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pencilcase's (pencilcase on UKA) UKArchive
172 Archived submissions found.
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Bloody Venus In Transit (posted on: 08-06-12)
Greetings. I thought I would re-submit a poem I sent in 8 years ago. Venus will be in transit again early on Wednesday. Apparently, best viewed from Hawaii and Australia. If I've got this right, it will be 117 years before it happens again, so...make the most of your transitory dot.

Observations on the recent transit of Venus: a pastiche of a well-known poem by a successful contemporary poet (you can just about make her out at the far end of a telescope). Recommended to all those who stand and gaze / stare into space. Bloody Venus in transit is like bloody women You wait for more than a hundred years And as soon as one approaches your telescope Eight years later, another appears. You look towards Venus in wonder, Though distant, she's said to be hot. Will you make out a heavenly body, Or pick up a transitory dot? If you make a mistake, you could damage your sight. Don't look, and she soon disappears And the chance to catch Venus in transit goes by In a moment, it passes, for years.
Archived comments for Bloody Venus In Transit
Andrea on 08-06-2012
Bloody Venus In Transit
Never mind bloody Venus! Bloody hell, Steve, how lovely to see your posting again 🙂 And a lovely bloody pome, too.

I stand, stare and gaze often, so right up my bloody street 🙂

Author's Reply:
Lovely to hear from you, Andrea. It's just a re-sub prompted by topicality. I wonder if anyone will relate to this the next time Venus is in transit?!?

It was really good to hear from you!

Steve

Texasgreg on 09-06-2012
Bloody Venus In Transit
Lol, I'll not comment on staring into space...
I'm with you on this 'un, though. Hot stuff.

Photobucket.

Texasgreg 🙂





Author's Reply:
Hi Greg and thanks for your comment. Much appreciated. I suppose these celestial events make us wonder...one way or another.

Best from me and thanks again for your comment.

Steve

barenib on 10-06-2012
Bloody Venus In Transit
Good to re-visit this one Steve, it's still as true as it was when first posted 🙂
John.

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 10-06-2012
Bloody Venus In Transit
Blimey, Steve, we had to wait 8 years for this. Does it mean that you'll be posting another one in 117 years? I can't wait that long but I'll try.
I can't remember if I read the original version but I'm glad I read this. Great piece.

Author's Reply:

gwirionedd on 06-06-2015
Bloody Venus In Transit
Bloody Wendy Cope is like bloody...

Author's Reply:


Hatchback (posted on: 28-03-11)
Moment

Hatchback Children in the graveyard spring into a clock-changing Sunday. Marching playfully, jumpily, swinging arms, holding hands and giggling, they are touching at a distance. Under my watch, their innocence refreshes my humanity, provoking contemplation, considering the reason, versus magic, for this, my visitation. I have no money on me. At this moment, it is not necessary. I tell my Mother of how the girls were full of life and joy and though I didn't know them, how I loved them from afar. Then Mum and Dad said time to go: they skipped back to the car. No doubt looking forward to further games and Sunday tea that Mum (I guess) had planned. It's said that little children are too young to understand.
Archived comments for Hatchback
barenib on 28-03-2011
Hatchback
Steve - really great to see you back in the saddle, so to speak, and with an excellent observational poem. The behaviour of children can (thankfully) often be a source of joy and your setting of this in the graveyard, which does not stop their exuberance, is a really good juxtaposition. Although you don't mention it, it also suggests a contrast with the behaviour of the adults who perhaps might try to subdue the children in the cemetery. Your note about having no money is a very apt and effective way of reminding us that 'the best things in life are free'. The last two stanzas are very moving, and not just because of my personal knowledge, but because of the way they speak of love and loss - things which will hopefully move any reader. John.

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 28-03-2011
Hatchback
It has been quite a while since your last contribution, Steve, and it is a pleasure to read your latest poem which confirms once again your power of keen observation. You have caught perfectly the abandoned behaviour of innocent children unaware of the gravitas of grown ups in a cemetery.
A poignant composition, much enjoyed.

Author's Reply:

e-griff on 29-03-2011
Hatchback
Yes, a nice observation, good to read.

If you'll permit me a few suggestions (they may seem a lot but they are pretty minor) :

I wasn't sure about the word 'watch'

In what is overall a smooth poem, I found this might need a brush-up:

I have no money on me.
At this moment, it is not necessary

- for me, the rhyme (me/necessary) isn't that smooth (because of the stress pattern). I'd rework the two lines.

I would take out the 'of' (Mother, of how)) (not needed grammatically and two 'of's together). I'd also take the 'how' out of 'how I'd loved them ..'

for your consideration. JohnG


Author's Reply:


The End Of The Rainbow (posted on: 16-03-09)
I still look up from time to time

Light and fluids may combine to paint the spectrum on the sky and spark imagination with such arcing thoughts that might ignite a sense of awe and wonder at the elements, as they unite. Existing only in the mind, it's nothing, unless it is seen, until there's someone, somewhere down below the rainbow, noticing. It's there, if it's perceived. One day, I saw a rainbow and decided that, for once, I'd test the notion that the end of it could not be reached. Optimistic, fresh and bold as I embarked upon my quest, feeling light and full of hope, my thoughts turned to the triumph of discovering that, hitherto, elusive crock of gold. After many miles, the end appeared a little nearer, inspiring my efforts, illuminating hope, I flew and persevered still further. Glancing back, I saw the strange imbalance of the rainbow, with most of it behind me now, its arc seemed unfamiliar, escaping the perception I'd been grounded by before. Quickening, I screwed my eyes and saw a glint, at last! Desiring enlightenment and finally, salvation, driven on by dreams of weaving magic into reason, merging with the elements, and picturing the joy when I reached the land of plenty, I took the final steps and surveyed the rainbow's end. At last, I found that fabled pot! Sadly, it was empty. The possibility held hope, reality removed it. Abandoned there like half-a-dozen failed alchemic magpies, my shadow cast me back to earth, leaving me, just wondering, if I had really been the first to witness such a crushing disappointment. Or, maybe, no-one else revealed the pain and sheer embarrassment that anyone would feel, relating how they'd learnt to fly but, on escaping gravity, had promptly found an emptiness that swiftly clipped their wings: not caring to expose themselves; or daring to admit the truth that chasing rainbows brings. I still look up from time to time, but now I know for sure that rainbows don't exist beyond the mind, I've never seen one since the day I tried to leave the world behind. The day when dreams, adventure and a sense of wonder died.
Archived comments for The End Of The Rainbow
sirat on 16-03-2009
The End Of The Rainbow
First, I have to point out that I hold the patent on end-of-rainbow stories. My lawyer will be in touch.

In the meantime, yes, this is enjoyable and I like what I took to be the theme – the idea that we put our whole heart into achieving something and when we get there it all seems a bit empty. Reminds me of the old Bette Midler/Peggy Lee song 'Is That All There Is?'. The only thing I wasn't sure about was the rhythm. It felt a bit jerky to me – particularly the line "to witness such a crushing disappointment". But then what do I know? Definitely a nice one.


Author's Reply:
Hi David - thanks for reading and commenting.

I did think of your 'The Other End Of The Rainbow' when writing this, but decided to risk litigation on tha basis that Judy Garland got there first. Okay, so she went over the rainbow rather than to the end, but I considered this sufficient to muddy any potential legal waters!

It might seem a bit jerky at times - I think because I end some lines with prepositions or with 'and' but I tried to arrive at a rhythm of it as a whole and had a clear idea of how to read aloud. Your comment on the line "to witness such a crushing disappointment" can only be valid because that's how it hit you. But I have looked at this line again and I feel comfortable with it. This is mainly because there is a build of pace to this slightly longer line at that point in the poem and then to bring it to a full stop is intended to emphasise the anti-climax. Italicising 'really' in the previous line is intended to slow things a little before the quickening tempo of the next line. Also here, I aimed for the resonance of 'first/witness/disappointment' and the rhythmic thud of 'su-cha cru-shing'.

I am very interested by your reference to 'Is That All There Is?'. Firstly, it's a good sign if a piece of writing evokes thoughts of something else, I think, since this indicates the reader's engagement. In this instance, I was not familiar with the song you refer to, so it is pleasing for me to receive a comment that prompts me to investigate! I have now youtubed Peggy's and Bette's renditions of this song and I can see what you mean. I very much enjoyed listening and take it as a compliment that your take on my poem evoked some of that 'disillusionment-beyond-angst' theme!

Thanks for bringing the song to my attention (very much sounded like Kurt Weill-influenced to me) and thanks again for your comment as a whole.

Steve

e-griff on 16-03-2009
The End Of The Rainbow
I admired the driving rhythm in this, it worked really well, a kind of 'I have to go on I can't stop...' and the deliberate slowing to the end - nicely done.

this line
it’s nothing, unless it is seen,

has a problem for me, in that although the metre is fundamentally okay, it requires an unnatural stress on 'unless' UNless rather than unLESS. something like 'it's nothing xxxx unless it's seen' would fit better.

also, I'd take out the commas round 'hitherto' which I think confuse.

Now, here's a terrible thought. I got to the fourth verse, and I thought 'what is this verse for?' I'd be tempted to try cutting the 4th, 5th and 7th verses completely, putting the 'pot being empty bit in one of the remaining ones. I really think you should trust your reader and not explain or fill too much - I think it stodges up the real poem in here. After all the last verse sums up the whole poem (as it should) and could even stand on its own with much of the message preserved in those few lines. Less is more! best JohnG



Author's Reply:
Hello Griff and thanks for commenting. I have been thinking about your feedback over the last couple of days.

The most fundamental suggestion you make is to cut out complete sections. Although I considered your thoughts, this did not appeal to me right from the start. You comment about 'driving rhythm' and 'I have to go on I can't stop'...but I think the radical surgery you suggest would undermine these aspects.

I have thought about modifying the UNless/unLESS you refer to, but I have come to the point of thinking that I would give the emphasis either way, quite naturally, depending on the context. Maybe that's an accent thing. However, if that doesn't sit well with someone then it's worth taking another look. Problem is that any other alternative I think of to make this emphasis germ-free causes more 'difficulties' than it solves.

I have also pondered ',hitherto,' but it makes sense to me, grammatically and also pace-wise, and I don't want to lose the language that is intended to make clear that up to this moment I had not challenged the knowledge that the end of the rainbow, and the pot of gold, could not be reached.

'Less is more' is worth bearing in mind, but the nature of this particular poem, I think, requires a kind of narrative and build in order to offer its development and expression.

Thanks again for your comment,

Steve

Zoya on 16-03-2009
The End Of The Rainbow


Author's Reply:

Zoya on 16-03-2009
The End Of The Rainbow
Sorry about the blank above! Just a slip... No pun intended here!

While, rainbow is a purely physical phenomenon of droplets of water suspended in the air, after the rains, acting as little prisms refracting the light rays breaking them up to produce the seven-hued spectrum, the pot of gold is pure imagination...
Man has to dream and fantacise to keep alive...
I like the way you have used the myth as a metaphor of hope and quest for the the unknown... I only hope it did not end in disillusion...
A great flowing read, dear PC.
Love,
Zoya




Author's Reply:
Hi Zoya! Good to hear from you...and thanks for taking the time to comment.

I'm afraid that disillusionment is central to this poem. It's worse than that, really! Here I intend to have a character who has a moment of challenging, free-thinking...the sudden willingness to fantasise, as you have touched on. In the end, even the fantasy has been stolen, confirmed as nothing.

It might have been better to have stayed at home and at least have the possibility remaining!

However, although I've never seen a rainbow since, something still tells me to look up from time to time. This may be interpreted as allowing 'hope' to escape Pandora's Box (despite the witnessed hopelessness) or maybe it is a reluctance to accept reality.

I suppose it is a fantasy that confirms there is no point in fantasising. Or is there?

Maybe I just went to the wrong end of the rainbow.

Best wishes,

Steve

RachelLW on 16-03-2009
The End Of The Rainbow
This does flow nicely and I agree with Sirat and zoya that it works well as a metaphor - a good theme. I liked it. Re the crit re verses, I'm inclined to agree not because the sentiment / ideas needn't be here, I think they should, but perhaps it came across as unnecessary because of the narrative style it felt like a lot of tell and little show if that makes any sense....(which it might not as I know little enough to make comments like this!). Again, I liked it regardless...

Author's Reply:
Rachel, thanks for the comment.

The 'show don't tell' maxim is always worth bearing in mind. Similarly, 'telling' a poem in the first person is usually baulked at.

Consider though, if you will, that one day I determined to set out and try to get to the end of the rainbow.

That is quite a huge step to take.

Not only that - I actually got there! My thinking was that to show this in the third person would not achieve the impact that is made possible by an in-yer-face 'reality' of a first person approach. I mean, I witnessed this for myself. So maybe by relating what I experienced on this journey I am intending to tell and show...and leave it open to the reader to interpret.

'The journey' is, of course, a classic theme. The journey in this particular poem is a rather unusual one, and I must admit I was surprised to arrive at the end of the rainbow, but I think that to lop the progression would undermine the flow and narrative you mention.

All the best,

Steve




Sunken on 18-03-2009
The End Of The Rainbow
Hello Mr. Case of Pencil City on the green. It's me, sunks. Good to see ya back. A colourful little number and no mistake. Did ya see what I did there? Ahem. Will you be treating us to an audio version? You have great diction (insert smutty joke of your own choosing). Nice one Pencil. Well done on the nib.

s
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brasso 3 - pledge 3

Author's Reply:
Thank you for the comment and apologies for the delay in replying. I uploaded the audio at some point after your comment - I haven't listened to it since but it seemed okay at the time.

Sounds like a cracking game between brasso and pledge. With 3 away goals, one has to fancy pledge in the second leg, but then if brasso get the rub of the green, you never know.

C
h
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s

Steve

Hope: 2 Lava Lamps: 4

Sunken on 18-03-2009
The End Of The Rainbow
Oh bum, I forgot about Bernard...



Author's Reply:
Thanks, Bernard!

barenib on 18-03-2009
The End Of The Rainbow
Steve - don't worry, you weren't the first and you won't be the last! This is a well rendered variation on a popular theme and I think we all know that sense of anti-climax or just sheer dejection when something doesn't live up to its promise.
I like your use of rhyme and half-rhyme and the rhythm that's already been mentioned which all combine to drive the poem along at a good pace that makes it pleasing to read. The plenty/empty pairing I actually found both funny and tragic at the same time - reminded me a bit of Milligan. I also liked the alchemic magpies. A good read for me - John.

Author's Reply:
Hi John and thanks for your considered comment.

The anti-climax and sheer dejection you refer to may be appropriate, but something that doesn't live up to its promise is not quite what I had in mind. There was no promise - there was hope. And, maybe, the desire for some magic. Getting all that slapped back in yer face is a bit hard to take, of course!

Pleased to read that the plenty/empty pairing hit home - yes, it is tragi-comic, but I intended the pace of the poem to build to that emphasis - and these thngs are a mix of comedy and tragedy.

Thanks again for reading and commenting, and I hope to see half a dozen (successful) magpies soon!

Six for gold...

Cheers,

Steve

discopants on 18-03-2009
The End Of The Rainbow
I liked this one, mr pencil. I don't see any particular need to cut it down and the last 3 lines of the fourth stanza are possibly my favourite ones in the poem...

dp

Author's Reply:
Hi dp and belated thanks for your comment. Thanks also for picking up on the perception/grounded angle.

My intention was that there should be a few elements to this poem! As with many poems, there is a question as to whether it could be improved by shortening, but it is a journey and I considered in the end that maybe the length was not inappropriate.

Thanks for commenting.

Steve

e-griff on 19-03-2009
The End Of The Rainbow
steve, just to be clear. small issues first - I don't know any dialect that would rhyme 'unless' with 'runless' (as in innings). On the commas, they have no positive contribution (ie no reader will say - god, those commas just made it for me). I don't claim my opinion is shared universally, or is even a majority one, but say 10 or 20pc of readers find the same as I do, you have (slightly) upset them, with no positive benefit to counterbalance it for the other 80 or 90. That's what I'm saying.

Anyway, the main point I want to clarify is I'm not saying the poem SHOULD be cut, I'm proposing it as an exercise. I'm saying TRY it. In poetry and prose it can be very useful to force yourself to consider what is vital in the writing, and what is maybe nice sounding but relatively unimportant 'fill'. It may result in shortening, sometimes it can result in expanding a key theme, and sometimes a rebalancing to bring more sharpness to what is (as in this case) an already good poem.

cheers, JohnG

Author's Reply:
Thanks for your comment and apologies for the delay in replying. Before other things outside of uka intervened I gave considerable attention to your comments and pondered your suggestions this way and that. My decision to leave the poem as it is...was by no means dismissive of your thoughts, but there are intricacies which would unravel and I could not find a way to reconcile your thoughts with my intentions!

Comments and suggestions from you or anyone else are welcome - especially when they are prompted by a poem that challenges accepted notions!

Steve

teifii on 22-03-2009
The End Of The Rainbow
I did feel for a moment that it was going on too long, but then I got involved in your headlong pursuit and thought the length fine. After all it is not just a refection on rainbows but a story.
Loved the magpie image.
When we were teens many aeons ago, my brother told me that part of Einstein's theory was that nothing was really there unless perceived. We wandered around contemplating the non-existence of lamp posts.
Daff
http://www.merilang.co.uk/

Author's Reply:
Hello Daff - apologies for the delay in replying to your appreciated comment! Thanks for your response to the magpie image and the 'headlong' journey.

I hope your dogs don't have nightmares about the potential non-existence of lamp posts!

Best to you,

Steve

Jolen on 30-03-2009
The End Of The Rainbow
HI Steve,

I'm thrilled to see a poem from you, even one that's a bit bleak. I enjoyed the pace and the interesting rhyme you used here and there, as well as the magpie image. The hopelessness and frustration comes across well in this. Congrats on the nib, it's deserving.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Hi Jolen! I appreciated your comment a while back, but I wasn't feeling so well and so it's taken a time for me to respond!

Your comments are always welcome and thanks for picking up on the half-a-dozen failed alchemic magpies! I'll try to be more positive in the future...honest!

Steve

royrodel on 07-04-2009
The End Of The Rainbow
this puts me in mind of Gamows gay tribe of electrons,
brilliant.

RODEL

Author's Reply:
Hi Roy - thanks for your comment and apologies for the delay in replying...

I was ignorant of Gamow's gay tribe of electrons, but have done a few internet searches in response to your comment and I see what you mean.

I'm left feeling grateful for your comment, no longer searching for that crock of gold, but somehow contemplating life where the speed of light is 30mph!

Interesting!

Best to you,

Steve


Felixstowe Glow (posted on: 17-11-08)
Suffolk in September

Further east, beyond the beat of retail parks that litter what had once been Constable's retreat, container ships disgorge their freight, day in, day out, throughout the night they come and go, a constant stream that funnels in and out against the harbour lights, so bright they set the night aglow. A sight that's seen way out to sea and far along the Suffolk coast, betraying the activity that is the port of Felixstowe. I view this over Orford Ness, anchored by the village pub, standing in its darkened garden, distanced by a dozen miles and so I cannot hear a thing beyond the breeze awakening, but I imagine cranes and trucks, their never-ending clattering and picture this invasion from behind the Jolly Sailor Inn. The wind picks up and suddenly I swear I hear the faint and ancient echo of a shanty sung by men who used to work these shores before the night was wasted in the most unnatural way by the harshest of auroras. Time's moving on, I hear a bell that takes me back to buoys and wrecks, where soundings warn not all is well and tell me it's last orders.
Archived comments for Felixstowe Glow
Sunken on 18-11-2008
Felixstowe Glow
Why oh why oh why is this comment-less? I dunno what the world's coming to, Mr. Case of the yard. I'd blame apathy... but I can't be arsed. An accomplished write and no mistake. Long may your lead remain sharp. Thank you.

s
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she phoned in sick before releasing the mouse

Author's Reply:
Hi sunk and ta for your glowing comment. I made a bit of a pun there - geddit?!

I spent 3-4 days in Orford in early September and this poem results from part of that experience. During that time, I took the wee ferry to Orford Ness, which is a most unusual and fascinating place - and something I hope to write more about (I recommend you do an internet search and read up on Orford Ness a little because it is an intriguing location for many reasons). Back on the mainland, I did what any self-respecting bloke would do and camped myself in the village pub for the evening for food and beer (and it really is called Jolly Sailor Inn). I enquired about the large glow in the distance...

I hope the poem may have conjured up some atmosphere. It's all based on a true experience, although hearing the faint and ancient echo of a shanty might have had something to do with the two halves of shandy I had on that particular night. So perhaps I should have written about the faint and ancient echo of a shandy instead, I'm not sure...

Cheers!

Steve

RoyBateman on 18-11-2008
Felixstowe Glow
Fascinating - Suffolk must have been an extremely rural county until fairly recently, when all the container trade decanted itself south from the Northern ports - and someone plonked a nuclear power station on the coast to add to the fun. Even industry like fishing ebbs and flows like the tide...and yesterday's trade becomes romantic in comparison with the brash to-and-fro of today's container laden monsters. It's good to be reminded of a place not so many of us know well - and in such style too.

Author's Reply:
Hello Roy and thanks for commenting. Pleased to see you enjoyed reading my latest effort - your words tell me you have engaged with my thoughts and words.

During my short stay at Orford, I also paid a visit to Southwold. Rather a shame that Sizewell B can be seen from this lovely town! It looks like a huge golf ball in the distance!

Your reference to rural Suffolk reminds me of something else I wrote and submitted here on uka. It's a not-so-long piece of prose at...

http://www.ukauthors.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=6325

If you fancy having a look then you might find it of interest. If not. then nay bother (oops! I've just slipped into Yorkshire!).

Thanks for letting me know you found the poem of interest.

Steve





Sunken on 19-11-2008
Felixstowe Glow
Ahem. I have googled said location and now fully understand why you think I should visit. Disgraceful behaviour!

s
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still in one piece!




Author's Reply:
Ha-ha! Yes, I walked past that sign!

I find the history and atmosphere of the place very interesting though. Loads of military stuff ranging from early test flights and bombings (it was acquired by the Ministry for War in 1913, I think) up to being a sister site to Aldermaston when detonation devices for atomic bombs were tested there, with lots of other stuff inbetween. Now it is returned to nature (and the nature of this 'spit' is also interesting). Another aspect, I'm pleased to say, is that these days it is a haven for a variety of birds - on the quay at Orford they chalk up which breeds have been spotted in the last day or two. Birds are better than bombs, I reckon.

My advice would be to prod the ground before advancing...

teifii on 20-11-2008
Felixstowe Glow
I used to wander the borders of Essex and Suffolk when I lived and worked in Harlow. I have two favourite landscapes -- mountains as in Wales [not Alpes etc] and dead flat with lots of water and individual trees.
There was a programme not long ago on either TV or radio about Orford Ness [can't remember if I saw it or used my imagination]. Would love to go there but it is far from here.
By the way I love the poem.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Hi Daff - good to know you found the poem interesting. There was a short bit on the BBC series 'Coast' when the presenter walked down Orford's Quay Street and referred to the Ness opposite, featuring the so-called 'pagodas'. Having been there for the first time about ten weeks ago, I can report that it is well worth a visit. Orford is a tiny village and by the quay there is a ramshackle old shed selling seafood (some days)! There's hardly anyone about, and the fascinating Ness opposite is very atmospheric, historic and interesting. Thank goodness there are a couple of decent pubs in Orford itself! The village also hosts the substantial remains of a Norman castle - in centuries gone by the place was much more important and strategic than these days (before the Or silted up and became unnavigable).

These days (or nights, should I say) the Felixstowe glow is very apparent, although the scene of activity is about twelve miles away.

Thanks very much for commenting and for picking my poem as a favourite.

Steve

I didn't know you used to live in Harlow - I'm in East Herts and only about ten miles from Harlow!


discopants on 20-11-2008
Felixstowe Glow
Nice one- I've not been to Orford Ness although I vaguely remember a Felixstowe to Zeebrugge ferry crossing when I was about 14. I remember much more about the choppy nature of the crossing than of Felixstowe itself!

Enjoyed the poem anyway...

dp

Author's Reply:
Thanks, dp. Orford Ness is a very interesting place. No-one lives there, except for a warden, and visitors can only go across on the small boat March-October or thereabouts. There are many interesting aspects to the place, including a grand lighthouse that is under threat from the advancing elements.

My poem was prompted from the garden of the Jolly Sailor Inn, in the quiet village of Orford. There was much to contemplate!

Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed the read!

Steve

Jolen on 21-11-2008
Felixstowe Glow
Hi Steve,
As always you bring the reader a treat. A vision, that whether we're familiar with the specific place or not, we can see, taste, smell it. It's hard to go to these more rural places and not feel a connection to the past, and a certain sadness for what's been lost. Congrats on the nib, and the wonderful work.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Hi Jolen and, first of all, thank you for your complimentary remarks.

The body of your comment tells me that you have connected with this poem and that is the most pleasing aspect - the poem is based on true and specific details, but I endeavoured to suggest wider considerations.

I'm sure you would find Orford and Orford Ness very interesting. Maybe I should send a copy of this poem to the 'Jolly Sailor Inn'? I wonder what the locals there would make of it?!

Thank you again for commenting and I hope my reply finds you well.

I hope your weekend turns out to be just what you wanted.

Steve

barenib on 25-11-2008
Felixstowe Glow
Hello Steve, I echo the appreciative comments already made about a rounded, well written and evocative poem. It certainly made me want to visit sometime, and I don't just mean The Jolly Sailor! John.

Author's Reply:
John, I'm sure you would like the Jolly Sailor Inn - and I also reckon you would find other aspects of that area of interest too, as you mention!!!

Thanks for your comment that you found my offering evocative and that it left you with a 'want to visit' feeling. This suggests to me your engagement and identification with the poem. I guess it was you who nominated this poem, so thank you for that as well.

Cheers,

Steve






tinalouise9 on 11-12-2008
Felixstowe Glow
I have just listened to your poem and it was such a pleasure. You read well and it was like a lullaby - soothing and whistful. Thoroghly enjoyed.

Namaste,
Tina

Author's Reply:
Hi Tina - thanks for listening and commenting. The poem was prompted by a short stay in Orford in early September, and in particular by a reflective moment in the garden of the Jolly Sailor!

I hope you enjoy your time on uka. I hope to do a bit of catching up with reading other people's stuff soon - probably when I've got some time off during the week after Christmas.

Thanks again for dropping by,

Steve

reckless on 28-01-2009
Felixstowe Glow
What a fantastic piece! So beautifully written, and evocative. I love the slow lilt of it, and the sense of history you effortlessly portray.

Author's Reply:
Hi reckless and thanks for letting me know you enjoyed 'Felixstowe Glow'! Your succinct comment is very complimentary and I appreciate that because the aspects you mention tell me that the poem is capable of communicating with those who are of a mind to engage with it.

So, thank you once again. If you ever get the chance to visit the relaxing village of Orford and the fascinating Orford Ness, then I would recommend it!

No doubt it would be quite chilly standing in the back garden of the 'Jolly Sailor' at the moment - I wonder if the credit crunch has reduced the magnitude of the Felixstowe Glow?!

Cheers,

Steve


Heather (posted on: 03-11-08)
a quantum of pencil

Thank you for illuminating drab surroundings with your steadfast, clustered flowers, which withstand the rigours of exposed and beaten, barren land. Your feisty heart takes on the worst of what the seasons throw at us, from Arctic blows to piercing sleet and during periods so parched the very land is cracked by heat. Enduring all of this, you stay a bright, majestic amethyst that triumphs through the mist and snow, displaying all that's valued in a friend deserving trust. Anchored and defiant, determined to encourage thoughts of walks on windswept moor and heath, away from city figures, which amount to nought. Even though you're now arranged within this terracotta pot of patio suburbia, you retain the loyalty that kept your promise true. Remaining inspirational, beyond these raindrop windows, which both focus and obscure my view. I see the life and colour your character shines through.
Archived comments for Heather
Jolen on 03-11-2008
Heather
A wonderful little ode to Heather, Steve. It's rhythm is fun and the language is simple, yet impressive in that it captures so very much.

Great to be reading your fine work again!

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Hi Jolen and thanks for the comment. I'm pleased you enjoyed the poem.

Always good to hear from you - hope life is treating you kindly.

Steve

Sunken on 03-11-2008
Heather
Hello Mr. Case. I knew a Heather once. She kept rabbits. One of them only had three legs. I often wondered if someone might have amputated the fourth for a lucky charm. I never mentioned this theory to Heather. She was very sensitive. Ahem. A finely tuned piece and no mistake. I also know of a dog with three legs... I wonder if someone got confused with regards to lucky charms? I shall keep my eyes open for someone with a bloody big Alsatian hind leg hanging off their jeans. It's a funny old world and no mistake, Mr. Pencil.

s
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k
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man dies after inhaling marmite

Author's Reply:
Your comment reminds me of a rabbit's foot being considered a lucky charm (I can't think why), but it has made me consider how such a practice would be received in these bc days (bunny correctness).

That aside, thanks for your comment and I'm glad you enjoyed the poem.

Your closing comment is indicative that marmite is not necessarily considered 'my mate' in every case...


littleditty on 04-11-2008
Heather
hello pencil, this is great, good idea - heathers character lives in your tribute -do you need "an', last L 1st V? enjoyed, ditty xx

Author's Reply:
Hi ld! Thanks for reading and giving this your consideration - pleased you found it worthwhile.

Thanks also for your observation/suggestion, but I think I want the 'and' to remain in the line you refer to. To me, it is part of the pace I had in mind. I've recorded it now and uploaded the audio, so if you fancy listening to what I mean then be my guest.

Anyways, many thanks again for having a read and finding the time to let me know your thoughts.

Best wishes,

Steve

artisus on 05-11-2008
Heather
Very good and beautifully written Steve..

Author's Reply:
Hi Nic. Pleased you liked it.

I'm grateful for your having read and considered it, as well as for your comment and for picking it as a fave!

I hope life is treating you well.

Steve

barenib on 11-11-2008
Heather
Steve, very pleasingly written with the rhymes, half rhymes and ideas ranging from the city to the patio. A fine tribute to this ' bright, majestic amethyst' and an equally fine read - John.

Author's Reply:
Hello John and thanks for your considered comment. I suppose it's not a bad thing to appreciate value through raindrop windows, and then to contemplate the bigger picture.

It would be even more inspiring if I were to find a human Heather who had the qualities and character I refer to!

Thanks again for reading and commenting,

Steve

Sabrina on 12-04-2009
Heather
the heather is just up in my garden now and blazing like jewels against the drab garden...I love this bloody plant! And your poem does it justice! A very fine ode to a garden friend who asks so little and in return for cheering us after the winter!

thanks for the read!

Author's Reply:
Hello Sabrina. Apologies for the delay in replying, but other things intervened.

Anyway, I'm here now, so I will respond by thanking you for a comment that shows you really enjoyed reading my appreciation of heather. I suppose it was you who also nominated this poem, so thanks for that as well!

A jewel-like friend that offers so much against a drab background deserves to be acknowledged, I think!

Thanks again for your comment.

Steve


The Brewery Tap, R I P A (posted on: 25-08-08)
There was a tavern in the town...

It sounded too much like a pub, (a place where beer was sold), and so they dropped the 'Brewery' from the name, they scrubbed it clean and spruced it up, (at least, that's what I'm told), but, from the outside looking in, it doesn't seem the same. It's called 'The Tap Bar' nowadays, they sell expensive cake with Chardonnays and lattes, cappuccinos. I've seen them sitting in the bays, (I find it hard to take), the view of women plunging, sipping, knitting in the windows. This was a pub where music played and it was live and fun, with anything and everything expected. Now, there is a different trade of tea and Chelsea Bun, where everything is sanitised, polished, disinfected. If women want a slice of cake, there's nothing wrong with that, there's a place for cafetires and tea infusers, they've earned the right to have a break, relax and have a chat, but why destroy, what once had been, amongst the best of boozers? Rest in peace, The Brewery Tap, but if you should return and I am still alive to see the day, then I'll come back, forget the crap, assuming that you learn just what it takes to run a pub and keep the IPA.
Archived comments for The Brewery Tap, R I P A
barenib on 25-08-2008
The Brewery Tap, R I P A
You said I might like this and you were right! Of course we know the ex-pub, but I'm sure there are lots of others around the country that have been similarly ruined. The traditional pub and related culture is being destroyed and I don't know why, except that too many things seem to have the Harriet Harperson ring about them these days.
Anyway, well written and enjoyable lament for one of our favourite old boozers - John.

Author's Reply:
Yes, whilst this is about a specific place we both know in our locality, I hoped it might ring true generally, since this is far from an isolated case, so it's pleasing to see you picked up on that.

Glad you enjoyed the read, but sad that there was more than enough material to prompt the poem. I don't think I'll ever get over seeing that woman knitting through the window.

Must go now - Harriet Harperson is telling me to brush my teeth and get to bed...

Ta for comment,

Steve

Bradene on 25-08-2008
The Brewery Tap, R I P A
Yes, a pub where you went to play crib or solo, have a game of darts or dominoes and drink some properly brewed ale. When they opened at lunch time, then again at six till ten thirty. When you knew the other patrons were your friends. I doubt you could find such a place these days. Good poem. Val

Author's Reply:
Hello Val and thanks for your reflective comment, which tells me that you appreciate very well the wider social implications of the demise of real pubs. These days, a dartboard in what is now 'The Tap Bar' would be about as out of place as a hog roast at a bar mitzvah. Or should I say 'Tap Bar Mitzvah?!

Thanks for contemplating this and for commenting - good to know you enjoyed the read.

Steve

Andrea on 25-08-2008
The Brewery Tap, R I P A
Oh dear, oh dear, they're a dying breed, them boozers. Still a few left, especially in the country I think, but hundreds are closing every month it seems, as most yuppies prefer wine bars and poncy coffees called skinny wotsits and stuff called bruschetta, whatever that might be when it's at 'ome. Gimme steak and kidney pud an' bangers 'n' mash any day.

*wanders off weeping*

*comes back*...er...great pome, Steve!

Author's Reply:
Hi Andrea and thanks for your comment.

Well, it's certainly an unfortunate trend, but I hope some will survive - and there's certainly a market, in my view, for well-run traditional pubs. Much is said about the impact of the smoking ban (which I deliberately ignored in this poem,so as not to cloud other issues in a pall of smoke) and the deep discounting of alcohol by supermarkets and these both have a big impact. Another aspect surely must be the trend of fewer and fewer landlords and landladies and more and more managers. Whilst it has of course always been the case that a pub has to be viable, many are much more overtly profit centres these days. This has led to a loss of character, and characters. Crucially, many of those put in charge of these managed houses have little (if any) experience of how to keep a cellar. So the beer goes off, or is at least sub-standard. So people decide to drink something else (done this many times myself). So they think, since the beer's not selling well and anyway it's such a faff looking after those barrels, why not cut down, or cut out, the beers/ales, and so it becomes self-fulfilling.

On top of all this, add on the very strict drink/drive laws these days and I'm afraid I'm not so confident about the survival of many country pubs that depend on migrant trade for their profitability. So many villages lose their 'community centre' of a pub (just having lost their sub-post office and local shop). Then the government wonders why there is social breakdown...

I'd better stop now, but thanks for reading and commenting!!

Mine's a pint,

Steve

Sunken on 26-08-2008
The Brewery Tap, R I P A
Hello Mr. Case. It's all very sad isn't it )-: I cry into my beer every night. It's a disgrace! Nice one, Pencil of the yard.

s
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k
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i'd know that sneer anywhere

Author's Reply:
Evening All, DI pencil here. You know, a funny thing happened to me on my way home from The Yard this evening. I walked past an old haunt that used to be a favourite of mine, and I hardly bloomin' well recognised the place! All pastel shades, piped music and fancy foreign gateaux it was. And in the alcove where I used to enjoy a game of arrers, the'd taken away the dartboard and put up a shelf that supported a vase of bloomin', er, bloomin' flowers! Why I ain't not never ever, nor neither 'ave I seen such a state of affairs and no mistake. Like you, I ended up crying in me beer (at home, of course - can't afford them highfalutin continental lagers).

Have just uploaded audio. Doesn't sound too bad, considering I recorded it after a crate of Old Wallop.

Whose round is it?...

RoyBateman on 27-08-2008
The Brewery Tap, R I P A
Excellent - I agree with every word, and it's beautifully constructed too. I've been a CAMRA member since the 70s, and have just come back from yet another pub-touring holiday (taking in the Peterborough Beer Festival. Hic...) and it's dreadful how many pubs have been closed in the past year. More than the smoking ban - which had to come - I think the recession generally is doing the damage. Even here, in a fairly touristy town, beer is heading for three quid a pint and that really is a lot of cash. A round can be a real pain the wallet. When even JDW pubs are easing their prices up - over two quid a pint in Brum now - it's hard to see how many places can survive: it's a killer combination of tighter budgets and ever-rising costs.
Also, kids - who still seem to have money - have different tastes. They don't want traditional pubs, they want trendy, ever-changing venues and clubs. You should have seen Nottingham centre at 2 in the morning last weekend (I did, but only from my room) - it was like a bloody war zone, no kidding. I don't want to share a pub with THAT lot...and soon, there might not be any to share. Right, that's enough ranting - excellent poem, well worth a ten.

Author's Reply:
Hello Roy and thanks very much for your appreciative and detailed comment, and for the generous rating. If you didn't scroll down before, I elaborated somewhat in my reply to Andrea's comment regarding some aspects behind the decline of the pub. Your comment adds additional and relevant considerations.

Whilst we may feel like we are against the tide, I think it's worth writing about social changes that are going on - some more sinister than others, perhaps. I'm grateful also for your appreciating the construction I employed in this poem.

I hope you find an agreeable watering-hole at the weekend!

Cheers,

Steve

Jolen on 28-08-2008
The Brewery Tap, R I P A
Hi Steve,
I loved the irregular rhyme scheme. It has an echo quality to it, which to my mind is perfect for the last tribute to a friend who's passed. Clever work, as always and one that is obviously global in appeal. So good to be reading (and hearing) your work again.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Hi Jolen and thanks for reading, listening and commenting. Your 'echo quality / perfect for...tribute to a friend...' remark is gratifying and it is both pleasing and useful to know that the style in which I chose to write this has come across as fitting.

And thanks for your blessings, which I return with interest!

Steve

discopants on 28-08-2008
The Brewery Tap, R I P A
My local has a dartboard, 2 pool tables and isn't owned by a big brewery. Do I win a prize? Mind you, they have had some fancy decking built at the top of the beer garden.

Very true, though- I hate these bright, shiny bars with mirrors everywhere- give me dark and moody every time. I hear some of these new-fangled bars have even started allowing women into them!!

dp

Author's Reply:
Yes, it's outrageous, isn't it? Allowing women into bars! I've heard that some of them have even taken to having some cash on their person and offering to buy a round!

Anyways, thanks for engaging with this and, yes, you DO win a prize...your prize is having what sounds like a decent local pub! So enjoy that, dp! Can only send you a virtual pint, I'm afraid, but one I hope you will enjoy at the weekend!

Cheers (what else?)...

Steve

Vladpavski on 29-08-2008
The Brewery Tap, R I P A
Such is the bourgeoisification of this country, mate. The Lorne Arms in Walthamstow, my old local, went this way too. Now it's called L.A. - Jesus wept!

I really like the unusual ABCABC rhyme scheme, and the longer final lines of each verse.

I don't think you need 'just' in the last line though, or 'still' three lines before it. Too many adverbs spoil the broth and all that.

All the best,

Vladpavski (now of Novosibirsk)


Author's Reply:
Ah! Is that you, Count Vlad the Impaler of South Central Walthamstow?! Thank you for your close reading and for your identifying with the subject matter.

Whilst the subject I write about is in the news in one way or another, you may imagine that this is also accurate about a specific place in Ware (used to be a good old pub, now it's still technically a pub, but actually it isn't). All I want to say is, several months ago I was walking past it and, not surprised to see small groups of women sitting and chatting in the bay windows, I was however taken aback to see that one of these women was knitting. Knitting! I still haven't got over that...More recently, I walked by one Saturday lunchtime-ish and thought 'The Brewery Tap, R I P'. Then I thought of I P A. This prompted a thought, a title, a poem.

Praise the landlord and pass the disinfectant...

Steve



The View From Lane 8 (posted on: 08-08-08)
looking forward, glancing back

As the Olympic Games begin in Beijing, I've found myself considering the view from lane 8. Whilst these days the Olympics seem to include everything from synchronised crochet to underwater ping-pong, I think most people tend to think of track and field athletics as providing the core events and images of any Olympiad. I only have to turn the key in the vault of my memory bank and vivid moments of triumph and disaster come bouncing back. And all this reminds me of my own little moment of sporting triumph - a juvenile success I enjoyed just three months or so before the 1972 Olympics took place in Munich. For me, it was a time of youth and innocence. Not like these days, when we are bedevilled with interventionist wars and haunted by the fear of terrorist attack. I was rather more concerned with representing my school in the 400 metres at the district sports day, and excited by the fact that this meeting was to take place at a proper athletics stadium. I know it's easy to look back through rose-tinted athletic spectaclesafter all, it wasn't long before Black September nearly brought the '72 Olympics to a premature end by taking hostages from the Israeli Olympic squad, eventually killing eleven of them. The United States was resuming bombing the cities of Hanoi and Haiphong, whilst also taking the opportunity to try out new and diabolically inventive methods of wiping out rural populations. Then there was Baader-Meinhof, the Japanese Red Army, The Red Brigades, The Angry Brigade and, of course, the IRA - 1972 having been the year of Bloody Sunday and the reprisals which followed. Okay, so perhaps this indicates that things were not so great, after all. But maybe it emphasises that youth and innocence are hard to find, whatever times you happen to grow up in. The trouble is, you don't really understand that until it's too late. The best you can hope for is that you're not unlucky enough to be born right into the middle of a war zone and that there are people around you who care enough to put themselves out so that you might have a chance to shine. Fortunately for me, my athletics meeting was to take place at Welwyn Garden City, which, for all its faults, was not generally regarded as a war zone, despite the fact that Irish fundraising events had been rumoured to take place on occasions at one or two establishments in that vicinity. As our team made its way to the Gosling Stadium on that particular Saturday, all I was concerned with was wanting to do my best. I'd previously spent 3 years in the cub scouts, promising Akela that I would do my best, and those green-jumpered chants hadn't quite left my psyche just yet. When the time came for my heat in the 400 metres, the competitors were mustered by marshalls, lists were ticked, race numbers were issued, and so on. It was like my own little Olympics. Nervousness crept in, but the fear of failure really reared its head when I heard some of the other boys talking about the times they had achieved and I realised that these were several seconds faster than anything I had managed. I kind of felt maybe I was in the wrong place: an uncomfortable sensation made even worse by the realisation that it was too late to back out. The draw for lanes was announced. Now, if you're competing in the 400 metres, the two lanes you really don't want are either lane 1 or lane 8: the former because of its tighter curvature; the latter because you can't see how the race is unfolding until maybe it's too late. I was drawn in lane 8. This was bad news, but in a way it made life easier. I decided to just go for it, concentrate on my own race and not look back, and if I hadn't been completely slaughtered by the rest of the field by the time I reached the last bend, then I would glance over my shoulder at this more convenient point to see how the stagger was unwinding (a tip I had received from my big teenaged experienced athlete brother). The starting gun crackled the Hertfordshire air. I was off. Being on the outside lane, of course, I reached the back straight fairly quickly. As I pumped my way along the tramlines of hope and fear, approaching the 200 metre starting point, it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn't seen anyone overtake me or even come into my view from any of the inside lanes. I doubt very much that Tom Hanks was in the crowd, but if he had been then it's quite likely that Forrest Gump would have hit our screens many years earlier than it eventually did. So I just kept going like billy-o, running like the clappers for all I was worth, my lungs and legs advising me of their displeasure at this sustained call upon their services. But as I neared the home straight, the cheering of the crowd from the grandstand injected a motivational boost and this was further enhanced when I took that little glance over my shoulder on the final bend and saw that I was in front by some way and that I just had to keep going to win it. It was quite an experience eating into that home straight, running in front of that grandstand, especially as, being in lane 8, I was right next to the noise from the crowd. I took the tape just over a minute after my mind had been littered with thoughts of failure and disaster. Not surprisingly, perhaps, considering the uncompromising effort I had made to qualify, I didn't make such an impression on the final when it took place later that day. But it didn't really matter to me somehow, because I'd had my moment of glory, having taken on what, to me at the time, seemed an Olympic struggle. And I had triumphed. Although I have never forgotten it, I will admit to wishing I had remembered it more frequently during the ensuing years. You know, at those times when the other boys make boastful claims about how much faster they can run than you, when you allow the seeds of doubt to be planted in your mind, when you worry about what other people say about you, think about you, when that old fear of failure creeps in, or when you're so busy trying to assess how the others are doing that it undermines your own potential. A glance over the shoulder at the right moment might be helpful, but there's no point in looking back all the time. It's important to look forward, otherwise it's impossible to realise what just might be achievable. That's my view, anyway. I call it the view from lane 8.
Archived comments for The View From Lane 8
orangedream on 09-08-2008
The View From Lane 8
'A glance over the shoulder at the right moment might be helpful, but there’s no point in looking back all the time.'

How right you are - and how beautifully told, this small slice of life from another age almost. Or was it? As you quite rightly say:-

"...youth and innocence are hard to find, whatever times you happen to grow up in. The trouble is, you don’t really understand that until it’s too late."

An expertly penned allegory, made even better by the fact it was based on fact and for myself a more than worthwhile read. Loved the title by the way.

Tina

Author's Reply:
Hello Tina and many thanks for your thoughtful comment. I quite enjoyed writing this. It is, as you say, an allegory...based on fact! That's a neat way of putting it and if uka had an 'allegory based on fact' category then I would change my submission accordingly. As it is...I just stuck it under 'articles'!

But it is very factual and truthful. I just tried to recall the 'little' experience/memory and hoped to put it into a wider-ranging context.

Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed the read.

All the best,

Steve

Sunken on 10-08-2008
The View From Lane 8
I must learn to have more faith in your athletic abilities, Mr. Case. I was convinced that this was going to end with you having accidentally run some alternative practice course. Those seeds of self doubt that you speak of were instilled in me from a very early age. I still say that my spoon was far smaller than those supplied to the other kids. I swear that my egg was bigger too. 'Foul play was indeed suspected from the start,' said a spokesperson. An enjoyable piece, Mr. Case, and no mistake.

s
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he now competes in a different kind of sack race

Author's Reply:
Sorry to hear about your egg and spoon trauma. I wonder if there has ever been an instance of a chick hatching during an egg and spoon race? Foul play, indeed. Just a thought.

You should indeed have more faith in my athletic abilities, Mr.sunken. As a teenager, I was a regional ABA Paperwight finalist and my footballing prowess in my favoured position of main drawback led to a series of trials at Nottingham Forest. I remember vividly Brian Clough coming up to me and saying "now then, young man". He walked away from me immediately after that, but the memory endures.

Good luck in the sack race. My advice would be to eat healthily...an empty sack doesn't stand up.

Best regards as ever,

pencilthlete

barenib on 10-08-2008
The View From Lane 8
Steve - an interesting piece to contrast, in some ways, with your childhood smells poem. You're right of course, one should concentrate on the road ahead, but the temptation to look back sometimes proves too great; it's becoming stuck in a 'rose-tinted' past that's the danger.
As you rightly point out, where and when you're born are a matter of chance; I wouldn't much fancy being a Baghdad baby or a Palestine child at present. In that context Hertfordshire isn't so bad, even if all our favourite old shops and their cheery, non-packaging owners have disappeared.
We have to keep our chins up, as they say, even if they seem dangerously close to the ground at times. John.

Author's Reply:
Oh yes, keep yer pecker up! Often easier said than done, but worth remembering.

After writing 'How I Used To Smell...' it occurred to me that I have written quite a few poems based on my early memories as a young boy in the sixties. There's nothing wrong with that, but I thought it might be a good idea to write something contemporary, as a contrast. So I started thinking about the Olympics, which were on the horizon in the last week or two. But thinking about the Olympics tends to take you back! Then I thought of my personal memory...well at least I made it to 1972! But I thought that some of the aspects I refer to are really timeless, so I ran with it!

Now the Games have started and, right on cue, another conflict breaks out!

I did not want to sound didactic in my conclusion, but rather make the point that we can only do what is in our power (if we're lucky enough to have a chance at all). Having faith in yourself is meant to be a big theme here, and not to be inhibited by the boasters/moaners/doubters. An unusual outbreak of optimism and confidence from me, but still I hope I've set this against a background of negativity and conflict!

Thank you for your considered comment. And good luck with your own efforts.

All the best from lane 8...



How I Used To Smell, When I Was Young (posted on: 28-07-08)
A new poem which I read at The Lucas Arms on Saturday

When I was young, I used to smell, back when I dwelt in vestiges of infantile omnipotence, my senses fresh and keen. But then, I know it wasn't just my youthfulness that made the only difference to fool me to imagining not the truth of how things were, but how they might have been. No, this was real, I copped it in the High Street, amongst the bundled evening rags and writhing eels, when broken biscuits were a treat and shops smelled of the things they sold. Instead of deli counters, we had grocers, where freshly sliced and wired ham and cheese would sell themselves by their appetising smell, enticing valued customers to interact with white-coated, respected chaps and have a chat as well. Newspapers and magazines blended with arrays of sweets, jars my memory with the richest pipe tobaccos and displays of dusty sherbet fountains, shelved along with mint and chocolate creams. The oily, engineering air of hardware shops, where paper bags and coats were brown and everything was somewhere in a cardboard box, amongst the cut that wafted in from out the back where timber, racked, had sawmill freshness, unprepared. Olfactory sensations spread to greengrocers and florists too, stimulating earthiness, since flowers' bunched-together scent was almost overpowering and noticeable too, back then, the subtle tones I harvested of morning-sieved potatoes, amongst the fruit and veg. Adjacent to these basic needs the futuristic age that filled my vinyl nostrils with the electronic pong of wonder at the records and the televisions there and tape recorders, reel-to-reel, that had the modern functions of fast-forward and rewind - the feel of optimism and the whiff of electrickery that magnetised my mind. Now, packaging technology has everything wrapped up: from coconuts to broccoli; from screws to ham and cheese; from magazines to flowers; from nuts and bolts to spuds just thinking back to times when many items were distinguished by their smell and High Streets had variety before the chains took hold. Considering the sniff I had at youth and life and hope. Nowadays, I know it all seems distant and remote.
Archived comments for How I Used To Smell, When I Was Young
Macjoyce on 28-07-2008
How I Used To Smell, When I Was Young
I bet you reeked too.

Good stuff, Steve. I've never thought about it before, I suppose cos I grew up in the 80s and 90s when the damage was already done. But you still do get proper High Streets with bakeries and greengrocers and fishmongers, and the corresponding smells to delight the nostrils. Deptford, for example. And even Walthamstow, to an extent.

Sigh. Oh, Deptford, Deptford...


Author's Reply:
Yes, I've left a few smells behind me in my time, I must admit.

I tend to retain a lot of memories from my early days and this offering nods towards the probability that, for one thing, my sense of smell must have been keener. But I do think that shops were much more identifiable by smell though, and this would seem to make sense because not only was packaging technology so efficient, but also there were far more things on display that were completely unpackaged. Hopefully, my little trip down Memory Lane (or to be more precise...Ponders End High Street) might also prompt thoughts about the contemporary debate on excessive packaging, as well as one or two other present v past considerations.

Thanks for commenting and it was good to meet you on Saturday...your 'Anarchy In The UK' brought a wry smile and jogged other memories that came about ten years after those considered in 'How I Used To Smell...'!

Steve

Sunken on 28-07-2008
How I Used To Smell, When I Was Young
Hello Mr. Case. A smashing piece. My fave line has to be -

'... the whiff of electrickery
that magnetised my mind...'

Well done on the nib. Please accept a smelly Bernard. That'll teach ya!

s
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k
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n



Author's Reply:
Hello sunken. Thanks for reading and commenting and, of course, special thanks to Bernard for the top bark.

Pleased to see you enjoyed my magnetised mind. I recall that one of my uncles had a reel-to-reel tape recorder and this fascinated me (bearing in mind this was a few years before even the audio cassette was available). There was an occasion when, at a family gathering, he secretly switched it to record and subsequently played back the conversations which had gone on. This caused great merriment to everyone - we weren't used to hearing our own voices back then. Things have moved on a bit since!

Thanks for dropping in and regards to Bernard,

Steve

red-dragon on 31-07-2008
How I Used To Smell, When I Was Young
They say one of the greatest senses is the olfactory one. I agree......a sniff at youth and hope...
A great poem which I am nominating, because...I smell a whiff of the older generation recapturing their youth. (oh dear, that's me then)
Ann
PS, I remember the smell of a slab of gorgonzola being cut before my eyes...and the sheer enjoymnent of a sliver!

Author's Reply:
Hello Ann,

It is pleasing to know that you enjoyed the poem and it helped to evoke your own memories. Thanks too for the nomination.

I read this poem at UKAlive last Saturday. I recorded it on Sunday, but for some reason the audio upload did not succeed (I tried several times). It may be though that my live reading might appear on youtube once David (sirat) has had the chance to upload it. So if you find a moment you might be able to take a look!

Anyways, thanks again for reading and commenting. I really wanted to have something new to read at UKAlive and in fact I only finished writing the poem about two hours before setting off for Kings X last Saturday!

Best wishes,

Steve

Jolen on 01-08-2008
How I Used To Smell, When I Was Young
Oh gods, Steve, it's great to see you posting again. This is delightful in every way and so true about our culture/times in general. I know just what you mean, I grew up next to a market that was a veritable smorgasbord of scents for us as kids. I miss all the openess we had then, in this plastic-wrapped world.
Glad this was nibbed and nominated, it is deserving.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Hi Jolen - good to hear from you! I hope you are well and that life is treating you well.

Thanks for reading and commenting and it's good to know that you enjoyed the poem. It's pleasing when a poem makes a reader reflect on his or her own take on the general subject, since this indicates that the essence has got across! I suppose 'essence' is quite apt here!

Are you back in Yorkshire now? I've lost track! Hope things are going well, wherever you are and thanks again for taking the time to engage with how I used to smell!!!

Steve

teifii on 02-08-2008
How I Used To Smell, When I Was Young
Wonderful. I loved it on Saturday night and reading it now I can smell all those scents again.
It reminded me of my dad who, after smoking since he was 13, suddenly gave up when the medical profession came out with facts. After that he had a few pence spare cash and used to go camping on a farm by the coast once a year. The first time he went he came home to relate in thrilled tones that there was a bakery in the village there that smelt exactly like the one near where he grew up. Clearly it was a proper bakery but he didn't realise that he's just regained his sense of smell.
Congrats on well deserved nom.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Hello Daff and thanks for reading, and for your thoughtful comment. I was pleased to meet you at last just a week ago. I know you attended last year, but I couldn't make it then. Well, we got there in the end! I hope you had a smooth journey home.

As far as this poem is concerned, I deliberately avoided bakeries (and fish) because these still have distinctive smells (even if it's difficult to find an independent bakery or fishmonger). So I went for things like newsagents/tobacconists, grocers, greengrocers and , at that time, what I refer to as the futuristic electronic pong of shops selling records and electrical appliances.

Thanks again for your comment. It was a pleasure to meet you and I look forward to your continued presence on uka.

Best regards and 'my racy thumb'

Steve

woodbine on 07-08-2008
How I Used To Smell, When I Was Young
Hi Steve,
I was just watching you performing this on the DVD david made and I truly think it one of your best poems, wonderfully observant and faithful to the age of the nineteen fifties and our two grocery stores which were the Home and Colonial, and the Co-Op. This would definitely scoop the Bi-annual Poetry Pungency Prize were there to be one. It's full of life and energy and smells much like the milk and salt and the wood polish at the junior lending library that I can now only remember. And you have conjured it all up in a few words, well worthy of a nomination.

Thank you, Steve,
John

Author's Reply:
"Bi-annual Poetry Pungency Prize"??? Bring it on, I say! Thanks for that John! And thanks for the kind and thoughtful words in your comment.

There is a fifties feel about this although I was in fact born in 1960, but the content of the poem is my reflection as a 5-9 year-old and things took a bit longer to change then than they do these days, I suppose. I don't have a personal memory of the Home and Colonial, but I certainly remember the old-fashioned Co-Op. I also remember independent grocers. And there was another shop in Ponders End High Street at that time. Kind of basic, bit grubby, busy, stacks of beans. Now, what was it called? Oh yes, I remember! Tesco! I wonder whatever happened to them?

Thanks again for your comment and best regards,

Steve

barenib on 10-08-2008
How I Used To Smell, When I Was Young
Steve, thanks for bringing back these olfactory memories to me too. Whilst I too bemoan the disappearance of the old style high street, I hadn't realised how much this particular apsect of how it used to be had become buried among my childhood memories too. Amazing how, as I read this, those very smells were conjured up by whichever part of the brain deals with 'aroma recollections'.
But of course this is just one aspect; your poem comments on what we've lost and the pre-packaged, prescriptive life of today which says, 'this is what we know you want, and the public wants what the public gets'.

An admirable and well written and described piece that fully deserves the positive comments, nib and nomination that it has received - John.

Author's Reply:
Thank you for your kind words, John - I'm pleased you enjoyed the read and that it prompted memories and thoughts of past and present. I've always had confidence in my ability to conjure up a few smells, and I've had feedback in this regard many times before, but it's good to know that I haven't lost my touch!

Your thoughtful and complimentary comment is well-received and much appreciated.

Steve
(5-0! Wasn't expecting that!).


Halfway For Ladies (posted on: 30-06-08)
"No-one should have to put up with discrimination" Harriet Harman, House of Commons, 26th June 2008.

Taking positive action against discrimination, to build a fairer Britain and tackle sexism in The City, Harriet Harman, lawyer-politician of privileged background, Minister for Women and Equality, is addressing inequalities in her Equality Bill, so firms can choose a woman over a man of equal ability, legally. In this lies the tacit understanding, nodded, winked for years, of women being favoured, membered, selected for their gender. The fact that part-time women rate less than full-time men will not be tolerated anymore. No sweeping under the carpet here, the Minister for Women and Equality fights discrimination, enshrining it in law.
Archived comments for Halfway For Ladies
RoyBateman on 30-06-2008
Halfway For Ladies
Ah, there are so many uncomfortable truths in this...why can even intelligent people not see that discrimination is discrimination, no matter how it's dressed up? "Positive" is STILL discrimination, as you so rightly say. Only the motive is different. And yes, I also love being preached at by over-privileged arses like Harman. Funny how the Labour Party lambasts "toffs" in other parties, eh? And I love the way Ed Balls (!!) hates grammar schools. Of course, he was also privately educated so the best was bought for him, unlike we poor peasants. There, rant over...
ps No it's not! What about all these literary comps etc. that are confined to women, eh? What about we middle-aged white blokes? Ooh, I could snap my pencil. If I had one...

Author's Reply:
Hello Roy and thanks for reading and commenting. Given my username on this site though, I must say I was a little concerned at your "I could snap my pencil" remark!

You make some interesting comments, but I suppose history throws up various quirks, whatever age we are born into. In our time, the notion of 'equal opportunities' has been fought for over many decades, and I very much support this. This has perhaps been undermined by significant sponsorship of such things as women only literary competitions, for example, but whilst I see the double standards here, it is perhaps irritating rather than an attempt to legalise discrimination. But given that our Minister for Women and Equality is now on course to introduce a law that has moved from double standards to doublespeak - a law which will provide for legal discrimination in the name of Equality, that will, potentially, disadvantage millions of people, then I thought I would have my say whilst there's still time.

Best wishes,

Steve

artisus on 01-07-2008
Halfway For Ladies
I think I agree with you and Roybateman, if they want to help women they should be doing other things.

Author's Reply:
Hello Nic and thanks for your comment. Whatever a government can do to help, encourage and incentivise various sections of society seems reasonable to me, both for the good of the individuals concerned as well as for the benefit of society as a whole. The British Minister for Women and Equality's comments though, versus the content of her parliamentary Bill, seem to me to amount to hypocrisy on an Orwellian scale.

Maybe the next step on her career path will be Minister for Truth?!

Hope you are well and thanks again for reading.

Steve

Sunken on 01-07-2008
Halfway For Ladies
Blimey. I'm almost too scared to comment, Mr. Case. I fear saying the wrong thang and stirring up a hornet's nest. Much better that I ramble on nonsensically for a while. I admire your way with words. I'd have definitely tripped myself up on this subject. I am. of course, all for equality. Did you see Duffy at Glastonbury? Nice hot-pants and no mistake. Mind you, I bet I'd carry them off just as well.

s
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now with anti-staggering control

Author's Reply:
If the hornets' nest is about to strike through no fault of your own then I suppose it's as well to say something about it!

To respond to your Glastonbury comment, the only 'Duffy' I remember was in 'Please Sir!' many years ago. I don't want to be sexist about this, but I really would have no wish to see him in hot-pants!

Thanks for dropping in on pencil manor,

Steve

discopants on 01-07-2008
Halfway For Ladies
One day, someone will have the bright idea of employing someone based on their ability rather than their gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, religious beliefs etc etc but I wouldn't hold my breath....

Author's Reply:
Hi disco...

The truth is that it is impossible to know for sure when recruiting someone whether or not it will work out. Ask Alan Sugar (topical reference, in case anyone else ever reads this).

That said, the aspects you mention in your comment should not be, I agree, either determiningly positive or negative. Enshrine discrimination in law and it makes it easy for recruiters. I'm sure you can work it out for yourself from there.

All the best,

Steve

Jolen on 03-07-2008
Halfway For Ladies
Hi Steve,
Your poem hits the nail on the head with sublime truth. As the others have said, one day perhaps they'll see it should be on merit as a worker, not anything else. I'm glad to see you posting again. I hope this finds you and yours well.
blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Hello Jolen and thanks for your comment. It's good to hear from you.

I suppose its supporters would say that the Equality Bill seeks to guarantee a fair deal for all. It is therefore quite difficult to oppose it, since anyone who does so risks being branded as someone who is against the whole notion of what is fair and inclusive. I am not against fairness, inclusivity and equality of opportunity. This is why I speak up against an 'Equlity' Bill which will legalise, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on gender. Harriet Harman said "no-one should have to put up with discrimination" and I agree. That's why I submitted this piece.

I hope you are well and thanks for dropping in!

Best wishes,

Steve

barenib on 03-07-2008
Halfway For Ladies
The point you made about not knowing how someone will turn out for some months is so true and very relevant. My organisation employed a wanker as our head of department for two years and then paid him off with 100k just to get rid of him. Inequality is everywhere, and you can't address it by discriminating. Individuals should be employed by a democracy of all the people they're going to work with, then things might stand a chance. J.

Author's Reply:
John,

You pick up on the recruitment process. This is often fraught with difficulty and, as I replied in a previous response to a comment, well...you never know how things will turn out. This has obviously had some resonance with you!

When the Equality Bill becomes an Act of Parliament, as it surely will, I imagine there will be many situations where employers have to choose between a male and a female applicant who both seem to be excellent candidates for the vacant position. When enacted, this Bill will mean that the employer will select the female candidate because, if they don't, they will be putting themselves at risk of being taken to an employment tribunal or a court of law. Harman has said that there could be some circumstances where a man could be favoured over a woman (the example being a Headmistress - as she put it - wanting to have a man on board in a junior school where most of the teaching staff are women). But any instances of a man being preferred due to his gender will be few and far between, and actually I would not wish to be preferred due to my gender. I would rather be successful based on my being the best candidate for the job. And this leads me to the other reason why I oppose her Bill. Whilst the overriding reason for my stance is that her Bill will lead to inequality and discrimination, the secondary reason for my opposition is that it will lead people to think, even if they dare not say, 'she only got the job because she's a woman'.

Steve

e-griff on 26-10-2008
Halfway For Ladies
I'm listening to audios. Can I just say, without being specifically critical, that if you relaxed a bit, and let your true voice come out, it would be much better. See, I could hear it, but you 'regularised' it and were 'careful'.

Let your own spirit rip! I can hear it will be good. (Practice first!) I promise you ...

Author's Reply:
Your comment is valid as I know it to be true. Whenever an opportunity arises to read in front of an audience then I take it if possible. I don't get those opportunities frequently, so have made use of uka's audio facility. It's not the same as a live rendition, of course, but a useful substitute. My aim, when reading aloud, is to convey exactly what I meant when writing something. At my best, I have confidence in my ability to write and to deliver what I have written - and I have a spirit too!

Your comment to let that spirit rip is actually quite encouraging and I will bear that in mind.

Thanks for your comment,

Steve


Opposite Owls (posted on: 14-04-08)
On hearing owls from the cemetery opposite to where I live, as I approached my door late at night.

From the graveyard opposite, through the dead of night, your call is somehow comforting, inviting my attention as you emphasise the silence that I hadn't heard before. The opposite of frightening, your soothing calls bring inward smiles and hit home as I reach my door, pausing there, upon the step, to take you in a little more, before I leave the night behind. Your opposite responds at last, clearly from the woodland, maybe half a mile away, and your conversation quickens, bringing life to moonlit skies and, lighter now, I listen to the soundtrack of the night.
Archived comments for Opposite Owls
orangedream on 14-04-2008
Opposite Owls
Tuwit .. twoo. Sorry - that was my two owls impression. Not half as good as your poem, unfortunately.

I love to hear the owls. We get them in fits and starts round here but I love nothing better than to hear them at night. Kind of comforting somehow and as you say, not in the least bit scary as their call is sometimes portrayed in movies and the like.

Enjoyed.

Tina

Author's Reply:
I do a very good owl impression at the end of the audio.

They call only now and then in my neck of the woods too. I enjoy it for the moment, but on reflection it is interesting how the call of owls seems to be received by humans as a comforting and soothing sound.

Anyway Tina, thanks for letting me know you enjoyed it. I think it does something to conjure up the feeling of a still night punctuated by the sound of owls.

Best regards,

Steve

barenib on 15-04-2008
Opposite Owls
A nice vignette, as they say, of 'Wheatsheaf' nightlife - I can hear them from my place too. Whatever happens though, don't get your Kestrel caught....

Author's Reply:
Thank you, your nibness.

Oh yes, in fact the poem was prompted by an owl calling from the trees in the cemetary and a reply that seemed to come from the trees by your abode ('maybe 5-600 yards away' did not really seem to work too well, so I wrote 'maybe half a mile away' instead).

Well, I hope my poem evoked something of the pleasing sound that is the call of owls on an otherwise quiet night.

Thanks for the comment,

Steve

RoyBateman on 15-04-2008
Opposite Owls
They are amazing creatures, and still threatened by loss of barns, etc., as well as hunting territory. It's their rarity, I think, that adds to their mystique - at least rare in terms of good sightings, as opposed to their call. It's good to see someone giving them the respect that they deserve.

Author's Reply:
That's a pleasing comment, Roy. Let's hope that the call of the Tawny can be heard for generations to come. And other types of owl too - I mention Tawny because that's what I heard and what is at the end of my audio.I think it's important I point out that I'm not barn-ist, short-eared-ist or whatever.

You make an interesting comment that it is rare to see an owl. I remember seeing one, a barn owl I think it was, whilst visiting friends in the Cambridgeshire Fens: swooping low it was, over the flat land - presumably on the hunt for a small mammal, just as dusk progressed to the point where it was not yet dark, but the owl's senses had the advantage. I often find this natural world stuff uplifting, for all its 'red in tooth and claw' reality.

Thank you for reading and commenting,

Steve

teifii on 15-04-2008
Opposite Owls
Lovely poem, very musical as well as a nice tribute to the owls. I both hear them and sometimes see them here. I am always intrigued as to what may cause them to be extra chatty on certain nights. I call those nights owly nights as they seem to be in complete charge of the surroundings.
Daff
Oh dear the spell checker doesn't like owly, so I've said it again to annoy it.

Author's Reply:
Hello Daff and thanks for nommenting and cominating, as it seems you have chosen to cominate this. Sorry, I mean nominate this. No owls tonight, I'm afraid. I look forward to their return.

I'm finding it quite interesting that the sound of owls at night is something that most people seem to find pleasant and comforting. If you listen to my reading then you'll hear the Tawnies at the end, so you can have owls on tap, so to speak!

My best wishes to you,

Steve
PS
I think owly is good and I hate spellchecker anyway, so more power to your elbow!

Sunken on 17-04-2008
Opposite Owls
Hello Mr. Case. I like that emphasising silence line. I sometimes get that when I unexpectedly break wind in bed of a night. Incidentally, I am currently in the middle of inventing an air-freshener for pants. I believe this to be the future. Watch out for me on Dragons Den (Uk Done to Death, week days, on the hour). I shall be causing a stink and no mistake. Well done on the nom.

s
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inventor of UnderAir

Author's Reply:
Hello sunken and thanks for having a look at my owls. Yes, it's interesting how a sound can emphasise silence, isn't it?

Good luck with your venture. I will be looking out for you on DD. Have you been in underwear long? I would be willing to model a pair if you get to launching your product.

Anyway, I hope it comes off.

Steve
*sexiest bum of the year in 1977*

Romany on 18-04-2008
Opposite Owls
Just lovely, and I would have stopped to listen for a bit longer too.

"as you emphasise the silence
that I hadn’t heard before. "

Very good.

Romany.


Author's Reply:
Thank you - you understand!

The 'emphasise the silence' part is my favourite bit too. My recording includes the sound of Tawny Owls, so have a listen if you like - it takes just one minute!

They haven't been about just recently. I look over the cemetery and the moon has been visible in a clear sky, but no owls. I'm hoping they will come back! Perhaps they didn't like my poem!

Thanks for taking part,

Steve

Hazy on 18-04-2008
Opposite Owls
Aww, I love owls 🙂

And loved the poem. Nice one, you.

Speak soon, hope all's well at pencil manor.

Jo xx

Author's Reply:
Hello Jo and thanks for the comment. I'm pleased you liked the poem. Talking to people about the calls of owls, and receiving comments on this poem, I've yet to find anyone who does not find the calls of owls soothing. I find that quite interesting.

If you listen to my audio of this then you'll hear a couple of Tawnies at the end! And they send my best wishes to you across the night sky!

Steve
*Chairman of CAMRO (Campaign For Real Owls)!*
PS
Credit where credit's due...John came up with that when we were at the Ware Real Ale Festival last Saturday and I was doing my Tawny Owl impression!

artisus on 19-04-2008
Opposite Owls
It's a very nice poem Steve, my favourite stanza is the last.
Nic

Author's Reply:
Thanks, Nic. It is a poem that is meant to be enjoyed - my intention being merely to convey the atmosphere of the moment. I wrote another poem on nocturnal bird observations nearly a year ago - a rather darker one called 'Carrion Crow'. If you would like to read/listen to it, it's at...

http://www.ukauthors.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=19332

I find birds interesting. I saw two robins having a territorial dispute in my back garden a couple of months ago. It was quite a choreography.

Thanks for commenting.

Steve

royrodel on 13-05-2008
Opposite Owls
I enjoyed the narration. do you work for radio 3?

RODEL

Author's Reply:
Hello Roy and thanks for letting me know you enjoyed my narration. It took me hours to achieve those owl calls at the end, and even then only after squeezing into a pair of shorts that were several sizes too small.

I don't work for R3, but would be interested if you can pull a few strings!

Many thanks for your comment,

Steve

Macjoyce on 14-05-2008
Opposite Owls
What's the difference between a blind archer and a constipated owl?

A blind archer shoots but can't hit.


Ahem. Anyway, top pome, Mister Case. One of the best owl poems I've ever read.

I often hear the shriek of foxes at night and somehow I find that soothing. I suppose it's just good to hear nature in the depth of a huge city.


Author's Reply:
Hi Mac and thanks for the comment. And thanks for the joke!

Unfortunately, the owls haven't been around recently. I will be delighted to hear them again since, as you say, it is good to witness nature at work - and I find this is often good for my spirits.

Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the poem and best regards to you...

Steve


Sanctuary Knocker (posted on: 04-04-08)
Seeking sanctuary in Durham, but all I got was an old knocker at the Cathedral. A youtube link I found shows the knocker and provides its potted history....

www.youtube.com

I'd never seen anything like it, though I'd noticed huge knockers before, I speak of the Sanctuary Knocker that's fixed to suitably oversized timbers, which arch to form the Cathedral door. Many a Middle Age fugitive on the run from the forces of law, had beseeched the Bishop for sanctuary by banging that solitary knocker on Durham Cathedral's door. I stood there on Sunday morning, having travelled the day before, but the woman who'd promised to show me around came up with a yarn that left me alone to ponder that big-knockered door. I'd journeyed in middle-aged hope and enjoyed looking round the old place, but seeing that battered old knocker, I couldn't help thinking, when one door shuts: another one slams in yer face.
Archived comments for Sanctuary Knocker


orangedream on 04-04-2008
Sanctuary Knocker
Durham Cathedral holds a very special place in my heart which has nothing to do with your excellent poem whatsoever or your wise, philosophical words of conclusion.

Meaningful and original. Enjoyed.

Tina



Author's Reply:
Hello Tina and my best regards to you.

I think Durham Cathedral is a solid location to have a special place in your heart for. My experience was somewhat bitter-sweet, but I did enjoy looking around Durham, the Cathedral and especially the Castle. The history of the Sanctuary Knocker is interesting in its own right, but I had to smile at the irony of it all in terms of my personal reasons for being there!

Thanks very much for commenting!

Steve

Corin on 05-04-2008
Sanctuary Knocker
Really enjoyed this PC - I was there only the other day. Of course the real knocker is now safely inside the museum that one on the outside is a falsie! You see even Durham Cathedral goes along with the latest modes!

David

Author's Reply:
Hi David and thanks for commenting.

Yes, the real one is in the museum, but the falsie still gives a good impression. I imagine someone on the run on a bleak night desperately banging that knocker! I think it gets the imagination going...

Thanks again for commenting and best wishes to you,

Steve

Sunken on 06-04-2008
Sanctuary Knocker
Ahem. Not quite the knockers I had in mind when excitedly clicking on your poem, Mr. Case. A neat piece all the same. How true those final lines.

s
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he has nothing to do with terminal 5

Author's Reply:
Look...T5 was not my doing either. I just wanted to clear up that one.

Again, you are quite right. I went to Durham in search of knockers and that's what I got! The youtube link I found is worth a look if you are interested - it's only 13 seconds long and if you click on 'about this video' it explains the background to the Sanctuary Knocker. I've also uploaded (technical term) my reading of this now and am happy to say that 9 out of 10 cat owners preferred it to spinach. Did you know that the Venerable Bede is entombed in Durham Cathedral? Not sure whether or not he got his hands on any knockers up there...

Anyways, I'll leave you with thoughts of Durham - it's worth a visit. And the beer's cheap.

The Venerable pencilcase

discopants on 06-04-2008
Sanctuary Knocker
Very nicely done- there was a particular story I was told about a thief that sought refuge (told to me by someone at the Cathedral) but I can't for the life of me remember what it was, so that doesn't really help, does it??

disco

ps all the best people were born in Durham, don't you know...

Author's Reply:
Hello dp and thanks for the comment. I've been away from the site for a while, so it's good to hear from you and, yes, the best people were born in Durham (or Edmonton!).

I think it's interesting from an historical pov, whilst my personal experience of the place added an irony which I could not fail to see! Nevertheless, I would recommend Durham as a good place for a weekend break!

Best regards,

Steve

barenib on 06-04-2008
Sanctuary Knocker
Steve - From knowing the story I think that you've summed it all up very well here. As I've said before, at least you got a good poem out of it! Cheers, John.

Author's Reply:
Hello John and thanks for taking a look at this. Durham is an interesting place. My eldest nephew is considering universities and Durham is in the mix. Maybe I should have a word with him...

Still, they're not all schizo Viking battle re-enactors, I suppose.

The bells...the bells!

St.pencilcaseburt the Bede

Andrea on 06-04-2008
Sanctuary Knocker
Great stuff potlood! Never been to Durham meself, but am highly impressed with your knocker.

Will you and Mr Nib be exposing yourselves at the do this year? Do (oo-er) hope so, wouldn't be the same without you...sorely missed last year you were (although Mr Nib deigned to put in an appearance).

Author's Reply:
Hello Andrea and thanks for commenting on my knocker pome. Durham is an interesting place to visit, even without being stood up by the Sanctuary Knocker.

barenob and I are planning on attending the do this time round, so lock up your Mothers.

Good to hear from you,

Steve

Andrea on 06-04-2008
Sanctuary Knocker
Er...lock up my mothers what? Potlood?

Barenob? Gawd...

Author's Reply:
Wait till you see my outfit!

I don't know why I said that - I don't have an outfit. Must go now as my teeth itch.

Regards to Vera,

Steve

Andrea on 06-04-2008
Sanctuary Knocker
May I suggest you put your knocker in a very SECURE sanctuary? Vera, indeed!

Author's Reply:


The Goldilocks Zone (posted on: 31-03-08)
In the zone...

It has to be just right. There's nothing out between or in beyond. It needs to be just right: a heavenly perfection for a body to respond. And if it isn't right then nothing will happen at all, in extremes of light and dark, since balance is required, should elements combine to forge their vital spark. Given good conditions, positioned at a distance which allows the juice to flow, where neither heat nor cold, but an incubating warmth will encourage things to grow, where, delicate as life, a happenstance fragility puts nature in a spin, then circumstances stir and Goldilocks expresses the force that lies within.
Archived comments for The Goldilocks Zone
barenib on 31-03-2008
The Goldilocks Zone
Steve - a good poem to get us all thinking about how our little planet is positioned in just the right place to produce life. So many other things too - a tiny difference in the nuclear particles that produce carbon and none of us would be here!
I like your rhyming and scan too which seems to reflect the balance - not too much, not too little, but just so. Cheers, John.

Author's Reply:
Hello John and ta for commenting.

Yes, it seemed appropriate for this poem to have balance and that was a conscious decision. It is also pleasing that your comment alludes to the question of life, the universe and everything (apparently, the answer is 42) since the chances of anything existing in the way it does seem to be so astronomically unlikey that it does not appear unreasonable to me to think in terms of miracles. Now there's a title, perhaps: 'Thinking In Terms Of Miracles'.

Over to you...

Sunken on 01-04-2008
The Goldilocks Zone
Hello Mr. Pencil. I must admit, I thought this was about sex until I read Mr. Nibs comment. This is the kinda ignorance that you can expect from a sunk though. I blame many things - Trial by mirrors, Richard Branson's facial hair and toothpaste are just three of them. I hope this comment has been of some benefit and that we can both grow stronger as a result. Failing that, perhaps we could grow vegetables? Good to see ya posting again.

s
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often mistaken for dust

Author's Reply:
Hello sunken and, yes, after a break, I am back! Thanks for the welcome home!

Well, you are not wrong, oh submerged one, since this poem is intended to work at more than one level. Whether or not this poem is just right is for others to decide, but in wider terms, it undoubtedly has to be just right.

Who's been eating my porridge?

Regards to the munky,

Steve

teifii on 08-04-2008
The Goldilocks Zone
Heavens this place is educational! I had to google Goldilocks Zone .
Love the poem by the way.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Hello Daff - I hope things are well with you.

I didn't know of The Goldilocks Zone expression until quite recently, but I think it is such an appropriate expression that it moved me to write a poem! I intended it to work at different levels though.

Thanks for popping in and leaving a comment,

Steve


The Manners Of Magnus McManus (posted on: 26-10-07)
Gather round, kids ~ and I'll tell you the story of Magnus McManus!...

Magnus McManus had terrible manners that used to offend and annoy, and everyone thought he was thoroughly naughty, a selfish and rude little boy. He talked with his mouth full and gobbled his food, barged in at the front of a queue, his parents were cross, but quite at a loss as to what they could possibly do. His hobbies included tormenting the cat and pinching young girls on the bum, wiping snot on his clothes after picking his nose and farting in front of his Mum. And once he'd discovered what scared you the most, he laughed at your worries and fears, and teased by her brother, his sister would suffer abuse that reduced her to tears. A worm in her sock or a spider in bed, or spoiling the food on her plate, it's really not nice mixing maggots with rice, but Magnus just thought it was great. He never helped out with the housework at all, his room was an absolute mess, and though he would say that he liked it that way, the truth was he couldn't care less. He'd ride on his bike at incredible speed, which prompted alarm and dismay, unsettling the neighbours with thoughtless behaviour that forced them to get out his way. Disruptive at school, where lessons attended would often descend into farce, the kids couldn't cope and his teachers lost hope: he was really a pain in the class. When Magnus McManus's birthday arrived, his parents, reluctant at first, agreed it was hardly too likely a party could possibly make matters worse. So Magnus invited the children he knew from his street, and others from school, but they all stayed at home, leaving Magnus alone on his own with his raspberry fool. He waited and waited, but nobody came, he heard neither knocker nor bell, so his party for one wasn't very much fun: and this on his birthday as well! With no-one to play with, he felt so deflated and later, he started to cry, but saddened and stunned at the way he was shunned, he finally asked himself why. He realised right then it would no longer do to carry on just like before, and vowed to cut out all the mucking about that had driven his mates from his door. So now he's polite and considerate too, his outlook is no longer bleak and, far from rejected, he's rather respected: his Mum was in shock for a week. He's found he enjoys helping other kids out and feels so much better inside, since making amends with a whole bunch of friends, who used to see Magnus and hide. Now Magnus McManus is thoughtful and kind, he's happy and popular too, since learning it pays to treat others in ways that you would like them to treat you!
Archived comments for The Manners Of Magnus McManus
Romany on 26-10-2007
The Manners Of Magnus McManus
Good fun! This owuld be great for my little 'Social Skills' group - could I read it out to them? They would really appreciate the 'rude' bits too! I thought the rhyme and rhythm was great, though it did go a little out of synch in the middle. I reckon with a quick edit and a little tightening, this would be a rollicking read for kids. With respect,

Romany.

Author's Reply:
Hi Romany and belated thanks for your comment. You certainly may read it out to your group! Sorry the rhythm and rhyme didn't work entirely for you - maybe have a listen to my reading and see if this does the job?

Thanks again for your comment - I would be interested how it goes down - and, yes...I put the 'rude' bits in early in an attempt to grab the attention of, I thought, 6 or 7 year-olds!

Regards,

Steve

Macjoyce on 26-10-2007
The Manners Of Magnus McManus
"His hobbies included tormenting the cat
and pinching young girls on the bum,
wiping snot on his clothes after picking his nose
and farting in front of his Mum."

I still do all of those!

Apart from the cat one. I haven't got a cat.

Anyway, this is a top pome! The anapaestic rhythm is pretty regular and you never flinch from your rhyme scheme.

This story's moral is one which a lot of adults need to be taught, as well as children.

