New Folk Songs

Photo by Craig Adderley on

It is well over a year since I published my last ‘poem’ at which time I decided that I had bitten off more than I could ever have chewed and that I would be perfectly happy if nothing in the world ever rhymed again.  The songs that follow are definitely not poetry, but they do rhyme.  What they sound like is up to you – although one of them, at least, has a tune that you might recognise.  Be creative.  Stick your finger in your ear and sing through your nose whilst I go get the cider…

The Gardener’s Lament

Begonias, petunias and purple columbines
Hydrangeas, photinias and orange clemetines
Bulbs and rhizomes, little seeds:
Plant them down and tend their needs.
Water them to make them grow,
Keep the weeds down with a hoe.
Celebrate each little bud,
Protect the stems with splints of wood.

The snails will visit with the slugs
In numbers that will make us mugs –
We gardeners who trust to luck
The treasure we plant in the muck.
However much they’re worth you know
Invertebrates won’t let them grow:
They’ll eat your seedlings overnight.
And all your beds will look like shite.

So out we go with torch at night,
With hatred that we know will harden,
To find the buggers in the light
And throw them onto next door’s garden.

Geraniums, delphiniums and pastel phlox,
Nasturtium, and allium and pink hollyhocks
Bulbs and rhizomes, little seeds:
Plant them down and tend their needs.
Water them to make them grow,
Keep the weeds down with a hoe.
Celebrate each little bud,
Protect the stems with splints of wood.

At night the bloody cat will prowl
And dig your seeds up with a howl
That says ‘I’m going to sit right here,
On all the plants that you hold dear
And when I’m done, I’ll bury it –
This steaming little pile of shit –
Where you will find it with your nails
Upon the morn whilst picking snails.’

So out we go with water guns
To catch the bleeder while he’s napping
To drench him when he tries to run
And hope that that will stop him crapping.

But in the end, you can always tell he
Will laugh in your face when he’s shit in your wellie (Repeat x3)

The Old Rover

I bought the old Rover at the end of last year
After saving my money from whisky and beer.
I pushed in the key and I got it to start
With a sound not unlike an electrical fart.

To the end of the drive was as far as it went
Cos the engine was shot and the axle was bent,
The window fell out when I opened the door.
I put my foot down and it went through the floor.

So I went to the seller and I said ‘It’s a joke.
This car you have sold me is totally broke:
The wipers fell off when it started to rain.
The roof is a sieve and the sump is a drain.’

He laughed in my face when I gave him the key
‘If you’re wanting a refund, then don’t look at me.’
It was then that the bumper fell onto the floor
Oh I never will buy an old Rover no more.

And it’s no nay never,
No nay never no more
Will I buy an old Rover,
No never no more.

I tried to drive off, but I was stopped by the law
So I never will drive the old Rover no more.

So it’s no nay never,
No nay never no more
Will I buy an old Rover
No never no more (Repeat ad nauseum)

Fruit Song*

An apple a day keeps the doctor at bay
A banana might frighten the nurse
A ripe tangerine
Makes the Registrar green
But a kumquat will make him much worse.

A greengage or plum makes a midwife quite glum
A lychee might turn her to drink
A sweet nectarine
Might appear quite obscene
To the average sub-Freudian shrink.

Psychiatrists feel that a lime has appeal
And a pineapple can be quite cute
A lemon can ease
The desire to sneeze
Whilst the prune takes a diff-er-ent route.

There are few who can reach the allure of a peach
Whilst a raspberry’s sex on a cane
A strawberry just
Makes my mind fill with lust
And a gooseberry drives me insane.

Let’s shout hip hooray for the doctors who say
That a mango is good for your sight
There are some say a fig
Makes your manhood grow big
Well you never quite know, it just might.

Let’s shout hip hooray for the doctors who say
That a mango is good for your sight
There are some say a fig
Makes your manhood grow big
Well you never quite know, it just might.

The Scrumlops Fall

When the scrumplops fall
And the Jaspers** call
Tween galls that froth
On tinstance broth
Then I will find the limpon quay
Full snore and we at twenty three
Wherever snile will stand in grome
And litterbuss will guide us home.

Some bastard has let me bike tyres down again (Repeat x3)

*The Fruit Song was written many years ago for an ill-starred project with John Junkin and Crispin Underfelt.  I don’t think it ever had a tune.  I’m happy for you to make up your own – just don’t ask for royalties!

**I have just remembered that when I was a boy, wasps were known as jaspers.  I have no idea why…

In addition to the 52 short rhymes that made up the Zoo, you may well be able to find other bursts of cadenced prose from me by looking for ‘The Haphazardly Poetical’.  This, if you’re interested ‘An Appreciation of Poetry‘ is my favourite.

Zoo #37 – Meerkat

In terms of still observance,
The meerkat’s sheer endurance
Is matched by no insurgents –
They also sell insurance.

