Roll up, Roll up
And buy your ticket
Rejoice and thrill
At the game of CRICKET
And catchers catch
All this happens
In a cricket match
And hitters hit
While seamers seam
Can’t ask for more
At the cutting edge
And blockers block
Eye on the clock
And Hackers hack
Better stand back
‘Cos that’s their thing
Oft played upon
A sticky wicket
Best sport of all
The game of CRICKET
As in all sports, cricket has over its long history built up a long list of specialist vocabulary, or jargon. I have attempted to incorporate some of this specialist language in my verses.
My pen and wash painting is of a scene at the Heathcoat Cricket Club in Mid-Devon.
The game of cricket has been played on this ground since the late 19th Century.
The ground itself is one of the few to be found actually within the grounds of a National Trust property – that of Knightshayes Court , in the village of Bolham, near Tiverton.
Gordon, Fanny, Nora and Jiminy
(A light-hearted tale involving idiomatic language of a questionable kind)
Four one-time friends met up one day,
Their language was extreme;
Given to bombast, bluster, blather,
Just invective it would seem.
Expletives of the milder kind
Soon cut the air like glass,
From’ Fiddlesticks’ and ‘Jeepers Creepers’
To ‘What the Dickens, You silly ass?’
“Well, I must say, sweet Fanny Adams”,
Gordon Bennett said,
“Cor Blimey, you look cute just now,
Why don’t the two of us get wed?”
“Bloody Nora”, she replied,
“You can’t be serious.
Our dearest friend just next to you
She will be furious .”
“Don’t you ‘Bloody Nora’ me”,
Gordon Bennett replied,
“I’ll have your goddam guts for garters.”
Then Bloody Nora upped and cried,
“Oh, Streuth”, she loudly uttered then,
“Crikey and Gadzooks!
I thought ‘twas me you fancied most,
What about my famed good looks?”
But up spoke Jiminy Cricket then
The mildest of the four
Offended that he’d not heard right
“But it’s me, I thought, that you adore.”
“Crikey, you all get on my wick”,
Gordon began to moan,
“I don’t wish any of you ill,
But do cut out the whining tone.”
Before you could say “My giddy aunt”,
“Bob’s your Uncle”, said Fanny,
“Stone the crows you bunch of twits,
Your oafish language is uncanny.”
“You speak in riddles and in slang,
Codswallop is your tongue;
Holy Mackerel and Hell’s Bells,
You all are very highly strung.”
And so this odd exchange went on
In voices loud and shrill.
They hardly stopped to take a breath
‘Twas dubious language overkill.
But then, at last they quietened down,
Ran out of steam I suppose.
Their parting shots were more than rude,
But those I daren’t to you disclose.
DEATH VISITS THE POUND SHOP
I heard it in the Pound Shop,
A cheapish place to be.
At first I wasn’t listening,
It seemed like Greek to me.
On her mobile phone,
Talking to who knows who.
Oblivious to all else
When in the checkout queue.
I’ll give you the milder version,
Don’t wish to spoil your day.
“ ‘Snot goin to’ appen” she shouted,
“Tell ‘im to eff off out of the way.”
Then raising her voice in crescendo,
Turning the air quite blue,
“It reely ‘urts” she said,
“’Urry up ‘cos I want the loo.”
Ignored by her fellow shoppers
This lasted quite a while
And no one tried to stem the flow
Of rhetoric and bile.
Yes, several brows were furrowed,
But no one else said a word.
‘Twas as though it hadn’t happened,
Nothing untoward had occurred.
Until a gaunt and aged chap
Facing her directly,
Said, “It’s H-urts, not ‘urts, you know,
Please do speak correctly.”
“And H-urry, H-appen, not just ‘appen”,
He then went on to say,
“H-ell’s bells and H-old your H-orses too,
Just get it right I pray.”
The woman was stunned for just a moment,
I thought she hadn’t heard.
She looked with disdain on him,
And said, “Don’t be H-absurd!”
And then that old and dark-caped chap
Taking a deep breath,
Wielding a scythe and timer said,
“Lady, you are approaching Death.”
“‘Ow rude”, she shouted sullenly
And headed for the door,
What cheek to tell me ‘ow to speak
”I ain’t stayin ‘ere no more”.
With this the miffed and coarse-grained lady
Swiftly bagged her phone
Left the shop with deadly speed,
“I’m effing off back ‘ome”.
CODA . . .
What happened to the aspirate
Has it become redundant?
Careless speech is everywhere
And coarseness now abundant.
A PRETTY DITTY
Yes, dear, of course,
You’re the source
Of my discourse
And I really do fear
That if you were not near
Then I wouldn’t be here
But you said I can’t write
So to prove you weren’t right
I really just might
Have a go at a poem
‘Cos I”m no protozoan
Much more Leonard Cohen
So I say to you, darling,
I won’t be alarming
Instead I’ll be charming
I’ll write you a ditty
Both witty and gritty
So, what is a ditty?
… Tell the committee
It’s got to be pretty!
Not any old dirge,
Or nonsensical splurge
Would most likely emerge.
And no sort of verse,
Or completely perverse
Could possibly be worse.