Mac the Farter


Author's Reply:
Hello mac - sorry for the tardy reply. Thanks for the comment - pleased to see you enjoyed! My advice would be...don't get a cat, but stick with what you're good at!

Thanks again for your comment.

Steve

Sunken on 26-10-2007
The Manners Of Magnus McManus
Hello Mr. Case of the yard. This would be great for kids, perhaps that's why I enjoyed it. One of the hardest groups to write for in my sunky opinion. They're so fussy these days. And now, if you do not mind, I am off to bathe my feet in goats milk. Good day!

s
u
n
k
e
n



Author's Reply:
Thanks for the comment, sunken. I'm late in replying but I'm grateful for your comment and pleased to see that you enjoyed my effort at a verse for kids. I did read your poem recently and send you my sympathy regarding your loss that prompted such an expression.

I'm only just getting round to responding to comments and I'm at work tonight, so I'd better go.

My best regards,

Steve

admin on 26-10-2007
The Manners Of Magnus McManus
Hahah...Mrs Do-as-you-would-be-done-by, eh?

Sounds like Jess (apart from the barging in front of the queue - farting in front of his mum he has no qualms about, however)

Huge fun, Potlood - grote glimlach...

Author's Reply:
Hello Mrs.Admin and thanks for the comment. Glad this gave you a laugh!

Sorry for delay in replying...

potlood

ruadh on 27-10-2007
The Manners Of Magnus McManus
Great read, my kids loved it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:
Hello ailsa and sorry it's taken a month to reply!

However, I am grateful for your comment and particularly pleased to learn that your kids loved it!

Many thanks for letting me know.

Best wishes,

Steve

Jolen on 28-10-2007
The Manners Of Magnus McManus
Steve:
I so envy anyone who can do children's stories or poetry, and you have used your incredible talent to do a beautiful and fun piece. I am glad to see it nominated, as it so rightly deserved. I enjoyed this very much.
blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Hi Jolen,

This was my attempt at a kids' piece! Glad you enjoyed it. Sorry for delay in replying but...better late than never!

I hope that I might have the opportunity one day to read this to a group of young children and see what reaction it gets.

Thank you for your comment.

Cheers,

Steve

teifii on 30-10-2007
The Manners Of Magnus McManus
Hilaire Belloc, stand aside!
Kids will love his habits so much it might defeat its purpose. I wonder if you should give the idea of maggots and rice [which made me laugh aloud] to any brother who has not already thought of it.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Hi Daff and thanks for the comment.

Good to know this gave you a laugh. Apologies for late reply, but I've been busy recently. I did see your comment soon after you made it though, and I appreciated it. I think I saw that you are the current WOTM, so well done on that score (I just made it in time!).

You can listen to my reading of this on uka if you like - I wonder what the dog(s) would make of it???

All the best to you,

Steve


Laburnum (posted on: 08-10-07)
your beguiling nature

There's more to you than meets the eye, though greet the eye you do, when your brilliant springtime yellow overflows, inviting admiration and our deferential awe at the sunny disposition that you show. Enticing at a distance, you demand a closer look and your detail doesn't disappoint at all, but your transitory beauty is the insincere display of a mask that slips away as petals fall. Revealing then, what lies behind the ostentatious front of deception that disguises selfish needs, when brown and wrinkled pods betray the bitter, twisted truth of the poison at the essence of your seeds.
Archived comments for Laburnum
Jolen on 08-10-2007
Laburnum
Sounds like some people I know. Clever and colorful work, Steve.

I hope this finds you well.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Indeed, Jolen! No doubt I will still find the laburnum attractive next May, but perhaps I will be able to remind myself of what lies behind.

My best to you,

Steve

Sunken on 08-10-2007
Laburnum
Top write in my opinion Mr. Pencil. I feel the need to award you. Ahem...




Author's Reply:
Many thanks, sunken and Bernard. The laburnum goes all shy and unnoticed this time of year, not tending to put on such a performance when it fades and wrinkles. If you spot one in your area though, please cock your leg up beside it and give it a message from me. That was a comment intended for Bernard, btw.

That should sort out the poisonous seeds from the top barks.

pencil

Slovitt on 08-10-2007
Laburnum
Steve: And what was her name? Deftly handled transition through the first and second stanzas to the darkness of your last lines. 'Laburnum' grew in a graveyard in Belfast that I once looked down on from the open windows of an abandoned hostel. My companion was an Irish girl waiting for her boyfriend, a British soldier, to return to duty from a visit home. She was practical, and of the moment, and the laburnum screamed of life. Anyway, your usual skill in this very good poem. Swep

Author's Reply:
Hi Swep and thanks for reading and commenting.

Of course, I won't divulge her name - I think there's more than one anyway! Your Belfast memory sounds like *a grand story, so it does*! I love that aspect of Northern Ireland speech that often ends a statement with a kind of rhetorical emphasis by repeating, so I do. But I think it would be a bit tiresome after a while, so it would.

Good to hear from you and thanks for your appreciation of this.

Steve

Hazy on 08-10-2007
Laburnum
Ouch! Blimey, who's upset you?!

*goes all paranoid*

Some blokies are the same y'know. Tell you what you want to hear, string you along, make you feel like a princess, tell you how special you are, propose at every opportunity, say they want kids and that they'd kill any bloke who ever came within an inch of you... then go fk someone else behind your back.

Nasty. Just plain nasty.

Don't let 'em get you down.

Keep smiling 😀

Hazy x

Author's Reply:
No-one's ever treated me like a princess.

Anyway, it's just a poem about a tree...

Hazy on 08-10-2007
Laburnum
Ouch! Blimey, who's upset you?!

*goes all paranoid*

Some blokies are the same y'know. Tell you what you want to hear, string you along, make you feel like a princess, tell you how special you are, propose at every opportunity, say they want kids and that they'd kill any bloke who ever came within an inch of you... then go fk someone else behind your back.

Nasty. Just plain nasty.

Don't let 'em get you down.

Keep smiling 😀

Hazy x

Author's Reply:
I'm getting a feeling of deja vu when I read this comment. You seem to be becoming uka's answer to Foghorn Leghorn!

Well, thanks for your comment, young Hazy of Walt'm'stow. My (step) Granddad used to live in a council flat by the old Billet roundabout and used to refer to Chingford as where the "arri-stock-rasy" lived! This has nothing to do with my poem, but I think you quite liked my latest poem on laburnum. Another interesting thought I've discovered in writing this is that the seeds of the laburnum can only be joined by male pollen once insects resistant to its poison have pierced it sufficiently so that pollen can gain access. I'm not sure what this means - might have to get sunken to ask Bernard for a Marxist-Leninist interpretation.

pencil
*he talks to the trees - that's why they're coming to take him away*

Hazy on 08-10-2007
Laburnum
Grrr. I got an 'Internal Error' after posting (once), then checked the Top 50 link to your poem to see if my comment got through, which it had. Now I see it's posted it twice.

Presume you'll work your magic and delete one? Or reply to two? Well, make that three now seeing as I've added this one too... erm, I'll get me coat...

(if it happens again, I'll (attempt to) whistle and ignore it!)

Jo xx

Author's Reply:
Bloody 'ell - haven't you got anything else to do? Still, it makes it look like my poem has received loads of comments - not everyone has to know that half of them come from someone who doesn't understand computers. Er, any advice on how I connect to the internet? I'm at John's pc at the mo. When I try to connect at home I get a msg saying 'the phone line is in use'. Have checked connections and basic stuff, but no joy. Wondering if my modem's gorn strange? Any help would be appreciated. After all, I'm always telling people how you're such a whizz with computers. It's a relief that I'm working nights Fri-Sun and should have some opportunity to pop online whilst there!

Keep the comments coming. Just repeat the same ones if you like, so as to save time. It doesn't really matter about content, just so long as I can meet my government quota and creep up the 'comments league table'.

Regards,

confused.com

silversun on 08-10-2007
Laburnum
Steve,
I have not been on this site for a lengthy amount of time, but know already that something written by pencilcase is deserving of a read. As ever, this is a well-constructed poem: elegant without being over-elaborate.
Congratulations on the nib, too,
James

Author's Reply:
Hello James and thanks for your kind words. These days, I'm finding that there is much to reflect on in the nature that takes place all the time just outside our front or back doors. Whether this is a sign of maturity, or just evidence of a desperate desire to make sense of the meaning of life I'm not sure! But it's interesting, anyway. At the moment, quite an area of my back garden is playing host to a rash of funghi near my small pond. I'm not thinking of writing a poem about it, but it pleases me to see such a seasonal manifestation, and I think they will rot back into the earth and recycle their nutrients, so it's not bad at all. It has also given my resident frog something else to think about.

Thanks very much for reading and commenting.

Best regards,

Steve

barenib on 08-10-2007
Laburnum
Steve - well written and constructed, and a deliciously clever way of passing comment on human nature, and perhaps nature itself in some cases. Congrats on the nib and the approval of Bernard! J.

Author's Reply:
Hello John. Yes, it's great to have Bernard's approval - and thanks for yours too!

And, yes again...we are part of nature, after all.

Yours retaining a vigilant outlook for poisonous seeds that lurk behind a dazzling display,

Steve

PS
Have so far managed to avoid falling through the floor!

e-griff on 08-10-2007
Laburnum
You write well, as ever. Your piece is better than many on this site. But my feeling here (pse take this as kindly) is you didn't extend yourself. It seems more of a clever construction than 'from the heart' pure poetry. But that's just me.

best John G



Author's Reply:
Hello John and thanks for your comment. You touch on an interesting angle, and perhaps you have a point, but I would say that a 'calculated' poem (I reviewed this many times when writing) does not necessarily indicate that it is not from the heart. And I think this reflects the nature of the laburnum. It could be argued that the nature of the laburnum is calculated to meet its own ends, but I think it is undeniable that it is beautiful in May/June. In itself, this is not false, and I try to refer to this in the poem by mentioning that the detail does not disappoint on closer inspection at the height of its display. It is truly beautiful at the time, but in the longer term its calculated ploy comes to light. I am not suggesting my poem is beautiful, but it seems to be generally regarded as well- written and constructed. However, I hope that my little 'display' still allows room for a heartfelt comment that is evident when the poem is taken as a whole.

Sometimes, a cold, calculated expression or action can perhaps be viewed as a real 'pre-meditated' emotion rather than a 'knee-jerk' histrionic reaction that so often viewed as emotional. Is the cold-blooded killer any less or more emotional than the murderer who lashed out on the spur of the moment?

Hmmm...your comment has raised interesting thoughts!

Best regards,

Steve

Kat on 09-10-2007
Laburnum
Mr Pencil

I just love the way this clever and skilful poem transposed from light to dark, almost like a Jekyll and Hyde, so the content as well as the style/language mimicked each other, I thought. Really like:

'but your transitory beauty
is the insincere display
of a mask that slips away as petals fall.'

What a poet!

Kat :o)


Author's Reply:
Hello Kat. Nice to hear from you. Thank you for letting me know you engaged with my thoughts on the laburnum. Despite my cynicism, don't forget to look out for it when mid-May comes around! I still appreciate a pretty woman, after all, but it's as well to be wary of any poisonous seeds that might be lurking under the surface and waiting to find expression.

I hope you are well and prospering and I send you my best wishes.

Alles Gute,

bleistift


teifii on 11-10-2007
Laburnum
Skillful and beautifully constructed as ever. I thoroughly enjoyed this. Must admit that I saw the end coming from the beginning, because of the title I suppose. When we were children my cousin was rushed to hospital and nearly died after eating the seeds so i always tend to remember the poison even when confronted by the beauty of the famous laburnam tunnel at Bodnant Gardens [not far from me].

Author's Reply:
Hi daff - good to hear from you and thanks for your comment on the poem. A laburnum tunnel must be quite a sight in May!

Your cousin had a lucky escape. I've learned that it is not uncommon for children to eat the seeds - rather resembling a pea-pod, as they do. Just goes to show you shouldn't be led astray by such display - even though I look forward to seeing it again.

Best wishes from the world of pencil,

Steve


September Garden (posted on: 17-09-07)
My garden. In September.

The petals of petunias that tremble with the breeze ignite the richest colours in a gentle oscillation of ruby and magenta, lilac and cerise and the purest white that glories in the clear September sun. Amongst the shrubs and bushes, skittish sparrows burst with life, squalling from the silences that punctuate their humour, weighing down the buddleia that now has had its day, but provides the perfect cover for their chattered hide and seek. Summer seems reluctant to surrender to the dark, although the chance has gone for it to hit its missed extreme, but while it smiles benignly, a garden will respond, though we know the truth of autumn, it appears at times as spring. The snowberry hangs bountifully, heavy on the branch, as signs of age begin to show on lazy busy lizzies, penstemons hang coquettishly, drop their heads in hope the now infrequent passing bee might not resist their charms. The leaves begin to turn, adding colour to the scene, as every living thing prepares for winter months ahead and capturing the moment, before it flits away, a robin rests and cocks its head to look me in the eye.
Archived comments for September Garden
Jolen on 17-09-2007
September Garden
Absolutely beautiful, Steve! I was there, along with those birds and the flowers in their glory. As always, your gift shines for succinct and succulent descriptions.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Hi Jolen. Thanks for your kind words and thanks for engaging with the poem. Everything in this poem 'stems' from my observations while working in the garden recently, including the robin: they have a way of looking at you, don't they?

I'm glad you enjoyed it and pleased to hear from you!

My best to you,

Steve

Hazy on 17-09-2007
September Garden
Hi pencilface!

Awww, no tulips? 😉

That penultimate stanza does it for me!

Nice one.

Don't fancy doing my garden too, do ya? It's hard enough remembering to water it let alone anything else!

Jo x

Author's Reply:
Hello Jo and ta for comment.

No...no tulips (that really would be evidence of climate confusion in September!) but I did find a couple of goths in my compost bin. I got a compost bin a few months ago and it now stands near to my new shed. It took enormous willpower for me not to mention my new shed in the poem. Anyway, I've done quite a lot of work in the garden this year and it's looking pretty good - set off nicely by the new shed (did I mention that I have a new shed?). A man should have a shed, don't you think?

Well, pleased to know you enjoyed the read - thanks!

All the best,

petalcase

e-griff on 17-09-2007
September Garden
Rather nice - and reflecting very well my own thoughts as I stood in my garden the last few days. Neatly captured. And carefully done. best G

Author's Reply:
Hello griff and thanks for planting a comment on this one. Pleased to see that this poem was received as being reflective of your own garden-based thoughts. It's a nice and interesting time of year, I think. An indication, perhaps, that it is possible to contemplate nature and the changing seasons in a back garden rather than go on safari - much more cost-effective too!

Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed the read,

Steve

Andrea on 17-09-2007
September Garden
Lovely, Potlood! You forgot the naturtiums though, mine are rampant at the mo.

Dunno why Haze wants to water hers - it's been piddlin' down since March *sigh*

Author's Reply:
Greetings Your Chief Executiveness and thanks for honouring my garden with your presence. Wilt u alstublieft wat langzamer spreken.

Pleased to see that things are rampant with you. It's turned rather chilly now, but at least the sun is shining. Hope you manage to have a listen to the audio for this - as is often the case with my recordings, the best bit comes after I shut up!

It's a nice time of year though, isn't it? Hopefully we will be able to enjoy the clarity of some further late September/October sunshine.

Dank u wel - ik moet nu gaan,

potlood

PS
Kan ik de caravan hier neerzetten?

barenib on 17-09-2007
September Garden
What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare... It's great that you've taken the time to observe and write about your garden, so many of us take nature for granted when it has so much to offer and provides welcome relief and respite from the daily grind.
Nature has obviously been a major subject for poets down the ages and the baton should be taken up more often, especially when done so as well as you have here. Pleasing images, rhymes and a very captivating overall impression. J.

Author's Reply:
Hello John and thanks for your appreciation of this poem. The line you quote is, as Del-boy might put it, one of my most favouritest. W.H.Davies was more or less a tramp and, if memory serves me, was discovered and publicised by GBS. I believe he later suffered an horrific accident while trying to cadge a free ride by jumping on a train somewhere in North America, resulting in the loss of a leg. I think I'm right there, but have in any case looked up full text of the poem to which you refer and will copy it here lest anyone should wander in and wish to read...

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Great stuff, and worth bearing in mind as we hurtle through life satisfying our material needs/aspirations and generally wasting our lifeforce dancing to the perverted and insubstantial tunes of those who could not even begin to have the imagination to appreciate Davies's wisdom. Shame about the leg though.

Good to know that the various aspects of my effort here combine to achieve the overall impression.

Be seeing you...

Steve

Andrea on 18-09-2007
September Garden
Bloody Norah, where [b] do [/b] you pick up your Clogspeak from?

Zet je caravan in je eigen tuin aub, die van mij is veel te klein!

Author's Reply:
Ik heb een behaaglijk bundel kokosnoot!...

Macjoyce on 18-09-2007
September Garden
Pence, there's something truly amazing about this poem, both linguistically and metrically. The language is extremely rich for starters, "lazy busy lizzies" being a particularly impressive play on words. But for main course, you have gone further than what you did in your last poem, "The fear of God". Do you remember what I said about that poem?

Like that one, but even more so, this poem has a breathtaking and almost flawless metre which you seem to have achieved without trying. It's kind of iambic, but it has a stranger feel than that, as though you are doing one strong syllable followed by THREE weak ones. I don't know what that kind of metre is called, but it's bloody hard and at times you achieve it perfectly:

- / - - - / - - - / - - - /
"The petals of petunias that tremble with the breeze"

is a perfect line. As is:

/ - - - / - - - / - - - / -
"squalling from the silences that punctuate their humour"


Is there any chance you could chuck some rhymes in? This poem would be perfect if it at least partly rhymed. At first I thought it was going to, with breeze/cerise (do they rhyme? Or does cerise rhyme with pies?) but then to be honest I was a bit disappointed, but only because I love rhyme.

There are also a few moments when your metre could be better. Sorry to drone on, but when a poem approaches perfection, I nag for perfection. Here we go:

"of ruby and magenta, lilac and cerise"

Could you think of two colours with the same syllabic pattern as 'magenta' instead of 'ruby' and 'lilac'?

"benignly, a garden will respond"

Hmmm. Something one syllable longer than 'benignly'?

"penstemons hang coquettishly, drop their heads in hope"

I have no idea what a penstemon is, but I presume its first syllable is emphasised, when the second would be much handier. How about an 'and' instead of the comma?

"The leaves begin to turn, adding colour to the scene"

I think you should have an extra syllable, either a longer word for 'turn' or 'adding'.

"and capturing the moment, before it flits away"

same problem, between 'moment' and 'before'.


So that's my penceworth. I know I bang on about metre, but I really think this poem would benefit at least from some minor tweaks, if not from rhyme. What do you say? Will you accept this is as a challenge...?


Author's Reply:
Dear Father Mac,

Many thanks for the time you have taken to make the thoughtful appreciation/observations/suggestions contained in your comment. I feel that some of your points might be addressed if you can spare a couple of minutes to listen to the audio I have uploaded for this, for example: the pace and pronunciation of the 'of ruby and magenta, lilac and cerise' line.

I have worked quite hard in the garden this year, and every reference in this poem is a reflection of the truth - the petunias and busy lizzies, the penstemons (again, my recording demonstrates pronunciation), the sparrows and the robin. I did not really want to make this too 'organised' because I wanted to let it flow in the hope of reflecting a fairly tidy (but not geometrically regimented) garden, but one where there is room for seemingly random tangents/hints at subtle synergies taking place.

So, I may come back to this and have another think at some point and I would bear your comments in mind. At the moment I would prefer to focus on something new as and when time permits.

Your comments are always welcome - hope you find the time to have a listen to 'September Garden' (it's quite soothing once I stop reading!).

Steve

Bradene on 19-09-2007
September Garden
I loved this poem, all the wonderful colour and busyness of approaching autumn, I've just written a prose poem quite similar to this so now I'm reluctant to use it as yours is so much nicer. Val x

Author's Reply:
Hello Val - hope you are enjoying life in sunny Grantham.

Pleased to see that you enjoyed this poem, but I hope it hasn't deterred you from your own efforts on a similar subject!

Many thanks for your comment and appreciation.

Best regards,

Steve

Ionicus on 19-09-2007
September Garden
An enchantingly descriptive poem, Steve, which reveals your love for a well tended garden (complete with shed, even if it got no mention). These lines sum up for me the essence of the piece:
'now infrequent passing bee
might not resist their charms'
I was surprised that it wasn't awarded a nib.

Author's Reply:
Hello Luigi and many thanks for your comment. The shed probably deserves to be the subject of another poem that is dedicated to it exclusively!

I don't know about a nib, but it would have been nice to have had a petunia awarded - would have looked good at the top of the poem!

Well, thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed it - audio now available if you care to listen.

Best regards,

Steve

Sunken on 20-09-2007
September Garden
Hello Mr. Case. I echo Luigi's comment. Listen closely and you'll hear it... No, too much traffic noise I'm afraid. I blame wheels. Nice poem and no mistake.

Rate: This weeks is a free for all. You can have anything you like (up to a tenner).

s
u
n
k
e
n

talking at the same time

Author's Reply:
s
u
n
k
e
n,

Thank you for your comment. Sorry about the traffic noise. If you listen to the audio for this then you will find an articulated robin rather than an articulated lorry. As you might very well put it yourself: I hope this helps.

Thanks for coming up for air and popping into my garden. I have a pond, so you might feel quite at home. I was clearing some lily pads from the pond yesterday afternoon and I can tell you that Freddie Frog was not best pleased with all that disturbance. In the end, he hopped out and hid under the ivy. I hope he is over the worst now and once again enjoying a watery existence - I think you two would get along fine...

pencil

silversun on 23-09-2007
September Garden
With the way the meter runs through this, I cannot help but wonder, as Mac above, how this would read with a few rhymes. That said, I wouldn't like to venture what to change to accommodate them should it be necessary, which would be personal preference anyway. However, let's not detract from what is still a lyrical piece of the highest order. There are also some fine word choices in here that really bring to life the lines they occupy: 'chattered' and 'coquettishly' are the two that come to mind.
After reading, I expected to see one of those 'great read' affairs at the top of this. Strange that there isn't.
James

Author's Reply:
Hello James and thanks for your thoughts - glad you enjoyed it.

September has turned rather chilly now and it's quite gloomy outside. Maybe I'll write another poem about my garden in the winter - there's a lot to take in if you have a proper look at what's going on.

Thank you for commenting and best regards,

Steve

Griffonner on 25-11-2007
September Garden
Absolutely agree with James on this being of the highest order.
*resonantly*
Griffonner

Author's Reply:
Thank you so much for reading and commenting - and for picking this as a fave.

Well, as is to be expected, my garden is looking rather different right now, as we are about to fall into December. Maybe I captured a moment though, and in any case, each month has its own attractions.

Thanks again for your comment,

Steve

orangedream on 25-11-2007
September Garden
I somehow, unbelievably, missed this one.

It is, as Griffoner says, of the highest order.

If it hadn't been already nominated, I should have done the same.


Tina:-)

Author's Reply:
Oh thanks for that, Tina. Pleased to know you enjoyed my poem.

The garden's looking rather different now! However, I kind of re-arranged things this year and, in doing so, attempted to gently break up clumps of snowdrops in the hope that they might give a better show. So this gives me an interest to see what happens in about a month. Such a beautiful little flower - shame its beauty is hidden because its head hangs down...think I might have a snowdrop poem coming on!

Thanks again,

Steve

orangedream on 25-11-2007
September Garden
Just closing down my 'puter for the night, I was trying to remember some of the lines ... and then I thought, why not add it to your 'faves'. And that is just what I did.

Tina

Author's Reply:
...and thanks for adding it to your faves!!!


The Fear Of God (posted on: 13-08-07)
how they put the fear of God in me...

The smooth and lifeless marble eyes of angels gazing blindly at the pupils down below, transfixed us to the grimy pews we knelt before in ancient times of musty Christianity. This darkened church was steeped in death and seeping with the wrath of God that terrorised my seven year-old creeping flesh: oppressed by tattered battle flags and chiselled lists of wartime dead. Amongst the mildewed hymn books, reeking of unholy spirit and frightening the life out of children, the pickled vicar spoke of sin and warned of retribution. I'd sworn to do my duty to God and to The Queen, and so I hoped that this might be enough for my salvation, but still I sought distraction: entranced by dancing particles of dust that busied filtered shafts of light that pierced the stains of saints. Good Lord, I was glad to get out of there, where remnants of the nineteenth century hardly seemed like heaven, and I wondered if that Jesus bloke, with such a jealous Father, could really be my friend? It wasn't quite Jerusalem, but I remember when and where I smelt the fear of God: 1967; St.Matthew's, Ponders End.
Archived comments for The Fear Of God
Jolen on 13-08-2007
The Fear Of God
Absolutely Brilliant! Loved the whole poem, but especially this :

’d sworn to do my duty
to God and to The Queen,
and so I hoped that this might be
enough for my salvation,
but still I sought distraction:
entranced by dancing particles
of dust that busied filtered shafts
of light that pierced
the stains of saints.


What fantastic lines..

You paint a very familiar picture and one that makes one wonder how we're supposed to celebrate life among that.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Hello Jolen,

I have received some good feedback on this today and I will reply to all comments in due course, but time is short at the moment because of the work I have to do to keep me in pencilcases and petunias. But I thought I'd get back to you at least, since you were first out of the blocks!

Thank you for your appreciation of the poem. I think the image of a shaft of light dancing with particles of dust will probably strike a chord with several people, so thanks for picking up on that. Talking about 'striking a chord', I've just uploaded my recording of this, so if you'd like to listen then please do.

Thanks again for your comment,

Steve

Hazy on 13-08-2007
The Fear Of God
Awww, did you do all that dib dib dib dob dob dob malarkey too? I won't ask about your woggle lol...

I used to faint in churches all the time. Think it's the devil in me 😉 Still get nervous when I have to go to a wedding or christening!!

Loved that penultimate stanza.

Good to see you in the subs thingy. Hope all's well.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:
I'll have you know my woggle was the pride of the 11th Enfield. Those were the days. However, my organ gets a rare airing at the end of my recording of this poem. It seemed appropriate.

Thank you for your comment young Jo of the Hazy persuasion. Good to hear from you and pleased to see you enjoyed reading the pome.

pensiveface

e-griff on 13-08-2007
The Fear Of God
excellent evocation of the damp mustiness of a church, the flags, the statues. Favourite lines? It wasn't quite Jerusalem, but I remember when ...

Author's Reply:
Hello griff and thanks for the comment. You are not the only one who found this evocative, so that is pleasing. My intention was to portray the scene rather than deliver a sermon, so to speak! It seems so unfair to terrorise young children in such dark and forbidding places.

Thanks and regards,

Steve

barenib on 13-08-2007
The Fear Of God
Steve, an excellent piece of verse that I'd be happy to see in any collection. This contains some memorably descriptive word pairs - musty Christianity, chiselled lists, and my favourite, pickled vicar! It also has the air of the way Dennis Potter sometimes portrayed children looking at the bewildering world of 'grown-ups' and their various institutions. A very evocative and effective poem - John.

Author's Reply:
Hello John and thanks for your thoughtful comment. Thanks also for picking up on the language - a couple of near-tongue twisters there, as I discovered when recording this, but then that tends to focus the mind on enunciating carefully so as to get the most out of it. Your Potteresque observation is an interesting one and I can see what you mean - and I feel honoured to be referred to in the same sentence as Potter (Dennis, I mean, not Harry). This has caused me to think a little more about this and it's funny how the passage of time kind of allows you to write in the first person and yet have a detahed air, as though it were someone else.

Anyway, very pleased you found the poem evocative and effective - no doubt you had to endure similar ordeals on occasions yourself. I only wish Spurs had been doing as well as my poem has this week...
:>(


The Reverend pencilcase, DD



Sunken on 13-08-2007
The Fear Of God
Yes, I agree with Mr. Bare of the Nib, an excellent piece and no mistake. Well done Mr. Pencil of the yard, a very classy write.

For one week only, I am using a system of grading that was made popular by Cheryl Baker of Bucks Fizz fame. Thanks.

Rate: Fan assisted oven.

s
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5 minutes and he's almost cher

Author's Reply:
Hello Mr.Sunken of the primate persuasion. I am thrilled by your fan assisted oven rating. Or should that be grilled? Anyway, it's an honour, and no mistake. Or should that be steak?

I'm getting a bit confused now, but thanks for your appreciation of the poem. If you get a chance to listen to it, you may detect the influence that watching Dr.Phibes at a young age has had on me.

Good luck with your munkying about,

pencil

Slovitt on 13-08-2007
The Fear Of God
Steve: There are a number of things to like here. The measured lines that are confident enough that they have something to say and so take their time. The clear, simple language that yet is powerfully evocative, starting with the first three lines of the poem 'The smooth and lifeless marble eyes/of angels gazing blindly/at the pupils down below'/ (a bonus for your use of pupils there on the heels of your marble eyes), to '...tattered battle flags/and chiselled lists of wartime dead'./, to pickled vicars speaking of sin, to 'entranced by dancing particles/of dust that busied filtered shafts'/. And finally, there are your sounds, and the trickle down in the last stanza of end sounds that is so unobtrusive that 'Jerusalem' and 'End' stood out as sublime, but on closer reading there was the trickle of heaven, friend, Jerusalem, when, and End. The only line that clanged for me was 'and I wondered if that Jesus bloke', which sounded off voice, and might be better as 'and I wondered if this Jesus', or even 'and I wondered if Jesus'. Anyway, to your attention on your good poem. Swep

Author's Reply:
Hi Swep, good to hear from you and great to read your thoughtful comment. Pleased you appreciated this - I swear that vicar had been embalmed before his time was up!

Your 'off voice' remark is a valid contribution, but I think 'that Jesus bloke' is not entirely lacking from a young child's point of view (in my vernacular, location and time), and as a step back to questioning the whole thing, much like 'Good Lord, I was glad to get out of there,'.

I have uploaded my reading of this, and it ends with an organ rendition of 'Onward Christian Soldiers'!

Well, it seemed appropriate!

My best to you,

Steve



admin on 13-08-2007
The Fear Of God
Fabulous stuff Potlood - even *I* could see it was good 🙂

As a kid I was forced to go to Sunday School, basically to get me out of the house. The atmosphere, the smell, in the church, made me nauseous and faint, never forget it.

(especially loved 'the pickled vicar' - reminded me of Viv Stanshall's Scrotum 'the wrinkled retainer' :-))

Author's Reply:
Hello Andrea and dank u wel for the comment. Quite a number of folks have related to this, which is pleasing as a writer, but somewhat worrying in general terms.

I hope you enjoy your time in the UK. Sorry I won't get to see you this time, but I hope it's a good night at The Lucas Arms.

Cheers!

potlood

delph_ambi on 14-08-2007
The Fear Of God
I'm another fan of the wonderful phrase, 'pickled vicar'.

Vivid writing throughout. Great stuff.

Author's Reply:
Ah, another 'pickled vicar' fan, eh? That came to me about 3 months ago, on top of having wanted to write about early church experience for some time. Finally got round to writing the poem 10 or 12 days ago.

Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed reading it (if you fancy a listen, the audio's up now).

Thanks for dropping by, d-a,

Regards,

Steve

blackdove on 14-08-2007
The Fear Of God
So reminded me of all the churches of my childhood and the underlying anger that always seemed to lurk there.
A very evocative, well written poem with very accurate and recognisabe images.
Jem

Author's Reply:
Thanks for commenting, Jem. Feedback from comments received indicates that quite a few found this evocative. Pleased to read that you found it well written.

Let us pray...

Reverend pencil

Macjoyce on 14-08-2007
The Fear Of God
Hey Pen,

This is a very good poem. What impresses me most is the almost unbroken iambic metre running all the way through it. I don't know if this is deliberate or if you just have a very good ear for poetry.

Being typically me, I'm going to point out the moments where the metre flags. Not because I'm a pedant, but because I think you'd be closer to perfection if you tidied them up. You can get away with odd metric slip-ups in rhymed verse with set line-lengths, but not in free verse, and if you did tidy them up, the poem would look very impressive indeed. Here they are:

"Amongst the mildewed hymn books,
reeking of unholy spirit
and frightening the life out of children"

"I’d sworn to do my duty
to God and to The Queen"

"but still I sought distraction:
entranced by dancing particles"

"Good Lord, I was glad to get out of there,"

"and I wondered if that Jesus bloke,
with such a jealous Father,
could really be my friend?"


What d'you reckon?

Gloria Hosana in Excelsis,

Mac the Priest


Author's Reply:
Bless you, Father Mac, for taking the time to think about my poem and making a comment. I suppose that most of the emphasis in this poem is iambic, although I didn't think of it in such terms at the time. I was certainly conscious of the language, pace, progression and changes of pace in terms of endeavouring to achieve an expression of my thoughts on the long-ago experiences I was thinking of. Whilst I hoped to produce a good poem that hung together, I felt that part of this should give expression to the child's mind beginning to wander, or seek distraction, under the circumstances. If you have the time and inclination then you are welcome to listen to my recording of this. And if you do and would like to comment again, or pm me, then you are welcome.

I understand that you attended the ukalive gathering last night and that the evening went well. This pleases me, but also makes me a bit jealous, since I was unable to attend this time, due to work commitments. Hopefully, we will get to meet up on another occasion. Must dash now, as I have to carry out some urgent maintenance on my organ before the congregation arrives for Sunday service.

May your God go with you,

The Very Reverend pencil o'case

gilded_kage on 15-08-2007
The Fear Of God
I love the dust particles and the shafts of light that pierce the stains of saints.

Thank goodness there's more to Christianity than this! Yikes.

How does your adult self reflect on your seven-year old reaction?

Author's Reply:
Hello kage of the gilded variety and thanks for pointing a comment at me. Pleased to read that some parts of the poem in particular were well received by your goodself.

To answer your question, my adult self reflects on my reaction as a young child as being perfectly understandable! I agree that there is more to Christianity than this. My hope is that a committed Christian could read this and think 'hmmm, yes: this is not the way to bring out the light of the Lord and Jesus Christ our saviour'. Or, another person might read it and think 'this really shows the negative influence of organised religion as a whole'. Or...well, there are a few other things too! It's not intended as a didactic poem, but one which might encourage various reactions to my looking back 40 years as to how it seemed to me, as a young child in that place and at that time.

Peace be with you,

Steve

discopants on 15-08-2007
The Fear Of God
Nice one Mr Pencil. Not only can I identify with this, but you've made me feel as if I'm back there now, you rotter.

dp

Author's Reply:
Oh dear, sorry about that! Pleased to see you enjoyed the read though, and thanks for popping in to pencil-land. Hope you are enjoying being WOTM - I found it quite fun when I had that particular honour! Well done to you and thanks again for letting me know you appreciated this poem of mine.

Regards,

Steve

Gerry on 16-08-2007
The Fear Of God
Steve an excellent poem by any standards. you caught the atmosphere to childlike perfection...

Gerry.

Author's Reply:
Hello Gerry and thanks for the comment. Well, that was certainly an atmosphere to capture, so if it came across to you then I am pleased!

Thanks for taking by part by reading and commenting.

Best regards,

Steve

teifii on 17-08-2007
The Fear Of God
Not a bit surprised it's nominated. Can't add to what's been said but it's a fav. Great ending.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Hello Daff - good to hear from you...and thanks for picking this as a favourite. Very pleased to learn that you enjoyed reading my latest.

I understand you were at the uka gathering last night. I usually go to such occasions, but unfortunately I was unable to do so this time because of work commitments. It's a shame we didn't get the chance to have a chat face-to-face - I hope that can be rectified next time.

Hope things are well with you and thanks again for your appreciation of my poem.

All the best,

Steve


silversun on 16-09-2007
The Fear Of God
There are a few calls for the 'particles of dust' stanza as a stand-out, and I would more often than agree, particularly the use of 'busied' and the anagrammatic 'stains of saints'. As with almost all the readers, that 'pickled vicar' brought back a few altar boy memories; even if he was a Monseigneur, they are all quite equal where the blood is involved.
I may not be qualified to talk about perfect meter, but I do know that this reads in an unobstructed rhythm that, when combined with the understated rhymes, is a perfect pleasure.

Author's Reply:
Hello silversun and thanks for commenting. Your appreciation of the poem is thoughtful and well-received. The only thing that worries me, as I have said in an earlier reply, is how many people can identify with this only too well!

I'm quite satisfied with my recording of this - especially after I finish reading the poem!

Thanks for joining the congregation on this one and best regards,

Steve


Carrion Crow (posted on: 07-05-07)
dead of night

Night-black, your sheen is indiscernible, unseen, or overlooked as your iridescence fails under streetlight orange-dark. In death, you are still as ominous and lonely as the solitary scavenger that relished opportunities to steal up on unguarded eggs and tear at flesh of carcasses. I pick my way around you, contemplate the murders you have witnessed, strain for any sign of life, but your adaptability escapes our creeping flesh and here's no twilight comfort: no shroud obscures this pavement slab in dead of night reality. You have become the carrion you sought, defenceless to another's chiselling instinct, your silence ringing false as I pass on, beyond the lifeless beak that pierces, twists its bradawl through my skull, condemned to search for harmony in vain, until the end of time: I hear your call.
Archived comments for Carrion Crow
Jolen on 07-05-2007
Carrion Crow
Dearest Steve of Pencilcase manor: Damn! Very dark, foreboding and ominous. The short lines and usage of strong wording make this piece a powerful presentation. Your descriptions are wonderfully 'real'.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the comment, Jolen. Some weeks ago, I was walking home late at night when I noticed a dead crow on the pavement, under the glow of a streetlight. This is the resulting poem!

Thanks and regards,

Steve

Sunken on 07-05-2007
Carrion Crow
Good to see you back Mr. Case or the yard... Do I have that right? As Jolen says, foreboding and ominous. I must stop stealing other people's comments.

s
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k
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only with the light on

Author's Reply:
Hello sunken and thanks for the greeting. I have been tied up with a particularly difficult case recently but decided to spread a little joy and light with 'Carrion Crow'! I don't think Jolen will mind you stealing her comment - she's probably quite flattered. Have a listen to my recording of this if you have the time and inclination. If you like it then let me know: if not, then keep it to yourself. I think that's reasonable.

Was good to hear from you.

pencil

chrissy on 08-05-2007
Carrion Crow
I found this piece very strong with an exact use of words to convey not just darkness but also sadness.
I think the third verse demonstrates the sadness best.
I enjoyed reading this.
chrissy



Author's Reply:
Hello chrissy and thanks for your appreciation of this poem (and thanks for picking it as a favourite). If you'd like to listen to my recording then the audio is available now.

There's nothing quite like a bit of darkness/sadness, is there? I'm pleased you enjoyed it! I suppose a pencilcase should be expected to include dark shading as well as colour.

Best regards,

Steve


Gerry on 10-05-2007
Carrion Crow
Steve, an excellent poem -- well narrated...

Gerry.

Author's Reply:
Hello Gerry - nice to hear from you and many thanks for your appreciation of my corvine narrative.

All the best,

Steve

barenib on 10-05-2007
Carrion Crow
Steve, this is an apt piece on the not uncommon phenomenon of encountering expired creatures along the road.
You've captured the thoughts and feelings that this experience can spark in us, being, we assume, the only cretaures aware of mortality. The carrion crow makes it all the more stark, as Ted Hughes was well aware. Good stuff - John.

Author's Reply:
Hello John and thanks for swooping down and having a peck at this. Crows feature extensively in religion and mythology and seem to be a universal aspect referred to in quite disinct belief systems and folklores. Usually regarded as a bad omen, and often a portent of death, in some cultures this has modified somewhat in that they are regarded as a link between man and heaven, although it should be pointed out (in order to protect the crow's reputation) that even any hint of rebirth still involves death before there is any hope of crows carrying one off in a heavenly direction. Apart from general allusions to how we usually regard crows, I chose to refer specifically to the nature of the Carrion Crow and the notion that these creatures will sing in harmony only when the world ends. I suppose this can't be regaarded as an entirely happy ending, but it's as close as I could get at the time. At the end of April last year I was moved to write about blossom: this year it was a dead crow on the pavement at night. That's life, I suppose.

Thanks again for commenting,

Steve

Sunken on 14-05-2007
Carrion Crow
Hello again Mr. Case. I finally listened to the audio this morning. Ya know, I reckon you could do professional voice overs and no mistake. I like the sound fxs too. I can't see me ever doing an audio. I can hardly understand myself, so I can't expect others too (-; Nice one Pencil of the yard.

s
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her aches were made worse by his groans

Author's Reply:
Thank you ken of sun fame. I am available for weddings, bar mitzvahs, eulogies... anything really. Very reasonable rates. Took me a while to get that crow sound right. Think it was worth the effort, but can only manage soup and ice cream at the mo. This is leaving me with a strange aftertaste of raspberry ripple and oxtail, but I'm not one to complain about having to suffer for my art.

Yours looking forward to chocolate chip mulligatawny,

Steve

Macjoyce on 30-08-2007
Carrion Crow
Ah, how the hunter always becomes the hunted in the end. How ugly nature usually is.

Is a crow ever ‘iridescent’?

I like the joinery imagery, chisels, bradawls.

Mac the Magpie


Author's Reply:
Hi Mac the magpie!

The Carrion Crow has a green/purple sheen, although, of course, predominantly black. This plumage does have a (partly) iridescent quality, but this will not be visible under the glow of a streetlight at night, requiring instead the wider spectrum provided by daylight. Hence my opening lines!

This poem was prompted by my noticing a dead crow under a streetlight at night - really!!! Well, many thanks for reading and commenting. This poem kind of suited my mood at the time, but I quite like it and got a little creative in the audio!

Thanks again for taking the time to ponder this.

Steve the sparrer!

artisus on 19-04-2008
Carrion Crow
Birds are fascinating, this is a very good poem! Here is a poem of mine which you may find interesting, has an owl in it!

http://www.ukauthors.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=20564

Author's Reply:
Hi - you are very generous in your commenting and nominating! But I'm pleased you liked it, since I put quite a lot into it at the time. I like to utilise the audio facility and so had fun starting the poem with the sound of footsteps on pavement and finishing with the 'caw-caw' calls of the Carrion Crow! Well, a man should have a hobby!

Many thanks!

Best regards,

Steve
PS I'll take a look at your poem now


Government Warning (posted on: 23-02-07)
Thoughts on banning smoking in all English pubs and what I believe to be the wider implications. I welcome diversity, and that includes diversity of opinion, but if you wish to comment then I hope you might avoid unconsidered remarks such as ''yes, but its bad for you, isnt it?'' Since such comments will only reveal that you have completely missed the point.

Hey, what's that noise? Is it the whirr of conveyor belts in a cigarette factory, or the collective sound of smug grins forming on the faces of tobacco nazis? These days, it could be either, but if I'm not mistaken, it might just be John Stuart Mill, spinning in the grave of libertarianism. Don't recognise the name? Look him up, while you've still got the chance. You know, when I was a history student, there was a well-known saying regarding modern European history: when France sneezes, Europe catches cold. Nowadays, a more appropriate variation might be: when California legislates, the world follows blindly. Come July, England will be following suit in the obsession with banning smoking in public places. Now, I'm not against forbidding smoking in many public places, but I oppose banning smoking in all pubs out of principle. The tobacco nazis already have their debating points lined up, of course. Realising that to ban smoking in some pubs but not others would likely lead to smokers patronising pubs where smoking were allowed, they argue that a total ban is justified so as to make for a ''level playing field.'' Level playing field, my arse. There's nothing like having faith in your convictions, is there? And it won't be a level playing field at all. Some premises will fairly easily adapt to having smoking areas outside, with 'temporary' lean-to affairs providing protection from rain and heaters for cold weather, whilst other 'landlocked' pubs will have no potential to provide such facilities. Guess what? The latter will, in the main, be the traditional local boozer that in many cases is already struggling against a tide of smoothies and sushi. The TV cameras won't be pointing at them on 1st July. They'll be interviewing people in the inner city sanitised establishments and generally concluding that people don't really seem to mind, or think it's a good thing. And there won't be a dartboard in sight. I realise that some non-smokers agree with me that this law is a step too far. Then there is the other kind of non-smoker (but not necessarily a nazi) who regards this as a breezy topic of conversation. What are you going to do? Will you give up, stand outside, or become a hermit? It means nothing to them. It's like they're pointing out that there's a new flavoured packet of crisps behind the bar or something. But to a pub-going smoker, it is a personal attack. You're discriminated against. You're not welcome anymore. You will no longer be able to relax in a pub with a pint and a fag after a hard day's work. You're history. You're banned. Fuck off. Cheers. And there's me thinking of giving up. Now I feel obliged to smoke two at a time (having stuck them up in the direction of the corporate society first, of course). Wouldn't it be better to allow freedom of choice? I know it's an old-fashioned notion, but it's one that I still hold dear. Why not give the freedom to individual establishments to allow or ban smoking? I know a few publicans who smoke, are dreading the impact this draconian law will have on their business, and who would be only too happy to welcome smokers and non-smokers alike. Wherever that's the case, wouldn't that fit in with the 'harm principle' of John Stuart Mill? Look him up: before he disappears. I would be happy to socialise in a pub and not smoke on occasions when it's clear that this is a rule of the house. I think that's called tolerance and having respect for other people's rights and preferences. I'd just like the same courtesy myself, so that I might choose on occasions to drink at a pub that allowed smoking. You can come along if you want, but if smoking really disturbs you then how about we catch up somewhere else another night and I'll forego my preference out of respect for you? Why do you not only want to have a smoke-free pub to enjoy, but you can't bear the thought that people are smoking in another pub that you probably don't want to go into anyway? I believe there is a more important, wider issue here. The smoking ban is democratic only in that it was voted on by MPs. It wasn't in the current government's manifesto to ban smoking in all public places. There was no referendum. In a democracy, the will of the majority is supposed to prevail. Whether or not banning smoking in ALL public places is the will of the majority we'll never know. I suspect it would not be so, and I suspect the politicians realise this and that's why they've brought it in by the back door. But even if the majority wanted to ban smoking in public places, there's another important maxim that needs to be respected if we can claim to live in a liberal democracy: respect for the rights of minorities. I live in a society where, more and more, I am told what I may and may not do, and where I feel less and less at home. I call it the proto-fascist society. Think that's taking it too far? I don't. Reports suggest that local councils will be spending upwards of 30million to fund council officials to snoop on pubs to see if anyone is smoking. There will be on-the- spot fines. It's all beginning to have a bit of a familiar ring to it. And so many people seem to accept that it is right for government to legislate on what the individual may or may not do. Words like 'freedom,' 'democracy,' 'human rights,' and 'liberty' seldom stray far from the lips of the legislators. I see this as an age of doublespeak that is paving the way for something far more sinister. It seems that we are being conditioned to expect that it is the role of government to poke its nose into many aspects of personal life that, no more than a generation ago, would have been greeted by the British public with a healthy chorus of ''mind your own business.'' We live now under a governmental system that is far more centralised and controlling than was previously the case, and too many people seem to be too ready to accept what the government decides should be compulsory. If you disagree, then don't blame me when you are forced to have an ID card with all your personal information available for various organs of the state, or when your home is forcibly entered by council tax officials checking on whether you've told them the truth about who is living at your property. As far as smoking is concerned, the tobacco nazis won't stop. It won't be long before they start complaining about smoking in pub gardens. After all, there are children out there. How long before a debate on smoking at home comes on to the politically correct scene? How long before it becomes increasingly difficult for smokers to find employment? And if you think this is a good thing so you can enjoy a pint of lager or a glass of wine at your smoke-free local, how long before banning alcohol in pubs becomes a topic of discussion? It's not as crazy as you might think. Consider the history of attitudes to smoking. Ten or twelve years ago, it was still considered 'normal' to smoke in most workplaces. Three or four years ago, a ban on smoking in pubs would have been considered unlikely to happen by most people in England. Twenty years ago, there were rare occasions when I had a drink at the workplace: Christmas Eve; maybe a foreign representative was visiting and he wanted to share a bottle of his local hooch. Not now. Too worried about somebody having an accident. Think of the damage alcohol does, not only to the individual, but in terms of consequential damage: booze-fuelled fights; domestic violence; financial hardship for families; fatal road (and other) accidents; and who has never heard of someone dying from alcoholic poisoning when celebrating a special occasion like an 18th birthday or a forthcoming marriage? You'd have to be an insensitive swine to argue against a ban on the public consumption of this stuff. Wouldn't you? It'll be for your own good, for the general good of society, and because, as so many politicians seem to say these days, ''it's right.'' What they ought to consider banning, as my good friend barenib suggested recently, is war. However, this seems to be surprisingly popular for such an otherwise risk-averse society. I'd like to discuss this and other issues with you more, down the pub, maybe, but of course only politically acceptable people will be allowed there before long: and maybe that's what it's all about.
Archived comments for Government Warning
Rupe on 23-02-2007
Government Warning
Yes, but it’s bad for you, isn’t it?

Sorry, couldn't resist...

First of all, a good, well-written piece that puts the case clearly & in its wider socio-political context.

Secondly, I'm in two minds about whether I agree with you. The civil liberties point is a strong one - we do have to be vigilant against the Nanny State tendency.

On the other hand, as someone who only ever smokes (generally other people's cigarettes) when out in pubs with other people who smoke - and also binge-drinks from time to time - I have to admit there's actually part of me that would rather like to be told that I can't smoke. It would mean that instead of getting hammered & smoking twenty cigarettes, I'd get slightly less hammered and smoke five outside the pub...
Since I'd like to live as long as possible, that's got to be a good thing.

It's purely a personal view of course, but I don't think the 'it's bad for you' argument can be simply dismissed. It's more that it has to be weighed against the civil liberties argument - in rather the same way as drink-driving thirty or forty years ago. Where you put the fulcrum, however, depends on personal preferences, nature etc.

Still, it's good you raised the topic & made some telling points.

Rupe

Author's Reply:
Hi Rupe, will shortly be posting a comment to respond and address all the comments received.

Cheers,

Steve

Hazy on 23-02-2007
Government Warning
A really well written article, Steve. It's the pub culture thing that's going to be missed. A bunch of fellas in their local, fag in a silver-foil type ashtray on the edge of a pool table as they shoot a game of darts... yes, I see where you're coming from with this. It's a home from home. 'Public House' as some people seem to forget. Okay, so you might not like someone lighting up in your home, but you'd surely not ask them to stop in their own home. If a pub's everyone's home, who has the right to say put your cig out? Surely those who don't want to go to a 'public' house because there might not be smoke there, should just decline the invitation or find some other place to go.

They should split the ban. All 'traditional' local boozers should be exempt! I'm looking forward to the ban coming in, but only in places I go after work. Long, late nights where you chat and dance. I end up smoking heaps of cigs and it's the only way I can quit. But, I want to be able to have a cig in a 'boozer'.

The thought police are definitely on our backs here. I totally agree with the alcohol discussion. In a few years' time, telly and billboard ads will no doubt be banned. It'll only be a matter of time before alcohol's banned. Who has the right to tell us not to smoke? A 'ban' seems wrong, somehow. But I'm hypocritical in that it will make me stop binge-smoking and I'm glad as I'm too weak to force the decision myself.

Hmmm. I'll ponder this some more. I'm in agreement with your views, but can see the benefits of the flipside. I totally believe it should be down to the publican to decide, not 'big brother'.

Catch you soon. Hope life's treating you and yours well.

Jo x

Author's Reply:
Hi aitch, will shortly be posting a comment to respond and address all the comments received.

Cheers,

Steve

Andrea on 23-02-2007
Government Warning
Very good article Potlood, and couldn't agree more. Total bollox, and you're talking to someone who gave up (the fags, that is) 8 months ago. Should be up to the individual publican - and what's wrong with a room for smokers and a room for non-smokers? Treat you like a bloody crim, they do.

Me, I still sometimes really, really fancy a fag, and I bet if (when) I next go to a pub, the fact that smoking's banned will make me want to light up even more *sigh*


Author's Reply:
Hi Andrea of chief-executiveness-fame, will shortly be posting a comment to respond and address all the comments received.

Cheers,

Steve

Romany on 23-02-2007
Government Warning
I see only smokers have responded thus far, and on the whole, fairly positively!

Firstly, I agree it is very well written and a well thought out argument. I see the points you make with reference to our personal freedoms are balanced and, as an asthmatic non-smoker, I agree with many of them despite the fact that I don't really want to! But that said, I don't agree with everything you say.

First of all, like it or not, it IS bad for you. (Cringe if you like, but it's true.) But when you are smoking at the bar in a pub, it's bad for me too. An old argument, but nonetheless true for all that. Why should only some pubs remain as 'smoking' pubs? Does that not automatically preclude non-smokers, just as you seem to claim that 'non-smoking' pubs excluded smokers? It's the same argument the other way on - you can go into a pub where smoking is allowed, no problem. And you can equally got to a pub where smoking is banned, and slip outside for a fag. I can only go to non-smoking pubs. Why should I be punished? In point of fact, I left a bowls club after only an hour about a fortnight ago. Lots of our friends were there, we were playing cards and having a laugh, but I just couldn't breathe properly for all the smoke - took me till the next day to recover. I'm not being dramatic by the way - it's true.

I don't think Andrea's argument about seperate smoking/non-smoking areas in pubs works either. I've been in these establishments and the fact is, it doesn't work. We are talking about smoke here - it drifts. It doesn't stay in one room. Hubby and I had a pub meal the other day, in the non-smoking section of the pub. The place still stank of fags, and the smoke didn't stay where it was supposed to at all!

Then there are the health implications, and I don't believe an obviously intelligent person like you would even attempt to deny this aspect of the debate. It has been irrevocably proved that cigarette smoking is harmful to the smoker and to others around him/her, in so many ways, cancer being but one of them. There are so many other equally awful consequences. If this Government initiative, for want of a better word, gradually weans society out of the habit of smoking, then surely that's all the better? Youngsters especially might take a different and hopefully healthy view of the issue. Who knows, in fifty years time it may have been eradicated completely. I'll be honest and say I hope so.


I take your point in reference to alcohol too, and there I agree with you. Binge drinking, especially, again, in youngsters is a huge problem, and the knock on problems it causes are just as damaging, to families and communities. As a daughter of an alcoholic you don't have to dramatise this for my benefit. But there again, drunken fights and abuse aside, the drinker is at least contaminating only his/herself. If you took a sip from your pint at the bar, I don't taste it and smell it too. Personal choice which in this instance doesn't affect anyone else.

You make the point that these decisions should be left to the individual. But the fact is, imo, today's society has proved it doesn't want to make responsible, considerate or intelligent decisions. It doesn't want to consider others or the bigger picture. It wants to bury it's head in the sand and carry on regardless. You have only got to watch the evening news to see how 'society' in the old fashioned sense has broken down. It's every man for himself these days.

Would you prefer a government that sat back and ignored these issues? That it did nothing to educate people or even begin to tackle the issue? Haven't we had long enough to make the right decisions, and failed miserably? I don't want to live in a nanny state either, but just take the compulsory wearing of seatbelts as a parallel. It wasn't really such a long time ago that this became law- everyone had to do it. Until then, there were plenty of people out there perfectly willing to risk their kids careering through windscreens rather than clunk, click...

I'm not privy to council accounts so I have no idea if your figure of £30 million on 'snoops' is accurate or not, but I wonder how that figure compares to the massive health bill (dentistry, nursing, doctors and hospitalisation, terminal illness care etc.) amounts to as, like it or not, a direct result of smoking, or an indirect result of smoking. What does it cost the NHS, and therefore us, per year to pay for the treatment of these unfortunate souls? I don't begrudge anyone in need, but why not prevent it if we can?

To conclude, for me your argument about 'banning war' whilst I agree whole-heartedly with the ideals behind it, is an irrelevance. It is imo a totally different subject, and not one that can be so easily dismissed. Just to clarify here, I am most definitely NOT pro-war.

Anyway, I respect your views, and I would like to thank you for bringing this debate out into the open, as it were. Definitely an emotive piece!

Romany.

Author's Reply:
Hi Romany, will shortly be posting a comment to respond and address all the comments received.

Cheers,

Steve

Romany on 23-02-2007
Government Warning
Just an after thought - if the government really wants to stop people smoking, why don't they put a stop to the tobbacco industry? Put their money where their mouth is? Because it earns them a fortune, that's why. Hipocrisy - simple as.

Romany.

Author's Reply:

barenib on 25-02-2007
Government Warning
Steve, a lot of the smoking/ non-smoking issues have been covered, but my view is that if left to the publicans you'd then have the choice to go to either a smoking or non-smoking pub. Issue solved, surely, without impinging on anyone's personal freedom. Freedom is what it's all about of course, and I know that's what you're really getting at. I shall be doing my homework on John Stuart Mill. J.

Author's Reply:
Hi John, will shortly be posting a comment to respond and address all the comments received.

Cheers,

Steve

pencilcase on 25-02-2007
Government Warning
Since the comments I’ve received on this address a number of aspects and there seems to be a crossover of thoughts and opinions, I decided to make a comment on my own offering, having acknowledged comments directly, but only briefly and out of courtesy. Otherwise I felt I would be repeating myself and maybe not appear to be giving due consideration to the comments I’ve received from Rupe, hazy, Andrea, Romany and barenib. Thank you all for your considered comments. I knew that someone would make the “well, yes, but it’s bad for you, isn’t it?” comment, and I even thought that someone out there would not be able to resist making it despite my short intro! Rupe, you make it in good humour, and I accept it as such.

Rupe, you also comment on the civil liberties versus the nanny state angle, and this is something that is central to my article. My article is about a specific issue, but is also intended to consider the wider point of: individual liberty; the role of the state; the relationship between the two. I believe that the state is now too big for its boots and it should not have the right to dictate to the people. I also believe in respecting the rights of others, compromise and diversity - but don’t we seem to live in a society now that, to me, seems unhealthily predisposed to legislate against aspects of personal behaviour?

Hazy, you seem to agree with me in the main. As I said in my article, if some pubs don’t allow smoking then I can go along with that. I don’t mind going out to a pub to eat, attend a social event (maybe a uka meet!) or socialise with a mix of people and not be allowed to smoke. But you do pick up on the ‘local boozer’ argument. Now this is part of my culture - I’m talking about popping out to the local for an hour and meeting up with a few friends during the week. I admit it is not a good thing that having a smoke should be part of this experience for me, but it’s something that helps me relax. This will be something denied to me, by force, even though I would be quite willing to accept some establishments might choose not to allow smoking. The effort I put into writing the article, and my thoughts about the whole business over the weekend, have actually made me feel quite ill.

Andrea, I hate the way the state assumes the right to criminalise certain groups of people. As Rupe said, it’s a question about where you draw the line, and I would not disagree that the state has a duty to educate, but what sickens and worries me is how the state has a predilection to legislate, to ban, to make compulsory. It’s gone so far that I even feel completely out of bonk with current thinking. The liberty of the individual is not really a topic on the agenda anymore. My referring to John Stuart Mill was not unconsidered. He wasn’t a Victorian nutcase. Far from it, he was an intelligent thinker, MP and political philosopher, an early champion of women’s rights, and his treatise, On Liberty, is an intelligent work on some important questions that I think we would do well to remind ourselves of today.

Romany, I am sorry that you are an asthmatic. If I were in your company socially then I would certainly bow to your preference and refrain from smoking. I wonder if you use Seretide - strange to say that I actually blend the powder that goes into the Diskus device! I’ll pick up on your bowls club remarks. I think that this is a particular activity that draws people together for the main reason that they want to bowl (my octogenerian Dad’s a keen bowler, btw) and as such, I would agree that not to allow smoking in your bar area would not be unreasonable. After all, although there are many other social aspects that are important for such gatherings, the main reason you’re there is out of an interest in bowling. So I don’t think it would be fair to (effectively) discriminate against an asthmatic. I’d be willing to meet you under such circumstances and if I wanted to have a fag then I’d pop outside and it wouldn’t disturb you. I also take your point about not allowing smoking would deter youngsters from starting. But there are plenty of pubs already that ban smoking - why not allow a few to cater for the old unwanted farts like me? You can come along and make funny faces through the window, if you like.

You are (sadly) correct that society has broken down in many ways, and that it is every man for himself. Your cost comparison is a relevant point and the upwards of £30M that will be spent on snoopers must pale into insignificance compared with healthcare costs. But then I’ve paid many thousands of pounds in income tax, VAT and duty on fags ‘n booze, which the government has been only to keen to rake in. Don’t I have some rights? And please don’t forget the crucial point, whatever it costs financially. We’ll be in a situation where it is ‘accepted’ that the unknown man or woman in the pub might be, effectively, an undercover agent checking up on whether or not we are in compliance with the government’s diktats. Now I can only speak for myself: but that’s not the sort of society I want to live in.

Barenib, I know that you basically agree with me. Why not allow freedom of choice? Politicians of almost any hue have that phrase on their lips all the time. But what’s the reality? You have certainly picked up on the fact that my article was not just about banning smoking, but about wider and more important issues as well. The impact of climate change may, sadly, propel us further down the road of centralisation and control sooner than we think. But if not, then the impact of peak oil certainly will (the leadership of the BNP is very well aware of this, btw). Circumstances will dictate. It’s not gonna be good.

Thanks to all those who commented - I really appreciate it.

Anyone gotta light?

Steve/pencilcase/eezalrightreally
x


Author's Reply:

Romany on 26-02-2007
Government Warning
Hi Steve,

I think you make your points fairly and clearly and believe it or not, I think you smokers are actually being victimised and discriminated against too! Especially in view of the fact that the government did nothing for years and years to find out about the ill effects of smoking, or at least didn't pass the news on for a while, and quite happily promoted it whilst raking in lots of dosh at the same time- and now they take the moral high ground!

I do use seretide, and every time I need to from now on, I shall think of you! As for making faces at you through the window, if I ever manage to track you down (maybe I could employ a government spy?) I will do so - perhaps you could share a quick pint with me outside (as long as it's not raining.)

Thank you for a proper 'grown up' debate on a huge issue. Enjoyed it,

Romany.

Author's Reply:
Thank you for the additional comment, Romany. I'll think of you when I'm in the isolator, mixing up the salmetarol and fluticasone.

Steve

Jolen on 04-05-2007
Government Warning
Steve, this is a well done article and you have made some very fine points as have many of the people who commented. I smoke, and hate that I can't have a drink (which I rarely do) and smoke in most places anymore. Saying that, I am a considerate smoker and try very hard never to offend anyone with it. But fer pete's sake.. lol

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Thanks for that, Jolen.

There's not much more to say really, although I might write something else about the continuing infringement of civil liberties and how there seems to be no opposition to government interfering in the lives of individuals. The "well if you haven't done anything wrong then you've got nothing to worry about, have you?" attitude is becoming too prevalent for my liking.

Cheers,

Steve


Magic (posted on: 16-02-07)
Hopelessly/hopefully romantic. Sorry - I can't help it. I'd describe meself as a poet.

On the way to Cambridge, without any indication, surrounded by the open fields of England, you pulled into a lay-by. Why? I wondered what was going on. Your engine purred, you didn't have a flat and then you turned towards me, kissed me and afterwards confirmed: ''I just had to do that.'' We carried on: no further explanation was required. Later, in that hotel room of mirrored wardrobe doors, reflecting on what you had done and what you'd said, enveloped in your body and your sweet head, I realised life can sometimes dance and laugh and sing, and this was the most natural thing. No trick, no illusion, just the magic of a moment that never disappeared. I see statues of politicians and war heroes and plaques announcing so-and-so lived here, but I tell you this: there ought to be a monument to Love's young heady days in a lay-by that is whispered by the winds of Cambridgeshire.
Archived comments for Magic
Romany on 16-02-2007
Magic
There ought to be, indeed! Moments like these are special and precious. I like the real way in which you handled both the moment, and the realisation of it later.
Romany.

Author's Reply:
Hello Romany and many thanks for the comment. Special and precious moments are, by their nature, quite rare. However, as the old saying goes...

It is better to have been spontaneously snogged in a lay-by somewhere in Cambridgeshire than never to have been spontaneously snogged at all.

Cheers,

Steve

Sunken on 17-02-2007
Magic
Beautiful stuff Mr. Pencil of the yard. They say you never forget your first time (assuming this was your first of course). I certainly won't forget mine... I have it on video. Ahem, I'll shut up and rate. Thanks.

s
u
n
k
e
n

he needs to pee

Author's Reply:
Greetings Mr. sunken of uka-fame.

Well, it was my first time in the sense that someone found me so irresistible that they had to suddenly pull over and give me a smacker. Good job it didn't take us long to get to that hotel room with its mirrored wardrobe doors - not that we had specified this particular facility, but it certainly seemed to add an edge to things. Those were the days!

Best regards,

Lord pencil of the Cambridgeshire lay-by

barenib on 18-02-2007
Magic
Steve, I know that this memory means a lot and how the days of CKB must seem idyllic compared to those we find ourselves in now.
The broadening out at the end is what makes this poem for me and helps us all to reflect on what we hold to be important. Therein lies the poetry - John.

Author's Reply:
John,

a pleasing comment. Yes, I recollect a personal moment, but try to broaden the meaning. And I am confident that you agree with me that such a magical moment is far more important than a statue of a politician.

That's about it.

Cheers,

Steve

orangedream on 18-02-2007
Magic
Great poem this. There certainly are some moments that I guess we all feel we would like to bottle for posterity.

I felt drawn into the situation from the start and formed a vivid mental image of the scenario. One I guess, if we're lucky enough, most of us can identify with.

regards
Tina

Author's Reply:
Hi Tina - thanks for that. There are certain moments that bottle themselves for posterity, I suppose. We all have them, one way or another. This poem is one of mine.

All the best,

Steve

Dazza on 20-02-2007
Magic
P.C, never straying into soppy, it's no mean feat to write about love and avoid the schmaltz, Dazza.

Author's Reply:
Thanks, Dazza. I'm pleased this did not appear to stray into soppy. It was far more real and meaningful than a statue of a politician. Is that important? Yeah, I kinda think it is!

Best regards to you,

Steve

Jolen on 17-03-2007
Magic
Good for you, Steve. A lovely, romantic ode and I am glad to see it nibbed. Your work is always a treat. I hope you are well.
blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Hi Jolen - your comments are always welcome and I think you understand.

Best wishes,

Steve

woodbine on 15-04-2007
Magic
It's very rare I read a poem that's well worth reading about a bloke who wants to tell me how happy he's been. Happy poets are not thick on the ground. This has a humourous edge to it so you could say it's ironic but the word 'monument' sounds a bit Victorian. It has something worthy and in the past about it. You wouldn't for example call the Angel of the North a monument but maybe a landmark, which doesn't carry the same baggage.. I haven't at this moment a good alternative. I hesitated to say this but I think we ought to do more comment as well as appreciation otherwise the comment box gets so boring.
Best wishes,
John


Author's Reply:
Hello John - good to hear from you. I have been largely absent from the site recently, but did read your latest offering during the weekend and intend to read that again after this reply.

I agree with your comment about comments. Appreciation is fine, especially if it reveals that the reader has engaged with, and even enthused over, the piece on which they're commenting, but suggestions are always welcome.

In this case, I think because I was aware that "happy poets" (or indeed, happy thoughts) "are not thick on the ground" I chose to relate an experience that occurred some years ago and which struck me as being a particularly happy moment. A moment demonstrating that "life can sometimes dance and laugh and sing." A 'Magic' moment. And although this was no illusion, the trouble with magic is that things have a habit of disappearing. I've thought about your suggestion, but I feel okay with 'monument. Partly because I am considering an event in the past, and also in suggesting that it is rather telling that, whilst statues of war heroes and politicians are commonplace, similar celebrations of acts of love seem to be in short supply. One of the definitions for 'monument' in my dictionary is "a lasting evidence or reminder of someone or something notable or influential" and I am comfortable with that for this poem.

I hope my reply makes sense - the fact that I have consulted my dictionary will, I hope, indicate that I have indeed given your comment due consideration.

I hope my reply finds you in good spirits. Bit late now so I'll read yours again tomorrow.

Best regards,

Steve



Reasons To Be Cheerful: Part '79 (posted on: 02-02-07)
Blockheads Revisited! a poem nearly 28 years in the making...

At the mega-superstore that is Tesco, Stevenage, beneath the heavy lettering, announcing JANUARY PRICE BLITZ, I saw my old mate back on sale: two CDs; 4.96. 4.96, for all the hits, the tenor sax and rhythm sticks that made me think about the past, both mine and his, and reminisce a distant night, when our paths crossed in Hammersmith. A Summer's evening, '79 was brought to life as I imagined Ian at The Odeon this is a customer announcement: ''good evening, I'm from Essex, in case you couldn't tell.'' Surely not? Ian's dead and who these days can really say they're doing very well? The title of the cut-price compilation made me smile: Reasons To Be Cheerful. Now I'm not sure about that, but cut-down years, they took me back, to Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll, my Oxfam jacket and the little Blockhead badge on my lapel. In a flash, it flooded back as fragments of abracadabra were suddenly remembered, and for a meta-moment in the mega-superstore of a London satellite town, I felt as light as the fevver that threatened to knock me down.
Archived comments for Reasons To Be Cheerful: Part '79
Sunken on 02-02-2007
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Part ’79
Now there was a poet. Did you really meet him or have I read it wrong? I often read stuff wrong. We could do with a few more Ian Durys in the charts today. I heard the new single by the Kaiser Chiefs this week, Jeezus, they really need a Dury. Always an interesting read Mr. Case. Have a ten, it's Friday. Thanks.

s
u
n
k
e
n

life really is too short ya know

Author's Reply:
Hello Mr.Submersible. Hope I spelt that right...'Mr' I mean.

Thanks for surfacing for a moment to comment on this poem. Would you like to borrow a towel? It's no trouble, honest. Isn't that a funny word...'towel' I mean? The more I think about it, the stranger it appears. Never really considered it before. Remember that bit in 'Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy' when the world is about to end and Zaphod Beeblebrox (have I spelt that right?) says to Arthur Dent that they'd better take a towel with them? No, I didn't think so. I don't suppose anyone else will read this reply though, so it doesn't really matter.

Are you still there? Oh good, right then. I did not meet Ian Dury but I did indeed see Ian Dury and The Blockheads perform at Hammersmith Odeon in the summer of '79. Noticing a double-CD with everything on it for just under a fiver in early January this year brought it all back and in an instant made me feel affronted at how all that great stuff could be peddled in what seemed to me to be an undervalued manner. So it's all true and kinda personal in a way too. And I did wear a jacket I'd bought from Oxfam (buying stuff from Oxfam was sort of fashionable at the time) and I used to have a small badge outlining Davy Payne (have I spelt that right), with the words 'Davy Blockhead' on it. In fact though, I gave the badge away about a year before, to a woman I was in love with. Circumstances forced us to part. She cried, because she knew how much that 'worthless' badge meant to me. I'm welling up now. You and your bloody comments. Now look what you've done. I need to get some sleep too - I've been working all night and there's more to come.

All I'll say is, if I mistake the fluticasone propionate for the salmetarol xinofoate (I've spelt that right) then it'll be on your head.

All the best,

pencil of the Yard

*he might step back into Oxfam, but he probably won't*


Rupe on 02-02-2007
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Part ’79
Enjoyable read overall - you've done a good job of hanging universal themes (passing of time, loss) on particular and private recollections.

A couple of specific points:

The lines -

'a meta-moment
in the mega-superstore
of a London satellite town'

seemed to step outside the terms the poem sets itself - as this is really a summary of the whole poem. Not sure if this is good or bad - merely an observation.

And the first couple of lines -

At the mega-superstore
that is Tesco

are questionable: they contain a ponderous & self-reflexive formulation - the something that is something can only be that something, so why the 'that'? I didn't think it was too problematic in this particular case, to be honest, but something to watch out for.

Rupe


Author's Reply:
Hello Rupe and thanks for your thoughtful comment. Good to know you enjoyed reading and, yes, I tried to hang some universal themes on a poetic expression from my personal point of view. Well, not so much 'hang' but rather bring them out, hoping that others might relate to the specifics of this, but if Ian and The Blockheads were not the reader's era or preference, then maybe it would still work as a poem.

That said, the poem is not contrived at all (not that you suggested it is). I was at the concert in '79 (when I was 19) and I was at Tesco's in Stevenage in the first week of January this year when I noticed the double CD on sale for £4.96 (and a large sign hanging from the ceiling did announce 'JANUARY PRICE BLITZ'. I suddenly experienced strong feelings about the situation, reminding me vivdly of times past and at the same time deflating me regarding how the cut-price offer seemed to undervalue the songs and the impact that they had back then. I'm not entirely clear about your comment on the use of 'that' but it is intended to be a kind of ponderous opening, developing into (I hope) a mix of resignation and an inability to be completely melancholy because of the vibrancy of the memories that have just sparked my brain.

Regarding the lines towards the end, well for one thing it is simply true about the moment experienced and where it took place. I think I'm also trying to suggest reflections on how times have changed (remember the album cover of 'New Boots And Panties'? When's the last time you saw a shop front like that?!). Again, I hope this might emphasise the cut-price sale in a new town latter-day superstore versus the vitality of the time and city where events took place originally. And the last two lines I hope might again come back to the mix of emotions I've already referred to - feeling light in one way, light as a fevver, but it threatened to knock me down.

A long reply to your comment, but I think it's appropriate given that you have obviously given this some thought and that is much appreciated. I'm pre-occupied with work this weekend and will come back to other comments as soon as I can. One thing seems clear though, and I'm pleased about this: a number of people have related to this and have enjoyed reading it - and have enjoyed thinking back to The Blockheads' heyday. I keep thinking about a lot of the old songs myself!

Thanks again for the comment,

Steve

Jolen on 02-02-2007
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Part ’79
Great to see this nibbed, Steve. I love the second stanza the best, but can relate to the whole sentiment in a very personal way...And for that and for free, I love the poem! lol

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Hello Jolen and thanks for popping in with your comment and blessings. I wonder what you were wearing at the time? I usually wear a suit of armour when replying to comments, but have had to make an exception on this occasion due to an unfortunate incident involving WD40 and a can opener. The doctor says I should make a full recovery in a couple of weeks or so, but for the moment sex is out of the question, I'm afraid, but thanks for asking anyway.

Glad you enjoyed the poem. I wonder if you have listened to the audio? I'm afraid I went off at a bit of a tangent at the start of the recording. I hope Her Chief Executiveness didn't mind. She hasn't excommunicated me yet, so I suppose I'm in the clear.

Imagine one in your laundry basket...

pencil-blockhead

orangedream on 02-02-2007
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Part ’79
Congrats on the nib, Steve. Another fine piece of work.

"Hit me with your rhythmn stick" - now you're talking!

regards
Tina

Author's Reply:
Hello Tina and thank you. I've put the nib with my Grade 3 CSE in woodwork (I made a block) and my 25-yard breaststroke certificate. I must admit that I'm feeling quite smug. I may celebrate by buying myself a ten-shilling postal order.

It really does take much longer to get up North the slow way, you know.

Hope you enjoy your oranges. Have you got a juicer? No good with pies are they?

Billericay pencil

Slovitt on 02-02-2007
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Part ’79
Steve: Thoughtful, and wistful, and alive with feeling. Oh, and as ever well written. A good poem. Swep

Author's Reply:
Hi Swep - good to hear from you again.

'Wistful' is a great word and I am gratified that you should use it in your comment on this poem. I've had a few comments on this and every time I reply to someone I've got the music going on in the back of my head again! It's not a bad thing though!

In the deserts of Sudan
and the gardens of Japan...

see what I mean!

Pleased you found it alive with feeling.

Steve

richardwatt on 02-02-2007
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Part ’79
I don't think that the kids today will have the same feelings 20 odd years in the future about the Killers as you do about Ian Dury. That's more than a little sad.
Agreed with Rupe about the Tesco part, which was a bit of a false lead-in. You need the faceless bargain-bin brutalisation of our teenhood heroes, on the other hand, so it's a bit of a tricky proposition.

Author's Reply:
Hi Richard and many thanks for the comment. Glad the feeling came through.

Rupe made a thoughtful comment and I replied at some length. I'll paste part of my response...

*
I was at the concert in '79 (when I was 19) and I was at Tesco's in Stevenage in the first week of January this year when I noticed the double CD on sale for £4.96 (and a large sign hanging from the ceiling did announce 'JANUARY PRICE BLITZ'. I suddenly experienced strong feelings about the situation, reminding me vivdly of times past and at the same time deflating me regarding how the cut-price offer seemed to undervalue the songs and the impact that they had back then.
*

So, if you have reservations about the lead-in then that's a fair comment, but I feel I have to say that it was anything but false. When I noticed that double CD for £4.96 I was rather overwhelmed by a flood of memories and feelings - and I was only there in the first place to do some boring shopping. I had to get some thoughts down on paper quickly: picked up a scrap of paper from the floor; grabbed a pen from the customer service desk without asking permission! Took about a month to produce the poem, but the moment of its inception was intense.

Thanks for your appreciation of the feeling in the poem. Maybe you have a soft spot for Ian and The Blockheads as well? There are characters around today, and there is talent, but I don't think there will ever be anyone else quite like Mr.Lovepants!

All the best,

Steve


Gerry on 02-02-2007
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Part ’79
Steve, Many will relate to this clever little ode...

Gerry.

Author's Reply:
Hi Gerry and many thanks for reading and commenting. Pleased you liked my "clever" (Trevor) offering!

It seems a few have related to this and this really pleases me, regardless of what they might think of my ability. Not that anyone has trashed it, but I wanted the feeling to come across and it seems to have done so.

Thanks again and all the best,

Steve


jody on 02-02-2007
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Part ’79
I loved this almost as much as I loved Ian and the Blockheads...
No one plays his music anymore - wish I could find it just for a giggle. Thanks for writing this - it made me smile and remember some good fun music.


Author's Reply:
Ah, jody! There you are! Jolen warned me, er...I mean, told me about you.

I must say I have been pleasantly surprised by a few comments from those in the US who obviously enjoyed being reminded of Ian and The Blockheads. Nice to hear from you, anyway. I appreciate that yours is one of our smaller colonies, so if you bump into Jolen then please tell her that I'm responding to treatment, despite an unfortunate incident when I happened to pass by a powerful magnet yesterday.

I'm thinking about 'Sweet Gene Vincent' now. 'Ow'd it go?...

Skinny white sailor
the chances were slender
the beauties were brief.
Shall I mourn your decline
wiv sum fundabird whine
onna black 'andkerchief

Marvellous! Wasn't it?

Cheers for the comment,

Steve


barenib on 03-02-2007
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Part ’79
Steve, as I commented not so very long ago, I think the man himself would have enjoyed this, which is the best compliment I can give it. John.

Author's Reply:
Aha! It's old Johnny twin-carbs! Welcome aboard!

A fantastic comment, young John of many brilliant poems-fame! Also reminds me to do something I've been meaning to do: nominate Mere Lagnier - I'll get on to that!

I really hope Ian would have enjoyed this. As you are very well aware..."the world is full of fear and loathing"! So, let's hang on to something worthwhile, like Mr.Lovepants. And maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea, for all its faults, to try to hang on to the world itself.

Regards to Jocko,

Steve

Mandrake on 03-02-2007
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Part ’79

Hello pencilcase,

I found a lot to like in this poem, which evoked nostalgia for the man and his music and for my own early life as an Essex lad.

I didn't mind the 'Tesco' reference, as it was the kind of detail that Ian Dury used to insert into his own song lyrics.

I would maybe have liked it better if you had attempted to write in the rhythm of his songs as a more total homage - but I know that would be a tall order. His tunes and words sounded deceptively simple but are difficult to emulate.

Thanks for the memories. And yes, it's sad to see them consigned to the bargain bin.

Regards,

Mandrake.



Author's Reply:
Hello Mandrake and thanks for the comment.

I've responded to others re: the Tesco reference. Basically, this is what actually happened so in one sense at least it can't be 'wrong'. Take your point though that it is the sort of detail that features in Ian's lyrics. Your suggestion of trying to write it in a Dury-esque style is a good one, but this one is done now for me - and it more or less expresses what I wanted. Well, I write humorous verse too, so I might try to come up with something else, not about Ian and The Blockheads, but with that style in mind. Probably one for a bit further down the line, but a good suggestion.

I'm pleased you found a lot to like in the poem, and that you felt the sadness whilst at the same time enjoyed being reminded of those memories.

Thanks again and, as The Blockheads might put it,

Oy-Oy!

Steve

Frenchy on 05-02-2007
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Part ’79
Lovely piece of nostalgia ebbing through the tides of times gone by.
Magical moments don't last long but when they happen it makes life worth living. 🙂
Take Care,
Dave.

Author's Reply:
Hi Dave. Your succinct, thoughtful comment tells me that you have really engaged with this poem and this is pleasing for me to see. I think I'll class this poem as a success because I've had several comments from people who, in one way or another, have said to me "yeah, damn right".

So thanks again and here's to the memories...

'Ad a love affair wiv Nina
in the back of my Cortina,
a seasoned-up Hyeena
could notta bin more obscener

!

That 'seasoned-up Hyeena' line still gets to me!

Steve

jay12 on 07-02-2007
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Part ’79
Hit me with your poetry stick Pencil case!!!! This is awesome. Notalgia maybe slightly before my time but I got it nevertheless!

Deserves the nibby.

Jay.

Author's Reply:
Hi Jay - glad you enjoyed it! 'Hit me with your poetry stick' made me smile!

As I commented in a response to an earlier comment, this is about something specific, but I did try to open it up to some aspects of more univeresal themes, so it's great to see that you connected with it even though it is slightly before your time.

Cheers and all the best,

Steve

Abel on 09-02-2007
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Part 79
Love this, and old Ian would be proud, the geezer. Two fat persons click click click.

Ward

Author's Reply:
Hi Ward - hope things are well with you, and thanks for the comment.

I have been heartened by the comments I've received on this. The great thing is that it has really reminded me of those days and various very creative songs are continuing to run through my head. I have also been pleasantly surprised by comments from those based in the US - I didn't expect Ian would have been held with such affection by some in the states. I am so glad that I went to the Hammersmith Odeon in the summer of '79!

All the best,

Steve

Macjoyce on 30-08-2007
Reasons To Be Cheerful: Part 79
Hi Trevor,

I had a Blockhead t-shirt once, but had to get rid of it cos from a way back it looked as though it could easily say ‘dickhead’. Which is a very chavvy Essexy swearword and one of my least favourites.

I think Essex-boys are actually doing very well nowadays, much more so than in ’79. You can see them all around the Bank of England in their twatty pinstripe suits, heading off to strip clubs with huge wads of filthy lucre in their stinking trousers. “Nuffink wrong wiv me, mate, nick nick, etc.”

My favourite Ian Dury song has got to be his comedy reggae b-side, “You’re more than fair”, where he gets progressively dirtier with his girlfriend the higher he moves up into his house, and which begins with the immortal lines:

You’re more than fair, you’ve got a gorgeous bum.
Why don’t you come to my house, and meet my Mum?

