For thirty days we’ve stuck to verse,
(we were lucky enough to start on the first).
The weather’s been bad – it’s been hard to find
a subject for a photograph of any kind.
Today, the last day, it seemed like Spring.
The wind was quiet, you could hear the birds sing.
The skies were blue, the sun shone all the time.
It was enough to make you break out in rhyme!
In the first years of the last century they built the sisters three. The Olympic, Titanic and Britannic, the largest ships to put to sea.
In 1911 The Olympic collided with The Hawk
and Stewardess Violet Jessop was one of the crew aboard.
The Titanic sailed in 1912 so history books record
and Stewardess Violet Jessop was one of the crew aboard.
In World War I, hospital ship Britannic, hit a mine as her reward
and Stewardess Violet Jessop was one of the crew aboard.
Violet sailed on until 1950 when she retired and left the sea,
she stayed at home and kept chickens, until she died at eighty three.
The field at the front is covered with green grass, tick
that box, while the field in the distance is covered in plastic.
I presume they were planted at around the same time,
if that is so, they’ve grown the same amount, so I’m
guessing that there must be a grant, probably from the EU
to harvest shopping bags, to make sure of a new
supply each year. So that there won’t be any delay
and we can all continue to do our bit, to recycle away.
Now that the animals aren’t indoors any more,
some of the more adventurous are keen to explore.
It will come as no surprise that your five fruit and veg,
are that much tastier on the other side of the hedge.
“If the tastiest grass is our focus and goal,
then all that we need is to find a small hole.
Just follow me, I’ll show you how to do it
and if anyone comes, we can scramble back through it.”
Here’s a picture of a helicopter – so all we need now is a rhyme.
The Dutch Air Force is visiting, they were protecting Scotland at the time.
It’s nice for them you know, to have some hills to protect,
the tallest thing in Holland are the dykes, or so I expect.
They pop over here whenever things at home seem a little flat
and save us from invasion – or something like that.
I’m sure that in the Air Force, peacetime is just a bore
but if it’s all the same to you chaps, we’d rather not have a war.
There’s this guy called Narcissus, a good looking man.
The trouble is you know, he’s his own biggest fan.
A nymph called Echo loved him, but he didn’t want to be bossed
around by a woman, so he told her to get lost.
Now Nemesis, a Goddess, thought this just wasn’t right,
and it’s best not to mess with Nemesis when she gets up-tight.
She made Echo fade away, then used her Goddess power
to make Narcissus love his reflection – and turned him into a flower.
In 1825, on the Stockton and Darlington Railway, Locomotive No. 1 first pulled a train
of open coal wagons filled with people, all thrilled to ride (and hoping it wouldn’t rain). George and Robert Stephenson‘s steam engine, a machine of undreamed power,
pulled those passengers along at a truly amazing speed of four miles an hour.
George understood that, just as with canals, the path the railway took, was key
and for his first locomotives, he needed it to be as level as it could be.
His expertise at planning railway routes for Robert’s engines brought him fame
but I think he would have been happy to have this track laying system, just the same.
I’m from India you know, and I’m on a round-the-world trip.
I’m not that much of a sailor so I try not to travel by ship.
I don’t mind walking about – I’m a down to earth sort of guy
but then, when I need to go farther, I can always fly.
I’m not in any hurry, I want to experience each place
and live the life of the locals – I mean, the local human race.
They’ve always been so kind to me and provided all I need,
with their generous harvests and troughs of animal feed.
There are men that trawl the sea, seeking a harvest there.
We follow after, day on day, to collect our share.
We follow, through the time and tide that won’t wait for man or bird.
We follow and through wave and wind, our shrill cry can be heard.
There are men who trawl the land seeking a harvest there.
We follow, where we find them and we collect our share.
We follow as the seasons change and winter turns to spring.
We follow, to collect our share of the bounty that men bring.
If your Ice Age went away and didn’t tell you why,
someone must have said something to make it say goodbye.
It would leave the place tidy, scrapped nice and clean,
a little damp here and there perhaps, but not a trace of green.
As all that water drained away you’d just have one big bog.
Not much to write home about unless you’re a duck or a frog.
You really wouldn’t want to live in all that wet and cold,
unless of course you’re a King Cup, a Marsh Marigold.
Well here we are in this game of two halves – the first half wasn’t too bad
We thought National Poetry Writing Month would just be a passing fad
and hoped we could last a day or so, without breaking into prose
and here we are, over half way, without having to stretch up on our toes
to reach the Olympian heights of rhyme. The photo today is Lungwort,
a low and spotty plant but good in case of scrape or hurt,
it will heal wounds or cure a cough – there’s much more it can do.
