Spuggy Hood

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‘Spuggy’ … WHB – pen & ink – 2017  ©

 

SPUGGY HOOD

 

Spuggy Hood is in my class,
A stocky, spotty, snotty lass.
We all take care with her about,
A dangerous friend to have. No doubt.

Her hair is tangled, mousy brown,
Her face it wears a constant frown.
As for her dress, well it is awesome,
Brighter than the leaves in autumn,

But this is just because of jam,
Of bits of grease and chunks of ham.
Everything that she has eaten
Seems her cardigan to sweeten.

At lunchtime in the school canteen,
Regardless of the day’s cuisine,
Don’t wish to be dog in a manger,
But, sit near Spuggy, you’re in danger.

Whilst we try to eat our lunches,
She grinds her teeth, she chomps and munches;
Dribbles, snivels, slobbers and slurps,
With many gulps, and grunts, and burps.

She doesn’t seem to care at all,
Big and fat, built like a wall,
Barging her way around the room
Whilst roaring with a sonic boom.

She takes no prisoners, has no friends,
Kindness pays no dividends;
Of her classmates she’s oblivious
Her behaviour really is perfidious

Chews her pencil, sucks her thumb,
Picks her nits, scratches her bum.
Never ever is she good,
She’d show her knickers if she could.

She likes to sit and pick her spots,
Her fingers covered in ink blots.
Blows her nose on toilet paper . . .
 
. . .  I hate, I hate, I hate, I hate ‘er.

 

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William Blake – ‘On Another’s Sorrow’

William_Blake_(1880)_On_Another's_Sorrow

This poem, in its first published form is by the English poet and painter, William Blake (1757-1827).   Blake was not highly recognised during his lifetime but is now regarded as a leading poet and painter of the Romantic Period.   As an important printmaker, Blake, as he did for many others of his poems, produced the decoration himself.  The poem discusses human and divine understanding and compassion. It was first published in 1789 as the last song in the ‘Songs of Innocence’ section, part of the collection ‘Songs of Innocence and of Experience’. 

A Jigsaw – What Is It For?

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THE JIGSAW

 

I don’t wish to lay down the law,
But a jigsaw –
What is it for?

Yes, I know it’s a test,
You can call it a quest,
A puzzle at best.

No doubt it’s extremely tactile,
And it can your senses beguile,
But really, is it worthwhile?

Well, I thought by-and-by
I’d give it a try,
Show I’m the wise-guy.

So I planned one long Sunday
I’d sit down and play,
Show my family the way.
Well, I found out the hard way
It by no means is child’s play,
For to my dismay,
After one hour’s play …

I’d hardly got started.
All wisdom departed,
Leaving me broken-hearted.

‘Cos the task was too hard,
It had caught me off guard.
I felt like a retard.

My worry increases
What, one thousand pieces?
I couldn’t get going,
My tears they were flowing,
My nose wanted blowing,
My hubris was showing.
 It was terribly tough.
 I had thought I could bluff,
Thinking – only kid’s stuff;
But that wasn’t enough,

And my theory was certainly challenged;
My ego was massively damaged;
I ended up mentally ravaged.

I found it defied explanation
It sure gives a losing sensation
I say that without hesitation,
After that, my  first visitation.

So I called on my grandson aged nine,
With a visage so calm and benign,
But the offspring of old Frankenstein,
Soundly he did me outshine.

Those little irregular pieces,
His ability to fit them increases,
His eyes move like lightning to find
Pieces that he then combined.
To me he said, “I’m not being unkind,
But I leave you so far behind.
It’s a pity you say you’re so good,
You’ll never reach grandparenthood
If you can’t fit together some wood.”

In his confidence he slotted them in,
I could see I never would win.
So I buried my pride,
Let him take me for a ride.

I finally  got him to agree
That for just a very small fee
He’d let everyone see
How slick I could be –
A devilish Jigsaw devotee.

 

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DEMOLITION – Man & Boy

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DEMOLITION – Man & Boy

What is my joy in destruction?
Why does it give me a kick?
It grants me a sense of elation;
I once thought I was just downright sick.

As a toddler I remember I wanted,
As soon as a tower I’d built,
Just to knock it all over and giggle
Without any feeling of guilt.

Then when I’d taken up Lego,
I’d just love, after building my farm,
To smash it to bits with my mallet;
Didn’t think I was doing it harm.