I see the Blockheads are still gigging. How can that be? How can they do anything without Ian?

Mash it up Mac


Author's Reply:
Dear Mash it up Mac,

Thanks for your interesting comments. It is quite telling how Ian has a place in the hearts of many folks, and as I gathered from earlier responses to this poem, this extends to those far removed from the actual locations Ian frequented. Ironically, the twatty pinstripe posse you refer to would probably not have the imagination to identify with a true urban poet who came from their manor!

Yes, The Blockheads are still gigging. I agree it makes you wonder how things could be any good without Ian, but I have heard good reports so would like to see them one day. Amongst these reports was a comment from a geezer at work who paused and then said: "they're fucking tight"!!! And he knows what he's talking about and still sees a lot of bands. Also the charater who bemoaned the sort of bands his daughter likes, criticising them for doing things like "aving a wash" and continuing: "we knew 'ow to get pissed back in the seventies"!!!

Thank you for engaging with this Mr.Mash It Up, and an "Oy-Oy" to you!

Rhythm Stick Steve


Reality Check (posted on: 19-01-07)
Oh brother...

I never watch Big Brother, it neither entertains, nor poses any questions that might stimulate the brain. It's voyeuristic rubbish in a format that depends on lower human instincts and it never bloody ends. But now it's hit the headlines, so I cannot ignore the latest bout of drivel that's emerged from Channel Four. No, I never watch Big Brother, but now I can't avoid it: I only hope this nonsense might have finally destroyed it. Reality is out there, it's not within those walls, though it's tempting to eschew it when reality appals. Our soldiers now are dying and killing scores of others, it's all destroying families, denying wives and lovers, and I'm afraid, I must admit, though with a heavy heart: this is not the end of it; this is just the start. The world is warming up and the oil is running out: it's five minutes to midnight and we're halfway up the spout. So let's go to the circus, while we have our daily bread, forget what's really going on and gawp at Jade instead, and soak up Shilpa's crying, for there is little doubt: the public seems to love it when the inmates all fall out. The bolly-prima donna might get your sympathy, but she'll be laughing last, of course, when she collects her fee. Admittedly, it's paper talk, but as I understand, she stands to gain, allegedly, about 300 grand. It's either her or loudmouth, who likes to shout and swear: I have bad dreams of waking up and Goody's lying there. I say we vote 'em both out, or would that be unkind? I mean, why should we stop at that, why leave the rest behind? Let's kick the bloody lot out and blow the set sky high! It's radical, I grant you, but surely worth a try? I'm sorry to go on, but the way it seems to me: there's nothing so unreal as 'Reality TV'.
Archived comments for Reality Check
red-dragon on 19-01-2007
Reality Check
Well said! You make your point very well and as a non watcher of 'reality TV' I wholeheartedly agree. I read Sunkie's poem above this and think you bring another dimension in on yours.
Ann

Author's Reply:
Hello Ann and thanks for commenting. I will read the latest offering from the munky's paw in due course and compare notes!

Thanks for your appreciation.

Steve

Bradene on 19-01-2007
Reality Check
Ditto to everything said by Ann. I never that kind of TV myself but as you so rightly say sometimes the fallout is hard to avoid. I'm off to read Sunky's version now Top read this. Love Val x

Author's Reply:
Hey Val - thanks for that! Good to know you found it a top read!

Much appreciated.

Steve

barenib on 19-01-2007
Reality Check
Spot on Steve! There seem to be so many people denying reality these days, not least the politicians. We almost seem to live in a twilight world these days - bread and circuses indeed. I sometimes wonder if anyone really knows what's going on. Anyway, you've rendered a very good piece of occasional verse here. John.

Author's Reply:
Ah, John! Is that you? Yes it is, isn't it? Well thanks for your comment on my 'RC' - see you in 'The R&C'!

Cheers,

Steve

orangedream on 19-01-2007
Reality Check
Great stuff, Steve. I ditto all that's been said. Up to your usual high standard. A great read!

Tina

Author's Reply:
'Ello Teen! Thanks for reading and letting me know your thoughts. Always appreciated.

Steve

Jolen on 22-01-2007
Reality Check
BRAVO! I hate Reality T.V. and your poem was lyrical, informative and a damn fine read. You tell 'em!

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Hi Jolen. Pleased you enjoyed this read. Just me letting off a little steam, I suppose, but ain't it the truth?!

Cheers,

Steve


Twenty Questions (posted on: 19-01-07)
This started life as a journal entry a few days ago. It attracted 6 hits and 2 comments: not a bad hits/comments ratio. Someone (I will protect their identity for fear of recrimination) clearly found it amusing and asked if I could submit it to the site. On this basis, I thought it might amuse someone else, so, ever willing to oblige, here it is - a bit of fun for Friday, anyways! I Ask You

1. Why are all fire engines called DENNIS? Surely this must be confusing, especially in an emergency? 2. Why is the Irish Prime Minister called 'The T-Shirt'? And why doesn't he seem to mind? 3. Who came up with 'one size fits all'? The Irish Prime Minister? Whoever it was, it clearly doesn't make sense. Wouldn't a label that said 'this size will fit some but not others' be far more useful advice when contemplating those tricky clothes purchasing decisions? 4. And what the heck is 'family size'? Surely it depends on the size of one's family? 5. Why do I keep on getting leaflets pushed through my letterbox that advertise home delivery pizzas when there is absolutely no way that I would pay 9.99 for an oversized slice of bread that has tomato paste spread on it and is covered with a few other bits and pieces that stink of moped? Will you please stop doing this? 6. If God made us, who made God? And why? And who made whatever it was that made God? It's not easy, is it? 7. How is it possible that a kiosk at London's Victoria Station offers a special deal price of 2.39 for a large filter coffee and a blueberry muffin when it costs 2.45 for a large coffee on its own? Does this explain why the concourse at Victoria Station is ankle-deep in blueberry muffins? 8. Who put the bop in the bop-sha-bop-da-bop? 9. Do you remember 'John Menzies' - the WHSmith-type store that existed some years ago? Did anyone ever refer to this as 'John Ming'? Of course not. So why is the leader of the Lib Dems known as 'Ming Campbell'? 10. Has anyone else wondered at the lyrics of the contemporary popular song 'I Love It When You Call' by 'The Feeling'? I think it's worth examining a little more closely I love it when you call I love it when you call I love it when you call but you never call at all. How on earth can you love it when someone calls if they have never called at all? I appreciate that one could be desirous of receiving a call from a person they might hold in high esteem, but surely that should be 'I'd love it if you called'? 11. Why is the sixth of January considered to be twelfth night? If Christmas Day is the first day of Christmas (as it surely must be) then the sixth of January is thirteenth night, or rather, shouldn't the fifth of January be regarded as twelfth night? 12. Does anyone else remember the 'K-Tel Brush-O-Matic' that was advertised on the telly in the early to mid-seventies: a revolutionary brush that promised to 'remove pet hairs'? Do you remember how stroking a bald cat just didn't feel right? 13. Why do about 75% of internet dating profiles include a comment which amounts to ''I enjoy nights out, but I enjoy nights in as well''? Doesn't this suggest that the only thing you're not too keen on is an evening spent hovering over the threshold? 14. Where's my bloody duvet? The thinner one that can be attached to the thicker one, I mean. Recently, I was changing my bedding (I do this twice a year, whether it needs it or not) and thought it might be an idea to join together the two duvet-halves. Can I find the other bit? No I bloody can't! I can understand not being able to find a bunch of keys, a pen or a pair of glasses (especially a pair of glasses), but a duvet? Has anybody else ever lost a duvet without moving home? More to the point perhaps: has anybody else found a duvet recently? 15. Who put the ram in the ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong? 16. Shake and Vac? What a terrific idea! You pay good money for a tube of dust, sprinkle it over a carpet, and then run the vacuum cleaner over the affected area to get rid of it. Wouldn't it be cheaper and less time-consuming to just get on with the cleaning? 17. How about we get cyclists to ride their bikes on the road? Am I the only one who is fed up with kids/youths/adults fast-pedalling along the pavement? And get some batteries/reflectors so we can see you, and you can see us. It's not difficult, is it? 18. Why is it that, since the opening of the Scottish Parliament, more and more of the leading politicians at Westminster are Scots? There is clearly no chance of an Englishman ruling the roost at Holyrood, and little chance of English people enjoying the benefits that the Scots now take for granted in terms of financially pain-free university education and so on, so how is it that 'The Sweaties' seem to control English law? 19. Pubs! Remember them? Great, weren't they!? We all used to moan about the licensing laws, but at least we knew where we stood. Sunday lunchtime was my favourite. 12-2. If you wanted to take part then you had to get down there at the right time. You'd be certain to meet up with a whole bunch of mates and the atmosphere would be lively, convivial and somehow, well, just a bit special. Now we can go down the pub whenever we like and have no sense of occasion whatsoever. Oh for the days of a lock-in when everyone was up for it. And if you dare to desire to smoke a cigar or a cigarette, your days are numbered. Drug-dealing seems to be acceptable though. 20. Finally, is anyone still reading this? No, I didn't think so. Still, perhaps that's just as well. After all, I've posed my twenty questions. The rest is up to you. Isn't it? Sorry, that's twenty-one.
Archived comments for Twenty Questions
Michel on 19-01-2007
Twenty Questions
Original, clever, and very funny!

Author's Reply:
Hi Michel and thanks for letting me know this gave you some amusement!

Cheers,

Steve

Hazy on 19-01-2007
Twenty Questions
One of the funniest things that I've read on here for a whole yonk. Not that I've read much on here lately. Oh dear, that's now sounding like a backhanded compliment when what I meant was if I had read everything on here for the past yonk, yours would still be, let's say in the top 5 🙂

Hmmm.

I love these pondering lists. Did one of my own (called 'Don't You Ever Wonder...') which I'm pretty sure you've mentioned before. Mine made me wanna slit my wrists though, whereas yours made me cross my legs for fear of peeing my pants. Was giggling/shaking at my desk and trying very hard to suppress a loud burst of laughter. I think the shake n vac nearly pushed me over the edge.

Excellent stuff!! (the list, not the shake n vac. That's just shite).

Take care.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:
Oh dear. I just replied but made the mistake of adding a comment instead of replying. Anyway, I just said...

Hello Hazy. I'm sorry if I caused you any bladder control problems. It's good to know it gave you a laugh though!

Hope all is well and thanks for popping in!

pencilface


pencilcase on 20-01-2007
Twenty Questions
Hello Hazy. I'm sorry if I caused you any bladder control problems. It's good to know it gave you a laugh though!

Hope all is well and thanks for popping in!

pencilface

Author's Reply:

Jolen on 26-01-2007
Twenty Questions
Steve, You crack me up.. this was hilarious and when I get to your country, I would love to buy you a pint. Or a gallon, for that matter. LOL I am so relieved to know there are other crazies around.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Well, I'm pleased it gave you a laugh! If you ever plan a visit to the UK then let me know - would definitely try to get a few uka folks together and give you the opportunity to buy me that pint! I'd invite you to pencil Manor, but I'm afraid it is now undergoing extensive refurbishment and we're having to rough it on inflatable four-posters in the ballroom. Under the circumstances, I've done the humane thing and shot some of the servants, but I hope things will be back to normal before too long.

Hope all is well in the colonies,

Viscount pencil of the case, DSO, BBC, OTT

SugarMama34 on 11-02-2007
Twenty Questions
Hi pencilcase, To answer question 21, yes I did read it. An enjoyable read that made me smile and gave me a laugh. A humerous write without fault, it certainly entertains and you put some good thought provoking questions forward.

Cheers FRom Sugar.xx

Author's Reply:
Hello Sugar!

Thanks for the comment - I'm pleased you enjoyed this lighthearted piece! Funny how certain 'silly' things make you wonder though, isn't it?!

All the best to you,

Steve/pencilcase

*he can be serious at times*


Spend It Like Beckham (posted on: 12-01-07)
Topical Times...

When I'm in Kalafornya, jest fink what I could do wiv all that lovely money from The Bank Of Malibu! I'll buy meself a mansion and mix it wiv the stars and every week, most probably, I'll buy a few flash cars. 'n then I'll buy anuvver one, or maybe even more: and now and then I'll kick a ball and champion the poor. It's the challenge that I'm after, it isn't fer the dosh: I've discussed it wiv the family; been spoken to by Posh. Accordin' to Viktoreeya, fings should turn out well: 'ave you seen 'er recently? She's such a lovely gel! She's gone beyond the FA Cup and now she's Double D, she says it's her new diet: that's good enough fer me. There's just one thing that bovvers, though it's not the cash I seek: will a million dollars be enough for every week?
Archived comments for Spend It Like Beckham
red-dragon on 12-01-2007
Spend It Like Beckham
An absolute corker!! A blinder! Enjoyed every line and am off to read it again! Ann

Author's Reply:
Corker and blinder are good words and I am most grateful for your aiming them in my direction. Your subsequent plea to the nib-fairy seems to have paid off and I wouldn't be surprised if you had taken it upon yourself to be the nom-fairy on this occasion! Above all, I thank you for your engagement with this topical verse. It's meant to be humorous, of course, but I think what lies behind it is an astonishment at this latest twist in the Posh & Becks saga: an already unbelievable reality which somehow emphasises how the world we live in has lost touch with true values.

I must go now as I am contemplating a move to Kalafornya myself: LA Galaxy are on the phone and they're looking for someone to run the doughnut franchise on match days. I think they listened to my audio and thought my accent might boost sales.

Have a nice day,

Steve

red-dragon on 12-01-2007
Spend It Like Beckham
PS, nib fairy.......this deserves one IMHO......

Author's Reply:

admin on 12-01-2007
Spend It Like Beckham
Brilliant!

Author's Reply:

admin on 12-01-2007
Spend It Like Beckham
(I started a forum fred on perzacly the same fing...)

Author's Reply:
Thank you for the comments Mrs.Admin. Have looked at the forum. Proof that great minds think alike, perhaps! I hope you get a chance to listen to the audio. When's the uka CD coming out? Could be a market there: about 50% of the population seems to be walking about with ipods, mp3/4 players or whatever. What could be better than listening to a bit of pencil, orange, woodbine, barenib, ward or whoever as you while away a train journey? I must admit that I feel a bit out of date, not to say exhausted, as I struggle to lumber around with my 1967 tape recorder and the huge battery to power it, but at least I'm making an effort. Now I've forgotten what I'm supposed to be commenting on. It was a poem, wasn't it? Well, if it made you laugh then that's good. I like making people laugh (unless that wasn't the intention).

Is that enough? Probably more than enough already, so I'm off.

Goodbye: and thank you.

Steve

orangedream on 12-01-2007
Spend It Like Beckham
Oh I like this! Congrats on the nom!!

Author's Reply:
Thank you for the comment - glad you liked. I live just a few miles from 'Beckingham Palace' and Posh & Becks are often spotted in my home town of Ware, or in neighbouring Hertford. This week's local paper carries a story about them being seen in an Indian restaurant in Hertford recently. Victoria had a chicken korma, apparently, but "didn't eat much". I'm not making this up. I think it was at 'Bollywoods'. I've never actually bumped into them myself, but I tend to use Spanish Andy's caff and it's not the sort of place they would be likely to patronise.

I hope this makes sense Mrs.Orange, and good luck with the dream.

case of pencils

Sunken on 12-01-2007
Spend It Like Beckham
Well done young Pencil of the Yard. It looks like the case is going well? Long may your lead remain sharp.

s
u
n
k
e
n

he might fall in love again, he might not

Author's Reply:
g
r
e
e
t
i
n
g
s,

I saw your comment yesterday and have been limbering up to reply. Now that I'm uplimbered, I am happy to report that the case is indeed going well. Forensics have now established a link between Waitrose and Debenhams - something I suspected all along. In retrospect, the raid on Plymouth Argyle FC was a complete waste of time, but as Gilbert O'Sullivan put it: 'A Chief Inspector's Lot Is Not A Happy One'.

I think that just about sums it up. I'd better get some sleep now - busy day ahead. I'm representing Hertfordshire in the National Underwater Ping-Pong Championships and I want to be at my best. I just hope I can emulate my performance in the qualifiers: I won 21-12, 21-18 and 21-9, and caught a couple of trout in the net. At the moment I'm feeling quite confident in my pong, but I'm not so sure about my ping. Time will tell. I'll be back on the case on Monday. Glad you enjoyed the poem, btw.

Keep 'em peeled*

Chief Inspector Pencil

*The bananas, I mean...

barenib on 12-01-2007
Spend It Like Beckham
Steve - a fine contribution to the oft neglected genre of footy poetry, or should that be 'soccer' poetry? Perhaps you should pin a copy on the door of Beckingham Palace 🙂 John.

Author's Reply:
John, thank you for your interest and for your comment. I took your advice and pinned a copy on the door of Beckingham Palace. For a moment, I felt like a modern-day Martin Luther but all this changed in an instant once I realised that they'd released the dogs. Still, those Dobermanns helped me to smash my PB for the hundred metres. Maybe we should learn from this and introduce this 'threat of imminent canine mauling' at the 2012 Olympics? No, you're right: it's a naff idea.

Anyway, thanks for your comment on my topical socca poem. Did my 'topical times' short intro ring any bells? I used to get 'The Topical Times Football Book' at Christmas when I was a boy. Different world then. Wasn't it? You know, Paddy Crerand, Derek Dougan, Mike England, Ian Ure, Ian St.John, Billy Bremner, 'Chopper' Harris, Dan Dare, Ena Sharples, Crumpets For Tea. Hmmm? Marvellous!

Don't be too hard on me: it's not many replies to comments that range from Martin Luther to Ena Sharples.

I'll get me coat...

RoyBateman on 13-01-2007
Spend It Like Beckham
Very witty - but are you sure that you've quite plumbed the "intellectual" depths of your subject? Still, the next time the hole in the wall sends you off empty-handed, he'll be having the last laugh. That's if he's learned how to, of course...good one!

Author's Reply:
Hello Roy - thanks for popping in. If only I could have just one week on those wages! Good to know you enjoyed the poem.

Steve

Evitchka on 13-01-2007
Spend It Like Beckham
Whot's the weld cummimg to, hey? I jes' doan think Becks would use the werd 'probably'- probbly more likely.
Email it to a Sunday newspaper letters page- I suggest.

Author's Reply:
Thank you for your suggestions. You have made me think that my marketing does perhaps leave something to be desired. I e-mailed this poem to 'Practical Woodworker' and 'Caravanning Today' but no luck so far. I like the sound of your name. Must try to have a nap (work tonight). Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope you enjoyed the poem. It's always nice to be visited by someone with such a lovely name: do call again.

Thank you,

Steve

Gerry on 13-01-2007
Spend It Like Beckham
Excellent--nothing else to say...

Gerry.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for that, Gerry. Always good to know if you enjoyed something of mine.

All the best,

Steve

flossieBee on 14-01-2007
Spend It Like Beckham
So funny, and your recording was wonderful.

Floss

Author's Reply:
'Allo Floss! Glad you found it amusing and good to know you liked the audio. I usually make use of the audio facility. Pleased to have brought you a laugh,

Steve

Bradene on 14-01-2007
Spend It Like Beckham
Brilliant Steve both to listen to and to read. Well done Val x

Author's Reply:
Hi Val! Thank you for reading and listening. Just a bit of topical inspiration that I somehow felt the need to purge from my system! It seems to have brought some amusement to quite a few though, so maybe it was worth it!

Thank you for visiting!

Steve

SadieD on 16-01-2007
Spend It Like Beckham
Hi Steve,

There are 128million reasons for a few more jokes about Dosh & Bucks and your take is one of the wittiest.

Love Sadie

Author's Reply:
Sadie, thanks for the comment, but I've told you a billion times before not to exaggerate. Actually I haven't. I've never met you before. It was just a joke. Sorry.

Glad you enjoyed the poem though! Hope to exchange comments in the future but I have to go now.

Good luck,

Steve

Macjoyce on 17-01-2007
Spend It Like Beckham
Great poem, pen. There should be more verse in Estuarian dialect. Will Posh ever be a double-D? Maybe she already is and I don't know, seeing as I'd rather drink a pint of my own snot than read a celebrity magazine.

Mac


Author's Reply:
Greetings Mac - and thanks for the comment. Thanks also for choosing this as a fave!

I'm not into those celeb mags at all, and there are many things I would rather do. I'd prefer a pint of bitter or Guinness though! However, I have seen some of those mags and the red-top papers lying about recently and, apparently, Posh's tits are definitely on the increase. At least, she's whacking 'em out on a regular basis. I'm not against this as such, but, yeah...another aspect of the crazy world we live in.

Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed my Estuarian poem! I will get around to reading and commenting on yours and others next week, I hope, but have loads of employment-type work to get on with this w/e.

Cheers for now,

pencil

Jolen on 17-01-2007
Spend It Like Beckham
Steve this was a briliant piece of hilarious.. I have shown it to several Americans that aren't memebers here and they too laughed themselves sick, much like I imagine Beckem is or should be. What a farce! oh well. Loved your read, loved your poem and I think you deserve the nib, the nom andddddddd a brand new box of shiney pencils!!!

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Hey..."a briliant piece of hilarious"? I like that! Also interesting to know that several of your compatriots laughed themselves sick, although I do hope that they are feeling better now. If you let me know their names and addresses I'll send get well cards. I'm feeling kinda guilty now. Thanks for listening too, and thanks for those shiney pencils! I've been using some of them already. Hope to get around to reading your latest very soon but I'm afraid life gets in the way sometimes. Was gonna (d'ya like the way I'm drifting into a Yankee tone of voice every now and then just to make ya feel at home?) but your pencils took over and I got to writing myself. Sorry. I'll try to make it up to ya (shucks, there I go agin!).

And my blessings to you too!

Lord Stephen-pencilcase, VC, BBC, OTT

Lu on 18-01-2007
Spend It Like Beckham
Haha, yes - an excellent piece.

Author's Reply:
Hello Lu,
how are you?
I hope that all
is tickety-boo!

Sorry. It's all getting too much. But I thank you for reading and commenting, and I just heard a ping that led me to discover that you have chosen this as a fave! So thanks for all that!

I'll be back on the case soon, I hope, but I really have to go now.

Greetings from pencil Manor,

Steve

CVaughan on 04-11-2008
Spend It Like Beckham
Nothing suceeds like an attack on a successful person in our class ridden society is one thing this prompts me to say. I do not suppose DB had your education PC but luckily for him a propnderance of ability in his chosen field.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for your two-stage comment.

In the main, this ditty of mine was well received as a humorous comment on the news when Beckham signed for LA Galaxy. There was one exception, when I showed it to a friend and his comment was "how unkind". I suppose it could be considered a bit sharp, but it was not intended to be unkind or a personal attack, but rather a comment on the superstar/celebrity world we live in. Although I am about 15 years his senior, David and I spent our boyhood years just a few miles apart in outer north/northeast London. I had fun recording this since it was very easy for me to slip into a Beckhamesque accent and intonation!

In footballing terms, I admire David Beckham and also think he has done quite a bit to utilise his celebrity status for good purposes. Then again there is a lot of stuff attached to his superstar status that makes me feel ill at times, but I think this is probably more to do with his missus than with the man himself.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Steve

CVaughan on 04-11-2008
Spend It Like Beckham
Oh dash it that should have read preponderance in my comment - laptop wobbled.

Author's Reply:


An Ideal Couple (posted on: 05-01-07)
at the adoption agency... **Edited version now in place (09.01.07) - thanks to suggestion from woodbine and juliet. I have made a fresh recording and will ask Richard if he can upload replacement audio**

Right, let's not keep them waiting for longer than necessary. That wouldn't be fair. After all, it's a long process - and a stressful one - and quite frankly I don't think there is any need to drag this out. We've already been through the points-scoring bit, the assessments, the home visits and so on, and our task here today is really to bring the whole thing together and come to a decision in principle. But before we can do that, and before we can call them back in, I need to feel confident that we have reached a consensus. Okay then, comments please! Oh I think it's a bit unfair to place too much stock by their demeanour today. I know he was shaking a little and her expression seemed blank at times, but remember: we've put them through the mill on this. I mean I know we're only doing our job, but I think we should take that into account and factor in some understanding of the fact that they are bound to be nervous. It's decision-day! If they weren't apprehensive then that could in itself be interpreted as a lack of commitment. That man has had quite a struggle in his earlier life, but now that he has the love of a woman who clearly dotes on him Sorry? Well, yeah. Know what you mean. I suppose I'd prefer it if she were a bit more independent, a bit more towards the modern-woman-type that we often see in these offices, but it isn't for us to be judgmental about what makes people tick, and what makes a relationship work. Yes I'm conscious of the age difference, but it seems to be a growing trend. Maybe it suits her that he's a bit old-fashioned. I've always found him quite charming. A passionate man, yes, but one who is respectful towards women. Well, yes, he's getting on a bit, but he's clearly ambitious and obviously planning on being around for a few years yet. I don't know if any of you have noticed, but his eyes light up when he speaks about the future. None of us knows what's around the corner, but he's probably got every right to be optimistic. After all, he doesn't smoke, he doesn't drink: he doesn't even eat meat. Ticks all the boxes. And I think it's great that he takes such an interest in art, classical music, architecturenot many kids get the chance to grow up under the guidance of such a richly-informed guardian. I'm surprised you should voice concern over his travel plans. He's told us that he did a bit of back-packing as a young man and he'd just like to do a little more before he's too old. He's only looking at a quick European tour with a few of his old mates and, after all, even if the application is approved it will take quite some time before a suitable child is found. I think it shows remarkable vigour for a man of his age. I get the feeling this is just something that he needs to get out of his system and then he'll be happy to settle down. Haven't we all had that nagging feeling of 'unfinished business' at one time or another? Yeah, you're right. That's the one thing that bothers me. But should we turn them down because she admits to having had the occasional cigarette? Yes, I know it's a shame, but she's said she doesn't smoke at home and I'm sure he wouldn't stand for that even if she wanted to. And I think she's so devoted to him that she'll cut it out entirely before long. After all, in other respects she's quite the athlete: outdoorsy. They obviously like nothing better than getting away from it all in the mountains. Yes, that's right! They're a breath of fresh air! I think you're right to bring up that difficult point, but as far as I'm concerned, and let's not forget our guidelines here - whilst there is no actual requirement for us to be black and white in this regard - the vexed question of racial, or rather, cultural suitability, is one that we can't afford to ignore. Remember also that we are talking here about a child who has already spent the first few years of her, or his, life in her own racial setting. Yes, I agree: they seemed very comfortable in this respect. It's something we should be adult and realistic about. It's not a question of being unreasonable on the one hand or, perish the thought, politically correct on the other: we simply have to bear in mind the best interests of the child that this couple may one day adopt. As they said themselves: it's not rocket science. The dog? Well, I know we have to take that into consideration, but haven't we seen the situation for ourselves on our field visits? I think it is one of the best behaved, most intelligent and well-trained pets I have ever seen in a domestic situation. Animals are good for children. They not only provide enjoyment and encourage a sense of care and responsibility, but they teach kids about life and death. So, are we agreed? Good! I'll go and call them back in. Please take a seat. Thank you so much for being patient while we had the private discussion that I'm sure you will understand we are duty-bound to pursue at this sensitive stage of the proceedings. I would also like to thank you for your co-operation and for the dedication you have shown throughout this process. It is now my responsibility, by the authority invested in me by the Governing Council, to inform you of our decision as to our recommendation to the Governing Council in respect of our assessment of your suitability as an adoptive couple. I have to remind you that such recommendation is subject to ratification by the said Governing Council, butI am pleased to inform you that the findings from our investigations into your submission have caused us to recommend the furtherance of your application. Well! Is there anything you would like to say? You're speechless, aren't you! Well, I have to remind you that our recommendation is, as I say, subject to final approval. However, I would like to say, on behalf of myself and my colleagues, that we wish you all the very best for the future, and I think you are just the sort of people we're looking for these days. What was that? Well, it's very kind of you to invite us, but I'm not sure if it would be politically acceptable for us to join you at your party. We have to be seen to be upholding the standards required of us, you see. Unflaggingly, you might say. In the meantime, may I say that we all wish you both the very best of luck. Eva, and you too, Adolf: it's been a pleasure. Here's to the future!
Archived comments for An Ideal Couple
discopants on 05-01-2007
An Ideal Couple
Very sneaky, Mr Pencil. The revelation at the end compels us to go back and read through it again. That said, the communication of the decision is my favourite bit- too close to modern day bureaucracy to be satirical.

Author's Reply:
Thank you and well said dp!

Whilst I don't consider myself 'sneaky' (that's a great word, isn't it?!), I am pleased to be considered sneaky in this context!

As to your reference to modern day bureaucracy...well, pee-cee's me name!

Thanks for the comment,

Steve

Gerry on 05-01-2007
An Ideal Couple
Had me going first one way then the other-- caught completely at the end. Certainly different.

Gerry.

Author's Reply:
Gotcha!

Gerry - thanks for dropping by. Your comments are always appreciated.

best regards,

Steve

orangedream on 05-01-2007
An Ideal Couple
A very clever write. Just like discopants, the end caught me completely unawares and I read it all through again. Enjoyed.

Tina

Author's Reply:
Thank you Tina! Pleased to see you enjoyed this and that you were prompted to read through again.

thanks and best wishes,

Steve

Hazy on 05-01-2007
An Ideal Couple
lol very good, pencily person.

Caught me out too. Reckoned it was gonna be about getting a dog or cat or somat and the dig was that there was all this interrogation over a pet, whereas people have kids all over the place without so much as a licence 😉 It's kinda turned my presumption completely on its head which has got me thinking (not a good thing). Yep, they do tend to be thorough with adoption, but - as this proves - it's not like nutters, murderers or whatever are born with it tattooed across their foreheads!!

Deep in thought now...

Very good.

Take care, and a very happy 2007 to you 🙂

Hazy x

Author's Reply:
HNY to you too! And thanks for commenting.

I'm interested to see a number of comments along the lines of sensing that there was to be a twist, but not knowing what it would be. I didn't want to make it obvious, but I suppose the fact that this portrays a contemporary scene with applicants from the past is enough to keep people guessing and still surprise at the end. I will consider a slight edit because of this, and in the light of woodbine's and juliet's comments in particular.

The background to this is that 2 or 3 years ago (I think there was a news item about a couple being rejected in their efforts to adopt because one of them once had a pint of shandy and took a pinch of snuff or something) I thought how ironic it was that in some respects Adolf Hitler could be considered acceptable these days: non-smoker; teetotaller; vegetarian; kind to animals.

Well, I finally got around to putting this basic thought into a context. Decided on the monologue with imagined dialogue technique - partly influenced by sirat in that regard although, of course, there's nothing new in that approach but I just thought it might be effective for what I had in mind.

Pleased you enjoyed reading it anyway!

Steve

glennie on 06-01-2007
An Ideal Couple
Great monologue, pencil. I had to keep reading to find the punchline. Shows how wrong social workers can be, Dunnit?

Author's Reply:
Thanks for commenting glennie. Nice to have written something that has prompted several to re-read! There is a potential edit to this - I think there will be.

Anyways, many thanks once again and regards to you.

Steve

reckless on 06-01-2007
An Ideal Couple
Enjoyable read this, very on the button as officialdom goes, I suspect, and I liked the ending.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the reckless comment! As I just typed to glennie, this will likely be edited (a bit) in response to a couple of later comments I received.

Anyway, thanks for letting me know you enjoyed and my regards to you,

Steve

woodbine on 07-01-2007
An Ideal Couple
Hi Steve,
You had me fooled too. I think it wouldn't harm the work to put in a little foreshadowing, not to make it easier to guess but to give an ending where the reader says to him/herself, 'Ah, that's what that's about." Maybe, for instance, the husband has been making preparations for a European tour
for himself and friends. Maybe it's not needed. I'm getting tired
A good read,
John

Author's Reply:
Hello John. Thanks for the comment and I think you make a good point. It has prompted me to draft a potential edit, in which I have made some additions to para 3 and inserted a new para 4 (would then continue as was from existing para 4 / maybe what becomes para 5). Here's the proposal...

*****

Sorry? Well, yeah. Know what you mean. I suppose I’d prefer it if she were a bit more independent, a bit more towards the modern-woman-type that we often see in these offices, but it isn’t for us to be judgmental about what makes people tick, and what makes a relationship work. Yes I’m conscious of the age difference, but it seems to be a growing trend. Maybe it suits her that he’s a bit old-fashioned. I’ve always found him quite charming. A passionate man, yes, but one who is respectful towards women. Well, yes, he’s getting on a bit, but he’s clearly ambitious and obviously planning on being around for a few years yet. I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but his eyes light up when he speaks about the future. None of us knows what’s around the corner, but he’s probably got every right to be optimistic. After all, he doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t drink: he doesn’t even eat meat. Ticks all the boxes. And I think it’s great that he takes such an interest in art, classical music, architecture…not many kids get the chance to grow up under the guidance of such a richly-informed guardian.

I’m surprised you should voice concern over his travel plans. He’s told us that he did a bit of back-packing as a young man and he’d just like to do a little more before he’s too old. He’s only looking at a quick European tour with a few of his old mates and, after all, even if the application is approved it will take quite some time before a suitable child is found. I think it shows remarkable vigour for a man of his age. I get the feeling this is just something that he needs to get out of his system and then he’ll be happy to settle down. Haven’t we all had that nagging feeling of ‘unfinished business’ at one time or another?

*****

If you get the chance to have a think on this then I would be grateful for your opinion.

Thanky you very much for your time,

Steve

RoyBateman on 07-01-2007
An Ideal Couple
You certainly caught everyone out with this one - clearly, as it was labelled "satire" there was a twist, but where was it coming from? Highly unusual - are we envisaging Eva pushing the new (and black) infant back to the bunker? What a weird thought...but definitely original!

Author's Reply:
Thanks for that, Roy. No, there's no chance of the child being black, wouldn't fit the racial, sorry: cultural criteria.

I'm very grateful for your comment and pleased to see you refer to this piece as unusual/weird/original. I always wanted to be unusual/weird/original, so that made my day!

Cheers,

Steve

juliet on 07-01-2007
An Ideal Couple
sounded realistic and kept me guessing - I thought it might be Madonna and Guy 🙂

I agree with Woodbine that some subtle hints related to his political activities etc would improve it further. But much enjoyed.


Author's Reply:
Hello juliet and thanks very much for commenting. Woodbine's suggestion and your support of it have made me think. I will now paste what I've just sent to him in reply to his comment...

Hello John. Thanks for the comment and I think you make a good point. It has prompted me to draft a potential edit, in which I have made some additions to para 3 and inserted a new para 4 (would then continue as was from existing para 4 / maybe what becomes para 5). Here's the proposal...

*****

Sorry? Well, yeah. Know what you mean. I suppose I’d prefer it if she were a bit more independent, a bit more towards the modern-woman-type that we often see in these offices, but it isn’t for us to be judgmental about what makes people tick, and what makes a relationship work. Yes I’m conscious of the age difference, but it seems to be a growing trend. Maybe it suits her that he’s a bit old-fashioned. I’ve always found him quite charming. A passionate man, yes, but one who is respectful towards women. Well, yes, he’s getting on a bit, but he’s clearly ambitious and obviously planning on being around for a few years yet. I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but his eyes light up when he speaks about the future. None of us knows what’s around the corner, but he’s probably got every right to be optimistic. After all, he doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t drink: he doesn’t even eat meat. Ticks all the boxes. And I think it’s great that he takes such an interest in art, classical music, architecture…not many kids get the chance to grow up under the guidance of such a richly-informed guardian.

I’m surprised you should voice concern over his travel plans. He’s told us that he did a bit of back-packing as a young man and he’d just like to do a little more before he’s too old. He’s only looking at a quick European tour with a few of his old mates and, after all, even if the application is approved it will take quite some time before a suitable child is found. I think it shows remarkable vigour for a man of his age. I get the feeling this is just something that he needs to get out of his system and then he’ll be happy to settle down. Haven’t we all had that nagging feeling of ‘unfinished business’ at one time or another?

*****
If you get a chance to consider this then I would be grateful for your further feedback. I appreciate time is a precious commodity, so I will of course understand if you don't get around to letting me know!

Thank you again, and regards,

Steve

Jolen on 08-01-2007
An Ideal Couple
ohhhhh You got me totally at the end and I loved it!! It's a sad truth that often people look good on paper but are shits! lol I enjoyed this so much and am glad to be back visiting the Castle Pencilcase. I hope you are well and Happy New Year!
I'll meet ya at the train station. lol

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Hello Jolen - nice to hear from you again and thanks for the comment. HNY to you too.

Pleased you enjoyed reading this. I have edited it today (a bit of an addition) and the revised audio should be in place.

Yes, I'll see you at the station: I'll be wearing a haddock in my buttonhole, so you should be able to spot me.

Must go and raise the drawbridge now and check that the moat is full. If you'll excuse me...

Steve

woodbine on 08-01-2007
An Ideal Couple
Hi Steve,
I think it looks fine. In real life Hitler led from the rear and almost never left Germany, showed very litttle interest in things unGerman. His only trip abroad personally, as far as I know, was a short trip to Paris, up the Eifel tower, and he wanted to see the opera house, but never went to see a performance. Preferred Wagner.
John

Author's Reply:

woodbine on 08-01-2007
An Ideal Couple
Hi Steve,
I think it looks fine. In real life Hitler led from the rear and almost never left Germany, showed very litttle interest in things unGerman. His only trip abroad personally, as far as I know, was a short trip to Paris, up the Eifel tower, and he wanted to see the opera house, but never went to see a performance. Preferred Wagner.
John

Author's Reply:
Thank you, John. I have edited it now and made a new audio, which I'm quite pleased with. Thank you again for your suggestion.

All the best,

Steve

RDLarson on 12-01-2007
An Ideal Couple
Great fun and I agree with the others. I was here with a Madonna-Joli egg on my face when I read the last. I wish I could write this way and as intelligently. You're been very ironic and truculent with your satire on Adolph and Eva.

Author's Reply:
Hi and thanks for the comment. Funny that the Madonna thing never occurred to me! Anyway, thank you for reading and commenting - you clearly found it of interest and I appreciate your letting me know.

Regards,

Steve


That Certain Smile (posted on: 01-01-07)
a smile that captures a moment

I'm looking for a certain smile, a smile that captures a moment and it will be a smile of love, enrapturing and instantly, two hearts that know, though secretly at first, at least, that such a smile could never be forgotten, since it is the smile of certainty. Your lips will signal destiny and speak to me in silence without the need for words or grammar, for it will be the rightest thing I've ever seen and never heard. Whispering eternity, this once-beyond-a-lifetime moment will have its own imperative and no doubt be impossible to miss or to ignore. It will change my life for ever, just like it has before.
Archived comments for That Certain Smile
Gerry on 01-01-2007
That Certain Smile
Nicely written--I think many will relate to these words...

Have a great 2007

Gerry.

Author's Reply:
Thank you, Gerry - and a Happy New Year to you.

Talk and smile,

Steve

barenib on 01-01-2007
That Certain Smile
Steve, not exactly a resolution for the new year, but certainly a hope, and a very heartfelt one. The telling line is the last one of course, which is a wordly one, but which to me reinforces the hope rather than qualifying it. HNY - John.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the comment, John.

I'm finding that reciprocated smiles occur fairly frequently, but 'that certain smile' is proving elusive.

Still, I have my books, and my poetry to protect me. I yam sheeel-ded like an aye-aye-land...

Sorry...getting carried away!

Thanks again for the comment and a very HNY to you!

Steve

Sunken on 01-01-2007
That Certain Smile
I saw a smile like that once young Pencil of the yard. It turned me into the wreck I am today. Damn those web-cams! Top, as usual. Happy '07. Good luck with the case.

s
u
n
k
e
n

often found in the fruit and veg aisle

Author's Reply:
Hi sunk - Happy New Year to you. I'm pleased to report that the case is going quite well. Forensics have established a link between Celebrity Big Brother and Manchester United, so I feel it is now only a matter of time. Now there's a title...'A Matter Of Time'. Who will get there first?

As for the poem...well, it's a flight of fancy. If it comes true, then quite likely to occur in the fruit & veg aisle. I speak with some authority here: my Grandfather had a greengrocer's and fruiterer's shop in Walthamstow. As a boy, I sieved potatoes there. I never scored then either, but it seemed more romantic than supermarket aisles.

As you would no doubt put it yourself: I hope this helps.

Steve

Slovitt on 02-01-2007
That Certain Smile
Steve: A lot of good things here but I think the numerous uses of 'smile' become more diluting than re-enforcing. Similarly, I sense a twelve line poem here in a twenty-two line body as there's a lot of declaration without enough concrete details to support it. Hoping to have been of help, Swep

Author's Reply:
Hi Swep - Happy New Year to you!

And thanks for your comment. I am carrying around a print of this poem and hoping to find the time to re-visit it with your comments in mind. I admit I'm finding it difficult, because I have the progression of this so established in my mind that to change the pace so fundamentally in the way you suggest makes a potential alternative 'feel' unlike the poem I wrote. And the poem I wrote kind of tongue-in-cheek almost eulogises that magic moment, but I intended to build it for the irony of the sign-off. Deliberately, I went beyond the once-in a-lifetime feeling to 'once-beyond-a-lifetime'! Just trying to heighten the reality crash at the end.

However, as I say, I have printed this poem and hope to look at it with fresh eyes with your comment in mind.

My best regards to you - must try for a nap now as nightwork looms...

Steve

woodbine on 05-01-2007
That Certain Smile
I don't see anyhing wrong in a declaration of love. Writing a love song today is walking a tightrope, and you have a firm footing, so don't look down but go in your own style, as you always do. Bon chance with the ladies.
John

Author's Reply:
You are right, John, I shouldn't look down: a vibrant and engaging smile is much more likely to produce results!

Just playing around with your words...

Your comment is very welcome. Must go off to another 12 hours of nightwork now. No chance of a certain smile there. An uncertain smile? A tentative smile? The threat of a smile breaking out at some point? Hmmm...probably not. I guess this poem was just a bit of escapism!

I will try to keep the faith under difficult circumstances!

Steve


Echoes Of Leeds (posted on: 08-12-06)
there's a message here somewhere!

Lost in the cavernous station, that PA system had to be the worst I'd never heard. Although it made me smile at first, it certainly bamboozled me, reverberating messages that now, at last, I understand, as I look back at what occurred when I was changing trains in Leeds. I tried to unscramble it, unravel the secrets that bounced around nonsense-acoustics, but could barely gather a word of it. It made Bill & Ben sound lucid and it made me think of them and how I've always quite liked Bill, but was never so keen on Ben. I imagined the announcer, cocooned in a windowless cellar in the bowels of the station, speaking into a blancmange- filtered microphone, leaving passengers befuddled by poor communication and teasing us with something approaching information. I sought my connection to Manchester and hurried to catch my train, leaving Yorkshire behind and heading West, looking forward to seeing the Pennines, on this, the Trans-Pennine Express. But the comfort I hoped for was lacking, there wasn't a seat to be found, so I never took in the hills rolling by - the windows obscured by those blessed with a seat and the rest of us standing around. I travelled in blissful ignorance, till the moment of realisation, as I stooped to see if this, at last, was Piccadilly, Manchester: my chosen destination. But I was aghast when I peered through the midst of the people on board and noticed the name of the station. Now I'm writing this poem, reflecting on echoed inflections at Leeds, regretting my earlier rushing, which didn't help much, I must confess, since I managed to catch the Trans-Pennine Express, but, alas, in the wrong direction. It's lonely here, but it affords me time to think and stand and stare, as I await the train to Leeds, returning there and, hopefully, onwards then, as I had planned. But, as it is, I wait amidst the whiff of fish and rue the Yorkshire gibberish - and my own stupidity - that left me miles from Manchester and stuck in fucking Grimsby.
Archived comments for Echoes Of Leeds
Romany on 08-12-2006
Echoes Of Leeds
Why is it that my romantic image of a train ride is never quite the reality? Lol! The following line made me smile:

and how I’ve always quite liked Bill,
but was never so keen on Ben.

Novel idea for a poem - well done!

Romany.


Author's Reply:
Thank you Romany - pleased to see I brought you a smile! This poem was prompted, straightforwardly enough, by my experiencing the PA system at Leeds railway station. It did make me think of how Bill & Ben sounded quite lucid by comparison, and that in turn reminded me of an Aunt of mine who, when I was quite young, made a comment very similar to the one I've incorporated here! She's 80 now, and I still can't quite work out if she is/has always been genuinely dotty at times, or if she has mastered the knack of coming out with cute and amusing observations that she knows will entertain but, underneath, she knows exactly what is going on. It's not such a bad way to be, I suppose.

Thanks again for your comment and I will keep an eye out for your subs to uka as soon as I get back from Grimsby and have had the chance to wash the smell of haddock and bloaters from my clothes.

Steve

Sunken on 09-12-2006
Echoes Of Leeds
You have a lovely way with words Mr. Pencil of the yard. I bet you could build a shed out of them or anything? Was that my dumbest comment to date? I blame bovril. I hope this helps. Thanks.

s
u
n
k
e
n

regrets pushing the button

Author's Reply:
sunken, thank you for surfacing and leaving a comment. I have a soft spot for Bovril: it's just above my jelly tot-accommodating belly button. This can get a bit messy at times, but women seem to like it and I suppose it makes a change from a kebab.

Sorry to read that you regret pushing the button. I suggest you remove the jelly tot first - this should help.

Yours through a blancmange-filtered microphone,

Detective Inspector pencil

Jolen on 09-12-2006
Echoes Of Leeds
Sir Pencil of case;
I have missed your work. Liked the rhythm here and you clever rhyme. I am moving to Leeds soon. Should I worry? lol

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Jolen,

Sorry to see that you have been missing my work. Still, your aim has obviously improved and you have hit the target on this occasion. I have given consideration to your question and, on balance, my advice to you would be yes, you should worry.

Thank you for popping in. I must go now as I am the guest of honour at this evening's annual gala of the Grimsby Fishmongers' Guild, where I will be giving a speech and performing the ceremonial gutting of the herring. It's not always easy being a celebrity.

I'll meet you at the station.

Steve

barenib on 09-12-2006
Echoes Of Leeds
Steve - another fine effort, I think that train journeys are often a very good source of inspiration; they seem to bring out the philosopher in us. I like the way that you alternate between slightly more formal sections and free verse, reflecting possibly this uneven and confusing journey. This verse is a good example:

I travelled in blissful ignorance,
till the moment of realisation,
as I stooped to see
if this, at last, was Piccadilly,
Manchester: my chosen destination.
But I was aghast
when I peered through the midst
of the people on board
and noticed the name of the station.

Here the rhymes, half rhymes and rhythms work well together; realisation/destination/station; last/aghast/midst/noticed.

And a very enjoyably earthy last line too! J.

Author's Reply:
John - thank you for your appreciation of this poem, and also for your comments before it appeared here. I agree that train journeys can be a good source of inspiration and I recall that we have both written other poems based on train travel. I'm not sure when the next one's due, but let's hope it won't be too long.

Be seeing you...

Steve

orangedream on 09-12-2006
Echoes Of Leeds
Oh I simply loved this, Steve. A work of art. Reminds me a little of the time I was driving home to Bedfordshire from my daughter's new house in High Wycombe. Ended up at Heathrow Airport. Still not sure how I managed it?!

Fantastic work. Enjoyed immensely.

Tina

Author's Reply:
Did you know that there is no word which rhymes perfectly with orange? Lozenge is about the closest, but even that is not a perfect rhyme. Anyway, thanks for your comment: it cheered me up while I wait on the platform at Grimsby. Trying to think of something that rhymes with orange is also helping to pass the time. Would you like a rolo?

There's a good chance I'll be home in time for Christmas.

Perhaps you should put Sat-Nav on your Christmas list. I was in a friend's car recently and it was brilliant. All of a sudden a rather sexy female voice says things like "At the roundabout, take the third exit" and "at the junction, turn left". It was great. Then she came out with "place your hand on the inside of my thigh" and "undo my blouse". I wasn't expecting all that, but it cheered me up no end. I won't elaborate on what else she said before finally saying "you have reached your destination" but I'd certainly recommend it - and it could prevent future involuntary trips to Heathrow. Must go now, I think my train's coming.

Steve

Kat on 10-12-2006
Echoes Of Leeds
Sir Pencil

Is this a truey? If so, you certainly turned the occasion from a disaster into a masterpiece. :o) Very inventive - lots of linguistic treats along the journey of this poem.

And you're not the only one to have had the misfortune - Mr Hubby has got us into a fine pickle before, heading the wrong direction home from Heidelberg once, which wouldn't have been so bad, but it was late at night and we had a good friend visiting we were trying to show a good! time. ;o)

Thanks for this.

Kat x

Author's Reply:
A 'truey'? What sort of bloody word is that? Oh, I see what you mean, mein Schaetzchen.

I've just thought of a poem in German...

Die Wahrheit

Ist es wahr,
dass Du da war?
Die Antwort: Ja,
es ist wahr,
dass ich da war.
Alles klar?

Pretty deep stuff, I think you'll agree. To end with a question is something of a masterstroke, though I say so myself - posing the universal 'what is truth' question. Pass me those Lebkuchen, would you? It's only fair: you've had some of my 'linguistic treats'.

Well, it's partly true. I was changing trains at Leeds to get the Trans-Pennine Express to Manc on a visit to Mr and Mrs Kev at the end of October. The PA system was so bad it made me laugh. I played a little joke on my friend when I got to Piccadilly and phoned him to say that I'd gone in the wrong direction and ended up in Grimsby. So I kinda got to thinking about putting this together and writing a poem. Had fun putting a wee bit of echo in the audio too! A man should have a hobby.

Thank you for your comment, Frau Katze.

Mit Volldampf voraus!

Graf Bleistift von Matjes

Bradene on 10-12-2006
Echoes Of Leeds
Oh how I love this poem just up my street A story told lucidly and precise with the exact amount of irony at the very last moment Excellent Steve. Love Val x

Author's Reply:
Greetings, your Val-ness! I hope you are well and enjoying life in Grantham. I went through Grantham on my way to Leeds. You get a terrific view of Morrison's from the train. I imagined you were doing some shopping there, gently squeezing a couple of plums to see if they were ripe. Well, I'd taken some fruit for the journey.

I'm glad you found this a good read. And thanks for that kiss. I've stuck a wee sprig of mistletoe on the top of my monitor, so I'm hoping it might be the start of a trend.

Best regards to you, Mrs.Sunshine.

Steeeeeeeeeeve

Ionicus on 10-12-2006
Echoes Of Leeds
I enjoyed this immensely, Steve. It appeals to my sense of humour and it also brings back memories of unfortunate incidents like missing my destination because I was too engrossed in a book.
The reference to Bill and Ben was a nice touch and made me smile.

Author's Reply:
Hi Luigi,

If my memory serves me well, I think you are in Handforth? The friend I was visiting used to live there, but now lives with his wife in Hale. There's a terrific dump near there: on the way to Man Utd's training ground. If you ever have any large items of domestic waste to dispose of then I would thoroughly recommend it.

Anyway, aside of any domestic waste concerns that we all experience from time to time, may I say that I'm grateful for your comment and pleased to see that this appealed. I considered cutting out the reference to Bill and Ben when editing, but thought that I quite liked it and it added to the absurdity. A few have commented on Bill and Ben favourably, so perhaps I made the right decision.

Thanks for popping in.

Steve

Hazy on 13-12-2006
Echoes Of Leeds
LOL LOL Loved it 🙂 Made me smile and got the gossips going 😉

Lost count of the number of wrong trains I've got on (I try n avoid the Circle Line at all costs lol) and those I've dozed off on and woken up in the back of beyond...

Some nice words. Loved Bill n Ben! And whoever manages to sneak a 'bamboozled' in, gets my vote!

Catch you soon. Take care.

Hazy xx

Author's Reply:
'got the gossips going' - what's that supposed to mean? Is this yet another modern turn of phrase that I am unfamiliar with? Probably. 'Bamboozled' is a good word, I agree. I had a 'flummoxed' in there too at one stage. Or is it still there? I can't remember. Did you know that the working title of the famous old song 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered' was in fact 'Confuddled, Flummoxed and Bamboozled'? I'm a mine of information, me.

Anyway, I'm pleased to report that I have finally left Grimsby and am now typing this on a laptop whilst waiting on the platform at Doncaster. It should only take a few days now. If you put the kettle on at about 4PM on Saturday then that should be about right. I'm dyin' fer a brew. Sorry, I've been away so long that I'm picking up Northern expressions. Anyway, pleased you enjoyed and thanks for your comment: it were top!

Yours trainspotting,

pencil

teifii on 13-12-2006
Echoes Of Leeds
Marvellous. Reminded just how little my rare train journeys these days come up to my expectations [I've always loved trains]. I like the rhythm, the varied rhymes and half rhymes and love the last line -- it reinstated a much overused and abused word. That's really how to do it!
Daff

Author's Reply:
Daff: welcome. Take your coat off and come and have a seat by the fire.

Thanks for letting me know that you liked my rhythmy-rhymey bits n pieces. It’s nice to be appreciated: and I did put them in especially for you.

As far as the last line is concerned, it probably meets my target of making for a punchy, ironic conclusion and, of course, it goes well with ‘stuck in’. I agree with you though: overuse dilutes impact. The only other thing I can say is that if you are right and I have managed to ‘reinstate’ fucking, then this gives me hope.

Thanks again for your comment and regards to the dogs, ducks and sheep.

Steve

Gerry on 30-12-2006
Echoes Of Leeds
Steve I read this before but for some reason was not able to leave a comment. I do believe apart from adding sound that now the problems may be over. I think the last experience of Leeds station was when I was in uniform many years ago. One couldn't afford to catch the wrong train in them days.

I understand one can get a nice piece of fish in Grimsby 😉

A happy 2007 to you...

Gerry.

Author's Reply:
Hello Gerry - Happy New Year to you too!

And thanks for leaving a comment on this one. Let's hope the site will run smoothly from now on and provide us with a platform for future submissions in 2007.

Full steam ahead...

Steve

flossieBee on 01-01-2007
Echoes Of Leeds
I'd not read this, but have now been able to listen to it. It's a great reading of a great poem. It reminds me of Larkin.

Author's Reply:
Hello your flossie-ness. Thanks for the comment and a very Happy New Year to you! And thanks for listening to my reading - good to know you enjoyed it.

You are not the first person to compare my poetry with Larkin and this is both a huge compliment and a great cause for concern. Anyway, Grimsby isn't far from Hull, so if I get the wrong train I'll pop into the library and keep an eye out for you.

Best wishes,

Steve

woodbine on 02-01-2007
Echoes Of Leeds
Hi Steve,
It flows very well and it's good story, and hearing you read it while following the text makes such a difference; I catch your mood in the voice that brings out the full flavour.
What surprises me is that you managed to stay in a goodish humour throughout your ordeal, which is somehow very British. I got stuck in the mud with two English friends and an Italian friend driving. The worse it got the more the other two hooted with laughter until the driver couldn't bear it any longer and shrieked:"Don't you understand how serious the situation is!" At which they wet themselves. I was too busy scribbling notes to join in.
Re Bill and Ben. I always fancied Little Weed whose conversation stretched to more than "Flobalot!"

A fairly long poem it held my interest to the end. Good stuff.
John

Author's Reply:

woodbine on 02-01-2007
Echoes Of Leeds
Hi Steve,
It flows very well and it's good story, and hearing you read it while following the text makes such a difference; I catch your mood in the voice that brings out the full flavour.
What surprises me is that you managed to stay in a goodish humour throughout your ordeal, which is somehow very British. I got stuck in the mud with two English friends and an Italian friend driving. The worse it got the more the other two hooted with laughter until the driver couldn't bear it any longer and shrieked:"Don't you understand how serious the situation is!" At which they wet themselves. I was too busy scribbling notes to join in.
Re Bill and Ben. I always fancied Little Weed whose conversation stretched to more than "Flobalot!"

A fairly long poem it held my interest to the end. Good stuff.
John

Author's Reply:
Hello John - thanks for reading and listening and a Happy New Year to you.

I share your liking for Little Weed: a calming influence you could rely on. As for my poem, I'm glad you found it of interest.

Do let me know if you have any readings coming up and I would try to attend if work, etc allowed. 'Spaceflights' is great, but I still hanker after the mistakes/dynamics/fun/unpredictability of a live performance.

All the best,

Steve


Seeing The Light (posted on: 01-12-06)
Most Brits will know what I'm referring to. If you don't, but would like to be enlightened, then take a look at... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/6166746.stm and... http://www.norway.org.uk/norwayuk/christmastree/christmastree.htm

A tiny cross a woman chose to wear, led to much controversy that many thought absurd. A seventy-foot high Christmas tree lights up Trafalgar Square: and no-one says a word.
Archived comments for Seeing The Light
scotch on 01-12-2006
Seeing The Light
hello i wondered if chooses is better here , i think the christmas tree is a gift from norway and earth, and the cross form gold or silver from earth and the design from the bough and bark of a tree biblical history. (i cover up in cold weather and, in summer wear less, so follow the earth's seasons try to be practical, most not all people find me unattractive despite how i dress....) scotch

Author's Reply:
Hi scotch and many thanks for the comment. I'm a bit concerned that you think most people find you unattractive! Whatever your appearance, my advice would be...talk and smile, and the world will respond.

Anyway, I suppose I'd better say something about my little poem. There is much contradiction, hypocrisy, irony and plain old-fashioned nonsense in the 'pc-world' that we that we are burdened with, I find. And very often, it seems to be those who espouse 'freedom' who appoint themselves as the arbiters regarding what the rest of us may and may not do. I'm hoping there might be an outbreak of common sense in the near future, but I'm not optimistic. This poem is prompted by an irony of scale that still makes me smile in disbelief.

Thank you for your suggestion, but I prefer 'chose' to 'chooses'. It fits the pace and progression, I think. You are welcome to listen to my reading, which I have just uploaded, and perhaps you will see (or rather, hear) what I mean. Changing the tense would also lead to problems with the rest of the poem, I feel.

Thank you again for popping in!

Have a good weekend,

Steve

petersjm on 01-12-2006
Seeing The Light
Great piece, Pencil. The subtle rhyming almost passed my by, apart form "absurd/word". Mind you, I choose to wear a crucifix that's more than twice as big as hers, but I wear it under my clothes... But if I wore it over my clothes, I would expect to be able to do so without being badgered - or sacked!

Author's Reply:
Good evening - and thank you for commenting. As I have just replied to scotch, the audio for this is now available, so if you have a moment to treat yourself to 13 seconds-worth of aural bliss then I hope you might experience that 'subtle rhyming' you refer to in action: as well as the pace and emphasis I intended. Hopefully!

I think I'm beginning to see the light.

Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment.

Steve

e-griff on 02-12-2006
Seeing The Light
A tiny cross a woman chose to wear,
led to much controversy that many thought absurd.
A seventy-foot high Christmas tree lights up Trafalgar Square:
and no-one says a word.
!
(forgive me 🙂 )

I don't fully agree with the sentiments regarding the cross, but let's say I accept your point of view and look at the poem. I'm afraid I don't really get the point of juxtaposition between the two verses. Is it the difference between the religious symbol and the non-religious symbol? The cross is a symbol of Jesus's death, christmas is his birth. the cross is not a symbol of christmas, the tree has become so.

Am I going too deep here 🙂 probably!

I don't believe in 'Jesus', but I believe in Christmas

best JohnG

Author's Reply:
Hi John,

This short poem is intended to invite the reader to form their own opinion and I think most people would see that there is a relationship between the symbol of Christianity and a symbol of Christmas.

The lighting ceremony is to take place on Thursday. Carols will be sung by a Norwegian boys' choir and also by the choir of St.Martin-in-the-Fields.

Thanks for reading,

Steve

barenib on 02-12-2006
Seeing The Light
Steve - an excellent example of occasional verse and very well done. It has the combined elements of subtle humor and of provoking thought, I like it very much. John.

Author's Reply:
John - thanks for commenting and glad you liked it. I suppose sometimes it is best just to let events speak for themselves!

I'll be round for mince pies and mulled wine in a couple of weeks.

Cheers,

Steve

Sunken on 03-12-2006
Seeing The Light
Hello Mr. Pencil of the Yard. Isn't Maggie Thatcher dead yet? I hope this helps. I read your poem earlier in the week but, due to an alarming rise in bumble bee related car jackings in my local area, I was unable to comment. As you have probably guessed, I am still unable to comment in a manner befitting that of such a neat little sub. I shall therefore sing a song instead... Ahem...

somewhere over the rainbow
way up high
there's a land that I dreamed of
once in a HERE IN MY CAR....

No, it's no good. I still can't get it to rhyme.

s
u
n
k
e
n

his belly button has a jelly tot lodged in it for good luck

Author's Reply:
First off, let me say that I am going to buy some jelly tots tomorrow and lodge one of them in my navel - hoping that this 'jelly button' habit will bring me some good luck. Thanks for the tip.

Regarding your singing, I can advise that you are suffering the classic symptoms of Garland/Numan syndrome. Don't be alarmed - it is treatable by placing a curly-wurly down your underpants and learning to recite the alphabet backwards. Let me know how you get on. Fingers crossed.

As far as the poem is concerned, I think I need add nothing to your insightful comment - many thanks for that.

See you at the Pick 'n Mix counter,

Steve

Kat on 04-12-2006
Seeing The Light
Steve, it is a delight to read your poetry, especially the humorous kind... and if we didn't laugh at times, what on earth would we do?

Kat x

Author's Reply:
Sorry, I posted a comment instead of a reply. My mistake - well, it's only 05:30! Must go and get ready for work now!

Steve

pencilcase on 04-12-2006
Seeing The Light
Hello Kat, thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, there is a place for humour, which, i think, has a value in its own right, but if it also helps in highlighting an irony of modern life then that seems reasonable to me. The humour is in the reality of the irony - I didn't make this up!

Thanks again for commenting and congrats to you on being WOTM, which I think is well deserved.

Bis zum naechsten Mal,

mfG

Steve

Author's Reply:


Thanksgiving (posted on: 17-11-06)
The American holiday of Thanksgiving falls on the last Thursday of November. At least, it used to. And it usually does these days too, except when it doesn't - like this year. For a brief period, Thanksgiving was the second last Thursday of November, which it isn't now, although it still can be - like it will be next week. Right then, now we've got that cleared up, I hope you might drop in on this, my appreciation of Thanksgiving...from a grateful British perspective!

During the midst of civil war, in 1863, President Lincoln gave in to demands and issued a new decree. Succumbing to campaigners, he let them have their way, proclaiming November's last Thursday would be, officially, Thanksgiving Day. 76 years later, President Roosevelt said Thanksgiving Day would henceforth be the second-last Thursday instead. He hoped to benefit retailers, by moving it forward this way, since Christmas shopping was known to break out the day after Thanksgiving Day. This led to a lot of confusion, which clearly wouldn't do, and that's why the law was amended once more in 1942. T-Day became the fourth Thursday, and I am now in debt to this quirk of American history and the precedent Roosevelt set. The reason for my gratitude is, since that law was passed, Thanksgiving Thursday will fall, at times, on a Thursday that isn't the last. It's an old chestnut of a question, but still it remains a fact, and it came up on quiz night last Thursday, so Franklin, I'm thankful for that.
Archived comments for Thanksgiving
Kat on 17-11-2006
Thanksgiving
Great intro, love your sense of humour, Sir Pencil - enjoyed this!

Kat x

Author's Reply:
Hello Kat - thanks for the comment. I've recorded this now and have uploaded the audio - having added a sound effect at the end especially for you, so I hope you get the chance to have a listen sometime.

As usual, I will be jetting over to the States in 'pencilforce 1' to spend Thanksgiving with my Uncle Biro, who lives in Pencilvania (of course).

Thanks for popping into the virtual wing of pencil Manor!

Prost!

Steve

Kat on 18-11-2006
Thanksgiving
Hi Steve

I've had a listen - great reading, as per - but I'm lost with the extra wee bit at the end... unless... that wasn't you strangling the turkey was it? ;o)

Kat x

Author's Reply:
Thanks for listening. Yes, it was a close run thing, but I managed to strangle the turkey in the end. Bit concerned about the potential idiom there, but am increasingly worried about the fact that I do not seem to be receiving e-mail notification of comments. I would hate to think that comments don't receive the courtesy of a reply. I'll give it a day or two before contacting Her Chief Executiveness.

Cheers, Kat!

turkeycase

Sunken on 18-11-2006
Thanksgiving
Dear Mr. Pencil of the yard, don't worry about the notification thang, they've been tits-up for a week or so now and our lovely moderators are trying to sort it. I just hope Andrea doesn't have a go as girls tend to just make things worse. Don't worry, she won't see this. Top poem, as usual. Well done on the nib. I shall check the audio later.

s
u
n
k
e
n

refuses to wear anything on his head

Author's Reply:
Girls do tend to make things worse, I agree. Except for occasions when they seem to make things better. Notification can be an issue. Anyhow, to the poem - and your comment. Thanks for popping in and I hope I've cleared up any confusion that may have existed. I feel better about all this now and, were I American, would be looking forward to the turkey on Thursday. However, I am not American, but I still intend to enter into the spirit of things and visit a KFC before the week is out.

Hope this makes sense.

I can't get The Cranberries out of my head.

Steve

Gerry on 19-11-2006
Thanksgiving
Steve, clever and amusing. Nicely done...

Gerry.

Author's Reply:
Hi Gerry - thanks for letting me know you got something from this! Worked out quite appropriately that this is one of those years when there happen to be five Thursdays in November!

Best regards,

Steve

barenib on 20-11-2006
Thanksgiving
I'm still confused about when Easter is - there could be another poem there...
Having listened to the audio, I'm convinced that this was your good self making the turkey noises in your kitchen - unless you have friends in the abbatoire business of course...
Anyway, an enjoyable read, and worthy of more of Sunken's attention. J.

Author's Reply:
John,

the timing of Easter may be a conundrum that could offer potential as a poem, but given its Christian significance of death, transcendence of the soul, re-birth of the spirit and the offer of eternal life (I think it was Noone, wasn't it? Who put this so succinctly when he said: "there's a kind of hush." Hmmm?) No, nice try, but I don't think there's potential for a poem there. We need somthing a bit meatier than that.

Did you ever read my poem about a squeaky shoe? In my own small way, I'm trying to go beyond art here, John.

Anyway, thanks for having a read/listen, and thanks for picking up on the turkey. Still can't get The Cranberries out of my head.

Steve


We're Talking Super-Casinos (posted on: 09-10-06)
seems like the world's playing poker

Amidst reports of gunfire, as the bombing of markets continues, and we hear of the latest victims of war, in a world of villains and heroes: we're talking super-casinos. Gambling on dwindling resources, we're raising the stakes every day in a bid to recover our losses, not blinking, but still, unwilling to see what we've already given away. Once frozen for thousands of years, even tundra has started to thaw, releasing its methane to poison the air of a quickly-sickening atmosphere where policy justifies war. At the moment we need to unite, our polarisation continues, threatening to blow the whole planet apart and, as the clash of humanity grows: we're talking super-casinos. In the retreat from intellect, intolerance seems to prevail and the chances are it's a surefire bet we'll mix as well as water and oil and we'll fight for it, tooth and nail. The bluffing's becoming compulsive down here at the last chance saloon, where the sky is the absolute limit, but we'll go past the point of no return if nobody backs down soon. We are talking super-casinos, but the risk is we've twisted our fate and where will it stop? Well, nobody knows, but once we have sensed the extent of our plight, it might be too little, too late.
Archived comments for We're Talking Super-Casinos
orangedream on 09-10-2006
We’re Talking Super-Casinos
I noticed this poem way early on today and haven't, as yet, had time to comment and am amazed it has not had more attention.

An inspired write in content and artistic composition imo.

We are talking superpoems here!

orangedream

Author's Reply:
Thank you, o-d. I've just uploaded the audio for this, having recorded it this evening. I think my reading gets across fairly well the pace, emphasis and intonation I had in mind - so if you have trouble sleeping then just tune into pencilcase FM and leave the rest to me.

Thank you for your appreciation. Opinions on the poem will vary, I expect, but the content is important, I think, so I hope a few more people will read/listen. It happened to appear towards the bottom of the list of today's submissions, so it might pick up during the week. I don't have much time to look at other stuff myself today/tomorrow, but intend to midweek-ish.

Well, thanks for commenting,

Steve

orangedream on 10-10-2006
We’re Talking Super-Casinos
I just had to come back Steve, to say many congrats on the well-deserved nib. In fact, I was so excited that I still haven't listened to your audio version, which I shall do ... forthwith, if not sooner.

:-)Tina

Author's Reply:
Thanks for popping back - your comment told me about the nib yesterday.

And thanks again for your interest in this.

Cheers,

Steve

Slovitt on 10-10-2006
We’re Talking Super-Casinos
Steve: I must toss you in with Daff as the premier poets of form on this site. This one does have its didactic side, but I think what you are offering is true, and you've done it so musically, and intelligently, that I must say well done. Swep

Author's Reply:
Hi Swep - hope you are doing well these days.

Thanks for your kind words and for your comment on my latest effort. If it comes across as being a little didactic then I must say that I think it's just as well I toned it down a bit! I know what you mean - I consciously avoided the first person and use 'might' in the last line as an attempt to offer these thoughts for others to consider, rather than say this is exactly how it is, I'm right, and you lot had better pay attention. The poem does not include any 'new' information - it's rather an expression of my thoughts and feelings in a world where we seem to be under attack from continuing bad news that can make us despair.

The poem says more or less what I wanted, so I'll leave it there. Except for one thing...

Given your location, I would be astonished if you were aware that 'super-casinos' are in the news in the UK. First of all, there was the question of whether or not the government would grant licences to Vegas-proportioned-style super-casinos, and now there are efforts being made by some local authorities to have one of the few licences for such establishments to be granted to their particular city. Putting this news item into context as regards world events, and the state/fate of the planet, well...I'm sure you see what I had in mind.

Thanks again for your interest - if I see you in the last-chance saloon then I will be glad to buy you a beer.

Good luck!

Steve

Sunken on 12-10-2006
We’re Talking Super-Casinos
Another triumphant piece Mr. Case of the yard. Thanks.

s
u
n
k
e
n

so, you wanna be a turnip

Author's Reply:
Thanks for popping in, Mr. s
u
n
k
e
n.

I hope my latest has given you, the turnips and the munky...something to ponder! Don't delay - time's running out.

Place your bets...

Steve

barenib on 12-10-2006
We’re Talking Super-Casinos
Steve, no time to comment much on the artistic merits of this, of which there are plenty, but as you'll guess, this falls in well with my current view of the world, and I therefore can't help but like and enjoy it. I hope many more people visit this verse - John.

Author's Reply:
John, thanks for the comment. And if it was you who nominated this then thanks for that too. And if it wasn't you...then vote for it anyway. Thanks also for the artistic merits reference - I tried! I think i came up with a format of my own. Why not?

Yes, I appreciate your views. More and more, it seems that we will reach that critical mass point of going over the edge. And just at that critical moment, humanity, for all its strengths, seems to be reverting to type in such a way that it is making matters worse.

I'll leave it there, but thanks again for your comment.

Steve

Dazza on 18-11-2006
We’re Talking Super-Casinos
Steve, this is spot on, we do feel the same don't we? It will make for more poetry to come but it ain't enough! The super casino focus is just right in a forest/trees way, thanks for your great comment too, Dazza.

Author's Reply:
Dazza - thanks for taking a look and leaving a comment. There are huge ironies going on that would have tremendous comic potential if only the reality were not so disturbing.

Yours, unable to see the trees for the de-forestation,

Steve


Warm Enough (posted on: 31-07-06)
Feeling the heat...

The sun beat down on the parched lawns and burgers of stifling suburbia, where people were cooking outside: predictable characters in a film of humidity; oozing from their English brick-ovens. ''Warm enough for you?'' Quipped Tom, as beery droplets of sweat dripped from his chest, rolled down his paunch and pooled in his navel: the only overflowing reservoir remaining. I phewed back in agreement, thinking well of course it is, you jerk. ''Must be about 36,'' he added. Here comes the old money, I thought. ''What's that in old money?'' Asked Tom. I humoured him with a thoughtful ''must be about 94.'' ''Bloody warm enough, anyway,'' he expanded, ''whatever you want to call it.'' From the living-dead room, I hear the strains of weather presenter Janice McNutcase, who broadcasts her forecast from what used to be the banks of The Serpentine in London's famous Dried Park. It's OB and BO rolled into one, as she summer dresses her front-of-camera style. Her flashing choppers reflecting the sun, she cleavages her way to what she predicts for the following day. Gleefully, she promises tomorrow will be ''ab-ser-lootly gore-jus.'' Oh shut up, you tart. Carefully, so as to avoid injury, I pick up Tom and place him on the barbecue. He always liked cooking outside and he seems to enjoy it, responding to my ''warm enough for you?'' By giving me the thumbs-up, as if to say ''well done.'' His last discernible words being ''this is really living.'' He's cooked al Dante, though it's hardly divine comedy, but as old Tom goes up in smoke, consumed by the inferno he mistook for paradise, I raise my glass and toast the bloke, his singing harmonising with my gently clinking ice.
Archived comments for Warm Enough
Kat on 31-07-2006
Warm Enough
Steve, this is very good, very inspired, great opening stanza. Love the inventiveness, the cleverness and wordplay. The 'shut up, you tart' bit grated, but I can see it's perhaps needed for the 'voice' of the sunstricken? narrator! :o)

This is evidently written by a great wit - enjoyed!

Kat :o)

Author's Reply:
"Evidently written by a grey twit"? What are you trying to say? I'll have you know...oh, sorry, I see what you mean. "Great wit," eh? Oh that's perfectly acceptable - thank you very much!

Glad you enjoyed. As for the tart bit, this is indeed intended as the inner torment of the sun-stricken and as a continuation of the other italicized thoughts re: 'old money' and 'you jerk'. It did occur to me also that I wanted to record this and launch myself into the voice of Janice McNutcase and I thought this would help me move back to my own voice. It's difficult to move direcly from Janice McNutcase to pencilcase, so I threw in an exasperated Del-boy intonation as a stepping stone. I had fun recording this and I'm pleased you took a moment to listen!

I'm very grateful for your comment and I'm also thankful that the weather has cooled down somewhat, for the while at least. Too bad it was too late to save Tom.

All the best,

Grey Twit

Kat on 01-08-2006
Warm Enough
... and loved the reading - great voice and enunciation!

Kat x

Author's Reply:

orangedream on 01-08-2006
Warm Enough
Simply enjoyed. A truly, great read. TY

orangedream:-)

Author's Reply:
And TY yourself, your dreamlike-orangeness. Have a listen to it if you get the chance - could be the Christmas number one.

Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed.

pencil

Sunken on 01-08-2006
Warm Enough
This is a very accomplished write young Pencil of the yard - How is the case coming along anyway? Totally identify with those predictable lines that people use. It's as if people feel bound to talk. I prefer the odd nod and grunt myself. Top piece Mr. Case. Well done on the nib.

s
u
n
k
e
n

misses the half penny piece

Author's Reply:
Thanks for surfacing to read and comment. Pleased to see you engaged with this latest effort. Have a listen if you get a mo - I think it runs along fairly well and I'm quite pleased with my Janice McNutcase. Well, who wouldn't be? I had to quickly stuff a couple of falsies up my shirt when I got to that line, so as to get into character, and then quickly yank them out again so as to continue reading non-McNutcase. It's not as easy as you might think. As for the case, I've nearly got it zipped up - just missing a protractor and a rubber (eraser, I mean) and I'm there. Thank you for your concern.

I am a regular reader of unkle munky's problem page, btw! It often cheers me up, and I now have an opened pot of paint beside a peeled onion in every room. Is there any way I can ask the munky? I have several problems that might benefit from his sound advice.

Cheers,

pencilMcNutcase

discopants on 04-08-2006
Warm Enough
Puns aplenty at the end what with the 'well done' and toasting etc. Entertaining, as ever.

Author's Reply:
Glad you enjoyed, disco, and thanks for letting me know.

Pleasant weather we're having, don't you think? I might light the barbecue...

I expect you'll be donning your white flairs and medallion very soon. I hope you have a great evening at the disco.

Yours feeling Saturday Night Feverish,

pencil

Dargo77 on 04-08-2006
Warm Enough
Steve, most enjoyable read.
Regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:
Greetings, Dargo, and thanks for popping in to let me know you enjoyed.

Regards,

Hickory Chip-case

Abel on 04-08-2006
Warm Enough
Brilliant piece, Steve. Sureal, and yet so very real. The image of old Tom going up in smoke "warms" my heart indeed.

Ward

Author's Reply:
Hi Ward - many thanks for the comment and rating. Your comment is a pleasing one because the mix you suggest is something that developed as I wrote the poem. I didn't know how I would progress this at first but in the course of writing I allowed my imagination to make the leap to the point where I just thought I'd sling him on the barbie. But then I thought it might be even more strange if I placed him carefully over the coals!

Do have a listen if you get the chance. 'Janice McNutcase' is based on a weather presenter on the BBC, would you believe?!

Hope all is well with you and thanks again for the comment.

Steve

dylan on 06-08-2006
Warm Enough
A fine piece, Steve.
I personally would trim certain stanzas.
ie the Janice Mcnulty section could be cut to-

From the living-dead room,
I hear the strains of
Janice McNutcase,
who broadcasts her forecast
from what used to be
the banks of The Serpentine
It’s OB and BO
rolled into one,
as she summer dresses
her front-of-camera style.
Her flashing choppers reflecting the sun,
she cleavages her way
to what she predicts.
Gleefully, she promises tomorrow
will be “ab-ser-lootly gore-jus.”

Likewise the next stanza-
Carefully,
so as to avoid injury,
I pick up Tom
and place him on the barbecue.
He always liked cooking outside,
responding to my “warm enough for you?”
By giving me the thumbs-up.
His last discernible words being
“this is really living.”

Obviously, these are only suggestions.
The whole poem is well observed and irreverant without ever being condescending.
Well played that man!
D.




Author's Reply:
Hi John - thanks for taking the time to give this some thought and come up with some suggested modifications. Also grateful for your letting me know that you appreciated the general angle I took on this!

I've printed off your suggested changes and will give these due consideration. Hope to pm you in the next day or two on this.

Think I saw that you would not be in attendance on the 19th? That's a shame, but perfectly understandable. Would have liked to buy you a pint though! Maybe you could think about organising a Glasgow gathering - I would certainly try to be there if given enough notice and circumstances allowed.

Well, all the best, and I'll get back to you on this particular poem and your suggestions.

Steve

Abel on 08-08-2006
Warm Enough
Finally got to listen, Steve...wonderfully done...and what a voice, sir. Thoroughly enjoyed!

Ward

Author's Reply:
Hello again, Ward. Thanks for taking the time to listen and for making the follow-up comment. I'm pleased you enjoyed it - it was fun to read aloud! Well, this one is a little strange, perhaps, but in the main (there are some that depend on visual impact) poems should be written with the 'reading aloud' aspect in mind. I may very well attempt to deliver this one at the uka meet on the 19th! Bring on Janice McNutcase!

I am surprised how few people take advantage of the audio facility on uka. I really like to do that. I can understand that some could be too nervous to stand up in front of others and read, but the audio facility allows 'remote' performance. Your collaboration with Jolen on 'The Trail' took things to a much higher, polished level - I really enjoyed that. But then all I've got is a basic mic and limited software!

Thanks again for your time - much appreciated.

Janice McPencilcase

dylan on 08-08-2006
Warm Enough
No problemo,Steve.
Your work in general has a lightness of touch which I admire-it`s something I never seem to get right.
And no doubt we will meet up for a pint in the future.
Mine`s a large one, btw.(Bragging again!)
Cheers,
D.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for your additional comment and also for your consideration of how I may be seen to approach my own writing in general. Still considering your earlier comments, btw.

All being well, John (barenib) and I will make the relatively short trip to the uka gathering on the 19th. A shame you can't make it, but I hope to toast you anyway (not like Tom!) and hope that there may be a future occasion to share our readings.

Cheers,

Steve

e-griff on 08-08-2006
Warm Enough
Thanks to Dylan's last comment for drawing me here. It's an interesting (and unusual for you) piece that I'd missed.

I really think your original is very good, and complete. Some of the suggested changes (above) are 'short form' and lose a little of the mood, in my view. This is a quirky and unusual piece, and I reckon in these cases, the author's vision stands (unless they spell summat wrong or 'do bad gramma' as we literati put it. 🙂 best JohnG

Author's Reply:
Hello John - many thanks for reading and commenting. I'm pleased to see you seem to have enjoyed this 'quirky and unusual piece'! I think your description is accurate: I'm building up to something more extreme, perhaps! Might not be the next one though - things hit me in different ways, so I write in different styles. Good to let the imagination go though!

Thanks again for popping in.

All the best,

Steve




Of The Fittest (posted on: 02-06-06)
It's a good life, if you don't weaken.

I've heard those voices before. ''It's not a rehearsal,'' they say. But this time, as if to challenge any possibility of resolution, it was a rehearsal, it was in a way. The World Cup warm-up continued, in a friendly against Hungary, on an unseasonably cool evening at the end of May. As football flickered my living room and I prepared for work, I noticed, motionless, a young blackbird, pantingly stranded, out the back: injured; or orphaned and starving, perhaps; looking like he'd had it; vulnerable to attack. I flitted between the telly and the window, keeping an eye on Gerrard and Lampard and the blackbird. As Beckham's flighted cross found Terry on his own, I turned towards the drama and saw the bird positioned on a further stepping stone. Like Hungarian defenders, for a moment, concentration must have lulled: we didn't see the movement; but we witnessed the result. The next time I looked, the bird had gone. Flown, perhaps, recovered from exhaustion, reunited with its mother and cared for once again. Or maybe, it had been dragged off and, in a darkened recess of the neighbourhood, as the nation pondered Carragher and Neville's hamstrung thigh, it was being eaten alive. I had to leave before the end, to get to work on time. Walking under darkening skies, I heard a blackbird sing its message, clear and strong, triumphing the twilight. I admired its vitality and yet it shrilled my head so centrally, it left me feeling under threat, alarmed that this had undermined the strength that I had left and my instinct for survival. Sometimes, it's a struggle.
Archived comments for Of The Fittest
Jolen on 02-06-2006
Of The Fittest
Steve this was a wonderfully insightful poem. I loved the comparisons of the bird to the game. And you're right. Sometimes, it's a struggle.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Hi Jolen and thanks for comment. Pleased you got something from this.

Thanks again for popping in to pencil Manor.

Regards,

Steve

sledge on 02-06-2006
Of The Fittest
That wasn't a bad game was it? This is a poem that gave me far more enjoyment though. Just the one rhyme, I think, and it hit me like a Beckham free kick. 'Gerrard, Lampard, Blackbird'. And 'flitting', 'flighted'. Beautifully chosen words that left me marvelling. Thanks, pencilcase. I'm starting to love poetry since I joined this site.
Terry


Author's Reply:
Hello Terry,

Thanks for reading and commenting. Glad you enjoyed reading it and if it has helped your more general enjoyment of poetry then I'll claim an 'assist'!