It’s often called ‘Soldiers and Sailors’ because its flowers are pink and blue
Let me tell you all about Hyacinthus, a noble looking lad.
Apollo was taken with our pretty boy – taken really bad.
He gave him daily lessons in shooting arrows with a bow
and showed him how to hold the discus, then let him have a go.
One day as they were having a discus throwing match,
Apollo threw, and Hyacinth – to show off, thought he’d catch.
He fumbled, and the discus hit him, thrown with all Apollo’s power
it killed him and Apollo wept. And changed him into a flower.
Roll hup. Roll hup, me gentlefolk. Roll hup. Roll hup, me dears.
‘ere we ‘ave a hanimal ferocious, wild and fierce.
‘e’s wild and fierce an hugly has you can plainly see.
Some days ‘e ‘as a hargument an ‘e eats ‘is Nan for tea.
Hi keeps ‘im caged hup safely, don’t want to cause a scare,
an hif by chance ‘e gets hupset, I’ll subdue ‘im wiv me chair.
Jus’ look at hall them ‘ampsteads! If yer promise not to larff
Hi’ll venture hin there wiv ‘im, an stick me loaf hin ‘is norf an saaf.
Geoffrey Chaucer, before he started writing his Canterbury Tales,
wrote The Legend of Good Women, in which he singularly fails
to make a good impression on the God of Love but luckily for him,
the Queen of Love throws down a challenge. Will he sink or swim?
She says he hasn’t dealt too well with love and lovers in his verse,
so start right now to make amends, as an aside, you better not do worse.
The Queen of Love is called Alcestis and though you might think him crazy.
She has, he says, the style and grace with the pure beauty of a daisy.
The daffodils in the wood, in the sun, are a lovely sight
So I’m sorry about this Will but, I’m afraid Dorothy was right
I know she was only your sister and sibling rivalry is the rule.
Was that what, when you came to write the poem, made you decide you’ll
not even mention that you were together on that blustery day?
Would she have written it differently if she’d had her say?
But then, when you were writing it, of course, you couldn’t have guessed,
that ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ would turn out to be one of your best.
If you had a sailing ship, in the olden days of the tea clipper
and you were out on the ocean and needed a hand, or even a flipper,
to make sure you hadn’t lost your way in all that water,
wind and weather. It’s hard to know which way you ought to
point the boat, or ship or shall we just say, the vessel in,
that’s something you really just don’t want to be wrestling
with, when you’re all at sea. All you need is a comfortable crows nest
Climb up there, relax, and just do what crows do best.
We go for a walk each morning and travel roughly the same route.
We know all the bushes and trees quite well and look keenly at any new shoot.
The cattle and sheep have been shut in their winter quarters for a while.
The sheep are now back in force, each ewe with at least one accompanying child.
The flowers have been taking their time, but have started showing up at last.
The birds have been singing for ages all working hard to get winter past.
The guy on the hedge is a Chaffinch and he’s supposed to just say “Fink!”
As you can hear from the sound-bite below, he says ‘Fink’ I don’t think!
(The East Wind blows, my ears froze, and so’s my nose.)
We have this wretched east wind again! I thought we’d made ourselves clear.
It’s presence is definitely not required, in fact it isn’t welcome here
We do have a little sunshine, weak and watery stuff, fighting through the haze,
with one thing and another, it certainly is not the warmest of days.
We came back from our walk at half eleven, it was enough to make you weep,
the Lesser Celandine along the drive were all still tucked up in bed, fast asleep!
Come on Celandine up, up, up, you certainly are the laziest of flowers.
You should take a leaf from the Dandelions book – they’ve been up for hours.
Ah. Yes! Those were the days, when all the songs were golden
Those big brass bands. Those 78s. Oh yes, the olden
days, the olden days. The front-men stand, the saxes bark.
Sevenths, thirteenths wail on top and underneath the dark
round sound of the trombone, bassoon and double bass
The clarinet flies up above and climbs its high staircase
Hey, Daff! Man. Swing it cool and sweet. Blow that horn! Pure gold!
The music lives, forever young. It’s just me, that’s getting old.
There are quite a few plants that have that showy yellow head
Not all of them are Dandelions or ‘dent-de lion’ as it’s said
in French. The argument rages about what exactly the French meant
by that, the lion’s teeth part is straight forward (that’s the ‘dent’,
teeth) – de lion? Well, you can guess what that means. The problem is
where are these teeth? This would be something for a really good quiz
question. Some say the root, when cut shows white on black in stark relief.
