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I must confess, I'm not a great grammarian so I probably do all kinds of despite to the King's English, but these Americans don't notice anyway.  They're too busy trying to cut steak with a fork. :biggrin:

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[Seen elsewhere, author not credited]   The outside toilet.   In deep midwinter freezing cold, Walked down the path, feeling bold, Needed to go, just couildn't wait,

Spotted this Pam Ayres ditty in another group and thought it might appeal to those in here what likes poytrie:   The missus bought a Paperback, down Shepton Mallet way, I had a look insi

Ha, ha ! It reminds me of the old tale of the general during WW1, who asked his radio operator to 'Send reinforcements, we're going to advance'. When the message passed through various stages, it fina

#268. If I am wrong then I apologise, Jill. But I was taking instruction from Fowler in his Modern English Usage, where he says, Quote:


'To really understand' is a split infinitive.


'To really be understood' is a split infinitive.


'To be really understood' is not a split infinitive.


 I read your remark as in the second example, and should have been 'then you will really suffer'. Much like the Startrek 'To boldly go' where it should have been 'To go boldly'.

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Takes all sorts.................


Steven Pinker’s “The Sense of Style: the Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the  21st Century”


.......................he will anger those readers who cling to half-remembered rules from school. But it’s a deliberate choice. “I’m splitting infinitives as part of a campaign: if I’m willing to do it, maybe they will rethink their pernicious prejudice against it. How and when you choose to annoy your readers has to be thought out in advance.” 



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This one's for the insomniacs


In the still if the night


In the still of the night, when most are abed,

   For those who can't sleep, it has to be said.

They hear sounds nocturnal, rarely heard by day,

   The yelp of Reynard fox, and the revellers gay.


Just nodding off - bang! What the hell was that,

   A dustbin lid disturbed by, next-door's bloody cat.

Rain pitter-pats on window, that's all I need, heck!

   Did I shut it tightly, best get up and check.


A distant clang of coal trucks, collide with all their might,

   The chuff of loco shunting them, back and forth all night.

An owl then hoots incessantly, a passing car backfires,

   And from the pole outside the house, the wind moans through its wires.


The bright light from the street lamp, shines through curtains thin,

   It's one thing after 'nother, you're never going to win.

And if external sounds cease, no crowing of the cock,

   Plainly heard in room be, the ticking of the clock.


Think I'll go downstairs, and make missen a drink,

   What time is it must be, two o'clock I think.

Will cocoa do the trick, and make the eyelids sag,

   While I wait and bide my time, on cigarette I'll drag.


Back in bed 'tween the sheets, have another try,

   No warmth left, and blanket off, nowt to do but lie.

Switch light on to have a read, yes that might do he trick,

   Moth now pinging on the bulb, 'nuff to make you sick.


Will I ever get to sleep, will Morphius show his charms,

   Will quietness reign for long enough, to put me in his arms.

Hang on I think I'm going, my eyes they start to droop,

   I'm counting sheep, an endless flock, jumping through a hoop.


But wait a sec', something's wrong, it's getting very light,

   It's the morning sunrise damn, it means I've lost the fight.

Bleary eyed, throw back the sheets, duty cannot shirk,

   Half asleep I start the day, and journey off to work.




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  • 2 weeks later...

Don't think of her as gone away

Her journey`s just begun

Life holds so many facets

This earth is only one


Just think of her as resting

from the sorrows and the fears

in a place of warmth and comfort

where there are no days or years


Think how she must be wishing

that we could know today

how nothing but our sadness

can really pass away


And think of her as living

in the hearts of those she touched

for nothing loved is ever lost

and She was loved so much


Ellen Brenneman



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Joy postponed


Delivery was imminent; they stared at midwife's face,

   Hands were gripped tightly, and their hearts did race.

'Push!' she cried, and cried again, 'push with all your might',

   And then the baby's head came, plainly within sight.


And then the final push, the nine-month wait was over,

   But not a cry uttered from, the babe in swaddling cover.

Midwife checked the new-born, slowly shook her head,

   Poor little mite had no breath, the longing-for was dead.


All those lengthy months of, parental anticipation,

   Why is fate so damn cruel, to hope and expectation.

Nothing left but tears to, sting the reddened cheek,

   Naught, I say, to fortify, the mother's body weak.


Time to leave the hospital, just the two not three,

   Past the beds of mothers, delivered and to be.

Past the cards and flowers, and sympathetic wave,

   A cheery smile of comfort, that each and every gave.