Hope we get off to a good start in the World Cup next week!

Cheers,

Steve




shedhead on 02-06-2006
Of The Fittest
Ah!... Pencil!

Glad to see u've recovered!

Would like to comment further on your poem, but it's the early hours ere, I've had a bit too much to drink and me screen seems to be out of focus???! So I'll leave it there!

Ta-ra a bit pet!

Author's Reply:

shedhead on 02-06-2006
Of The Fittest
Ah!... Pencil!

Glad to see u've recovered!

Would like to comment further on your poem, but it's the early hours ere, I've had a bit too much to drink and me screen seems to be out of focus???! So I'll leave it there!

Ta-ra a bit pet!

Author's Reply:

shedhead on 02-06-2006
Of The Fittest
oops!!!! sorry!

Author's Reply:
Thanks for your comment(s), Dave. Although your life has moved on, if you cast your mind back then I'm sure you of all people will be in a very good position to understand something of my thoughts as I watched the football, watched the blackbird, got ready for the night shift and then felt a combination of wonder and assault as I heard another blackbird's insistent twilight warblings on the way to work.

And your knowledge of football is, of course, legendary. 'Ow d'ya reckon that Keegan's gonna do in the World Cup?!

Thanks also for your recent mail - and the piccies!!! Will mail you in due course. Hope the pfc is continuing to prosper.

Regards and love to Mrs.Dave!

The 14th Earl of pencildom

barenib on 06-06-2006
Of The Fittest
Steve, yes, a nice juxtaposition (left back?) with the footballers somewhat more fortunate in most ways than the blackbird and in many ways than the rest of us. If this is a rehearsal, by way of reincarnation, then I definitely wouldn't go to Hereford next time. Anyway, an effective poem with some nice hidden rhymes and rhythms. J.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the comment, John.

I had rather a long footballing 'career,' as you know. The two positions (apart from 'juxta') I excelled at were 'main drawback' and 'inside out'. Unfortunately, whilst my playing days are over (although I am considering a comeback) it seems that my two favoured positions might be appropriate descriptions of my life in general. I hope this comes through in the poem!

As discussed privately, my recording of this seems to be inaccessible. If you get the chance to click on 'listen to this' I would be interested to know if you managed to listen to it. So far, I'm the only person who has listened to the audio - although on the plus side, 100% of those who have heard it have considered it a brilliantly-paced reading that brings out the rhyme and rhythm you referred to.

As far as Hereford is concerned, I have the feeling that you'll never go there again! Ledbury sounds good though...maybe next year (the World Cup takes precedence). But, whichever way you look at it: it's a struggle. And it comes down to the survival of the fittest.

Hope you are continuing to enjoy those sausages.

Steve

teifii on 11-06-2006
Of The Fittest
I almost stopped reading when I came to the football but I'm glad I didn't. Very cleverly crafted poem. The ending gave me pause for thought as I expected the singing blackbird to raise your spirits and reassure you.
Yes, indeed. A struggle at times, but I think blackbirds help on the whole.
Daff

Author's Reply:


Blossom (posted on: 01-05-06)
Go out and see it for yourself!

As I walked, I saw today how beautiful the blossom is in brilliant white and shades of pink that range from bright to dusky hues and so I thought, as April ends and turns to May, I'd spread the news. Go out and see it for yourself! The tapestry of petals, the richness of the colours and the infinite design that burst with such fecundity from woodland-based or city tree, the bountiful abundance that's so absolutely beautiful: I hope that you might take the chance to stop a while and really see. I may, at times, in my small life, be down and discontented, unhappy with so many things, the ups and downs that life will bring and feel distraught at world events that show no sign of making sense, but still, I stopped and wondered at the sheer delight of beauty in the joy that's borne on trees in Spring.
Archived comments for Blossom
Bradene on 01-05-2006
Blossom
Lovely hope filled poem Steve. Love Val x

Author's Reply:
Thanks for that, Val. Pleased you enjoyed the poem - maybe it will inspire one or two folks to take a close look at the blossom!

Best wishes,

Steve

Andrea on 01-05-2006
Blossom
Ah, that's lovely Potlood, I do so agree (even tho' it's still pissing down here).

Heel goed gedaan 🙂

Author's Reply:
Greetings! Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed. Just uploaded audio. Whaddya reckon on my 'new' pic?!?

Dank u wel for the comment.

Hoe vaak gaat er en tram naar Amstelveen?

potlood!

narcissa on 01-05-2006
Blossom
Awww this is lovely! We have a cherry blossom tree outside our door, and it never fails to cheer me up.
Well put 😀
Laura x

Author's Reply:
Laura, thank you. I was thinking about blossom recently and yesterday I stopped and really looked at it. I was nearly arrested, but at least it inspired me to write this poem. A few people seem to have appreciated it, so I think it was worthwhile.

pencilcase
*he talks to the trees*

stolenbeauty on 01-05-2006
Blossom
Blossom is so wonderful, I always find a calming quality to it - if I need to go let off some steam I'll go out for a walk 'to see the blossom' and come back all smiles 🙂 This is a lovely piece, I really like it, thanks!
Stolen x

Author's Reply:
s-b, thanks for that. My flowery poem seems to have drawn some comments from female members. I suppose that men don't want to appear 'girlie'. Do you know, no-one has ever bought me a bunch of flowers. On rare occasions, I have given or sent a bunch to a woman, but I've never been given flowers by a woman who fancied me. Why not? Can I make it quite clear here and now that if any female member of uka wishes to send me a bunch of flowers then I will not be offended at all.

Thank you for your comment and please don't spend too much on the flowers (30 quid should do it).

'Bloomin' pencilcase

Zoya on 01-05-2006
Blossom
Spring as it changes to Summer is no doubt the most beautiful time of the year, when the world comes alive.
We also have the town full of trees covered with the blood-red passionate blossoms of May Flower, the Gold Mohar. The trees in March shed all their leaves (this the second pre-summer Spring fall in India), and get covered with only flowers. Then Yellow Oleander will follow, followed by a tree with purple flowers this goes on through out the summer. It is splendid, I take my camera out and go taking potshots at every tree in bloom.
Thanks for sharing the blossom in bloom.
**Hugs**
Love,
Zoya

Author's Reply:
Zoya - thank you for your thoughtful comment and generous rating. Hugs are always welcome too! Glad you enjoyed the poem.

Best wishes,

Steve

Andrea on 01-05-2006
Blossom
Audio is fab, as is pic (Valerie was highly impressed).

Niet vaak genoeg.

Author's Reply:
Oh good - pleased that Veronica was impressed.

Hoe kom ik bij het strand?

potloodle

Sunken on 01-05-2006
Blossom
Some old woman with a penchant for swearing called me 'Blossom' a few days ago. Apparently she very rarely says anything without the usual prefixed expletive, so I was dearly honoured. Her god-faring daughter was so gob-smacked that she was heard to exclaim, 'Fcuk me' and ten hail Marys. It's a funny old world and none of this has anything to do with anything. Top poem and top audio young Pencil of the yard, or should I call you, 'Blossom'?

s
u
n
k
e
n

sponsored by a refusal to acknowledge

Author's Reply:
Is that sunken of the six inches? pencil of the yard this end...

Still more wise and cautionary remarks in your comment, your submergedness. Many thanks for reading and for listening. It might be better if you didn't call me 'Blossom' though (I'm trying to project a new, macho image - not that writing a poem about blossom has helped...). But I don't care: blossom is wonderful and it gave me the chance to use the word 'fecundity'. Anyway, about my new image...I must admit that it is prompted in part by your poem. I've stopped shaving, am trying to 'communicate' in grunts, and endeavouring to show no consideration to women. I understand this is a turn-on for women. I'm still not too sure though: Tai-Li and stolenbeauty have sent me flowers in response to my poem. It's difficult.

I'm sure you understand.

Not sure I do! But thanks for your comment.

*The arboreal* pencilcase

HelenRussell on 01-05-2006
Blossom
I couldn't agree more. It's always been my favourite time of year with the promise of things to come and only yesterday I was driving along the motorway looking at the contrast of the fluffy blossom trees against the harsh lines of the firs.
A wonderful scene you have painted.
Regards
Sarah

Author's Reply:
"I was driving along the motorway looking at the contrast of the fluffy blossom trees against the harsh lines of the firs."

?

For God's sake, Sarah: keep your eyes on the road!

It's different for me. I was just walking home and stopped to see. I actually stood under the heavily-laden canopy of one particular tree and really tried to take in the beauty of the blossom. I know: I should get out more! But some things are worth noticing.

I blame studying Wordsworth at 'A' Level long ago!

Your comment is very welcome - many thanks.

pencilcase *dons cravat*

Kat on 02-05-2006
Blossom
This is just great, Steve, and I really enjoyed your audio too - a super voice!

Like many, I love to see the blossoms - there's a wee wine village not far from here and it's an amazing sight to see the valley totally packed with white cherry blossoms, and you know you have the cherries to look forward to in the summer and the Kirschwein too!

Kat :o)

Author's Reply:
Hi Kat, thanks for reading and listening. Pleased you enjoyed. I imagine the sight of the slopes covered in blossom is very impressive. I hope you will save me a glass of Kirschwein later in the year!

Prost!

bleistift

scotch on 02-05-2006
Blossom
hi pencilcase i like the theme here, must look at some more... from scotch

Author's Reply:
Hi scotch. Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm beginning to regard this peom as successful, because the one thing I was really trying to achieve was to encourage others to go and have a good look for themselves, and it seems that a few people have done just that.

Thanks for letting me know you liked the poem.

Steve

barenib on 04-05-2006
Blossom
I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree, and this poem does justice to that sentiment of unbridled joy in nature which is always worth celebrating. Just be careful you don't put your back out while staring up at all that blossom! J.

Author's Reply:
I do have a mild case of 'blossom-back' as the doctor called it, arising from spending time under trees and looking up at the blossom. Hope your back is feeling better!

Thanks for reading and commenting. If my deliberately uncomplicated words (in this instance!) have gone some way to doing justice to the subject then that is pleasing.

See you soon,

Steve

Jolen on 05-05-2006
Blossom
Dearest Sir Steve of Castle Pencil.

I enjoyed this ode to the renewing force of spring. It's as colorful and touching as the season itself.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Jolen - I mistakenly put my reply in as a 'new' comment rather than as a reply.

Here's what I said...

Jolen,

Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed. I was walking in the grounds of 'pencil Manor' last weekend and was struck by the sheer beauty of the bountiful blossom. So I wrote a poem about it. After all...

"What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?"

Thank you and best wishes from pencil-land,

Steve

Be seeing you...

pencilcase on 06-05-2006
Blossom
Jolen,

Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed. I was walking in the grounds of 'pencil Manor' last weekend and was struck by the sheer beauty of the bountiful blossom. So I wrote a poem about it. After all...

"What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?"

Thank you and best wishes from pencil-land,

Steve

Author's Reply:

Leila on 06-05-2006
Blossom
Ah you have chosen to write about one of my favourite things in the whole world...I adore the blossoms and have written often of them in my work and could spend hours just watching them. I was once asked if you could be a flower or tree what would it be, no prizes for guessing my reply. We've had some pretty bad weather here of late so the blossoms too are late, so I am just getting to enjoy them now, lucky me. You also reminded me of the film The Last Samurai and the 'perfect' moment.
I am glad you were able to stop and wonder at the sheer delight of beauty and then share it through your poem...L

Author's Reply:
Leila, thank you very much for the comment and I hope you are enjoying the seasonal display. I'm pleased that you have related to this. As the poem suggests, I am like most people: wrapped up in my own problems and downtrodden by wider events. But...there are moments of hope!

Thank you again and regards to you,

Steve


teifii on 06-05-2006
Blossom
I see everyone got here before me. I expect they all saw blossom before me too as up here at 750 feet Spring is always a few weeks later than lower down. In fact a couple of weeks ago, having a lift from a friend to Dolgellau [about 600 feet at least below me although only 12 miles], I got out of her car and experienced something very like the efect of the blosson [although there was none] -- the world had burst into green when I wasn't looking. I've been cooking a poem ever since. Your lovely one on the blossom may have given me the kick I needed.
A favourite
Daf

Author's Reply:
Daff,

I'm always grateful for your comments and always interested to hear about aspects of the environment you live in. I hope your poem cooks well. My advice would be to push a skewer into its heart and see if the juices run clear so you can check if it's ready. Good luck with it, anyway.

Thanks for picking 'Blossom'! (As a favourite, I mean!).

Hope you are having a good weekend.

Steve

Hazy on 08-05-2006
Blossom
Seems to be a very popular poem, Pencilly person. Or should I just call you Blossom from now on! Anyway, glad it's done you proud 😉

I likey lots, especially as I've been very observant of the blossom myself. Makes me all smiley 🙂 Reminds me of childhood, for some reason. Along with conkers!

Anyway, ta for sharing. Speak soon. Be good :-p

Hazy x

Author's Reply:
Yes, there have been quite a few comments on this (thanks for yours). It pleases me that a number of people have identified with it. I'm happy too that you have noticed the blossom. Conkers are good too, I agree (wrote a poem called 'Conkers' once). I used to play conkers and in Autumn '69 I soaked a magnificent specimen in vinegar for two weeks and baked it in the oven for another two weeks. Unfortunately, by the time I was ready to join battle, the conkers season was over. There I was, standing in in the playground, with just me super-conker for company. There's a moral there somewhere. Still, the Horse-Chestnut looks great when blossoming, so maybe I should stick to Spring!

Pleased you liked the poem and thanks for letting me know.

potlood

shedhead on 14-05-2006
Blossom
'Bloomin' marvelous Steve I'm ssure the grinds of Pencil Manor are looking particularly fine! But spare a thought for Mrs Dave and I who moved to aus at the end of winter-ish Just in time For another autumn and winter here! (fools!) No spring or summer for us for a while! In fact I don't think I've ever seen as much rain as I have since being ere in little old Tas! Still your poem brought a little bit of spring to us ere in Tas! cheers!


Author's Reply:
Greetings Dave!

I'm afraid that the grinds are not in tip-top condition since all the grinds staff are suffering from a bout of greenfly. However, I'm pleased to see that my poem brought a touch of spring to a soggy Tas.

I hope that you and Lady Dave are keeping well. Do email me with any news - in cartoon format or otherwise! I hope the Tas branch of the pfc is continuing to do well.

Pleased you enyoyed 'Blossom' - maybe you could write one called 'Possum'?

Be in touch soon,

Lord pencil


I Felt Fine, Till Churchill's Funeral (posted on: 17-04-06)
Early memories from the mid-sixties, featuring The Beatles, Sir Winston Churchill...and a mini-pencilcase!

The introduction to I Feel Fine had quite an impact on me. I marvelled at the distinctive sound achieved by Lennon's imaginative use of amplifier feedback on the opening chord. Well, not in so many words, perhaps, but I was certainly struck by that prolonged and electronic twangy bit at the start. And there it was, right there in our own front room. I felt like a kid at Christmas and, in retrospect, this was not unreasonable. After all, or perhaps more accurately, before all, it was Christmas, and I was two months short of my fifth birthday. That amplifier feedback still resonates now, and whenever I hear it, its echo always takes me back to Christmas morning, 1964. I'd never known a Christmas like it, but then I'd only experienced four others and I couldn't remember anything about them. This was different though. I mean it was really seriously, significantly different. I don't remember anything about any presents that I received: it was my brother's present that fascinated me. He'd been given a rather special and expensive gift, one which introduced modern technology to our household and was to change our way of life forever: a record player. A record player, of course, is not much use without any records to play on it, so a copy of I Feel Fine was provided as well, it being the Christmas number one. It was like The Beatles had popped in as unexpected guests. And we could have them back whenever we liked. Not only that, we could play the other side too: She's A Woman. This was a level of choice that far exceeded what I'd been familiar with. Previously, the selection of music had been pre-determined by whoever it was who lived in the rather dated and bulky wireless set. Things were different now. Granted that the choice on Christmas Day '64 was limited to either I Feel Fine or She's A Woman, but I could see the potential. A pretty sleek affair, that record player was a fairly nifty piece of kit. For one thing, it was portable - you could close the lid, carry it around and plug it in somewhere else. How cool was that? And it wasn't 'wireless brown': it was red and white. You could select the speed too - 33, 45 or 78. Months later, I discovered the fantastic amusement of playing singles at the wrong speed, eventually pushing the technology to its limits by playing a Pinky & Perky song at 78rpm. You didn't even have to change the record every time a song finished. It was possible to stack half-a-dozen singles above the turntable and, as one record came to its end, the stylus arm would automatically return to base, the next single would drop from above and, as if it knew exactly what was going on, the stylus arm would move back towards the new disc and deposit itself on the lead-in to that particular song. It was like bloomin' magic! Okay, so it wasn't unusual for two, three, or even all of the records waiting their turn, to drop at once, but still. Anyway, this particular feature wasn't a problem on Christmas Day 1964, for obvious reasons. That Christmas Day though was really my first significant media experience. The excitement of Christmas itself passed, but the record player went on to provide much entertainment for years to come, as well as causing frustration and even arguments at times. My second media memory was audio-visual, and one which impressed on me just over a month after that amplifier feedback had wormed its way into my mind. The modernity of my brother's record player stood in rather stark contrast to the television we had at the time. The small, black and white 1950s set took its time to 'warm up' and had the strangely comforting habit of leaving us with a small white dot in the centre of the screen for several seconds after it had been turned off. But on 30th January 1965, its flickering told me that something big was going on. I think the fact that our telly was on for a prolonged period during the day struck me as odd in itself. In those days, daytime television normally consisted of a lunchtime news bulletin, a quick burst of 'Andy Pandy,' 'The Woodentops' or 'Tales From The Riverbank,' sometimes followed by a short programme in Welsh (which set back my linguistic development significantly) and that was your lot till teatime. Today though, was different: it was the day of Churchill's funeral. Although I didn't know who Churchill was, and had no developed concept of life and death, I sensed that a major event was taking place. Maybe I was even able to pick up the mood, the sense of occasion, the solemnity of the day and perhaps share the feeling that, to some extent, this was the end of an era. I think I also experienced a sense of 'Britishness' and history on the one hand and, on the other, a feeling of intense curiosity as to what was going on. Not just Churchill, or even The Beatles, I mean life, death, identity: time. What was it all about? Where did I fit in? I was certainly beginning to think about things, and I suppose that's what has made those early, patchy memories stick in my mind. I wasn't too melancholy about it all, but perhaps I didn't feel quite so fine as I had at Christmas, when the amplifier feedback of John Winston Lennon had made such an impression. Born during an air-raid just over 24 years earlier, John's middle name had been a tribute to the wartime leader, whose funeral had now transformed the atmosphere in our front room. There seemed to be no doubt that change was in the air and there was a sense of the old giving way to the new. But as I saw the images of the procession, I felt there was a kind of continuity about it all - that something was holding it all together. There was no 'Tales From The Riverbank' that day, but as Churchill's coffin was carried along the Thames, I had the feeling that a much bigger story was beginning to unfold.
Archived comments for I Felt Fine, Till Churchill's Funeral
shedhead on 17-04-2006
I Felt Fine, Till Churchill’s Funeral
G'day Steveo,

Very good! Looking forward to hearing the audio, hope it's got Pinky & Perky playing at 78rpm in the background!

B.t.w what's a 'record player' and is there a prize for being the first to post a comment?



Author's Reply:
Hi Dave - thanks for popping in. There is indeed a prize for being the first to comment...a second-hand power screwdriver!

Sadly, I have failed to upload the audio. I've explained more about it though in my reply to Roy Bateman's comment, should you wish to know more. You can view the edited version of Churchill's funeral at www.britishpathe.com, as I said to Roy. The bit in my recording is taken from towards the end.

Hope the tassie branch of the pfc is thriving! Best wishes to you and the luverly Mrs.Dave!

Steve

JeffDray on 17-04-2006
I Felt Fine, Till Churchill’s Funeral
Christ, you must be nearly as old as me. We did the old play it at 78 thing too! before the dansette we had a wind up gramaphone - you could atually stand on that and rotate at 78 RPM - not to be recomended after a birthday tea with orange squash and Jelly with all the old colourings and flavourings in.

Happy days!

Author's Reply:
Yes Jeff, nostalgia ain't what it used t'be! Glad this stirred some memories though. I hope this piece has a number of angles and points of interest.

Go easy on the jelly and best regards to you!

Steve

shackleton on 17-04-2006
I Felt Fine, Till Churchill’s Funeral
Good piece, Steve. Heady times - amazing how much different today's world is. I think today's world could do with another Churchill and another Lennon right now... maybe. Bye for now.

Author's Reply:
Thank you, Mr.Shacks, and belated congrats on being WOTM!

Your comment about how different today's world is, is gratifying in a way. It occurred to me when cogitating this that I could have referred to mp3 players, ipods, the internet world of uploads, downloads, sideloads and overloads, portable dvd players, etc, etc. I chose to leave out any such comment and hoped that this contrast would come through unsaid. I mean, it would, wouldn't it? But I think I made the right choice in this regard and anyway, the piece is of its time.

Many thanks for engaging with this.

Steve

RoyBateman on 18-04-2006
I Felt Fine, Till Churchill’s Funeral
Yeah, you had me hooked - though, I admit, I was 17 at that Christmas! A-levels, girlfriend...all the teenage angst. That funeral certainly was the end of a political era - the cranes dipping, the near-universal respect for a supremely difficult job done superbly. A truly great Englishman, a truly great, though naturally imperfect, man full stop. Ah...you've got me going now! Throroughly enjoyed this.

Author's Reply:
Thank you, Roy.Pleased you enjoyed this and it 'struck a chord' - thanks for the feedback!!

I have a recording of this but, alas, it has failed to upload. I managed to begin it with the intro to 'I Feel Fine' and then I read the piece. To close, it cuts to part of the commentary to Churchill's funeral: complete with the sound of two of the 19-gun salute and the sound of the jet fighter fly-past! The commentary also includes the part where the wharf cranes dipped in salute. Though I say it myself, it's a bloody good audio - such a shame I can't seem to upload it. If I do at sometime then I'll let you know. I took part of the commentary from the edited version of Churchill's funeral that I obtained from www.britishpathe.com.

Hopefully the writing stands up for itself, but the audio really brings it to life - shame I seem to be the only one who can hear it!

Thanks for your interest,

Steve

expat on 07-05-2006
I Felt Fine, Till Churchill’s Funeral
A well-written and enjoyable piece, pencil! I unfortunately didn't have access to record players and television sets until 1966 but I can clearly remember (at almost ten years old) listening to the radio news bulletins leading up to Churchill's death and the sombre funeral service itself.
I can also remember reading Churchill's memoirs a little later (the book seemed as big as a cornflake box) and was fascinated by his childhood activities and accounts of the Boer War. Somewhere in my collection, I've got his four-part History of the English-Speaking Peoples. Marvellous stuff. He'll probably be the most remembered British statesman ever. And those wartime speeches…
Once again, a good piece of writing.
Steve :^)



Author's Reply:
Thanks for your comment, Steve. Given your interest in this piece, I do hope you listen to the audio: my reading is sandwiched between two sound clips!

I was so very young at the time of Churchill's funeral, but it is interesting that I had at the time, and have remembered, the feeling that something big was going on. This was a piece that I really wanted to write, that I had cogitated for some time and which then came together in the process of writing. For examples: the memory of the funeral and the excitement of the record player have been with me for 40 years; in the process of writing though, I was really pleased to have twigged the relevance of John Lennon's middle name. Interesting how such different events can reveal a type of continuity and, hopefully, capture the atmosphere of a moment in time. And, although I say it myself, I think the way the audio ends adds another element, hinting at the "white heat of technology" of the day as the Boer war veteran is laid to rest.

I'm pleased you enjoyed it and many thanks for letting me know.

Steve
*makes 'V' sign and puffs on cigar!*

Kazzmoss on 29-11-2006
I Felt Fine, Till Churchill’s Funeral
Pencilcase, this was a very entertaining audio as I sit in the lounge with my headphones on and my eyes closed. Husband is watching some programme about catching fish on Discovery) and I was nicely transported back to an era I remember and could associate with. It made me smile as you reminded me of things I had long forgotten. Thanks 🙂 - Kazz

Author's Reply:
Kazz - thanks for commenting and pleased to see that the audio connected with you! I had an interesting time putting it together. And it means a lot to me.

Many thanks,

Steve


It's Not The Same As Ink (posted on: 03-04-06)
I think I've come up with a new word here!

There was a time we had to think, when we expressed ourselves in ink, when layout, style and presentation, not to mention punctuation, all combined to help relate the thoughts we would communicate. But in this electronic age, it seems that we have turned a page and nowadays there's little need, to judge from much of what I read, for accuracy, eloquence, or grammar that makes any sense. So many people just don't care if they should spell their theres as their, their yours as you're and I admit that I have had enough of it. It's it's, it's its', where its should be, it's constant cat'apostrophe. It's quick and easy, clicking send, instead of checking what's been penned, since there's no need for ink to dry, the deed is done and e-mails fly, but precious few seem worth, once gone, the paper they're not written on.
Archived comments for It's Not The Same As Ink
Romany on 03-04-2006
It’s Not The Same As Ink
Well said! And I love the cat'apostrophe! Should be in the dictionary, in my opinion.
Romany.

Author's Reply:
Thanks, Romany. I hope it makes it into the dictionary!

Regards,

pencil

red-dragon on 03-04-2006
It’s Not The Same As Ink
Steve, I don't know why this hasn't got a nib - it's very cleverly constructed and great fun to read - and I agree with every word. A ten from me! Ann

Author's Reply:
Ann, thanks for your appreciation of this poem. It's been nibbed now, so you must have put the influence on it! Thanks also for your generous rating and I'm pleased you got fun out of reading it too!

Steve

chrissy on 04-04-2006
It’s Not The Same As Ink
I liked this a lot. It's cleverly written and made me smile even though -- oh the shame and public humiliation --I am a guilty person with its and it's and its' but not because I'm stupid, just some times my thumbs and fingers get away from me.
Well deserving of the nib.
chrissy

Author's Reply:
Hi chrissy - thanks for your appreciation of the poem's construction and I'm pleased to see the humour came through too. You go on to make some important points, I think. We all make mistakes from time to time and the causes may be a lack of knowledge, finger trouble over a keyboard, being in a rush, having other things on our mind or whatever. There are many who do not seem to have any understanding of the correct use of the apostrophe, but this does not mean they are stupid (I mean, it's possible to be stupid and not have any understanding of such things, but this is not necessarily the case). It is very common these days to see expensively-produced signage and to read important documents that betray a serious lack of grammatical understanding on the part of the person who was responsible for their production. I think this is quite a failing, and potentially dangerous in some situations since it could lead to poor communication. Creative writing is still assisted by an understanding of the basics, imo, but the great thing about that is that you can be creative! I hope that my coining of 'cat'apostrophe' goes some way to suggest that I am not as pedantic as some might think!

Thanks very much for the comment.

case of pencils

Kat on 04-04-2006
It’s Not The Same As Ink
Steve... Dein Style (oder Stil) ist so geil!

Viele liebe Grüsse

Katze :o)

Author's Reply:
Well, it's good to know there's still something that's 'geil' about me. :o(

Thanks for the comment!

Viele Gruesse von

dem lustigen bleistifthalter!

teifii on 04-04-2006
It’s Not The Same As Ink
Hear, hear! It really needed saying and you've said it with style indeed. I hope it gets into the anthology to continue promoting some sense in the literary world out there.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Greetings, Daff - thanks for the comment. Given your remark, it seems that you may well have been the one who nominated it. If so, thank you. Still wondering if anyone will notice an error that may have slipped through the 'pencil-net'!

I think one of the biggest culprits is 'spellcheck' or rather, the way people rely on it and accept its findings.

Best regards to you,

Steve

littleditty on 06-04-2006
It’s Not The Same As Ink
Guilty as charged! Well written rant - did you check it really well ;)- Click and it's gone - speed sometimes wins over care - at times it should not! Liked the first verse especially *checks for errrrors*.....*presses button* 😀 xxxlittleditty x

Author's Reply:
Hi l-d and thanks for commenting. Yes, I checked it carefully! No errors spotted so far! As it happens, I think this is one of my strengths, as an individual, but as I say in my earlier reply to chrissy's comment: we all make mistakes. I'm not such a smart-arse (I hope) that I would ridicule someone whose talents might not include this as their strongest suit. It does gall me though when I see repeated and inconsistent errors in expensively-produced signage and important documentation.

I think you make a good comment when you say...

"speed sometimes wins over care - at times it should not!"

I agree. I also agree with what you imply - that sometimes we should let it flow and not worry about mistakes, so as not to inhibit a creative surge! It's still beneficial to go back and check at a later point though.

I've just noticed that Kat has revised her poem and referred to pencilcase and littleditty as the 'dynamic duo'! I'll have to take another look at that!

Thanks again for commenting.

pencil




shadow on 06-04-2006
It’s Not The Same As Ink
I totally agree - lovely poem - why do errors only become visible after you press send? (Not that I was any better with the old mechanical typewriter - and even my fountain pen used to have a mind of its own).

Author's Reply:
Good to hear from you, Moya - thanks for popping in. I think your comment makes a good point. How many times have I realised a mistake and had to screw up a piece of handwriting and start again from scratch? And how many times have I done a similar thing with something produced on a typewriter - or made the whole thing look messy by trying to 'white-out' and type over an error? We have great advantages these days since mistakes and edits can be made so easily. But this power should be used with a little more care, in my view!

Many thanks for your comment,

Steve

Sunken on 06-04-2006
It’s Not The Same As Ink
Very clever Lord Case of Pencil fame. Particularly like the ending, the beginning and the bits in-between.

s
u
n
k
e
n

hopelessly devoted to Hugh

Author's Reply:
Sunken, I am grateful for your perceptive comment. By picking out "the ending, the beginning and the bits in-between" I feel you have really understood what lies at the heart of this poem. You should consider a career as a literary critic. If you do, would you please promote the word 'cat'apostrophe' at every opportunity? I'm hoping it will make it into the dictionary one day and that I could be credited with its derivation. It would make a change, since I have only deviations to my name so far. I feel that this, combined with my poem about a squeaky shoe, could be my literary legacy - please help.

Many thanks again for commenting and regards to the hamster.

pencil

teifii on 06-04-2006
It’s Not The Same As Ink
I'm still trying to find the deliberate mistake that 'slipped through'. Admittedly my brain is not at its best right now.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Hi Daff - I didn't make a deliberate mistake. I was just conscious of the fact that I could have made a mistake and it would be ironic if someone pointed it out to me, given the subject of the poem!

Best regards,

Steve

teifii on 07-04-2006
It’s Not The Same As Ink
Ah I see. Well, you certainly gave me some food for thought, looking for it. But I do agree with the point of the poem. What makes me see red is not mistakes in poems posted here [after all we post them for others to correct if necessary] but typos and grammar mistakes in published work. I can't for the life of me understand not only why poets don't check very carefully in their own interestes before submitting, but editors don't either. Proof reading seems to be a thing of the past.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Thanks for that, Daff. Hope you didn't spend too much time looking for an error!

Hope you have a good weekend and my regards to the dogs and ducks!

Steve

Jay on 07-04-2006
It’s Not The Same As Ink
Great poem... well structured and easy to read. Enjoyed it I did!

I do understand your point about people being too relaxed about the way they write these days... I for one pride myself on not being lazy when writing anything; despite being from the texting generation as it were! I mean, obviously we make the odd slip we are human... A very good friend of mine has always used her theres for theirs, mixing them up as she pleases and it has always bugged me! haha

Again, great read. It deserves the nib.

Jenn x

Author's Reply:
Jenn - many thanks for your comment. I'm pleased you engaged with this poem and took the time to let me know it came across. If you have read any of the previous comments and my replies then I hope you will know that I quite agree with 'we all make mistakes'!

Okay, this poem makes its point - that's good! But I'm glad you 'enjoyed it you did!' I was hoping some people might find it enjoyable and not just a didactic rant! (I like to save my didactic rants for special occasions!).

Thanks again for commenting.

Have a good weekend,

Steve

Corin on 08-04-2006
It’s Not The Same As Ink
Brilliant Steve - I cannot add to what you have said, but agree with every word - just checking the spelling etc. now!

David

Author's Reply:
David, if you or anyone else finds a mistake in this poem, or in anything else I submit to uka, I would be grateful if you let me know. I'm confident in my ability in this respect, but I'll make a mistake now and then, even if it's due to my not being the best typist in the world!

Thank you for your comment and your appreciation of my latest submission. I did read and enjoy your 'White Horses' and was going to comment early one morning this week, but found myself too tired after a night shift. Good sentiments though. The 'Englishness' of it came across well, but I feel you made a wider point beyond national boundaries.

Thanks again for commenting,

Steve

Hazy on 10-04-2006
It’s Not The Same As Ink
You knew I'd love it 😉

Had a conversation with someone yesterday about the word 'premonition' and I wondered if you could 'premoniss' something. Or whether you could be 'premonisant'... Hmm. And it was a sober conversation lol.

Anyway, good stuff, pillowcase 🙂 Well done on hitting the No 1 spot 🙂

Jo x

Author's Reply:
Thank you, aitch. Yes, I was fairly certain you would like this one!

Please help a retired cub scout by using 'cat'apostrophe' at every opportunity. In fact, use it even when there isn't an opportunity.

I notice that no-one has mentioned the 'IT' angle in the title. Or have they and I've forgotten? Anyway, 'IT's Not The Same As Ink' - geddit? I thought it more subtle to have the 't' in lower case (that means not capital letters). 'IT' means 'Information Technology' btw. Oh, and 'btw' means 'by the way' er...btw. You can see how up-to-date I am these days - sorry if I'm racing ahead of you.

Erm, think I'm rambling now. Sorry. But thanks for letting me know you enjoyed my latest contribution. I hope this also proves that, whilst I might be a bit of a stickler in some respects, I'm all for the creative invention of new words. I hope to come up with a few more as soon as The Cupboard People allow me some peace and quiet.

Regards from pencil Manor,

Lord pencil, DSO, btw

Jolen on 13-04-2006
It’s Not The Same As Ink
Dear Earl Of Pencildom:

Guilty, but what do you expect? I'm a Yank! lol.... This is so lyrical and clever that I will offer up a sacrifice in its honor. (Yes, I'm afraid, it's true..All my webpages are going into the fire)
I loved this, and I thank you, as I have been shown the errors of my ways. I'll try much harder in the future, especially now that I know I can earn pencil points. ;o)
I'm glad this was nibbed and nominated. It's worthy of both.

Keep those pencils sharp, and please don't stick anyone in the eye with them.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Jolen,

Thank you for your report from the colonies. Did you know that my great-great-great-great-great uncle quillcase was largely (though inadvertently) responsible for the Boston Tea Party? As the fourth Viscount of Parchment he was commissioned by the British government at the time to sail across the Atlantic and improve the efficacy of the packing in which tea was transported to the empire. He said that there should be 'tacks on tea' because the tea chests were so inadequately made that he thought a few tacks here and there would reduce wastage during transportation. This was interpreted as 'tax' and the rest, of course, is history.

He was only trying to do his job...

Anyway, thanks also for your comment, for making this poem a fave and, indeed, for making me a fave author! You are too kind. I'm sorry to hear about your webfire, but thank you for your interest in, and appreciation of, this poem. You would be disappointed in me, I feel, if I did not point out that your phrase 'don't stick anyone in the eye with them' is not proper English, although I know what you mean!

My great-great-great-great-great uncle quillcase has got a lot to answer for! (After the Boston Tea Party he was lampooned in the British press and became known as the 'fourth Viscount of Parched'). He never really recovered from the shame of it all...

However, all this is far behind us now and so, in the spirit of reconciliation may I coin one of your modern American phrases and say 'have a spiffing day'.

Lord pencil, KG, DSO, BBC

Abel on 13-04-2006
It’s Not The Same As Ink
Very well said and written, even if it is on a screen :-). Couldn't agree more, so very true.

Ward

Author's Reply:
Ward, many thanks for popping in on this one. Yes...there is an ironic contradiction in the fact that I am expressing this message over the internet!

Pleased you enjoyed and many thanks again for commenting.

Steve

e-griff on 14-04-2006
It’s Not The Same As Ink
nicely made point. Although I'm not sure you can strictly blame it on the lack of paper and ink or the computer.... surely its the people concerned? - more down to modern education (or lack of appropriate) and less reading. Many common errors are because people have only heard the words, not read them.

I do agree with you. Esp. people who say 'oh, let them express themselves, the details don't matter' annoy me - it's a bit like putting a kid on the stage with a violin and saying - never mind the lessons, appreciate his art! Point being, unless you absorb the lessons, you can't communicate effectively at all, on the violin or in writing.

Very often people point out famous authors who broke all the rules as an excuse for their own ineptitude. Sadly the famous authors who broke 'em knew the rules very well in the first place, so knew how to do it, and... er, without putting too finer point on it, were brilliant and exceptional... 🙂 JohnG


Author's Reply:
griff - many thanks for your comment. I agree with many of your thoughts. I wrote this as a response to a competition on the theme of 'ink'. This is where it happened to take me, so I agree it is not strictly a matter of paper and ink versus the computer.

I'm very much in favour of breaking rules, as you say, (and have done so in this poem!), but the widespread lack of understanding does worry me somewhat, both from a creative point of view and in consideration of the need for clear communication.

Prose and poetry in dialect is great, of course, but surely part of the appeal is because such offerings can be seen as veering away from the accepted standard and thereby heighten their message?
Anyway, my comment is in the poem! Long may that continue for all, whatever their standpoint...

Steve

Zoya on 26-04-2006
It’s Not The Same As Ink
A very good take on what we really do these days;Take the spell check for granted, and sometimes it really makes 'its' to it's and vice versa, and your is invariably corrected as you're...I am going to check my spelling, my Oxford Dictionary is collecting dust...Thanksfor shaking us up a bit, dear Steve.

Author's Reply:
Hello Zoya - thanks for the comment and generous rating. 'Spellcheck' has a lot to answer for! Pleased you enjoyed reading this one - thanks for popping in!

Best wishes,

Steve

Macjoyce on 16-03-2008
It’s Not The Same As Ink
Catapostrophe is a very clever neologism, though I don't think you need the apostrophe in it to label the point.

A very funny and well-structured poem, and a favourite of mine.

There's a fair amount of what you're talking about, unfortunately, on the pages of UKA, and sadly, not just from people for whom English is a second language. The one that really annoys me is 'of' instead of 'have', like "I would of thought so".

How can people with no understanding of the English language fancy themselves as poets?


Author's Reply:
Thanks Mac - I hope to get something new on here before too long! But it's great that you picked up on this!

Best wishes,

Steve


Singularly Modern (posted on: 13-03-06)
One of two poems I wrote recently on the subject of 'The Modern Gentleman'. Thought I'd post both at the same time, so the other one should be around here somewheres...!

The modern gentleman, I find, should really say what's on his mind, since being tactful, circumspect, is tantamount to disrespect. You have to treat the girls like guys, or otherwise you'll patronise their gender and their intellect: politically incorrect. Don't undermine her self-esteem, do not assist or intervene by helping sisters put up shelves: they can do that for themselves! The modern gent should not regret the passing of an etiquette that forced him to give up his seat: let her stand on her own two feet! Is it so hard to understand she doesn't want a helping hand? The modern woman's no-one's fool: she's almost got the offside rule. I've done all this, but must confess, as yet I've not had much success, it's so unfair, I can't think why, but women seem to pass me by.
Archived comments for Singularly Modern
Albermund on 13-03-2006
Singularly Modern
Another lovely rhythmic read (my only stumble was L12 which, for me, reads better with another syllable -when?)

Good fun - old wifies can be pretty difficult to call as well.

Albert 🙂

Author's Reply:
Hello Albert, and thanks for commenting. Pleased you enjoyed the fun of this rhythmic read! I'm not so happy with L12 myself. Yes, it is a syllable short, but that is not necessarily the problem, I think, since the preceding line ends with a colon and the pause that this punctuation implies can perhaps 'justify' a missed beat. But I agree it could be improved by either having an additional syllable or by having an improved wording which allows the missed beat to pass without a stumble. Right, let's have a think...

by helping sisters put up shelves:
they can do that for themselves!

How about 'Let them do it for themselves!' ? This would echo the song lyric more accurately and I imagine could better deliver the irony if read aloud (and, of course, the irony implodes back on the narrator!). Or maybe 'They're doing it all by themselves'? That might be better. Still gets closer to the lyric, but adds a syllable and 'all' adds something too. Bit late now - I'll think about a possible change though. If you found the time to take another look and consider my possible alternatives then any input would be appreciated. Anyhow, thanks again for your comment.

Steve


shackleton on 14-03-2006
Singularly Modern
Enjoyed your poem, Steve. Nice touch of irony.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the comment and pleased you enjoyed the ironing. Hang on, that should be irony - nobody enjoys ironing.

Anyway, thanks for putting the iron down for a moment and popping in to comment on my singularly modern poem!

Cheers,

Steve

red-dragon on 15-03-2006
Singularly Modern
Yes, Steve, I like this one too - but I prefer the other one, I think. And no, I don't know the offside rule, even though it was carefully explained to me, using a bottle of ketchup as Michael Owen! Phew....

Ann

Author's Reply:
Thanks for that, Ann. But you're getting it all wrong...Michael Owen is the jar of mustard - it's John Terry that's the bottle of ketchup. I hope this clears up the offside rule!

Yes, I prefer the other one too, but pleased that this one brought you some amusement. I can't think for the life of me why I don't have more success with the ladies!?!?

Pass the sauce...

pencilcase

Albermund on 16-03-2006
Singularly Modern
You know, pc, I can't make up my mind what's best. There seems to be no out and out winner. As it is now, I think, is best for when reading aloud. When reading for first time I would plump for "when they can do it for themselves". 'Let them do it for themselves!' is good but seems to diminish "let her stand on her own two feet". Not keen on'They're doing it all by themselves'.

cheers Albert.

Author's Reply:
No, I can't decide either - but thanks for giving it some further thought. I think you make a good point regarding the potential repetition of 'let'. Maybe I'll record and upload the audio as it is - poetry should usually be written with how it would read aloud in mind. I'll leave it as it is at the mo and perhaps upload the audio!

Thanks for your interest and comments,

Steve


The Modern Gentleman (posted on: 13-03-06)
One of two poems I wrote recently on the subject of 'The Modern Gentleman'. Thought I'd post both at the same time, so the other one should be around here somewheres...!

The modern gent must bear in mind a woman's front and what's behind behaviour patterns far less clear than was the case in yesteryear. She's under pressure to conform to what has now become the norm, she's driven to believe success is everything, and nothing less. She wants it all, but still our task must be to see behind the mask of modern make-up and reveal what lies behind: what's false; what's real. It's easy not to patronise and treat the girls just like the guys, the harder part is sensing when she fancies men should act like men. Don't bore her with a woman's place, but don't let doors slam in her face. It often is the case, I find, that women will respond in kind to kindness and a thoughtful act, respect, consideration, tact. Though ladies first is now taboo, she's not averse to after you.
Archived comments for The Modern Gentleman
teifii on 13-03-2006
The Modern Gentleman
Very observant I must say. And I like the form, unfashionable as form is these days.
Love the last two lines. Perfect ending.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Hello Daff and thanks for the comment. Well, I like to write in different styles and this type of rhythm and rhyme is one of them. Sometimes it works well, imo, certainly when humour is a major ingredient, but there has also been much great poetry written in this way. I think form is less unfashionable at the moment, although there are always some who break out in a rash if a poem rhymes. To my mind, this is as dismissive as those who know little about poetry but make that often-heard comment 'it can't be a poem coz it doesn't rhyme'. But then these things are bound to be 'horses for courses' and that's fair enough. Much of what I write is not so formal, but I think it is a mistake to underestimate the power of rhyme - it influences much of our language, as exemplified in the expression 'horses for,' erm... 'courses'!

Thanks for reading and commenting and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Steve

Albermund on 13-03-2006
The Modern Gentleman
Heh! Very nice. Lovely rhythm and very true IMHO.

cheers

A.

Author's Reply:
Hi Albert and thanks for the comment. Of the two poems I wrote on this general subject, this one is closer to my real views!

Thanks again for commenting on both of my submissions for Monday and good to know this gave you some amusement and interest.

Steve

Romany on 14-03-2006
The Modern Gentleman
Clever! I'm not such a modern girl though, that I don't want a man to hold a door open for me - I can see what you mean about how confusing it must be for a bloke to know when to 'be a man' as a pose to 'a gentleman!' Glad I'm a woman!

Romany.

Author's Reply:
And I'm glad you're a woman too, Romany!

Fact is...I tend to be quite a polite pencil usually and hold the door open for anyone who happens to be there at the same time. And I appreciate it if someone has consideration for me as well - it only takes a moment and it costs nothing.

Oh, btw...thanks for your appreciation and for commenting!

Steve

barenib on 14-03-2006
The Modern Gentleman
Steve, as you know, this is my preferred of the two variations. Best bit for me is the last two lines - 'Though ladies first is now taboo, she’s not averse to after you. ' which very nicely sums it all up. J.


Author's Reply:
Hello John,

Thank you. This is my preferred variation too, although I don't mind 'Singularly Modern' being a bit heavier on the humour.

Thanks for picking up on the last two lines. It's good to know that you think these sum it all up, since this would suggest that they amount to an appropriate conclusion.

Regards from one modern gent to another!

Steve

red-dragon on 15-03-2006
The Modern Gentleman
Hi Steve - I thought this comes across very well indeed - a lot of thought has gone into subject and form. In fact, it deserves a 10. I'm off now to find the other one. Ann

Author's Reply:
Ann, thanks for your comment and generous rating - and thanks for acknowledging the thought that went into it! I'm pleased it seems to have struck a chord with you.

Best regards,

the modern pencilman
!

Sunken on 15-03-2006
The Modern Gentleman
Hello young Pencil. This put me in mind of a mathematical equation in an old exercise book that got lost down the back of a sofa only to be discovered fifty years too late to have saved thousands of people from a deadly form of acne. Thankfully, in this case Mr. Case, it has not been allowed to fall between cushions. I shall spread it forthwith over my spotty facade and revel in a skin so clear that on a good day you can see mars reflected in it's surface. Well done on the nib. Consider crayons and how they relate to madness (but only if you have the time).

s
u
n
k
e
n

trading deceptive glances with squirrels

Author's Reply:
I have indeed considered glances and traded crayons with deceptive squirrels. On a serious note, I'm glad you did not let this poem fall down the back of the sofa. Sofa, so good. As far as acne is concerned, it's a while since I was in Mare Street, but I'm pleased to see this hit the spot for you. I think this sums up our exchange on the social observation and competence of my poem. I didn't know it had been ge-nibbed (as they say in the Gelsenkirchen branch of the pencilcase fan club) until reading your comment, so thanks for letting me know and hurrah for the squirrels. I think that just about sums it all up.

I'm off to gather my nuts now. Thanks for the comment...

nutcase

shedhead on 16-03-2006
The Modern Gentleman
G'day Stevo! Bonza little poem that.... bloody sheilas! (you don't think I'm picking up abit of an accent do ya? it has been a couple of weeks now!)

Pencilcase fan club (tas branch) 2 members! and recruiting.

email ya soon!

p.s hope this is the right way up? it should be i wrote it upside down!

Author's Reply:
Ah, Mr.Dave...G'Day from one modern gent to another. Before I respond to your comment, may I please make it clear that the fact that Mrs.Dave was once romantically involved with Ricky Ponting has done nothing to diminish my utmost respect for that lovely lady that you are proud to call your wife. I couldn't help thinking about that now worldwide famous snog when I had a pint in the clubhouse Monday night and saw highlights of RSA v OZ were on. What a fantastic game! Both sides scored about a million runs , but the Aussies were just about beaten. Ricky was very magnanimous about it, which I respect. But I could tell what was on his mind - and that snog with Mrs.Dave was not far away.

Right, I'd better get some sleep - I'm on that late day thingy-wotsit. Good to know that ya liked the poem and that things seem okay with you. I am impressed that the Queen has followed in your footsteps, so to speak. Wonder if you were at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games? I could imagine you representing Folly Island in the 'Carton Overprint' event!

Saw Mouldy the other day...

"It's good as new time
it's string and glue time -
we could be down all night!"

All the best to you and the lovely Mrs.Dave!

pontingcase

PS
glad you liked the poem - almost forgot about that! Them bloomin Sheilas, eh?!

admin on 20-03-2006
The Modern Gentleman
Even better if you listen to the audio whilst reading, potlood - I do so love that audio facility, seems to make such a helluva difference (well, to me, anyway).

Author's Reply:
You're bloomin' right, ya know: it is even better if you listen to the audio whilst reading! Thanks for the tip.

I don't know who this pencilcase fella is, but he should go far!

Yeah, I know...'and the further the better'!

Thanks for reading, commenting and, of course, listening.

potloodgezicht

wfgray on 05-04-2006
The Modern Gentleman
The days of courtesy towards women have been forgotten, however today I find that they hold open the door for me. A lovely poem. A great read. Will

Author's Reply:
Will - many thanks for commenting, and for the very generous rating. I'm glad you enjoyed the poem. And I'm glad that people hold the door open for you - quite right too, and evidence that courtesy is not dead. A little consideration for others goes a long way.

Thanks for popping in and do call again!

Best regards from one gent to another,

Steve

Jen_Christabel on 10-04-2006
The Modern Gentleman
I liked the last line, and even though I am a feminist, I appreciate the door being held open; I do it for other's so it should be done for me :o)
Good piece here, ten from me.
Jennifer x

Author's Reply:
Jen,

Many thanks for your comment and for the very generous rating. I quite agree that we should be able to accept acts of courtesy as well as have consideration for others.

Glad you liked the poem, and its conclusion!

pencil

zenbuddhist on 11-04-2006
The Modern Gentleman
AYE RIGHT

Author's Reply:
Thanks for that, z-b!

Steve

Jolen on 13-04-2006
The Modern Gentleman
I'm afraid that I would be burned at the stake were I to offer my thoughts on some of the things your beautifully constructed poem speaks to. So let me only say, I love it. It's witty, the rhythm is wonderful and I could have danced all night. ;o)

An old fashioned sort of witch,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Jolen...' beautifully constructed poem' is a fantastic comment! Accurate, too! You wouldn't believe I knocked this up in five minutes whilst waiting for a bus, would you? No, of course you wouldn't: because it's not true! In truth, it took a little longer than that (good job the bus was late).

I'm not sure what you mean by ' I would be burned at the stake were I to offer my thoughts on some of the things...'? However, I am heartened by your use of the subjunctive!

Many thanks for your comment and I hope you have a thoroughly splendid Easter weekend.

Earl pencil of 14th-dom


Saturday's Child (posted on: 27-02-06)
my memories of the day I was born

I was born in Edmonton, just a mile from Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, at ten past midnight on Saturday 27th February 1960. Perhaps my arrival during the night shift explains why I've been largely nocturnal ever since and was in itself good preparation for the night work that lay ahead in later years. But that's another story. Forty-six years ago, I had other things on my mind. Realising that my Mother had been through quite a lot, I concentrated on comforting her and giving her a few reassuring cuddles, whilst at the same time beginning the process of getting her used to a feeding and sleeping routine that I knew would be in her best interests. She seemed to respond quite well, so after three or four hours I entrusted her care to the nurses and allowed myself some sleep. After all, I'd had quite an eventful time myself, and I admit that I was feeling quite sleepy by that stage. I was totally unprepared for the shock that disorientated me when I woke up a few hours later. There I was, just beginning to come to terms with a fairly life-changing experience, when I was wrong-footed once more on opening my eyes to find that the whole picture had changed completely yet again. There was light pouring in through the windows. What was that all about? I started to feel anxious about what set of circumstances would greet me the next time I woke up. There was definitely something going on out there. I didn't know exactly what it was, but I had the distinct feeling that this place I had been born into was not the end of the story. I would have to investigate later, but first there was something I needed to do. I felt that I should mark the occasion of my birth with my first poem. By the time breakfast was over, I had realised that my arrival would be an appropriate subject to write about and, to be honest, I had very little else to go on anyway. Shortly after half-past eleven, I completed my first poem, 'Arrival,' which ran: My arrival, I opine is thanks to Whitsun, fifty-nine. Not one of my best, I know, but I think you will agree that there were already signs there of the cheeky wordsmith that I was to become. I wasn't sure what my parents were going to call me, but I already felt like a pencilcase. Maybe the fact that I was less than two miles from the old Eagle pencil factory at Tottenham Hale had something to do with it, I'm not sure. But I remember feeling a little bored as the afternoon passed quietly. My Mum fell asleep for a couple of hours, so I thought I'd take a look out of the window and was quite excited to see all the traffic below, as I gazed towards Pymmes Park. There was a whole world out there, and there's me stuck in hospital! I considered that I ought to appraise myself of what was going on, current affairs-wise, so I slipped out quietly and read a couple of newspapers in the day room. It wasn't looking too healthy, I can tell you. There was this thing called The Cold War going on, and it was all looking a bit dodgy as far as I was concerned. I wondered if I'd made a good choice concerning the timing of my arrival, but there was no going back now. I also remember reading about Supermac's Wind of Change speech. It stuck in my mind: perhaps because I sensed the significance of the speech as it accepted that the days of empire were drawing to a close and I understood that it heralded a decade of decolonisation; or maybe because I'd just been winded and changed. As the worries of the world weighed heavily on my shoulders, much more encouraging developments were taking place on the sporting front. Spurs were enjoying a 4-1 victory at Blackburn Rovers, thanks to goals from Dave Mackay, Bobby Smith, Les Allen and Cliff Jones. A winning start! By early evening, as Billy Nick and the boys were making their way back to London from the North-West, the man I instantly recognised as my Father arrived at North Middlesex Hospital with a rolled-up copy of the evening paper tucked under his arm. I remember how we checked his pools coupon, but the best we could come up with was three draws and two aways. Having had a hard day at the whelk stall, he tried in vain to hide his disappointment, and I, already disillusioned with life, resigned myself to being 'Saturday's Child' and realised that the day was fast approaching when I would have to earn a living somehow. The anxiety caused by this stark realisation was compounded by the onset of an identity crisis that has affected me to this day: the nurses were referring to me as 'Andrew'. Prince Andrew had been born just a week before, but at the time, his name had not been announced. I have often wondered about this twist of fate, speculating that my parents could have been influenced by the nurses and called me Andrew, and contemplating, on the other hand, if Phil and Liz had ever considered 'pencilcase' as a possible name for the new prince. You must admit, 'Prince pencilcase' does have a certain ring to it. However, apart from the proximity of our respective dates of birth, any similarity between myself and HRH ended there: he having been born into the House of Windsor; whilst I was born just off the North Circular Road and destined to spend the first 11 years of my life in the shadow of Ponders End gasworks. After he'd finished off the plate of jellied eels that he'd thoughtfully offered my Mother, my Father kissed us both goodbye, promising to spread the news by making a telephone call from a public call box to the one member of our extended family who actually had a telephone, and by writing letters to the rest. Communications technology has moved on a bit since the day I was born. Of course, there were many tiny pencilcase adventures to come, but as I settled down on my first Saturday night, I remember thinking that it wasn't all bad. I had my Mum, my Dad, and a brother too. Spurs were doing well, I'd written my first poem, and a couple of good-looking nurses had already taken a bit of a shine to me. I had a whole new life to look forward to, despite my already-established cynicism and anxiety. And even though I'd been somewhat alarmed by the distant strains of Adam Faith and Lonnie Donnegan during the day, and my inquisitiveness about the outside world was not unguardedly optimistic, I drifted off to sleep a curiously happy little pencil.
Archived comments for Saturday's Child
expat on 27-02-2006
Saturday’s Child
An entertaining read there, pencilcase, the second paragraph and poemlet especially so!

An instalment or 'one-off'?

:^) Steve.

Author's Reply:
Well, I prefer to think of myself as a 'one-off'! Oh, I see what you mean. Well, there might be a few more memories to come! Glad you found it entertaining and my very first poem wasn't too bad considering I was not even 12 hours old at the time of writing!

Thanks for commenting,

Steve

Andrea on 27-02-2006
Saturday’s Child
Thoroughly enjoyed this little tale about you naissance, Potlood 🙂 Most amusing.

Jellied eels...yeuch.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the flowers, Andrea. Let me know when yours is and perhaps I could send you a tub of jellied eels?!

Pleased to see you found this enjoyable and amusing. It's also quite interesting, I think, to contemplate how different the world was, in some respects, not so many years ago.

Off to see my parents for a while this afternoon. Now I really do have to check to see if my Mum is okay, since Baroness pencil is now 85.

Thanks for the comment,

potloodle

Kat on 28-02-2006
Saturday’s Child
A belated Happy Birthday to you, pencilcase! The same day as my dear ol' grandad (RIP). What a fine and enjoyable read - love your humour!

I've now got your 'TICKLED TO DEATH' poem posted up on the website - thanks again for that, and here's to many more returns of the pencil!

Kat :o)

Author's Reply:
Thank you, Kat. Yes, I'm getting on a bit now, but my memory is still good - as shown in this piece. I'm pleased you enjoyed reading it. I will take a look to see how 'Tickled To Death' appears on your website.

I'm starting a campaign to make 27th February 'National Pencil Day' and hoping it might become 'International Pencil Day' in time. Everybody gets a day off work and there will be much reading, writing and merriment. I think it would come at a good point in the calendar, between Christmas/New Year and Easter, and everyone would welcome a day off at this time of year. I'm sure I can count on your support.

Thank you for the comment,

bleistift

barenib on 28-02-2006
Saturday’s Child
Steve - I never fail to be impressed by your memory, but you've really surpassed yourself this time! J.

Author's Reply:
Well, I can in fact remember the process of birth itself, but thought I'd better not relate those particular recollections in case I offended the squeamish. I hope you enjoyed reading this, John, and I hope for a similar result against Blackburn Rovers this coming Sunday!

Thanks for commenting,

Steve

red-dragon on 28-02-2006
Saturday’s Child
Blimey - and you could read, too? A veritable child prodigy!! You can only grow in my eyes! Ann

Author's Reply:
Ann, thanks for the generous comment and rating. I'm pleased you enjoyed my recollections of the day I was born!

Many thanks and best regards,

Steve


Tickled To Death (posted on: 20-02-06)
If anyone is interested in listening to an old recording of the popular British First World War song 'Goodbye-ee' then you can do so at the address given below. www.ww1photos.com/Goodbye-ee


From villages and factories, and desperate to enlist, they lied about their age, so they could join up with their pals, not wanting to miss out on this: the war to end all wars, for good. What would they tell their children if they didn't do their bit? It wouldn't last for long, and so they got their skates on, queued with mates to volunteer, to do God's work and get a taste of glory, and of honour, in a uniform excitement, cajoled by braid and splendour, their die cast in the dizzy spell of overseas adventure. There was no time for reason in a patriotic war, when faced with such a demon, deserving of a bloody nose: they'd give the Hun what for! But first, the fun of training and bayoneting dummies, the running around in fields and feigning death, like schoolboys, giggling through mock-agony in sure and certain knowledge of a rapid resurrection that, moments after falling, saw them standing to attention. The mud-reality sank in later. Surreal, at first, when comrades died and stayed dead too: nothing like that exercise, two weeks before. They fell for it. The lieutenant pips, the smiles on lips, sucked in and whistling their way to war, singing it's hard to part, I know: those lads were tickled to death to go.
Archived comments for Tickled To Death
RoyBateman on 20-02-2006
Tickled To Death
Shades of "Oh, What a Lovely War" here, right? That certainly used the song to good effect, as you have yourself. You caught that initial carefree spirit well here, making it all the more tragic.

Author's Reply:
Roy, many thanks for your comment. 'Goodbye-ee' is such a well-known WW1 song, but strangely the enormous irony of the line 'I'll be tickled to death to go' only struck me, fully, relatively recently.

Thanks for your appreciation.

Steve

red-dragon on 20-02-2006
Tickled To Death
A generation of young men, captured by your poem. Excellent write, Steve, excellent. Ann

Author's Reply:
Ann, thanks for reading and commenting. I'm grateful for your appreciation and it's pleasing to see that you think I've captured the subject.

Many thanks,

Steve

Apolloneia on 20-02-2006
Tickled To Death
How about "and get a taste of glory and honour"? The 3rd stanza is the best, there is something about the last stanza that i don't like. All your ideas and images are great. Probably it's the layout, maybe some rephrasing. I hope you don't mind my saying so.
Best,
Nicoletta

Author's Reply:
Hi Nic,

Firstly, of course I don't mind your saying so.

But now, to business! I don't think your first suggestion would work in terms of how I imagine the poem being read aloud. Potentially though, I agree that there could be alteration to the layout and phrasing. If you have the time and inclination (and can bear the sound of my voice) then listen to the audio that I've uploaded this evening - I think it reads the way I want it too, so would be interested if you had any suggestion as to how any amendment to its appearance might better reflect the sound that I had in mind. I understand if you can't do that (I have to log off now myself) but if you can sometime then I'll be interested if you should make a further comment.

Oh, and if you haven't listened to the old recording of 'Goodbye-ee' then I think you would find it interesting to hear that contemporaneous , crackly recording of a song that cheered so many on their way to mass slaughter.

Thanks for reading and commenting,

Steve

Apolloneia on 20-02-2006
Tickled To Death
What old recording of Goodbye-ee? All I can do for now, and it will be my pleasure dear sir, is listen to the audio that you have uploaded.

Author's Reply:

Apolloneia on 20-02-2006
Tickled To Death
Okay, I listened to the audio, it was good, it was helpful, I understand now the layout of the last stanza.

Author's Reply:

Apolloneia on 20-02-2006
Tickled To Death
oh, i just read the short description again, more carefully this time, and now know where to find the old recording Goodbye-ee.

Author's Reply:
Hello Nic - thanks for additional comments.

I had to go away and eat for a while: had a pickled onion and banana sandwich, drizzled with Smirnoff vodka. Mmm, my favourite! Can't think why I keep having strange dreams?!?!

I have to try to convince myself to wind down and get some sleep, since I have very early starts at work this week. I hope to read a few more submissions during the week, including yours, but for now I ought to tear myself away!

If you have any further suggestions on my poem then I would be pleased to read them. Thank you for listening to my recording and I hope you found the old song of interest. Both of my grandfathers fought in and survived WW1. One of them (technically, my step-grandfather) was involved at the beginning, as part of the British Expeditionary Force. Amazing they both survived. Some of the things they told me could form the basis of other writings, I'm sure.

I would say though, that whilst this particular poem of mine is intended to be specific to 'The Great War' and 'The War To End All Wars,' I hope my efforts have a resonance for modern times as well. I remember seeing my Granddad's medals that referred to 'The War To End All Wars'. Of course, it was not an end to war, but very much sowed the seeds for WW2. My Dad was in the RAF in WW2, but never applied for his medals since he was sick to death of it all. But let us rejoice that he survived - otherwise it would be impossible for me to be typing this reply!

If you have a suggestion about the poem during the week then do let me know. But for now, it's 'goodbye-ee!'.

pencilcase, DSO

Kat on 21-02-2006
Tickled To Death
Hi Steve

This is a very fine piece of work and speaks to me about war, yes, but other circumstances in present times... 'tickled to death to go.' is such a poignant expression, another one comes to my mind, 'brainwashing...'

A very thought-provoking piece and I'll have to pop it in my cocktail cabinet. ;o)

Kat :o)

Author's Reply:
Kat, thanks for commenting and for picking this as 'ein heisses lieblingsdings' or whatever it is. I'm grateful for your letting me know that my meaning came across, in the wider sense. In the specific context, I hope you might have clicked on my link to the old recording of 'Goodbye-ee' - it pops up quickly and only takes a minute (no, please don't go there, Kat, I'm trying to be serious!).

You can put it in your cocktail cabinet if you like, but 'if the sergeant steals yer rum, never mind..'

Further to your reply to my comment on 'Ecuador Cries' I can say that I was indeed peeking over your shoulder when you were watching telly. I often do that. A man should have a hobby. It would be great to go to the Galapagos Islands. I haven't been for ages. The last time I went was with Charlie D (I was pencil-in-residence on The Beagle). Funnily enough, I was in fact a member of Darwin College at The University of Kent.

Like you, I am often vicarious too, and intend to watch proceedings on the telly (between documentaries on the Galapagos). I think The Galapagos Islands have qualified for the World Cup this time. They're an evolving side, but could spring a surprise. Apparently, according to their manager, E.Gwana, selection could be a problem.

Auf Wiederklicken,

bleistift

Kat on 22-02-2006
Tickled To Death
Steve, your reply has made me laugh my socks off! :o)

I've just popped in to listen to the recording - I did know the song as my grandad used to sing bits of it in his inimitable way. But you're right, it's really worth listening to, reading those words, and seeing that picture. That really thunders home the intent of your poem too, I think.

Thanks very much for this.

Kat :o)

Author's Reply:
Kat, this reply to your comment (for which, many thanks) will come in two parts. There will be a serious response, and also a humorous, even jaunty, response. It is for the viewers to decide which is which. Anyone who wishes to take part in this should first equip themselves with either a stopwatch or one of those kitchen timer things. Set either to 30 seconds immediately you have finished reading BOTH PARTS and then decide before time's up which is which. The contestant who gets the right answer in the shortest time will receive a prize. The prize will be the banana that I've just seen sunken has kindly awarded me. Okay, here goes...

FIRST PART

I'm really pleased that listening to 'Goodbye-ee' and looking at the picture and reading the words of the song in the link posted have added to your engagement with this poem. 'Thunders home the intent of your poem' is a great comment and thanks for that.

SECOND PART

Just as well I didn't make you laugh anymore, or goodness knows what else might have come off. I hope you find your socks soon. I have a spare pair that I could send you if that would somehow make amends. I predict that during the next 24 hours you will be watching television and won't be able to resist turning your gaze over your shoulder to see if I am peeking.

Your time starts NOW!

potlood

Sunken on 22-02-2006
Tickled To Death
I didn't notice if this was nibbed or not. If it wasn't, I wonder if you would accept a banana? A top piece of writing Lord Pencil that met with both mine and the hamster's approval. He's not easy to please, so this is quite a honour. Believe. Consider face transplants in relation to organised crime (but only if you have the time). Cheers.

s
u
n
k
e
n

Surrey 3 - Inner-tube 4

Author's Reply:
Many thanks, your submergedness. And thanks for the banana too. I hope you don't think I'm ungrateful, but I've already offered it as a prize in a little competition I've just outlined in a response to a comment from Kat. I'm expecting a bunch of entries. I wonder would it be possible to transplant faces to other areas of the body? And still keep your own face, I mean?

Thanks again for popping in.

potloodle

Mao Tse 10 - Ho Lin 1

teifii on 25-02-2006
Tickled To Death
I'd say it does definitely resonate with more recent events too. Very impressive take on the whole business of war and recruitment. I am reminded of the ad on telly -- 'join the army and see the world' which suggested the said world was a great place to be as a soldier and never mentioned killing or being killed.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Thanks for that, Daff. I'm pleased you engaged with this and took the wider perspective. If you haven't clicked on the link in my short description then I think you might find it interesting - it doesn't take long.

Many thanks again,

Steve

Gerry on 26-02-2006
Tickled To Death
Good writing here Steve and very well narrated.

Gerry.

Author's Reply:
Hi Gerry,

Many thanks for letting me know that you appreciated this poem. If my recording came across well then I'm pleased about that!

Hope you enjoyed your break - good to see you back!

Best regards,

Steve

barenib on 27-02-2006
Tickled To Death
Steve, as a recent author of a WW1 poem, I appreciated reading this again as my thoughts still linger of the soldiers awaiting their fate in the Flanders cafe. And HB in case I don't see you ce soir - John.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for commenting, John. Our respective poems can be seen as complementing each other perhaps: mine more to do with the initial 'it'll be over by Christmas' war fever; yours then moving on to the resignation of those who survived initial campaigns to the point where war, death and futility became a way of life. There are wider issues in both, and the dispatch which prompted you to write yours is is a great piece of writing itself.

There are a number of aspects that led to mine. One of these is the impact of scenes from the film Gallipoli. My poem refers to the mud of the western front, so it is not about Gallipoli, but I certainly had in mind the very effective contrast of scenes in that film, and I'm thinking here of the fun of training and playing dead beforehand versus the unbelievable heartlessness, pomposity and cruel stupidity of certain British officers in the closing scenes. And the fact that they still go over the top knowing that they will be cut down by machine gun fire.

It is an important subject and I hope that our respective poetic reflections might make their small contribution to times when human life does seem to be regarded as cheap by those with power and influence. To my mind, this applies to those who encourage people to be suicide bombers as well as elected politicians. Mr Blair stated he was willing to 'pay the blood price' before the Iraq war. Perhaps if he had some experience of the reality of war he would not have been so gung-ho. It's easy to be an armchair general - not so exciting if you're stuck in a trench wondering if the next shell will hit you or when the order will come to go over the top to certain death.

Steve

teifii on 28-02-2006
Tickled To Death
Hi Steve. I finally remembered to click on the link. I think senility is setting in although my memory always was appalling.
Interesting. But it has a typo [The he wagg'd ] not, I suppose, that you are the one to tell. I like the pink notes as it plats but frustrating as I have at present no sound.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Hi Daff,

There are some interesting spellings in the lyrics but that is a representation of how the lyrics were worded at the time. The recording is also contemporaneous - rather crackly and old-fashioned. A shame you can't listen to it. Hope you are able to listen to things soon, and maybe even record some audio yourself! I can imagine you reading one of your lovely doggy poems and then ending it with a woof! If only everyone were half as nice as you then we wouldn't have to write poems about war.

Steve

Transitions on 16-03-2006
Tickled To Death
Important writing here. The move from training ground via playground to killing fields is well done.
perhaps the severing of fleash and the smashin of brains is also needed. There is a move from the surreal to the awesomely real that perhaps needs adding.

Author's Reply:
Hello and many thanks for the comment, and for picking this as a favourite read. Much appreciated, as is the time you've taken to consider this and suggest the inclusion of some type of graphic image of the carnage of WW1. I've been thinking about that and can see that there is certainly a case for it, but I still feel that I would like to keep it as it is: not only because what a poem does not say can be important (and the shocking reality would seem to have come to mind when you read this); but more so because of one of the influences that led to this poem. I have referred to this in a reply to an earlier comment, and it is the impact of some of the scenes in the film 'Gallipoli'. This poem refers, of course, to the Western front, but the stark contrast between the scenes where the young soldiers are training and playing dead in helpless laughter and the end of the film were in mind. Put another way, that moment of realisation that it’s not a game, and the realisation too that it is too late to avoid that gruesome, futile reality - in the poem, I try to express this in the 'and stayed dead too' bit.

Again, many thanks for your appreciation of this poem, and for your suggestion. If you get a moment to click on the link that exists in the 'short description' then I recommend it - that old recording of 'Goodbye-ee' sends shivers down your spine.

Cheers,

Steve

scotch on 07-05-2006
Tickled To Death
thank you pencilcase for sharing this one... i get so angry because it's the good- looking young men and women that die especially in smaller conflicts and innocent locals, like children, chances taken away... and back home teenagers 'skateboard' over memorials and ugly locals breed fast and want to assualt me in the sreet in Blackpool yet the nice ones are paradoxically stuck on a front line somewhere being ordered to fire ..scotch

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the comment, scotch. The poem, of course, is intended to be both a comment on a particular point in history as well as having relevance to today. So it is good to receive feedback that this seems to have come across.

Cheers,

Steve


Ho Lin-wun (posted on: 13-02-06)
The story of Ho Lin-wun, the Chinese golfing phenomenon...

In China, as it used to be, golf was never thought to be a very popular or much admired sport, but all that changed for ever, when he burst upon the scene, I speak, of course, of Ho Lin-wun, the Chinese golf machine. He revolutionised the game and took the world by storm: no-one else came close to emulating Ho Lin's form. His tee shots were remarkable, he'd always find the green, avoiding all the hazards that were peppered in between. Whilst others needed several shots before they'd hit the pin, Ho Lin only whacked it once and bingo! It was in! All the major trophies that a golfer could have won bear the name of China's most prolific golfing son. Ho Lin had the perfect swing, follow-through and movement, it seemed no aspect of his game would really need improvement. He contemplated how to post a score of less than one, but even he was forced to see that this could not be done. He lost his zest for life and became a fading star, (everybody noticed he was looking under par): he lost his fortune gambling; he lost his darling wife; and then he took an overdose and Ho Lin lost his life. The wise man then will understand perfection is a goal: to actually attain it isn't healthy for the soul. We need our dreams to prosper, or else our course is run, so if you think you're perfect, just remember Ho Lin-wun.
Archived comments for Ho Lin-wun
Romany on 13-02-2006
Ho Lin-wun
Excellent little moral and very amusing little ditty! Lots of rhythm too!

Author's Reply:
Yes, I tried to get the 'Confucious, he say' - type moral conclusion! Glad you enjoyed it!

Fore!

pencilface

e-griff on 13-02-2006
Ho Lin-wun
A simple and telling ditty (here I think that IS the right word) G

Author's Reply:
Thank you for the comment, griff. I'm pleased you seem to have enjoyed reading. A simple piece, yes. Inspired by the fact that making a Chinese-sounding name out of an English expression came to me in my sleep! Now that is quite worrying!

A good bit of fun though, I hope.

Thanks for popping in.

Steve

Andrea on 13-02-2006
Ho Lin-wun
Very good, very amusing, very clever 🙂

All that and a moral too!

Author's Reply:
Greetings, your Chief Executiveness!

Thanks for taking a look at this and for taking the time to comment. You can see that I'm becoming quite philosophical as the years advance. Oh, that reminds me...it's on the 27th, in case you forgot. Or should I say in pencilcase you forgot? No, probably not, I agree.

Anyway, thanks for letting me know you enjoyed my little offering.

*strokes wizened beard*

case-of-pencils

red-dragon on 13-02-2006
Ho Lin-wun
LOL, brought a smile to my Monday face! Ann

Author's Reply:
Ann, I was hoping that someone would say that this cheered them up on a Monday. So your comment has cheered me up too!

Ta very much!

Steve

Sunken on 15-02-2006
Ho Lin-wun
I never understood golf (why am I saying that as if I'm dead?) I can't understand why they don't just pick the ball up and put it in the hole by hand? Are they thick or wot? So many questions - such little hands. As a child I once cut a golf ball in half with a hacksaw blade and nearly blinded myself when, what looked like, rubber bands exploded from the f*^king thing! They really should put some kinda warning on them for children who like to destroy stuff?! Anyway, none of this is important right now. Great write Mr. Case. I know that's crap critique. I blame the education system. Attempt a long distance call to a none existent aunt in Australia. Thanks.

s
u
n
k
e
n

taking Morrissey to Disneyland

Author's Reply:
As always, there is great advice and wisdom in your comment, for which, many thanks. Please do not attempt to cut this poem in half. In the light of your comments, I realise I should have issued this warning earlier, but I hope it's not too late. Glad you enjoyed the read. Must go now, I have an important attempted long distance call not make.

case-of-potloods

barenib on 18-02-2006
Ho Lin-wun
Steve - I never realised that you were a secret Chinese golf fan! Just as well, however, as you've got a very amusing ditty (to use e-griff's word) out of it. And of course a fortune cookie type moral. You must write something about wun hung lo, the famous medical curiosity. J.

Author's Reply:
Thank you, John. Yes, this could be the first in a series, but probably not! I can't face writing about wun hung lo since, due to the combination of gravity and the passage of time, this would be a bit too close to home as far as I am concerned.

However, thanks for commenting and pleased to see this gave you some amusement.

Fore!

pencilcourse

narcissa on 19-02-2006
Ho Lin-wun
Brilliant. Perfect. Loved it!
What more can I say? This is wonderful stuff!!
Laura x

Author's Reply:
Brilliant? Perfect? Wonderful? Well, yes Laura, maybe I am - but what about the poem?

I'm pleased you enjoyed it and thanks for letting me know. I'm grateful for your appreciation, but pleased that the poem isn't really perfect. After all, perfection is a goal, to actually attain it...

just look what happened to Ho Lin-wun!

Cheers from the 19th,

case-of-pencils


Didgeridoo You? (posted on: 06-02-06)
I dedicate this poem to Mr and Mrs Dave, who will be leaving these shores in a few short weeks in order to establish the Tasmanian branch of the pencilcase fan club.

I love the sound of the didgeridoo, I think it's a wonderful thing, don't you? Its haunting, lingering, guttural swirl enchants and evokes an ancient world, refreshing the sounds of thousands of years of timeless dreams that resonate through the deep, indigenous didgeridoo. It's hard for me to imagine just who could not like the sound of the didgeridoo, and honestly say that they didgeri-don't fall under the sway of the hypnotic drone that echoes its tales from thousands of years of life in the land of the kangaroo, the kookaburra and cockatoo, in bright-sun yellows and vibrant blues that colour the pitch of the didgeridoo.
Archived comments for Didgeridoo You?
RoyBateman on 07-02-2006
Didgeridoo You?
Liked it - I reckon most people find the didgeridoo amusing (the name alone makes me smile) but it's that bloody Rolf Harris that turns everybody off! I reckon your friends have the right idea - go over there where there's only the old devils to bother about, leaving us stuck with Rolf. Good read that brought a smile to my face - original, too!

Author's Reply:
Roy, thanks for commenting and pleased you mentioned the (ab)originality! I'm sure everyone will wish Mr and Mrs Dave all the best when they leave Hertford and make their way to Mrs Dave's homeland of Tasmania. Did you know she once snogged Ricky Ponting? She's never snogged me though, more's the pity. But I may still have one last chance...

Pleased you enjoyed my didge poem!

Steve


Andrea on 07-02-2006
Didgeridoo You?
I love the didgeridoo, haunting sound, really. I love all those Aborigine words, too...budgerigar, kangaroo, Kookaburra and so on...

Oh, and I like this, too 🙂

Author's Reply:
Andrea, ta for both comments and pleased you enjoyed my little didgeridoo. Thanks for listening too! Well, I did include 'haunting' in the poem. The poem is really just about the didgeridoo, its sound (which is actually quite versatile) and though a simple poem, it is intended to evoke thoughts on an ancient culture of vibrant sounds and colours. It's just what it is and that's that, but...

there was something in me that wanted to write about an expression of humanity in these intolerant times that I can't stomach.

Thank you for commenting,

Steve

Andrea on 07-02-2006
Didgeridoo You?
Ooooh, just listened to it...fab!

Author's Reply:

shedhead on 07-02-2006
Didgeridoo You?
Good stuff pencilcase! I'm sure Mr & Mrs Dave feel quite honoured that you dedicated this fine piece of work to them!

I personally prefer a "Hullabaloo" to a didgeridoo!

Author's Reply:
Ah, yes... HULLABALOO, HULLABALOO, HULLABALOO!

Happy days/nights! Or were they? Not really, but you certainly helped me get through them, Mr Dave! I sometimes come across some of the old gang: JP is as lovely as ever; TG is now a multi-billionaire still dedicated to packing; Mouldy still relies on string and glue; and BB is still putting his troops through their paces!

Anyway, the poem...glad you liked. I do indeed love the sound of the didgeridoo, I think it's a wonderful thing, don't you? Just imagine it at the dead of night, under a southern sky free of light pollution that allows the stars to mesmerise in a glorious display.

My love to Mrs Dave!

And good luck with the pencilcase fan club!

Steve

Jen_Christabel on 07-02-2006
Didgeridoo You?
Great poem, I just loved it :o)
Jennifer x

Author's Reply:
Jen, many thanks for popping in and letting me know you appreciated my little didgeridoo thing. Pleased you enjoyed!

Steve

Dargo77 on 07-02-2006
Didgeridoo You?
Steve, very enjoyable piece to read. I have always been fascinated by that part of the world.
Regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:
Dargo, pleased you found this enjoyable and good to know that the fascination came across. Hope it expressed something of the marvellous sounds and vivid colours as well!

Thanks for commenting,

Steve

Claire on 08-02-2006
Didgeridoo You?
Hey there hun,

I gotta say, this is a catchy wee thing ain't it. Daft but sweet. And it put a smile on my miserable face. A highly enjoyable piece hun.



Author's Reply:
Ta for that, Claire. I'm pleased that my didgeridoings put a smile on your face!

Steve

teifii on 11-02-2006
Didgeridoo You?
Made my day. First time I've smiled in over a week [flu or somesuch]. I'm going to post it if you don't mind to my brother who lives in the land of the digeridoo.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Hello Daffydoo - pleased you like my didgeridoo

You can read it if you like,
you can listen to it too,
or jump between the two,
hop back and forth
like a kangaroo,
post it to your down-under brother if you like,
in fact, I'll be glad
if you didgeridoo...

Steve

e-griff on 11-02-2006
Didgeridoo You?
I'm gonna have friendly go again
(no I'm not picking on you,
and your digeridoo)

,
refreshing the sounds of thousands of years

somehow didn't fit.


and honestly say that they didgeri-don’t
fall under the sway of the hypnotic drone
that echoes its tales from thousands of years

you have a rhyming poem, with rythm. but these lines step completely out of it -- then you repeat 'thousands of years' again.

hmmm . think some tidying up is needed.

Otherwise I enjoyed and appreciated the mood and spirit of the poem (and the sentiment embodied) as I see did others. It may be I'm a bit picky, but hey! - I mean well)

and why ain't it 'blue' ?

Author's Reply:
Hi griff - thanks for reading and commenting.

I really think I like the resonance of 'sounds of thousands' and feel this is enhanced by 'of years', if you pace it slowly, in a kinda lyrical drumbeat way: 'the sounds... of thou...sands of years..'. Yes, I repeated 'thousands of years'. I thought about that and can see that not to repeat might be good, but in my mind it sort of reinforces the underlying sound and the ancient culture it reflects - there's a continuity there and a vitality that allows for shifts and changes in the versatile sound of the didge.

It is a small poem really, but hopefully one that gets through to the mood/spirit/sentiment that you mentioned. I think that the 'un-said' aspect of this is my admiration for a mature culture that offers so much when we are living in such a fast-moving world that has no foundation.

And yes, I saw your comments on the forum thing I started! Interesting to see your contribution regarding race and so on, especially about aboriginals! There were a few considered and sensible offerings to that, but then it seemed to go awry (to the point of "I want me dinner on the table" and "websites for blondes" ) so I didn't respond! I thought I had a valid point there, but it got hi-jacked!

Many thanks for commenting and hope you will take a look at whatever I send in next (and I don't know when or what that will be at the moment!).

Steve


Hazy on 12-02-2006
Didgeridoo You?
Just listened to the audio. My, my. Aren't you the talented one with that didgeridoo at the end! I had no idea... bet the neighbours love you! 😉

Enjoyed your poem, mentalcase 🙂 especially the didgeri-don’t bit! Made me smile.