The opposition (who I support) are sure it’s down to the shape of the leaf.
Hi there, I’m Crifell. Nice view isn’t it? Do you come here often,
I’m here most days. Sometimes it’s quite misty and that will soften
the skyline. When it’s clear up here the view is terrific, you can see
all the way to the Isle of Man. You know, the place with three
legs. Oh yes, you’re quite right. I wondered about that too,
and if you went and bought two pairs you’d end up with one shoe
left over. There’s Hadrian’s Wall, built to collect taxes, to pay the legion’s wages.
Ah, yes. The soldiers of The Empire! You know, I haven’t seen them around for ages.
It’s not easy to sit down and write something different every day.
There’s times when you sit staring at the screen with simply nothing to say.
You scan through your photos, fevered brow beaded with perspiration,
surely there must be something that will give you some inspiration.
Come on! It’s Spring, we must have a decent pic of an April shower.
Oh no! It’s all blurred. Well, what about some daffs now that they’re in flower.
When you’re out with the dog you better start to keep your eyes peeled,
perhaps down by the beck, with a bit of luck, there might be lambs in the field.
Yes, I know, you don’t write it like that, you’re supposed to write it as five minus one,
but if we’ve done I, II and III, in the midst of a battle your chance will be gone
by the time you’ve worked out what to subtract from what. They’d not even thought
how to handle minus four, because at that time, there wasn’t a nought.
After five hundred years of keeping account, the Romans knew what counting was about.
They set it all up with a practical skill so that even simple soldiers could work it all out.
It took quite a while of star-gazing and such but then, in the end, the Arabs came past
They’d taken to writing from right to left and this different view gave us nothing at last.
When you get my age you tend to say “When I was your age . . ” quite a bit
so, let’s say for now, that once I was considerably younger. Can you believe it?
And in those far off halcyon days, of constant scabs on knuckles and knees,
I went through a phase when my one desire, my life, revolved around climbing trees.
I wonder now, what I saw in it all, why would I climb till the branch was too frail
to take my weight, though I spread my grip. Testing each handhold in case it should fail,
putting all my faith in anti-gravity. Feel the tree sway, feel the wind in my hair.
It was so important then. Now, who knows why? Unless it was just because they were there.
It’s been a bad day today, I wonder if there’s any chocolate in the house.
If I can’t find any this will turn into one long grouse
about computers, or printers, really they are both just as bad
as each other, you can keep them, for all the luck I’ve had.
I’ve clicked on this – and this, then picked that off the list,
there’s so many options, I’m not surprised there’s at least one that I’ve missed
Click on ‘Test Print’, stand and wait for a ‘Test Print’ to be produced.
No luck, perhaps I should’ve made doubly sure they’d been properly introduced.
A poem every day? For a month? Why would you want to do that?
It’s hard enough to get people to read your blog as it is, a fat
lot of good that will do. No one reads poetry these days. Short
and to the point with no extraneous filling, is what you ought
to write. You know, with the Internet, people have come to expect
a short and pithy read with just the facts not bla de bla and loads of text.
And don’t forget, while you’re editing, and cutting everything to the bone
It must fit on that tiny screen they have on their current ‘smart’ phone.
Did you know that the musical Annie has a history that goes way, way back? You could almost call it an American legend. It has it’s roots in the American Civil War – and you can’t get much more legendary than that, surely.
It all started when Elizabeth Riley, hearing from a friend that Mary Alice Smith who, at only twelve, had been left an orphan when her father was killed in the war (Elizabeth’s husband Reuben, who had joined up on the Union side, was also away fighting) went and brought the young girl over to her house to join her six children. Children in those days were expected to earn their keep and help with the housework etc. This can’t have been easy for parents, as there was no television to use as a carrot to get the work done. Mary Alice, or Allie as she became to the other children, became a very useful television substitute because, in the evening, after all the chores were done they would sit round the fire and she would tell scary stories.
In the 1890s one of those children, James Whitcomb Riley, now an adult and a successful poet and performer wrote a few verses remembering those evenings, called “The Elf Child”. It was printed and became very popular, so popular that it needed to be reprinted. He asked the printers to rename the poem “Little Orphant Allie”. The printers, however, renamed it to “Little Orphant Annie“.
Next stop 1924. Poetry is out of fashion in newspapers by now and the newfangled cartoon strip is all the rage. Enter the “Little Orphan Annie” cartoon, based on the character in the poem, that ran and ran and ran, until 2010 to be exact.
Somewhere in that eighty-odd years, there has to be enough material for a musical.