‘NICE’ is not NICE

NICE is not NICE

‘NICE’ is not a nice word”
My teacher said to me,
“If you can choose another
The better it will be.”

To say that something’s ‘NICE’,
As to say that it’s ‘OKAY’,
Hardly sounds exciting
And savours of foul play.

Both words are ineffectual,
They flatter with faint praise.
Far better to be forceful
And use a fitter phrase.

#     #     #

‘PLEASING’ is a good one
It has that ring of truth;
What’s more it sounds appealing
Trips lightly off the tooth.

‘GOOD’ is even better
Positive and clean;
It fits unto the letter
And shows us what you mean.

‘JOYFUL’ sounds appealing
And improves all that you say;
Surely has more feeling
Than having a ‘nice’ day.

‘LUSTROUS’ sounds exotic
But still might fit the bill;
It lends a feel of brightness
Drops lightly from the quill.

‘BEAUTIFUL’s a mouthful
But serves your purpose well;
It speaks of cosy warmth
And has a tale to tell.

‘CHARMING’ is a good word
And speaks of utter joy;
It could launch a thousand ships
As once did Helen Of Troy.

‘GREAT’ would suit your purpose
There’s nothing wrong with that;
Shades of fame and grandeur
More than just chit-chat.

‘PLEASANT’, that is better
It sounds as though you mean it;
An honest word to proffer
And you’re not out to demean it.

Try ‘LOVELY’ if you like it
That strikes a fitting note;
Enhances your description,
Improves all that you wrote.

‘POSITIVE’ is good
Whole-hearted  and inclusive;
It shows you really mean it
Yet isn’t too intrusive.

‘DELIGHTFUL’ sounds exciting
Expressing joy and bliss;
But ‘Ducky’ is a No-no,
I should give that a miss.

#     #     #

Many possibilities
Line up to be used
Instead of NICE or OK,
But do not get confused.

The choice is yours dear poet
Don’t just throw the dice,
Use your ingenuity …
But remember to be NICE !!!

#     #     #

A Bit Of NONSENSE

Do you think I’ve gone round the bend?“ 
“I’m afraid so. You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head.
But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” 
― ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ 1865  … Lewis Carroll

A BIT OF NONSENSE

NONSENSE VERSES  . . .  Just playing with words & triple rhymes

A very  long song is quite wrong 
But a terse little verse is worse 
So why try to cry, ‘cos
You know I’ll feel low when you go.

It would seem that I scream when I dream
So why can’t I try to be shy
It’s unkind when I find you don’t mind
You will know it is so when I go.

It is sad when a lad turns out bad
But a joy for a boy to annoy;
Why disguise all those lies I despise,
Tell me why you don’t try to comply?

Please desist and don’t twist my wrist
You can kill my goodwill with that pill
I can tell you’re not well when you yell
Lose your head, you’ll be dead, it is said.

Try to recall your fall in the hall,
I could tell you weren’t well when you fell.
Don’t sigh, that is why, by and by
If you’re kind you will find I won’t mind.

The cop had to pop to the shop
To get runny honey for money;
But today he’s away at a play,
So tomorrow, in sorrow, he’ll borrow.

The girl with the twirl and the curl
Denied she had tried not to hide,
But the boy full of joy with the toy
Asked to play, if he may,every day.

When the man with a can saw the fan
I know he gave a slow blow
He looked swell till he fell in a well;
He’s unwell I can tell by the smell.

It is fun to run in the sun,
If you try to fly you’ll see why.
But begin to sin, you won’t win;
No, you shouldn’t, you wouldn’t , you couldn’t ,

Bliss in a kiss will not go amiss
It serves and deserves, to comfort the nerves.
But let me repeat, you’ll meet with  defeat
When time and chime no longer rhyme. 

It’s absurd when a bird can’t be heard
It’s a sin when an inn won’t serve gin.
It’s a pity this ditty‘s not witty
I endeavour to be clever however.

Anthropomorphic Feelings

I sometimes think and wonder
How do other creatures feel
When they meet a rather common human trait?
Do they moan and feel like us
Do they ponder, think, discuss,
Or is it that they can’t articulate?

#   #   #

Can a caterpillar cry
Does it ever feel regret
In its small world does it feel as we do feel;
Can it laugh when it is glad
Does it cry when it is sad
Does it ever feel it’s getting a raw deal?