See ya.

Poorly Hazy x

Author's Reply:
I'm pleased to have brought a smile to your face - especially as you haven't been feeling well. I think I've invented didgeri-therapy. Hope you are feeling better.

The neighbours have complained about my didgeridoo, but I don't care. Jake likes it, anyway (heard him purring recently while I was doing a very echoey wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa).

Thanks for popping in. Take care.

case-of-pencils

e-griff on 12-02-2006
Didgeridoo You?
I got a didgeridoo, too! My family gave it to me two christmases ago. I NEARLY got the circular breathing... but, my, ain't it hard work....

Author's Reply:
Perhaps you should put a picture of your didgeridoo in the forums? On second thoughts...

Circular breathing? Yes. My young female musical friend with the didgeridoo recommended a glass of water and a straw. You have to learn to continue blowing bubbles through the straw while still taking in air. I tried this last Tuesday afternoon and nearly drowned.

Nevertheless, I'm quite pleased to have written something about the didge, since I think it's a great instrument and its sound, as well as its appearance, is so evocative of an ancient culture that I have a sense of respect for.

Steve


If We Make It (posted on: 23-01-06)
More than just a game...

Maybe we'll do better this time, having made it through the qualifiers, through the trials and tribulations and those who would defy us. Stronger now for having greeted triumph and disaster, for coping with both hopes and fears and times when hearts beat faster. We'll need to work at it, work as a team and travel together, hopefully, determined to follow our dream. If we make it through the group stage, show the world we have a chance and have the self-belief to grasp the moment that we hoped would come, withstand potential knockout blows Well then, who knows? Finally, in floods of evening glory, if we make it all the way, then we may yet achieve our goal and carry off, against the odds, the dream we hold today.
Archived comments for If We Make It
tai on 23-01-2006
If We Make It
I really enjoyed this pensilcase, I felt it wandered off the rhythme slightly at the end though. It must be a good feeling, to be part of a winning team. 9 from Tai, a bit of a loner.

Author's Reply:
Hi Tai,

Thanks for the comment and I'm pleased you enjoyed reading it. It is indeed a good feeling to be part of a winning team, but in this offering, as the title and content express, I hope, it is more a question of 'if' - but at least we may travel hopefully. I don't mind too much the detraction from the rhythm at the end, thinking that this might help to bring it to an end. I've uploaded audio for this now and I think it reads okay: maybe someone will be kind enough to make another comment on the way the poem concludes.

I've not thought of you as a bit of a loner before! Mind you, I feel a bit like that myself this week...it must be the time of year.

Thanks again for commenting and best regards,

Steve

Kat on 23-01-2006
If We Make It
I love your analogy! ;o) Enjoyed, Steve... perhaps this is the first in a hat trick?

Kat :o)

Author's Reply:
Well, believe it or not, I first had this idea just after the end of the last one, and with the next one coming up I thought I'd try to address it properly and hope to produce something! Not so much a poem of two halves, but a poem that can be taken each-way, I hope!

Pleased you enjoyed and thanks for comment.

Sven

Dargo77 on 24-01-2006
If We Make It
Steve, with you all the way on this one. Well written.
Regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:
Thanks for that, Dargo. Pleased you found it of interest - ta for letting me know!

Best regards,

Steve

Sunken on 24-01-2006
If We Make It
I was always on the losing team... actually I usually caused the loss. It's more satisfying being a spectator... tho to be honest, I'd rather be a potato. Thanks. I have no idea what I'm going on about. Pastry.

s
u
n
k
e
n

tomorrow they go in

Author's Reply:
I really think I know exactly what you mean. I'm not sure if this is worrying or somehow reassuring. It's dodgy ground: I only wanted a level playing field, but all I got was a potato patch. It's all turned over.

I don't know about pastry, but I think 'someone left a cake out in the rain' is beginning to make sense. Or perhaps it's just the windmills of my mind? Windy Miller? Camberwick Green, I think. Wasn't it?

Good luck for tomorrow and thanks for commenting.

pencil

red-dragon on 24-01-2006
If We Make It
Steve, I admire your optimism - after all, without it, none of us would achieve our goals. I will listen to it as well. Ann

Author's Reply:
Ann - you are very kind. I wouldn't say I'm so optimistic though, after all, it's only 'if' we make it! That said, I suppose the title is less pessimistic than 'We've got absolutely no bloomin' chance whatsoever'.

You are indeed a brave soul to not only listen to this, but also to admit to doing so!

Thanks for popping in,

Steve

barenib on 25-01-2006
If We Make It
Steve, I really hope that Sven reads this and takes it in. Perhaps you could get a Swedish version posted? A clean one that is...
Wigan obviously did read it as they managed to defeat the evil hordes of Woolwich tonight. So, for that reason, I give this a barenib score of 2000... (please add as many zeros as you wish).
Of course, life is stranger than football, and your poem is a good reminder of that too 🙂 John.

Author's Reply:
John,

I have taken your advice and emailed this to Sven, thinking that it might be of some assistance in both his professional and personal life. Actually, I'm considering applying for the position that he is to vacate, probably under the name of Ron pencilcase.

Thanks for reading and commenting - let's hope Sven goes out with a bang.

Steve

scotch on 02-05-2006
If We Make It
hello again i feel your deeply personal poems are better though I'm no expert what about "a river" or "a river of tears" "a tide of tears" joyful ones of course instead of "floods"... best wishes scotch

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the comment, scotch. My use of 'floods' is also meant to be a reference to floodlights. Many thanks for commenting on a couple of my offerings today - much appreciated. Some of my stuff is personal and some is not. This one is a bit of a mixture, so it's interesting that you picked up on it.

Thanks and regards,

Steve


Racked (posted on: 16-01-06)
It's dark

I close my eyes, but there's no sleep, no REMs, no counting sheep, for it's too late for me, I fear. Shallows don't deserve the deep, the comfort of a good night's sleep, too much denied year after year. But what good would denial serve away from daylight's false regards? There is no point in lying here. No diversion, platitude, or other daylight tactic masks what I must face in solitude: no blandishment or lame excuse affords escape from stubborn truth. My little death is more a wake, where morning brings to me, bereft, no real relief: just on-the-surface respite from what's lying underneath. I dare not shut my eyes again, for fear that demons will come back behind the shutters that, at first, appear to be a refuge from the monsters, but projecting on my cycloramic background, black, I know those squatters would return in greens and reds, electric blue, terrifying, flying through the void of anguish that will haunt me till I die, pulling faces, hideous, reminding me they'll make things worse if, for a moment, I should fall, embrace the night: promising that they'll attack and panic me to bolt upright. I would no longer have their nonsense, but there is no help for me sufficient to assuage my conscience, since I know: there's nothing left. And I, condemned to consciousness, will nevermore know any peace that will allow my rest.
Archived comments for Racked
Kat on 16-01-2006
Racked
Hi Steve

I found this very well-written with lots of word play and great imagery. Good work!

Kat :o)

Author's Reply:
Hi Kat,

Thanks for letting me know you found this well-written, etc.

Sleep well!

Steve

Elfstone on 19-01-2006
Racked
Pencilcase, you have welcomed critique, so may I say that I think there is a good poem in there trying to get out? As it stands it 'looks' wayward, too long and a bit straggly. I fiddled around (forgive me I'm a compulsive fiddler!) with the first couple of verses and I think this wants to be in 3 line stanzas. That and a bit of judicious editing and you would have something good here. Regards, Elfstone.

Author's Reply:
Hi Elf,

I'm grateful for your fiddling and critique! I should probably re-visit this at some point and consider changes. However, my intention was such that I am not too sure that I don't want it to appear wayward, or even too long, although to make it less straggly in appearance and make some edits might make it a bit more punchy without undermining the panic/despair/mental anguish that I hoped to convey. On that note, I don't think changing this into 3 line stanzas would suit - in fact it could be that to 'irregularise' it more might be appropriate. I've been in two minds as to if i should record and upload audio for this: on the one hand, I know how I would read it; on the other, I would like it to 'appear' more as how I would read it.

I expect I would like to turn my attention to something different when I next have the time and inclination to write something, but then review this particular effort after I'd given it some distance - I think this poem tries to deal with quite a difficult subject. So, thank you for your having taken the time to think about this and comment. I will bear that in mind.

Thank you for saying that there is a good poem trying to get out. I sort of think that too, but I feel I would need to balance such thoughts with my concept of not wanting this to be so consummate as to dilute the impact that I aimed at.

Hmmm?!

Many thanks again for your comment,

Steve


teifii on 21-01-2006
Racked
My first reaction to this as a lifelong insomniac till I came to live in Wales, was, 'been there'. A lot of it I find very reminiscent of those awful nights and it flows with a pace of its own. I think I am with Elfstone in that it might benefit from a little pruning but I'm not sure if or what. But I do find the last line unnecessary. It seems to me that ''that will allow my rest' just detracts from
And I, condemned to consciousness,
will nevermore
know any peace.

Isn't it unnecessary tautology?
Anyway I certainly reckon it has a future. I tried for years to write a poem on the subject directly but failed. You have beaten me at my own game.
Daff



Author's Reply:
Daff - greetings to you and many thanks for your comment.

Like Elfstone, you have taken the time and thought to consider this poem and the rather difficult subject it seeks to address, so I'm grateful for that. Insomnia is relevant, but it's intended to be more than that - rather more about what lies behind the discomfort. Interesting that you find this flows, but needs to be pruned - I kind of agree with both valid angles. I should re-visit this at some stage. Okay, let's look at the ending...

I would no longer
have their nonsense,
but there is no help for me
sufficient to
assuage my conscience,
since I know:
there’s nothing left.
And I, condemned to consciousness,
will nevermore
know any peace
that will allow my rest.

I take your point about the last line, but...

my intention was to have a resonance between

'there’s nothing left'

and

'allow my rest'

More to the point,

'will nevermore
know any peace
that will allow my rest.'

Is intended to have a Poe-like resonance, but also play on peace/rest. You have taken the time to suggest that the last line is unnecessary, and I can see what you mean, but I was also thinking about not only the flow and resonance, but also, well, trying to get across peace (piece) / rest (whole). That is, there's no part of me that will allow what I'm racked with to allow the wider being, since there is an overriding sense of being consumed with guilt/pain.

I hope this makes some sense! I think it would be worth reviewing this, in order to get across what I wanted to say, But, as i said in the 'short description'...it's dark.

Cheers, Daff,

Steve

Corin on 04-02-2006
Racked
This is the curse of Kings Steve:-

Not all these, laid in bed majestical,
Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave,
Who with a body fill'd and vacant mind
Gets him to rest, cramm'd with distressful bread;
Never sees horrid night, the child of hell,
But, like a lackey, from the rise to set
Sweats in the eye of Phoebus and all night
Sleeps in Elysium; next day after dawn,
Doth rise and help Hyperion to his horse,
And follows so the ever-running year,
With profitable labour, to his grave:
And, but for ceremony, such a wretch,
Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,
Had the fore-hand and vantage of a king.

David


Author's Reply:
David, many thanks for your very interesting comment. I enjoyed reading it.

Regards,

Steve


The Cupboard People (posted on: 06-01-06)
What goes on behind closed doors? Beware The Cupboard People. Not for the fainthearted. Hope to upload audio Friday morning.

The Cupboard People are stirring, disturbing the dead of the night, making strange noises and worming their way through doors that I thought I'd shut tight. They're laughing at me, I know it, I can hear them making their plans, I'm frightened of what they're going to do, but nobody else understands. I've told the police about them and I've written to my MP, but everyone seems to doubt they exist - that's everyone else, except me. I tried to deny them myself, but found that I couldn't ignore the sound of their clogs on a shelf, and how they peep through a crack in the door. Sometimes they're having a party and sometimes they moan and they bawl, even their silence is hardly relief - I don't think they're friendly at all. Maybe I'll settle this business, but dare I confront the unknown? And throw back the door on its hinges? No, it's safer to leave them alone. The Cupboard People are spreading, they're increasingly bolder too, maybe tonight they'll be wending their way to cupboards much closer to you.
Archived comments for The Cupboard People
woodbine on 06-01-2006
The Cupboard People
I'm not coming out of my closet until these nasty cupboard persons are all gone. Lord Pencilcase, your dear grandfather, would have sent for his police whistle and his Webley revolver
and gone in singlefooted to stamp out, or rather hop out, after he shot himself in the foot, all these beastly Narnia parties.
But they broke the mould when dear old HB, as we used to call him, passed over.
Many thanks for the great read.
Dorothy L Woodbine (Slutty to her friends, alas all gawn)

Author's Reply:
John, you are quite right to be wary as far as the C Peeps are concerned. I remember HB with affection, of course. If only he were here now: he'd hop to it, I'm sure.

I've just uploaded the audio to this. I've been working overnight and need a few hours sleep before going back later this afternoon. Thankfully, they usually quieten down during the day. I can still hear them sniggering though. Goodness knows what they're planning. Not looking forward to going back on days the week after next. Did I mention that things have been moved about while I was at work? Oh yes, I'm sure that some of them got out last night.

It's all a bit worrying, really - but thanks for your comment anyway!

Lord pencilcase (currently residing in the attic of pencil Manor)

woodbine on 06-01-2006
The Cupboard People
I'm not coming out of my closet until these nasty cupboard persons are all gone. Lord Pencilcase, your dear grandfather, would have sent for his police whistle and his Webley revolver
and gone in singlefooted to stamp out, or rather hop out, after he shot himself in the foot, all these beastly Narnia parties.
But they broke the mould when dear old HB, as we used to call him, passed over.
Many thanks for the great read.
Dorothy L Woodbine (Slutty to her friends, alas all gawn)

Author's Reply:

Jen_Christabel on 06-01-2006
The Cupboard People
Have you took your meds? They may go away then! LOL
Great little piece
Jen :o)

Author's Reply:
Hi JC,

That's part of the problem. The Cupboard Peeps have colonised my bathroom cabinet, which is where I keep my meds, so I daren't open the door. I think they yomped there from my wardrobe during the night. I'm sure I could hear them firing ropes attached to grappling irons.

Thank goodness I don't work at IKEA.

Thanks for comment,

PC

red-dragon on 06-01-2006
The Cupboard People
Sometimes it's the 'plain daft' ones which are closest to the truth! I swear I have elves living in the food cupboards and gnomes in the frigde, who devour all the decent stuff! Ann

Author's Reply:
I haven't eaten for three days. They're in my kitchen cupboards and the fridge too. I heard them singing some of those old cupboard shanties last night. All is ominously quiet at the moment. Apart from my stomach rumbling.

:o(

Thanks for comment,

pencilcurse

Ginger on 07-01-2006
The Cupboard People
That's great! With some dark illustrations, you could have a fantastic children's book on your hands... strictly bedtime reading of course.
Lisa

Author's Reply:
Thanks for that, Lisa. I don't know if I could bring myself to write a whole book about them though. It was hard enough writing just one poem. I thought it might be therapeutic, but it hasn't helped much. They've got into my drinks cabinet now, and if there's one thing worse than Cupboard People it's drunk Cupboard People.

Must go - think my door's coming off its hinges.

Thanks for comment.

Steve

Sunken on 07-01-2006
The Cupboard People
This would make for a great children's series young Lord Pencil. Oh balls, I just saw Ginger's comment and now it looks as if I'm just plagiarizing. I honestly wasn't, this has legs. Ok, they may be very short legs (-; but legs all the same. Nice one Mr. Case.

s
u
n
k
e
n


Author's Reply:
I think they do have very short legs. At least, the clogs sound small, so I suppose they have correspondingly small feet and, therefore, I assume short legs. This leads me to believe that they have a liking for cricket and Ernie Wise, who used to field in the short fat hairy leg position, as you are no doubt aware.

Thank you for your comment on this very deep piece, your under-the-surfaceness.

Lord pencil


barenib on 09-01-2006
The Cupboard People
Plain daft - but I'm sure there's someone in my fridge...

Author's Reply:
That'll be the Tetley People, John!

Cheers!

Steve

Corin on 10-01-2006
The Cupboard People
Enjoyed this greatly Steve - but have you dealt with sink-pipe monsters yet?

David

Author's Reply:
David,

In a way, I wouldn't mind if such a monster appeared, as long as it was just for a short while - it might persuade the Cupboard People to vacate the cupboard under the sink. I'm fed up with them taking the mickey out of me while I'm washing up, and squirting my 'Mr. Muscle' all over the place. I may have to take drastic action.

Pleased you enjoyed!

Steve

Leila on 11-01-2006
The Cupboard People
Great fun...I'm sure my house speaks to me!...L

Author's Reply:
You too, huh? Hmmm, it's like I said: they're spreading!

Thanks for your empathetic comment.

Steve

Dargo77 on 11-01-2006
The Cupboard People
Steve, a friend of mine had a similar problem... unfortunately, he is dead now.
The Coroner, returned a verdict of death by small stab wounds. Sleep well.
Good piece of fun and well written.
Best regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:
Bloomin' 'eck, Dargo - you certainly know how to cut a man to the quick. Now I'm imagining being tied down like Gulliver in Lilliput.

Sleep well?

Aaargh!

Thanks for comment, anyway!

Steve

Romany on 11-01-2006
The Cupboard People
Great fun, easy to read, trips off the tongue. Try leaving a pair of tatty old shoes out on the dining table - you might find a shiny new pair waiting for you in the morning!

Author's Reply:
I thought this an interesting idea and so gave it a try. I woke up to a pair of flippers. I think they're trying to make me think I've flipped. But they won't break me - I've laid a trail of Marmite.

That should sort them out.

Thanks for your advice.

Steve

narcissa on 12-01-2006
The Cupboard People
Aww they sound so cute 😀 like borrowers only bigger and rowdier!
I believe you, anyway.
What a great, lighthearted, hilarious poem. I really enjoyed this!
Laura x

Author's Reply:
They've spread to the cupboard under the stairs. Goodness knows how they got in there - there's not much room. Anyway, I got home from the nightshift this morning and saw that they had poked out a little note. This is what it said:

"D J P Í † Ì žÑ œ‰ƒ ¿"

I don't really understand Cubby-glyphics, but it appears their attitude is softening. I do hope so.

Glad you enjoyed the poem and thanks for commenting.

Steve

redlobster on 07-02-2006
The Cupboard People
Yes, I do see what you mean!!! It reminded me of when I was young, I used to see people coming out of every nook and cranny as soon as it got dark. reminds me of a song called "the freaks come out at night"

Author's Reply:
"the freaks come out at night" ???

They certainly do where I work! Have to get ready for the night shift now!

At least it means that I will escape the Cupboard People for a few hours.

Thanks for the comment, your lobsterness!

Steve

e-griff on 07-02-2006
The Cupboard People
A good fun read. May I suggest a few small amendments for your consideration:

I’m frightened of what they’re going to do,
and nobody else understands.

- here there is no justification for a 'but' - there is no opposition in the statements. Rather use an 'and', which reinforces your isolation.

I tried to deny them myself,
but found that I couldn’t ignore
the sound of their clogs on a shelf, and how
they peep through a crack in the door.

'I tried to deny them myself' is a bit sticky as literally it means you denied them access to you, but I don't have an immediate suggestion without a big change.

the 'and how they' is rather inelegant. I would suggest:
...... .... and
a small face at the crack in the door

and another one here, just for smooth language and avoiding repetition of 'sometimes'...

Sometimes they are cheerful and noisy,
at others they moan and they bawl,
even their silence is not a relief -
I don’t think they’re friendly at all.


anyway - fun read, as I said..

Author's Reply:
Hi griff - glad you enjoyed! Many thanks for taking the time to comment and make suggestions, all of which I will give due consideration to as soon as work and the Cupboard People allow! At the moment though, wondering about your comment re: the repetition of 'sometimes'. Sometimes (so to speak!) repetition can be clumsy, but at other times (!) it might help to emphasise. Hmmm, I'll contemplate that. Have you listened to it? If you get the time and the inclination to do so then I would be interested to know what you think!

Pleased you found it a fun read!

Steve


Sounds Like Another Year (posted on: 02-01-06)
Revised version of a poem I first submitted to uka exactly two years ago.

Staying at home on New Year's Eve, where echoes of others befuddled my head, just led me to wonder what this would achieve: so I went to the pub instead. But in the crowded cacophony, I could hardly hear myself think and, I'm sorry to say, no apology made sense in this spillage of drink. Somebody tried to bend my ear, I could barely gather a word, I would have explained it was hard to hear, if only I'd made myself heard. No moment for sober reflections, no chance to stand out from the crowd, I drank in the unanswered questions quietly, outwardly loud. Many resorted to shouts and screams, the volume caused total distortion, noise and communication, it seems, are matched - in inverse proportion. So sadly, my cries for a Happy New Year were lost in the dissonant sound, soaked up by the emptying atmosphere they sank in, not waving, but drowned.
Archived comments for Sounds Like Another Year
teifii on 02-01-2006
Sounds Like Another Year
Very apt -- and very well written. Happy New Year to you anyway.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Daff - Happy New Year to you! Pleased you found the poem well-written.

Well, I did go to the pub on New Year's Eve, but I'm pleased to say it was comfortably lively on this occasion!

Look forward to reading more of yours in 2006.

Steve

ShadowChaser on 02-01-2006
Sounds Like Another Year
An excellent piece, I just love the rhythm...fab! Happy 2006 to you and yours :o)

Author's Reply:
Many thanks for your generous comment - and a Happy New Year to you!

Thanks for taking the time to let me know this appealed.

Steve

CVaughan on 03-01-2006
Sounds Like Another Year
A bit late for New Year but nonetheless HNY to you and a thumbs up for this perfect depiction of shared experience as I recall the hubbub of such celebrations. Grand effort I feel and with great phrases - I rate the last 6 lines so highly i must say. Cheers Frank

Author's Reply:
And HNY to you too!

Yes, it can all be too much hubbub (good word). You've obviously been there! This time it was okay though, thankfully.

I commented in the short description that this was a revised piece, and one of the main changes was the ending, so pleased that the conclusion of the poem appealed. Thanks for picking it as a fave. I notice someone has nominated it - if it was you then ta very much!

Best wishes for 2006.

Steve

Bradene on 04-01-2006
Sounds Like Another Year
I liked this Steve, very true to life. I listened to it too and was transported to the cacophony.. Great stuff. A happy new one to you. Love Val x

Author's Reply:
Hi Val - thanks for reading, and listening. I should have recorded it against a background of a noisy pub, I suppose! Anyway, pleased you liked it.

Happy New Year to you,

Steve

Sunken on 04-01-2006
Sounds Like Another Year
For the third year running I stayed home and contemplated vertigo and what U2 would have sung about if such a condition had not existed. Hitchcock too would have had his work cut out for him. Anyway, that's not important right now. I think I actually remember this from the 1st time round. Not bad for a munky whose brain is but the size of a peanut. Where did it all go Pencil... (join me as I look dreamily into middle distance...) By the way, do you look good on the dance floor or what? I've been meaning to ask for a while now. Thanks. Great poem. It put me in mind of Bisto, and that can't be bad.

s
u
n
k
e
n

the world is his bunion

Author's Reply:
I think the answer to your U2/Hitchcock question lies within your comment: both would have called their efforts 'bunion' I believe. I often look dreamily into the middle distance, btw, especially when I'm on the dance floor, or indeed on any floor. I'm a bit of a Travolta on the dance floor - just a shame about the Bisto stains on my white suit.

I think all this means you liked my revised version of this poem, but there are more important things. How are Spurs doing at Man City? Will the penguins take what's left of my sanity during the impending nightshift? Is broadband a good idea for microwaves? And indeed, will bananas catch on at all?

I think that sums it all up.

Happy New Year, and best wishes for a revisionist version of 2005.

Lord pencilcase of pencil Manor

barenib on 05-01-2006
Sounds Like Another Year
Steve, I was there, but no-one sang Auld Lang Syne, so I hurried off and watched the hootenanny instead. Stick with Jools! J.

Author's Reply:
John, yes...I thought I saw you there. Weren't you the one done for running around a roundabout with no tax and insurance?

Glad you have recovered in time to comment on my poem. I'd be interested in your opinion on the last few lines - does it read well to you? My audio emphasises it the way I intended, if there is any doubt. Perhaps I'll remember to ask you back at the scene of the crime on Friday after work.

Thanks for popping in on this one,

Lord pencil of Ponders End

Jolen on 09-01-2006
Sounds Like Another Year
I have to agree, a well written piece of truth. Very nice rhythm and the images are crystal.
Glad to see this was nominated....Happy New year to you and yours.
Blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
And a Happy New Year to you too, Jolen. Many thanks for your kind comments and for your appreciation of this New Year offering.

Best regards,

Steve


RDLarson on 13-01-2006
Sounds Like Another Year
I must say that you've adequately said it all. I have done and said the same thing. Not nearly so well. I mumble something like, "I'm staying home again. The crowd is crazy." This is brilliant. I often feel lonely at a big year end party for some reason as well. Very good.

Author's Reply:
Hi RD - and thanks for commenting on my jolly New Year's poem! Glad you enjoyed reading it.

I sometimes find that when the pressure is on to have a good time because you are supposed to doesn't really work. Unplanned things are often better, or an occasion when expectations are low can turn out to be really enjoyable.

May I be the last to wish you a Happy New Year! (For 2006, I mean - not forever!).

Thanks again,

Steve


A Shortage Of Imagination (posted on: 30-12-05)
It's all getting too much...

Still imbued with the Christmas spirit, I've been reflecting on the end of a tired old year and contemplating the opportunities offered for a fresh start, as we ring in the New. Sadly, my natural optimism has been significantly undermined by the disturbing images I saw on Tuesday 27th December: scenes that really brought home the disparity of wealth on our planet and showed only too clearly that freedom from want remains an intractable problem. I saw those less fortunate than myself waiting impatiently, hungry for supplies - degenerating into a world of not-entirely-natural selection, but where only the strongest, and wiliest, would survive. I saw people who were desperate, people who had not only abandoned the manners and niceties of their local culture, but who seemed to be on the verge of killing each other, the barriers of social control having long since been broken down by the realities of shortage: things were getting ugly. It doesn't take long for human beings to descend into chaos, to ditch consideration of others, to abandon higher levels of belief and philosophy, in short: to revert to species. I saw children being dragged along, their screams a portent of the future, their undoubted but undisciplined energy serving only as an ominous sign of how mankind would not cope in a world of diminishing resources. A world in which hunger, conflict and inequality would not be restricted to their traditional far-away locations, but which would come to haunt the oil-dependent West, as well as the late developers that now demanded their slice of a crumbling cake: a world in which the old notion of North v South might come to have, in some quarters, the nostalgic ring of the university boat race. I feared for them. And I feared for myself too, not being immune from the looking-after-number-one atmosphere that transmitted through the cold winter air. It was chilling. I imagined how one false move, one word out of place, could easily cause an innocent bystander to become the target of the mob's wrath. Although accustomed to keeping my distance, this time I felt more strongly than ever that I ought to do something. But I couldn't take it anymore. More? No, what I yearned for, what I really craved, was less. So I switched off, turned my back on it all and, I admit, I walked away. I glanced over my shoulder though, just as the doors opened at 9AM. Two days. The supermarket had been closed for two days. Supplies were plentiful, but I sensed a severe shortage as I saw a tsunami of consumers surge through everything in its path, desperate for relief, scavenging for kumquats and Bollinger, not wanting to miss out on half-price crackers. I don't suppose my disdain-driven refusal to take part, my forebodings for the future, or even the fact that I have bothered to write this will make very much difference. Still, it might just provide some food for thought. After all, every little helps.
Archived comments for A Shortage Of Imagination
Hazy on 30-12-2005
A Shortage Of Imagination
LOL nice one pencil-sharpener 😉 Have to admit I did see where it was going (had to be Supermarket or Sales) but it didn't detract from the enjoyment! Perhaps it's just 'cos I know your humour. Can hear you reading the words and that element of humour was just echoing round my head (not that it echoes inside my head, although that could be a matter for debate lol).

I do desperately need to go to Sainsbury's but the thought of 'people' being there is all too much. I think I'll order online for next week!

Like your prose as much as your poetry, btw. Very good.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:
'Can hear you reading the words'? Well, that's good, since I uploaded (might be getting a bit technical for you) the audio (sound).

Thanks for letting me know you liked it. This little offering is a bit like me: humorous, but with more serious angles!

Happy shopping! If you can stand it...

pencil
*he shops offline*

red-dragon on 31-12-2005
A Shortage Of Imagination
Steve, it was a scene echoed throughout the land, in supermarkets, shops and garages. I know - I was there...for 6 eggs and some milk.
I expect it'll be the same today. Your story caught the scene so well.

Happy new year to you. Ann

Author's Reply:
Ann, thanks for commenting and a very Happy New Year to you too! You have almost repeated my favourite item in 'shopping lists of the famous,' that is, Sean Connery with: "a packet of cornflakesh and sixsh eggshs."

It does all get too much though, doesn't it? Seriously though, I think that the world is heading for a big change. I understand that oil production is likely to peak in little more than a couple of years. Capitalism doesn't seem to concern itself with the long view, and I don't think there is a plan 'B', so I envisage major breakdowns.

On that note, once again I wish you a Happy New Year!

Steve

MiddleEarthNet on 31-12-2005
A Shortage Of Imagination
Interesting piece. I didn't reqalise you were refering to the January sales until you mentioned supermarkets but even before that the message was good.

By the way, your UKAudio is very quiet (but good).

Author's Reply:
Hiya Middle - thanks for popping in. I had the the sound a bit low when recording but thought it seemed reasonable when I played it back with the sound up so hope it's okay!

Pleased you found it interesting. There is, I hope, an almost-despairing humour in this short piece, but I hope it also touches on important issues, as I've just referred to in another reply.

I read your sporty forum a while back, btw, and was mightily impressed! Good luck with that and everything else in the New Year!

And my regards to Nottingham!

Steve

barenib on 05-01-2006
A Shortage Of Imagination
Steve, people don't seem to realise what you're saying here, with which I totally agree: 'the looking-after-number-one atmosphere' pervades, and does not bode well for this still young century. The more of us that realise the better, we need many more. J.

Author's Reply:
John, thanks for the comment. Well, this piece is intended to raise a smile, which is worthwhile in itself, but humour can be very effective in raising/alluding to serious matters without, I hope, appearing didactic.

I've been interested in reports of low attendance at the sales recently. I think part of this is simply because a lot of people don't have the money, but also that more people are just getting fed up with the avaricious mayhem. This atmosphere will continue to be reflected on a grander scale, I think, as the scramble for diminishing resources continues.

Steve
*despite what he says, he still likes a good bargain*


Winterbottom's Christmas (posted on: 23-12-05)
A modern Christmas tale, featuring a one-armed Christmas Cracker and the agitation of festive molecules...

Maurice Winterbottom surveyed the outside world through his living room window. There was a light snow shower. ''That's nice,'' he thought. ''Seasonal.'' And it made a change, too. His Christmas card on top of the television displayed ruddy-faced Victorians in knee-deep snow, but he couldn't remember the last time it had actually snowed on Christmas Day. Well, it looked like the sun was going to break through at any moment and that would probably be about it, but at least God seemed to be making an effort, which did not seem inappropriate on this of all days, and Maurice was thankful for that at least. Having already enjoyed a special breakfast of boiled eggs with Marmite soldiers, (well, it was Christmas), Maurice was getting ready for the arrival of a female colleague, Faith, and her husband, Richard, whom he had invited for pre-lunch drinks. He knew that they wouldn't stay long and had to get home to their two teenage boys in time to put the sprouts on, but at least it would be nice to have some company for a while. It was already nearly half-past seven, so he thought that he'd better get on with his preparations in time for their expected arrival around eleven-ish. The tree was already looking good, being nicely complemented by the wrapped present that lay at its base. Maurice checked the tag: To Faith and Richard, wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Not the most original Christmas message, perhaps, but a solid one, Maurice felt. Since it was the only present in the Winterbottom household that year, there hadn't really been a need for a tag at all, but still: it was Christmas. He'd bought them a nice bottle of wine that he hoped they might enjoy with their turkey, and a photo album, which he'd considered might be well-received by the family sorts that they were. Pouring a few nuts and crisps into a couple of bowls, Maurice rehearsed his ''oh you shouldn't haves,'' just in case he was to receive a present himself, and looked forward to the arrival of his guests. Maurice's preparations were thrown into potential disarray by the sudden and unexpected ringing of the telephone. He wondered who on earth it was. Surely not a call centre? Not on Christmas Day? Perhaps it was Hope? But he hadn't heard anything from his sister in Australia since before Christmas last year. Still, maybe she'd decided to return his calls at last. After all, it was Christmas. ''Winterbottom.'' ''Oh, hello, that Maurice?'' ''Yes, Maurice speaking.'' ''Oh hello Maurice, it's Faith.'' ''Hello Faith! Merry Christmas!'' ''Oh thank you - same to you.'' ''Well, this is a coincidence. I was just emptying my bag of nuts.'' ''Oh.'' ''Well, you know, just thought you and Richard might like something savoury a little later on.'' ''That's ever so kind of you, Maurice, but the thing is'' ''Not just nuts, you understand. I mean, I wouldn't want to be known as 'Nutty Maurice', would I?'' ''Oh Maurice, you're so funny! But the thing is that we can't make it, I'm afraid. I do hope you haven't gone to too much trouble. Maurice?'' ''Oh dear. What a shame. Erm, I hope there's no problem.'' ''Oh no. It's just the weather. Have you seen it?'' ''Well, I've noticed a couple of flurries.'' ''Ooh, my Dick wouldn't wanna go out in that. I mean, I know it's a 4x4, but it's all the others, innit? And he's already had a glass of sherry. You can't be too careful this time of year - there's police all over the place. After all, it is Christmas.'' ''Well, I tell you what Faith - how about if I came over to you? I don't mind driving. After all - it's only a couple of miles.'' ''Erm, that's ever so good of you Maurice, but I wouldn't want to put you at risk.'' ''Nonsense! I'll take my chance on the road, flurry or not!'' ''Err, no, I mean, it's Robert. You know, our eldest. He's got impetigo. It's highly contagious, you know.'' ''Yes. Yes, I've heard. Well that is a shame. I wish him well, of course.'' ''That's ever so kind of you Maurice, and I'm really sorry to let you down at the last moment.'' ''Oh, don't worry. we can always do it some other time.'' ''Yes, of course. That'd be ever soROBERT! WILL YOU PLEASE KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF THOSE CHIPOLATAS! I'm sorry, Maurice, I think I'd better go. Kids, eh? Ood-avvam?'' ''Well, all the best to you. I hope your chipolatas turn out well.'' ''You're ever so funny Maurice. Thank you for being so understanding - bye.'' The phone went dead just as Maurice was saying goodbye. So that was it. There was to be no company this Christmas - none at all. Oh well. There was still the Birdseye Microwaveable Christmas Feast For One to look forward to. It had all the trimmings, too. And not only that, but a one-armed Christmas Cracker as well. The flattened end was designed such that it could be shut in the microwave door and then pulled by the lone merry-maker as the festive molecules were agitated. There was always the telly. Maurice wondered what would be on later that day. He spent the best part of an hour perusing the listings. Wossy's Kwissmas Kwacka seemed to be the highlight of the evening. It promised an array of celebrities in conversation with Wossy himself, a selection of out-takes of TV personalities who had forgotten their lines, tripped over or done something else equally uncontrollably amusing, and a few foreign TV adverts that might appear unusual to a British-based viewer. Wossy had recently been awarded an OBE for services to the further dumbing-down of society and being obsessively rude, so perhaps it wouldn't be all bad, but somehow Maurice could not convince himself that it was something to look forward to. Failing that, there was Trivitaire. He'd bought the software just the week before - a sort of Christmas present to himself. From the makers of Trivial Pursuit, it had everything the solitary quiz-fiend could wish for. Obviously there were loads of questions in different categories, a dice-thrower to click on and a representation of the Triv board on the screen. But you could also even pick your opponent: 56 year-old professor of literature; economics undergraduate; teenage girl; film buff; bloke down the pub who knows lots about cars and horse racing but not much else. And so it went on. The probability of any individual character getting the right answer was all weighted and written into the software. It sounded like fun. ''That's it,'' thought Maurice, thinking about 'bloke down the pub who knows lots about cars and horse racing but not much else' - I'll go to the pub. They'd be open by now. The walk would do him good. There was sure to be plenty of people there. And it would help him build up an appetite for the Birdseye Microwaveable Christmas Feast For One. He didn't go to the pub very often, but still, it was Christmas, after all. The snow had stopped by the time Maurice set out on his stroll to the pub. In fact, there was hardly any evidence of the 4x4-forbidding onslaught of winter. The playing fields still had a white sheen, but the roads and the pavements had been robbed of all but their man-made colour. It was chilly though, and Maurice enjoyed stepping into the warmth and bustle of the local where he was known by some, but still regarded as an irregular. He wasn't exactly in with the inn crowd. A few of them afforded him a nod of acknowledgment, but did not allow their gaze to dwell so long as to invite conversation. Their body language told him that he wasn't ignored entirely, but he shouldn't expect too much. This was okay on the other fairly rare occasions when Maurice ventured into The Welcome, but it made him feel a bit conspicuous at Christmas. He didn't feel left out in the cold entirely, just sort of shivering in the playground as he prayed that one of the two captains would pick him for their team and thus end the pain and embarrassment of non-selection. Still, he couldn't really expect them all to welcome him with open arms - certainly not the new managers: you needed to spend at least three nights and 40 a week to warrant that sort of human kindness. Nevertheless, it wasn't as if he'd been rejected entirely, the pub was cosy with an open fire, and the Winterbottom cockles began to feel suitably warmed. Maurice noticed a poster, advertising a Christmas raffle. Prizes were to have been donated by the management, suppliers and customers, with the proceeds going to a local hospice. He decided to show willing and take part, but when he asked to buy some tickets, he was told: ''sorry mate, we're just about to draw it.'' Even charity seemed to elude him. Even though he still donated the fiver he would have spent on raffle tickets, thinking that it was a good cause, that it might buy him some kudos amongst the regulars and that, after all, it was Christmas. But nobody seemed to notice Maurice's generous flourish as he dismissed his banknote into the collection. In the end, it just meant that his 1 pints of Winter Warmer cost him a total of 8.75. Having slipped out of The Welcome quietly, in order to avoid the likely embarrassment of an unreturned farewell, Maurice ambled his way back home, his cheeks feeling a little bit more like those depicted on Christmas cards, thanks to the combination of the cold, the heat of the open fire, and the effects of what had turned out to be the rather overpriced Winter Warmer. He was feeling rather down. He kept on reminding himself that there were people far worse off than him, but it wasn't working terribly well. After all, they weren't him. He was him, and he was therefore the only person who could have known how that predicament felt. As he made his way back past the playing fields, he heard a loud miaowing, and spotted a young black cat trotting its way intently in his direction. It threaded its way between and around Maurice's shins and calves, pressed the sides of its little head to Maurice's ankles, kept up the miaowing and generally made it perfectly clear that attention was required. This took Maurice aback - he could actually hear the thing purring even before he bent down to stroke the side of its throat with the back of his forefinger. Maurice soon discovered that the sleek and endearing animal was not content with just a brief greeting. It followed him along the road, criss-crossing his path, looking up at him and making a series of plaintive miaows. Maurice tried to ignore it a few times, for its own good - he thought it might be getting too far away from familiar territory. But whenever Maurice had spent several seconds ignoring it and then took a casual glance over his left shoulder to see that the cat had 'disappeared,' the demanding feline would be there at his right side, trotting along as if to say his decision that they were to be an item was final and that was that. This continued all the way to Maurice's front door, which Maurice felt guilty at slamming with Jake still outside. He'd come to call him Jake. There was no particular reason for that, he just immediately seemed like a Jake. The 'let me in' cries from outside were hard to ignore. And, in a way, Maurice would have liked nothing more than to have let Jake in, but it wouldn't have been fair. Jake would have regarded this as his home, or a second home or whatever. A Jake-spot, at any rate. Jake's complaints at the separation could be heard for quite some time, even through the sound of the microwave and the rather louder-than-expected crack of the one-armed Christmas Cracker. ''Cats are for girls,'' thought Maurice. Occasionally, if one wanted stroking badly enough, then he was willing to acquiesce, but he didn't see one as a permanent fixture. He'd had his shirts clawed once too often. Apart from a rather pallid chipolata, the old Birdseye Microwaveable Christmas Feast For One hadn't turned out too badly. The combination of food, a walk in the fresh air, the Winter Warmer, and a glass of Cockburn's had made Maurice feel sleepy. He fell asleep in the chair, oblivious to the television that he'd just switched on but, funnily enough, dreamt that he was falling asleep on his bed, that he'd let Jake in and had treated him to a festive tin of Kit-e-Kat, and that Jake was licking his front paw at the bottom corner of the bed - just looking up at the falling-asleep Maurice every once in a while to check that everything was still alright. It was dark when Maurice woke up. In fact, it must have been dark for some hours. This hadn't been just a cat-nap, he'd been sound asleep: the ache in his back told him that, even before he turned on the light and took a look at the clock. His dream was interwoven with the events of the day and there was a new sense of urgency about him. Still not properly awake, and with his disorientation magnified by the flickering of the television, Maurice thought ''it's okay, cats can see in the dark - I'll make it up to him.'' The fluorescent striplight in the kitchen was a further assault on his coming-awake senses, but did not deter him from reaching for a tin of red salmon, which he'd bought when they'd been on special offer earlier that year. Before he'd even thought about throwing caution to the wind and reminding himself that it was Christmas, after all, he found himself opening the tin, picking out the bones, separating about half of it on to a saucer, and mashing it up with a couple of forks. He unlocked the back door and stood outside on the patio, a saucer-full of salmon in his right hand. ''Jake - Jay-ake. Miaow - Miaooooow.'' He waited for some minutes, but there was no response. Jake had gone. The only sound to pierce the deafening silence of Christmas night was the distant strains of the television ''And now on BBC1, it's time for Wossy's Kwissmas Kwacka!'' Maurice Winterbottom rushed back inside. Forgetting about his remote control, he yanked the plug out of the socket before the attention-seeking tripehound could bring his Christmas to new depths. The silence wasn't comforting, but at least he felt some relief at having avoided the dissonant cackle that promised to bring amusement to half the nation for the next hour. He leaned over his kitchen worktop, head lowered, right over the untouched salmon that he'd brought back in, the palms of his hands spread flat either side of the saucer. ''There's still Trivitaire,'' he thought, ''I could give that a try.'' Thinking that he'd better shut the back door, he suddenly started to cry. Like a man. His shoulders convulsing uncontrollably. It was almost a new experience for him. He couldn't remember the last time he'd cried, though it must have been before the last time there had been real snow at Christmas. But he couldn't help it, even if it was Christmas. Perhaps especially because it was Christmas, even without ruddy-faced urchins making giant snowballs in knee-deep snow. After all, he was human.
Archived comments for Winterbottom's Christmas
Jolen on 26-12-2005
Winterbottom’s Christmas
Steve,
All I can tell you is that this was an absolute joy to read. I found myself sympathizing with your character and pitying him, as well as loving that he still tried so hard to hold on to the spirit of what he thought Christmas was.

A very intricate and well told tale. I sure hope his next Christmas is glorious.
I hope this years was glorious for you.
blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Hi Jolen, many thanks for your appreciation of Winterbottom. You really seem to have engaged with this - I'm pleased you enjoyed.

My Christmas Day was better than his!

Best wishes for the New Year,

Steve

Sunken on 27-12-2005
Winterbottom’s Christmas
Hiya Mr. Case. I've been meaning to read this for a few days now. I'm just a lazy sod when it comes to longer subs. But then I thought, 'Well, it is xmas?' - so I made the effort and I'm glad I did. I've not seen the word tripehound before in sub. This had great feel to it and i was there with him all the way. Particularly like the one arm Xmas cracker idea - you should patent that. Nice one Pencil of Case fame - or should I say nice 10?

s
u
n
k
e
n

he can't see wine being very popular

Author's Reply:
Greetings, your submersibleness, Mr. Case this end. I wonder if this really is the first time tripehound has appeared on uka? I hope so - I'd be quite proud of that. In fact, that was my aim. The rest of it was a contrivance to build to the point where I could throw in a quick tripehound in a bid to pick up the uka 'first person to use the word tripehound' award. The prize is two tickets to next year's 'Wossy's Kwissmas Kwacka,' which promises to be even better than this year.

Glad to know you thought the effort was worth it!

And I think you're right: I can't see wine being popular either.

Cheers,

Steve

barenib on 27-12-2005
Winterbottom’s Christmas
Steve - there but for the grace of God, as they say...
This is a good mixture of humour and poignancy appropriate for the festive season and does serve to remind us what it's all about and why we don't watch Wossy! Good stuff - John.

Author's Reply:
Hi John - pleased you enjoyed the read. Not the most jolly seasonal offering but, as you say, a mixture that is perhaps appropriate. I enjoyed writing it. I could have ended it in a number of ways, perhaps on a comic note, but I felt that to show the brave-face mask slipping was perhaps the way to go.

Thanks for your comment,

Steve

Hazy on 27-12-2005
Winterbottom’s Christmas
Oh, that's really sad. Very good, but sad.

Maybe sadder that I can relate to some of it. I spent it with my family, as you know. But I did manage to find an empty room on Boxing Day morning and shut myself away watching telly for about 20 odd minutes. I do sometimes feel like an outsider watching other people have fun. I love my own space and am not always in the mood for crowds or being sociable.

Even at my work's Christmas party, I was quite happy having the odd dance but sat down and chatted with a colleague most the night. I'm not good when there's loads of people and I always feel like I have to remind people that I'm there.

I think Maurice is better with just a few close friends. We get to know who our real friends are at this time of year. Not through the presents, etc but by those who make sure you're not planning to spend it alone. Anyone who doesn't ask or who lets you down just ain't worth it.

Just New Year's Eve to get out the way now lol.

10 from me. Really well written. Enjoyed.

Take care, Steve.

Hazy Humbug x

Author's Reply:
So you're happy with an odd dance? What exactly do you do? How odd is it? And I see you've been shutting yourself away, for "20 odd minutes.". Hmmm, what exactly did you do during those odd minutes? How odd were they? It all sounds most odd.

Winterbottom's a bit odd, I suppose, but not really odd - more like the odd one out. Thank you for letting me know you appreciated this effort...I'm grateful for the odd comment.

Yes, just New Year's Eve now, Ms. Humbug. Don't know what I'm doing yet. I expect I'll have the odd drink, one way or the other!

Thanks for popping in Mrs. Hazy. I've noticed today that my Winterbottom has been nibbed (and I didn't feel a thing!). I put it down to the cold weather! Please accept my thanks for commenting and award yourself two pencilpoints.

Must go - think I can hear Jake outside.

pencilcats

RoyBateman on 28-12-2005
Winterbottom’s Christmas
I thoroughly enjoyed this - a wholly believable, bitter-sweet tale. Being a bit of a yahoo, I played a similar theme just for laughs a couple of years back, so it's good to see it done somewhat more subtly. A really good seasonal read!

Author's Reply:
Roy, it's very kind of you to let me know you enjoyed this bitter-sweet seasonal tale. I'm very grateful for your appreciation.

I hope Winterbottom's luck improves in 2006, and I wish you all the best for the New Year too!

Cheers,

Steve

discopants on 29-12-2005
Winterbottom’s Christmas
Nicely written- as you said in one of your comments, Winterbottom might be the odd one out but there's nothing to suggest he's odd himself. Christmas can be a bit of a strange time- everyone preoccupied with visiting/staying with family even if they don't really want to! Roll on New Year's Eve- I think people tend to be with who they want to be with and there's opportunities for those odd ones out to get a New Year's snog if they get their tactics right!

Author's Reply:
Hello Mr. Disco and thank you for the comment.

I'm not sure what Winterbottom's doing on New Year's Eve. He'll probably pop down the pub and find that it's a ticket-only affair and then walk home thinking to himself that it was good to hear other people enjoying themselves and maybe he'd have a small glass of whisky at midnight before going to bed. It's a fair bet he would avoid watching 'Wossy's Hog-Wha-Hey!'

Thanks for letting me know you found this of interest. I may re-visit Winterbottom at a later stage!

Cheers and best wishes for the New Year,

Steve (I'll work on my snog-tactics)


Antiques Roadshow, 2087 (posted on: 19-12-05)
Sadly, I discovered that the last eight lines of the poem I had included in the recently-published uka anthology were missing! Still, it got me thinking...

Michael Asphalt: Well, that's almost it for this week, and indeed, for this series of Antiques Roadshow. But before we wish you a Merry Christmas and a very happy 2088, there's one more item that we'd like to show you. Fittingly enough, earlier this afternoon, here in the Great Hall of pencil Manor, the home, of course, of The pencilcase Foundation, our expert on the history of books 'n stuff, Ann Follarjee, came across a remarkable specimen that had been brought in by Mickey Tayka, a distant relative of the great man himself. *slowly turns gaze towards imagined monitor* Ann: Wow! Mickey: Ya like it then? Ann: Oh yeahwow! Mickey: *tries to suppress a smile* Ann: Gosh, I'mI'm almost lost for words. I mean this is something I've been looking out for, well, for years. It just epitomises those early days of online writing when people still felt the need to see their work, and their name, in 'print'. It's just fantastic. Now, I almost dare not take a look, but - oh my Dear God. It is! It's a first edition! I can't believe it! I simply cannot believe it! Mickey: You alright, Annf? Ann: Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine. Mickey: What's it werf? Ann: As I was saying, or trying to say. Give me a momentthis is absolutely incredible. Amazing. Erm, I wonder if you have a connection with pencilcase? Mickey: Oh yeah, Great Great Uncle pencilcase. I was helping him clear out one of his finely-appointed sheds in the ample grounds of pencil Manor just a couple of weeks ago and what he referred to as ''a book'' came to light. ''You can have that, if you like,'' he said. Typical of him - such a great bloke. Ann: *nods, in fascination* Mickey: You alright? Ann: *still nodding* - Yep. Mickey: Anyroadup - as they used to say back in them days! Ann and surrounding onlookers: *gentle laughter* Mickey: So I ended up with this old book. Just thought I'd bring it along. Ann: I just wish that pencilcase would have been able to join us today. Mickey: Yes, that would have been nice. But you can't have everything. And, in any case, he had a polo match this afternoon. Ann: A remarkable man, hard to believe he's still going. Mickey: Oh, he's a great laugh! Slowing down a bit these days. Still an active member of the scuba diving club though, and still helping others in his now legendary on-line poetry surgery. Ann: Yes. He's amazing. There's not many 127 year-olds who have managed to maintain their zest for life. But coming back to your book, I'm very interested in the 'Voices from the Web' anthology 2005,' not only from the personal touch of his 'come on you Spurs' inscription on the inside back cover, but also because of what the great man went on to be. Mickey: Exactly. Should I have it insured as an individual item? Ann: *turns eyes up from book in a disbelieving way*. You mean it's not insured separately? Well, the fact that it's still in relatively good condition and includes your Great Great Uncle pencil's 'Too Busy' without the last eight lines makes this a highly desirable item. Subsequent reprints sold millions, of course, and there is no rarity there, but thisand with the provenance you've outlined and the lovely handwritten dedication ''To Mickey, all the best, pencil'' (lovely touch, that). Well, given the success that he subsequently achieved and the heights that ukauthors went on to, under the guidance of Dame Andrea Lowne, this really puts your book in a specialised field. Mickey: Right. Ann: Do you have any idea what it's worth? Mickey: Absolutely none. It's the personal connection that makes it valuable. Ann: Of course. Mickey: Money isn't everything, is it? I mean I like the fact that Great Great Uncle pencil has been helping to stabilise our wonky kitchen table for many years already, and I appreciate his poetry, although I've never read much of the stuff that has become so popular and has now even been included in the national syllabus. I'm not really thinking about its monetary value. Ann: *nods approvingly* Mickey: So what's it werf then? Ann: Well, in this condition, with the personal comments, and the knowledge, in hindsight, of what pencilcase and ukauthors went on to achieve, I think you should insure this for at least Mickey: Yes Ann: At least 400,000. Onlookers: *gasp* Mickey: *slowly recovering* Bloomin' 'eck! Ann: not that you'd want to put it up for auction, of course. Mickey: *totally unconvincingly* Perish the thought! How often do these auctions come up then? Ann: Well, an item like this could create its own auction. Mickey: 400,000? Ann: Oh yes, I've no doubt. After all, a copy of uka's first anthology went to an anonymous Japanese telephone bid recently for 75,000 - and there's still a few of those kicking around. But thisthis is something extra special. An erroneous first edition featuring the man who went on to become Poet Laureate, winner of Nobel prizes for peace and literature, and make his international debut in the World Cup-winning England team at the age of 46...it, it just doesn't get better than this. Mickey: Well, thank you Annf. Thanks very much indeed. Ann: Thank you for bringing it in. It's been a pleasure. Tell me, will your Great Great Uncle be home this evening? I'd love to meet him. Mickey: Oh I don't think so, Annf. One of his domestics mentioned somat about a charity event he'd been invited to. Ann: Shame. I understand though. After all, his charity work is well-known, and one of the reasons he became 'Sir pencilcase.' Mickey: Indeedy-doody. Michael Asphalt: Well, we couldn't have finished the series on a better note, I'm sure you'll agree! So from me, and from all the Roadshow team, it's goodbye from pencil Manor and we look forward to seeing you all again next year. Goodbye, and a very merry Christmas!
Archived comments for Antiques Roadshow, 2087
Hazy on 19-12-2005
Antiques Roadshow, 2087

*applauds wildly*

Bloody brilliant young pillowcase. Had me giggling all the way through. Love the "Dame Andrea Lowne" reference. Classic. And, of course, the "and make his international debut in the World Cup-winning England team at the age of 46" line (mind you, you've not got long 'til then ;)).

Has your humour and personality splashed all over it in a Jackson Pollock kinda way. Actually, I dunno what made me say that, it just sounded kinda cool and creative LOL. I'm talking bollox. It's early. I need another cuppa. I'll get me coat...

Anyway, a fave for me! Congrats on the nibby. Much deserved.

Hazyfantazie x

Author's Reply:
*nods vigorously in the knowledge that wild applause is justified*

Ha-ha! Very pleased you enjoyed reading this. I had a laugh writing it and it is gratifying to know that a humorous piece has proved to be giggle-worthy. It's when people laugh at my serious stuff that I get pissed off: that hits me like a kick in the Jacksons.

You have been very generous in your comment and in selecting this as a hot-fave-read-thingy. Thank you.

I am now in serious training in my bid to make it into the England World Cup squad. I'm being very careful to smoke only filtered cigarettes, am putting ice cubes in the whisky and am down to just 26 kebabs a week. Me an' Rooney'll show 'em.

And so, from the grounds of pencil Manor, it's time to say goodbye and get some kip! Thank you again - better clean me pegs and get to bed!

dentalpaste

Kat on 19-12-2005
Antiques Roadshow, 2087
Hi Steve

What a fantastic write and I can only add to Hazy's enthusiastic comments.

I'll stop moaning about the duff author bio I included now!

Kat :o)

Author's Reply:
Kat - I'm glad you enjoyed reading this. Thanks for the feedback. I might drop by during the World Cup. Sven's been on the blower, asking how my strict training schedule is going. I won't let the side down: you can be sure of that. And you know why? Because I won't get in it.

I might make an interesting sub on uka from time to time though. Sorry, I'm starting to make football references that you wouldn't understand, being a girl.

You are always welcome at pencil Manor.

Auf wiederklicken,

Bleistift

AnthonyEvans on 19-12-2005
Antiques Roadshow, 2087
great stuff, steve, very funny. merry xmas, anthony.

Author's Reply:
Anthony, you are a great member. Err, I mean, you are one of the welcome stalwarts of the site, so if you found this very funny then I am most grateful for your having let me know. I enjoyed writing it - the thing about somat like that is the more you ham it up the better! Very pleased you enjoyed!

And, from pencil Manor, a very merry Christmas to you!

Best wishes,

Steve

shackleton on 20-12-2005
Antiques Roadshow, 2087
Hilarious, Steve. Innovative stuff! Seasonal felicitations.

Author's Reply:
Thank you very much! I'm pleased this brought you some hilarity. It's a start - I hope to work my way up to mountainarity in due course.

And many seasonal greetings to your goodself, too.

I see that someone has nominated this. It might have been you. It might have been someone else. In fact, it was definitely either you or someone else. It wasn't me: I tried to yesterday on 38 separate occasions but the system wouldn't allow me. Well, whoever it was, thanks for that.

Thanks for letting me know this brought you some amusement.

Steve

woodbine on 26-12-2005
Antiques Roadshow, 2087
Hi Steve,
Quite the funniest and cheekiest read I've read in ages. I did think in view of Pencilcase's achievements King Harry was a bit stingy dishing out a knightood after his dazzling jink round a packed goal in the dying seconds of the World Cup final. But I don't think Harry's ever really grasped football.
A Fav' from me too and something to look out for in the next anthology.
John

Author's Reply:
Hello John - many thanks for commenting and picking this as a favourite cheeky read! Good to know you found this amusing.

I'm typing this reply as I sit in front of the huge fireplace in pencil Manor's Great Hall. In the true spirit of Christmas, I've decided to give the servants the rest of the day off, having selflessly informed them not to worry about clearing away the things from this evening's Boxing Day Banquet. They can catch up on that tomorrow.

Best wishes as I study the effects of the open fire as it flickers through a kaleidoscope of malt whisky held in fine-cut lead crystal. Or should that be half-cut?

Cheers,

Steve

Jolen on 26-12-2005
Antiques Roadshow, 2087
I heartily agree, this is a fantastically fun and funny piece of writing... Too much fun.
I sure appreciated this 'Sir Pencilcase' the Pencil mannor sounds splendid.

Blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Jolen, it's always nice to hear from the colonies. Thank you. I'm pleased this brought you some amusement.

pencil Manor is indeed a splendid place. It costs a fortune to heat at this time of year, but I say 'damn the expense' and let's throw another log on the fire. It being St.Stephen's Day, I've found myself in a Good King Wenceslas sort of mood, and have been watching through the window as an army of servants have been following my instructions and gathering winter fuel for several hours. I'm hoping that the survivors will be sufficiently thawed out in a few days so that they can go on their merry way again and replenish stocks for the emormous fireplace I'm sitting in front of right now. This time of year gives me such a warm glow.

Very best wishes from pencil Manor,

Sir pencilcase

reckless on 26-10-2006
Antiques Roadshow, 2087
Great to read, inventive, funny and entertaining. Glad I got around to finding it eventually!

Author's Reply:
Well, your recklessness - many thanks for popping in on this! It's always nice to see a comment on something that was posted a while back!

Pleased to see you got some enjoyment from this effort!

Best regards,

Steve



Any Colour You Like (posted on: 09-12-05)
*Now with added audio!* Aye thang yow...

Behind the locked security doors, in a world of his own in the company stores, old Harry reduced his storemen to fits as they trundled the aisles, picking their kits. Whenever the visitors' bell would ring, then Harry would suddenly start to sing, ''Knock, Knock, Who's There?'' Or another old song, or he just made it up as he went along. ''Any colour you like as long as it's blue'' said Aitch, just after a ''Howdy-doo?'' And often, as visitors turned to go, they'd leave to the strains of his ''Aye thang yow''. Little ran deep in this backwater stores, with its card-key entry security doors, and the people who, seemingly, sold their soul for the sake of their self and stock control. ''It'll be Christmas before you know it,'' said Harry, reviewing the annual budget. The days passed slowly, the years in a flash: Aitch saw them go by through his serving hatch.
Archived comments for Any Colour You Like
CVaughan on 09-12-2005
Any Colour You Like
This is so well described your main character came to life for me, a life and soul of the company type such as Harry we all will likely encounter through work. Beavering away at perhaps mundane tasks I have known similar gents/ladies more interesting to meet with and have conversation with IMO than grandees and execs.who might ignore the humble operative. CV (Frank)

Author's Reply:
Frank,

Thanks for your appreciation of the poem.You make some interesting and valid points, although my intention was rather more inclined towards depicting Aitch as a small-minded individual, stuck in his ways and with irritating and predictable habits! It's possible I might have got that across more successfully in the recording. Anyway, your comment is valid and it's good to have different interpretations. After all, it's Any Colour You Like.

Many thanks, and regards,

Steve

teifii on 10-12-2005
Any Colour You Like
A perfect cameo. Another success in my book.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Daff - glad you liked my cameo!

Thanks very much for popping in!

Cheers,

Steve


sirat on 28-12-2005
Any Colour You Like
As you know, I don't "do" poetry but I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this one. I could really see Harry and hear him singing his silly songs. I also loved the line: "The days passed slowly, the years in a flash". That is real craftsmanship (and so embarrassingly true!). Many thanks for this fine offering.

Author's Reply:
Hi David, thanks very much for your very welcome comment. Pleased to see that you enjoyed this one!

Aye thang yow,

Steve


The Interview (posted on: 02-12-05)
All about an interview. Audio has followed!.

It's not easy to find a new position. I'd given careful thought to my 'cv'. I mean, there's no point in lying - I really believe that - but you have to get real. You have to accentuate the positive, dress things up a bit: make yourself sound like a candidate. So I did. I applied myself. I got my act together. I sent out some feelers. I networked. I realised that, at my age, it wouldn't be easy. But I also realised that paying too much attention to age would not be wise. I am what I am. If age should be a barrier, then that's for others to decide: not my problem Anyway, after weeks of living in a vacuum, where no-one gave me any feedback or even acknowledged my existence with the courtesy of a response, an opportunity came along. It came via an agency. Now, I know that agencies are notorious for not matching like with like and that they just want to 'earn' their dosh and have a few success stories to publicise, but still, it was a chance. So I gave some thought to preparation. Where I was going and how to get there, what to wear, what to say, what to take with me and so on. I realised straightaway that I should not wear a tie. That would only underline my age and awkwardness. Ties were definitely out. Smart casual would be better. Not too casual though. It's difficult these days. Unless you are bang-up-to-the-minute, it's all too easy to appear out of sync with the shifting subtleties of current trends. At the same time, I didn't want to give the impression that I was desperately trying to follow the latest fashions in a vain attempt to regain lost youth. Okay, ties were out, but so were jeans, Pringle sweaters, suits, too-smart jackets, formal shoes, trainers, Argyle socks, over-patterned shirts, t-shirts (veering a little too much towards the casual), corduroys, chinos Well, it was easy to decide what not to wear. In the end, I settled on beige cotton/polyester trousers, a blue (non-blazer, smart but not-too-formal-looking) jacket, open-necked shirt and comfy brown shoes that, I felt, didn't look as if I were going to a wedding, but still showed I had made a bit of an effort. The logistics were not a problem. As long as I gave myself sufficient time, got there slightly early and so on. I was okay with that. I kept reminding myself that this was to be a two-way encounter, rehearsing probing little questions that I could ask, but which would not appear impolite or too intrusive. And I prepared myself for those facile 'what would you say is your weakness'-type enquiries that seem to be obligatory these days. Of course, they don't want to know about a real weakness: they want to know about a trait which is actually a strength for the role they have in mind, or they want to hear that you're doing something about an uncontroversial weakness that is not really a weakness at all: to counter stress, you've taken up yoga; you're attending evening classes in something or other; you're taking positive action to achieve a healthy work/life balance. When I got there, I remembered to make eye-to-eye contact, smile, and make sure that the handshake was non-limp, strong, and yet not bone-crushing. First impressions are important. That said, I couldn't help feeling that my interviewer had not taken too much trouble over her appearance, and indeed that her whole approach was rather perfunctory. Being the self-deprecating person that I am, I immediately thought that I'd done something wrong, that I was over-dressed, too keen, showing signs of disinterest, I hadn't wiped my nose properly or something. I really should get over this habit of apologising to someone who treads on my toes, but it's hard to change the habit of a lifetime. So there I was, desperately trying to engage and make the most of this opportunity. It was a struggle. She seemed distant: there was a vacancy about her. I suppose I was just another candidate, and I rapidly got the impression she had already made up her mind about me and my lack of suitability for the role she was trying to fill. She had her criteria and they were non-negotiable, I felt. I felt an imbalance of onus weighing down on me: I had to be well-adjusted; creative; assured, yet open to new ideas; share her opinions in a way which still suggested an independence of mind. Part of me wanted to walk out there and then, but I reminded myself that this was important, so I clung to the task like a man in a sea of you-know-the-outcome-of-this-already. Not waving but drowning, I gasped in a little oxygen when she asked me what I would describe as my weakness. Suddenly, I felt quite pleased with myself. I knew they always came up with that one, and I'd prepared for it. The only problem was, I think she realised that, and she followed it up with a tightening of the interrogation that I had not expected. ''If you were an animal, what would you be?'' ''Where do you see yourself in five years' time?'' ''Tell me ten things you want to do before you die.'' I tried to answer, but knew I was just stumbling. It was too much for me, and I had the distinct feeling that I didn't want to pursue this particular opening anyway. I mean, it was hard work already, even though I still had the feeling that I should somehow try to satisfy her agenda, even though I knew it was hopeless. It was like, well, it was like the worst job interview I'd ever been to. And, to be frank, I got the distinct impression that this wouldn't be the right company for me. She went through the rest of the motions, thanked me for my time and my interest, told me that she had seen others already and had further appointments, and wished me good luck. We shook goodbye and I maintained a show of interest before I finally left her and breathed an enormous sigh of relief. I jumped into a taxi and, responding to the obvious question, for the first time in my life, said: ''just drive.'' I suppose it's all experience, but what this particular experience told me was that I might very well be better off staying freelance. To be honest, that fucking dating agency was beginning to get right on my tits.
Archived comments for The Interview
glennie on 02-12-2005
The Interview
Ha! Ha! I didn't see that coming. Not based on the truth, I hope. Glen.

Author's Reply:
Glen - thanks for the comment. Pleased to see it brought some amusement! Although classed as Fiction, I'm afraid there are several elements that are based on experience, one way or another!

Thanks again for the comment,


Steve

Hazy on 05-12-2005
The Interview
Oh, pencilcrate, this was very funny. Tickled me 🙂 Loved the ending.

Enjoyed muchly :p

Hazy x

Author's Reply:
Hazy, glad you found this of a tickling nature. Many a true word!...

I was just about to read your 'None Farty' - so your comment has delayed me somewhat.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

pantylace

Jen_Christabel on 05-12-2005
The Interview
What a fantastic twist!
LOL LOL LOL and even more LOL
Jen :o)

Author's Reply:
Jen, that's lots of LOLs! Glad you enjoyed - thanks for letting me know.

Cheers,

Steve

Lare on 17-12-2005
The Interview
Hi P C...whoa...this cuts right to the chase...there was a period, shortly after I got married, when I was unemployed. I joined a professional group of unemployed people that totaly focused on preparing you to get your next job. They covered the whole 9 yards...from resume to practice interviews. Your piece here covered all the feelings I encountered when I was looking for a job. You have written, IMHO, the Bible of what it's like going to the job interview. This is very well written with all the real life experiences that go with it. No less than a 10. Well done, P C...well done...

Just me, Lare

Author's Reply:
Hi - and thanks for the comment and generous rating! I'm pleased you enjoyed it and grateful for your having taken the time to let me know your thoughts.

Regards,

pencilsteve

neotom on 31-12-2006
The Interview
An excellent tale of the unexpected. Quite brilliant.

Tom

Author's Reply:
Hi Tom - thanks for picking up on the pencilcase account. It's over a year since I posted this, so it's nice to receive a comment out of the blue! If it was you who nominated this piece then thank you! In any event, your comment has reminded me of the sheer relief that can come from getting away from a duff situation!

I wish you a Happy New Year and thank you for your interest,

Steve


Best Remembered (posted on: 28-11-05)
A Poem about the boy from Belfast

Rather like the man himself, the tributes have been rich and flowing, pouring in from left and right, cutting inside, leaving us bemused defenders dummied, left for dead and stranded, looking back in wonder at how the man has gone and at his public private life and yes: where did it all go wrong? A new model, he defied marking, swerved off the bandwagon, having had rather too much, too soon. He winged his way into our hearts, jumping with talent, but we saw, admittedly, a selfish player lose his balance and the sight of just what he was heading for. Now, at least, those left behind can mark his passing, remembering the skill that will never be forgotten, his humour, and the curse of being too good-looking. So even though his time has come before the final whistle's gone, one thing's sure, without a doubt, although we know he had his flaws: there'll be no substitute for George.
Archived comments for Best Remembered
Slovitt on 28-11-2005
Best Remembered
Steve: A good poem that reads at a fast-clip and makes good use of futbol language. I've done some reading on Best and he seems to have been that romantic, and doomed figure that the public loves to love, and would hate to be. Swep

Author's Reply:
Thanks, Swep. I'm pleased you read this and also interested to see that you have read about George Best.

Best regards,

Steve

barenib on 28-11-2005
Best Remembered
Steve, a nice tribute to the man. I like the line about the curse of being too good looking. If he'd looked like Nobby Stiles, he might not have got into so much trouble! J.

Author's Reply:
Thank you, John. I hope it is a fitting tribute, one that weaves through the various aspects of his life and character as he wove through defenders in years gone by. Well, perhaps not quite.

Interesting you mention Nobby. Yesterday evening, when I added the words you refer to, I thought of making that exact contrast in the poem, even considering linking that to a reference to the humour of the man by including a rhyme of Stiles/smiles. I decided against it though, because I thought it would risk being too comic and would have probably diverted attention from the whole. But I had exactly the same thought as you! I also considered that this should be 'just' about George. And then...I also remembered that Nobby too had his problems after his playing days - the quite common psychological problems that people face when their life seems to have peaked by the age of about 30.

Many thanks for the comment.

Steve

Kat on 28-11-2005
Best Remembered
Hi Steve

This is so well-written and a super tribute poem for George.

Kat :o)

Author's Reply:
Kat - thanks very much. Pleased you think it a well-written tribute. I've recorded it this afternoon, so you can have a listen, if you like.

Steve

blackdove on 28-11-2005
Best Remembered
Hi Steve,
Yes, he was a very handsome man and even to the last, the Irish twinkle never left his eyes.
I remember my oldest sister having the biggest crush on him, he just had that effect on woman, on everybody.
I think a lot like Elvis - there was no malice.
It's strange through all his faults, the booze, the women, the fights, there doesn't seem to be a bad word for him.
You manage to catch the essence of that.
No hurt was ever intended and the person suffering most was himself.
No I don't think there will be another Georgie.
A fitting tribute.
Jem x

Author's Reply:
Jem, I'm very grateful for your considered comment and am pleased to see you think I've caught 'the essence' in a 'fitting tribute'. He certainly had his faults: don't we all? And I hope I didn't ignore this in the poem.

One thing about your comment I have to disagree with (unfortunately) is that 'there doesn't seem to be a bad word for him'. Well, he deserves criticism in some respects and I feel sure he would admit to that. But I say again, don't we all? I'm thinking of some comments I have heard in the last 5 or 6 days from younger people who have no memory of George other than what he became. I don't mean 'all' younger folks, but I have heard 'good riddance' kinda comments that make me despair about a lack of compassion and imagination.

Thanks again for engaging with this poem - better go now!

Steve

littleditty on 30-11-2005
Best Remembered
Love football -bit young to have watched and admired George though - but i can admire your poem - a finely woven footy tribute to a man who made an impression on many - there was a fondness for him which you have captured in your poem - - i liked it xxxlittleditty x

Author's Reply:
ld - I very much appreciate your considered comment on this poem. 'A finely woven footy tribute' is a great compliment. The language I've used, I hope, can often be taken in 2 or 3 ways. I hope this assists in not ignoring the negative aspects of an enigmatic and charismatic character, for whom, as you say, there was a fondness. So, if I have 'captured' some of that, then I'm pleased.

Thanks again for your comment.

Steve

tai on 04-12-2005
Best Remembered
Good honest tribute to another lost soul! Bloody good footballer and very good looking womaniser too.

10 from Tai

Nice work steve.

Author's Reply:
Hi Tai! Thanks for your comment and very generous rating. Glad you found it an honest tribute.

Much appreciated,

Steve

Lare on 10-12-2005
Best Remembered
Hi Steve...you must have been in one of those glorious inspirational moments...this is packed with lessons in sub thoughts...I like how you use your wording very carefully to give precise intent to what you want read and understood..."we saw,
admittedly, a selfish player
lose his balance
and the sight
of just what he was heading for"...like observing from a third dimension...this is very good...very good...

Just me, Lare

Author's Reply:
Lare - thanks for commenting. I'm grateful for your appreciation. I thought about writing a poem on George during the evening of the Friday on which he died. I started it then, completed it Saturday and revised it on the Sunday before posting it on uka on the same day. So it was something of an inspirational moment and it wasn't as if I had to think hard about 'what' to write, but rather how to try to put it across. I'm pleased you liked the 'observational' angle. I didn't want to be judgmental, but neither did I want to ignore the negative.

Thanks for letting me know your thoughts.

