profile image

Kevin Vose

Updated: Fri, 21 Apr 2023 06:09 pm

Contact via WOL logo


I am 64 and have been writing poetry since a teenager. I also write factual and fiction prose.


Galway Smile The girl with the Galway smile was giving me grief, she even thought of being my wife, but a slim body and a penchant for poetry couldn’t hide her inner cruelty. She doted on a childhood sweetheart - a financial adviser in the City, he’s known as a character in all the pubs. But little does she know he’s a master thief who did time in Wormwood Scrubs. I have trailed her from poetry evenings to meetings as diverse as Crochet Knitters For Peace, amateur attempts at the musical Grease, and a Morris dancing convention in Much Salop By The Avon. While I became a laughing stock at performance poetry evenings, with my verses about fat women in Blackpool wearing kiss-me-quick hats, the politically correct audiences who frequent these events, warmed to her non-rhyming verses to her failed relationships, while I poured the wine and handed out the biscuits. But political correction was not on my agenda, just the girl with the Galway smile who teased me with her quickstep feet as I fell all over the dance floor at Walthamstow British Legion, then sang a song so bitter at Much Hoole folk club’s weekly singers come-ye-all evening. And then as we waited for the bus and she half-interestedly kissed me for the first time, I noticed an advert for online dating and discovered I could amuse women with my funny poems. And what’s more they rhymed, like the one about a chambermaid easing an elderly vicar out of her truss. A year later as I walked down the aisle, I winked at the girl from Galway who’d suddenly lost her smile. Kevin Vose

A Game Of Two Halves

Those familiar with Facebook may know the name Fortitude Flickers, but may not realise that she adopted that moniker after a passionate affair ended in acrimony. Under this pseudonym - which gave the normally shy lady courage she hitherto lacked - Fortitude was invited to a dinner dance at Old Hovian’s Rugby Union Football Club, where she was introduced to the game of rugby. Discovering a hidden talent, this plucky lady developed into a redoubtable fly-half, and became one of the county’s best goal kickers. Then at a match against the Hastings Harlots, she dazzled a stunned defence to score under the posts, much to the delight of the county coach, Horatio Dovecot-Durridge, who had always bemoaned her lack of pace. However, her online ‘friends’ still called her a charlatan, believing she was only sporting behind closed curtains, but when she scored for England, they were left with egg on their face. Living in the village of Much-Marching, she became a successful artist, then delighted her parents by marrying a financial adviser, one Freddie Flingham, who sold mortgages, ISAs and bonds. But she was so bored by him she sought an extra-marital fling, under her online name of Felicity Frilly Thongs. You may find her on websites such as Big Smiles And Wide Hips, Don’t Tease Me, Just Please Me, and last but not least, the German one, Mr Fritz Likes Bulging Lips. But her bedroom antics grew tiresome, and what’s more affected her rugby, where the splendid kicking which had so marked her game went awry. One penalty attempt was so bad it hit club president Brigadier Benson-Bingham (retired) in mid sip of a whisky and soda. Enter Jarvis O’Dwyer, a tall handsome black African who had been an upcoming talent at Old Hovians, until he fell foul of the brigadier after he was heard condemning Britain for its activities in Africa. This unpleasantness coincided with the visit of one Jebadiah Johnson, a professional rugby league talent scout, looking for a player he could recruit. Told he could be a star and make a fortune, Jarvis was seen with the former, whose Yorkshire vowels and flat cap drew attention, and Jarvis was soon told, “Get rid of that rugby league chap, or you’re out!” Many years later he returned, now a rugby league legend and sex symbol. Pursued by the media he popped into The Sexy Sculptures Sweet Shop, where Fortitude was selling her sugary treats. He fell for her shy smile and diminutive figure, declaring himself impressed by her press cuttings and pictures of her try-scoring feats. However, tongues wagged so much that Fortitude finally told her husband to stuff his ISAs, bonds and SIPPS, and went north with Jarvis to his home in Yorkshire and joined women’s rugby league club Keighley Kittyhawks. At first she struggled to be accepted, but the fans, led by the chairwoman Mildred Micklewhite, took her to their hearts, when, encouraged to run with the ball rather than kick it, she scored amazing tries. When her fame spread as the girl with the lightning feet who was spearheading women’s sport, she told a renowned sports journalist, one Sid ‘Scribbler’ Sullivan, in the saloon bar of the Faltering Fullback. “There’s been times, when the decision to kick or run with the ball became a metaphor for when I could have fallen down the rapids of life and been dumped on an inhospitable shore...” Just then Mildred Micklewhite entered the hostelry. “Oh lass, you’ll confuse the poor old chap. Speak plain. Tha’s in Yorkshire, tha’ knows, never mind the metaphors.” “’Cor,’ Fortitude replied. ‘I didn’t know you knew what a metaphor is for!” “Very funny, that sounds like alliteration. I learned that at school. I read about Coleridge, Wordsworth and Byron. So stick that up your southern Sussex sophistry. “That is alliteration Chairman!|” “Yes lass, I have hidden depths, even if I am built like a country lavatory.” “Oh, Mildred, I was only kidding. You were a great player, even if you did, to quote Eddie Waring, take a lot of early barfs.” Just then Sid coughed and looked his watch. “Okay. I’ll start again, are you ready, Sid? To quote some football commentator, it’s been a game of two halves...” At that moment in walked the Keighley Kittyhawks team, who all chorused, “And the second half’s only just beginning!”