And what about a cat,
Does it worry when it’s fat,
Does it tell itself to change its attitude?
Does it think “Well. Fancy that,
I’d rather like that rat,
But I really must cut out the fancy food?”

And take the little wasp
When it’s supping from your glass
Does it ever think “Well, that’s enough for me,
I’d better get back home,
For I’ve left the wife alone.
I don’t want her propositioned by a bee?”

When a spider gets leg cramp
Does it leap up and foot stamp,
All eight feet drumming till the sharp pain goes?
You can’t tell an arachnid
To be placid,(is that hackneyed?),
Or to stretch its legs and wiggle all its toes.

Does an anchovy not wonder
When it’s swimming in the sea
Why so many of its mates just disappear?
Or why every little fish
Should end up in a dish
And swigged down with a glass of frothy  beer?

Does a mayfly feel quite old
When it gets to twelve o’clock
Knowing well it’s reached the end of its short span?
Does it ever feel regret
Does it not feel ready yet
To end up in that final garbage can?

Does a badger when it hibernates
Need to get up for the loo,
Or does it just imagine digging holes?
‘Cos I bet it can’t be troubled
And is just a bit befuddled
While dreaming of those tasty juicy moles.

When a greenfly knows it’s pregnant
Does it dare to tell its mum?
Is it frightened to be seen with that big tum?
Does it go into retreat
Does it hide its little feet
And just sit tight until its time has come?

And what about mosquitoes
When they take a bite or two
From any passer-by, and without question?
Do they ever stop and think
Now what did this chap drink
That’s giving me this awful indigestion?

Does a rabbit ever worry
When it’s losing all its hair?
Does moulting make it think it’s going bald?
Perhaps it dreads the thought,
Gets upset and overwrought,
Completely overwhelmed and quite appalled.

#   #   #

So when I’m beset with sorrows,
Feeling there’ll be no tomorrows,
I’ll just think of how these creatures get along.
When feeling a bit off
With a headache or a cough
I’ll  know it’s to creation I belong.

From the cover of George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ …Published in Penguin Books, 1951

Father William

A Japanese ‘Father William’ …  Pen & Ink – WHB – 2014

Are Old, Father William” is a poem by Lewis Carroll that appears in his book  ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ (1865).

You are Old, Father William

“You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
“And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head –
Do you think, at your age, it is right?

“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
“I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.”

“You are old,” said the youth, “as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door —
Pray, what is the reason for that?”

“In my youth,” said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
“I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment — one shilling a box —
Allow me to sell you a couple?”

“You are old,” said the youth, “and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak —
Pray, how did you manage to do it?”

“In my youth,” said his father, “I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.”

“You are old,” said the youth, “one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose —
What made you so awfully clever?”

“I have answered three questions, and that is enough,”
Said his father. “Don’t give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I’ll kick you down stairs.”

By Lewis Carroll

My Cold-hearted Lover

My cold-hearted lover has gone
She left me this wreath in the snow.
She said if I changed,
My life re-arranged,
It might be worth letting her know.

Those years we have lingered together;
Those times I have thought we were one;
But now it would seem
That was merely a dream,
A mirage now dwindled and gone.

For when the snow melts in the sun
No longer will our love exist.
Just a moment of fun,
A brief glimpse of the sun,
Just a chapter of love in the mist.

So a new life awaits me I’m hoping,
One without ties or distraction.
What I’m looking for,
What I’d love and adore,
Is an ending with deep satisfaction.

CHAPTER  II

 You remember those verses I wrote
Just a couple of moments ago?
Well I’ve got a confession,
It’s taught me a lesson,
I do jump to conclusions I know.

In fact I had got it all wrong;
She’d never intended to go.
She said when she went
She never had meant
To cause me a great deal of woe.

So what can a bloke like me do?
And can I pretend it’s not so?
Can I be uncouth,
And tell her the truth,
And say that I really must go?

For I didn’t take too long to find
Someone else to be with for ever.
Who never says no,
And who strokes my ego,
A much less intolerant lover.

So it’s no good her saying she’s sorry
Soon after she threw me right out.
She knows I’m respectful,
In no way neglectful,
It’s not as though I’m a big lout.