Steve


SOME OTHER TIME (posted on: 21-11-05)
A story arising from visits to the gym

Ever since I first went there, the place seemed full of contradiction. Take those plastic wicker baskets, for example. It seemed strange that anybody would think of making such things. Arranged on the top shelf of the self-service unit, they held cutlery rolled in serviettes, sachets of various sauces, plastic teaspoons and so on. Their intrinsic irony was emphasised further by the framed old photographs of farmland, which hung on the wall behind. It was as if the cafe were trying to present itself as an old-fashioned farmhouse country kitchen. Whilst this was not inappropriate in a sense, given the history of the site on which it stood, references to a bygone age contrasted awkwardly with the modern materials, equipment and food preparation techniques which were employed in the sports centre eatery. "Wicksy's" was part of The Wickes Sports Centre, which had been built on the site of farmland bequeathed for that purpose. Old farmer Cropper died about ten years ago, and since then, thanks in part to lottery grants and a lenient interpretation of planning guidelines by the local council, the centre had expanded to offer a wide range of activities to local people. The modern buildings and facilities were fronted by a roomy and subtly-lit reception area and behind it all was a running track and outdoor all-weather surface courts. I've always admired the way it tries to cater for all ages, from Tumble Tots to Old Time Dancing, as well as most of the more vigorous pursuits enjoyed during the years between attendance of these two extremes. Every now and again, the sound of an electronic dong-ding-dong would pierce the air, followed immediately by a microphoned address from reception, usually making a 'staff announcement', or advising users that the latest hourly changeover had arrived. I've been going there for a while now. Not that I was thinking about breaking any records. No, my attendance was inspired more by the need for therapy rather than the consequence of a burning desire to attain sporting excellence. Years of football had resulted in cartilage problems and, following a course of physiotherapy, I was advised to join a gym and build up the muscle around my joints. It took a few trips to get used to things, but after a while I started to enjoy it. I even started to feel stronger - and this kind of amused me. "Wicksy's" then, was really handy for me. It meant I could go to the gym after work a couple of times in the week, maintain my now-less-crumbling physique, enjoy a refreshing shower and then eat in the cafe. So, by the time I got home I would be exercised, clean, fed, watered and reinvigorated. I'd been following this loose routine for nearly a couple of months when, one evening towards the end of August, something happened that made me start to think about the place in a completely different light. It had been a warm day. I remember driving towards my appointment with the leg-curl apparatus with the window down, and how I was feeling frustrated at being stuck behind a farm vehicle loaded with hay - bits of it swirling into my car and many more fragments flying off the bales and shooting off on impact against my bonnet or windscreen. Arriving a little later than intended, I went through my exercises with less enthusiasm than usual. This was understandable in one sense: I'd been at work all day, I was hot and bothered - not to say a little tired. In another sense though, it was ridiculous: it was as if I wasn't going to give it my all as a protest at being made late by that agricultural and lumbering mechanical giant, hogging the road just because it was the end of harvest time. This seems to be how the human mind works sometimes, maybe especially so when it's been a hot day. Whatever the shortcomings of that particular session, the shower was brilliant. Sitting half-dried on the bench in the changing room, I allowed myself to exhale a small sigh of relief and give my body the chance to cool. After a few seconds, the shower room echoed to another dong-ding-dong, which heralded the announcement of "eight o'clock changeover". My peace slightly disturbed, I resolved to keep my eyes shut for a little longer, so as not to spoil the relaxation of the moment. But this repose was shattered when I heard a young female voice. "Hear me", it said, "please, listen". In astonishment, I opened my eyes and instinctively looked to see if my towel was still positioned in a way which would at least limit any embarrassment. Initially, I felt relieved that there seemed to be no female interloper after all, indeed there was still nobody there at all apart from myself - just as it had been when I creaked through the changing room door a few minutes earlier. This relief was followed rapidly by a feeling of incredulity. I had definitely heard a voice. Absolutely definitely. But then, all of a sudden, the door was thrust open and in trooped several five-a-side footballers, having trudged back from the outside courts on hearing the recent changeover announcement. The intrusive noise gave me a further start for an instant, but immediately the atmosphere was all post-football, pre-shower-and-pub banter and laughter. Quietly, I finished drying myself and then went upstairs to "Wicksy's" for a bite to eat and a moment of reflection. You may understand my shock. I am not in the habit of hearing imaginary voices. As I queued at the counter, I tried to dismiss the event as 'one of those things' that could happen. But it wouldn't work. I'd heard that voice as clearly as I could hear the old folks' music from the dance floor just behind "Wicksy's". And as the jaunty tone of Ain't She Sweet sounded through the waft of jacket potatoes and the clatter of cutlery being unloaded from a dishwasher, my mind began to ask awkward questions. You could hear a few of the dancers joining in with the music, adding their own soft renditions of the lyrics: well, I ask you very con-fee-den-shally, ain't she sweet. I realised that I was going to have to keep my experience that evening con-fee-den-shall, or risk being regarded as someone who claims to have seen a flying saucer, or even amateur-diagnosed as schizophrenic. No, I was going to have to keep this to myself for a while, but I knew I couldn't just shrug off the incident in my own mind. Eating only slowly and wondering how on Earth I could arrive at a satisfactory explanation, I began to ponder the history of the old farmland on which the sports centre had been built. How did it get the name of Wickes? I knew that the land had been owned and farmed by the Cropper family for two or three generations - maybe there had been a Farmer Wickes in the past? Resolving to find out more, I began by studying a map in reception. It was one of those reproduced old-fashioned maps of the county, copied from an eighteenth-century original. The sort of thing that you often find in old-fashioned inns, or pubs that like to think of themselves as old-fashioned inns. It was, in itself, another decorative irony. Hanging, as it did, amongst several bright watercolours of local scenes, such forged antiquity seemed a little out of place. The old-style writing was difficult to follow, but I soon found the area which was destined to become a sports centre in the dim and distant future. Hoping to find some sort of reference to Wickes, I was surprised to see the spot marked as Wicked Fields. I announced my discovery to the receptionist, who put me straight in the way that only receptionists can, assuring that it had been noticed before and that it must have been a mistake when the old map was made. Asserting that it should have been marked as Wickes Fields, she was unable to offer any information on who Wickes had been, or if there was any other reason for the name. Anyway, the area had been called Wickes Fields for years and everybody knew it as such, so that was that. Why else would they have called it The Wickes Sports Centre? Thus corrected, I went home and continued as usual, with no sense of fear or worry about my strange experience, but with a determination to pursue the matter. After all, I had heard a voice which was pleading to be listened to, and I had the feeling that there was more to tell. Happily, the absence of anxiety allowed me a restful night and I remember feeling particularly bright and breezy at work the next day. I seemed to be full of energy and exceptionally alert. People noticed. It was against this background of heightened consciousness that I had a flash of inspiration - or maybe it had me. I'd just sent an e-mail, when my glance turned downwards towards the keyboard on my desk. My gaze was drawn to the left-hand side, focusing for a few moments on a small area above right of the 'shift' key. 'S', I realised, sat next to 'D'. It would be easy to get them mixed up. Wickes could all too readily become Wicked, for example. But it was far more likely, I theorised, that Wicked may have been corrupted into Wickes. That had to be it. The advent of the typewriter would have provided opportunities for typographical errors to occur. Perhaps this had happened on an important document, which in turn had been picked up by a cartographer and Wicked Fields became Wickes Fields in public records. Significant industrial expansion and urban development occurred in the late nineteenth-century in the previously sparsely-populated area around Wicked Fields. Those who migrated to the area, with no previous knowledge of the locality, would have had no reason to question that the remaining farmland just outside of the expanded town was known as Wickes Fields. That evening, I went to the local library to see if I could find anything to support my hypothesis. I found accounts stretching back to more than 100 years ago, when the area in question was clearly referred to as Wickes. Interestingly though, I unearthed a map which post-dated the reproduction displayed in the sports centre. Dated 1839, most of the area to the north-east of the town was still rural, with the current districts of Queen's Hill and Barley Meadow still to be developed. The important point was that, on this map, the farmland under investigation was named as Wicked Fields. My theory was gaining strength, but I needed to find out more. Firstly, I was interested to obtain more details concerning exactly when the erroneous transposition happened. However, this was not really so important now. It was clear that the land on which the sports centre stood was called Wickes Fields in error. There never had been a Farmer Wickes, or a Squire Wickes, or even a Wickes Brook which had ceased to be a topographical feature as a consequence of drainage. What I really needed to research now was something more fundamental: what had caused the area to be christened 'wicked'? I went back to the library on Saturday morning. Finding a couple of books on local history, I sat down at one of the desks in the reading area. The first had been published relatively recently, but before the development of the sports centre. It was a good read, with plenty of information concerning the Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings. It explained the local significance of the first Roman roads, the Iceni, the Danelaw, the Norman Conquest and the Domesday Book. It skipped through Queen Eleanor's funeral route and various battles and revolts which had taken place from the Middle Ages to Napoleonic times. The growth of the town during the Industrial Revolution was also documented, but there was no mention of any history regarding Wickes Fields, apart from its inclusion in two maps depicting the area before and after the impact of the railways and industrialization. The 'after' map, outlining the transformed town at the end of the nineteenth century, described the area of interest as "Wickes Fields". Interestingly, the 'before' map just called this part of the rural landscape "Farmland", but right in the middle of the land on which the sports centre now stood was the annotation "Old Church (ruin)". My curiosity was enthused but, frustratingly, there was no comment at all - no explanation as to when there had been a church on the site or when and why it had fallen into disuse. On closing the book and reaching for the second volume, I was spoken to by a man wearing a library badge which announced his name as 'Len Argent', with the curious italicized comment directly under his name reading happy to help. Whilst I dislike the current obsession with adding snappy little slogans in this way, I soon found out that Len seemed like a really good bloke: and he genuinely was happy to help. Without explaining the background prompting my research, I outlined my line of inquiry and found to my delight that the library's little helper was a local historian. Pleasantly surprised to find someone who shared his interest, Len was keen to demonstrate his knowledge of the subject - out of a genuine enthusiasm rather than a desire to show off. We talked at some length and after a while I realised that it wouldn't be too long before the library shut for the weekend at one o'clock. Keen to pick Len's brains, I offered to buy him a pint so that we could continue our conversation. He was very pleased to accept my invitation: I don't suppose many library-goers think to offer the staff a beer. Len explained that he was a retired teacher. History mainly, but with some English. He was an active man, working part-time in the library and occasionally giving talks to organisations such as the Workers' Educational Association. He was also working on a book about how events in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries impacted on the local region. As he explained the central importance of religion in early modern history, I steered him towards my own particular interest. He had never thought of the keyboard theory to explain the transition from Wicked to Wickes, which made me feel very pleased with myself, but he was certainly aware that the name change had occurred. I pressed him on the question of the ruined old church and was excited to discover that he knew at least part of the story. It had been a small construction, largely made of timber, abandoned in the sixteen-twenties and destroyed by fire in 1640: the fire alleged to have been caused by lightning strike. He wasn't entirely sure why the church had been abandoned. There could have been all sorts of reasons for people wanting, or finding it socially expedient, to be seen at rival places of worship, but his instinct told him that there had been a traumatic event to cause the abandonment. Tantalisingly, he added that he had found a record of an execution which took place in 1620. Noticing my keen interest, he drained his glass and leaned towards me a little. Determined to keep him going, I grabbed the empty glass Len had deposited under my nose and insisted on getting him a refill. On my return from the bar, Len explained that a girl had been judged to be a witch in the Autumn of 1620 and she was hanged in October of that year. Recorded only as 'Lottie', she was thought to have been twelve years old at the time of her execution. Not knowing exactly why Lottie had been accused, Len began to talk of the 'witch craze' that had swept through Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Frustratingly fragmented records indicated that the harvest of 1620 had been dire, due to early and late heavy rainfalls, which stunted growth in the Spring and destroyed a large part of what was left in the late Summer. Emphasising the importance of this, Len imagined the anxiety a failed harvest would have caused in the local area. I could see his point: this was a time when there were no subsidies or guarantees, no real stockpiles or agricultural policy to moan about. It would have been a question of life and death or, at the very least, it would have meant a Winter of severe hardship. With fear trudging those battered crops, the darker side of human nature would have sought a scapegoat. I listened intently as Len explained more about the 'witch craze'. Occurring at a time of religious non-conformity and social conflict, when politics was dominated by religious beliefs, it was used as a tool of civil and ideological conflict. The 'witch' tag was interchangeable between non-conforming groups and the phenomenon was often used by Catholics or Protestants when returning to power. So many barbaric acts had taken place, and the evil fed itself, for it would have taken a brave or foolish voice to have been raised in protest: to be seen to be a disbeliever in witchcraft, or to treat a witch leniently, would invite suspicion in an ugly atmosphere of hysteria. Turning back to Lottie, Len pondered what appeared to be an unusual aspect. Typically, 'witches' would incriminate others whilst under torture - a kind of 'name and shame' mentality, which still breaks through the surface of our own modern and rational society -but there seemed to have been no further arrests and executions after the unfortunate girl's demise. Perhaps the blood lust had been satisfied with just a small offering on that occasion, but that seemed unlikely, given the nature of a witch hunt. Maybe Lottie had refused to give the names of others, or possibly she had tried to incriminate important figures in the local establishment and so the decision was made to despatch her quickly and dampen things down a bit. Whilst unaware of exactly why Lottie had been picked on, Len was able to add something else that he had pieced together from his research. She had at least been lucky in the method of execution. After explaining the various hideous modes of torture and murder that had been employed in the era, Len's revelation that Lottie had been hanged came as a relief. Apparently, there was also a reference to the event in an eye-witness account, which referred to a "single cry...at last casting out the devil." I sat in the pub and contemplated things for a good hour after Len had left, after saying that he had "enjoyed our little chat." Poor old Lottie. Poor young Lottie. I still wasn't clear as to why the area had been christened "Wicked", but I felt that it was something to do with 1620: either because the locals regarded Lottie as wicked, or perhaps (I hoped) because in the years following the abandonment of the old church, the persecution and murder of the girl had been recognised as wicked itself. It wouldn't let me go. Previously, I hadn't been particularly interested in history, certainly not in the details of local history, and I didn't have any prior experience of hearing voices. Suddenly, I was in the midst of something completely foreign to me, with the uncomfortable feeling that there was very little I could do to determine the outcome of events. All I could do was try to carry on as normal. Well, I did try to carry on as normal, but inevitably I was mulling over all I had heard and experienced. Still, I did the usual sort of things, bit of shopping and so on. It seemed that the harvest had been good: the supermarket shelves were stacked with exotic fruits from distant climes to complement the ample supply of more local produce. Times had certainly changed. The next day, Sunday, I decided to visit the gym in the afternoon. I was a little apprehensive about using the changing room, but then I had never felt threatened on my previous visit, it was just a strange experience. I resolved not to be frightened, which of course is impossible to achieve completely, but I felt like I was ninety percent of the way there. At least the stroppy receptionist wasn't on duty. Even better, as I made my way through the automatic doors, I saw that it was Caroline sitting behind the desk. She and I were passing acquaintances, having got to know each other on a superficial level since one evening earlier in the Summer, when I'd been in a cheerful mood and struck up a conversation with her. I was beginning to think that she fancied me a bit, but I didn't feel confident enough to jeopardise a nice little friendship. Sure enough, she smiled a pleasant smile as I approached and we exchanged some lighthearted comments. After a few moments, I made my way towards the gym, with her parting comment of "don't wear yourself out" aimed in my direction. It certainly gave me something else to think about. The workout was going well for about forty-five minutes, but then I must have overdone it a bit on the knee extensors. I was old enough to realise that the strain I could feel meant that it was time to stop the legwork, so as not to risk injury. I finished off with a few more bench presses and preacher curls before heading towards the changing room. Being Sunday afternoon, the sports centre was generally subdued, but there were a couple of others there drying themselves and chatting about their badminton match. Their conversation was distorted once I entered the shower cubicle and pressed the knob for water. Routinely, and a little absent-mindedly, I waited for the hot water to start coming through before stepping under the shower head. As I stepped into the spray, I heard a muffled dong-ding-dong, followed by Caroline's announcement that it was four o'clock changeover. The only other thing I can remember is that there was a pain in the back of my head and then that's when it happened. That was when Lottie came back to me. Although the surroundings went out of focus, I could see her quite clearly. A pretty girl with an awkward smile, she looked like a young version of Caroline. Then she spoke, softly but clearly: ''Stefen, Stefen.'' I knew she was talking to me, even though she had pronounced my name in an odd way. That's all I heard, but she clasped her hands together and stretched out her arms towards me. Without thinking, I responded in kind, leaning towards her and cocooning her juvenile fingers in a ball of adult hands. As soon as I did this, everything became clear. Somehow, she communicated her story to me, in a timeless instant. I didn't even think about how this could be. It just happened, and I knew what to do. It was touching, how she communicated her story to me. I can still feel her little hands in mine even now. The orphaned daughter of Catholic parents, Lottie had been taken in by Farmer Hibberd, or 'Father' Hibberd as he liked to be called. She worked in the fields for him, helped with the domestic chores and paid due attention at his Bible instructions in the small church, or prayer house, he'd had built on his farmland. He was no more than a lay preacher, and a vindictive one at that, but having appointed himself as God's local representative he was able to indulge his ego and keep a close check on the hamlet which stood on what was now the sports centre. Her mother having died in childbirth, Lottie had been mute since the age of six, when she had witnessed the murder of her father. 'Father' Hibberd made much of the charity he had shown by taking care of the poor orphaned girl and steering her away from the evils of popery. The truth was that he regularly beat her and subjected her to humiliation. At harvest-time she would be expected to work from dawn until dusk. In the Summer of 1620, Lottie sensed that the atmosphere was growing tense. She had overheard misgivings voiced by visitors from the official church - the remote and independent 'Father' Hibberd was beginning to arouse the suspicions of the authorities. Anxieties were increased by the prospect of a poor harvest, but when the crops failed almost completely it wasn't long before energies turned dark and inward. Hibberd began to humiliate Lottie publicly, making insinuations in an effort to prevent the finger of suspicion aiming itself in his direction. The 'case' against Lottie gathered momentum and she became the scapegoat for the bad harvest. "Look how the Catholic orphan repays our charity!" One evening, the villagers and farm labourers were summoned to Hibberd's prayer house, where he claimed that Lottie had come to him "naked and without shame, offering the vilest of practices as befits only a follower of the black mass". After having built up the frenzy, Hibberd praised his own strength of Christian faith and announced that this had been the girl's fatal mistake, for he had seen the third nipple on her abdomen - final proof that Lottie was a witch. No wonder at their misfortune, for it was God's holy word that "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Lottie made the truth clear to me. In fact, Farmer Hibberd had never recoiled from her nakedness before, and the 'third nipple' was no more than a mole. It was too late. After 'sink or swim' torture, execution was sanctioned by the proper authorities. Hibberd used his influence to ensure that the means of death would be by hanging: less mob-inspiring than burning the girl at the stake. The fact that Lottie was unable to speak meant that she could not incriminate Hibberd himself. It also made her different, which had strengthened the conception that she was a freak even before the charge of witchcraft. The idea that she had 'cast out the devil with a single cry' at her execution was a notion encouraged by Hibberd in an effort to stop the witch hunt mentality spreading in his direction. In truth, Lottie had made an involuntary sound as she choked. She was grateful for the fact that I had been receptive to her cry to be heard, imploring me to tell her story and reveal the truth at last. She looked at me for an instant and smiled. It was a smile of relief and confidence. The comfort of finally communicating a gross injustice. I felt that she knew I would cooperate, and that this was not just for her sake - but also to remind people how easily humanity can descend into a pit of ignorance and mass hysteria. Lottie disappeared, everything went black for an instant and then I felt somebody holding my arm. Opening my eyes, I saw the two badminton players: one standing up, towering over me like a giant; the other crouched by my side and asking me if I was alright. They inquired if I could remember slipping or passing out, adding that they hadn't heard me fall - it was only when one of them had moved towards a mirror to brush his hair that my foot had been seen sticking out over the top of the shower tray. I gathered my senses and stood up. Yes, I was okay, apart from a small bump on the back of my head and two slightly sprained wrists - injuries I assumed had been suffered as a result of a fall, but I couldn't remember slipping or anything. It was strange that I didn't feel cold. After all, the shower would have turned itself off automatically in the time it would have taken my rescuers to dry themselves and get dressed. Stranger still was what seemed to me like a repeated announcement of four o'clock changeover. I looked to the other guys, trying to make a joke by saying that once was really enough to let people know it was time to finish or start their session. They looked at me as if to say "you've had a bang on the 'ead, mate", and I realised that I was the only one to hear it twice. Or was it twice? I really can't explain that. Despite the small bump on the back of my head, Lottie's information was crystal clear in my mind. Dried and dressed, I made my way past reception, where Caroline engaged me in conversation. She would be finishing at half-past: did I fancy a coffee in 'Wicksy's?' I was polite, but explained my little accident and said that I would rather be getting home. "Some other time, then?" She offered. Little did she know, but I smiled and said that some other time would be great. I felt drained. That Sunday evening was spent quietly at home. The next morning, I was much better, having benefited from a marvellously rejuvenating deep sleep. I phoned in sick, so that I was able to take time to write down everything Lottie had told me. It wasn't easy to take Len into my confidence, but I knew I had to. Len's book would be the perfect vehicle to put the record straight. And what a story! He was so excited that he even offered to buy me a pint, and I laughed when he suddenly stared blankly into the mid-distance, voicing concern about what he would list as his source for this chapter in local history. Well, all that happened a while back now, when the evenings were still light. A lot of things have happened since then - mostly good, really. Len's book is due out in the Spring. I feel happy that I was able to help Lottie. It seems like a great privilege to have been chosen. Best of all, it wasn't long after that four o'clock changeover that I got together with Caroline. It's funny, when I started to tell her about all this she didn't seem surprised, but rather glad that I valued her enough to take her into my confidence. It was almost as if she knew already. But then that's another story. A story for some other time, perhaps.
Archived comments for SOME OTHER TIME
Jen_Christabel on 07-12-2005
SOME OTHER TIME
A good story here Pnecil. However I would have posted it in two halves, 'cos it's a wee bit long for a one-off read.
May I make a suggestion, shout at me if you wish......I would 'show' rather than 'tell' the story. Use dialogue instead of prose, it could make the story more spooky to 'see' the girl's words, rather than read about them.
Anyroadup I enjoyed this!
Jennifer :o)

Author's Reply:
Jen, I thought it might be a bit too long when I tried to record it last week and ended up having to be resuscitated by some kindly paramedics who happened to be passing at the time. Yes, two halves could have been better. That said, anyone who wishes to has my permission to read half of it and then read the other half at a later date.

It is a good idea to show rather than tell a story. Some people can't stand stories being told in the first person, although to my mind that would rule out some great literature. I have a story called 'Baby Powder' on uka - I remember receiving some fairly dismissive comments on that by someone before i ever posted it on uka because she found the first person approach irritating. After that, it was accepted for publication elsewhere!

As for Some Other Time, I think it is appropriate to tell it in the first person, because my intention was that it should not always be clear as to what is actually happening and what might be imagined.

In general terms, there is no right or wrong. Again, your suggestion to use dialogue is valid, and yet i have often seen advice from others, including, on occasion, those involved in publishing, who more or less advise to avoid dialogue like the plague!

Anyway, i'd better stop there, or this comment will end up longer than the story!

Thanks for reading and commenting - you are the only one to have done so! It was quite a relief to receive a comment!

Regards,

Steve


The Web (posted on: 21-11-05)
A contemplation of frosty mornings that took my breath away

I've developed into a browser. I've been getting up early, surfing the net before work, summoning search engines to my cyber-breakfast study. Sometimes I'm at it for hours, before my eyes remind me that they evolved so I might see prey or predator, on the horizon, not so I could sit for ages, squinting at a screen. This morning, I looked through a real window: noticed a frost. "Must be Winter," I thought, "better check the weather report." On accessing my favourite weather site, packed full of maps and statistics, I noticed a frosted spider's web. Stirring memories, this apt photographic background sent me spinning, back to the threads of childhood: to cobweb-covered hedges, white, from frost that formed there overnight. These days, the only thing most children see on their way to school is the back of the car in front. Global kids, caught in a net of broadband adventures, shopping by clicking on add to cart: growing up strangers to their own backyard. At least I had a reference point, the vibrations resonating through time, sending me scurrying to the exact co-ordinates of irregularly latticed lines that, under the weight of a crisp night's hoar, networked, layered, draped my route: a force that moved me back to magic moments woven years before. I left the internet behind, its messages and warnings, its crashes and its time-consuming ways, then rushed to join the world outside to seek, instead, the cobwebs of early frosty mornings and the cold that used to take my breath away.
Archived comments for The Web
chrissy on 21-11-2005
The Web
Yes, couldn't agree more.
Those of us who have such memories should treasure them. I normally love frosty mornings, not just at the moment though.
Lovely poem.
chrissy

Author's Reply:
Hi chrissy and thanks for the comment. Pleased you liked the poem and hope you are soon enjoying frosty mornings again (with some sunshine in between, hopefully).

Steve

tai on 21-11-2005
The Web
You can definitely have too much of a good thing pencilcase! The web is my most faithful companion, all the same. Just a phase, I hope. 10 from Tai eyes wide open

Author's Reply:
Tai, I'm very pleased that you read this poem with your eyes open and even more gratified at your inference that they were still open on reaching its conclusion.

Your rating is very generous - thank you.

Winter draws on...

Steve

Slovitt on 21-11-2005
The Web
Steve: Well, and clearly written. The net does have its unique place but if it's not balanced by experience in the physical world then it's--unbalanced--we might say. A good piece. Swep

Author's Reply:
Hi Swep! Yes, it's a question of balance, as you say. Very pleased you found this a well-written piece. It's something I wrote a while back but have revised it recently - prompted by the frosty weather we've been having.

Thanks again for commenting.

Steve

narcissa on 21-11-2005
The Web
Wow, well you took my breath away with this. What an amazing poem (and I liked the spider web/internet web link, there, very cunning!)
Felt embarrassed to really identify with this, I spend lots of spare moments on the computer and not appreciating the outside world! Oops.
A beautiful piece!
Cheers,
Laura x

Author's Reply:
Laura - ta for comment.

Cunning? As cunning as a fox with a degree in cunningness from the university of Cunningham? Sorry, I was slipping into blackadder mode.

Well, I'm glad you liked it - and thanks for letting me know. Pleased you found my web of intrigue.

Keep warm,

Steve

span on 21-11-2005
The Web
Really enjoyed this.
Loved the bit about the kids only seeing the back of the car in front.
It resonates.

Span

Author's Reply:
Greetings, your span-ness.

Glad you enjoyed. Well, I stuck in the bit about the back of the car in front because it seemed relevant to what I was going on about, as a contrast to when I went to school. It was rather interesting to see just how many spiders webs were exposed by a sharp frost. Just think, there are millions of them out there all the time, crawling around, waiting for a fly to reverberate their trap, planning to conquer the world, etc.

Okay, maybe I'm getting a bit carried away. Blame it on the cold weather.

Thanks for letting me know you liked my spin on the web.

Steve

Apolloneia on 21-11-2005
The Web
An enjoyable read so very right, and I hope that more people will leave the Internet behind as you so eloquently said.
Cheers!
Nicoletta

Author's Reply:
Hi Nic - thanks for the comment.

Well, here I am...back on the bloomin' internet! Have to get ready for work soon though. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the poem. Well, glad you found it an enjoyable read and thanks for letting me know!

'eloquent' Steve!!

flossieBee on 21-11-2005
The Web
I think this is the first time that I've really noticed frost covering spiderwebs. Comes from spending most of your life in the city.
I love the sentiment
Sometimes I'm at it for hours,
before my eyes remind me
that they evolved
so I might see
prey or predator, on the horizon

Author's Reply:
'Allo floss,

Many thanks for the comment. If I have helped just one person take notice of frosted spiders webs then the poem was worthwhile. Pleased you liked it. Now I have to turn my gaze away from the screen and prepare for work, where there are always predators on the horizon, if not closer!

Cheers,

Steve

Kat on 21-11-2005
The Web
What a super write, Steve!

Cheers

Kat :o)

Author's Reply:
Kat - ta for popping in and telling me you liked this.

Much appreciated!

Steve

span on 22-11-2005
The Web
No no, please do get carried away. Spider webs are cool.

The most beautiful thing I have seen yet, was this summer in Thetford forest. I went to a party there and got bored so wandered off and found, right I will try and describe it...
one of those trees whose branches stick out directly at tiered right angles... in between two of these branches a third branch had fallen down and lodged itself straight down between the two. the forth side was the tree trunk and inside it... was a huge spider web.
Heavy and lolling and old, bits of dew in it and the spider in the corner. Crawling along the bottom were two snails, looking like they were having a grand old time.

Truly beautiful.
Best moment of my summer.
Maybe it was all the oxygen from the trees.

Now I got carried away.
Going to hide in shame. Just wanted to share that with you.

Span

Author's Reply:
Well, frosted spider webs are cool, that's for sure!

Thank you for sharing your Thetfordy experience in Webby Forest. I can identify with that - I'm often wandering off myself. I have a bruise on my arm at the moment. Recently, I was watching a television programme on the evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940. Still got the ironing to do.

Erm, sorry, where was I? Oh yeah, poems and spiders. Well, you'd better watch out for them, in equal measure. Know what you mean about those amazingly huge webs though. I always think of those as a fantastically optimistic effort. I mean, a human or other large animal could just lumber through and destroy it. But spiders don't worry about that.

Think I'd better go to bed soon!

pencilweb

PS: those snails sound sinister to me...

blackdove on 22-11-2005
The Web
*Just how right can you get* sir?
Oh, you're right, you're so right.
Yes, it catches us up short, realising all the beautiful things in life don't have to be virtual - or purchased.
There is more to real than the material.
And the last line says it best, for me,
'of early frosty mornings
...the cold that used to take my breath away.'
Clever you.
Jemx





Author's Reply:
Jem, many thanks for your appreciation. Very pleased this seems to have hit the spot and am encouraged by the sentiments you express in your comment.

Enjoy the cold weather!

Steve

barenib on 22-11-2005
The Web
Steve, a pleasing piece which allows me to use the word zeitgeist, for this poem is surely an example - and a very good one at that - John.

Author's Reply:
John, thanks for commenting. Good to know you appreciated this one, and if it kinda resonates zeitgeist-wise, then that's good stuff!

And your appreciation means all the more because you are a Webber!

Steve

Dargo77 on 23-11-2005
The Web
Steve, congratulations on this poem... to me it has everything going for it and confirms many thoughts that I share with you. One of the best poems I have read for a long time. Worthy of being placed on the anthology list and a favourite for me.
Best regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:
Dargo - many thanks for your comment. Pleased to see that you engaged with this poem.

Thanks for picking it as a fave and, seemingly, for nominating it.

The poem speaks for itself, I hope, and there have been quite a few comments/replies already as to its content, so this reply is really just to say thank you for your appreciation. The fact that it is nominated might help it attract a few more reads over time, so that is helpful.

Redargos,

Steve

teifii on 23-11-2005
The Web
Oh so true. Of course the fact that I'm commenting shows that I am browsing in here instead of getting out to enjoy the real world. Qh well, poems like this justify that I suppose. It's very good.
Now I'd better go out and fetch some logs before the snow comes.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Yes, Daff...make sure you've got plenty of logs handy! Thanks for commenting and good to know you liked this one.

Warm wishes!

Steve

BlueyedSoul on 23-11-2005
The Web
Alas, i have found myself enticed by the wicked Net on far too many occasions...it has such an addictive quality. Good write dear Steve..i needed to get a shove from the cobwebs that have gathered on me from sitting too long, looking at this screen.

Great piece of work as always.

~Cindy Always

Author's Reply:
Cindy, you paint an amusing picture of someone who has been looking at a screen for so long that they are covered in cobwebs!

Many thanks for your appreciation of this poem!

Steve

littleditty on 24-11-2005
The Web
Excellent! You kept my attention (not an easy thing -i'm working on it!) and i suspect it was not only the subject matter or the fabulous images - i reckon it was your clever and subtle use of sounds and rhymes -so now i shall read it again for this kind of ting - I really enjoyed the read and felt instantly that a nomination was in order -thanks littleditty x

Author's Reply:
ld - many thanks for your generous comment. Thanks for engaging with the poem.

Saw your reply to my comment on 'Men' btw. I know what you mean about sometimes being able to write something quickly, but only being able to do that because the thought processes have been going on for a long while in the background - that can happen sometimes, I agree.

Thanks again for the comment.

Steve

Jolen on 26-11-2005
The Web
A wonderfully energetic piece. It holds the readers attention, crisp images, short, clean lines. Loved the spiderweb, internet connection (oops, is that an internet slip?)lol... Yes, many times we are lost in the e-world. I agree that we need balance in this, as with all things. You brought the point out wonderfully.
blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Jolen, many thanks for your comment. Given the context, particularly appreciate your mention of 'crisp images'!

Thanks for engaging with 'The Web'.
Best wishes,

Steve

Lare on 26-12-2005
The Web
Yes Steve...that fleeting time of precious momories in life. I just love your line "back to magic
moments woven years before."...my gosh...had to sit down and contiplate this one real hard...this is the line that stays with you for the rest of the day...

Lare

Author's Reply:
It was really lovely to stay with you for the rest of the day. I had intended going home earlier, but I don't regret a moment!

Well, it seems we should have frost and frozen webs overnight as it's turning chilly here...

I'm glad you enjoyed this poem - many thanks for letting me know.

Best wishes,

Steve


The Sunday Before (posted on: 11-11-05)
A poem resulting from a train journey I made last Sunday, the 6th of November.

The Sunday before the cenotaph, on a trans-Pennine train, from Manchester, I faced the front that took me back, and looked across the sunlit hills, through which we cut towards Sheffield. Four young lads were sat nearby. To me, they seemed like paperboys, but their conversation told they trained together and were bound, returning from their Autumn leave, to re-join mates at camp, at base, their faces hardly crossed by blades, they looked ahead to closer shaves. They spoke of girls, computer games, their kit, and the chore of saluting again. Their resonating soundtrack without question, reminiscent of other callow squaddies, joking while crossing this backbone of England, with thoughts of adventure that can't be beaten, laughing at charges and characters met: the barrack-room humour; the order that came from a disciplined mess. Shaking across the spine, I thought how, even now, approaching the eleventh hour, they had no real idea of war, and wondered, next week, on parade, would they recall the week before Remembrance Sunday? When presenting the colours and lowering flags in silence, might they reflect on thousands of previous such conversations that petaled this route, but eventually died? Returning by train in 2005 to journeys that left me uneasy, remembering futures, so often denied, that others may go down in history.
Archived comments for The Sunday Before
Jen_Christabel on 11-11-2005
The Sunday Before
I thought I would foray into my old genre of poetry for this week's reading!
I thought this was moving. I had a husband and his friends (Navy) that was involved in the Falklands, at first they thought of it as one big adventure. I think you have really struck a chord here.
Great read.
Jennifer :o)

Author's Reply:
Jennifer - many thanks. It's good to know you think this poem struck a chord. Big adventures can be good, but sometimes the reality hits home very suddenly, and too late.

Thanks again for the comment.

Steve

teifii on 11-11-2005
The Sunday Before
Very good, Steve, and very apposite. You have conjured up such an exact picture of these lads. And yet there are their like everywhere. and the same fate lurking.
When wil we ever learn?
Daff
PS Like the nicely spaced out rhymes -- just enough.

Author's Reply:
Daff - many thanks for commenting. Thank you for your appreciation. In particular, I am grateful for your having found this 'very apposite'. That was central to what I wanted from this poem.

Steve

teifii on 11-11-2005
The Sunday Before
Oh yes. And congratulations on being writer of the week. well deserved.
Daff

Author's Reply:

Gerry on 11-11-2005
The Sunday Before
Nicely done this, I remember similar train journeys and similar conversations. Something to think about for us all.

Gerry.

Author's Reply:
Good to hear from you, Gerry! Yes, I'm sure there have been thousands of train journeys like this, and no doubt thousands of essentially similarly optimistic pre-railway musterings as well.

They were quite well-behaved - a bit too much like my eldest nephew for comfort (he's nearly 15). Couldn't help thinkng about situations they might be in, in a year or two.

Thanks for the comment,

Steve

islathorne on 11-11-2005
The Sunday Before
A good read, expressing so well how naive these young squaddies are to the harsh realities of war.

isla x

Author's Reply:
Isla, I am very grateful that you engaged with this poem. Very much appreciate your comment.

Steve

barenib on 13-11-2005
The Sunday Before
Steve, a timely experience for you to write this tribute to rememberance. Trains and soldiers always seem to go together, somehow. Enjoyed the 'disciplined mess' line. J.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the comment, John. These lads did not appear, or behave, much differently to my eldest nephew, who will be 15 next week. You can imagine my lone-travelling-poet- boy thoughts as I overheard their conversation, crossing the backbone of England just one week before Remembrance Sunday.

Many thanks for popping in.

Steve

karenuk on 15-11-2005
The Sunday Before
Beautiful, poignant and stunning poem 🙂
Karen x

Author's Reply:
Karen, thanks for commenting and rating this poem. Pleased it resonated with you.

Steve


Remember? (posted on: 04-11-05)
Hope this one doesn't fizzle out!

Remember the days of back garden nights, when small selections burst into life and lit up the sky with oohs and aahs - the magic from brown-coated hardware stores? Remember the smell of a smoky sky and stuffing a guy with paper and straw, building a bonfire, you and your Dad, with twigs from the garden's autumnal cut-back? Remember your Mum, who wrapped you up warm, concerned that her children should come to no harm, keeping you safe from the chilly night air and fireworks, sparkling the atmosphere? Remember the sense of excitement you felt, when Dad was in charge, but you liked to help, when Co-op milk bottles were put to good use as launch pads for rockets that soared into space? Returning inside, we'd take off our coats, hoping our jackets were ready to eat, discussing successes and failures outside, we chewed over bangers, perfectly timed. Next morning, we lingered our way to school, still picking up on that firework smell and looking for rockets, now blackened and spent - the embers of fun from the previous night. Not long before Armstrong walked on the moon, flash-backing through thousands of steps as a man to innocent days of simple delights, remember? Remember those bonfire nights?
Archived comments for Remember?
Dargo77 on 04-11-2005
Remember?
Steve, how wonderful for you to have shared such moments with your family. I hope you never got your tongue burnt by the 'jackets'.
Brought back some memories for me. Thank you.
Best regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:
Greetings, your Dargo-ness! thanks for the comment and glad it brought back some memories! I'm sure I've had my tongue/ears/fingers burnt at times!

For the first time in some years, I attended a firework display on 5th November. whilst things have changed and it was not like the 'old days' my poem referred to, it was interesting to observe the reactions of the children.

Some things don't change so much!

Thanks again,

Steve

Kat on 04-11-2005
Remember?
I really enjoyed this, Steve - nothing fizzless about this!

Kat :o)

Author's Reply:
Hi Kat - good to know it wasn't fizzless!

Many thanks for commenting.

Appreciated!

Steve

narcissa on 05-11-2005
Remember?
I think the tone of this is just right - how beautiful! I've read it three times now, and I'll be reading it again when I've posted this...
Laura x

Author's Reply:
Hi Laura - thanks for letting me know you enjoyed this! Glad you like the tone - appreciate that!

I'll be back to you!

Steve

teifii on 05-11-2005
Remember?
That really brings it all back. Living alone now well outside the village, I never see fireworks but this reminds me perfectly of bonfires as a child and also with my foster children. Only difference - we cooked our potatoes in the actual embers and ate them outside.
After I moved here I still had bonfires for several years as a friend in the village had a little daughter [now a young lady!] who was afraid of bangs so we had a bonfire with sparklers and silent but pretty fireworks.
One year we were colecting lots of twigs and branches during the arly stages of the fire and Teifi-Dog [of poetic fame] also brought sticks. When we had enough and were watching the fire and waiting for and then eating the potatoes, he regarded us seriously and, apparently deciding 'I see, no more sticks, time to eat' and fetched his bone to eat with us.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Daff, that's a brilliant comment! Very pleased my poem brought 'it all back' and then you went on to add so many aspects!

Cooking your spuds in the embers has great appeal, and the 'silent but pretty' remark in respect of the girl who didn't like the loud noises is great!

And the Teifi-Dog remark is top stuff! It's brilliant when a dog realises what's going on!

Steve

Hazy on 10-11-2005
Remember?
Hi parcelface 🙂

I wasn't sure about it when I first read it 'cos I was feeling cynical and pished off with the world and the bloody noisy fireworks. I thought it might be a tad twee/idylic. But there's more to it than that, isn't there. It's not really about fireworks at all; it's about remembering back to a time of innocence, when all was well with the world (and our families). It's nostalgic, but not really in a fireworky way. At least that's how I'm interpreting it in my hungover state.

Anyway, yes. Now I love it. The poem. Last stanza my fave. Adore the word "flash-backing". How cool is that 🙂

Take care, sweet pea.

Hazyfantazie x

Author's Reply:
Hazelnut,

Thanks for popping in. Well, I can't say it's not about fireworks at all, since they and other aspects of bonfire night provide the setting. But you are right that it is a nostalgic reflection - a comparison between then and now, at least from my perspective, so some of the references are to the ways in which things have actually changed, whilst others are more to do with my contrasting childhood/adulthood.

Thanks for re-reading and giving it your consideration.

I quite like the use of near-rhyme and then concluding with a clear rhyme. I can imagine that this would help to pace a reading out loud, so if I get the chance I might record this one and whack that in.

Thanks again for commenting,

pencilfarce

Lare on 24-11-2005
Remember?
My gosh...you have touched upon memories that every reader will cherish from his/her own heart. Oh yes...I do remember...we all remember such things...memories that have matured in precious gems. And with this you have rekindled them...very well done..."Remember those bonfire nights?"...so very well done...

Just me, Lare


Author's Reply:
Lare - thanks for popping in. Good to know you enjoyed this.

Pleased to have rekindled a few bonfires!

Thanks again,

Steve


Country Kitchen Breakfast (posted on: 31-10-05)
Full English

When I loved you and you loved me, how we loved our CKB that soon became our Sunday treat on weekends good enough to eat, when we enjoyed the sights and sounds of wildlife in the cottage grounds. Clambered over one another, ducklings scrambled back to mother, crossing the pond's reflected skies, their chirps mixed in with moorhens' cries and coots, who called the young they reared then upped and dived and disappeared. With kingfisher and collared dove and heavy blossom high above that weighed the spreading chestnut tree - oh what a time for you and me! We watched the sprightly squirrels run and shared their sense of life and fun and I, the luckiest of men: being happy was easy then. That rural air was clear and bright, as healthy as our appetite and we, removed from weekday strife, would gorge ourselves on country life. An arch of roses lined our route towards the orchard, where the fruit was just beginning to appear - we picked some later in the year and ate some there, preserved the rest, conserving times we loved the best. We'd reach the fence and there we'd pause, I with my thoughts, you with yours, our senses filled with peace and joy, at one with nature, girl and boy in silence, standing hand-in-hand, we gazed across the open land towards the distant Heron Lake and drank in all that we could take. Our thirst was slaked in many ways, quite literally on Saturdays, when through the village we would stroll towards the local watering-hole. It seemed the sun refused to die and leave the late Spring evening sky and so our path was plain to see, when you walked down the lane with me, by the church, beneath its shadow, out into the open meadow, making our way towards the pub: waving to hot-air balloons above. Right overhead, not far away, descending at the end of day, making their characteristic sound, balloonists sought their landing ground, as we walked down the village street and evening made the day complete. The cosy pub had great appeal, a well-kept pint, a hearty meal, the people there were welcoming, the building too was genuine, a local where the locals went - an hour there was time well-spent. Depending on the phase of moon throughout those months of May and June, the way back home could sometimes be a devil of a job to see, that meadow might be black as night: you took my arm and held on tight. I milked the moment, took my chance to make some eerie shadows dance across the distant church and tower (he who held the torch had power), or say I thought I'd heard a bat, or stop and whisper "what was that?" This sometimes caused a short-term tiff: I didn't mean to scare you stiff. I thought perhaps potential harm might lock you tighter on my arm. I didn't want you petrified, just pleased that I was there to guide you safely through the dark unknown - I wasn't so brave when on my own. I hope you had the sense to see the strength your presence gave to me expressed the joy that love can bring in heady measure, sweetest thing, and sweetest sound, without a doubt: late-night lovers, larking about. Then finally, at home once more, we'd turn the key in cottage door and cast off all remaining cares in country bedroom up the stairs. The special Sunday morning charm arrived in peace, without alarm. We'd slumber on, then rub our eyes, there being no great rush to rise, until some rays had shafted through the curtain's cracks, as sunrays do. Thus stirred, we'd have our morning tea then turn our thoughts to CKB, to eggs and bacon, sausage too, and probably a second brew. The back door would be opened wide, we heard the bees that buzzed outside and all the birds that made that place a haven from the human race. On one occasion, all alone, while you were upstairs on the phone, I thought that I, while you were gone, would turn the radio back on. This twist of fate that I recall defined the moment, once for all, and hence these peaceful times were bound together with the soothing sound of music played to lift the soul: it made those weekend fragments whole. The music I could not ignore, composed three hundred years before, that masterpiece, the Canon Suite, that made my CKB complete. A work that stood the test of time, still fresh and meaningful, sublime, as if, though old, the work was penned for that rare moment, that weekend. But life moves on and so did we, we washed up after CKB, I should have known that things would change: your eggs had always been free range. You felt cooped up, at least, with me, who lacked the skills of husbandry that might have nurtured things along and kept our hearts, our voices strong to keep on singing Fields Of Gold till hair was silver, memories old. Despite our going separate ways, I'll always have those sunshine days and sometimes, though it might be sad to think of all the joy we had, I can't help smiling back at you and times so good, and yet so true.
Archived comments for Country Kitchen Breakfast
chrissy on 31-10-2005
Country Kitchen Breakfast
Absolutely beautiful.
chrissy

Author's Reply:
Hi chrissy - many thanks indeed for the comment and rating, and for picking this as a favourite. I'm pleased you enjoyed the read and thanks for letting me know.

Steve

barenib on 31-10-2005
Country Kitchen Breakfast
Steve, though familiar with the shorter version of this, I read the full one with enjoyment, knowing the background to this idyll. And that's what the poem is, an idyll in an English tradition. I don't know if you've ever read John Donne, but it has elements of the way he wrote in the metaphysical style - words derived from experiences of all the senses. It moves along almost effortlessly and immerses us very effectively into what now, in more ways than one, may be a disappearing world. A fine start to your reign as WOTM - John.

Author's Reply:
"reign"?

You make me sound like 'Pencilcase IV' or somat!

Thank you for your appreciation of this poem. 'Idyll' is a word that was at the forefront of my mind in this and the English tradition you mention (as well as the Englishness of the setting) was too. My short description of Full English was not just a reference to 7 items plus toast and tea or coffee, as you well know, but I think the humour of that and the comparison of sublime love with a fry-up is in keeping with one aspect of the metaphysical style. Perhaps we should have a word with Spanish Andy and suggest he introduces the 'metaphysical' to his breakfast menu. It would surely be 'tha best meta-feezickal breakfast forr mi-yalls'!

The poem I remember most by Donne, a sonnet, begins 'Death, be not proud'. I am aware of Donne and some of the traits of the metaphysical poets - I look forward to talking about this more in the pub (that should bamboozle Jocko and could possibly overload Don's software).

I appreciate too your comment on 'words derived from experience of all the senses'.

Thanks for your comment - I look forward to further discussion!

Steve

red-dragon on 31-10-2005
Country Kitchen Breakfast
Congratulations!! A thoroughly well deserved writer of the month!!

You carried this off so well; the flow, the rhyme the overall picture is superb!! No wonder you're writer of the month! Ann

Author's Reply:
Ann,

Many thanks for your generous comments and rating. May I say also that i enjoyed 'I Am Not A Banana'. Have just replied to barenib's comment and part of that refers to John Donne - so I'm kinda thinking that 'no man is an island', so even if you are not a banana, you still need other non-bananas to be recognised as a bunch.

Glad you enjoyed CKB.

Steve

islathorne on 01-11-2005
Country Kitchen Breakfast
A very enjoyable read, i like it a lot.

isla :0)

Author's Reply:
Isla - thanks for letting me know you enjoyed this.

Much appreciated,

Steve

MLAllen on 02-11-2005
Country Kitchen Breakfast
Super weekends, precious memories. Well done, Steve. ML

Author's Reply:
Hi ML and thanks for commenting. Weekends were quite good back then!

Best wishes,

Steve

Dargo77 on 03-11-2005
Country Kitchen Breakfast
Steve, you must have worked hard on this one. A favourite read for me (plus).
Best regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:
Dargo - many thanks. And thanks for picking it as a fave too, and I see someone has nominated it, so if that was you then thanks for that as well!

I wrote this about 4 years ago, reflecting on events a few years prior to that. Recently, I decided to revise it. I made some changes and thought I would release it!

Glad you enjoyed it.

Steve

teifii on 03-11-2005
Country Kitchen Breakfast
Most impressive. Love the way whole sentences flow and the rhymes come just right without sounding forced.
My favourite bit -
I milked the moment, took my chance
to make some eerie shadows dance
across the distant church and tower
(he who held the torch had power),
Daff

Author's Reply:
Very grateful for your comment, particularly about the rhyme sounding unforced.

I will admit that I like that bit too! Everything in this poem is true. To focus, as it were, on the bit you've highlighted (!), there were times when I shone a torch through about 50 yards of blackness to make the distant village church (that we were aiming for and had to walk by) look rather eerie. I think that part of the poem builds to the line 'I wasn't so brave when on my own'! That was true as well! But it's often the case that the presence of a woman can make a man feel braver than when he is on his own!

Many thanks for your comment and very pleased you enjoyed.

Cheers,

Steve

Leila on 03-11-2005
Country Kitchen Breakfast
This seems familiar to me somehow and is indeed a very satisfying read...congratulations on a deserved WOTM...L

Author's Reply:
Hi Leila - many thanks for commenting. Pleased you enjoyed.

You might have looked at 'Country Kitchen Breakfast, Freshly Laid,' which I posted on uka some time ago. But that is much shorter, saucier, and was lifted/adapted from the long version for a competition I had in mind. I have recently re-visited the long, original version and edited it. I thought I would send it to uka. It is a very personal poem, but I'm pleased to have edited it a bit and to have shared it with people such as yourself.

Many thanks again for commenting.

Steve

Jolen on 06-11-2005
Country Kitchen Breakfast
Absolutely delicious in every way, the flow, the rhythm, so very lyrical and the enjambments are divine. You wove us a full bodied tale rich in every detail. I loved this piece and it's easy to see why you would be WOTM. Congrats on that, and the nib. Most deserving. Also thank you for this wonderful write. I highly recommend it. :o)

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Jolen - thank you for your comment. At last someone has mentioned 'lyrical'! But you've gone further than i hoped with 'enjambments' - appreciate that!

Very pleased you enjoyed and many thanks for your comment re: WOTM.

If you wanna recommend it then that's fine with me!

Still thinking about those weekends, in a mature, reflective 'no-one's gonna take that memory away from me' kinda way...

Thanks again,

Steve

Jen_Christabel on 07-12-2005
Country Kitchen Breakfast
A truly lovely piece!
I was there, I could 'feel' and 'see' everything.
Great read
Jennifer :o)

Author's Reply:
Blimey Jen - I hope you didn't feel and see everything!

Pleased to see you enjoyed this and thanks for letting me know.

Cheers,

Steve


HELP (posted on: 17-10-05)
nobody heard her scream...

Image hosted by Photobucket.com It took a week before she was missed, nobody heard her scream, she just disappeared in a sinister twist, like the lid off her vanishing cream. They combed the bedroom for evidence, they bagged up the dirt from her shoes, they brushed the scene for fingerprints, searching for possible clues. Those hours in front of her mirror amounted to nothing at all, but it bore the mark of her terror in a bright red lipstick scrawl. Her cry for help was inverted, as if she'd been drawn in at last and now she only existed behind the pull of the glass. She left behind her foundation and the shadows that masked her face, the police took her things to the station: it looked like a vanity case.
Archived comments for HELP
Apolloneia on 17-10-2005
HELP
Hi Steve, this is very effective to say the least, dramatic, thought-provoking, surprising and very interesting. I liked it!
Nicoletta

Author's Reply:
Hi Nic, thanks for letting me know you liked it. Well, if it is effective in the way you describe then that's great. It is meant to be humorous too, especially its conclusion, but then there is a 'serious' side to it at its, erm, 'foundation'!

Thanks again,

Steve
(he doesn't wear make-up)

tai on 17-10-2005
HELP
Hi pencil, Yeah! those mirrors can be very alluring. I have removed all mine!lol

*Winking*

Tai



Author's Reply:
Thanks for the wink and comment! Still, I would be wary of someone who had no mirrors at all - I might be worried they were a vampire.

Don't think there's any chance of my falling in love with my own reflection!

Pleased you enjoyed.

Steve

Hazy on 17-10-2005
HELP
Ahah, I've already heard this one 😉 Surprised it's not had more of a response yet, 'tis one of my faves 🙂 Makes me smile.

Love the last 4 lines.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:
Hazy - thanks for comment and glad you liked. There seems to have been fairly low number of hits to most that was subbed for Monday - maybe things will pick up in the week.

What was wrong with the other lines?

Cheers,

Steve

Sunken on 17-10-2005
HELP
Well bloody done young Pencil of Case fame. Very cleverly executed. Deserves a nib in my opinion. Glad you got the picture sorted.

s
u
n
k
e
n

he can't imagine life without porn

Author's Reply:
Hi! Yes, eventually managed to get that image! Mind you, my enquiry to Andrea seems to have led to a modification that now means such things can be done more easily.

Glad you enjoyed my cry for HELP poem!

Steve

teifii on 17-10-2005
HELP
That is really quite frightening even though [or perhaps because] it is funny. On second thoughts the humour is very black and certainly adds to the horror.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Good Afternoon, your Daff-ness. It's always a pleasure to welcome you to my cyber-threshold. Thanks for your appreciation of this poem.

Steve

Slovitt on 18-10-2005
HELP
Steve: Light, and witty, and well written. The last two attributes, now that I think about it, generally found in your work. The last line has some pop to it. Swep

Author's Reply:
Hi Swep, and thanks for your generous comment on my little modern-day Narcissus effort! A few people have taken this in different ways, which is not such a bad thing.

Many thanks for sending me your comment.

Steve

littleditty on 19-10-2005
HELP
...spooky and suicide and horror and ghosts and CSI and humour's shiver -liked it very much! Interesting read on Narcissism, realisation - now thinking about self assessment and vanity - and think your poem would really suit a nib! Where are the nibby people? Thought provoking poem which i really enjoyed -will read again xxxlittleditty x

Author's Reply:
Greetings l-d and thanks for commenting. Pleased you liked this and found it interesting. As far as the nibby people are concerned, I can advise that they've teamed up with the diddy men and are currently residing in my shed, having a tizer and fairy cake party and listening to ABBA. So that solves that one. Where they go from there I've no idea.

You are welcome to read it again, of course, but I should warn you not to read it more than three times, otherwise there's a danger you could be drawn into the screen and remain trapped there forever. Think of those who are dear to you - you owe it to them.

Grazie, grazie

pencil

red-dragon on 19-10-2005
HELP
Impressive - right from the inverted image to the last line - I did read it earlier and earmarked it to return to. I thought it deserved a nib, too. Ann

Author's Reply:
Ann, thank you for the remarkably generous comment and rating, both of which suggest you enjoyed this little read so that's nice to know.

You are very kind.

Steve

Hazy on 19-10-2005
HELP
PS In answer to your question... You're as bad as my sister - she used to try on 2 different outfits and ask which I preferred. I'd go 'that one' and she'd look horrified and say 'what's wrong with the other one' :-O (then she'd never wear the other one again!)

So... in answer to your question... all the lines are just deelish. But the bottom four have sugar on 🙂

Hazy x

Author's Reply:
Hi Hazy - thanks for this additional comment. Yes, women are often like that - whatever you say it comes out wrong! Not that I'm a woman, you understand. I was only joking. I'm pleased you like this poem. I want to comment on your 'Sunday' poem, but I need time to think about it properly. I thought it had a really nice feel (and there's somat to be said for that in itself), but I felt it could be improved somehow, but I haven't had the time to do it justice yet. I hope you will bear with me. I'm busy working nights and sleeping, etc. I want to come back to your poem because it appealed.

Thanks again,

Steve

uppercase on 19-10-2005
HELP
Best poem I've read in a long time. If they had a 20 I would have given it to you..erma

Author's Reply:
Hi Erma - good to hear from you and glad you enjoyed my latest offering. You are very generous indeed. I'd love to say more, but pressed for time at the mo, so thanks again and, from one case to another...

keep 'em coming!

Best wishes,

Steve

red-dragon on 19-10-2005
HELP
Still no nib - then i know what i will do!! Ann

Author's Reply:
You've nommed it, haven't you? You cheeky devil! Well, it's very kind of you - many thanks.

After a slowish start, this poem has picked up several hits and comments, so I feel it was worthwhile trying to get that hand-scrawled image imported!

Thanks again,

Steve

allieuk on 19-10-2005
HELP
Ohh that was fab fab fab. Clever, witty, technical. I wish I wrote it. Nuff said. lol

allie xxx

Author's Reply:
3 fabs is quite a lot! One would have done, but many thanks!

The 'wish I wrote it' remark is always a great compliment. I've received it on occasions and commented similarly on others' submissions at times. It's a bit like a commercially successful, but simple invention, when you think, 'why didn't I think of that?' So that was nice of you allie!

Must go now - grateful for your appreciation.

Best wishes,

Steve

potleek on 23-10-2005
HELP
My hat off to you sir.
The inverted word very effective, the story intriguing and the pun was very cleverly done at the end....Tony

Author's Reply:
Ah, Mr.Potleek, many thanks for your appreciation of this little poem. Good to know you found the inverted word effective, especially as it took me long enough to sort out how I could achieve this in a submission to uka!

Thanks for letting me know you found it interesting.

Cheers,

Steve



The IT Factor (posted on: 14-10-05)
A limerick for Friday!

An IT consultant called Tristram earned much from imparting his wisdom, he just said ''re-boot,'' they gave him the loot: he'd certainly sussed out the system.
Archived comments for The IT Factor
Romany on 14-10-2005
The IT Factor
Witty!

Author's Reply:
Thank you, Romany, and I like the way your one-word reply inludes the letters 'it'! It also occurs to me that you could have achieved the 'it' factor by choosing a different word, so I'm grateful for that!

Thanks for popping in.

Steve

Romany on 14-10-2005
The IT Factor
I could have been really clever Steve, and put 'Witty Ditty!' I don't suppose you live in the city, do you?

Okay, getting carried away now!

Author's Reply:
I seem to be fast running out of words ending in 'itty'. Pity.

Anyway, I hope this amuses a few people. I think it's fantastic how some people can make £600 a day just by telling people to "turn it off and turn it back on again," and if that doesn't work then there's always the old "probably a spot of grease on the disc" or something.

Thanks for commenting!

Steve

red-dragon on 14-10-2005
The IT Factor
I hope you don't want critty on your little witty ditty. Ann

PS, made me smile!

Author's Reply:
Hi Ann! Naw...it's just a bloomin' limerick! Mind you, many a true word is said in jest!

Very pleased it brought a smile - and thanks for letting me know.

Steve


Falling In New York (posted on: 10-10-05)
A small, gentle, seasonal poem

You were a native New Yorker,
I didn't know it at all,
We met there in early October,
In Central Park in the Fall.
You said you loved that time of year,
We met again later that night,
You showed me your apple and made it clear
I was welcome to take a bite.
We fell into a relationship,
It wasn't expected at all,
The Summer was barren before that trip,
But things picked up in the Fall.

Archived comments for Falling In New York
Hazy on 10-10-2005
Falling In New York
Love the lines:

You showed me your apple and made it clear
I was welcome to take a bite.

Great poem, Pencil. Only trouble is, you got me singing that 'you're a native new yorker' song now... oh, what's it called...

Ahah... by Odyssey. Found the lyrics here so you can all join in 🙂

http://www.lyricsstyle.com/o/odyssey/nativenewyorker.html

Sorry, I'm in a very strange mood today for some reason...

Take care.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:
Thank you. So you like those lines whilst others have questioned them, which is interesting. Anyway, I wrote this in the region of about 8 years ago and I wondered if it was good enough to put on uka. Then I thought that there is a place for what I described as small, gentle, seasonal poetry, so I thought this was exactly the right time of year to share it. I'm sorry, but I can't write multi-layered, technically accomplished, ground-breaking poetry on every occasion (if ever)!

It's totally untrue. I've never been to New York, but there's nothing wrong with a little romantic fantasy, I suppose. I think I was trying to write somat on the theme of 'apple(s)' - no it wasn't, it was on 'The Fall'...the apple theme led to 'Apple Tea' (which was true and I remember you identified with that). I've just discovered somat else from that time, on the theme of apples. Here goes...

Apple Sauce

You offered me your apple
and so I took a bite,
we had a kiss and cuddle
that fruity moonlit night.
Yes, we were really cooking,
things took their natural course,
we lived on pork and stuffing
with lots of apple sauce.


How's that?

Apples indeed, would you Adam and Eve it?

Thanks again,

Steve

allieuk on 10-10-2005
Falling In New York
Awww this is sweet and lovely and romantic. What a nice way to start Monday morning :). And arghh, yes, that song. That'll be around for a bit now. lol.

Allie x

Author's Reply:
Well, it's just a small thing I've had hidden away for quite some time, but I still thought there was a chance that it might be of interest to a few women. So I'm pleased to see that my little offering gave you a nice start to the week.

Yours thankfully, but suffering from an outbreak of innuendo,

Steve

chrissy on 10-10-2005
Falling In New York
I liked this poem. I've read it a couple of times and the only thing that I didn't find 'quite right' were these lines;
"You showed me your apple and made it clear
I was welcome to take a bite."
They didn't seem to 'fit' with the gentle descriptive qualities of the rest. Probably just me. It's Monday.
chrissy 🙂


Author's Reply:
Hi chrissy - thanks for comment and rating. It's a valid point you make, yet I'm not sure that those lines are really so out of place. They are earthier than the otherwise gentle nature, but perhaps help to convey the moment and feeling of two people suddenly hitting it off but knowing that the affinity is not just platonic. Basically, there is that feeling that you're not going to be able to keep yer andz off each other for much longer - sweet moments of anticipation. Shame it wasn't true!

There's a bit of a mixed reaction to those lines, so perhaps this is a good thing, as it seems to provide a focus for a short piece.

Mmm, still thinking about your comment!

Many thanks,

Steve

skinnyscot on 10-10-2005
Falling In New York
i agree with chrissy the poem has a lovely romantic innocent feel but these two lines add a touch of vulgarity which spoils it a bit. Perhaps you could change these and keep the poem pure!! apart from that a lovely read. The last 2 lines are beautiful

Author's Reply:
Greetings, your underweight-Scottishness! I've commented on the lines you have doubts about in my reply to chrissy, so won't repeat here. Thank you for your criticism. I'm pleased you enjoyed the poem and its conclusion, and it's good to have contact with another recently-joined member on uka.

Good luck with your writing and thanks again for spending some time in the world of pencilcase.

Steve

woodbine on 10-10-2005
Falling In New York
Dear Steve,

Knowing your heart to be as pure as the driven, it never occurred to me even for a millisecond that your reference to apples was meant to signal anything other than your companion's natural desire to show you the sights of the Big Apple. Please reassure these doubting souls of your moral integrity, tout suite.

Great short poem.

John
other than the Big Apple

Author's Reply:
John, you are absolutely right in every respect, of course!

Thanks for letting me know your thoughts - I'm pleased that you enjoyed this short poem.

a bientot,

Steve

Hazy on 10-10-2005
Falling In New York
PS. Can't comment directly under mine any more so no doubt this will end up at the bottom... I just wanted to confirm that I liked the apple lines cos of the Big Apple reference... thought it was kinda clever.

x

Author's Reply:
Got that Hazy, thank you.

Yes, the apple references really are at the core of the poem.

Sorry...

Steve

Bradene on 10-10-2005
Falling In New York
Aww I thoought that was lovely Steve, as you say a gentle seasonal poem. Love Val x

Author's Reply:
Hi Val - thanks for letting me know you enjoyed, and thanks too for the rating. I recommend an afternoon stroll in the park so you can take in the autumnal sunshine. Take an apple with you.

Many thanks,

Steve

Pam-Lamppa on 11-10-2005
Falling In New York
Certainly sounds like they did. (warm up that is) This was such a sweet poem. I love the reference to the apple, and using the seasons, and the element of unexpected romance that happened on the trip.
Nicely written and delightful to read. ~Pam

Author's Reply:
Pam - nice to meet you...and thanks for commenting on this poem. Apples/seasons/journeys - that's all about right, so if you found it 'delithgtful and sweet' then that's great.

Many thanks - will see you on the site again soon, I hope.

Cheers,

Steve

Sunken on 11-10-2005
Falling In New York
Nice poem young Pencil. It is nice to see a fruit based poem. Simply delicious young man. Thanks.

s
u
n
k
e
n



Author's Reply:
Thank you, your sunkenness. As the descendant of a short line of fruiterers and greengrocers, I agree that it is always good to see a fruit-based poem. On that note, did you see my response to Hazy's comment that included 'Apple Sauce'? If not, take a look immediately - I think you might like it. Sadly, i have to get ready for the night shift now. I don't do it for the money, but rather because I know that my overnight labours will bring relief to the sick children of the world. Thank you again and...

while others sleep, I save lives.

pencil

barenib on 13-10-2005
Falling In New York
Steve - a nice gentle piece, and I have no problem with the apple (cherry may have been a different matter!). John.

Author's Reply:
Thank you, John. Cherry could possibly feature in the sequel!

Thanks again for dropping in,

Steve

Hazy on 15-10-2005
Falling In New York
Oh... I dunno... apple with one girl... cherry with the next...

Steve... you're becoming such a 'tart'

teehee

Sorry, couldn't resist it 😉

Haze x

Author's Reply:
Me? A tart?

What a load of old rhubarb!

Thanks for popping in - this little poem has received quite a few hits and comments, more than I'd expected...but it does have a gentle nature, rather like myself. So what did you think of Apple Sauce? What about my 'IT' limerick? Hmm?

Thank you, young Hazy. You are quite astute for a Sarf Londoner. Have you looked at the Premiership table recently?


Come on you Spurs!

2B, or not 2B, that is the pencil...

Apolloneia on 15-10-2005
Falling In New York
I find this poem strangely charming as if you were writing about fictitious incompatible personalities but compatible lovers; it happens quite often. The opposites attract theory. Since everything in your poem happened so quickly the best way to show it was to make it a small poem. As for gentle yes it's gentle, but with some strong noteworthy sensual elements firmly pointed out.
I liked it.
Nicoletta

Author's Reply:
Hi Nic - many thanks for your comment.

I just love that expression 'strangely charming'! But it's good, because that's kinda what it's meant to be! It's simple, strangely charming perhaps - all of which might well be a fair comment on the poet as well as the poem!

Nic, I'm pleased you read this and found it interesting, and I'm grateful for your comment. It's sort of When People Really Click combined with Five-fifths Of (unforced) Charm!

Hope you have a good week.

Steve

BlueyedSoul on 15-10-2005
Falling In New York
I sort of liked the apple component, being it is Fall. I liked it rather much. And alas, I have shared my peach in the summer to a select few....so of course I would get this one.
~Cindy

Author's Reply:
Cindy...that's a nice name. Reminds me of a girl I could have got close to when I was at university. Don't know why - maybe it's because her name was Cindy.

Sorry, I'm rambling. Anyway, the poem. Yes! I'm pleased this has stirred up some fruity comments. My Grandfather had a greengrocer and fruiterer's shop in Walthamstow.

What am I talking about?

Your peach...hmm. Well, I can't comment on that, of course, but I suppose we all need to feel a bit fruity at times. Oh God, that reminds me of 'Psycho'!

Did you know that Hitchcock used chocolate sauce for the 'blood' trickling down the plughole in the shower scene - it looked better than real blood in a b/w film.

Sorry, think I've lost it. But I'm very grateful for your having popped in to the world of pencilcase.

Best wishes,

Steve

JoB on 16-10-2005
Falling In New York
Lovely
and I also enjoyed 'Apple sauce', perhaps even moreso!
Back to the NY poem, I can't believe you have never been to New York as you seem to capture something of the essence of the city just in those few lines. Something about the inherent spontaneity of the place. Excellent.
I don't usually like poems that rhyme but somehow you make it charming without being twee.
look forward to reading more of your work, Jo x

Author's Reply:
Ah, Jo! Another new, welcome face! Your comment is very kind - it's interesting how a simple poem can hit the spot with a few folks. I really appreciate your comment.

And It's good to know you like Apple Sauce! it's not all my fault - I was brought up on seaside postcards at Clacton and Benny Hill!

Yes, please read more of my stuff on uka. I've got loads, and some of it is serious!

Then again...

Cheers,

Steve

Hazy on 17-10-2005
Falling In New York
Pencilcase (fluffy of vinyl?)

Rhubarb tart? Pop tarts? Blimey, how many references can you squeeze in...

Mmm, lovely 🙂

I think you, you, your poems, your appley sauce and your limerick are all deelish :p

Yep, I'm not quite as blonde as I make out (sarf londoner? essex girl more like... but don't tell everyone ;))

2b or not 2b??? Oooh, another amazing coincidence... I watched Hamlet on Sat night!!!!

Premiership table? wassat then? 😉 Somat to do with you football-heads? Hmm?

Right, I'm hogging this board so I'll say nighty night.

May there always be plenty of lead in your pencil...

Ahem! Sorry, I can't sleep. I'm always in a strange mood when I'm up late 😉

Hazy x

Author's Reply:
Ah, yes - and it's goodnight from him! (saw a bit of the late Ronnie Barker earlier - he was clever with words and a great comedic actor). I liked him.

Don't give me that Essex Girl twaddle. You might have had a reasonable upbringing, but you're on the wrong side of Tower Bridge these days. I just hope it won't be long before Woolwich Arsenal follow in your footsteps and go back to where they belong, sorting out their relegation struggle in their own backyard and leaving North London to its rightful representatives. Have you looked at the Premiership table? Where's spacegirl these days?

Right...okay mate. Cheers for your lovely and humorous comments!

I had a good time with Pete and Shona, btw - hope Hamlet was good!

All being well, My 'HELP' poem should appear tomorrow...

G'night

Steve

Hazy on 17-10-2005
Falling In New York
Ooops, didn't mean to say 'you' twice there. I've really lost the plot :s Perhaps I was about to say 'your' somat or other... s'gone now. Like the fastest food in the west. A scone. Only I say it like stone, only scone, so that joke don't really work...

Hmm. Okay, I'll get me coat.

S'later alligator.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:


Four-Fifths Of Charm (posted on: 03-10-05)
a character out to bring harm...

You turn it on when it suits you,
switch off at the drop of a hat,
there's nothing about you impromptu:
you're manipulative; you're a rat.

You compliment and you flatter,
you're attentive, considerate, kind,
but what lies behind all your patter
is a Machiavellian mind.

You're fascinated to meet me,
you seem like a good sort at first,
as if I should trust you completely
and fall for the act you've rehearsed.

You're happy to spread joy and laughter,
yet still be sincere and polite,
but as soon as you've got what you're after,
then you're off like a thief in the night.

And the consequences escape you,
whatever the heartache, the mess,
you don't give a damn what damage you do,
the truth is, you couldn't care less.

Once you've got started, it's plain to see
you're a character out to bring harm,
and behind your front lies the legacy
that's the last four-fifths of charm.


Archived comments for Four-Fifths Of Charm
Apolloneia on 2005-10-03 07:51:02
Re: Four-Fifths Of Charm
Hi Steve, this is a very good poem, I wouldn't change a thing, and yes such characters out to bring harm couldn't care less. 🙂
Cheers!
Nicoletta

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-10-03 09:23:06
Re: Four-Fifths Of Charm
Nic, many thanks. I agree that this poem is clear enough and not one I need to mull over. It is what it is...'clever' in a way, perhaps, but no real 'levels' (which I love), but maybe a clear expression on how we should be aware of charm.

Thank you for commenting,
Steve

Author's Reply:

karenuk on 2005-10-03 13:22:43
Re: Four-Fifths Of Charm
I liked this. The light tone and easy rhythm is deceptive, as there is a lot of feeling and depth in the words. Nicely done 🙂

Karen x

Author's Reply:

Apolloneia on 2005-10-03 21:12:36
Re: Four-Fifths Of Charm
Yes it is clear enough, but not entirely clear:

You’re fascinated to meet me,
you seem like a good sort at first,
as if I should trust you completely
and fall for the act you’ve rehearsed.

This *points up* is where probably another layer of the poem exists. Did you fall for the act? Or did the front lies stopped you from falling for the act? Or perhaps you fell for the legacy that is the last Four-fifths of Charm.
:0)
N.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-10-04 08:26:41
Re: Four-Fifths Of Charm
Hi Karen - glad you enjoyed reading. It's good to know that the ironic contrast between the language and the style came over!

Many thanks,

Steve

Author's Reply:

Dargo77 on 2005-10-04 13:34:23
Re: Four-Fifths Of Charm
Steve, I have met a few of these in my time. Love your very exact description of such characters.
Best regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-10-04 15:13:55
Re: Four-Fifths Of Charm
Very apt, and haven't we all met them. I like the rhythm and the last line and title will stick. Did you invent the expression?
Daff

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-10-04 16:34:31
Re: Four-Fifths Of Charm
Ah, Nic - I see you popped back!

I don't think there are what I would think of as layers to this poem. An ambiguity perhaps, as to what exactly has prompted the narrator to his or her expression, and an attempt to refer to the use of charm in a wider sense than just trying to chat up someone by paying them compliments. I meant to portray the malicious use of charm not only in the sense of a charmer in a personal relationship context, but also in other ways, such as the back-stabbing corporate climber, the ruthless businessman, the conman and even (perhaps especially!)...the journalist. Whatever it is that they're after, once they've got it then they're off: you are of interest to them only for so long as you have something that they want. This is often a skill or access to certain knowledge - how many times have we been in a work situation where someone who is usually not interested in you at all suddenly becomes flattering, attentive, charming, because they need your help to meet their deadline, for example?!

Sorry, I'm going on a bit too much now, but thanks for the additional comment.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-10-04 22:14:41
Re: Four-Fifths Of Charm
Hi Dargo - thanks for latching on to this. In a way, it's a shame that it should ring so true, but I'm grateful for your appreciation.

Steve



Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-10-04 22:20:24
Re: Four-Fifths Of Charm
Hi Daff - pleased you enjoyed.

I don't know if anyone else has used the expression 'four-fifths of charm,' so I suppose I did invent it. I came up with the idea when trying to think of a poem on the subject of charm for a competition in a magazine. Sadly, my poem was not included in the end, but at least it brought about this idea and it seems to have resonated with several on uka.

Thanks for popping in - you're always welcome!

Steve

Author's Reply:

allieuk on 2005-10-06 01:20:21
Re: Four-Fifths Of Charm
My God, charm can be a deadly weapon if we're stoopid enough to fall for it! This is a damn fine piece of verse, as always Mr Pencilcase. It made me think rather too deeply this sad night.

Allie x

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-10-06 08:06:56
Re: Four-Fifths Of Charm
Love it young Pencil. It reminded me of a male friend of mine - no longer a friend. At the risk of sounding happy clappy - great write.

s
u
n
k
e
n

his balls need balancing

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-10-06 16:42:30
Re: Four-Fifths Of Charm
Allie - I'm not sure if my poem made your night sad or if it made worse what was already a sad night.

Anyway, I hope you've cheered up. Thanks for your complimentary remark - I'm grateful for your appreciation.

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

BlueyedSoul on 2005-10-06 16:50:52
Re: Four-Fifths Of Charm
I really liked this.....you nailed this one down. I think I have met this guy more than once. Love the title too.
~Cindy

Author's Reply:
Hi Cindy - nice of you to drop in and let me know you liked this. I think I've commented on this poem enough now, so I think I'll just say thanks and wish you a good time on uka (you seem to be one of a few recent new members who are being active on the site - I hope it goes well for you).

Cheers,

Steve

pencilcase on 2005-10-06 20:36:56
Re: Four-Fifths Of Charm
Ah, sunken - glad you liked it. I'm sure we've all met people like that.

I am intrigued though by the conspicuous absence in your comment to any allusion whatsoever to the Conservative Party Conference.

Take bracelets, I predict charm.

Steve

Author's Reply:

rozee on 2005-10-06 23:53:12
Re: Four-Fifths Of Charm
well written

I agree it's a shame when people are manipulative, makes it harder to trust and we lose out on genuine friendships

Author's Reply:
Hi rozee - always good to hear from a 'new name'! Yes, as you say, one aspect of this is that it's possible to become so cynical that we miss out on someone who is actually sincere!

Hope you enjoy being on uka!

Cheers,

Steve

Jolen on 08-10-2005
Four-Fifths Of Charm
Steve,
This has got a great rhythm and lovely rhyme.. And the message is too perfect! I enjoyed this very much.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Thank you, Jolen. Good to know that the rhythm and rhyme conveyed the message!

Cheers,

Steve

Flash on 27-12-2005
Four-Fifths Of Charm
Hi Steve

I think i may have commented on one piece by you before,(Tony Hancock?)...anyway i read this a while ago and like others recognised the or type of person immediately, do we all know this person? It is a small world isn't it?

Perhaps i even recognise some of those negative traits in me, i wonder if we all do? God people who mess with other minds, and get enjoyment from it are the lowest.

Anyway apart from the title and last line i thought it was IMO excellent. i'm not a poet just saying how it came across to me.

Regards

xxxxx
Flashy

ps Spurs are looking mighty impressive and tough.

Author's Reply:
Hi Flash! Thanks for the comment.

Funny you should mention my poem about Tony Hancock - I recorded a programme about him last night.

I think you are right that, whilst there are those who set out to be manipulative, there are elements of this in all of us, or most, at least (if it's possible to say 'most at least').

Thank you for your appreciation of this poem. It had quite a number of hits and comments, so I think it resonated! It's always pleasing to see a comment on something other than a submission in the current week. Not that I mind comments on current stuff, of course!

Thanks for popping in and best wishes for the New Year.

And, yes, Spurs are looking good! I think WBA away tomorrow night will be tough though. Just get the feeling that they'll make it tight and we will do well to come away with a point.

Cheers,

Steve


When People Click (posted on: 19-09-05)
...its not as straightforward
as you might think



When people click these days,
it's not as straightforward
as you might think.

The truth is
it's far more complicated,
in many different ways,
than a world of paper and ink.

There's a constant stream
of warnings
and questions
and doubts about
a secure connection.

You are entering an unknown zone
Do you want to continue?

How should I know?
You're supposed to be
the one with all the answers,
and the best you can come up with
is a warning
about entering
a virtual twilight zone.

Put the onus on me, why don't you?

I spent good money on you.

These days, when people click,
it's possible to do
huge amounts of damage

maliciously,
or, in not-so-blissful ignorance.

But even if you suss
what caused the devastation
and you have the satisfaction
that, at least,
it's not a mystery:

your click won't make it possible
to suddenly
clear history.

You can delete
all the temporary files
you like
and cookies too,
but it won't remove
the hidden trace
that worms its way through you.

In days gone by
if you made a mistake,
you screwed it up
and started again.
But these days, when
everything's PC,
we're in the grip
of your domain
and we're the ones being screwed,
because you've got too much power,
and power, in its nature,
if supply is in excess,
demands to be abused
till the balance is redressed.

I don't know what the answer is,
you take up so much time
and often lead me nowhere,
just leave me feeling ill.

Perhaps I've got a virus.
I'm not certain,
that's for sure,
but in my offline moments
I can't help thinking, still,
being trapped
in a mindfield of clicking,
I'd be happier
dipping my quill.

Archived comments for When People Click
Bradene on 2005-09-19 13:30:15
Re: When People Click
Steve, this poem certainly clicked with me. Very clever I thought. Val x

Author's Reply:

karenuk on 2005-09-19 13:32:59
Re: When People Click
Very clever! Our modern world is certainly one where that old adage 'can't live with them, can't live without them' can be applied to computers.

Karen.

Author's Reply:

tai on 2005-09-19 15:17:19
Re: When People Click
Hi you clever scribe you. Many will identify with your endearing poem. I certainly do, Yes the internet is a minefield, we just have to tread very carefully. I love your ending too, the quill, is better than any pill.

9 from me.

Smiling

Tai

Author's Reply:

Apolloneia on 2005-09-19 18:15:13
Re: When People Click
Steve you wrote this wisely, and you wrote the truth and nothing but the truth. Yesterday I also had the same thought, amazing,

"your click won’t make it possible
..to suddenly
..clear history."

Although I think your poem may need some editing, a ten from me and a fave. Cheers.
Nicoletta

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-09-19 19:04:26
Re: When People Click
Hit a nerve with me young Mr. Case. I trust to pc's far more than is healthy. I'm a good lad though, so there will be no trace of dodgy stuff on my lovely new virginal laptop - honest! Good stuf - as usual.

s
u
n
k
e
n

Author's Reply:

Jay on 2005-09-20 01:22:46
Re: When People Click
Clever piece Pencil... I liked this especially:

because you’ve got too much power,
and power, in its nature,
if supply is in excess,
demands to be abused
till the balance is redressed.


Jenn.




Author's Reply:

AnthonyEvans on 2005-09-20 17:37:37
Re: When People Click
i enjoyed this read, steve. best wishes, anthony.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-20 19:53:10
Re: When People Click
Hi Val - glad this clicked with you!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-20 20:15:05
Re: When People Click
Hi Karen! Yeah, you're right, you can't live with 'em, and you can't shoot 'em!

Yours lost in cyberspace,

Steve

Author's Reply:

admin on 2005-09-20 20:22:14
Re: When People Click
Pencil, you should put this on audio - it'd be brilliant 🙂

Author's Reply:

Slovitt on 2005-09-20 20:48:08
Re: When People Click
Steve: Intelligent, and clearly thought out, and clearly written. It is a poem because you say it is, and because of its formatting, but the flat language does test definitions here, though let me hasten to add that this is not a bad thing. I enjoyed your piece, and though dipping one's quill has its own allure, the instant feedback, the verifiable feedback of internet posting, still retains a charm for me that I never got across 25 years of publishing poetry in the small mags/lit journals. A good piece. Swep


Author's Reply:

littleditty on 2005-09-20 20:50:34
Re: When People Click
Hello Pencil - i really liked the word play/double,multiple meanings you used to get your points across. Going to click and go now - beep beep bye :o) xxxlittleditty x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-21 20:13:09
Re: When People Click
I must admit I quite like being called a clever scribe. Usually I'm called far worse than that.

Thanks, Tai!

Yours treading carefully, but failing,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-21 20:36:35
Re: When People Click
Nic - many thanks indeed. Funny that we had similar thoughts! Further indication, perhaps, of what I referred to as a 'mindfield'!

Thanks again for making this a fave.

Cheers,

Steve



Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-21 20:42:44
Re: When People Click
s
u
n
k
e
n

thanks for

g
n
i
c
a
f
r
u
s

on this one.

I'm always grateful for your comments and would like to wish you much joy with your virginal laptop.

Take Five, I predict Brubeck.

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-22 18:48:43
Re: When People Click
Jenn, thanks for letting me know this appealed.

Thanks for clicking on this one.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-22 18:50:45
Re: When People Click
Anthony, thanks for letting me know you enjoyed reading my poem.

And best wishes to you too!

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-23 15:54:27
Re: When People Click
What an excellent idea. I'll see if I can do that. I'm normally busy working, sleeping, writing poems and going to wedding receptions, but I'll see what I can do.

I must get myself one of those microphone things: I'm told that this makes audio submissions much easier.

You can see that I'm becoming quite a technical person, as indicated in this poem.

Thanks for comment - I hope to sub the audio for this, and others, in time.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-24 16:49:45
Re: When People Click
Thank you, ld. Finding myself with a brief moment between wedding receptions, I would like to thank you for your appreciation of this poem and what it's about.

These days, I spend most of my life on the John Lewis Gift List page, forking out for wedding presents, so it's nice to pop back to uka from time to time and receive comments such as yours.

Again, many thanks indeed.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-25 18:54:11
Re: When People Click
Hi Swep - pleased you enjoyed reading this. As you say, it's not a bad thing to test definitions, so I appreciate your saying that.

Hope to get this on audio before too long.

Many thanks for popping in.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-25 19:07:55
Re: When People Click
Tai-Li,

Many thanks for your generous comment and for picking me as a fave author, etc.

It's good to know that this clicked with you!

Steve

Author's Reply:

tai on 2005-09-26 10:50:11
Re: When People Click
Hi Pencil...I love your voice, it reminded me of the story tellers on Jackanory! You are probably too young to remember, but it was a sweet childrens programme of my far distant era.

I love the ironic tone to it to. You really brought the poem alive. It is so cool to here all you folks voices.

9 from me.

Smiling

Tai

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-26 12:59:27
Re: When People Click
Hi Tai - to read your comment that my ironic voice brought the poem alive makes me feel that it was worthwhile making the recording, downloading, uploading, off-loading, unloading and putting up with 49 phantom phone calls. So I'm grateful for your comment.

Tragically, I'm not too young to remember Jackanory!

It's not as straightforward...as you might think.

Steve

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2005-09-30 18:10:12
Re: When People Click
Hi Steve

What a great poem and how I loved your reading which really took it to another level and brought it so alive! Very Michael Caine. ;o)

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-30 20:39:33
Re: When People Click
Stop frowing those bloody comments
AT ME!

Michael Caine? Bloomin 'eck.

Thanks for popping in Kat - glad you enjoyed.

Auf wiederklicken,

Steve

Author's Reply:

allieuk on 2005-10-04 16:22:43
Re: When People Click
Ohh this is clever. I love the rhythm and those sneaky little rhymes that you don't expect, but get you every time ;).

I love audios! And this was no exception. Fantastic voice, clever tone, great reading, and, in an embarrassment of perfection, great little sound effects lol.

Allie

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-10-04 21:51:58
Re: When People Click
So, you're still in two minds then?

Pleased you enjoyed the audio - I hope to send in some more recordings in due course. And pleased also that 'those sneaky little rhymes' came over.

Thank you very much.

Now it's back to the studio...

pencilcase,
BBC,
Hertfordshire...

Author's Reply:

teifii on 03-11-2005
When People Click
I loved this. Wasn't sure till near the end that it wasn't pure allegory. Most of it still reads very metaphorically at the same time as literally. On the literal level I can identify hugely although I do find the computer a great facilitator. But I still do at lest half my poetry writing on paper on an old child's desk propped across my armchair. Product of 70 year love affair with pen and paper.
By the way have nominated it.
Daff

Author's Reply:
Daff - thanks for the comment and the nomination. Pleased you found this a good read!

As far as poetry is concerned, I always start with pen and paper, often typing and printing out once I've got to a certain stage and then carrying that around with me and adding/amending in pen and then updating and re-printing. This can go on for a while until I get to finish it. When I write prose I usually create that on the computer, but might still annotate a hard copy in pen, as it develops.

An old child's desk across an armchair sounds like a good way to approach things!

Once again, many thanks.

Steve

Jen_Christabel on 15-11-2005
When People Click
I thought this was a great read. There is very little thought given to using the internet; people are real, even though we may be in cyber-space.
Jen :o)

Author's Reply:
Jen, thanks for your appreciation. The internet is amazing, in many ways, but can be a 'mindfield'!

Thanks for picking up on this one!

Regards,

Steve

Lare on 22-11-2005
When People Click
Ain't it the truth! Steve you hit this one right on. You have summed up this frustrating merry-go-round perfectly. I salute you in putting together such a wonderfully clever piece. Thank you for sharing. I'm envious...

Lare

Author's Reply:
Hi Lare, well, to learn that a fellow writer is envious/wish they'd thought of that, is always one of the best comments! So thanks for that!

The merry-go-round will go on, I'm sure, but maybe those of us who have started to feel a little seasick will bear in mind our vulnerabilities!

Best wishes,

Steve


Pursuit Of 1940 (posted on: 12-09-05)
It is 'Battle of Britain Day' on 15th September. This made me think of a poem I wrote a few (so to speak) years ago. I've revised it a bit and now submit it for your perusal.

I thought that I would miss the train,
by chance it was running late,
it didn't get through until gone quarter to,
so I still caught the twenty to eight.

A lucky break, no need to wait,
I sped across woodland and field,
thinking through Kent, and a weekend well spent,
as I rolled back to town 'cross the Weald.

Looking out, as train wheels squealed,
I pictured a hunt course by:
the gathering pace; the thrill of the chase;
the flash and the dash of hue and cry.

And as the sun sank in the sky,
I thought of the hour most fine
and our debt to The Few when the Spitfire flew,
hunting for Messerschmitt 109.

I imagined my life on the line,
despatched on a vital sortie,
transported by train to a much higher plane,
on a weekend return, 1940.

Archived comments for Pursuit Of 1940
karenuk on 2005-09-12 13:49:19
Re: Pursuit Of 1940
I enjoyed this. It reminded me a bit of Larkin (which is a good thing).
Karen.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-12 20:07:57
Re: Pursuit Of 1940
Hi Karen - many thanks for the comment.

It's not long since I responded to another comment that compared me with Larkin, saying that this was becoming a bit worrying! You know what I mean - you felt the need to back up your comment with 'which is a good thing'!

Well, yes, it is very complimentary, in a way, so thank you for that.

Feeling quite relieved I'm not a librarian,

Steve

Author's Reply:

Gerry on 2005-09-12 20:26:52
Re: Pursuit Of 1940
Steve, nicely done. Brings back memories...

Gerry.

Author's Reply:

littleditty on 2005-09-12 21:25:21
Re: Pursuit Of 1940
Ive had the same thoughts on the same train - i liked the way you have told this - it has a steam train rhythm to it -nice one xxxlittleditty x

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-09-13 01:07:49
Re: Pursuit Of 1940
Churchill would be proud of this.. but perhaps not BR. There are times when I've wondered if my weekend return ticket would work, but not quite to the same degree. Let us not forget.. J.

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-09-13 08:18:40
Re: Pursuit Of 1940
Nicely done Mr. Case. Respect.

s
u
n
k
e
n

making do with onions

Author's Reply:

Slovitt on 2005-09-13 12:19:49
Re: Pursuit Of 1940
Steve: You solve the problems of form very gracefully. My only reservation about the poem is that the reader receives it as a transmission from the poet, rather than as something that can be interacted with. Nevertheless, it's an accomplished piece of writing, and it's an attractive tale. Swep

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-13 18:58:48
Re: Pursuit Of 1940
Hi Gerry. Thanks for dropping by - glad you enjoyed.

I was born in 1960, but happily I still managed to catch the 19:40.

Thanks again,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-13 19:33:08
Re: Pursuit Of 1940
Thanks, ld. Trains, and train rhythms, are good for poems sometimes, I think. And that gazing out of the window thing can often spark the imagination, I find.

Good to know you enjoyed.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-13 21:33:58
Re: Pursuit Of 1940
Thank you, John. Well, I suppose a reference to Churchill is not inappropriate, especially as his country home was situated in the Weald of Kent.

Sometimes it can be very handy if your train arrives a little late but, as G.K.Chesterton put it (and as I have mentioned in an earlier poem):

"the only way to be sure of catching a train is to miss the one before."

Keep that ticket safe,

Steve



Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-14 17:25:54
Re: Pursuit Of 1940
Thanks for commenting - you certainly know your onions.

Bearing in mind that your own leanings must surely be towards the navy and, specifically, submarines, it is pleasing to know that you related to the aerial aspects of this poem.

Consider yourself piped aboard.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-14 20:47:42
Re: Pursuit Of 1940
Hi Swep - I'm grateful for your appreciation of my latest offering on uka.

From your remarks, it seems that the 'mind-wandering train journey contemplation' has come across. I think you make a very valid comment that this is more of a transmission from the poet rather than something that invites interaction on the part of the reader. On the one hand, perhaps the underlying feel of being lost in one's own thoughts might 'justify' the first person transmission approach (and an earlier comment said something like 'I've been on that train'), but I think there is a strong case that this could be a better poem if it acted on your suggestion.

However, this is something I wrote about 8 years ago and revised recently in the hope of sending it in for the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and the rhyme scheme is such that it is difficult to revise without re-writing it completely.

I'm very pleased that you let me know your comments on this 'train of thought' poem!

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:


Mother Knows Best (posted on: 29-08-05)
A poem about Thalidomide, a woman's instinct, and more besides...