My Old Dad

I'm a Lancashire lad who sleeps with a portrait of Gracie Fields at my bed. I follow the Saints, that free flowing rugby team whose exploits filled my old dad with rare pride. I remember him shouting at the telly, 'Put ref a jersey on!' and 'Gerrom on side!' He sang 'The Saints go marching in!' as they marched to Wembley glory, and composed a comic tribute to the characters who followed his heroic team, in those days of charabancs, pie and peas, when playing for your country was the ultimate dream. So raise a glass to rugby league, to earthy characters like my old dad, who introduced me to the Saints, when I was just a lad.

Walk Under A Cloud

When I was young I breathed the sweet clear air of the Shenandoah River, then rode through Texas and Montana, in pursuit of a dream as old as time, of happiness with a loving wife. But love proved elusive, so I answered the call of General Custer and his Seventh Cavalry, and we entered the valley of the Little Big Horn in the Black Hills of Montana, where I was lucky to escape with my life. I woke in a tepee to a see a beautiful Indian girl whose smile heralded a new dawn. Walk Under A Cloud was her name and she hid me from her tribe, until I, a shamed deserter, had to escape in disguise, the only trooper to survive Custer’s famous last stand. Only it was more like a rout, stampeded by Chief Crazy Horse and his warrior band. But a decade on I returned to the hills of Montana and memories of that battle, back to where memory is so real into a bustling new town, where lived Walk Under A Cloud, the beautiful squaw, regarded as a second-class citizen, but to me she was still the most beautiful Indian girl. I declared my love with a passion only a squaw of the Oglala Sioux could equal, and she returned it, proving she’d forgiven me for carrying a US Army rifle. But an ex-cavalry man, Billy Joe McGraw, took a shine to her as she served chow mien in Chinese Gordon’s Chop Suey House. McGraw was a boastful fellow who liked to covet Indian women, and warned me he was a dangerous man to cross. But Walk Under A Cloud slipped a sleeping herb into his nightly dish, fearing he would expose me as the coward he’d suspected I was. But he was so befuddled by the Mickey Finn, that when he drew his gun I shot him down. But the town proved too hot for us, and we eloped to the Shenandoah valley. The girl from the Oglala Sioux found it a strange place. But in an effort to prove her worth, joined Christians Who Nourish, a cooking group who conjured up meals for the impoverished of the parish. The charitable cooks marvelled at her ethnically diverse kitchen, but when she was out of earshot, gossiped that it was not ‘Christian to marry an Indian’. But Walk Under A Cloud got her own back, after she convinced them that drinking the boiled roots of a cactus was good for digestion, and would even extend their husbands’ manhood. In fact it did the opposite, leading to deflated egos in the bedroom, and acute embarrassment when several of the women emitted excessive flatus. Many years later I watched as Walk Under A Cloud was hailed the star of the Wild West’s leading circus, doing somersaults on top of a buffalo. I, being possessed of a big mouth, became the impresario, introducing the acts. Notably Sharp Shooter Sam, the expert rifleman, who could shoot a fly off a prairie dog’s tail, and Bungling Bertram, the hilariously bad magician, who left the English music hall in disgrace after being found drunk during the intermission. But Walk Under A Cloud was the chief attraction, her dazzling smile captivating the young. They cared not a jot for General Custer, his quest for glory and the warriors who defeated him in the pretty valley of the Little Big Horn. Now we are both old and grey, my betrothed reads dime novels of when the Indians chased the buffalo and the Seventh Cavalry wouldn’t leave them alone, how General Custer did his duty and furthered the advance of the white man. But we know that Little Big Horn saw his fall from grace, and the world looked in awe at the fighting genius that was Oglala Chief Crazy Horse. His warrior tribe paid the ultimate price for victory, and I thank God I’d run away, even though I bore the soldier’s stigma of coward. For I was rescued and loved by an Oglala Sioux, who became my lovely wife, Walk Under A Cloud.