Through the home's front door, nothing in their arms,

   Finality striking hard, and deeply felt the qualms.

Empty pink-paint nursery, with mobile above cot,

   Layette, they had everything, baby they had not.


Not for them the fragrance, of the newly bathed,

   With talcum in the creases, and terry towelling swathed.

No Three Little Pigs and Black Sheep, not yet the nursery rhyme,

   Such every mother's pleasures, shall have to bide their time.


Doctor told her wait a while, let the body rest,

   She would do as was told; doctors they know best.

Meanwhile they must get on,  it's their only choice,

   Then try again and hope that, they'll finally rejoice.






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  • 3 weeks later...

A Nottinghamshire prayer

Loosely based on the Lords Prayer (no offence intended) and the Bus Drivers Prayer by Ian Drury


Our Farndon, who art in Hucknall,
Arnold be thy name;
thy Kelham come;
thy Wollaton;
on Edwalton as it is in Headon.
Give us this day our daily Bestwood.
And forgive us our Treswell,
as we forgive those who Treswell against us.
And lead us not into Trowell;
but deliver us from Epperstone.
For thine is the Kirklington,
the Papplewick and the Gedling,
for Elton and Elton.


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The gallop to the grave


The old Grange was a place of dread, its squire so steeped in hate,

   Ne'er a kind word from him, had ever left its gate.

For years his firm hand had its grip, o'er village and its folk,

   Those that laboured at the loom, and those behind the yoke.


What friends he had were far a-field, down in London town,

   Met them once a week for drinks, in the Cap and Gown.

A highlight of his visits there, was the chance to bet,

   Sat at table playing cards, determination set.


One night at table chanced his arm, bet more than he could pay,

   Honour to be settled, in gentlemanly way.

Face to face, the shout 'on guard'! the duellists looked well met,

   But when run through with rapier, the squire he paid the debt.


His body now lay lifeless, awaiting turn in heaven,

   All because opponent's eight, had trumped his lowly seven.

Quickly 'twas arranged to, take him home and fast,

   Preceded by a messenger, to tell he'd breathed his last.


The night was black as coal, the weather it most foul,

   The rain came down in stair-rods, the wind the loudest howl.

A hearse was hired to take the squire, to his resting place,

   The skin-soaked horseman urging, as if were in a race.


With four in hand, whip in t'other, tight grip on the reins,

   Doing best to get there, as by the hour he gains.

Then suddenly a cross-road, which way should he go,

   Forward, left or right, need answer yes or no.


The horseman's blood then froze in veins, there stood an apparition,

   In cloak and cowl and scythe in hand, 'twas Death itself in vision.

A bony hand from the sleeve, its finger pointed where,

   The road to drive southwards lay, to linger he'd not dare.


On and on sped the hearse, the driver's whip a-crack,

   Squinting through the downpour, urgence did not lack.

A lightning flash, a thunder clap, naught did check their strides,

   The nags' plumed heads awash with rain, as indeed their hides.


Witness to the speeding hearse, were creatures of the night,

   An owl with its saucer eyes, bat tucked up so tight.

Fox and badger stepped aside, fearing carriage wheel,

   Not wishing to become the, carrion crow's next meal.


The four black mares galloped on, saliva foam at mouth,

   Heading for the Grange so grim, ten leagues more due south.

Through town and village sped they, quartet of hide and bones,

   The sparks flew from their hooves on, shiny cobbled stones.


Then rain did cease, cock did crow, and creatures of the night,

   Did retreat to nest and lair, not for them morn's light.

Then in the stillness of the air, a mist began to rise,

   Taunting coachman's vision, through his long-tired eyes.


Then vaguely into view, the sight of journey's end,

   The Grange's shape, sinister, sighted round the bend.

That none should get the pleasure, to see him put below,

   A grave had been quickly dug, by faithful servant Joe.


The village priest was summoned, much against his will,

   For him and master, never friends, of love lost there was nil.

He would do what priests did, nothing less or more,

   His deference not with gentry, his thought lay with the poor.


The hearse did thereby come to rest, by side of placid lake,

   Ne'er a ripple broke its shine, from daylight yet awake.

Its light diffused by morning mist, gave an eerie aspect,

   As willow drooped in silent prayer, and paid its last respect.


The waiting boatman and the coachman, did take the coffin ready,

   And place it athwart the boat, with priest to hold it steady.

A silent glide across the lake, to island of the dead,

   Where family from the ages past. had lastly laid their head.