In 1959, it was,
around the time
they'd never had it so good.
I don't say we, because
I didn't know:
being just an embryo.

A wife and mother, Vi,
suffered morning sickness.
She knew the reason why.

Off to the doctor's she went,
where Vi was advised Thalidomide
would ease the discomfort
that pregnancy brought.
She might have swallowed it,
but she hesitated, thought
and something told her,
deep inside,
not to take Thalidomide.

Had she decided otherwise,
it could have cost me arms and legs,
but I arrived with hands and feet,
and fingers, toes,
developing a lucky streak
that's healthy, I suppose.

So next week, when she's 85,
I think I'll spread my arms out wide
and offer that little old lady
the protection and strength
that only a grown-up son can provide,
and then I'll thank my lucky stars
that she turned down Thalidomide.



Archived comments for Mother Knows Best
Sunken on 2005-08-29 11:19:16
Re: Mother Knows Best
Top poem Pencil. Nuff said.

s
u
n
k
e
n

suffering from a shortage of words

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-08-29 15:33:52
Re: Mother Knows Best
I'm sure the poem itself will make a lovely birthday present. And I bet she has thanked those lucky stars on your behalf and hers for all those years.
A very sensitive treatment of the subject.
Daff

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-29 16:09:58
Re: Mother Knows Best
'Suffering from a shortage of words'? Can this be?

Hope things are back to 'normal' soon!

Thanks for reading my poem. I could have been a victim all too easily.

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-29 16:45:36
Re: Mother Knows Best
Hi Tai-Li. You might have a point regarding putting Thalidomide in italics, but at the same time I think it helps remove us from what has been known and, as you say, 'charged', for decades, taking us back to the time when this was just another new product that was marketed as having great benefits and available on the NHS.

It might be true that trials are more stringent these days, but I still think we shouldn't 'swallow' everything the doctors tell us. The pharmaceutical industry (in which I work, btw) dreams up fabulous names for its products, but still gets it wrong sometimes - the latest controversy concerning Merck's medication that was, I think, intended to combat arthritis, but seems to have had the unfortunate side effect of killing people. If I remember rightly, the name of that particular product is Vioxx - maybe I had this in my sub-conscious when writing this poem, or maybe that's what prompted it in part, considering my mum's name is Vi?

Thank you for wishing my mum a happy birthday - I'll pass it on!

Many thanks for commenting,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-29 17:26:45
Re: Mother Knows Best
Daff - so nice of you to pop in! Yes, maybe the poem would make a lovely present.

As you have noticed, I am indeed a sensitive soul. Mind you, once I'm riled...I could crush a grape!

Thanks for your appreciation.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-29 19:30:56
Re: Mother Knows Best
Tai-Li,

I'm grateful for your comments and respect your opinion, but I reject totally your inference that I wanted to 'have a good laugh about the side-effects of medication.'

Another commenter has remarked that my poem treats the subject with sensitivity, I think. If you regarded my reply to your original comment as flippant, then I regret that, but would like to make it clear that this was not my intention. I was thinking rather of how things still go wrong, and Vioxx is something in the news right now. I appreciate that known side-effects are often deemed to be acceptable for the greater good of the patient, but was thinking more about serious unknown side-effects that become all too apparent after what had been thought to be successful completion of clinical trials.

Thank you,

Steve

Author's Reply:

Apolloneia on 2005-08-29 19:41:10
Re: Mother Knows Best
I liked it very much. 😉
Nic

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-30 02:36:19
Re: Mother Knows Best
Hi Nic - glad you liked!

Many women took thalidomide for very understandable reasons. Fortunately, my mum decided against it.

I've got considerable pain in one of my fingers at the moment. Not good. But i should be grateful that i've had my arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers and toes for 45 years! I suppose i should be happy that at least i was born with a full complement of bits - even if, in some respects, they're starting to complain!

Best wishes,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-30 11:21:57
Re: Mother Knows Best
Hi Tai-Li,

I'm sorry to learn of the problems you have to contend with and, if any apology or explanation were needed, then I accept that and thank you.

There are a few strands to this reflective poem that I wrote over the weekend, but the main theme really is the 'there but for fortune' tone and content. To put it another way (and this is rather old-fashioned, but valid, it seems to me) I was counting my blessings. I think there is a wider point here too, in the sense that we all make decisions to do or not do things that, in the end, have serious consequences that we were not aware of at the time.

Fortunately, my mum has a good mind and is in good spirits, but one of her problems is osteoporosis, so I am very aware of physical vulnerabilities. She can't walk far (she has breathing difficulties as well) and needs a stick these days. As I say though, she has a good mind and a spirited personality - perhaps a bit like you, if you don't mind my saying so!

Oh yeah, and she can still cook a mean Shepherd's Pie.

Thank you for your comment,

Steve

Author's Reply:

littleditty on 2005-08-30 12:19:30
Re: Mother Knows Best
a really strong interesting piece - thanks for this story xxxlittleditty x

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2005-08-30 15:34:34
Re: Mother Knows Best
Great poem Steve, glad she had a presentiment not to take it, if only thousands of other women had had the same instincts. That was back in the days when Doctors were never questioned, and our trust in them complete, things are a little different nowadays although stuff does happen, our little Leo being a case in point. Wish her a happy birthday from me. Nicely written piece Love Val x

Author's Reply:

tai on 2005-08-30 23:12:47
Re: Mother Knows Best
This brought a tear pencil...I knew a few parents who did take it. The struggle they had to be recognised in Britain was shameful.

Glad you mom didn't

Tai wishing you good all the way to the end x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-31 01:22:03
Re: Mother Knows Best
Hi L-D. Thanks for letting me know you found this interesting!

Much appreciated,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-31 02:18:59
Re: Mother Knows Best
Hi Val - ta for the comment. I hope Leo is doing well.

I know what you mean about doctors not being questioned! And, as you say, things are a bit different these days.

Pleased you enjoyed reading this.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-31 02:40:14
Re: Mother Knows Best
Tai - thanks for your good wishes. And ta for your appreciation of the poem.

My fate could have easily been otherwise, like thousands more. And the other side of the coin, of course, is the thousands whose mum decided the other way, and who came into the world deformed. Well, we can have our thoughts on that, but I hope the poem is a sensitive reflection on an extremely important issue.

Thanks again,

Steve

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-08-31 21:41:29
Re: Mother Knows Best
Steve - as others have said, a sensitive treatment of a subject which most of us have seen the awful results of. A word about the poetry - I was trying to say the other night - but got side-tracked for some reason 🙂 - that this reminds me of Larkin's style, simple rhyme used to emphasise the gravity of the subject. All in all a very effective poem. Please add my birthday wishes for your Mum. J.

Author's Reply:

woodbine on 2005-08-31 22:05:31
Re: Mother Knows Best
Dear Steve,

A unique poem, in my experience; I haven't read anything like it. And a very good one.

With Parkinson's Disease the dilemma is different because no-one knows the cause for sure, so the newly diagnosed have no-one to blame and the most common reaction is 'why me, what did I do to deserve this'. I am currently struggling with this theme in a poem in a contemporary style but dedicated to William Blake.

Congratulations and best wishes,
John

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-01 02:38:52
Re: Mother Knows Best
Ah, John. Yes, I remember you. You were the chap celebrating his birthday last Sunday. I'm not sure, but it might have been the 16 pints of John Smith's that sidetracked you a little when I was talking about this poem!

I'm pleased you find this an effective poem. it's not the first time someone has viewed one of my poems as Larkin-esque, which is a tremendous compliment in a way, but gets me a bit worried in some respects.

I will indeed pass on your birthday wishes to my dear mum - ta fer that.

Thanks for commenting,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-09-01 02:51:50
Re: Mother Knows Best
John - it's great to know you enjoyed reading this and found it unique. Many thanks.

I look forward to reading your 'what did I do to deserve this' poem with specific reference to parkinson's.

Thanks again,

Steve

Author's Reply:


Transmission (posted on: 22-08-05)
As an even younger man in the early 80s, I began working for a company that made TV studio equipment, where I crossed paths with a character who was approaching retirement, and who, as a teenager, had worked for John Logie Baird when the first TV transmissions from Alexandra Palace were made, in 1936...

In 1983,
an early-twenties me
was working at the Cintel telecine company.

Bill told me how he'd fared
at the start, with Logie Baird,
when one day, unexpectedly, his memory was shared.

Near 50 years had passed
since he'd helped to hoist the mast
and, still enthusiastic, he relayed the telecast

of August '36,
reception then was mixed,
but still his flickered lines shone bright, leaving me transfixed.

From television's opening phase,
since early Ally-Pally days,
Bill had been a light-source in the world of cathode rays.

Though distanced 40 years,
we sparked as engineers
the day I spoke with one of television's pioneers.

Archived comments for Transmission
sirat on 2005-08-22 10:17:20
Re: Transmission
I think I would like a full detailed account. Sounds very interesting.

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-08-22 12:15:47
Re: Transmission
I really like this. The story is interesting in itself but it is also well thought out. I like the rhymes with the uneven lines -- make sthem sound more accidental, which they are not.
Daff

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-22 13:05:56
Re: Transmission
This is all true, apart from one bit of poetic licence: I was not an engineer, but working in an admin role. Bill, however, was certainly an engineer. The old Rank Cintel MkII telecine of the 50s/60s had been very much his baby, and boy did he take delight in talking about it! But his pride was justified: it was a marvellous precision made opto-mechanical wonder that served the industry for years. I overlapped with him for about a year and sometimes I needed to consult him for whatever reason (usually if there was an enquiry for spares from those dwindling numbers who were still using the old technology). He was a great guy, but I remember there being times when I thought how am I going to extricate myself from his chat - I had a busy job to do!

Technology moved on several leaps and bounds in the intervening period (at the time of the poem we didn't have email, the internet, etc - we didn't even have fax...it was telex then). And if we needed to phone places like Russia you'd be lucky to get a line and there would be a dialogue-jolting echo and delay. And that's just 'general' stuff: the advances in telecine and other image storage, retrieval and manipulation devices has been phenomenal, of course.

But you know, that old MkII is still a brilliant design and was the workhorse for years - I think they still have one in the National Museum Of Film, Photography And Television, in Bradford - I went there over a decade ago.

But what interests me about this is the fact that I had personal contact with someone who helped erect the mast at Ally Pally in the infancy of television. I'm no spring chicken, but I'm not ready for my bath chair - it just shows how rapidly things have developed.

Thanks for your interest.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-22 16:15:52
Re: Transmission
Daff, thanks for dropping in once again on the wonderful world of pencilcase. I'm very pleased you found this interesting. The company I worked for changed ownership over the years, but in fact its history could be traced back to The Baird Television Company.

Thanks for transmitting your appreciation!

Steve

Author's Reply:

sirat on 2005-08-22 16:31:30
Re: Transmission
I would love to have met him. As a schoolboy I went through a period of intense interest in radio and electronics, passed my RAE (Radio Amateurs' Examination) and built lots of home-brew ham radio equipment. Later I built lots of equipment for pirate radio stations. I've never quite got it out of my system.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-22 20:39:47
Re: Transmission
David - thanks for popping back in. I also got to know an American guy who worked for us in the states. He'd worked in the earlier days of live transmissions in the US and was obviously enthused when relating the excitement of live broadcasting around Bilko time! His first name was Richard. He'd spent a lot of his earlier working life working with 2" U-matic tape and, as a consequence, was known in the industry as 'Two Inch Dick'! I couldn't make that up!

Thanks again for your interest,

Steve

Author's Reply:

Gerry on 2005-08-22 21:08:10
Re: Transmission
An interesting item. I worked in early television development (1951) as an engineer. The change and advancement in technology to the present day has been truly phenomenal. I worked with an engineer who told me he shook hands with Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen.

Gerry

Author's Reply:

RoyBateman on 2005-08-23 08:46:58
Re: Transmission
Fascinating...something to relate to the grandchildren, if and when you have any. It's difficult to believe what's happened to technology in the past half-century, and this guy seems to have been a real link with the recent past. Truly part of "all our yesterdays".

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-23 18:37:32
Re: Transmission
Hi Gerry - pleased you found this interesting, and it's interesting to me to read of that link to Roentgen. Right, better go and turn on the telly (it takes a while to 'warm up'!).

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-23 19:20:05
Re: Transmission
Roy, good to know you found this fascinating. In general terms, the phenomenal advance in communications technology is likely to be seen in an historical context as a fundamental aspect of the age we live in.

Thanks again,
Steve

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2005-08-23 21:04:26
Re: Transmission
I enjoyed this, Pencilcase. I wish I could have been where your friend has been. Bye now.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-23 21:43:23
Re: Transmission
Good to know you enjoyed this. Many thanks for popping in.

Steve

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-08-23 21:56:26
Re: Transmission
Top one young Pencil. I once worked with the bloke who helped invent the door stopper. I know it's not in the same league, but it's helped get me laid a few times. Not. A great little tribute that gets a 10 from the munky.

s
u
n
k
e
n

raised by Tarzan

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-24 20:42:16
Re: Transmission
Thanks for popping in, your Submergedness - and ta very much for the extremely generous rating. Your recollection of the bloke who invented the door stopper sounds fascinating - you should write about it. After all, how many lives have been saved thanks to this invention? There's many a draught that would have slammed a door with countless injurious and fatal consequences but for the wonderful development to which you refer.

Take five, I predict jazz.

pencil

Author's Reply:


Public Squeaking (posted on: 19-08-05)
Is public squeaking an art? Is this poem art? Or are both just evidence, perhaps, that there's nothing quite like good old-fashioned cobblers?

My shoe has developed a squeak,
it was perfectly fine last week,
I was walking around
sound as a pound,
now my shoe has developed a squeak.

I know that it isn't unique
for a shoe to develop a squeak,
but this week I've found
that it's getting me down
and it's making me feel like a freak.

The dreaded, incurable creak
of a shoe that's developed a squeak,
makes everyone stare
and say ''look - over there!''
And it's not the attention I seek.

My posture's becoming oblique
in an effort to outwit the squeak
but, sorry to say,
it just won't go away -
whatever my walking technique.

And my pique's not confined to the squeak,
when it rains, then the shoe starts to leak,
it's not just annoying,
it's more soul-destroying -
I'm quite down-at-heel, so to speak.

But the outlook, at least, isn't bleak,
coz I'm getting a new pair next week
and the style and the hue
won't matter a sou -
just as long as they don't bloomin' squeak!

Archived comments for Public Squeaking
Elfstone on 2005-08-20 21:28:16
Re: Public Squeaking
Pencilcase I'm a bit surprised to be the first to comment on this. Technically this is very good and worthy of more attention than it is getting; definitely not a load of old cobblers. I grinned all the way through, partly in recognition - been there done that! :-)) Loved the humour here. Elfstone.

Author's Reply:

AnthonyEvans on 2005-08-20 23:34:47
Re: Public Squeaking
funny, pencilcase.

reminds me of the time a friend's shoe fell apart, the soul flapping away beneath the body of the shoe, during a visit to see 'the magic flute' at covent garden.

best wishes, anthony.

Author's Reply:

Emerald on 2005-08-21 10:10:36
Re: Public Squeaking
Hi Pencilcase,

I enjoyed this - you kept up the rhythm, and brought a smile.

Emma:-)

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-08-21 11:12:10
Re: Public Squeaking
Great stuff young Pencil. I enjoyed this more than toast. Believe. That's a compliment.

s
u
n
k
e
n

spying on satellites

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-21 15:35:04
Re: Public Squeaking
Thank you for saying that it's not a load of old cobblers! Glad you enjoyed the humour - and for all the frivolity, pleased to have registered that 'been there done that' feeling. It occurred to me that surely everyone has experienced an irritating and embarrassing squeaky shoe at some point in their lives!

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-21 16:10:13
Re: Public Squeaking
Thanks, Anthony - pleased it amused you.

You see, I was right! We've all got our shoe memories one way or another!

Thanks for dropping by,

Steve

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-08-21 17:47:40
Re: Public Squeaking
I do like a really funny poem with rhythm and rhyme. I really enjoyed it. Reminded me of squeaky shoes when I was nursinng on night duty. They always seemed to keep the squak for the quietest times.
Daff

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-08-21 18:51:14
Re: Public Squeaking
Steve - a well crafted light poem with more than a wellie-full of chuckles! Not sure if you'll get a grant from the Tate though 🙂 ... John.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-21 19:51:40
Re: Public Squeaking
Thank you for letting me know that my keeping up the rhythm brought you a smile. Now I think I'll just lie back and light a cigarette...

Glad you enjoyed!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-21 19:56:05
Re: Public Squeaking
I always enjoy your calling me 'young' pencil. 2B or not 2B though, that is the question. Or is it? I'm not altogether sure, even now. Anyway, where weren't we? Oh yes, the poem. You enjoyed it more than toast? You trying to butter me up?

I'll keep an eye out for the satellites...

Ta for comment.

Steve

Author's Reply:

tai on 2005-08-21 20:00:57
Re: Public Squeaking
I thoroughly enjoyed your Public Squeaking poem pencilcase. I must say you are a very polite Pulic speaker!lol I loved the tone and flow of the piece and gave it 9.

Smiling

Tai

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-21 20:25:21
Re: Public Squeaking
Yes, I was wondering if you would manage to wipe that silly grin off your face. Don't think that I can't see you!

Yes, you have my permission to 'pint' this if you like. You can pour in some lemonade and make a shandy of it if you want...

er, oh I see, you mean 'print' it! Yes, of course: only too pleased. 'Sound as a euro' wouldn't be quite the same though, would it?

Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed!

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

eddiesolo on 2005-08-21 20:31:43
Re: Public Squeaking
Hi Pencilcase,

This was very amusing, I liked it very much.

The only 'bad' experience with shoes was...well it was a pair of boots actually, I was at work working on the computer and rested my feet on a pipe, the bloody soles melted! I then hobbled about unsteadily (not cos of the booze as some work colleagues thought) for weeks after.

Si:-)

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-21 20:32:35
Re: Public Squeaking
Daff, I'm so glad you could pop in. I knew you were coming though - I could hear you squeaking in the distance. I'd love to read this in front of an audience. I'm wondering if an Irish brogue might be appropriate? I might just read it in shoe shops, I'm not sure yet.

Good to know you enjoyed!

Steve

Author's Reply:

Slovitt on 2005-08-22 01:26:20
Re: Public Squeaking
Steve: Yes, we've all had a shoe that squeaks, and some have even had more than one. I'm not generally much for humorous poetry, but this is so well written, so catchy and tuned, that I have to approve. Very skillful. Swep

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-22 01:51:05
Re: Public Squeaking
Tai-Li...I know you're not stupid! Hah!

Glad you enjoyed!

Steve

PS: I can still see what you're up to though...!

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-22 01:57:37
Re: Public Squeaking
Thanks for that John. I like to be light at times, as you know, so if you considered this to be light and yet well-crafted, then that's good enough for me!

Will look out for the envelope from The Tate!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-22 02:02:59
Re: Public Squeaking
Me? Polite?

I don't know - but glad you liked my flow!

Good to know you thoroughly enjoyed it!

best regards,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-22 02:11:52
Re: Public Squeaking
Si..hah! Further evidence that everyone can relate to this!

Glad you melted into this one!

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-22 02:30:07
Re: Public Squeaking
Hi Swep! Yeah, it's a light-hearted thing...but i like a bit of variety! Good to know you found it well written! Cheers for that...

Steve

Author's Reply:

Hazy on 2005-08-23 10:45:10
Re: Public Squeaking
Hi Pencily Person

This one still makes me laff. Very good! This is where the audio thingy would be of benefit I think... this would work really well if people could hear you reading it too.

Only word I would change would be 'fine' in the 2nd line. Feels like you need a 2 syllable word.

Hope you don't mind that suggestion!

Take care.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-23 18:19:13
Re: Public Squeaking
I'm shocked. I've just logged on and noticed that this poem is at number 5!

You are quite welcome to make suggestions. I know what you mean about having another syllable in L2, but I prefer to keep 'fine' because I think this slows down that line a little so as to bring out the mock rueful tone that conveys how a squeaky shoe or other trivial matter can impact on us, even though we will have more important things going on in our lives, we might feel down about world events, etc, but still...that bloomin' squeak won't go away and you can't ignore it!

I think your comment about the audio wotsit is relevant here, because I know exactly how I would read this (and with specific reference to L2, how I would pace that). A recording could perhaps be enhanced by a squeaky sound effect in the background, culminating with a final squeak about half a second after the last word, which, strangely enough, is 'squeak'!

Thanks for your thoughts on what is, possibly, the most serious poem I've ever written! ;o)

Steve

Author's Reply:

allieuk on 2005-10-04 16:39:38
Re: Public Squeaking
Ooooh, Hilaire Belloc is alive and well and residing on UKA. lol. That was fun 🙂

Allie

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-10-04 19:22:36
Re: Public Squeaking
Well, cobblers is a word that springs to mind, but if you want to call it Belloc's then that's fine.

Thanks for picking up on this one!

Steve

Author's Reply:

allieuk on 2005-10-05 16:43:34
Re: Public Squeaking
Belloc's....haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. You made me spit my tea!!! *grins*

Allie x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-10-05 22:32:37
Re: Public Squeaking
I haven't heard that euphemism before. Still, at least it made you grin.

Right, I'm off fer me cocoa.

Ta for popping back - sorry about the little accident.

Steve

Author's Reply:


Jimmy (posted on: 15-08-05)
grassroots stuff

Descending to a sanitised centre,
our silence nowhered
in mutual isolation.
Our outing having floundered,
we'd gravitated towards
just skimming the contract-cleanered surfaces
of another gentle mall, where
there seemed no chance at all to clear,
the artificial atmosphere
within controlled parameters,
of monitored, conditioned air.

It was hardly Arcadia.

We were looking for a present.
It would be from both of us,
and although we knew,
as an item, it would hold no future,
I went along.
Then suddenly,
a glimpse, a spark
of sporting moments long since gone,
I saw, on my periphery,
amongst the repro-photographs,
a moment stilled in clarity:
the black and white of glory days;
the triumph that was Jimmy.

It took me back,
down Memory Lane and Wembley Way,
seeing Greavsie lift the Cup,
as he and Cliff, and Danny and co
milked the moment, lapped it up,
the picture telling
its honour-retaining story,
but it wasn't about the winning -
it was about the glory.

On the spur of the moment,
I imagined the programme
with Worthington ease,
Bovril, Mann's
and Player's Please!
And realised it was '62,
when I was a dribbler myself, in a way,
just a toddler,
as young as the decade.

But Jimmy,
Jimmy was a talent in his prime,
his well-toned legs
betraying nothing
of the hollow years to come,
his eyes alight and shining,
as he held the Cup aloft
beneath the Wembley roof:
a gleaming moment captured
by something more than instant
that made the photograph.

I stood, transfixed,
my heart and soul still feeling
in pretty good Billy Nick
until, back in the Hatfield Galleria,
you realised I
had lagged behind.

Noticing I wasn't there,
you turned at last
and looked at me, as if to say
"what's wrong with you?"
Like you, I never said a word:
the present then was bad enough;
I didn't want my past disturbed.


Archived comments for Jimmy
Michel on 2005-08-15 16:46:45
Re: Jimmy
Favourite.

Author's Reply:

Hazy on 2005-08-15 17:04:31
Re: Jimmy
Some fantastic lines here, pencily person.

Congrats on your nib. Much deserved.

Take care.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-15 20:20:56
Re: Jimmy
Hi Michel - many thanks for picking this as a favourite.

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-08-15 20:30:51
Re: Jimmy
Firstly, well done on not being anon (-; Ya know, I'm a bit of a world class dribbler myself young Pencil. No matter how hard or how long I shake the bugger, there is always that drip that hangs on for dear life. Anyway, I feel my toilet habits may not be exactly what this commenting thing is all about. One day young Case, I will produce a comment that is both intelligent and constructive. Imagine that! Until then however, you will have to make do with this )-: Great read, well done on the nib Mr. It suits ya. Contemplate the relationship between hamster and wheel. Thanks.

s
u
n
k
e
n

amputating thought

Author's Reply:

Slovitt on 2005-08-16 05:44:42
Re: Jimmy
Steve: This is intelligent, musical, and with the duality of emotion felt, and emotion reflected on.
This is a very good poem. Swep

Author's Reply:

Leila on 2005-08-16 09:51:23
Re: Jimmy
I agree with swep's comment, he has summed the poem up perfectly, cleverly done...L

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-08-16 17:13:33
Re: Jimmy
Steve - I'm bound to like this, being a fellow Spurs man, but it is very well done and I hope appeals to those who are other than fans. As I commented before, I particularly like the ending - I know just what you mean about not wanting happy memories of the past to be disturbed, which sometimes life can do. John.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-16 19:16:36
Re: Jimmy
Hazy - thanks for commenting. This one has been quite a while in the making and felt like quite an important one for me, so it's pleasing to get some good comments, etc. In fact, I've just noticed that someone's nominated it for the 2006 book, not sure, but I think it was Ann Follargee.

Thanks for your appreciation.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-16 19:21:47
Re: Jimmy
sunk - I always enjoy your comments. I have been contemplating the relationship between hamster and wheel, but whichever way I look at it...I keep going round in circles.

Thanks for surfacing!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-16 19:28:17
Re: Jimmy
Swep - many thanks for your reading and reflection on this poem. Knowing of your interest in soccer, I'd hoped you might find this one!

I wish I'd bought that photograph - maybe I'll find it again one day.

You never know...we might even win the Cup again one day?!

Audere est facere,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-17 17:10:53
Re: Jimmy
Leila, thanks for commenting. Much appreciated.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-17 17:39:53
Re: Jimmy
Thanks for that, John. Let's hope that Spurs can create some new happy memories this season, always remembering, of course, that it isn't about the winning, it's about the glory.

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

uppercase on 2005-08-18 02:42:03
Re: Jimmy
Very nice poem. There was a lot captured in a black and white photo..It wasn't about the winning, it was about the glory..I loved that line..Erma

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2005-08-18 12:34:41
Re: Jimmy
Bravo Steve! a wonderful poem.. that was back when football really was a sport to make you proud, even I was a fan then. I was aware of and loved the subtext too. Great poetry . Love Val x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-18 19:50:04
Re: Jimmy
Erma - thanks for the comment. I'm pleased you picked up on that particular line. A lot of Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) followers will know where that comes from, but I would be surprised if you, based in the USA, would know why that line is worded quite like that, so I'll tell you. This was what the captain of a very successful Tottenham side in the early sixties (Danny Blanchflower) replied at the time, when questioned if football was about winning.

Thank you for popping in!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-18 20:48:01
Re: Jimmy
Hi Val,

I was seldom poetry in motion in my playing days, but it's good to know you appreciated my poetry emotion!

Thanks very much for the comment.

Steve

Author's Reply:

woodbine on 2005-08-18 22:50:40
Re: Jimmy
i want to get my query about this poem out of the way first. The first stanza is written in a very different, artful manner to the rest of the poem which is in a much more colloquial style, as if two different writers were told to collaborate, and I wonder why.
Having said that, it is a very good story and a very telling ending:
the present then was bad enough;
I didn't want my past disturbed.
Says all you need to know about the state of their relationship.
worth the knib.
John

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-20 01:44:06
Re: Jimmy
John - many thanks for your comment. I hope that the shift in style is appropriate, via the punctuating, loaded and reflective 'it was hardly Arcadia'. I hope the artful, measured style of the beginning gives way to a spark of nostalgia and feeling that won't be denied...that suddenly (and I questioned the use of that word, but felt it appropriate) the more measured approach doesn't matter: the intent is for the real feeling to come through. Erm, hope that's enough!

Glad you liked the ending. It's a long-ish poem, so I hoped to end with a bit of punch.

Right, I'm off for a mug of Bovril and a Player's!

Steve

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-08-21 16:28:01
Re: Jimmy
Lovely poem. And that says something coming from me as I don't give a damn about football. I especially liked
a moment stilled in clarity:
and I too think the ending excellent.
Daff

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-22 02:42:22
Re: Jimmy
Daff...thank you for engaging with this, even in your non-footballness! There are specifics here, for me, but I'd hoped to transcend the details in some ways...

ta for popping in!

Steve

Author's Reply:


One Of These Days (posted on: 08-08-05)
I'm still in two minds about this one...



One of these days, I'll make up my mind
and leave my ambivalent past behind,
I'll stop weighing up every pro and con,
I'll chance it: before all my chances are gone.
I'll conquer this indecisive habit,
when opportunity knocks, I'll grab it,
no more hesitation, no longer in doubt,
uncertain if life should be opt in or out.
I must make a start - at least, make a list,
before it's a case of' 'I must, I missed'.
I'll draw up a plan, while I'm still feeling keen,
banishing thoughts of what might have been,
I'll come off the fence and change my old ways:
I reckon I could, you know, one of these days.

Archived comments for One Of These Days
Hazy on 2005-08-08 17:16:15
Re: One Of These Days
lol 'ark at Mr Decisive 😉 (like the intro, btw lol)

Last two lines, my fave. Or maybe the first two. Or maybe the 9th and 10th...

OMG decisions, decisions. I'm so rubbish at them.

Actually, I think I prefer being told what to do :-p

Yep, I enjoyed. The poem, I mean 🙂

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-08 23:56:43
Re: One Of These Days
Ta for that 'aze. Glad you enjoyed it.

Yes, sometimes, being told what to do makes life a bloomin' sight easier. Or does it? I'm still not sure. Or maybe I am, sort of. In a way.

Erm...where wasn't I? Well, anyway, my little offering will, I hope, just go to show how decisive I have become. On the other hand, even I admit that there is still quite a way to go before I truly become as decisive as I might possibly like to be. At least it's a start. Perhaps.

There again...

Boing!

Steve...zzzzz

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-08-11 07:28:11
Re: One Of These Days
I just want a nice decisive lady in high-heels and not much else to tell me what to do.
Another good piece young Pencil that surely deserves a bit more attention. Crave toast.

s
u
n
k
e
n

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-11 23:30:36
Re: One Of These Days
Erm...took me a while to get over that image of high heels, etc...but have now regained sufficient dexterity to type a reply.

Thanks for the comment, your sunkenness. Glad you found it to be a good piece

deserves a bit more of attention? Hmmm...maybe: hopefully from a decisive lady in high heels. Oh, sorry, you meant the poem.

Take five, I predict jazz.

Steve

Author's Reply:


Oxford Street Blues (posted on: 29-07-05)
It's about something I experienced on a dark January rush hour evening, earlier this year.


Threadbarely audible,
the used up man with tired eyes
stood outside,
but went unnoticed
in the bedlam thoroughfare,
where chaos surged the pavements and,
on the choking diesel road,
wailing sirens hurtled through
the sound of taxis ticking round
and squeaking brakes of double-deckers:
just another shopfront beggar.

In the early evening din,
struggling through the dissonance
of London's famous artery,
where empty vessels amplified
the mindless, mad cacophony,
I heard, somehow,
the faintest sound
issued from harmonica
that broke through all
the pace and noise
and made me think, slow down.
He couldn't play and so, perhaps,
the lightest puffs were wise:
a necessary compromise;
a ploy to ply his trade.
Already past his pavement cap,
I slowed down to a stop,
went back, against the tide
of kids who ran, amidst
the throngs of London Town.
I'd stopped and thought
and turned around.

Returning to his haunting song
across deceiving pyrite pavements,
there I saw the saddest man,
reduced to this in later years.
My heart could not ignore his tune
and so I grabbed a few small coins,
let them drop into his cap that,
like his playing, held no notes
and, hearing this, the blind man spoke.
I'd expected no reaction,
maybe just the slightest nod,
but in a voice of education,
strong and clear, he knocked me dead:
"Thank you!"
That was what he said
to me, it hid whatever tale
accompanied the winter sales
and suddenly, a spark of life
pierced the January gloom.
A fading star that still shone bright,
igniting wonder how it was
that, all at once, in Oxford Street,
his clear and chirpy gratitude
could cheer me up, yet reinforce
the underlying blues.


Archived comments for Oxford Street Blues
Claire on 2005-07-29 22:31:00
Re: Oxford Street Blues
A wonderful well described little tale here.

It was a pleasure to read.

Author's Reply:

Hazy on 2005-07-30 01:12:53
Re: Oxford Street Blues
Love this one, Pencily person.

It paints the picture so clearly. I almost feel like I've read a painting!

Some great lines, far too many to mention, I'd end up copying the entire poem out 🙂

Take care. Big mwah.

Hazy xx

Author's Reply:

LenchenElf on 2005-07-30 01:55:39
Re: Oxford Street Blues
Striking images and a cracking read,
"so I grabbed a few small coins,
let them drop into his cap that,
like his playing, held no notes"

Thanks for sharing this memory.
all the vert best
Lena

Author's Reply:

Emerald on 2005-07-30 07:07:01
Re: Oxford Street Blues
Its funny how something like that can bring about such emotions - uplifting, yet somehow desolate. A good poem, I enjoyed reading.

Emma:-)

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-30 10:25:45
Re: Oxford Street Blues
Hi Claire - pleases to see you enjoyed this and thought this well described.

Thank you,

Steve

Author's Reply:

discopants on 2005-07-31 12:07:34
Re: Oxford Street Blues
I enjoyed this slice of life, vividly detailed.

It flowed along nicely and -this will sound odd, I know- felt like there was a sneaky rhyme scheme going on, but there wasn't, was there??

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-07-31 12:18:08
Re: Oxford Street Blues
This flows perfectly young Pencil. Well worthy of the nib and certainly worthy of more attention. Well bloody done.

s
u
n
k


Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-31 16:08:52
Re: Oxford Street Blues
Hi Hazy - many thanks for your appreciation of this poem.

I was in Oxford Street at about 5:30PM in January, just before meeting a friend. Against the background of the buses and taxis, in the bustle of the pavements, there was this white-sticked old guy just about managing to get some puff into a harmonica...

Hmm...good to know it painted a picture for you.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-31 16:43:45
Re: Oxford Street Blues
Lenchen - good to know this came across. Thanks very much for commenting.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-31 19:35:21
Re: Oxford Street Blues
Emma - ta for commenting. I'm very pleased that the mix of emotions came through. Life is not always black and white.

Apart from if you're a zebra, I s'pose. But even then, I remember I brought this into doubt in my poem 'A Question Of Evolution'!

Thanks for popping in,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-01 01:47:40
Re: Oxford Street Blues
Hi disco - glad you enjoyed this slice of life! Sneaky rhyme scheme?...of course!

Ta for the comment,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-08-01 01:53:47
Re: Oxford Street Blues
Bloomin' 'eck sunky...flows perfectly...nib-worthy, etc...ta very much!

Pleased you enjoyed...

Steve

Author's Reply:


Exorcising The Elbow (posted on: 04-07-05)
carved between Jesus and Janus

I was walking, going nowhere
in the cold lunch break
of yuletide,
carved between Jesus and Janus.
Outside, I tried
to keep my cool,
avoid exposure,
keep inside rejection’s
burning winter fuel.

I chanced the pub,
moved amongst the moaners
and the over-eaten,
slumped around.
Bought myself a pint:
sat down.

An old man I
knew something of
arrived as usual,
collared, tied
in self-respect that hid the scars
of life that now revolved around
a lunchtime walk,
a pint or three
and one or two cigars.

He sat near me
and as his smoke
was animated by a shaft
of winter sunlight,
there we spoke
of Christmas past and life today.
He told of things that he had done
in wartime days,
when he’d been young,
talked of bombs and death
and fear,
reflecting too on one more year
that ambled then
towards its close,
while in the lunchtime pub we sat
and in the swirling atmosphere
of conversation,
not just chat, or superficial
this and that:
we spoke of life.
The message feeling
loud and clear:
we can’t know what the future holds;
so make the best of it, I s’pose.

Elbowed just the day before,
this broken time was dragging
but, I sensed,
since he’d been widowed
years before,
it seemed absurd for me to mope
and so I cut right through the smoke,

reaching out to grab my beer,
breaking through
the hanging layers:
seeing where there’s life;
there’s hope.
He wasn’t bitter, sitting there,
and so I wished him all the best
and, though still sad,
I thought: I’d live.
I’d take it, so that I could give
my heart to life in a brighter year,
then left the inn
to find, outside,
I breathed a better atmosphere.

Archived comments for Exorcising The Elbow
Hazy on 2005-07-04 11:19:37
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
Great writing, Steve. Glad to see you posted. Well done on your nibby 🙂 Hope you'll read it at the Meet if you make it.

Take care.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2005-07-04 13:01:16
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
Steve I love the content of your poem but I thought the gentle internal rhyming was superb and when read aloud it was pure magic this for me was indeed a great read and a favourite. Love Val x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-04 17:06:59
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
Thanks, Hazy. I'll get back to you when I can. I deleted Internet Explorer...doh!

:o(

Have to go. Cheers for comment.

Steve

Author's Reply:

Emerald on 2005-07-04 18:29:03
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
Hi Steve, this was excellent - really enjoyed reading, and well done on the nib

Emma:-)

Author's Reply:

Hazy on 2005-07-05 00:33:12
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
*Zips mouth* (and resists urge to mention the words blonde, technophobe and out with the ark) lol. Mwah x

Author's Reply:

woodbine on 2005-07-05 00:44:47
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
It's not often that the word ambulatory springs to mind to discribe a poem but this is a thoughtful, closely observed stroll through the no-man's land between Christmas day and the New Year in the company of one whose company is like those socks your aunty gave you that you feel guilty about giving to the charity shop. Very nicely balanced, with feeling but without sentimentality. Good Writing.

All the best,
John

Author's Reply:

LenchenElf on 2005-07-05 11:13:10
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
You take the reader with you, really enjoyed this, thanks.
all the best
LE

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-07-05 17:01:50
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
This really conjures up what can be the depressing side of Christmas and then lets us get reprieved by basic humanity. Nice to be reminded to look for the good.
And technically -- I love the flow and the rhymes that crop up here and there as if not planned but which I am sure were in fact skilfully placed.
Daff

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-05 19:36:00
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
oops...

I'll get back to these comments when I can.

As i've said before...I can't be good at everything.

gtg dinner!

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-07-06 01:06:57
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
Steve - a better atmosphere is what we all hope for so that we can realise our potential. We just have to find a way to cut through the hanging layers! Pass me a cigarette... John.

Author's Reply:

Apolloneia on 2005-07-06 13:10:53
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
Well you're right and you wrote it very well.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-06 13:56:30
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
Val - thanks very much for your appreciation, and thanks for picking it as a fave.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-06 13:57:19
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
Hi Emma, good to know you enjoyed this and thanks for letting me know.

Best wishes,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-06 17:01:26
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
John - many thanks for your considered comments.

Very much appreciated.

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

Claire on 2005-07-06 17:57:15
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
Excellent read hun. Congrats on that nib too.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-08 21:33:58
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
Thanks, LE!

Appreciate it,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-08 21:35:26
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
Daff - thanks for the comment and glad you enjoyed and appreciate your comments on the style.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-08 21:37:14
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
Hi Nic - always appreciate it when you comment. I'll take part a bit more myself when I get a new PC!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-08 21:38:09
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
Hi Claire - glad you enjoyed and thanks for letting me know.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-08 21:39:21
Re: Exorcising The Elbow
John - thanks for commenting.

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:


Saying It With Flowers (posted on: 01-07-05)
a bloomin' poem!

At the thyme, I put stock in our fuchsia,
you were like a new broom at the start,
when your love, like a red-hot poker,
awoke my bleeding heart.

I’d been a bit of a wallflower,
or a rambler that stuck to the fence,
then our tulips came together
and morale’s been a lot hyacinth.

But are you a friend or anemone?
Will you really forget-me-not?
Will we rise through our morning glory,
or both end up going to pot?

I thought that we’d found, in all honesty,
a flower that’s precious and rare,
and moments like that, at least for me,
are hardly a dahlia fair.

I’m getting a bittersweet feeling,
does the fuchsia I hoped for exist?
I wonder if love-lies-bleeding,
or was it just love-in-a-mist?


Archived comments for Saying It With Flowers
Hazy on 2005-07-01 13:16:46
Re: Saying It With Flowers
Brilliant, Steve.

Very expressive and very clever.

Fantastic play on words (and the title). Had to read several times and have probably still missed one or two!

Take care. Catch you soon.

Hazy xx

Author's Reply:

Apolloneia on 2005-07-01 14:16:47
Re: Saying It With Flowers
Hello Steve, this is a very nice poem and the best stanzas in my opinion were the 3rd and the 5th. Nicoletta

Author's Reply:

Dargo77 on 2005-07-01 17:36:26
Re: Saying It With Flowers
Steve, I do not know how long this took you, but in my opinion it was well worth it. A favourite read for me.
Best regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-02 01:13:34
Re: Saying It With Flowers
Hello Petal!

Thanks a bunch for the comment!

Steve

Author's Reply:

eddiesolo on 2005-07-02 01:23:26
Re: Saying It With Flowers
Great piece Steve, I liked this, great write.

Si:-)

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-02 01:34:52
Re: Saying It With Flowers
Thanks for that fave thing, Dargo.

Aster spirit!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-02 01:38:05
Re: Saying It With Flowers
Right...so what's wrong with the other stanzas? Hmmm?

Only joking! Cheers for the comment Nic!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-02 01:41:10
Re: Saying It With Flowers
eddie - glad you enjoyed.

And thanks for commenting!

Steve

Author's Reply:

Jolen on 2005-07-02 02:23:55
Re: Saying It With Flowers
It's a 'bloomin poem' alright.. Wonderfully done..Witty, clever and poignant.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-07-02 07:52:51
Re: Saying It With Flowers
Very clever young Pencil. I did have to stop half way through and take a antihistamine pill though (-;
A top write in my low opinion. Ten from me, because I say so.

s
u
n
k
e
n

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-02 16:29:54
Re: Saying It With Flowers
Hi Jolen - many thanks for your appreciation of this poem. You seem to have been bloomin' impressed, so it's nice to know you enjoyed my little exercise!

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-02 16:34:39
Re: Saying It With Flowers
Hi sunk - your comment made me laugh (as usual)!

Maybe that's what was on my mind...I get hay fever and had to stock up on cetirizine a few days ago!

And if you reckon it's worth a ten then I'm not gonna argue!

Thanks for popping in.

Steve

Author's Reply:

LenchenElf on 2005-07-03 00:01:05
Re: Saying It With Flowers
Lovely work and really enjoyed, thanks for sharing 🙂
all the very best
LE

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-03 05:33:43
Re: Saying It With Flowers
Your Lenchen-ness...thanks for your appreciation!

Nice one!

Cheers,

Steve


Author's Reply:

woodbine on 2005-07-03 14:17:04
Re: Saying It With Flowers
Reading your poem makes me want to put a flower in my hair, and I will do so the instant I find out where it went.

Best wishes, John

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-03 16:10:37
Re: Saying It With Flowers
I assume you are referring to your hair, rather than a flower!

Thanks for commenting, John!

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-07-03 17:51:23
Re: Saying It With Flowers
That's brilliant, made my day! How ever long did it take tou to think out all that word play? I've made it a favourite. If we have a poetry reading about flowers one day, can I read it. I can feel the subkect cioming up and would organise it this month if the art society didn't have prior claim on my time -- not to mention my bloody accounts, which your poem distracted me from.
Daff

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-03 21:03:36
Re: Saying It With Flowers
Hello Daff,

Sorry I distracted you from your accounts, or maybe I'm not since you said it made your day!

You have my permission to include this in a poetry reading if you wish.

Glad you enjoyed, and thanks for the fave read.

Steve

Author's Reply:

Claire on 2005-07-04 00:14:18
Re: Saying It With Flowers
Pencil hun, I think this is brill. I ain't into sloppy stuff much, but this is great.

Love can be a f***ed up thing, but it's worth it.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-04 01:09:18
Re: Saying It With Flowers
Daff (wish I'd incorporated that name in this poem!). Sorry...forgot to comment on how long this took to write, and I think Dargo asked about that too.

Well, I can reveal that it took me 24.78 seconds to write this poem, which, by coincidence, is my PB for the 200 metres.

Okay, that's a lie! I had the notion at least a year ago to write some sort of poem that included lots of names and references to flowers. God knows why, but I did. I finally got around to it. I might do something similar again, but incorporating musical instruments, diseases or things to eat or drink. I don't know.

Right, I'm off (before I outstay my welcome).

Whaddya mean, I already have?

Only joking - pleased you enjoyed.

Best wishes,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-04 01:17:24
Re: Saying It With Flowers
Hi Claire - thanks for letting me know you thought it was brill!

Anyway, it isn't sloppy, I was just mooking abaht.

Or was I? Hmmm?

I'm not even sure myself anymore!

Anyway, thanks again for the comment.

Steve

Author's Reply:


Captive Nuts (posted on: 13-06-05)
Something that happened one Sunday evening, about a year ago...


At the start of the third
of three long shifts,
the target for the night
was suddenly undermined,
when silence struck the production line.
The arse-licking anxieties
of the output-obsessed
brought false concern to my lips.
Engineers hurried to diagnose
what it was that they needed to fix.

The fault was discovered quite quickly,
sadly, it didn’t take long.
It was localised to the labeller,
where the captive nuts had worn.
They’d been held in position for ages,
the grip they’d once had, had gone,
and the wear and tear
of repetitive strain
had taken the edge that they’d started with
and left them unfit to perform.

I sensed immediate empathy
with the worn little fixings’ plight,
as a cog in a casualised workforce
being screwed and denuded of rights
hard-won in over a century,
but eroded now
to hire and fire:
contracted to 12-hour nights.

On the back of a knackered clipboard,
I notice etched graffiti:
bit by bit the penguins take
the little that’s left
of my sanity.

I think of a Social Studies lesson,
circa ’75,
and the question then burning,
concerning the forward-thinking mind:
what on earth will people do
with increased leisure time?

Then, we’re off again,
forging ahead –
the downtime didn’t amount to much.
My underpants, chafing already,
rubbed against sores from the nights before,
abrading my talcum-powdered-crutch, which

action had been,
(though maybe better left unsaid),
a vain attempt
to soothe my passage
through The Night Of The Making
A Living Dead.


I wasn’t quite losing my bearings as such,
but I think I was losing my thread,
feeling trapped with my thoughts
on captive nuts
that kept worming their way
through my head.

Archived comments for Captive Nuts
woodbine on 2005-06-13 07:05:50
Re: Captive Nuts
Steve, wildly anarchic ryhme scheme that defies logic and is very funny. I imagined that factories like this had all gone years ago with coming of computers. I like the underpants sequence best.



Author's Reply:

chrissy on 2005-06-13 11:17:51
Re: Captive Nuts
Very clever and very amusing though I guess not if yours are the nuts that are captive.
I loved the mechanical rhythm and the odd rhymes.
Very nice to read on a Monday morning.
Well done.
chrissy

Author's Reply:

uppercase on 2005-06-13 20:09:15
Re: Captive Nuts
I love it it's funny and nice to read on a blue Monday...love Erma

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-06-13 21:47:32
Re: Captive Nuts
Steve - indeed this says it all. I have enough qualms about what's going on in my 9-5 so can only imagine how you feel about your shifts - though you've told me often enough.
In any case it's very well expressed here and I hope writing about it helps you hold on to your nut(s). John.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-06-13 23:53:37
Re: Captive Nuts
PC almost dead and the zip in my pencilcase has gone, but hope things last sufficiently for me to respond to this comment.

John - many thanks for commenting. Your comment of "wildly anarchic ryhme scheme that defies logic and is very funny" fair made my day. Especially the wildly anarchic rhyme scheme bit. Thank you for that.

Personally, I think all poems should include an underpants sequence, so very pleased to read of your appreciation of this particular element of Captive Nuts!

Better go before this computer crashes. Anyway, I need me talc.

Thanks again.

Steve



Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-06-14 21:57:12
Re: Captive Nuts
chrissy - thanks for your appreciation of this poem. Those of us who suffer with captive nuts need all the support we can get.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-06-15 19:15:49
Re: Captive Nuts
Hi Erm! Thanks for popping in.

Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-06-15 20:38:21
Re: Captive Nuts
Hi John. Yes, thanks, I'm managing to hold on to my nuts. Only just, mind you.

This was a real incident and when they started talking about captive nuts, well, i just thought that summed it up and I should write about it. Took a while to get round to, but i got there in the end.

See you soon.

Ta for commenting.

Steve

Author's Reply:

eddiesolo on 2005-06-30 21:46:01
Re: Captive Nuts
Hi Steve,

Just popped in to say, cheers for this...I loved it.
Very amusing, just what I needed after a long hard day at the mill.

Well written.

All the best,
Si:-)





Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-02 01:19:08
Re: Captive Nuts
Greetings, your solo-ness...and thanks for commenting on my Captive Nuts :o(

From a writing point of view this pleases me, but if you can really identify with it then you have my sympathy!

At least I've finished for the weekend now...hope you and I both have a good one.

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

Jolen on 2005-07-02 20:14:44
Re: Captive Nuts
Witty, and well done, though seems painful in the 'end'........... of course I knew I would like it from the title.........lol

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-07-03 05:25:31
Re: Captive Nuts
Jolen - good to know you got something from my captive nuts!

Thanks for commenting...;o)

Steve

Author's Reply:


Some Kind Of Bliss In Kassandra (posted on: 06-06-05)
Halkidiki Days...another old holiday poem I found buried in my Bermudas. This one's only 6 or 7 years old - quite recent for me! My best wishes to Kylie.

Cross-armed on the balconies quadrangled round,
One or two holiday prophets looked down,
Their unwanted comments and wisdom would flow,
Targeting those at the poolside below.

Hits blared out for everyone's pleasure,
With a bit of bazouki thrown in for good measure,
The joy of it all brought smiles to our faces:
Sun loungers shook to the strains of Oasis.

The pool was packed, the bar was heaving,
Like some of the punters the previous evening,
When they'd partied and danced like Zorba The Greek
(It was the barman's birthday again that week).

When the music stopped, it felt rather weird,
But these briefest of silences soon disappeared
And then we were treated to Kylie Minogue
In a curious trans-Pacific brogue.

Though a slight improvement on girlpower spice,
She owed more to Cassandra than Paradise,
Her poolside inflection was Some Kind Of Bliss,
I sat in reflection, then came up with this.


Archived comments for Some Kind Of Bliss In Kassandra
Dargo77 on 2005-06-08 10:20:08
Re: Some Kind Of Bliss In Kassandra
Pencilcase, good fun poem. Especially enjoyed the line about it being the barman's birthday again.
Best regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-06-09 02:21:20
Re: Some Kind Of Bliss In Kassandra
Hi Dargo - yes, a fun poem from the past! Quite pleased you picked up on the 'barman's birthday' line though!

Thanks for commenting,

Steve

Author's Reply:

tai on 2005-06-16 09:39:33
Re: Some Kind Of Bliss In Kassandra
Hi pencilcase, this is a pleasing jaunty little trip back to holiday bliss. Brought back loads of young/free and single memories for me.

all the best

Tai

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-06-27 23:55:54
Re: Some Kind Of Bliss In Kassandra
Tai - a belated thanks for your comment...neither i nor my PC have always been in the best of health recently!

Anyway, thanks for commenting and glad it brought back memories (though not so sure about those unwanted holiday know-it-alls who are only too ready to bestow their wisdom on anybody who happens to be within earshot!).

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:


Apple Tea (posted on: 03-06-05)
Wrote this a bit over 10 years ago, reflecting on an end-80s holiday. Tempted to revise, but it being so old I think I should leave it be. It's done. But thought I'd share, as it might have a gentle quality. May resonate with anyone who's holidayed in Turkey.


In Turkey’s hot, hot summer
when August presses and cracks,
when bathers escape into shelter
to sit in the shade and relax-
with the noise of haggling rising,
piercing the dust and the heat,
this choice of drink is surprising
being short and hot and sweet.

How strange it can be refreshing
in its bulbous bottomed glass,
drink in the moment and setting
for it will not travel and last-
the tourists drink their apple tea
then they take a bagful home,
but it never is the same to me
in England, in Winter, alone.

Remember disembarking
to those early evening sounds,
we left the boat remarking
on the liveliness around-
“Come look in my fridge - very nice”
“I have many carpets, see?”
“For English I make very good price,
we talk over apple tea.”

Ataturk’s statue stood firm,
surrounded by tourists in shorts
and I, amongst them, did burn
to collect my half-baked thoughts-
the crescent flags caressed the sky
in the hot hairdryer breeze
and you were the apple of my eye
when we drank our apple teas.

Archived comments for Apple Tea
Hazy on 2005-06-03 10:58:22
Re: Apple Tea
We're both doing the 'memories' thing this week, Steve lol. Stop copying me 😉

I've been to Turkey and know exactly how this all sounds. I can smell and taste that bloody apple tea!

We really can't ever make our memories real by trying to bring them home with us. That's why I sent the 21 year old Turk back home after a month :p

Anyway... great poem 🙂 Likey lots. Especially the lines:

“For English I make very good price,
we talk over apple tea.”

and

in the hot hairdryer breeze
and you were the apple of my eye
when we drank our apple teas.

Take care.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-06-03 16:28:59
Re: Apple Tea
Steve - I remember this one well, it's a nice gentle memory of what seems like a lifetime ago. J.

Author's Reply:

Dargo77 on 2005-06-03 17:23:11
Re: Apple Tea
Pencilcase, a wonderful account of a memory. I am sure many visitors to Turkey will know where you are coming from. I found this to be written with skill and a favourite read for me.
Best regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-06-03 17:24:08
Re: Apple Tea
Hi Hazy.

This one is rather curling round the edges, but perhaps quite nice in its own way - bit like the writer! Thought I'd liberate it from my old folder and see if it resonated with anyone, so pleased to read that the atmosphere came across.

I always thought it was strange how a hot drink could be so refreshing when it's about 40 degrees outside.

D. and I went there a long time ago. She quickly succumbed to 'Turkey tummy'. So quickly, in fact, that we were still at Gatwick - hadn't even gone through to the departure lounge. It was a lovely holiday in many ways and quite eventful in others too. Too much for a comment.

Anyway, things like apple tea can only really do justice to themselves if they are enjoyed in their own setting.

Ta again!

Steve

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2005-06-03 18:24:24
Re: Apple Tea
Memories are made of this!! Great poem Steve, lovely rhymes lovely rhythm. Very atmospheric I could almost smell the apple tea. Love Val x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-06-03 18:46:15
Re: Apple Tea
Thanks, John. Yes, it does seem like a lifetime ago. In fact, I have been reincarnated several times since visiting Turkey. Once, in fact, as a turkey. Worst Christmas I ever had, that was: I've never been able to stand the smell of sage and onion since, whatever life-form I have taken on.

Erm, where wasn't I? Oh yeah - apple tea is quite nice in the right place. Knowing your absolute dislike of hot weather, I suppose it's something you are unlikely to experience for yourself. I'd never been on a 'hot holiday' before. In retrospect, Turkey in August was rather jumping in at the deep end. The phrase 'baptism of fire' might be more appropriate.

Well, if you ever go anywhere like that at the hottest time of year, all I can do is give you a bit of sunken-like advice:

take toilet paper, I predict rudimentary facilities.

Ta for commenting,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-06-03 21:00:38
Re: Apple Tea
Hi Dargo - many thanks for the comment and the fave read. Much appreciated. Pleasing to know that you connected with this.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-06-03 21:39:37
Re: Apple Tea
Thanks for that, Val! Very pleased to know you enjoyed.

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

LenchenElf on 2005-06-04 18:13:38
Re: Apple Tea
I've only had Apple Tea served by a friend over here, but its fragrance and the atmosphere of your lovely poem lingers. Thanks for sharing it.
all the best
LE

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-06-05 14:01:27
Re: Apple Tea
Hi LE - thanks for commenting. I'm pleased to see that some of the atmosphere came through.

Maybe I should write one about raki!

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:


Special Needs (posted on: 16-05-05)
a twin perspective


In his room, Barry kept a photograph.
He loved it. He looked a picture,
with Kevin, his brother-in-arms.
When Kevin visited, Kevin used to say:
“well, Bazza boy, it seems like yesterday.”
Barry liked that, in a way, but thought:
yesterday? This morning, perhaps,
but yesterday? No, surely not,
not this snapshot,
it couldn’t be that far away?
The two of them, back-gardened,
short-trousered, grinning,
twin-lensed, for the camera.
No, that moment was fresh,
still vivid, black and white and,
after all, he’d had it framed for years,
so no, not as long ago as yesterday
and he should know, since
just before retiring
and turning off the light,
Barry kissed the framed surround
and wished him both goodnight.

A seat booked on the early flight,
Kevin woke with some alarm
at twenty-seven after four,
just before the radio
was due to blast him from his bed,
his mind set on its scheduled task:
the business trip that lay ahead.
Opening, the day unfolded
laptops, graphics, business plans
projects, buyouts, products, brands,
consumed within his networked cell,
T/O, GM, P & L.
Negotiating through the day,
persuading and projecting figures,
Kevin knew just when to smile
or force the issue, close a deal
and press his case:
there’s nothing like the human touch
when meeting clients face-to-face.

When Barry laughed, he meant it.
It might go on for a minute or more.
He’d rock back and forth,
consumed with amusement:
an event in itself amongst his friends;
not posturing tactics; means to an end.
Barry loved the letters
that Kevin sometimes sent,
the characters were jumbled up,
crawled like ants across the page, but
still, he recognised ‘Dear Bruv’
and felt at once what Kevin meant,
well before a friend would help
to crack the coded content.

Words failed him.
But he could paint:
by God, he could paint.
From memory too.
He’d stare at the bushes and flowers,
transfixed, entranced for hours on end,
then, later, in his room,
he’d draw on the experience
his camera displayed,
sometimes, long into the night,
reproducing colour, form,
stilling life in motion,
capturing each twig and stem,
taking off a bird in flight
and even ants did not escape
his pictured world:
and every detail right.

Often, not long after Barry kissed
the two of him goodnight,
Kevin would be waking up,
rushing off: collared; tied;
taxied to the airport
for the early morning flight.
Target-driven, focused,
he missed the smell of coffee,
hardly noticed flowers,
but still he’d think of Barry,
promising to visit him,
as soon as he could fit it in.
He cut to the chase,
where the rubber hits the road,
while Barry’s dreams
brought smiles to sleep,
hoping Kevin might appear,
all open-palmed and “no problemo,”
tomorrow, just like yesterday,
make complete the dream he kept,
just half a world away.

Archived comments for Special Needs
LenchenElf on 2005-05-16 10:44:30
Re: Special Needs
A wonderful and gentle poem, thank you for sharing this
all the best
L

Author's Reply:

Hazy on 2005-05-16 11:33:31
Re: Special Needs
Too many great lines to list in this one, Steve. As you would say, fan-bloomin'-tastic lol - I really liked it.

One line I'm not sure about is:

He’d stare at the bushes and flowers,

I think it's cos you mention painting a line or two above and I keep misreading bushes for brushes. I'd suggest changing bushes for shrubs or another 2 syllable word maybe. Just my opinion/suggestion though, of course! Maybe it's just me...

Take care 🙂

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

tai on 2005-05-16 12:44:31
Re: Special Needs
Pencilcase, all I can say is wow! this is such an endearing tale of the special needs of two brothers. Similar and yet very different. 10 from me.

All the best

Tai

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-05-17 12:55:53
Re: Special Needs
Lovely poem, full of real gems like ' draw on the experience' and 'persuading and projecting figures,' to quote just two. A very human look at the brothers. A fav for me.
Daf

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-05-17 20:02:18
Re: Special Needs
Top write young Pencil. Me being thick I had to read it twice, with an attention span shorter than a gnats willie, that's not bad going. The boy done good. Congrats on the nib.

s
u
n
k
e
n

Take modems, I predict broadband.

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2005-05-18 12:37:28
Re: Special Needs
A very, very fine poem.

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-05-18 20:21:33
Re: Special Needs
L,

Many thanks for your appreciation and good wishes.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-05-18 20:23:05
Re: Special Needs
Tai,

Many thanks for your comment - and for picking this as a fave. Much appreciated.

Steve

Author's Reply:

Slovitt on 2005-05-18 20:39:57
Re: Special Needs
Steve: And so again, I think how well written. Hear rhythms from 'Dockery and Son'. Might suggest you look at ordering the poem a little with a numbering of the five stanzas, perhaps a '1.', a couple of spaces indented and just above the first line of the first stanza, etc., or a '1.', 5 spaces to the left of the first line of the first stanza, or something like that. To your attention, but I'm always looking at organizing poems to make them as easily accessed, and memorable as possible for the reader i.e. 'yes, I loved the third and fourth lines of the 3rd part,' etc. Finally, the fourth part is very, very fine. Clear, detailed writing, without waste. A good poem well written with a lot of emotion. Swep

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-05-18 21:50:47
Re: Special Needs
Steve - nice to see this one on the site after watching it develop. I think the comments show it was worth the work! Cheers, John.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-05-18 23:43:45
Re: Special Needs
Yes John, this one was aired in 3 different pubs I think - and thanks for your considered comments that helped me with revising it. As you say, I think it was worth spending more time on. The original was even longer and there have been a few changes since then, yet a large part of it is either exactly, or close to, what was penned originally. Just read Swep's comment, which is interesting - especially given the length of this one.

Ta for the comment.

I can definitely feel a chicken coming on!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-05-19 00:06:53
Re: Special Needs
Thanks, sunk. Your comments are always a joy to read (and often more entertaining than the piece they relate to).

Nice to know you appreciated this one.

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-05-19 00:12:04
Re: Special Needs
Thanks Hazy - good to know you liked.

Er, I'm a bit tired - I'll take another look at the bushes line next time I'm awake!

Thanks again!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-05-19 00:14:48
Re: Special Needs
Hi Daf - good to hear from you.

Many thanks for your comment - and for picking this as a fave. Much appreciated.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-05-19 00:16:09
Re: Special Needs
Hi Kat - pleased you engaged with this poem.

Many thanks,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-05-20 21:04:00
Re: Special Needs
Hi Swep,

Thanks for your time in making a considered appreciation of this poem. I'll think about your comments re: 'ordering' this, and indeed other longer poems.

Again, I very much appreciate your engaging with this.

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

RoyBateman on 2005-05-22 11:35:13
Re: Special Needs
A very moving and poignant piece indeed...brought a lump to the throat. Fine ending, too. Sums everything up a treat - a difficult trick to pull off, but this is perfect.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-05-22 19:32:26
Re: Special Needs
Roy,

Many thanks for your appreciation of this poem. Good to know you connected with it.

Steve

Author's Reply:


Early Death (posted on: 25-04-05)
Two related and very early memories. I never forgot that lolly.

Morning.
One day in April ’66,
when I had just turned 6 myself,
I woke to the sound
of abandoned sobbing.
Frightened by the weakness of grown-ups
that undermined
my infantile omnipotence,
I knew that something was wrong.

I felt it.
Weekend Uncles intruding
on my weekday routine,
and that visceral, primordial sobbing
that told my own little gut instinct
to stay in bed, keep out of the way
of something I knew
I couldn’t understand.

The last Christmas had been a gathering
of everybody on my Mother’s side:
I hadn’t even thought to wonder why.

Later, in the World Cup Summer,
on a lovely sunlit day,
I walked away from the cemetery
and the sinking plot,
with three orphaned adults:
my Mum and her Sisters.
We still had proper corner shops back then
and, passing one in Walthamstow,
I spied on sale an item that
I’d coveted a while:
a special new iced lolly
with toffee in the middle.

How absurd! But what delight
to think I could have both at once!
So I made a plea for sixpence:
one of them would surely break?

“Thank you, Auntie Peggy!”

Yeah, I got my toffee lolly
and in the back-street sun,
I licked along excitedly,
keeping up with Aunties
and my newly-motherless Mum.

Archived comments for Early Death
mynci on 2005-04-25 15:54:10
Re: Early Death
I liked it. It was like a little story. i like the innocence you keep throughout.
Mynci

Author's Reply:

Hazy on 2005-04-25 16:56:54
Re: Early Death
I remember my mum's nan dying. I must have been about 6 too and didn't really understand 'death'. I remember my mum's sister and her 3 boys coming over and none of us kids were allowed to go. I remember them dressing in black and going out and part of me enjoyed having everyone over and the other half of me had that horrible churny feeling like something really majorly wrong was happening.

Really nicely told, Steve. One of my faves of yours.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-26 11:45:48
Re: Early Death
Thanks Mynci. This one happens to be entirely true, including the toffee lolly. Quite pleasing to me that you refer to innocence - after all, I was only a wee lad at the time. Although I couldn't grasp the situation, there is an instinctive ability to register that something's wrong.

And I really was excited when I got my little mitts on that toffee lolly.

Thank you,

Steve

Author's Reply:

Leila on 2005-04-26 12:14:01
Re: Early Death
I can relate to this and you captured it all so well from the complex to the simple, a very good write...L

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-26 12:59:04
Re: Early Death
Hi Hazy!

Thanks for your appreciation of this poem. It's interesting what sticks in our minds: those significant moments when we were just beginning to ask important questions, even if we hadn't yet worked things out.

And there I was all excited about me lolly, er, Dolly!

Thanks very muchly,

Steve

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-04-26 22:15:41
Re: Early Death
Steve, the synchronicity between this and my work in progress is indeed remarkable! I like the contrasts between the powerless adults, who you nevertheless still need to fund your child's desires, and you enjoying the lolly despite knowing something's wrong. A well executed idea, I feel. J.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-27 12:56:22
Re: Early Death
Hi Leila,

Thanks for commenting - good to know you enjoyed this one.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-27 12:57:40
Re: Early Death
John,

Thanks for your thoughtful appreciation of this poem.

Steve

Author's Reply:

woodbine on 2005-04-27 17:10:26
Re: Early Death
To Steve,
You capture the confusion, priorities, and misunderstandings of childhood very well, the feeling that you and the adults live in overlapping but not identical worlds.
I particularly liked your opening:

Frightened by the weakness of grown-ups
that undermined
my infantile omnipotence,

Your intense pleasure and your mum's visceral grief make a nice irony for your poem's conclusion. Good stuff.
John


Author's Reply:

woodbine on 2005-04-27 21:48:58
Re: Early Death
Sorry I clicked the send button without readinng that last sentance. it may have been a nice irony but not one appreciated by your poor mother. Oh, for an edit button!!!

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-29 01:31:07
Re: Early Death
Hi John - thanks for the comment(s).

I'm pleased that you engaged with this poem. i would say more but I'm a bit knackered!

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

Jolen on 2005-04-30 16:33:35
Re: Early Death
Is death ever truly real for the young? We feel our world so secure often that it is boring and as we grow up only then do we realize how we were protected and within the shielding was such a protected innocence that we will never have again.

Well done. A most pleasurable read for me.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-05-01 21:13:14
Re: Early Death
Hi Jolen - thanks for the blessing!

Thanks also for letting me know that you enjoyed this poem.

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:


A Sticky Situation (posted on: 15-04-05)
chewing over sex

You stuck your gum on the headboard,
then fired my starting gun,
to signal a brief intervention
that left us a little undone.

Whilst things were a little bit tacky,
you motioned we ought to begin,
hoping your gum might still be moist,
on coming to pop it back in.

I found all this very unnerving,
with no time for hanging about,
I felt like part of the furniture,
concerned that your gum would dry out.

Suddenly, back in your mouth again,
I knew that my bubble had burst,
when you reached for your gum on the headboard:
the one that you’d spat out at first.

I’ve never forgotten that moment,
I know I’m a sensitive bloke,
but watching you masticate furiously
was putting me right off my stroke.

For a while, we were stuck on each other,
but the memory still makes me wince:
and the day that they banned us from habitat
has stuck in my mind ever since.

Archived comments for A Sticky Situation
Skytrucker on 2005-04-15 10:22:14
Re: A Sticky Situation
Excellent!

Author's Reply:

littleditty on 2005-04-15 16:30:20
Re: A Sticky Situation
Funny read. loved
I’ve never forgotten that moment,
I know I’m a sensitive bloke,
but watching you masticate furiously
was putting me right off my stroke.
Thanks, littleditty

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-16 17:11:03
Re: A Sticky Situation
Thanks for your appreciation!

Steve

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-04-16 17:28:51
Re: A Sticky Situation
Hilarious! Love the ending. Habitat will for ever have a special meaning.
Daff

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-16 20:18:08
Re: A Sticky Situation
And thanks for your appreciation, ld. It was all very embarrassing and I've never been back inside habitat since.

Glad to have spread a little amusement.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-17 01:11:16
Re: A Sticky Situation
Hi Daff - you're right about habitat having a special meaning!

Pleased you liked the ending and it's nice to know someone found this hilarious.

Thanks for commenting.

Steve

Author's Reply:

Dargo77 on 2005-04-17 17:06:12
Re: A Sticky Situation
Steve, well thought out and very well written.
Best regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-17 17:14:03
Re: A Sticky Situation
Hi Dargo - thanks for your appreciation. Hope it gave you a laugh!

Steve

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-04-17 18:25:19
Re: A Sticky Situation
Made me go all wrigley just thinking about it - J.

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-04-17 18:36:09
Re: A Sticky Situation
Certainly one to chew over young Pencil. Someone must have said that already I'm sure? Excellent piece - poem I mean, not gum.

s
u
n
k
e
n

Take notes, I predict strippers.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-17 19:08:41
Re: A Sticky Situation
Indeed. I'm fairly certain it was Juicy Fruit.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-17 19:35:37
Re: A Sticky Situation
Thanks, sunk. Will heed your advice as ever and keep on the lookout for strippers.

Thanks for your appreciation.

Steve

Author's Reply:

tai on 2005-04-18 01:19:25
Re: A Sticky Situation
A very funny sticky situation. Just what I needed. Thanks. 9 from me.

Tai

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-18 01:50:58
Re: A Sticky Situation
Hi Tai!

Just wait until I tell you what happened in Marks & Spencer!

:o(

Thanks for popping in.

Bye Tai!

Author's Reply:

Hazy on 2005-04-18 20:32:06
Re: A Sticky Situation
You naughty boy lol.

Tsk tsk.

Not safe to be let out. Might have to escort you in future :p

Fab poem!! 🙂

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-24 19:39:44
Re: A Sticky Situation
Hi Hazy!

I've only just got round to saying thanks for commenting.

Guess what? It never actually happened! It was just a joke - I made it all up! So I'm safe to go into habitat after all! Mind you, having written this I don't think I'll ever feel quite the same in there again.

Pleased you liked.

Steve


Author's Reply:


A Friend In Need (posted on: 11-04-05)
A short poem about friendship


I am the friendship
that doesn’t let you down,
I am that rare, reliable type,
who’ll always be around,
I’ll be your rock
when the chips are down.

I don’t much like sugar,
I take it with salt,
but I’ll make a promise
that cannot be bought,
whenever you need me,
I’ll give you support.

There’s no more to say,
so now that I’ve said it,
bear me in mind
and you’ll never regret it,
I am your friend:
now don’t you forget it.


Archived comments for A Friend In Need
Hazy on 2005-04-11 11:05:10
Re: A Friend In Need
Awww that's a nice one. I kinda expected a twist, maybe speaking into a mirror!

Not keen on the repetition of 'down' in lines 2 and 6 - and line 2 seems a tad wordy - I'd be tempted to say 'that won't let you down'. Also tempted to change line 6 to somat like 'when the dice is thrown'. That's just off the top of my head.

Hope you don't mind the crit, "friend" 🙂

Loved the poem 🙂

Nice one.

Catch you soon.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-04-11 12:22:00
Re: A Friend In Need
Ah yes, that's the kind of friend to have. Welkl described.
Daff

Author's Reply:

uppercase on 2005-04-11 15:36:09
Re: A Friend In Need
Wish I had a friend like this. Nice poem I liked it..Erma

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-11 19:51:06
Re: A Friend In Need
Hi Haze,

Yes it's just a straightforward nice little one really. L2 could be changed as you suggest, but it depends on personal preference as to how it might be read aloud. To me, the lengthier lines lead into shorter lines in an ettempt to emphasise the sincerity that I wanted to convey. Of course I don't mind the crit!

I agree that the repetition of 'down' is not the best. However, I kinda like rock and chips, especially as this leads into salt! I might revise this and try to get vinegar and a wally in there too! On second thoughts, this would probably be battered on uka, so might concentrate on something else.

Anyway, glad you liked and thanks for taking the time to give it your consideration and make a comment.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-11 22:04:57
Re: A Friend In Need
Hi Daff - thanks for popping in and commenting. True friends are rare indeed. Good to know you enjoyed this one.

Steve

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-04-12 07:59:53
Re: A Friend In Need
Tell me Mr. Case, what fine implements pertaining to the art of calligraphy would I find within the mysterious interior of said er... Pencilcase? Don't answer that young Pencil, I kinda like the intrigue. Top little write, as ever. Made me go all warm - like a seat on a bus that's just been vacated. Eat fruit and drink water.

s
u
n
k
e
n

Take fungi, I predict cheese.

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2005-04-12 14:02:59
Re: A Friend In Need
Enjoyed this! You kept the metre going so well.

Cheers

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-12 19:38:57
Re: A Friend In Need
Thanks for that, Erma. Are you sure you haven't got a friend like this? I hope you have really, but they are hard to come by.

Pleased you liked the poem.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-12 22:22:51
Re: A Friend In Need
Yes, Kat: just like a cabbie! Hah!

Anyway, thanks for commenting and I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

TTFN,

Steve

Author's Reply:

RoyBateman on 2005-04-13 10:48:04
Re: A Friend In Need
Reliability is rare indeed! Pity there aren't more characters like this one around - a refreshing change from cynicism...cheered me up for the day!

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-13 20:27:01
Re: A Friend In Need
sunk - ta for the comment. I must say, my pencilcase is bulging at the moment but, as you put it yourself, to reveal its full contents would perhaps spoil the mystery and intrigue!

I've been drinking water and eating fruit, as you recommend. Looking forward to cheese.

Glad you liked my little poem, btw!

Steve



Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-04-13 20:35:18
Re: A Friend In Need
Steve, i enjoyed it very much but can't get that Placebo song out of my head now )-: 'A friend in needs a friend indeed, a friend who'll tease is better....' Then it goes on about dressing in leather or something. Damn disgrace if you ask me. Anyway, glad you're following the fruit and water recommendation. Many have failed and subsequently regretted the dire outcomes. In just a few weeks time you will realise the true benefits. Cheese will taste as it as never tasted before. I feel like Churchill. We shall fight them on the beeches...

s
u
n
k

Take cigars, I predict war.

Author's Reply:

Dargo77 on 2005-04-14 10:27:58
Re: A Friend In Need
Steve, a poem about somebody who is one in a million. A friend with the attributes you describe, would suite me fine. Enjoyed you happy poem.
Best regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2005-04-14 10:56:09
Re: A Friend In Need
Don't we all just need that kind of friendship.. alas it is rare, so when we find it we should nurture it like a rare and beautiful plant.. Look what you have done Steve!! got me all sentimental Ahhh ((-; Love your sentiments. Love Val x

Author's Reply:

Emerald on 2005-04-14 19:17:19
Re: A Friend In Need
We all need friends, and we don't need fancy speeches to just be a friend. I like this Steve very much.

Emma:-)

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-14 19:53:59
Re: A Friend In Need
mmm...that's funny. I can't get the Placebo song in my head, but I considered using the word 'placebo' in the poem.

Will stock up on cigars at the weekend. Thanks for the tip.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-14 19:57:29
Re: A Friend In Need
Hi Roy! The fact that you were kind enough to let me know that this cheered you up has, erm..cheered me up.

So, er, well...

cheers, I s'pose!

Thanks for the comment.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-14 19:59:07
Re: A Friend In Need
Hi Dargo - thanks for your appreciation.

Steve

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-04-14 20:05:16
Re: A Friend In Need
Blimey, that is strange. I wish I'd predicted that now. It's maybe as well you can't get that song in to your head. I am currently awaiting an eviction order, but in the mean time they are making a proper mess of my skull and no mistake. Anyway, I'll shut up.

s
u
n
k

Take no notice, my predictions are crap )-:

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-16 17:09:24
Re: A Friend In Need
Hi Val - glad the sentiments appealed and thanks for dropping by to let me know!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-16 20:13:42
Re: A Friend In Need
"I like this Steve very much."

But what about the poem?

Ha-ha!

Molto grazie e ciao per adesso.

'Likeable' Steve




Author's Reply:


Eclipse (posted on: 04-04-05)
It must have happened...



Cave dwellers looked to each other
for comfort, but there was none.
So, feeling the chill of developing gloom,
they turned to the sky and the sun.

Normally, there was a new one
that lasted throughout the day,
but this time, the light from the sun grew dim,
it was dying, fading away.

Above the earth, in disarray,
the sun became a sliver,
then disappeared totally, leaving behind
a darkness, a chill, a shiver.

Man, being all of a quiver,
was left in the dark, unsound.
What on earth was going on? The sun had fled,
(on top of that, the moon had gone to ground).

No hope in the gloom all around,
some tried to hide from the night
by clasping their hands together, they wished
for survival, their eyes shut tight.

It worked! The earth was bathed in light,
thus proving the power of prayer
in the shadow of death, religion was born
in hope, from the depths of despair.




Archived comments for Eclipse
Emerald on 2005-04-04 19:13:30
Re: Eclipse
I enjoyed the primitive look at this - the bewilderment of a day cast to gloom, and the power of prayer as it returned.

emma:-)

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-04 22:22:46
Re: Eclipse
Hi emma - thanks for commenting and glad you enjoyed. I'm sure I would find a total eclipse unnerving even though I knew it was coming. I was trying to imagine how it must have felt when there was no warning and no understanding as to what the heck was going on.

Steve

Author's Reply:

Dargo77 on 2005-04-05 13:01:10
Re: Eclipse
Steve, love the idea behind this one. Well written with a strong message at the end.
Best regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-05 16:36:26
Re: Eclipse
Good Afternoon, your Dargo-ness. Thanks for letting me know that this appealed.

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

MiddleEarthNet on 2005-04-05 23:52:20
Re: Eclipse
I like this. I think it captures the moment well, particulary through the eyes of people who wouldn't understand.
I remember watching the total eclipse a few years, it was amazing (in a dark and gloomy sense).

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-04-06 19:20:47
Re: Eclipse
Hi Middle! Thanks for letting me know that this appealed. Much appreciated.

Steve

Author's Reply:


Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t (posted on: 25-03-05)
Clocks go forward this weekend!


Now is the hour that wasn’t at all,
I’m feeling a little bereft:
surely a day that’s just two hours old
should really have twenty-two left?
But these are strange times, the hours today
will total to just twenty-three:
a sign of departure as Winter goes by;
the arrival of BST.
Time marches on at the end of a month,
which may yet write its own epigram:
the lion that seems to be losing its strength
doesn’t always go out like a lamb.
Whatever the weather, we’ll have to make do
and cope with the hour we missed,
living in hope we may yet seize the day,
though the day doesn’t fully exist.
At least it’s a sign that Spring’s in the air,
but that doesn’t detract from the gall
and the loss that I feel in missing an hour
that really just wasn’t at all.

Archived comments for Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
Claire on 2005-03-26 22:13:21
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
Oh you have so confused me! And made me think about out lost hour! Any way, I'm glad that I read this as I had forgot about the clocks going forward tonight. Enjoyed the read.

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-03-27 05:11:44
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
Pencil, you confuse me big time. It's now 3.09 am but I reckon it must actually be 4.09 pm - I really should sleep. As ever, a much under rated and very cleverly written piece. I continue to admire your work from behind this razor sharp fence.

s
u
n
k
e
n

take a bible, i predict demons.

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2005-03-27 13:07:52
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
I love this clever piece, not least because I hate them fiddling with the damn clock too! but the rhythm is great Steve, you got it ust right. Love Val x

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-03-27 13:44:34
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
Very nice compensation for the missed hour. I'm still struggling to come to terms at 12.39 according to my computer that seems to take these things in its stride.
Nice rhyme and rhythm, just right for the light touch.
Daff

Author's Reply:

shangri-la on 2005-03-27 18:33:32
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
I really enjoyed this, especially

'Time marches on at the end of a month,
which may yet write its own epigram:
the lion that seems to be losing its strength
doesn’t always go out like a lamb.'

I'm still in denial of the lost hour, my computer might have changed but the rest of the clocks still remain the same. I quite enjoy the confusion it causes.

Author's Reply:

Emerald on 2005-03-27 19:18:27
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
Really enjoyed this - great pace to it and 'organised chaos' fun as well.

Emma:-)

Author's Reply:

chrissy on 2005-03-27 23:02:57
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
Super poem.Lovely rhymes and the rhythm flows nicely. Very well written.
I too forgot about the clocks until my computer told me it had done everything needed as far as it was concerned. I just had to go round doing the other clocks.
chrissy

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2005-03-28 00:15:44
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
Quaint old fashioned custom - this twiddling with the clocks twice a year. Good anarchic poem, pencilcase. Can you sense the spring on the truculent wind?

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-03-28 01:04:09
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
Well we nearly made up for it in the pub tonight - I'm looking forward to them going back again...

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-28 14:54:50
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
Hi Claire - it seems my poem was a timely reminder! Well, that's good, and it's good to know you enjoyed reading it.

Thank you,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-28 14:59:53
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
Hope you managed to get some sleep in the end! I'm not sure if this poem kept people awake or helped them to doze off! Either way, it's a result, I s'pose!

Thanks for commenting - always appreciated.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-28 15:01:23
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
Hi Val - nice to hear from you. Glad you like and many thanks for commenting.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-28 21:44:58
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
Thanks Daff - pleased you enjoyed. Hope you have now come to terms with the missed hour.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-28 21:48:06
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
Thank you for your appreciation of this poem. Interesting to see someone admit to enjoying the confusion caused by the time change!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-28 21:49:56
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
Hi Emma - nice to know you enjoyed the pace and organised chaos!

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-30 12:40:01
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
Thanks for that, chrissy. it seems a few people have remarked on how computers seem to have this time change thing sussed with no trouble at all, while we mere mortals seem to have problems coping. Well, that's the way of the world, I suppose. And computers don't get tired. Or do they? I caught mine yawning recently, so perhaps things aren't so black and white after all. Nobody's going to read this comment anyway, so it doesn't really matter what I say. So, yes, i saw my computer yawning and then (you'll never guess) it put on its pyjamas, brushed its teeth and went to bed. So it would seem that computers do get tired, after all.

?

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-30 12:45:56
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
Thanks, shack. Funnily enough, yes, I have sensed the spring on the truculent wind. It was at about 1:42PM on Monday, just outside the rear entrance to my local branch of Tesco's. 'Hello', I thought, 'here comes the spring on the truculent wind'. I don't think anybody else noticed, but I can't be sure. I mean there could have been several people having their own private spring on the truculent wind sensations for all I know.

Good point.

