Walking With Ducklings

In 2004, one of my daughters lived on a farm overlooking the Exe Valley in Devonshire, England. The ducklings which I write about below had imprinted themselves on her shortly after their incubated birth, and they would regularly follow her as she walked around the farm and on to the farm duckpond.

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WALKING WITH DUCKLINGS

Ducklings,
greet my world,

meet your world,
sometimes mild;
oft times wild –
do your best to love it.
Now let’s go for a walk
… while I talk

No, don’t duck out of my suggestion,
just follow me and I’ll show you life,
you’ll take to it
like a duck to the waters;
pretend you’re my daughters.

For you are Devon ducks,
yes, Drake Country, I know,
but every drake needs a duck,
as they say in these parts;
not your Cockney ducks
they’ve very hard hearts.

Don’t believe them when they say
“out for a duck”;
don’t take it personally;
it means Nothing –
just innocent banter,
small-scale sledging,
they know you’re a fledgling.

No, “out with the ducks”,
now that’s more like it.
So don’t be glum,
think of me as your mum,
and follow me to the pond
there’s a duck house down there,
painted duck-egg blue,
just the home for you.

You’ll like it there
even though
and I do know
when you grow up
you may lose a few eggs
shell shock they call it
all in good cause
because
we humans enjoy them
try not to condemn
it’s just
nous les adorons
ces sont si bon

and when at the pond
just watch out for Jethro
our farm dog you know
he’s a bit of a barker
a real nosey-parker
duck down when you see him
or go for a swim

and, talking of duck down,
better put your coats on
it’s going to get chilly
no, not chilli hot
chilly cold
so be good as gold.
now, will you be told!

Let’s pause for a selfie
no, don’t make that duck-face
pouting doesn’t suit you
the camera will shoot you

If you are good
then later
as your mater
i’ll let you loose
on the web
you’ll learn so much there
but please do beware
best avoid Mr Blumenthal
all duck and waffle
your feathers he’ll ruffle
he’d feed you too well
making you swell
for his ‘Fat Duck’ menu
I’d better not continue
… but remember …
it’s not yet December
I could get 250 pounds for you there.

that’s 500 for the both of you
so don’t annoy me
I’m not your employee

Just follow me
and remember
i’m your funny mummy
just imprint that on your
duck brains
just remember you’re mine
and we’ll get along fine.

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Nearly A Limerick

(No.54 of my short poems)
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A bit of fun to start the week – a Near-Limerick by Gray Joliffe … reproduced from a recent issue of the Daily Mail.   Graham Jolliffe is an illustrator and cartoonist. His work includes ‘Chloe & Co’, and the Wicked Willie character that first appeared in the book, ‘Man’s Best Friend’ in 1984.
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CRICKET

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© ‘ The Cricket Match’ … Pen & Wash – WHB – March 2017

 

CRICKET

Roll up, Roll up
And buy your ticket
Rejoice and thrill
At the game of CRICKET

Bowlers bowl
Fielders field
Batsmen bat
Never yield

Keepers keep
And catchers catch
All this happens
In a cricket match

Strikers strike
And hitters hit
Sloggers slog
Lickety-split

Floaters float
Beamers beam
Chuckers chuck
While seamers seam

Umpires umpire
Scorers score
Strikers strike
Can’t ask for more

Spinners spin
Sledgers sledge
Captains captain
At the cutting edge

Drivers drive
And blockers block
Bouncers bounce
Eye on the clock

Grafters graft
And Hackers hack
Hookers hook
Better stand back

Openers open
Swingers swing
Sweepers sweep
‘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.

 


 

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Gordon, Fanny, Nora and Jiminy

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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.

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DEATH Visits The Pound Shop

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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

PrettyDitty

A  PRETTY DITTY


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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
Decidedly pithy.

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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,
However terse
Or completely perverse
Could possibly be worse.

… SO, HERE GOES …

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It’s a pity
When a ditty
Isn’t witty

It’s a shame
When a dame
Gets the blame

It’s absurd
When a bird
Can’t be heard

And it’s sad
When a lad
Turns out bad

When a boy
Full of joy
Becomes coy

Tell me why
You don’t try
To comply

Why disguise
All those lies
I despise

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.

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So your disdain I pre-empt,

Can I now be exempt?

With this brave attempt

I’ll risk your contempt.

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My Bird Of Paradise

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My Bird Of Paradise

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 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.

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Just For A Joke

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 . . .

PooleSign1

Photograph … WHB – Poole Harbour – 2009 

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.

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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

Writing On The Wall

 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.

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Life Drawing Class

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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.

 

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FencePainting

Cartoon – Acknowledgement to artist unknown.  The other 4 sketches are my own – WHB  ©

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