He'll be interred and covered, before the sun do rise,

   Before the village know of it, before they open eyes.

The ropes paid out, the final drop, to resting-place eternal,

   Would his spirit rise to joy, or descend to place infernal? 


And there he lay in open grave, in ground so freshly dug,

   The only respect shown to him, a final forelock tug.

Just as the rays of dawn broke, a prayer was quickly said,

   And then the consecrated earth did, swallow up the dead.













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Ooooer Chulla. And I can't even make four lines rhyme. Nearly choked on me cuppa tea I did. You certainly know how to write 'em. My imagination is running wild with eyes like saucers. 'When's the film coming out? Well done Mi duck.

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A very descriptive poem, Chulla, it made me feel as though I was there!  

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Those few of you who read my poetry will have noticed that it has a regularity. The metre is about always the same with its requisite number of syllables to make it all flow. And the ends of lines 1 and 2 always rhyme, as do the ends of lines 3 and 4. Pretty straight-forward stuff.

   There is another style of poetry that I would have liked to have tried writing, but never have. The following is an example taken from a late-Victorian book of poetry that I have. At first it looks like a piece of non-rhyming prose, but when you study it you can see that it does indeed rhyme, but not in the usual way. There are no verses and it is all continuous (this is a fraction of the poem's length). I have emboldened the rhyming words (those that do not directly follow are in red) and you will see that the structure is erratic in that there is much variation in the number of syllables between the rhyming words.


AT A FUNERAL, by W S Blunt [Extract]


I loved her too, this woman who is dead. Look at my face. I have a right to go and see the place where you have made her bed among the snow. I loved her too whom you are burying. I have a right to stand beside her bier, and to the handful of the dust I fling, that she may hear. I loved her; and it was not for the eyes which you have shut, nor for her yellow hair, nor for the face which in your bosom lies, - let it lie, there, - nor for the wild-bird's music of her voice, which we shall hear in dreams till we too sleep; not for the rest, which made the world rejoice, the angels weep.


Think this might be up Jill's street.

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Down town


Thought I'd nip down town, quite a nice day for it,

   Got me bus pass, off I go, on top deck I did sit.

Half an hour later, off at Parliament Street,

   From now on my tootsies, will pound the hard concrete.


Standing by Clough's statue, a preacher I did greet,

   Asked him why his dear Lord, had gen me aching feet.

Beggar sat in doorway, asked me for some change,

   Dog that sat beside him, I think it had the mange.


Dropped in for a coffee, supped Americano,

   Then a stroll in Slab Square, and saunter down Long Row.

Little John did strike the hour, and kids splashed in the fountain,

   My feet felt like Shirley Bass'; just climbed every mountain.


Heading now for Wheeler Gate, dong! dong! mind the tram,

   Here you'll book a holiday, Spain or South Viet Nam.

Walk past Marks and Spencer, a place I never lurk,

   Ever since it took away, local factory work.


A busker stood a-twanging, mouth-organ at his face,

   Coins of diverse values were, thrown in guitar case.

Walked down to Broad Marsh, a god-forsaken 'oppit,

   Pull it down, wont be missed, none I know would stop it.


Tried to buy some trousers, none I tried would fit,

   Put a tad of weight on, tad? let's say just a bit.

Walked back 'long Bridlesmith, nipped in Waterstones,

   Then carried on to Clumber, the street of many phones.


By now I'm proper tatered, my shoders they did sag,

   Told Big Issue seller, where he could shove his mag.

Back at bus termini, looked for eighty-nine,

   Saw it disappearing, fine oh bleddy fine.


Half a day wasted, a bargain did not see,

   The little voice in my head, did point out to me.

Cheer up Chulla matey, you know it could be worse,

   In a wooden overcoat, riding in a hearse.







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  • 2 weeks later...

Nocturnal nature


When falls the light of dying day, o'er town and pastures green,

   And birds do roost on nest and bough, in every glade and dene.

And shadows' fingers creep along, 'til dark replaces night,

  Then it's clocking-on time, for creatures of the night.


The  twilight's gloom awakes the bat, that hangs around by day,

   He uses echo-sounding, to locate and catch his prey.

So swiftly and so silent, back and forth he sweeps,

   Devouring moths and insects small, that nightly harvest reaps.


The spiky hedgehog trundles out, from underneath his hideout,

   It's worms and slugs he's after, devout by pointed snout.

Quietly minding business, and never one to brawl,

   When danger lurks instinctively, he curls into a ball.