Old Farts Harriers

(A harrier is an old-fashioned name for a cross country runner, and some British athletic clubs still have the title) I was a Liverpool Harrier, lean and toned to an inch, then I became a pub drinker and married a woman who could be described as the original penny pinch. She loved to entertain with memories of lovers on a far shore, but when I tried to boast of my athletic exploits she pointed to my pot belly, which had become too big to ignore. In a vain attempt to boost my manhood I went to a disco, where I vainly thought my cool haircut would impress the birds. But my dancing feet did not respond as in days of youth. Face the facts, I say to myself - you’re more at home in the local doing the crossword, now ain’t that the truth? So I went to the line dancing night at the Fiddlers Elbow, to hear resident band The Chewbaccy Country Cousins lament - ‘Love can prove elusive, though it’s often at your finger tips. Cowboys used to buy it for half a dollar, then wake up, scratch themselves and exclaim, ‘I’ve got nits! Damn that whore!’ So I joined the line dancers, swinging my hips Texan style to an old thymee beat, reflecting - ‘Am I really past my sell-by-date?’ Then I escaped into an imaginary world of the Wild West, where I, as a smooth-talking gambler with a wideawake hat and a six gun, shot a crooked sheriff who tried to throw me out of town. For I had fallen for his intended – Sally – the owner of the curiously named Broken Saddle Saloon. We lived happily ever after in our little home in the west, where she worshipped my body, and being an artist, drew shapes on my distinctly un-hairy chest, and after coitus, murmured in my ear, ‘I love older, down at heel men.’ But my dream ended abruptly when I woke up, after She Who Must Be Obeyed shouted, ‘You’re talking to yourself again!’ So now, in an effort to gain solace in my dotage, I joined fellow Old Farts Harriers to reminisce, taking alcoholic solace at our local, the Duck And Partridge. We laugh at the overweight chap and his dog doing a park run, and sneer at so-called celebrities in fancy dress, panting and grimacing, who say they are running for fun! For we are the Old Farts Harriers who didn’t run for money, but love. (Granted, we would have cashed in on our talent, such as it was, but we weren’t fast enough). So raise a glass to those old runners who used to be lean and toned to an inch. I’ll settle back into my dreams of the Old West, and imagine I’m married to Sally, owner of the Broken Saddle Saloon, and not her indoors with her tongue that would make a gunfighter flinch. But like the old cowboys we’re too big to sit astride our horses and chase the Injuns and outlaws. Our bellies wobble and we suffer from flatus, our personal best times fade into significance compared to those who weren’t similarly blessed. But we love to indulge ourselves, and recall when we raced around cross country courses, up fells and down dales, for we are the Old Farts Harriers, please come and listen to our tall tales.

All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.

Favourite Profiles

Profile image Stephen Gospage

Do you want to be featured here? Submit your profile.


Profile image

Kevin Vose

Sat 17th Aug 2019 14:07

Thanks, I wrote that after meeting a woman from Galway at a poetry reading in London.

Profile image

Ruth O'Reilly

Fri 16th Aug 2019 23:08

Galway smile is better than Ed Sheeran's Galway Girl! My Grandad was called Will O'Reilly and he was from Cork. Thank You for reading my poems.

View all comments

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message