And when in a History lesson
I said I’d like to have been
One of those men who wrecked churches and abbeys.
 The teacher near ruptured his spleen.

He sent me to see the headmaster,
Saying I must be beyond the pale;
For taking part in such Dissolution
He considered me right off the scale.

They decided I must be a vandal,
And said I would pay for my sins.
Abbeys and shrines were verboten,
I mustn’t wantonly damage such things.

Well, now I’ve left school and I’m happy,
My job suits me down to the ground.
I work hard with great satisfaction,
And no one will push me around.

For now I’m a demolition expert,
I can continue my hobby with pride;
Destruction now is my trade
As on top of a huge truck I ride.

Mechanical shovels and drills,
Excavators and large JCBs,
Bulldozers, cranes and dump trucks,
All these I can manage with ease.

And now that I’m married with children
I watch Joe build towers with his bricks,
Then demolish them with glee and I know
He’s a chip off the old block of tricks.

On PARENTS

My Parentsoil on canvas
1977

‘My Parents’, David Hockney, 1977, Oil on Canvas, Tate Gallery, London

Leaving Larkin Alone

‘This Be My Verse’

 

We all do it
We pass on pain
From one generation
To the next
It is essential to
our rite of passage
backwards
to our parents
and forward
to our offspring

Leaving Larkin alone
Although I can see
Where he’s coming from
My mam and dad
Still
Loom large in my life
Even so long
After leaving it

They must have been lonely
Lovers of their son
Country child
Only child
Lonely child
Left so soon
Longing for London’s
Lively life
And a renewal
Of lost love

With some bitterness
No bile
No bombast
I recognise my
Ambitions
And accept
They damaged
Not destroyed
Their devotion

Through it all
Dedication to me
And to mine
Remained
How could I
Have acted differently
They set me up for this
Their ambitions for me
Self-harming
Through being
Selfless
Succeeding
To their own detriment

Now
I find myself
Bemoaning
With an intensity
Which hurts
More every day
My callous
Refutation of their need
For my love

If only
I’d not been
The only one
The only child
If I’d not deserted
That early home
With seeming
Eagerness
That cradle of my mind
Those roots of my soul
Now so full of meaning
So pertinent
To the man I have become

But when the conflict
Presented itself to me
I was by then
Committed
Other responsibilities
Crowded in
And parents
As happens to them
Take the rear seat

 And yet
I know
I had to go
To avoid
That tethering by love
Which smothers
More dutiful sons
It avoided
My hopes
Being stifled
Petrified
And pressed into
The backwaters
Of a life

Perhaps it must be so
For don’t we all do it

Think of those others
Leaving behind their roots
For pastures new
Able to look only onwards
Whilst leaving
The hurt
Of separation
From those who loved them
But would do nothing
But encourage their ambitions

Bennett
Showed how to escape
Walter and Lilian
Whilst continuing
To cull their histories

Hughes
With his animal instincts
Needing to roam free
Left William and Edith
For an itinerant life

Hockney
Soon found California
More suitable
To his calling
Leaving
Kenneth and Laura
To theirs

I claim
None of their skills
Their powers
To change the world
But my history
Reflects theirs
Grammarians
Tykes of a sort
And of an age
Seeking
Advancement
Searching for soul
For life
In pastures new
Neglectful of commitment
To our own past
Conscious only
Of our independent futures

It was ever thus
All took Larkin
At his word
Got out –
As early as they could
And
How odd
That two of them
Even followed Larkin’s advice
Eschewing
Parenthood
The essence of
Larkin’s dismissal
Of his own birthright
His reckoning
With Sidney and Eva
For giving him birth

But
Leaving Larkin alone
Again
Our legacies may prove
Our sense in cutting
The ties that bind
Perhaps the world is
Consequently
A better place.

Our parents
May not think the same
But what are parents
Other than
The future’s hope

bennettsparents-walterlilian

Pub. Faber & Faber … 2009

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Philip Larkin’s poem, ‘This Be The Verse’ was written around April 1971, first published in the August 1971 issue of ‘New Humanist’, and appeared in the 1974 collection ‘High Windows’ (Pub. Faber & Faber, 1974).  A copy of the poem can be read on the Poetry Foundation website at:  ‘This Be The Verse’

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