So I consider now that’s it’s over
I didn’t do bad from the deal.
I get a new dolly,
While she keeps the holly,
I tell myself that’s just ideal.

KNOCKERS

In my naivety, I thought knockers were people who knocked at doors. ….

Doors, or so I thought, are knocked on ….

By Postmen
By The Police
By Postwomen

By Meter Readers
By Touters For Trade
By Charity Collectors
By Suspicious  Callers
By Christmas Carollers
By Political Canvassers

By Deliverers  Of Goods
By Beggars and Pleaders
By Children at Halloween
By Subscription Collectors
By Neighbourhood Watchers
By Collectors and  Borrowers
By Salesmen and Saleswomen
By Online Shopping Deliverers
By the Travelling Fish Van Man
By Vendors of Household  Goods
By Proselytisers of Religious Sects
By Kids Playing  Knock Down Ginger
By ‘Round Table’ Collectors at Christmas
By Persons leaving parcels for a Neighbour

BUT . . .

My illusions
were proved to be delusions
when, out browzing,
I came across the following …

My photograph was taken in Rye on the English Channel coast of East Sussex in 2005 . . .  WHB.

So to make the situation worse
I turned at last to verse . . . 

We do have the best knockers in town,
They patrol our street up and down.
If you’re not in good shape
Then you’d better escape,
Or they’ll certainly cause you to frown.

’Cos they ring and they knock twenty times,
Even when you’ve got ‘GO AWAY’ signs,
Saying “You must now leave
Or you’re going to receive
A summons for multiple crimes.”

But then someone pointed it out,
There certainly was cause for some doubt.
As I’m not very clever
I’d made a bad error
Over what this old sign was about.

They said I was most asinine;
I was dim and unable to shine.
To them it was clear
I had no idea
I’d mistaken a word in the sign.

Yes, to put it quite bluntly you see,
I’d boobed over what it could b.e
In my defence
I  thought something else.
I was really naive you’ll agree.

I had  taken the word at face value;
I believe every word these signs say.
I just wasn’t thinking;
Perhaps I’d been drinking;
Never dreamt that they meant it that way.

There was no way I could have guessed;
I  knew not these words were just jests.
If they’d meant to be clear
And were really sincere,
They should NOT have said ‘KNOCKERS’ but ‘CHESTS’.

We do have the best knockers in town,
They patrol our street up and down.
If you’re not in good shape
Then you’d better escape,
Or they’ll certainly cause you to frown.

’Cos they ring and they knock twenty times,
Even when you’ve got ‘GO AWAY’ signs,
Saying “You must now leave
Or you’re going to receive
A summons for multiple crimes.”

But then someone pointed it out,
There certainly was cause for some doubt.
As I’m not very clever
I’d made a bad error
Over what this old sign was about.

They said I was most asinine;
I was dim and unable to shine.
To them it was clear
I had no idea
I’d mistaken a word in the sign.

Yes, to put it quite bluntly you see,
I’d boobed over what it could b.e
In my defence
I  thought something else.
I was really naive you’ll agree.

I had  taken the word at face value;
I believe every word these signs say.
I just wasn’t thinking;
Perhaps I’d been drinking;
Never dreamt that they meant it that way.

There was no way I could have guessed;
I  knew not these words were just jests.
If they’d meant to be clear
And were really sincere,
They should NOT have said ‘KNOCKERS’ but ‘CHESTS’.

I’ll give the last words on this edifying subject to Paul McCartney and ‘WINGS’ . . .
“Someone’s Knockin’ At The Door”  (‘Let ‘Em in’ … 1976) .

The Grey Lady of Hampton Court

At Hampton Court Palace
One grey Autumn day,
Whilst strolling alone
I wandered astray,
Discovered this phantom,
Too shy to display.

Shroud for a lady, 
Hide her away. 
No one must see her
Lest somebody say,
She’s only a failure, 
She’s long had her day.

But now she is hidden 
And no one can see,
Then no one will question 
Just who she might be. 
They’ll just go on thinking
Perhaps she’s a he.

The fact she is ghostly, 
Clothed in a Shroud, 
Might give them a hint
That she’s not been allowed 
To be seen out in public, 
Detached from the crowd.

