, surroundings, space,
And of the present see no trace,
For hear are quiet, sanctuary,
And absolute tranquillity!
Bread ForeverOpen or Close
Upon the ancient church-tower walls
At Southleigh, Oxon, you may find
A painted notice which recalls
An old-time charity to mind;
One Richard Talbut gave ten pounds
To buy the poor of Southleigh bread
Forever, and, strange as it sounds,
This ten pounds seems unlimited.
Though many a decade since has flown
In January nineteen forty three
The church loaves as they are now known
Came round as usual, two loaves free;
Brought by the baker on his rounds,
And handed in at each cottage door
All paid for by the said ten pounds
That Talbut left so long before.
Since this poem was written some seventy years ago, the said ten pounds and a few other similar donations have been invested in land, the rental income from which is still used by the South Leigh Charity to disburse funds to aged, sick or ‘down on their luck’ residents in the village.
We live in a country called Daftland,
The Britain we knew is no more
Where sensible people do ludicrous things
Or risk breaking some Daftland law.
In Daftland we've police dogs with muzzles
Less the villain has cause to complain
And to steal from a shop and say 'sorry'
Means your free with no stain to your name.
You had better leave lights on in buildings
When you lock up and go home at night
'cause the burglars might hurt themselves entering
And there's no way you'll be in the right.
When speaking be wary in Daftland
As some terms that you've used all your life
Now have connotations unintended
And you'll end up in all sorts of strife.
We elect politicians in Daftland
To give us the laws of the land
Yet eight laws in ten now come from abroad
The whole thing has got out of hand.
The borders are open in Daftland
And of migrants there's no keeping track
Just a few of the thousands illegally here
Will ever be caught and sent back.
The exception to this is the hero
Who fought for this land in the war
He's old and he's sick, he might cost us a bit
So he's not welcome here any more.
When the history is written of Daftland
Historians may just recall
That the craziest people in Daftland
Were the public who put up with it all