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-30 12:52:27
Re: Now Is The Hour That Wasn’t
As a timelord, I would have thought an hour here or there would be no problem to you. Was that you in the pub then? Sorry can't stop: I'm representing Earth in a pan-galactic underwater darts event at 2, so i'd better get me skates on. Or should that be flippers? Not too sure anymore, but thanks for the comment anyway.

Steve

Author's Reply:


Foul Play (posted on: 14-03-05)
Featuring a theatre critic, a sharp-eyed police inspector and a pedigree cat...

Investors and writers and actors alike
had everything staked on the opening night
of a thriller they hoped had the magical blend
to make them a fortune in London’s West End.
The critics descended, determined to slate
the wannabe luvvies they just love to hate,
filing their copy of scorn and derision
in time for a gin and the final edition.

One week later, a body was found,
the police were called, the police came round,
searching throughout the Belgravia flat
a bachelor shared with his pedigree cat.
“There’s something up here,” an inspector said,
the cat still alive, but the critic stone dead
and sure enough, later, back at the station,
reports confirmed the cause of death had been asphyxiation.

Someone took his breath away, silencing at last
the vitriol that helped destroy so many in the past.
He didn’t act himself, but seemed to have the knack
of tearing plays apart and stabbing actors in the back.
So many had a motive, it was hard for the police
to know who they should apprehend and who they should release,
but now they’ve found a fingerprint and trace of DNA,
on a pen sticking out of his rectum: it pointed towards foul play.

Archived comments for Foul Play
mynci on 2005-03-14 09:57:15
Re: Foul Play
i don't normally like rhyming poems, but this was good.
Mynci

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-03-14 13:53:46
Re: Foul Play
I DO like rhyming poems as long as they are good -- and this is. It really mage me laugh. Think I'll go and tick the favourite bit and then send it to a friend in the theatre world to make her laugh too.
Daff

Author's Reply:

Hazy on 2005-03-14 17:19:39
Re: Foul Play
So many wonderful lines, Steve 🙂 Well done on your nibby 🙂

There are maybe a couple of words that I'd sub for others though - my opinion tho! Talk more later.

Loved the 'critics' lines (last 4, stanza 1) and of course the ending 🙂 (although I think pointed would read better as points).

Fab poem:) Well done you 🙂

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2005-03-14 20:44:16
Re: Foul Play
Good sing-song flow to it, pencilcase. I'm now stuck with the vision of this pen sticking out of his rectum. Enjoyable tale of ne'er do well. Bye now.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-15 01:22:17
Re: Foul Play
Hi Mynci - thanks for commenting. It's good to know that the rhyme resonated with you on this occasion!

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

tai on 2005-03-15 11:04:24
Re: Foul Play
A very amusing little tale of what happens to a pen when it's owner becomes a pain in the arssss!

All the best

Tai

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-15 17:39:30
Re: Foul Play
Hi Daff, and thanks for your comment. Glad you appreciated. Hope your friend sees the funny side to it too. Well, sometimes you have to turn the other cheek!

It's quite a nice feeling to get feedback that I've made people laugh: makes me smile!

Steve :o)

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-15 18:50:16
Re: Foul Play
Pointed, or points? Well, you might have a...erm, point?!?

Anyway, he got what he deserved!

Still, proof, I suppose, that the pen is mightier than the sword!

Thanks for the comment, as ever!

Steve

Author's Reply:

Twirlybird on 2005-03-15 19:57:33
Re: Foul Play
I like poems that tell a story, especially humorous ones.
Good, jaunty flow to this; fast paced, and kept the interest going.
Well done.

twirly

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-15 20:06:34
Re: Foul Play
Thanks, shacks. Sorry to leave you with that image, but at least I got 'nibbed' in a more welcome manner!!!

Ooh!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-15 20:20:29
Re: Foul Play
you got it, tai! Well, i mean i hope you didn't get it, as such, but what i meant was, yes,...erm. Well, sorry...

Seems poetic i was nibbed on this occasion!

Thanks for the comment!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-15 20:27:53
Re: Foul Play
Hi twirly - glad you enjoyed, and thanks for commenting. Pleased to see you appreciated the pace and jaunty flow!

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

Dargo77 on 2005-03-15 20:38:03
Re: Foul Play
Steve, a really enjoyable fun poem. Kept me interested from start to finish.
Best regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-03-15 21:23:45
Re: Foul Play
There simply aren't enough poems about pens in rectums these days. I remember a time when it was all the rage. It's good to see you keeping the rectum alive young Pencil. A top write, very clever, very witty and worthy of the trusty nib. Well done Mr.

s
u
n
k
s

Take milk, I predict cereal.

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-03-15 22:20:20
Re: Foul Play
Another well constructed poem and well aimed at those who would desecrate our noble art. Good stuff - John.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-16 17:05:44
Re: Foul Play
Hi Dargo - glad you enjoyed this and I'm grateful for your letting me know.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-16 19:26:02
Re: Foul Play
Hi sunken. I'm pleased to see that you appreciate my trying to redress the balance vis a vis poems on the subject of pens in rectums. It's something that has concerned me for quite a while and so I can only hope that, in my own small way, I've done my bit.

Unlike a pen in the rectum, your astute critiques are always welcome.

I've put milk on my shopping list.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-16 19:30:10
Re: Foul Play
John, thanks for the comment. Yes, there's a lot of knockers out there...erm, I mean - too many people predisposed to criticise, without giving something a chance.

You know what I'm talking about, even if I don't!

Yours looking forward to a pint on Friday...

Steve

Author's Reply:


The Shadow Of Doubt (posted on: 07-03-05)
Uneasy moments...


I’m the face in the bathroom mirror,
the creak on the bedroom floor,
a scratching that seems to get nearer:
the draught that slams a door.

If you’re worried by distant voices,
or a gust that rustles a tree,
and a host of unexplained noises:
the unwelcome guest; that’s me.

I’m the knocks in the heating system,
the shadow that crosses the light,
and the distant drip in the cistern,
disturbing the dead of night.

The tranquil peace of the living room,
destroyed by a sound in the hall,
is it a sign of impending doom:
or is it nothing at all?

You can rest assured, I’ll be about
whenever your worries begin:
I’m with you now; you’re never without
the shadow of doubt within.


Archived comments for The Shadow Of Doubt
bektron on 2005-03-07 11:55:33
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
I really enjoyed this, especially the last stanza.
bek

Author's Reply:

tai on 2005-03-07 12:15:25
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Bektron, I love this! The rhythm flowed beautifully and the last two lines were perfect.

All the best

Tai

Author's Reply:

RoyBateman on 2005-03-07 15:47:21
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
So, it's YOU, you dirty rotten swine! The Phantom Flush, eh? Now I know who to blame for all those sudden noises in the night...wonder if the missus'll believe me?
Seriously, an excellent poem - great rhythm and flow and a great storyline.

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-03-07 15:50:23
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Lovely, so well crafted. The last two lines sum it up perfectly.
Daff

Author's Reply:

chrissy on 2005-03-07 17:21:40
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Pure magic and so well written. Really threatening and menacing.
Deserves nibbing in my opinion and, regardless of other views, I shall ten it because I like it that much.
chrissy

Author's Reply:

Hazy on 2005-03-07 20:40:26
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
woohoohoohoo (ghost noise, not me going 'woohoo' like I do)

I live in a cottage, built c1910. It's very creaky and the pipes and central heating makes very loud noises...

Or is it you...??

Nice one, Steve. Liked lots 🙂

Hazy/Jo x

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 2005-03-07 20:42:53
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Very original and well written. I thouroughly enjoyed it.

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-03-07 21:13:24
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
I have long been doubtful of my own shadow young Pencil, I swear its someone else's. I sometimes catch it doing things I'm not. Anyway, damn fine write. I do like a bit of eerie.

s
u
n
k
e
n

Author's Reply:

red-dragon on 2005-03-07 21:41:56
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Oh this is just brilliant - snappy and well delivered. I read it aloud to get the rhythm - superb. Red

Author's Reply:

woodbine on 2005-03-08 04:45:28
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
It's got a pleasing rolling cadence to it that suits the rising sense of anxiety and anarchy.
Opens and closes well.

Best regards,

John

Author's Reply:

Leila on 2005-03-08 15:16:41
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
I like how you've kept the pace of this one and it's very relevant to me at present as I try to settle into a new home. Good stuff...L

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-08 20:12:26
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Leila,

Thanks for the comment. Glad you liked the pace. Talking of pace, did you hear that? Sounded like footsteps on the gravel outside.

They've stopped now...

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-08 20:16:12
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Ah! Beks! Glad you enjoyed. Thanks.

We'll all have our last stanza, of course. Some of us sooner than we might care to think, and perhaps in a way that we could barely imagine in our darkest moments.

Sweet dreams...

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-08 20:25:39
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Tai, I'll have a pint of whatever you're on. It's my bloomin' poem, not bektron's. You've spoilt the mood now: I was trying to be all dark and mysterious in responding to comments. How can I carry on like that when you don't even know what bloomin' poem you've sauntered into?!?

Right, let's forget about that...

Flow? Flow, you say? Mmm. Rivers flow, don't they, rippling, lapping over a thousand secrets that they will never yield. A weighted corpse? Did you hear that unusual plopping sound. It's dark out there, Tai...I'd stay in, if I were you.

Anyway, it's full of bloomin' supermarket trolleys! Oh, I'm struggling now!

Glad you liked...

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-08 20:37:18
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Roy - thanks for the compliment and glad you enjoyed. Well, I have been known to have a phantom flush in the middle of the night. In fact, it's worse. Given that I work nights some weeks, I find that sometimes I have to get up in the middle of the day, just to go to the toilet.

Well, that's it, I s'pose. But thanks for popping in!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-08 22:42:44
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Thanks Daff! First of all I thought you said i was well crafty! Well, you might be right, but the fact that you found the poem well crafted as well is encouraging!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-08 23:10:21
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Hi chrissy! Well, this is probably the first time i've thanked someone for complimenting me on being threatening and menacing! to be Frank, i'm probably more Spencer than Bruno, but I did say boo to a goose once. Won't be doing that again: thay're absolute nutters! And they seem to know exactly where to aim!

I won't be doing that again...

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-08 23:36:45
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
I thought that was a ghostly homer simpson at first!

Doh!

ca 1910? I know the feeling!

It wasn't me, honest! I must admit that I have made some funny noises in cottages at times, but that's all behind me now.

Good to know you liked this one!

Keep tuning in!

I'm bloomin' knackered, me...

Author's Reply:

Corin on 2005-03-09 01:26:32
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Hi Steve,
THis has a great rhythym and feel to it. It reminds me strongly of `Mr Nobody' - it feels like the sort of poem that would be snapped up by anthologisers of children's verse, which is not to denigrate it at all. It works well at an adult and child level, we all know the feeling - your use of rhytym and rhyme is excellent - I especially liked the double rhyme in the last line and the antithetical use of `without' and `within' combined with the synonym effect.

David

Author's Reply:

Dargo77 on 2005-03-09 09:29:14
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Steve, enjoyed this one. A Hot Story for me.
Best regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-09 16:29:33
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Ionicus: thank you! Glad you enjoyed.

The notion of writing on the 'things that go bump in the night' theme (or even in the afternoon/evening) seems to have been well received.

Which was nice!

I'll get me coat...

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-09 16:54:36
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Hi sunk! Thanks for your appreciation, as always. It's worse for me: I sometimes catch myself doing something that my shadow's not...

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-09 20:37:15
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Yes, I heard someone reading it aloud. Thought i was going bonkers for a moment. Thank goodness you told me!

"brilliant"? "superb"? You're too kind! Nevertheless, helpful to know you appreciated: ta very muchly!

Steve

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-03-10 15:34:35
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
So it's you whose been creeping around my flat at four in the morning making hamster noises is it. Next time I'll be prepared.....

Author's Reply:

Kazzmoss on 2005-03-10 17:09:08
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Very good, I've often wondered who was there - now I know!! - Kaz

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-10 20:29:11
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
John, thanks for dropping by. 'Rolling cadence'...mmm, thanks!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-10 20:31:13
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Dargo, many thanks for your appreciation. Glad you enjoyed!

Steve

Author's Reply:

AnthonyEvans on 2005-03-10 21:24:43
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
dear steve, like the others, i enjoyed this one. and i agree, it would sit very well in an anthology. best wishes, anthony.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-10 22:30:01
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
David, glad you enjoyed and thanks for your considered comment. I think your suggestion that this might be suitable for a children's anthology is a good one and, yes, it doesn't denigrate it at all. I'd be quite happy if this happened. I'll let you know if it does!

Thanks again for commenting.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-10 22:35:09
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Yes, it's true...but you have to take a share of the responsibility, or should it be irresponsibility? It was that bloomin' Ukrainian vodka that did it!

Better go now, the penguins are after me again.

Thanks for commenting,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-10 22:37:28
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Hi Kaz - glad you enjoyed and thanks for commenting. Yes, it was me all along! Must go now: there's a couple of window panes I have to scratch before bedtime.

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-10 23:03:20
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
Anthony, thanks for that! Well, it would be nice if this were included in an anthology one day.

Ta very much,

Steve

Author's Reply:

allieuk on 2005-10-04 16:29:20
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
LOL! We writers should know all about these shadows of doubt. My constant companions, they are. 😉

It's lovely to get a little rhyme and meter amongst all this subversive free versive stuff. Reminds me that writing can be a discipline as well as a creative expression. And again, ooooooh nice voice 😉

Glad I stumbled across you Mr Pencilcase on this rather gray October afternoon.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-10-04 16:51:02
Re: The Shadow Of Doubt
I'm glad you let me know about your stumbling across me a little while ago - I'd been wondering what that was!

Many thanks for the comment - pleased that it seems to have brightened up a drab afternoon, although I've still got my doubts!

Actually, it's sunny here, erm, sorry - think I've lost the plot.

Good to know you enjoyed my recording of this. I'll let you know when the album comes out. I understand there are a few bootleg copies still available of 'Live And Unplugged At The Red Lion'!

Thanks again,

Steve

Author's Reply:

teifii on 14-09-2008
The Shadow Of Doubt
Yes. please Steve. I'll include this one in the reading. Definitely comes under heading 'spirit' of sorts and has nice rhythm which goes down well.
Daff

Author's Reply:
That's great, Daff! And if it adds a touch of humour amongst the other poems then maybe that would make for a bit of variety (I saw your comment in the forums).

I hope it all goes well.

Steve


Maiden Stakes (posted on: 25-02-05)
Hardly erotica, but I thought I'd like to join in with the fun and send in something I wrote a while back that includes the sizing up of rippling buttocks, whips, jugs, and that all-important 'sprint at the finish'. I could never compete on this topic with some of the cheeky monkies on this site, but at least I've tried!

They're off!



Talking of form, debating the ground,
the landed studs were gathered round
to view the equine debs displayed
around the paddock, on parade.
Amongst the silks and riding crops,
the handbags and designer tops,
the classic lines and well-toned limbs,
the champagne flutes and jugs of Pimm's,
pricked-up ears and perfect necks,
the brogues, the tweeds and Burberry checks,
was breeding that was born to ride
and take such scrutiny in its stride.

The breeze-borne Summer sunlight broke
through branches of an ancient oak,
so fluttered shadows danced afresh
across the bloodstock's dappled flesh
as young studs laughed, comparing notes,
in lightweight Aquascutum coats.
Soon, they're off! And on every face,
contortions expressing the thrill of the chase
with a sprint at the end, in line with tradition,
for those who have managed to get in position.
It's a gamble of course, but then that's what it takes:
sorts the men from the boys in the maiden stakes.



Archived comments for Maiden Stakes
RoyBateman on 2005-02-25 11:28:25
Re: Maiden Stakes
"Maiden" for not much longer? Gave me a good chuckle - well written, with that all-important rhythm, too. Funny how the upper classes take breeding so seriously - especially in regard to horses. Silly breeders. Better not make any comments about Charlie's choice of old nag - can't see anyone else volunteering to take her for a ride!

Author's Reply:

whitesprite on 2005-02-25 22:09:55
Re: Maiden Stakes
This poem went with a good canter through the studs and fillies. ws

Author's Reply:

tai on 2005-02-26 02:26:13
Re: Maiden Stakes
Pensilcase, Erotic or not, I love this wonderfully cantering poem.

Smiling

Tai

Author's Reply:

Emerald on 2005-02-26 09:25:19
Re: Maiden Stakes
Wonderful pace, enjoyed this

Emma:-)

Author's Reply:

Claire on 2005-02-26 19:54:06
Re: Maiden Stakes
There is a lot of hidden erm... things in this poem. Well to me there is.

Canny flow to this, liked it a lot.

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-02-26 21:47:02
Re: Maiden Stakes
Lol, I'd never have guessed this was one of yours young Pully. You is full of surprises. Great rhythm throughout. Put me in mind of a light gallop.... there's just something about a woman on horse-back... sory, no... I've lost the thread now. Cheeky munky.

s
u
n
k
e
n

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-27 01:54:32
Re: Maiden Stakes
Roy: many thanks for dropping by. Good to know it gave you a chuckle!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-27 02:24:59
Re: Maiden Stakes
hey sunken: you is mixing up pully wiv pencil!

Nay bother. Still, good to know you liked the rhythm.

Thanks for popping in.

Steve

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2005-02-27 12:21:38
Re: Maiden Stakes
What wonderful rhythm - a sure thing of a poem! Really enjoyed.

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

discopants on 2005-02-27 13:31:05
Re: Maiden Stakes
It's mostly already been said but this has a great flow to it. So, do you study the fillies yourself?

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-27 13:31:08
Re: Maiden Stakes
Hey Kat - I keep getting comments on my rhythm. This can't be such a bad thing!

Thank you!

Yours rhythmically,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-27 13:43:01
Re: Maiden Stakes
Hi disco! Well, I have been known to study the fillies! Certainly this poem has something of the atmosphere of a day at the races, which is something I've enjoyed occasionally and i must admit that I do appreciate the nicely turned out bloodstock that is evident at such occasions. I love the on course independent bookmakers and the other characters. It's all about money and is dangerous for the horses and the jockeys in some respects, but to my mind there's more to it than that. it would be cruel to deny thoroughbred horses the chance to gallop, but I must say I've only ever been to races on the flat. I get nervous just watching national hunt on the telly - that seems a bit too dangerous to me, although some say this is really what racing is about. Anyway, sometimes it's good to do something different and do a bit of crowd-watching: must be the poet in me!

Thanks again,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-27 13:50:27
Re: Maiden Stakes
Spot on, Claire! Unusual how the candidates are going down before they're off!

Probably one for John McCririck (think that's his name? You know, the funny, overweight, sideburned and remarkably sexist bloke on the telly).

still interesting to see the white-gloved tic tac that goes on at the races, although mobile phones have reduced this activity somewhat.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-27 13:52:57
Re: Maiden Stakes
Yes, whitey: studs and fillies is what it's all about. Thanks for the comment!

Yours hoping they're gonna put me out to grass soon.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-27 13:56:06
Re: Maiden Stakes
Keep smiling, Tai! Well, I like to be sort of cheeky sometimes, in a reasonably subtle kind of way.

Good to know you thought this one cantered along.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-27 13:57:42
Re: Maiden Stakes
Hi Emma - and thanks for commenting. Glad you enjoyed the pace of the piece!

Steve

Author's Reply:

Hazy on 2005-03-08 20:45:21
Re: Maiden Stakes
lol very good, Steve 🙂

Why did I read well-toned as well-hung?! OMG lol. Yep, erotica borderline indeed (ok, so it's not, but with talk of studs, riding, well-toned limbs, jugs, pricked-up, breeding, chase, get in position, etc...)

hmm, actually, I'm not so sure it's not any more!!

Enjoyed immensely. Giddy up.

Hazy/Jo x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-09 17:14:04
Re: Maiden Stakes
Hi Hazy! Thanks for the comment. Yes, there's all those references in there. And there's a few more I thought of but left out: 'going down' and 'going behind' spring to mind!

"Giddy up"! That made me laugh! Well, after all that, all I can really say is thanks for letting me know you enjoyed immensely: I haven't heard that for a while!!!

Steve

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-03-14 13:59:26
Re: Maiden Stakes
Very clever. And the rhythm is really fitted to the race. Very funny poem that left me smiling.
Daff

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-15 19:36:39
Re: Maiden Stakes
Good to leave you smiling again, Daff. Glad you enjoyed the canter!

Steve

Author's Reply:


Seagull And Chips (posted on: 21-02-05)
A poem about a seagull.

And chips.


Seagulls hover, crafty,
over the stern of fishing boats,
where the flap of group chaos belies
the single creature’s motionless glide:
eyes fixed on catch of the day.
Seeking, uplifting,
they perch on masts and harbour walls,
scavenge and survey their realm
from the large white button-top
of a promenade flagpole:
their cries complementing
the crash of the surf, and the rush
of a broken wave,
deserting a shingled slope.

I’d read they were turning their backs on all this,
preferring instead the easy pickings
of life, on the wing
of southern fried chicken
and other remains from wasted nights:
half-eaten pizzas; abandoned kebabs;
the debris of pub-fuelled appetites.

I remembered the huge birds at Folkestone,
triggering thoughts of Hitchcock. Individual operators,
collecting on bin day, in a dawn attack
on defenceless black
bags of opportunity,
scraps breaking out on the pavement.

Now, platformed at Dover Priory,
closing in on us, the waiters
in a fast evolving food chain,
ruffling the feathers of pigeons that,
previously, regarded this
as their domain,
a lone interloper padded around
from one easy prize to another.
Deserting a chocolate muffin,
deaf to the distant foghorn blasts
of ships, the seagull dashed to a startled boy,
who fled the scene to leave the seagull
tearing at his chips.

I sat in some amazement and, I wondered,
down the line,
as my train approached the station:
just what it is that’s thrown away
in what we leave behind.

Archived comments for Seagull And Chips
Emerald on 2005-02-22 01:36:04
Re: Seagull And Chips
Hi, Living on a small islands I was captivated by this excellent poem. The seagull is one of the greatest scavengers. Well worth the nib.

Emma

Author's Reply:

KevTheRev on 2005-02-22 02:50:00
Re: Seagull And Chips
Ah! the seagull,

I liked the poem but I feel our poor scavenger has been given bad press, and its our fault. I read a book as a young child “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” and then did not pay much attention to the content, it was a matter of must read the book! Later in life as parachuting became part of my job role I was given the same book by our instructor. This to him was the bible, and only then did I associate the words and the meaning. If you have never read this children’s book, you have never soared!

Pencilcase, lovely narrative, well done!


Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-22 02:53:24
Re: Seagull And Chips
Hi Emma. Thanks for the comment. Pleased to see that you enjoyed this one and, yes, it's always nice to be nibbed!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-22 03:36:25
Re: Seagull And Chips
Hi Kev! Many thanks for your appreciation of my latest submission. Ah, yes: seagulls! Well, i love hearing their cries by the coast, but they can be very bold and aggressive sometimes. I really do remember some whoppers at Folkestone and I saw them pecking away at black bags waiting for the dustmen early morning. I used to go out with a bird who worked in Folkestone.

A woman, I mean: not a seagull.

Erm...think I'm losing the plot a bit here. Where were we?

Ah, yes, the poem. It was prompted by something I witnessed at Dover Priory station when I was returning from a weekend in Boulogne. I had arranged to meet a bird for the weekend. A woman, I mean: not a seagull. Anyway, suddenly this oversized feathered chap made a determined dash for a young lad's chips! Bloomin' 'eck!

What was that about parachutes? Sorry, I'm not quite with it today. That's 3 days in a row: yesterday, today and tomorrow.

1-1000, 2-1000, 3-1000...

Author's Reply:

red-dragon on 2005-02-22 07:01:26
Re: Seagull And Chips
A well deserved 'nib' - had everything for all 5 senses - reminds me of the monkeys in Gibralta, which steal anything they can. Red

Author's Reply:

Mehitable on 2005-02-22 10:23:26
Re: Seagull And Chips
Something about this poem really caught me - I think I was making a comprisom about kids and seagulls. They all used to get fresh food and now take the easy option which is fed to them in such a cavalier manner! Flight of fancy I realise - but actually, your seagulls and their change in habit could represent a million different things about our changing century.
Of course, pencil case, there's every possibility I'm putting a spin on your poem - but the seagulls, who don't do spin, have been tainted by us. I thought it was a really good poem.
x Mehitable

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2005-02-22 15:18:20
Re: Seagull And Chips
Great title and poem with a lovely contemplative finish (nearly said fish). I like their cheekiness but it can get a bit much when they start dive-bombing you.

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

Jen_Christabel on 2005-02-22 19:16:34
Re: Seagull And Chips
Got to say, I have a strong dislike of seagulls! We're plagued with them down here! Anyroadup, I thoroughly enjoyed this, well written. Thanks for the read.
JayCee

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-23 04:25:36
Re: Seagull And Chips
Thanks Trevor. Good to know you enjoyed this and that the atmosphere came through.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-23 04:32:29
Re: Seagull And Chips
Thank you, your Mehitableness. I'm pleased this poem caught you!

And your take on it is interesting. It wasn't really meant as a comparison between kids and seagulls, but certainly I had in mind the changing habits and habitats that could represent many other aspects of modern society - society that seems to be hurtling towards an unknown destination and is doing so for unknown or not thought through reasons. If there is any reason at all.

Thanks again for commenting.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-23 04:35:01
Re: Seagull And Chips
Hi Red, thanks for your comment and your sensory perception. Your relating this to monkeys in Gibraltar is a vivid and interesting image!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-23 06:53:45
Re: Seagull And Chips
Thanks Kat. Yeah, must admit I like the title too! A mate of mine works in a chipshop. We call him chippy. How imaginative is that! He's a single guy, so at least he can't be accused of wife-battering.

Yeah, it is a bit much when they start dive-bombing - especially them bloomin' whoppers in Folkestone!

Where was I?

Oh well, that'll do I s'pose.

Thanks for popping in.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-23 06:56:30
Re: Seagull And Chips
'Anyroadup'? Are you a corrie fan? I used to watch bits and pieces of it from time to time but haven't bothered for ages now. Bring back Reg Holdsworth!

Knowledge is power!

Oh, btw, nice you liked the poem.

Better get ready for work now Steve.

Okay then...

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-02-23 08:16:38
Re: Seagull And Chips
Steve - the last confrontation I had with a seagull was in Ilfracombe (I think I mentioned him in my 'hotel entertainer' piece. He perched just outside my room every morning and made a horrendous row. I didn't feed him at all though - perhaps I should have made an offering...
Anyway, you know I like this one cos I told you in the pub! Bis bald, John.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-23 19:07:33
Re: Seagull And Chips
John? Barenib? Oh yes, I think I saw you in the pub once or twice...

That hotel entertainer piece amused me. I still have nightmares about the wallpaper. I've never known wallpaper to make such an impression on me and I'm speaking as someone who worked weekends in a DIY shop when i was doing me A levels.

Where was I? Where am I? Sorry, i've been on the drugs all night (making, not taking). While others sleep...I save lives.

Can't stop thinking bout Maroon 5 (hope I haven't got that wrong). What the 'eck am I on about?

Think I should get some sleep. Anyway, I'm pleased you like this one.

see the girl with the broken smile...ask her if she wants to stay a while...

I think I've bloomin' lost it! Buy us a pint on Friday, pal: life isn't always easy, is it?

Was it?

Marvellous!

Ooh 'eck...

Author's Reply:

Zydha on 2005-02-24 01:46:46
Re: Seagull And Chips
Hello Pencilcase, when I read the title, I thought...no....not instead of 'fish and chip' and I was delighted with your read, A very clever title and a super perspective of our changing lifestyles and habits. Most enjoyable.

I noticed a reference to the book Johnathan Livingstone Seagull, which is not only a childrens book, but has layers of philosophical meanings beneath the surface sad story of a seagull. The music to the song by Neil Diamond is stirring and exciting. Well worth a read and listen. Zydha

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-24 08:39:51
Re: Seagull And Chips
Well, Zydha, thanks for thy considered comment. And your rating reflects this - you are too kind.

Ever since I submitted this poem there have been seagulls coming inland and swooping over my roof. I hope I'm not getting paranoid, but somehow it seems like the chips are down. I can't stop thinking about 'The Birds'. Now the thing about that film though is that it was never clear to me just how there could be enough food to sustain zillions of of 'em just waiting to gather on a climbing frame or flood down yer chimney.

They won't get me though: I've boarded up the windows.

Yours on a wing and a prayer (and thanks again for commenting).

Steve

Author's Reply:

RoyBateman on 2005-02-24 11:06:24
Re: Seagull And Chips
What a tasty combination - sorry! Apparently, they're not palatable, due to their fishy diet. Very atmospheric, and took me back to the south coast...oh, what fun it was in the mating season - trying to sleep!
Actually, I used to "race" the gulls - they'd perch on the roofs, watching, while I went out to throw scraps up the lawn and hope to get back in before it vanished into a swooping beak. The buggers always beat me!
Thoroughly enjoyable read.

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-02-24 11:13:55
Re: Seagull And Chips
Ahhh, young Pencil. This reminded me of a seagull I once knew named Barry. I cannot divulge too much information on Barry as he is wanted by the squirrel police in connection with a tragic lawn-mowing incident. I personally feel vindicated that I never allowed the tosser in to my garden. People say that foxes are sly, but you really need to watch out for those pesky seagulls. I hope this helps.
Thanks.

s
u
n
k
e
n

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-24 20:11:34
Re: Seagull And Chips
Interesting remarks, Roy, and 'thoroughly enjoyable read' is a most gratifying comment!

Many thanks!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-24 20:17:47
Re: Seagull And Chips
Sunken...your comments always help!!! I've had problems with the squirrel police myself. Like you, I can't divulge too much. suffice to say an unfortunate incident involved burying nuts whilst on a rare sortie into what remains of the countryside.

Do you remember 'Secret Squirrel?' I remember Cyril the Squirrel: he used to run around in the loft down in Kent!

Better go now...

Author's Reply:

Apolloneia on 2005-02-24 20:33:57
Re: Seagull And Chips
Pencilcase, a very good poem, an excellent flow, a great last stanza with an amazing rhetoric question.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-24 20:38:52
Re: Seagull And Chips
Hi Apo: 'an amazing rhetoric question'? Blimey, my cap size is going up!. And your rating too!

It is pretty good though, isn't it? Ha-ha!

But seriously...It's nice to see your comment and pleasing to know you got something from this.

Allora ciao per adesso. (?)

Steve

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-03-14 14:11:21
Re: Seagull And Chips
Steve, I've only just discovered your poetry. This is the third and I'm in danger of being overwhelmed by your talent. They are all so good. I already thought this was good bere I reached the thought at the end -- briliant.
Daff

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-03-15 19:42:09
Re: Seagull And Chips
Daff - you are too kind, but flattery will get you everywhere! But anyway, I'm pleased you really enjoyed this and some of my other submissions.

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:


On The Shelf (posted on: 14-02-05)
One for St.Valentine!

Popping in the supermarket
late on Valentine’s,
I notice items on the shelf
that love has left behind.
Saucy cards and teddy bears,
bright red cushioned hearts –
just beyond the ready meals
and cut-price custard tarts.
Things that haven’t been picked up,
goodies left forsaken:
between the BOGOF pizzas
and the rindless unsmoked bacon.
I look for special offers,
but it’s very hard to find
the larder that’s an open heart
complete with well-stocked mind.
I often notice women when
I’m on these shopping trips,
it might be legs or cleavage
or a swivel of the hips.
But I’m not off my trolley,
no! I’m not a basket case:
the most attractive thing of all?
A smile that lights a face.
A pair of sparkling eyes,
a nose that’s somehow cute,
I’ve got my natural yoghurt:
I’d just like to add some fruit.
I do the Tesco tango,
I’d like to take a chance,
but this is not the ideal place
to ask someone to dance.
Love is in the air tonight,
I might join in the fun –
as soon as I have microwaved
my frozen meal for one.
I move towards the checkout,
I’ve been here quite a while,
passing hearts and flowers
going solo down the aisle.
I put my bits and pieces
on a black conveyor belt,
hoping that my frozen things
might one day start to melt.
Resisting tempting sweeties,
enticingly displayed,
I give the girl my Clubcard
and my purchases are made.
Asked if I’d like help to pack,
I say “no thanks, I’m fine,”
then notice teddy, on the shelf:
oh stuff you, Valentine.





Archived comments for On The Shelf
Hazy on 2005-02-14 09:54:20
Re: On The Shelf
Brilliant, Steve 🙂 Loved it lol.

Very clever lines include:

But I’m not off my trolley,
no! I’m not a basket case:

going solo down the aisle.

hoping that my frozen things
might one day start to melt.

I DESPERATELY need to go shopping. I have nothing to drink except tap water (God help me) and a very old now-fizzing orange juice. My fridge comprises 1 Actimel, and some butter (well, I say butter... but I mean that 'healthy' stuff in the green tub). Erm, I think that's about it!! lol. Surely not, lemme go down and check...

Ahah! Jif lime juice, lazy garlic, and a massive jar of mayonaisse (2 large jars ordered accidentally online).

I'd like to see Jamie Bloody Oliver make somat with that lot! (ewww I can't stand him)

Can you tell I'm bored? lol

Ah yes, as I was saying... if I go to Sainsbury's tomorrow night... will it be full of Singletons? OMG how embarrassing. I'm really scared to go in case ppl think I'm on the pull.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

red-dragon on 2005-02-14 19:22:56
Re: On The Shelf
Yes, I can see why you got a nib for this - it lives up to all expectations. Tesco will never be the same again! Red

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-15 03:43:11
Re: On The Shelf
Hi Hazy - glad you enjoyed!

Wonderfully whacky comment! Keep this up and you might even rival sunken - but there's a long way to go. I think some of his recent comments have rivalled the best subs on the site. He's out of his tree, in a nice sort of way.

Marvellous!

Wasn't it?

I've been taking it easy today, avoiding Tesco's and resting before the night shift. Well, I've done the 'Tesco Tango'...don't be afraid of the 'Sainsbury Salsa'!

Clubcard Steve

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-02-17 00:10:59
Re: On The Shelf
Perhaps Tesco will start a dating service - they seem to have a finger in most pies these days (?!)

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-17 02:15:55
Re: On The Shelf
Thanks Red - glad you enjoyed. This could bring a whole new meaning to 'two for one offers'!

Cheers

Steve

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2005-02-17 04:34:12
Re: On The Shelf
What a great read indeed Steve - you maintain a wonderful rhythm and wry humour throughout. Excellent work!

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-17 06:03:43
Re: On The Shelf
John...funnily enough I had the thought that there could be a noticeboard for messages at tesco along these lines. You know...'saw you squeezing a courgette last Tuesday about 3Pm: interested?' or...
'I must say I admired your melon selection on Saturday morning'.

The possibilities are almost endless.

As you say, they've got a finger (or two) in most pies these days. I bought some pies there recently. Only because they were reduced in price. 60p for 4 steak pies! That's outrageous! Just one of the things in the supermarket that I couldn't resist!

Sorry, am I supposed to be talking about the poem??..

Think I'm suffering from circadian dysrhythmia.

Or possibly a dodgy pie...

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-17 07:20:11
Re: On The Shelf
Hi Kat,

I am very grateful for your appreciation of my rhythm! Especially in view of the fact that my last reply to barenib's comment complained of suffering from circadian dysrhythmia.

Or was it a dodgy pie?

Thanks anyway,

Steve

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-02-20 01:05:42
Re: On The Shelf
Very clever. Love 'hoping that my frozen things
might one day start to melt.' Brilliant. And I like the flow and the rhyme.
Daff

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-20 06:02:34
Re: On The Shelf
Daff, thanks for your appreciation once again. Glad you enjoyed the flow of this one.

Steve

Author's Reply:


Like Chandeliers (posted on: 11-02-05)
1982: echoes of the South Atlantic


Things can creep up on you.
Plotting, we ghosted in your wake,
avoiding detection, tracking your course,
waiting for orders to silence your threat.
Sonar tension echoed the sub,
the silent routine seeming to last forever,
never absolutely sure we’d not been heard above,
or seen: picked up, as a blip,
on a hostile screen.
Stealth gave way to action. At last, the order came
and so we fired, waited, then fired once again.
Surreal torpedo moments, listening for a hit,
knowing that missing would give us away,
we waited: this was it.
Technology and training didn’t let us down,
told we’d struck our target, then through the waves,
it came to us, that tinkling, tell-tale sound.
Like chandeliers, it was, shaking gently in the breeze,
indicating sinking, and all the twisted metal,
the chaos and the heaving, the water rushing in,
the vessel’s groaning death throes,
and even cries of sailors
translated to control room in a sound like chandeliers.
Gotcha-News rushed through the sub,
everybody cheered: it went down well with us
when we heard those chandeliers.
Condemning you forever to remain inside the zone
didn’t really seem like killing: we didn’t see
your faces or the horror you went through;
we were trained professionals;
we had our job to do.
We were grateful, jolly tars,
no longer under threat,
but I have not forgotten
the gentlest of death rattles
proving life is delicate,
finely balanced, fragile.
Every day, I hear the sound
that echoes through the years,
no monitors or headphones now,
but always, chandeliers.

Archived comments for Like Chandeliers
Kat on 2005-02-11 12:59:57
Re: Like Chandeliers
Hi Pencil

I enjoyed this very well written poem and the repetition of chandeliers is excellent. Great rhythm too.

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

chrissy on 2005-02-11 20:34:31
Re: Like Chandeliers
A well written piece, very atmospheric and more than a little thought provoking.
I suppose, in these circumstances, celebration might be appropriate. I don't know. Need to think about that.
I enjoyed reading this piece.
chrissy

Author's Reply:

Hazy on 2005-02-11 22:37:57
Re: Like Chandeliers
Steve

An ex of mine (lived with him) used to be in the RN and spent time in the Falklands.

I tend to shy away from the subject matter, but you told it well so I wanted to comment. Very well constructed.

Loved those last 4 lines btw.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

RoyBateman on 2005-02-12 01:03:58
Re: Like Chandeliers
Yes, very thought-provoking. I know that sounds such as a sinking transmit underwater as very odd and ethereal - maybe like whale calls, but, obviously, more tragic. Good POV in this, flattened the "incident" and therefore somehow made it more awful. Any war is awful, obviously - but I still believe that the "Belgrano" sinking was a tragic necessity. It put the Argentinian Navy in port for the rest of the war, and without that, who knows which way it might have gone. There's a world of moral difference betwen those who start conflicts and those who react - in this case, the identities were crystal-clear. Good stuff, made me think.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-12 04:40:19
Re: Like Chandeliers
Hi Kat, thanks for your appreciation of my latest submission.

Will read more later!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pullmyhair on 2005-02-12 08:54:41
Re: Like Chandeliers
Definitely one of your most striding, confident poems. Controversial, but I'm so besotted with "the gentlest of death rattles" that I'd consider ending the poem there. The onamatopeia echoes as you leave the poem that way. Great stuff. pully x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-12 20:56:34
Re: Like Chandeliers
Chrissy - thanks for commenting and rating. I'm pleased to see you found this a competent and thought provoking piece.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-12 22:02:37
Re: Like Chandeliers
Thanks Hazy. I've never been in the navy myself, but put myself in that position after seeing a programme on the telly several months ago: a programme about the Falklands. The facts and controversy regarding the Belgrano and Conqueror were not new to me, but what really made an impression was the way some of those who had been involved recounted their experiences. I hope some of this comes through in the poem.

Thanks again for commenting.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-13 00:57:30
Re: Like Chandeliers
Roy, thanks for your appreciation of this poem and for taking the time to reflect on it and make your considered comment.

Good to get your feedback.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-13 01:50:18
Re: Like Chandeliers
Hi pully - and thanks for your appreciation of this poem.

Your comment regarding the possibility of ending the poem at 'death rattles' is an interesting one. And for me the interest in considering that suggestion is compounded by the fact that within and outside of this site I have had comments saying how the ending was good/effective! Well, it's good to hear/see different opinions.

I'm grateful for your comment and pleased to know that the poem resonated with you.

Steve

Author's Reply:

red-dragon on 2005-02-13 20:04:10
Re: Like Chandeliers
Hi - I think this is one of the most effective pieces of writing I've ever read, especially in light of your comment that you didn't experience it 'for real'. I was completely hooked. On the subject of the ending, why not consider reversing the order of your last lines, to end with 'death rattles' All lines are too good to lose! Red.

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-02-13 21:39:04
Re: Like Chandeliers
I have moved on from the classic 'great' comment and feel that a simple 'Wow', although shorter in length, can have the same blistering affect (effect - that word has long bothered me. So much so that I wrote to the people who compile the oxford concise dictionary and requested it's removal. They never replied, and to this day you can still look up said word. I, however, refuse purely on principle. Not Victoria Principle you understand? That would be plain silly.) I fear the oncoming shunt of tangents young Pencil and shall therefore make good my escape, but not before putting my new found comment in to effect/affect (damn those dictionary people.)

WOW.

s
u
n
k
e
n

on a small planet that orbits Kylie's arse.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-14 04:27:25
Re: Like Chandeliers
Hi r-d, many thanks for your comment and suggestion. I'm pleased to learn that you found this an effective piece of writing - thank you.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-14 04:55:13
Re: Like Chandeliers
Sunk...I'll have a pint of whatever you're on, mate! But if you really think that this poem has the 'wow factor' then that's got to be encouraging!

Many thanks for commenting and rating.

Steve

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-02-20 01:04:14
Re: Like Chandeliers
Very good poem. I was sure you were writing as yourself until I read the comments. That makes it even better - to put yourself so completely in someone else's shoes.
I think you have put your finger on one of the particular problems of modern warfare. The killers mostly don't see the death inflicted. Of course the big exception to that is suicide killers. But then, they are not around to hear chandeliers afterwards.
I think I shall always see a chandelier as something else now. By the way, don't stop at 'death rattles'; the last four lines are excellent and finishing an unrhymed poem with a rhyme is a neat finish.
Daff

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-20 06:10:14
Re: Like Chandeliers
Daff - thanks for commenting. I'm grateful for the time you have spent thinking about this poem, since I feel it's an important one. I was interested in pully's suggestion regarding curtailing the poem, but I think I prefer the ending as it is. I've brought a few poems to a rhyming end...poems that up to that point have little or no rhyme, or include echoed rhyme in places. It's great to write in established forms, but I also like the fact that there are no rules in this lark.

Thanks again,

Steve

Author's Reply:


What’s Eating You? (posted on: 04-02-05)
Another one dusted down from a few years ago


You tempted me to take a bite,
enough to whet my appetite,
then offered more, your hand, your heart,
consumed with passion at the start
you gave your all, it tasted sweet,
when you were good enough to eat.

That was how it was at first,
but soon the roles would be reversed,
you left me hungry, wanting more,
like other men you’d used before:
the menu changed, you had your fill,
then left your prey to pay the bill.

Those little titbits that you serve
for starters are a fake hors d’oeuvre,
your bait to make your quarry blind
to your voracious, twisted mind
that feeds on hearts, yet still soars free:
and that’s the part that’s eating me.

Archived comments for What’s Eating You?
Hazy on 2005-02-04 11:37:57
Re: What’s Eating You?
A very lyrical piece, Steve.

I'm not sure about the last line of the first stanza, but the rest I really enjoyed 🙂 Oh, and I also kept reading it as 'foot the bill' rather than 'pay the bill'. Maybe that's my preference tho... or maybe I'm not sure about 'prey' and 'pay' in the same line. There was somat about it that didn't sit right with me.

Loved the last line. It tied in really nicely.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-02-04 21:59:49
Re: What’s Eating You?
Yes, it's enough to make you lose your appetite isn't it. Nice rhymes and puns that make for an enjoyable poem. John.

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2005-02-05 00:39:29
Re: What’s Eating You?
Good write, great rhythm!

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

deepoceanfish2 on 2005-02-05 01:12:43
Re: What’s Eating You?
John,

This was very cleverly done! A most enjoyable 'little ditty' ! It reminded me of an old song of the early 20th century called 'I Took My Gal To A Ball One Night'.....if you can find the lyrics online, it's worth the search. 😉

Regards,
Adele

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-05 01:25:34
Re: What’s Eating You?
Hi Hazy - and thanks for commenting.

Appreciate your picking up on the very last line. Fair comment re: last line first stanza, but I think I'm still of the opinion that it fits in with the overall theme and approach. 'Foot the bill' would be fine, echoing the sonics of 'fill' in the preceding line, but again it's a matter of preference: I kinda like the internal rhyme of prey/pay, but it's interesting to see your POV.

Thanks again for taking the time to give some considered thought to my latest offering - appreciated!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-05 02:46:41
Re: What’s Eating You?
Thanks for commenting, John.

Still feeling a bit peckish!

Gandhi (!)

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-05 13:48:23
Re: What’s Eating You?
Hi Kat. Thanks for popping in and commenting. Glad you enjoyed the rhythmus!

Steve

Author's Reply:

Dargo77 on 2005-02-05 17:09:11
Re: What’s Eating You?
Steve, I also loved the rhythm in this piece. Most enjoyable read.
Best regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-05 19:26:22
Re: What’s Eating You?
Hi Adele and thanks for the comment. Haven't found the lyrics to that song yet, but pleased you enjoyed the poem.

BTW, John is my second name, but usually I'm known as Steve!

Steve

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2005-02-06 12:15:10
Re: What’s Eating You?
I loved the concept of this and particularly the Rhythm, I also thought the rhyming seemed to come quite naturally here too Steve. Very clever. Love Val x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-06 19:42:48
Re: What’s Eating You?
That's funny...thought I'd posted a reply to Dargo, but it's not there. Anyway, thanks to both Dargo and Val for their appreciation of this poem.

Steve

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-02-20 01:32:59
Re: What’s Eating You?
Very witty. Love the audacity of rhyme - serve / hors d'oevres. I must say I do like things that rhyme and scan without sacrificing meaning. I've been browsing several of your poems and am most impressed. Really should stop and do some work.
Daff

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-02-20 01:33:07
Re: What’s Eating You?
Very witty. Love the audacity of rhyme - serve / hors d'oevres. I must say I do like things that rhyme and scan without sacrificing meaning. I've been browsing several of your poems and am most impressed. Really should stop and do some work.
Daff

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-20 05:54:21
Re: What’s Eating You?
Hi Daff! Yes, I see you've been commenting away on some of my stuff. Many thanks indeed and I'm pleased you liked this one. When you say 'really should stop and do some work' are you referring to yourself, or hinting that I should stop writing these poems and get on with something useful??!!!

Only joking!

Or am I?

Ta again,

Steve

Author's Reply:


Kraft durch Freude (posted on: 24-01-05)
A Mother's pride in mid-thirties Germany...

There was a time, not long ago,
when life was just a trail of woe
and positives were hard to find:
thank goodness we’ve left that behind.
My only son was weak, withdrawn,
the hopes we had appeared forlorn,
but now I’m pleased my darling boy
has found himself in strength through joy.
The country walks and exercise
have put the glint back in his eyes,
the spring is in his step once more
and girls no longer just ignore
the finest in our neighbourhood:
the outdoor life has done him good.
Just think of all the fun he’s had!
Those Nazis really aren’t so bad,
they’ve coaxed him from his former shell –
I’ve never seen him look so well.
Enemies within are banished,
unemployment’s almost vanished,
his prospects now are looking bright,
he’s got a job, they’ll see him right.
We’re building up our strength, at last:
thank God the darkest days have passed.



Archived comments for Kraft durch Freude
Hazy on 2005-01-24 09:06:25
Re: Kraft durch Freude
What an amazing, clever poem. I can picture them both. Even without a great deal of imagery mentioned, I love the way this poem just comes to life. I can 'see' every line.

I really must get round to reading some more of your stuff.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

Gerry on 2005-01-24 14:46:54
Re: Kraft durch Freude
Well written and fully understood.
Good title too...

Gerry.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-25 06:28:10
Re: Kraft durch Freude
Thanks Hazy - glad you appreciated the poem. I've got plenty of other stuff on the site, so if you get around to looking at other efforts from time to time then that would be marvellous!

Cheers,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-25 08:35:13
Re: Kraft durch Freude
Hey Gerry - thanks for dropping by, commenting and rating. Glad you liked it.

Steve

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2005-01-25 15:07:01
Re: Kraft durch Freude
This is very well done - great work!

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-25 15:19:22
Re: Kraft durch Freude
Hi Kat!

Knowing that you're based in Germany, I wondered if you'd pick up on this one. Thanks for not letting me down!

Vielen Dank, auf Wiederklicken und mach kein Scheiss!

Steve

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-01-26 08:13:41
Re: Kraft durch Freude
Steve - it's the last line that's telling here; no-one knew what was coming, so it was perfectly possible to be sucked in.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-26 12:52:09
Re: Kraft durch Freude
Indeed, John. Thanks for popping round.

In my head, I can hear the Horst Wessel Lied ringing out. Bit worrying, really.

Bis bald,

Steve

Author's Reply:

RoyBateman on 2005-01-27 13:41:02
Re: Kraft durch Freude
Both clever and terrifying - you caught the zeitgeist perfectly, and quite correctly too. History can only truly be seen through the eyes of the participants, and getting into their heads is a great skill...one I often tackle, too. If I manage as well as you have above, I'm well chuffed. Very well written, and an excellent final line to leave hanging....

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-27 15:20:33
Re: Kraft durch Freude
Roy, thanks for your considered comment. Thanks for your appreciation of the poem itself and the subject it deals with. History is one of my interests and I have a degree in European Studies (History). I remember your Euro 1815 thing amused me in particular, combining four of my interests: history, poetry, humour and football!

Thanks also for mentioning the final line: probably the most heavily and tragically ironic 7 words I've ever written!

Steve

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2005-01-30 11:50:44
Re: Kraft durch Freude
This is Brilliant work Steve, hits when you least expect, startling. Love Val x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-30 16:16:06
Re: Kraft durch Freude
Hi Val, and thanks for commenting. Good to know that this one 'hit' you!

Steve

Author's Reply:

Kat on 04-11-2005
Kraft durch Freude
Hi Steve

I did enjoy this at the time (see above) but it was good to have a reread too! I saw the 'Hitler' TV movie starring Robert Carlyle not so long ago - his portayal was chilling.

Kat :o)

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 04-11-2005
Kraft durch Freude
Hi Kat - oh yes, you commented before! Sorry! Well, never mind.

Having taken another look at it myself, I think the poem quite interesting in how it works towards the hugely ironic 'thanks goodness the worst is behind us' conclusion. I'm sure many Germans felt like that in the mid-thirties.

Schoenes Wochenende und auf wiederklicken!

Steve

Author's Reply:


Lost Love (posted on: 24-01-05)
Revised version of a poem I wrote a few years ago.

You seemed somehow ungrateful
when I ironed all your clothes,
had I been unfaithful…
I wonder now, who knows?
It might have made you think again
and kept you on your toes.

I think you found me wearing
(it was you who wore the tights),
you'd rather I'd been swearing
and getting into fights.
I should have scoffed like other men
and laughed at women's rights.

I should have disappeared for days,
not caring to inform,
kept you wondering at my ways,
been cold instead of warm:
and ridiculed your snivelling when
you woke me in a storm.

I was far too kind for you
and so I must avow
to give up being loyal, true,
and never more kowtow.
I was quite the new man then:
I’m somewhat older now.

Archived comments for Lost Love
Nicoletta on 2005-01-24 02:55:00
Re: Lost Love
A very honest and poignant write. Well done Pencilcase, Kind regards Nic.

Author's Reply:

chrissy on 2005-01-24 06:23:58
Re: Lost Love
Very well written and so sad.
A very good read.
chrissy

Author's Reply:

Hazy on 2005-01-24 06:37:35
Re: Lost Love
Ouch. Some of that hit home... but I'm not sure if I was guilty of it or not. When my ex husband left (for another woman) one of the comments his mum through at me down the phone was 'he even had to iron his own clothes for the honeymoon'. Yes, I was selfish and he did spoil me - but I worked full time too and had just spent months organising our wedding. It's definitely affected me deep down and made me paranoid. If someone goes to do somat for me, I take it as a dig that I should be doing it.

My only advice is... don't change. People love us for the way we are. If they don't... we're with the wrong people.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-24 13:28:26
Re: Lost Love
Hi Nicoletta - thanks for popping in with your comment. I value your opinion, so it's good to know that this one was well received.

Steve

Author's Reply:

Slovitt on 2005-01-25 06:55:23
Re: Lost Love
James: Superbly written, with the understated, and earned wisdom, of one truly a 'new' man, now become somewhat 'older.' Your poem, in its use of form, and in its low-key, reflective voice, is very evocative of Larkin, and in this case neither of you owes any apologies. Very well done. Swep

Author's Reply:

Slovitt on 2005-01-25 07:01:09
Re: Lost Love
Steve: My apologies, I don't know where I got James from. Swep

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-25 07:31:59
Re: Lost Love
Hi chrissy - thanks for letting me know you appreciated this effort.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-25 08:44:29
Re: Lost Love
Hazy,

Thanks for commenting, rating and picking this as a favourite.

And thanks for your words of wisdom - but I think it 's possible to be too nice, understanding and caring. It seems to me that what women say they want (I'm speaking from a hetero male POV) and what they actually want are often two very different things.

Thanks again,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-25 09:50:45
Re: Lost Love
Swep - thanks for connecting with this poem...and for you to comment that it is very evocative of Larkin is praise indeed. I just hope that my personal life will be rather more successful and I don't spend so much time in the library!

Thanks again,

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-25 13:57:29
Re: Lost Love
Hi Trevor, thanks for swinging round my way and commenting - good to see a little joke creeping into a comment!

And thanks for your complimentary remarks on the quality of the piece.

Paying someone too much attention is not really a gender issue - I mean if it's not wanted it tends to grate and become tiresome and irritating. I've been on both sides of that and a few other fences. But what I really don't understand is when someone indicates that they don't want so much attention and affection, but then when you back off a bit they accuse you of being somehow emotionally incapable and frightened to show affection in public.

Oh well, all part of life's rich tapestry, I suppose!

Thanks again,

Steve

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2005-01-25 14:39:11
Re: Lost Love
Brilliant and brave I love it. Love Val x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-25 15:24:02
Re: Lost Love
Hi Val - good to hear from you.

Pleased to see you liked this one. Thanks for commenting and rating.

Steve

Author's Reply:

riggy on 2005-01-25 15:31:13
Re: Lost Love
Everything I wanted to say has been said. Thank you Pencilcase, I enjoyed this one. 🙂
meg


Author's Reply:

Kat on 2005-01-25 15:44:02
Re: Lost Love
A really great read Steve. The best of luck to you for a super 2005!

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-26 01:53:23
Re: Lost Love
Hi riggy - thanks for commenting and for picking this as a fave read.

Appreciated...

Steve

Author's Reply:

AnthonyEvans on 2005-01-26 04:16:13
Re: Lost Love
dear pencilcase, this is a nice reflective piece. like swepp, i like the move from new man to older man. life's experineces, all that. and, interesting comments too. best wishes, anthony.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-26 09:55:38
Re: Lost Love
Thanks, Kat. Good to know you appreciated it - and the best of luck to you too!

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-26 12:57:39
Re: Lost Love
Hi Anthony - thanks for taking the time to comment and I appreciate your feedback.

Steve

Author's Reply:

uppercase on 2005-01-26 23:33:17
Re: Lost Love
Good one it's almost musical. I love the way you aged with the poem...Erma

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-27 01:17:50
Re: Lost Love
Hi Erma - thanks for commenting and rating. I like your 'aged with the poem' remark.

I'm ageing with every poem!

Thanks again,

Steve



Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-01-27 11:56:06
Re: Lost Love
A great little piece Pencilled one. Wisdom is a wonderful thing. I'm going to buy myself a bag full later today. Well done on the votes, well worthy.

s
u
n
k
e
n

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-27 12:54:29
Re: Lost Love
Thanks for commenting, Sunken. Let me know who your wisdom supplier is sometime - I could do with a score.

Steve

Author's Reply:

Penprince on 2005-01-27 12:55:57
Re: Lost Love
Excellent poem, with an engaging tone...

D

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-01-27 13:27:50
Re: Lost Love
Great poem. I like the ruefully reflective tone and also the rhyming.
If I might put in an interfering suggestion -- in the line 'nd so I must avow' shouldn't it be 'vow'? I think you'll find that avow is different.
Daf

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-01-27 13:37:39
Re: Lost Love
I love this one -- the rueful tone, the gentleness and the rhyimg, scanning too.

If I might put in an interfering suggestion -- shouldn't 'avow' be 'vow'? I know it slightly upsets the scanning but I think you'll find the meaning is different.
Daf

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-27 15:03:03
Re: Lost Love
Debashish - many thanks for commenting and rating.

Much appreciated.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-27 15:12:06
Re: Lost Love
Hi Daf - I don't mind suggestions at all!

Regarding avow/vow, I actually wondered about this myself before submitting. 'Vow' would, of course, be fine and I could have worked round the scanning problem. But having questioned this myself, I looked up the meaning of 'avow' in the dictionary and found it to be acceptable. My dictionary defines 'avow' as 1. to declare assuredly and 2. to acknowledge openly, bluntly and without shame. So I think I'll keep it the way it is, but I always give due consideration to any suggestions that someone takes the time to make and I'm grateful for yours and for any others you may have in the future.

Many thanks for your appreciation of this poem. Oh and, by the way...great picture on your personal details!

Steve

Author's Reply:

Leila on 2005-01-27 15:19:09
Re: Lost Love
Just been catching up on some of your others, The Morning After, Just So, to name but two and of course this, your latest. Always enjoy your fine work...L

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-27 20:25:13
Re: Lost Love
Leila, Many thanks for your encouraging comment. And thanks for taking the time to look at some of my other stuff - there's quite a bit on the site now!

Thanks again,

Steve

Author's Reply:

Hazy on 2005-01-28 17:48:30
Re: Lost Love
'threw' not through. OMG!

Finicky Hazy x

Author's Reply:

HelenRussell on 2005-01-28 17:50:37
Re: Lost Love
I love the way this reads and the story it tells. Full of warmth in the sad undertones.
regards
Helen.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-28 19:16:52
Re: Lost Love
Hi Helen! Many thanks for your appreciation of this poem.

Steve

Author's Reply:

thehaven on 2005-01-29 08:11:26
Re: Lost Love
An excellent reflective piece which I enjoyed.It reminds me of someone I knew many many years ago....thats another story.

There's also an inevitability in that whatever a man does to make the love of his life happy is wrong. Bekind considerate and he is a wimp.Be ordinary he is a b.....d.

Mike



Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-29 14:10:03
Re: Lost Love
You got it, Mike! I think it's something to do with a woman's instinct that she can somehow mould a man. I'm reminded of something I heard a few years ago: a man marries a woman because he thinks she won't change, and she does; a woman marries a man because she thinks he will change, and he doesn't.

I'm still fond of women, but you have to bear in mind that what they say needs to be translated to what they really mean. Reading poetry can help in this regard!

Thanks for commenting,

Steve

Author's Reply:

Dazza on 2005-01-30 14:44:27
Re: Lost Love
Nothing wrong with being a S.N.A.G! Great poem, love Dazza.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-30 16:26:05
Re: Lost Love
Hi Dazza - thanks for commenting. If anyone reads this and they know what a S.N.A.G is, could they let me know?

Steve

Author's Reply:

omniavinatamour on 2005-01-31 19:12:26
Re: Lost Love
I enjoyed this lots. The rythmn and ryhme scheme were great. One question, what's kowtow?

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-01 18:26:20
Re: Lost Love
Thanks, omni-thing.

Kowtow means to show over-the-top deference...from a Chinese gesture called a kowtow. This involves kneeling down and touching the ground with one's forehead. So it means rather overdone respect/esteem.

Thanks again for commenting.

Steve

Author's Reply:

teifii on 2005-02-20 01:21:56
Re: Lost Love
Just been browsing through again. Remembered reading but couldn't remember if I'd posted as some comments a week or so back got eaten. I see your point about avow.
The picture is Teifi Dog who was very poetic and wrote 'She drove of and Left Me' and 'TThe Sheepdoggerel Anthem'. Unfortunately he died nearly two years ago and his replacements are showing no poetic ability at all.
Incidentall although the site invites us to put two photos, this is not possible. Shouls tell Andrea I suppose.
Daff

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-02-20 05:59:45
Re: Lost Love
Daff, thanks for the additional comment. Poetic dogs are extraordinarily difficult to find, but I wish you luck in your search.

Steve

Author's Reply:


Nothing Much About A Do (posted on: 17-01-05)
"...for man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion."

from the last scene of Much Ado About Nothing.

A poem about wedding receptions 'n stuff.



The friends and relations of bride and groom
entered the hired banqueting room,
making their way and all seeming merry,
picking up glasses from trays full of sherry.
Time to mingle and make conversation,
when strangers ask of your occupation
and as you trot out your well-worn replies,
you ponder the state of your tie and flies.
How lucky they were to have nice weather
and don't they look a picture together?
It beggars belief how much some will quaff,
whilst voicing relief that the rain held off.
Then everyone studies the seating plan,
a man seeks woman and woman a man
and all will be socially engineered,
avoiding the conflicts the parents feared.
The guests go along with the whole charade
and seek out their name on a folded card,
the whole occasion is so inviting:
six year-olds find it extremely exciting.
Then, after the breakfast, speeches are made,
glasses and one or two eyebrows are raised,
the best man's comments were too near the mark:
why did he bring up that time in the park?
To adolescents, it’s worse than they feared,
children run wild as the tables are cleared,
whilst young unattached drink strange concoctions,
sizing up any available options.
Presently, guests for the evening arrive -
it’s easy to spot the one who must drive:
whilst most make a bee-line straight for the bar,
he'll talk of the place where he parked the car.
The moment the groom has dreaded all day
arrives when the music begins to play,
with everyone staring, they take to the floor,
the bride holding tight as they pass the door,
in a whirl of music, rhythm and dance
a boy finds a girl and a girl takes a chance.
So what will become of the bride and groom
and all in the hired banqueting room?
The strongest of couples could yet fall apart,
the coldest of fish might open his heart,
for though we can’t read what the future might bring,
it’s written that man is a giddy thing.



Archived comments for Nothing Much About A Do
barenib on 2005-01-17 16:00:43
Re: Nothing Much About A Do
Steve - this does indeed sum up most wedding receptions I've been to, and it often seems that people are at their giddiest on such occasions! It's when the giddiness wears off that the trouble often starts! Nice, tight poem - John.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-18 08:09:19
Re: Nothing Much About A Do
John - thanks for your appreciation of this poem. It's a revised version of an old one i wrote years ago, after seeing the Kenneth Branagh/Emma Thompson film version of Shakespeare's play.

The 'man is a giddy thing' quote is made by the character Benedick, who also says right at the end of the play:

Prince, thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife: there is no staff more reverend than one tipped with horn.

Words of wisdom, I'm sure you'll agree!

Steve

Author's Reply:

Hazy on 2005-01-28 18:08:59
Re: Nothing Much About A Do
Not a bad one at all... would have liked to see a bit more humour in it. Just the odd line. It's a bit factual, IMO. I'm not sure about that last line, it feels like a syllable's missing.

Also feels like there's an extra syllable in

"the best man's comments were too near the mark:"

when read with the rest.

I really liked the line:

"glasses and one or two eyebrows are raised, "

Liked the idea of it generally, and thought it was well told.

I'm not a big wedding fan lol. Burnt fingers n all that!

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-28 18:22:54
Re: Nothing Much About A Do
Hi Hazy (saw your comment on 'Lost Love' re: 'through' btw).

I've had a look regarding your comments on this one. I feel that the last line scans, but I'm still thinking about the other line you mention: I might drop a syllable as you suggest, changing it to 'the best man's speech was too near the mark' perhaps, although I've already referred to speeches (?).

I am reminded of another poem I've got on uka, my pastiche of T.S. Eliot's 'The Love Song Of J.Alfred Prufrock'. Mine's called 'The Love Song Of J.Arthur Hancock,' in which I think I wrote 'I've measured my life in wedding receptions' (as opposed to Eliot's coffee spoons).

Hope this comment makes sense if you or anyone else reads it!

Author's Reply:

Hazy on 2005-01-28 20:50:13
Re: Nothing Much About A Do
What about

The best man's comments, too near the mark

Or

... comments - too near the mark

Hazy x
PS. Not finished with you yet lol 😉 Am sure I'll get to your others before long!

Author's Reply:


In The Saracen’s Head (posted on: 10-01-05)
'The Saracen's Head' is a common pub name in England.


Over an early evening pint,
under a crescent moon,
the face of Islam came to light
in the death of the afternoon.
In the death of the afternoon, it came,
by the spark of an open hearth,
as I read of the history behind the name
that tempted me in from the dark.
Beyond the blackboard’s chalked events,
unnoticed, I drank in the dead
of a night that fell for all the saints:
I drank in The Saracen’s Head.
I read of crusaders and hostages
and the price on an infidel’s head,
while televised newsfeeds and images
drew my gaze to the screen overhead.
It was over my head, beyond control,
my eyes rolling over the bitter,
the beatings and boiler suits crushing my soul,
showing me victim and killer.

Leaving beheadings and bombings behind
and cries of Allah Akhbar!
I looked to the heavens, scanning the sky,
beyond the moon and past my heart,
with no real hope, but still I stood,
the breeze across my upturned face,
beneath the creaking pub sign’s moans
and all I did was all I could,
within a captive world of bars:
I made a wish
on distant stars.


Archived comments for In The Saracen’s Head
Michel on 2005-01-10 07:48:37
Re: In The Saracen’s Head
Sharply original, evocative and very beautiful.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-10 13:31:40
Re: In The Saracen’s Head
Hi Michel,

Many thanks for your very complimentary comment.

Steve

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-01-11 02:26:47
Re: In The Saracen’s Head
Well worthy of the nib young Pencil. It would also be worthy of more attention and hopefully that will come. Over the xmas break I was in a pub/cafe enjoying a meal. Directly in front of me was wide-screen plasma tv showing the mounting numbers of dead in Indonesia. I was moaning about something that I've forgotten about already, probably the bones in my fish or something. I was too pissed to wish on the stars as I left. I will make up for it tho, honest. A top piece Pencil that is easily one of the best of the current batch. You deserve a bigger following ya know?

s
u
n
k
e
n

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-11 07:27:46
Re: In The Saracen’s Head
Sunk, thanks for your comments: both encouraging and thoughtful. Hopefully, there might be more folks dropping by to read this one.

And thanks for the generous rating.

Steve

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2005-01-11 13:28:21
Re: In The Saracen’s Head
Steve I found this a very moving read, You paint a vivid picture with words, being an avid reader I too have read up on the crusades and the brutality of that time long ago.. Nothing changes there then! It seems these last few days succeeding the tsunami nothing can rival the fury of Nature itself, certainly not the arrogance of Man that is for sure. Love Val x

Author's Reply:

tai on 2005-01-11 13:47:30
Re: In The Saracen’s Head
pencilcase, I love your poem. The final lines give such hope.

Smiling

Tai

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-11 13:48:44
Re: In The Saracen’s Head
Val, thanks for engaging with this poem. I feel we have to look to the stars sometimes if we are to make any difference on Earth.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-12 07:09:35
Re: In The Saracen’s Head
Tai - glad you appreciated the poem and thanks for commenting.

Steve

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-01-12 08:19:14
Re: In The Saracen’s Head
Steve, a poem which is both clever and passionate, which is a pleasing combination (I particularly like the 'captive world of bars' line).
I only have one reservation which is the abandonment of the first stanza's rhythm and rhyme scheme in the second. It has been set up so strongly that I found it a little jarring. Otherwise a well deserved 'great read'.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-12 10:16:21
Re: In The Saracen’s Head
John - thanks for your appreciation.

I considered the break between the two stanzas, but in the end I preferred the change, thinking that this seems to slow things down and bring the poem to a focal point of conclusion. I imagined reading this out loud (of course!) and felt confident I would be able to deliver this effectively (given a pause between the two stanzas). The rhyme scheme is not abandoned entirely at the start of the second stanza, but then it 'wanders' a little, but this was deliberate because I felt it suited the subject. In the end, the alternative ending which I wrote consistent with the first stanza rhyme scheme just sounded a little too rigid to me and risked undermining the serious nature of the poem.

I hope I get the chance to read it in front of an audience some day and perhaps we'll both find out if I made the right choice or not!

Many thanks for commenting.

Steve

Author's Reply:


Time On My Hands (posted on: 03-01-05)
A poem about time. And hands.






Itches come in instants, not much to dwell upon,
they’re over in a twinkling, I scratch them and they’re gone.
Their transitory nature isn’t hard to understand:
I had one just yesterday, it landed on my hand.

Just a fleeting moment, but it made me stop and think,
noticing about my hands the marks of printer’s ink.
It often takes a day or two for these to disappear:
recurring signs of time I’ve spent at work throughout the year.

Tracking lines across my palms, I wondered at their trails,
then pondered, on the other side, the need to cut my nails.
Another fortnight vanished, perhaps a little more,
flown and lost forever with the clippings on the floor.

And then there are those pointers of changes longer term
that happen only slowly, but somehow reaffirm
that time will wait for no man, I can’t ignore the tick
of tendons that remind me with each trigger fingered click.

I pinched the skin that backs my hand, hoped it might be taut:
it took a while to settle down, longer than I’d thought.
Not quite what it used to be, returning slack and slow,
without the elasticity, unnoticed, years ago.

Passing thoughts occurring, when I had a moment spare
to take the chance to contemplate: time to stand and stare.
A show of hands is telling, revealing what has gone,
reminding us, within our span, that time is moving on.








Archived comments for Time On My Hands
tai on 2005-01-03 07:39:27
Re: Time On My Hands
Yes, I love the way this just danced along. The hands show the ebb and flow of life's journey. Very true indeed.

All the best for 2005

Tai

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-03 09:40:24
Re: Time On My Hands
Hi Tai,

Nice to know you enjoyed my little 'hand jive' ditty - and thanks for the rating.

And Happy New Year to you as well!

Steve

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2005-01-03 10:20:36
Re: Time On My Hands
Steve, a nicely observed poem on the time-honoured subject of time slipping away. 'Time to stand and stare' meant in the poem you've quoted to stop and look at the world around; here you've turned it into introspection, where the only time for staring available is to look at what's happening to one's self - a sign of the times perhaps. I also like 'a show of hands is telling', again re-interpreting a well-known phrase. Keep 'em coming - John/

Author's Reply:

Slovitt on 2005-01-03 11:45:58
Re: Time On My Hands
Steve: In the past when I've read your poems I always thought that they were exceptionally well written. And so is this one, the metrics actually scannable, the sentiments those of an intelligent man considering the passage of time, and all handled gracefully, as one accepts what time brings, and continues to bring on. Swep

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-03 15:24:01
Re: Time On My Hands
John - thanks for commenting. 'Time-honoured subject' is a most appropriate way of putting it! Good to see your remarks on the re-interpretation aspects.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-04 04:54:39
Re: Time On My Hands
Swep, thanks for dropping by and making your encouraging comment.

Steve

Author's Reply:

Emerald on 2005-01-04 05:09:13
Re: Time On My Hands
Hi Steve, I have heard that our hands can show so much of how we have lived - that like eyes can be a mirror of the life we lead. I enjoyed this contemplative journey of time.

Emma:-)

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-04 08:44:39
Re: Time On My Hands
Emma - thanks for popping in. Glad you enjoyed the poem.

Steve

Author's Reply:

deepoceanfish2 on 2005-01-04 11:55:25
Re: Time On My Hands
Steve,

Loved this.

'I pinched the skin that backs my hand, hoped it might be taut:
it took a while to settle down, longer than I’d thought.
Not quite what it used to be, returning slack and slow,
without the elasticity, unnoticed, years ago.'

A brill piece. Fav and a nomination from me.

Cheers,
Adele 😉


Author's Reply:

Penprince on 2005-01-04 12:31:15
Re: Time On My Hands
EXCELLENT work, Pencil! First that title "Time..." bumped on me, seemed another preachy didactic piece, less interesting than computer manual...But found it involving and original and well written...nice rime endings, too...

D

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-04 13:22:46
Re: Time On My Hands
Adele - thank you for the comment/rating/nomination and fav! I guess you weren't lying when you said you loved this latest offering!

Good to know you enjoyed it!

Steve

Author's Reply:

Leila on 2005-01-04 17:47:24
Re: Time On My Hands
A really well-crafted poem and a nice angle on a subject we all contemplate. There were many fine lines to enjoy and I especially liked
...Itchys come in instants...also
...A show of hands is telling, revealing what has gone...L

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-05 07:06:50
Re: Time On My Hands
Hi Pen! Thanks for commenting. Good to know that you found the poem engaging and well written - i appreciate that.

Steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2005-01-05 14:54:32
Re: Time On My Hands
Thanks Leila! Really nice to see that you thought the poem well-crafted and a good angle on what is, as you imply, a subject that is age-old (a bit like my hands!).

Steve

Author's Reply:


A Question Of Evolution (posted on: 13-12-04)
Why ask?


Being homo sapiens,
it stands to reason
I should wonder at evolution.
Naturalists’ explanations seem to come,
well, naturally,
as if it were obvious
that gill may turn to ear,
reptile become raptor,
and that zebras have stripes
to confuse predators
in the shimmering heat haze
of African plains.
Proof that life (just might)
not be so black and white.

They are all so matter-of-fact.
Some birds sport amazing plumage,
a bright ostentation of feathers
to attract a mate.
Others are dull as ditchwater,
so as to blend and evade.
A selective interpretation:
shouldn’t the criteria used
be consistent in application?
How have the brightest survived,
pre-occupied with sex and spotted a mile off?
And how come the drab persist,
without a brilliant display of feathers
to get the other drab birds going?

Enquiring, we seek answers, but
the biggest question, in the end,
is not the how, the where and when
of change, but why?
And why it is we question,
what might there be behind,
a process of selection
that should bring such thoughts
to mind?

Archived comments for A Question Of Evolution
barenib on 2004-12-13 15:29:06
Re: A Question Of Evolution
Steve, a thought provoking poem indeed and a well written one too. I especially like the 'drab birds' bit! Perhaps part of the process of evolution is indeed to reach the stage where you question that process - though on some Friday nights in the pub I'm not so sure!

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2004-12-15 08:27:30
Re: A Question Of Evolution
Thanks for that, John. Yes, there are many questions that could be pondered on Friday nights!

But, as I say...'what might?'

Thanks very much for popping in!

steve

Author's Reply:


Breakdown (posted on: 01-11-04)
poetry on the verge


She’d never let me down before.
Always got me from A to B,
even when I’d lost my way,
even when I was going
in the wrong direction:
somehow, things turned round.

But there I was.
I couldn’t cry
on a hard shoulder,
watching everyone else zoom past
in a blur of speed
and dynamic intercourse:
I couldn’t focus.

It was dangerous.
All that metal
flying about,
whizzing by,
and the petrol, unstable,
shaking in tanks that left me,
longing to reach
the central reservation:
I was unable.

Both my batteries were flat.
I was immobilised,
so I couldn’t phone
for roadside assistance
and I couldn’t Cope
with flashing indicators,
when there was no turning back:
all I could see were blinking hazard lights,
turning me left and right.

The flashing in the din continued.
I was on the verge,
desperate for a recovery vehicle,
frightened of juggernauts,
but blind to the people carrier
that came up on the inside,
threw up the smallest of stones
that left me in a million pieces,
well, that’s what came to mind:
shattered my mirror.

That’s all I remember.

Archived comments for Breakdown
Elfstone on 2004-11-02 14:41:54
Re: Breakdown
I like the ambiguity in this along with the clear sense of growing distress. For a while I wasn't sure if it was the car or the driver 'speaking'. A clever poem pencilcase. Elfstone.

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2004-11-03 05:02:40
Re: Breakdown
You chose a very good metaphor for this poem - great work.

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2004-11-03 08:39:31
Re: Breakdown
Well if ever there was an advert for the AA, this must be it! The sense of panic is palpable in this and reminds me of the time I broke down on the M4 just outside Newbury. The car recovered. John.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2004-11-03 18:53:52
Re: Breakdown
Thanks for the comment, Elfstone. 'Growing distress' is a not inappropriate remark.

steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2004-11-03 20:17:58
Re: Breakdown
Hi Kat. Yes, a metaphor sustained. Appreciate your comment.

steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2004-11-04 06:30:45
Re: Breakdown
John - thanks for commenting.

I'm pleased to see that the sense of panic came through. Part of my intention was to emphasise the horror of this by matter-of-fact language in recalling a situation where you know what's going on, but it is beyond control. Hope you picked up on 'Cope' and why.

The poem is intended to suggest that the ultimate breakdown begins just as the poem ends. Scary thoughts.

So, hardly a transport of delight, but the car, of course, was just a vehicle.

Thanks again for the comment.

steve

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2004-11-08 12:46:12
Re: Breakdown
Great poem Steve as a non driver and a nervous passenger I can appreciate the horror of the situation only too well.. Love val x

Author's Reply:

RoyBateman on 2004-11-08 18:40:49
Re: Breakdown
Really made me think - a highly (have to use the word again, as it's so appropriate) ambiguous piece that gets under the skin - as I'm sure it's intended to. You certainly build up the discomfort! Quite some achievement in so few words.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2004-11-09 09:50:19
Re: Breakdown
Val,

Thanks for pulling over and commenting. I suppose we all need a tow at times.

steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2004-11-09 14:29:00
Re: Breakdown
Roy,

Thanks for commenting. I guess we all need regular servicing.

steve

Author's Reply:


Prague Spring, London (posted on: 18-10-04)
1968



At the outset, joining in
the marbles and manoeuvring
at playtime, when
it seemed that things
were more relaxed
and we were free to flick our hopes
across the tops
of drains, then I,
mixed with all the other kids,
(Winston, Eamonn
and Rashid),
gathered where the action was,
the drama played on drain-hole lids:
we’d never heard of Leonid.

Things were getting out of hand,
eager eyes were looking on,
knowing soon
the bell would sound,
bring an end to hopscotch and
the playground noise
that backed and followed,
tracked the course
that marbles made
in a world
of kiss-chase lovers,
round the pot of drain-hole covers.
Launched with skill,
but after the initial spring
the fates stepped in, determining
by bumpy chance
the path the marble’s
ride would take
across the hazards
man had forged,
not thinking boys
would push their luck
and gamble all
in hope that they
might win the lot,
urging on
the final marble:
eyes fixed on the pot.

We were learning,
working class,
felt the rush,
the roll of chance,
lost in hope that we might win
a wealth of glass
and so we watched
the marble’s spin,
followed every twist and turn
in the mix of skill and luck
that fed our gasps
as it meandered
onwards, to the reckoning
the last remaining marble brought:
the showdown. Alexander?
No, we’d never heard of him.

Rays of hope appeared
at times, to break the chill
of brinkmanship:
that spring was tense,
with all eyes fixed
upon the course
that marbles made
and other twists
in big events.
It seemed the world
was looking on
in opposition,
venting its malicious joy
at seeing tension building up,
sensing that a fight would start
in the growing war of words
and mounting fear
and in the great excitement:
there were those
who sympathised
in silence.

So, for me, the drama then
was in the playground, Ponders End,
where, in the absence of a fight,
the crowd craved marbled sacrifice,
when stakes were high
then boys and girls
would call upon
the playground gods,
sending up the awful shout:
“mockers on the pot!”


Later, in the holidays,
I saw the headlines,
black and white
and pictures too,
of tanks in streets.
I wasn’t sure
of where things were
or where the tanks
had been sent from
or why, but knew
that something big was going on.
The spring had gone now,
given way
to summer and the August heat
and smouldering
momentous days,
when doctrine stated
mounting tension
justified the intervention.

The world recoiled
in mixed relief,
soundtracked to a strange release
that took off then
to top the charts:
The Beatles;
Back In The USSR.

It seemed unlikely
timing then:
but, of course,
we’d heard of them.




Archived comments for Prague Spring, London
Skeeter on 2004-10-18 04:42:35
Re: Prague Spring, London
Our small dramas are so often played out against the backdrop of the larger; and who's to say which is the more important? I like the way you play the two events against each other, drawing comparisons, a world within a world. I suppose its likely you would have heard of the Beatles and not the riots, since they are more immediately accessible to the mind, especially to children.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2004-10-18 16:44:16
Re: Prague Spring, London
Hi Skeeter,

Thanks for your comment on my marbled reminiscences and ponderings! A child's world has its own dramas and conflicts and then there are moments when you pick up something more about events in the wider world. I remember buying an evening paper for my Granddad and seeing the headlines and pictures of tanks, and having the feeling that, as I think I put it in the poem, 'something big was going on'.

Thanks again,

steve

Author's Reply:

Safron on 2004-10-19 21:01:12
Re: Prague Spring, London
pencilcase,
i always read poetry when the title is a date for it is always a poets tale which i always enjoy so much. Your marble thoughts are so wonderful in this vivid poetry reflection so much offered here of innocence.

"it seemed that things
were more relaxed
and we were free to flick our hopes
across the tops "

Safron

Author's Reply:

ritawrites on 2004-10-20 06:57:56
Re: Prague Spring, London
A fabulous read --

Author's Reply:

tai on 2004-10-20 09:04:40
Re: Prague Spring, London
I enjoyed the ramble through memory to playground fun but I found it a little long. I feel two poems in this at least. The reason with the different locations I understand, but still found it a tiny bit long. Hope you don't mind the comment. Just a thought.

All the best

Tai

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2004-10-20 14:31:45
Re: Prague Spring, London
Safron,

Thanks for that. I'm pleased you found it interesting. There are several points in this poem which are intended to refer to what was going on in both the micro-juvenile world and the macro-power politics / human aspiration world. You've picked on one, by which I mean: things seemed more relaxed and the Czechs were flicking their hopes too. But those drain-hole covers had bumps all over them and, once your marble was launched, no matter how good you were, you could never be sure what course it would take and what the final outcome would be.

Thanks again,

steve

Author's Reply:

barenib on 2004-10-20 19:09:39
Re: Prague Spring, London
Steve - very well rendered and, in my view, fully worthy of its length. The rhyming scheme helps to guide us through these late sixties events and keeps the interest - both on the personal level of your battle of marbles and the wider issue of the Prague Spring. I hope that some may be stirred to find out more. John.

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2004-10-20 20:12:05
Re: Prague Spring, London
Rita,

Thanks for the 'fab' comment. I'm pleased that it struck you.

steve

Author's Reply:

pencilcase on 2004-10-21 09:29:33
Re: Prague Spring, London
Hi Tai,

Thanks for the comment. I'm interested to learn your view on the length of the poem (thanks for your polite and honest criticism regarding this aspect), not least because I have wondered about that myself. Believe it or not, I actually cut out a chunk!

I agree that there could be more than one poem here. On the other hand, it is intentionally 'confusing' at times, mixing and contrasting childhood hopes and tensions with the hopes and aspirations of the Czechs for a more liberal and free society, whilst still being wary of the 'playground bully', by which I mean the USSR, of course. To me, and this is with t