For in summer when tickets 
Are hard to come by,
That’s when they’ll release her 
Sustaining the lie.
Produce her in costume 
When darkness is nigh.

The Lady in Grey
As a spirit will glide,
 Patrol the Long Gallery,
Make-up applied,
Intent upon haunting –
A Queen mortified.

So that’s it for the winter, 
Don’t leave her on show.
Come wind and come tempest, 
Come rain or come snow, 
This tourist attraction’s 
The best that I know.

That rival in Scotland,
The fishy old coward,
In a straight contest, 
Its legacy soured,
It cannot compare 
With our Catherine Howard.

ARGUMENTS YARD

Some viewers  may remember that I published some verses a few days ag0 in a blog entitled  ‘Mona Lisa Revisited’ .  The photograph I used, taken by me some time ago (as are the other photographs om this page) in Church Street, Whitby, on the North Yorkshire coast, showed prominently the entrance to one of the town’s well-known ginnels, or Yards, called ‘ARGUMENTS YARD’.

This led me to ponder over the possible derivation of this ancient name for the short dark passageway leading directly down to the north bank of the harbour and the mouth of the River Esk.  The following verses are the result of my deliberations . . .

All this is conjecture;
You don’t need a lecture

But, in doggerel verse,
Which could hardly be worse,

I’ll tell you a tale
Which will make you turn pale.

#   #   #

I tried very hard
To find ‘Arguments Yard’.

At last, when I’d found it,
Suspicion compounded,

I knew it was true;
It was no Avenue.

But a hotbed of squabble,
Of trouble and babble.

#   #   #

For once it befell
In this yard there did dwell

Large families three,
Who could never agree.

The ginnel they lived in,
Dwelt side-by-side in,

Was almost a tunnel
A regular funnel.

Lived so close together
They’d bicker and blether.

Their life was uphill
Without any goodwill.

#   #   #

So as this story goes
These neighbours were foes.

And they started to fight
Over which one was right.

They argued from dawn
From the day they were born,

And when evening had come
They continued the scrum.

All mired with scandals,
Both hoodlums and vandals.

Figures of shame
Who denied any blame.

They argued the toss
And got very cross;

Yelled over the fence;
The noise was intense.

They disturbed passers by
With the oaths they let fly.

Disagreed with each other,
With sister and brother.

Shouted and cursed –
The children were worst.

Each day they’d bicker,
Whilst knocking back liquor.

Complained, moaned and grumbled,
Botched, fudged and bungled.

Bemoaned their existence,
Claimed their subsistence.

Refused to comply,
Or for jobs to apply.

In short it was hell
In that yard to dwell.

And everyone near
Existed in fear.

#   #   #

Move on to the present;
Now, not so unpleasant.

It appears that now
All has sobered somehow.

Yes, there’s nothing more strange
Than how times do change.

I’m assured that now
Things are much more highbrow.

Yes, they’re now avant-garde
Down in Arguments Yard.

In fact, the real derivation of the Yard’s name is much more prosaic.  It is now known to have been named after the Argument, or Argment, family, a well-established Whitby family who lived in this  yard for many years.  The family has been traced back hundreds of years, when they fled to Whitby to escape religious persecution.  Argument is actually an Anglicisation of the Flemish name Argomont.  They were Huguenots, sixteenth century Protestants, who fled Catholic France to avoid persecution and settled in Whitby.

At one time there were two yards of the same name, from this family name Argument.  The yard pictured – off Church Street – is one of the best known, loved and photographed in the town.  These days, more than 80 such named yards still exist in Whitby.  Their origins lie in the town’s mediaeval past.

Arguments Yard seems to have remained  much as it always has been, still intriguing, full of old-world charm, and much more tranquil than is suggested by its name.

MONA LISA REVISITED

MONA  LISA  RECRUDESCENT

When I met her pleading stare
I nearly had a seizure.
A revenant confronted me,
Labelled ‘Mona Lisa’;

I saw her on a street in town,
That enigmatic beauty.
Reduced to begging for a crumb,
That captivating cutie.

A painting from another time
With pallid face and frown;
A legend from another age,
On a street in Whitby Town.

So sad to see her brought to this,
Esteem and beauty stolen,
Bereft of stature, fame, renown.
How are the mighty fallen!

The two photographs were taken by Roland in Yorkshire in October 2016