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A Mini Adventure (1)

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Nobody Told Me!


It was my fault in the beginning,

Setting out pictures which had been lying

Haphazardly in a bedroom drawer,

Into neat, assembled columns.

A photograph album,

Resurrecting her history in clear

Monochrome and technicolour detail.

Mum could view them with her

Magnifying glass and remember

All the people from her past.


I rang her one evening,

As mum was pre...

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Thanks, Buddy.


“The poor will always be with us,”

Is what I thought, as I dropped

A fiver into his battered paper cup

“Thanks, buddy,” is what he said.

“Have a good day,” and I was on my way.

I’m not trying to big myself up.

Just point out the fear and dread

I feel as I contemplate his fate

And mine, should I fall on hard times.

‘I’ll be kind before it gets too late.’

As Larkin...

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On Me Phone


There must be a hundred

In this caff,

But no one’s talking

Or having a laugh

Tap, tap, tapping

Looking all alone

Tap, tap tapping

On their phones!


On our phones!

On our phones!

Like a billion other

Useless drones                          

We’re on our phones!


You ignore the dude beside you

Cos you haven’t got a clue!

Focus on the silly ...

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We were all conceived by acts of kindness

The giving, and receiving, of love.

We should celebrate this kindness,

Like our hand will thank the leather,

When it slips into the glove.


Yet kindness seems so elusive

In this busy world of ours.

We would rather rail and remonstrate,

Than take our time to cogitate

And consider just how fortunate

We are, to live so r...

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Your car's too wide!


Your car’s too wide!

It’s blocking off the street!

The gap you’ve left is such a squeeze

And I have people whom I need to meet.

I can’t get through, because of you!

Your stupid car’s too wide!


Its shiny steel is chromium.

It takes up most of the road.

It’s guzzling too much petroleum,

Our planet will explode!


You talk about the environment

How you l...

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Poetic Licence


I hold a poetic licence.

This entitles me to lie

And practise my hyperbole

Until the day I die!


My licence grants permission

To use some figures of speech.

It’s like a new space mission

Across the creative universe,

Seeking sibilant planets,

Like Saturn and Mars, which are

Far beyond my reach.


My analogy boosters have

Failed to fire and I’ve falle...

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Fish and a Chippie





Fish and the chippie

(’chippie’ is a colloquial word for a carpenter, a term not quite as derogatory as ‘wood butcher’ )


Dad went fishing in Bridlington.

It was one of the things he did.

He would come back with tales of the tides.

The rise and the fall of the sea,

The rainy squalls and the cries of the birds,

The way shoals of fish would hide


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All at Sea.


 My school career did not start well.

As no one explained how school should go,

They must have thought me rather ‘slow.’

Saint Katy’s Roman Catholic Primary School

Did not spare the rod or suffer the fool.

I tried hard to listen. I just wasn’t able.

I struggled with even my three times table.

I couldn’t stay quiet when teacher was talking.

I bumped into trees when I wa...

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A Mini Adventure


Hook is an aspirant town in Hampshire.

Back then it was an aspirant village.

Uncle Hector came up in his Mini,

During the sixties they were all the rage,

But being pinioned into the mini back seat

Had all the comfort and charm of a cage!


“Cheap and cheerful,” Hector said, with a smile.

Ahead of us a journey, more than two hundred miles.

My sister Pam was five year...

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A Mini Adventure

This was the Day!


I was five years old, or thereabouts,

Weaned on porridge and brussels sprouts,

Thick as glue or hard as iron,

Hearty food a child could rely on.


This was in the days before clunk clicking,

So, I was not (even slightly) tightly strapped in!

I sat with a food hamper and a petrol can

On the floor of daddy’s old post office van.

I glimpsed the sky through a hole in th...

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Our Christmas Tree



The Christmas tree decorations,

As much as my mother and I,

Tell of the ravages of time.

The tree, which we bought at Woollies,

Was once a dark and lustrous green

And is now a grubby chocolate lime!

The tinsel, unlike me, is decidedly thin.

The baubles are cracked and hazed.

The pottery Santa has a cheery grin,

But he’s lost his adornment of snow.

The fairy ...

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Merry Christmas from Our Town

Merry Christmas, from Our Town.


Our town looks sadder now,

Subdued, down in the dumps.

The Christmas cheer is muted.

The lights are sparser and grow

Dimmer in the misty rain.


As the years go by, she ages.

Empty shops are the black holes

In a mouth full of broken teeth.

Iron shutters firmly bar burglars

From stealing the nothing

That is left.



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Winter Wondering

Winter Wondering.

The trees are empty now

Their bark is clear to see.

Winter’s wind blows through them

And it takes its toll on me.


The trees are naked now.

They seem so sad and bare.

Thin twigs, clinging to the bough,

Have nothing left to wear.


We sit through cold winters

Like trees bereft of leaves.

Rough winds will roar, but spring will come.

It’s w...

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The Glory Days

The Glory Days.

As the elder of our tribe, he knew

The perils of football affiliation. 

"I'm going to support Leeds United, 

They're my team for ever more!" 

A frown, a half-uncertain smile. 

"If you're sure, son, if you're sure!" 


And so began the Glory Days

When hopes and dreams were all betrayed. 

Days of paranoia and of rage, 

Of habitually finishing second. 