… SO, HERE GOES …
It’s a pity
When a ditty
It’s a shame
When a dame
Gets the blame
When a bird
Can’t be heard
And it’s sad
When a lad
Turns out bad
When a boy
Full of joy
Tell me why
You don’t try
All those lies
I can tell
You’re not well
When you yell
It is said
Lose your head
You’ll be dead
Do not sigh
That is why
I will try
You will find
When you’re kind
I won’t mind.
So your disdain I pre-empt,
Can I now be exempt?
With this brave attempt
I’ll risk your contempt.
My Bird Of Paradise
When I awoke and drew the blinds
One bright and sunny day
A sight awaited my poor eyes
Which filled me with dismay.
When looking out my bedroom window
I’ve never before found
Something which has so puzzled me
It truly did astound
Exotic birds do not frequent
My garden usually
But yesterday I gazed at one
Amazed – excusably.
Was it a bird of ill omen
Sent to cause me worry
I told myself, “I doubt that much,
At least not here in Surrey.”
Perhaps a Bird of Paradise
Had managed to break free
From its New Guinea jungle home
And come to delight me.
Maybe a Rainbow Lorikeet
Toucan or Golden Pheasant
Peacock or a Red Macaw
Sent here as a present.
I was quite mystified you see
Until this afternoon
The gardener came, looked up and said,
“It’s an escaped balloon.”
I was quite mortified to find
I had not recognised
My own discarded birthday gift.
… I’m so demoralised.
POOLE is a large coastal town and seaport in the county of Dorset, on the south coast of England. The town is approximately 21 miles east of Dorchester, and adjoins Bournemouth to the east. The town borders Sandbanks, a gorgeous beach backed by some of the world’s most expensive areas of real estate. I came across this defaced Borough Council notice board when I visited Poole some years ago. The Limericks followed . . .
Some Smart Alec just for a joke
At the burghers of Poole took a poke.
He committed a crime
By altering a sign,
Causing mayhem with these gentle folk.
When they took their dogs for a stroll
Their pets lost all sense of control
And without more ado
They started to poo
Not thinking to bring toilet rolls
When the Poole cops arrested the joker
He said, “I lost all playing poker.
I thought he wins who dares;
I had toilet roll shares.”
He turned out to be a stockbroker.
If you click on this link to the mentalfloss.com website you will find an interesting explanation of how the term Smart Alec was derived.
The Writing’s On The Wall
(Verses using idiomatic expressions)
It’s all over bar the shouting,
Pride goes before a fall;
Another nail in the coffin,
The writing’s on the wall.
“You’ve not a hope in hell’, they said,
“You’re doomed to sink like a stone;
Abandon hope who enters here.”
But the devil looks after his own.
I will not beat about the bush,
Nor bark up that wrong tree.
Yes, it’s back to square one I go,
‘Twixt devil and deep blue sea.
Some time I’ll bite the bullet again,
But till the bitter end
Blood, sweat and tears it is for me
Till I am round the bend.
No I’m not about to bite the dust,
Nor to push up the daisies,
For I am still alive and kicking,
Singing my own life’s praises.
Yes, the cleft stick that I am in
Is just a cock-and-bull story,
For I will last till the cows come home
In my Land of Hope and Glory.
And when the hue and cry are over
Then I’m off to the Land of Nod.
When those hell’s bells have sounded.
All’s still in the lap of the gods.
Yes, every dog will have its day,
The writing is on the wall.
Every cloud has a silver lining,
I’m not heading for a fall.
LIFE DRAWING CLASSES
Life drawing classes in Chelsea
The chance of a lifetime fulfilled
A chance to perfect my technique
I should’ve been delighted and thrilled.
But it wasn’t quite like that in practice;
Whilst I became more and more zealous
I found to my utter dismay
My fiancée grew terribly jealous.
So I gave up these classes to please her,
My art took a secondary place
To a contented future with landscapes.
Yes, I gave in to her whims – just in case.
So, I never will be a Paul Rubens,
And Lucien Freud’s not for me.
I timidly gave in to persuasion,
All governed by wifely decree.
(Poem No.32 of my favourite short poems)
Today’s poem was written by MARTIN ARMSTRONG, who was born in Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1882. He was educated at Charterhouse and Pembroke College Cambridge. His first publication of poems appeared in 1912. During 1914-1915 he served in France on the Western Front, in, first the 2nd Artist Rifles, then he was commissioned into the 8th Middlesex Regiment from 1915 until the end of the war. His book. ‘Buzzards and other Poems’ was published in 1921. Martin Armstrong died in 1974.
Mrs Reece Laughs
Laughter, with us, is no great undertaking;
A sudden wave that breaks and dies in breaking.
Laughter with Mrs. Reece is much less simple:
It germinates, it spreads, dimple by dimple,
From small beginnings, things of easy girth,
To formidable redundancies of mirth.
Clusters of subterranean chuckles rise,
And presently the circles of her eyes
Close into slits and all the woman heaves,
As a great elm with all its mounds of leaves
Wallows before the storm. From hidden sources
A mustering of blind volcanic forces
Takes her and shakes her till she sobs and gapes.
Then all that load of bottled mirth escapes
In one wild crow, a lifting of huge hands
And creaking stays, a visage that expands
In scarlet ridge and furrow. Thence collapse,
A hanging head, a feeble hand that flaps
An apron-end to stir an air and waft.
A steaming face . . . And Mrs. Reece has laughed.