The hungry owl with saucer eyes, has chicks that need be fed,

   Nocturnal rodents live in fear, its talons, they do dread.

The silent glide, the accurate snatch, goodbye Mr Mouse.

   Then back to enjoy dinner in, his hollow tree trunk house.


Attracted by a bright light, the moth on coloured wing,

   Like its brethren butterfly, it is the insect king.

Its varieties are many; the plain and colourful,

   The spotted and the dappled ones, the gaudy and the dull.


The gardeners' constant pests, the slug an the snail,

   Whose nocturnal wanderings, are marked by silvery trail.

Watch out on your hostas, and don't forget your lettuce,

   The little buggers love 'em, of you they'll take no notice.


The fox and his vixen with, their shaggy coats of red,

   When darkness starts to fall, come out from under shed.

They prowl the streets to scavenge, and noisily they bark,

   Tipping up the bins in, backyard and in park.


Let's not forget the flowers, when dark they go to bed,

   Closing up their petals, and bowing down their head.

But there's one flower we always, praise its sweet bouquet,

   The evening honeysuckle, the perfect end to day.










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  • 4 weeks later...

Today is National Poetry Day. Here is my contribution.


The maid makes up her mind


So radiant was the village maid, and tressed with flaxen hair,

   Was wooed not by one brother, but by a hopeful pair.

She did decide, the only way, was by a fair contest,

   Who takes her hand in marriage should, be fairly put to rest.


'I'll wait until the Sabbath's sun, has set well in the west,

   And then my swains, I promise you, my love I will attest'.

But Fortune did not shine its face, on that chosen day,

   Its stead was overtaken and, the Devil had his pay.


She then decided it be, for better or for worse,

   They write a poem for her, a simple four-line verse.

That would express their feelings, and how they loved her true,

   In words her heart would liken though, such words they be so few.


They both then scoured the poetry books, Byron, Keats and all,

   Searching inspiration for, to hark the muses' call.

Not so easy as it looked, their skills not up to scratch,

   Hard to find the meaningful, words that had to match.


By the sinking of the Sabbath's sun, their words on page were clear,

   But what passed as romantic verse, did not prompt a tear.

The lines they were so empty and, bereft of love and care,

   With rhyming words like June and moon, her eyes showed vacant stare.


She showed them to another lad, he'd done well at school,

   In matters of the literature, he was nobody's fool.

He shook his head and muttered, did well to keep his calm,

   Never could such verses, entice  a maiden's charm.


'I could write much better lines', to her he did express,

   'Then have a go', she told him, 'I'd like you to impress'.

And then his verses told her, and left her mind so clear,

   He was the one for her she thought, his words were so sincere.


The penny dropped for both of them, a love revealed to share,

   For him it was a dream come true, more than he did dare.

A kiss, a cuddle and knowing glance, the competition won,

   They linked their arms and walked off, into the setting sun.



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  • 1 month later...

The night's beacon


The moon with its face so bright,

   Presents to us its silvery light.

It has a secret, likes to hide,

   We never see its other side.


Has an orbit 'round the Earth,

   Pushing tides for all its worth.

Some people say its face doth please,

   Others say its made of cheese.


The poet's best friend is the moon,

   Because it rhymes with spoon and June.

Shines down on couples in a huddle,

   Reflects in water of a puddle.


Seen in full face or in crescent,

   Cratered to its whole extent.

Said to drive some folks insane,

   Distance makes it wax and wane.


Now and then it blocks sunlight,

   Birds go to bed, they think it's night.

This satellite, for all to see,

   Captured by Earth's gravity.


Its first footprint in 'sixty-nine,

   'twas Neil Armstrong's, wasn't mine.

If I were you I'd not go there,

   Devoid of water, devoid of air.


Smaller than the Earth in size,

   Maybe one day we'll colonize.

One thing I will tell you brother,

   You'll go afar to see another.

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No more the touch of your hand in mine

The comfort of my arm around your shoulder.

No more the sparkle in your eyes,

the sure belief of being together as we grow older.


No more the joy in anticipation of our walks to Dartmouth

packing the waterproof in case of rain.

No more the pleasure beside the Black Dee

to marvel at the returning Osprey again


The wonder and splendour of geese on The Solway

Will no more lift our hearts and delight us.

No more together at home

with our love to surround us


I truly believed my reassurance to you

that everything would be alright

until that terrible unbelievable moment

in the black fearful silence of that night


No more planning together the future,

that's all now gone

And I stand in front of the packeted grief and despair

that's labelled "Meals for One"



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