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Reluctant Hero

Reluctant Hero. 

I got, very slowly, out of bed. 

I went and found my mummy. 

"Can't go to school," my weak voice said. 

"I've got a poorly tummy!"


My mummy was quite strict with me. 

"Have some milk and cornflakes. 

Eat some breakfast then we'll see. 

A little food might be all it takes!" 


Back upstairs, I opened the blind. 

I wondered at the day I'd find. 


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Funny Old Game

Funny Old Game. 

Is love for a football team 

A blessing or a curse?

A nightmare or a dream?

Or a drain upon the purse?


More enduring than marriage, 

More pervasive than sex, 

The team demand your attention 

For very little reciprocation!

The endless permutations!

Which scores ensure survival?

Or, more unlikely, success?


Love for a football team

Is ...

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First Night Nerves.

First Night Nerves. 


My first night match was in '67

Dad took me along to Elland Road. 

I thought I'd died and gone to heaven, 

When I saw how the floodlights glowed. 

I stood upon a wooden box he'd made, 

Bringing me level with the rest of the crowd. 

I caught a first glimpse of the manicured grass,

Myriad white scarves, fringed with blue and gold. 

Oh, the mayhem,...

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Different Times

Different Times 

Times were different when

dad put his pay packet 

on the kitchen table 

every Thursday night 

for mum to count, 

whilst retaining a share

for fags and beer.

When money was put in various tins

on the mantelpiece 

for the never ending bills.


Smoke curled out of the fireplace, 

to mingle with the smoke from his fags.

Smoke was blowing every...

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A lesson, for life.

A lesson, for life. 

Two small trees, at both ends 

Of our tidy sun-blessed lawn,

Defined our very own Elland Road,

The goal mouths, ragged and worn. 

One-a-side was a murderous match, 

Helter skelter, to and fro, 

To passers-by it must've looked mad, 

But I was only seven years old 

And it was me versus my dad! 


At nineteen all, the scores were level. 

Next g...

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Can I be Frank?

Can I be Frank?

My dad was a journeyman joiner, 

Who worked, with a saw in his hand. 

He wore his blue overalls proudly, 

A dedicated, skilful artisan. 


He never raised his voice to us, 

Let alone his powerful fist. 

His silent disappointment was enough 

To point out the duties we'd missed. 


Our father led by example. 

Deeds, not words, were his way. 


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Rearranging the curtains 

There’s an uncovering behind. 


A piece of chocolate treasure 

Which William didn’t find!


I have to say the discovery

Brought a tear into my eye.


I examined the chocolate bonbon, 

Which I carefully unwrapped. 


It didn’t stop me from eating it, 

But I miss the little chap! 

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The Gift

The Gift.

I've read through all my poems, 

They're full of angst and doubt. 

If you're feeling pain, John, show it. 

Go on, sunshine, let it out!


And yet, I've been so lucky,

Born at a fortunate time,

After the war and before climate crisis,

Not much in the way of violent crime.


Brought up in a backwater idyll, 

Cherished and nurtured by family and town, 


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The Box

The Box

"There's a box arrived, it's in the hall."

I shout and tell my mother.

"What would you like it to contain?"

"There is nothing that I need at all."

Thoughtfully, my mother explains.

"As none of my appetites remain,"

"Oh, come on, mum, don't give me that!"

I cajole. I whine. I plead.

There must be something, mother dear,

Something that you need!

Consider it p...

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Malton Museum

Malton Museum 

'Visit Malton Museum', '

Smiles the girl on the poster.

' Malton is nothing but a museum, '

I grumble along Yorkersgate,

'That's a statement of the truth! '

Past ' The George ' and the cinema,

Relics of my misspent youth.


I turn into a Market Place

Which only the sixties could own. 

Preserved in aspic, set in stone. 

This is a strange time warp,...

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Felbrigg Musing

Felbrigg Musing

Sitting here on a sunlit lawn

On a picnic mat, all dressed in fawn. 

I stare at all the grey heads here, 

Sipping wine or drinking beer, 

Lounging back in reclining chairs, 

Eatng their tarts, munching their pears. ,

Over sixties, out for the day,

Spending some of their pensioners' pay.


"You've now reached Autumn," I hear you say.

Kneel on your ma...

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I kept seven watches in my room,

All set to G. M. T.

For ages all my time was in bloom.

I owned chronometric luxury!


But, one by one, they slipped away,

Gave up the seconds, the hours, the days.

Batteries, sadly, have but feet of clay.


I pondered where my life had gone,

How darkness reigned

Where the sun once shone.

We are but watches, with frag...

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The Theft of Stoodley Pike

The Theft of Stoodley Pike 

I walked out one Wintry morning 

To be greeted by a sight!


You know, it isn't right, 

I have never seen the likes!

Our local phallic symbolIs nowhere to be seen.

It used to grace the hilltop,

Above those fields of green!


They came out in the dead of night,

A real clandestine job

A greedy gang from out ...

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Leaves cling grimly to this house 

And, contrary to their name, 

They never want to leave.

They hunker down in crevices

And attach themselves to grass

Growing sere and old and brittle,

Whilst allowing the time to pass.

Some hide behind the drainpipes

Or float up to clutter the guttering.

Leaves should mean leaves,

As the saying goes.

Yet they wait around ...

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