Well, this is the way that things work out.  I was quietly patting myself on the back for the above, when suddenly it dawned on me that most of my readers would have not the faintest idea of what I was banging on about.  I will therefore explain.  Some time ago the advertising agency employed by the price comparison website Compare the Market* came up with the slogan Compare the Meerkat and a series of ads based around an anthropomorphic animated family of the aforementioned critters.  The meerkats have gone on to be far more famous than the product they advertise but, crucially – according to Wikipedia – only in the UK and Australia: two places from which the majority of my followers do not come.  Hence the four lines at the head of this post will make sense only to about three of you.  I cannot make any sense of the fact that the catchphrase of ‘Simples’ has seeped into general usage nor why a ‘free’ cuddly toy of a meerkat dressed in a velour smoking jacket would persuade you to change your insurance provider, but that is the way it is with mass hysteria sometimes.  You pays your money and you takes their pick…

*In the interests of sanity I actually prefer to think that this was not the work of the entire agency, but someone they keep locked up in the cellar, fed on raw meat and Guinness.

Anyway, in order to balance out this reckless oversight, here is a poem about an animal much more widely recognised the world over – at least if young men are to be believed**. 


The cougar likes to hunt alone,
Drawn to its prey by constant hunger;
The older female, always prone
To search for males forever younger.

**Generally speaking, they are not.

Yet More Random Running Thoughts – Odds and Sods…

My Cat, Lawrence.*

My cat Lawrence, he’ll never let you down.
My cat Lawrence, keeps his feet on the ground.
With my cat Lawrence, you know just where you are.
Since my Auntie Florence, ran him over in her car…

I have discovered that when running, by a method I cannot discern, my phone always plays David Bowie’s Heroes (the album version, not the dreadful ‘single edit’) at the very second I decide that I have had enough.  Well, you can’t stop then, can you?

Not for the first time I find myself thinking about Thursdays.

When I first added Thursdays to my blog rota it was with the aim of using a few stray poems which I ran as Haphazardly Poetical, because that’s what they were.  I planned for them to be a regular thing, but they arrived sporadically and could, only in the very broadest of senses, properly be labelled as poetry – however, as, broadly speaking, I have no sense, thus labelled they were.  For reasons I have never been able to fathom, they quickly proved to be my most popular of posts, but because I am pathetically and slavishly bound by rhyme and scan, I found them difficult to write with any regularity or quality, and when I set my mind to producing them, everything else went out of the window.  Consequently, Thursdays also became home for a pastiche or two (Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Winnie-the-Pooh, that sort of thing) which I rather liked, although I was in a definite minority.  From time to time I wrote longer pieces which ran better over two days, so Thursdays became a day of all manner of poems, part twos and bits and bobs and, quite frankly, I began to find them a bit of a trial.

For a while I used Thursdays to republish some old, seldom read posts, which I thought merited a second chance (although, in the main, you begged to differ) and then came Covid, and Thursday became the day of The Plague Diaries, which took me right through Lockdown towards the New Normal, during which time I began to run.  I have no idea why.  My ‘Couch to 5k’ diary filled the next few months, and then the problem of what to do with Thursdays returned anew.

I write masses of ‘stuff’ that, for one reason or another (usually another) never gets expanded upon and, as Thursday blogs are, by and large, shorter and looser than other days, it struck me that Thursday could well become a day for some of these pieces.  Some days I write pure nonsense (some?), snippets of rhyme (see top and bottom of this post), bits of script, random conversations – all of which go into a folder labelled Odds and Sods, which I have just renamed Thursday.  You get my drift…

Eventually, another sparkly something will attract my attention and a new theme will, turd-like, bob to the Thursday surface, but until then you have Odds and Sods, and I, like a pioneering prospector armed only with a broken sieve, the wrong shovel and access to quite the wrong river, will pan away, searching for nuggets of gold that I might be able to fruitfully lay before you and, who knows, something that might, one day, lead somewhere else completely…

I wish us all good luck…

A Small Deception at the Vasectomy Clinic**

He smiled at me, lain on the table
And said, “Now this won’t hurt at all.”
Then rammed over 6 foot of needle
Right down my wherewithal

*I heard somebody shouting out for Lawrence from their doorstep late one night.  They could, I suppose have been calling for a stray dog or husband, but something told me it was probably a cat.  I started to think about how much easier cats would be to find, if they didn’t move around so much…

**Personal experience – I can say no more except to add that on the day of my ‘op’ I was prepared and splayed on the table when the surgeon and his (female) assistant entered the room, and the assistant took one look at me and said, ‘Colin?  It is Colin isn’t it?  I haven’t seen you in ages…’  The conversation from that point might be best described as strained and I cannot remember a time of greater relief than when I was able to gather myself together and limp, manfully from the room…

The previous running diary instalment, ‘More Random Running Thoughts’ is here.
The next running diary instalment, ‘Man on the Run’ is here.
Couch to 5k starts here.