Odds and Sods – Piggy Beetle

I have a file of poems that I wrote specifically for reading out aloud, but other than for an audience of one (and he being in the mirror) I have never done so.  One or two of them have appeared on these pages before.  I quite like the ebb and flow of this one.  Try reading it out for yourself, but make sure there’s no-one listening when you do…

Every day, when I sit down with my morning cup of tea
And a chocolate hob-nob biscuit a-balanced on my knee
I grab the book I’m reading and open up the page
Then something always happens that fills my heart with rage…

I see you in the corner of my eye
A-scuttling on my floor.
A little piggy beetle
A-heading for the door.

Oh tell me where you come from
I hoovered yesterday
In edges and in corners
How did you get away?

I know you have a right to live
Like every free wood-louse
But we’d both be much more happy
If you chose another house.

I grab you in my fingers
And take you to the door.
I throw you in the garden
Where there’s wood for you to gnaw.

Then sit back down to drink my tea
But it’s cold – I’ll make another
I go off to the kitchen
And it’s there I see your brother.

It seems to me a tragedy
You drive me mad this way –
Your whole extended family
Is in my underlay.

Oh crusty-backed menagerie of mini-armadillos
Though just insects, I should respect your little peccadilloes.
Perhaps I’d find it easier if you didn’t scuttle out
Every time I have my friends and family about.

So if you want to live a long and healthy insect life
Free of all your insect worries and all your insect strife.
If you don’t want me to blast you with this tin of spray I’ve bought
Then it’s only fair to tell you that I really think you ought
Take my recommendation:
Find alternative accommodation…

My eldest daughter told me
At the school gate, in a shout
That the baby doesn’t like pig beetles,
She always spits them out…

…And the incident in the envoi was a true one!

NB – I apologise for the formatting. This lovely block editor does something (I don’t know what) to pasted-in poems that puts them in a different (as far as I can see unalterable) font and puts each individual line in a separate block. Infuriating!

The Haphazardly Poetical – Bury Me – A Slight Return

Photo by Trust “Tru” Katsande on Unsplash

I first published a version of this poem in November of last year. (If you want to read the original, it is here.) It had a long preamble and Calmgrove, whose voice and opinion is always to be respected, felt that I had screwed it up by allowing my ‘sense of mischief’ to cock it up at the end. As usual, he was right – although, to be honest, I think he was being kind; on re-reading it I think I probably let it slip a verse before that. So, I’ve tried again, and this time I’ve swallowed my mischief.

Could be that it doesn’t work at all now, for a whole new raft of reasons. I would be pleased to hear what you think.

Anyway, here it is…

Bury Me
Bury me up in a tree
Where the warming sun can shine on me.
Not by its roots,
Or in its shade,
Nor in the silence that it’s made.

Bury me in the canopy
Where the morning birds can sing to me.
Not at its feet,
In darkened balm,
But ever held within its arms.

Lay me in that skyward place,
Held within its firm embrace.
A silhouette
On dappled skies;
Alone to face the long goodbyes.

Bury me amongst the leaves
Encased within the living wreaths
Where, should I wake
At dawn’s first call,
I won’t be held in deathly pall.

Let me lie, under the sky,
Where I can feel the world pass by,
So, when my mortal
Days are past,
My Earth and I will merge at last.

…it’s the best I’ve got, and I promise that I won’t bother you with it again.

The Haphazardly Poetical – Finding the Perfect Rhyme for Atrocious

Photo by Trust “Tru” Katsande on Unsplash

I really don’t think it’s a crime,
But I like all my poems to rhyme.
It’s possibly overly formal –
I prefer that my rhythms stay normal.

And then, if I possibly can,
I prefer every stanza to scan.
You may think I’m being effete,
But I quite like a verse with a beat.

I find that it all feels much neater
When the lines are of requisite metre,
For I really do feel it perverse
When there’s no shape or form to the verse.

So, for those who prefer their verse free,
There is no point in looking at me,
But for people who like their rhymes bad,
Stick around then, ‘cos I am your lad.

For K Morris (Poet) and James (Proclaims) with apologies for taking so long…

The Haphazardly Poetical – The Many (More) Sayings of Millie’s Mum

Photo by Trust “Tru” Katsande on Unsplash

As nobody actually denounced me as a clown for publishing a children’s poem a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d give you the second part of it today…


Oops a daisy. Never mind.
It’s all your mess I think you’ll find.
Your bedroom floor is a disgrace.
Wipe that smile from off your face.
Eat your cabbage. Comb your hair.
Don’t do handstands on that chair.
Can you turn that music down?
Millie, please don’t act the clown.
Undo your shoes, don’t slip them off.
Put your hand up when you cough.
You’ve been the same since you were born.
Leave that slug out on the lawn!
Wipe your shoes when you come in.
Do we have to make that din?
Are you sure you’ve washed your hands?
Don’t leave your bag just where it lands.
Walk straight there and come straight back.
You’ll give your dad a heart attack.
Come off there, you’ll break your neck.
You’re making me a nervous wreck.
Keep away, that puddle’s deep.
I love you lots – NOW GO TO SLEEP!

© C McQueen 2019

The Haphazardly Poetical – The Many Sayings of Millie’s Mum

Photo by Trust “Tru” Katsande on Unsplash

I always wrote poetry for my children and now I’m doing the same for my grandchildren. This is a favourite. I’m not sure how this fits in here, but I like it – so you get it…


Millie, are you getting dressed?
Please don’t make a dreadful mess.
I cleaned your room out yesterday
And tidied all your toys away.

Millie, have you made your bed?
Please just say, don’t shake your head.
Run a hairbrush through your hair
And Millie, please don’t put that there.

Millie, have you cleaned your teeth?
Please remember those beneath
The gaps where other teeth have gone…..
And put the toothpaste lid back on.

Millie, will you wear your hat?
Please don’t look at me like that.
Don’t get jam all down your clothes
And Millie – please don’t pick your nose.

Millie, must you play the fool?
Please don’t make us late for school.
I’m sure you haven’t lost your book…..
It’s on the floor. Why don’t you look?

Millie, must you always be
The last to leave at half past three?
I’m sure your teacher didn’t seek
To see the bruise you got last week.

Millie, is it only you
Who has to look the way you do?
Your socks are down; your blouse askance;
Your dress is tucked up in your pants.

Millie, will you eat your tea?
Please don’t pull that face at me.
If the wind should start to blow
It will stay like that, you know.

Millie, have you had a bath?
Please don’t make your sister laugh,
She’s eating beans – oh, look at that;
She’s coughed them all up on the cat.

Millie, are you in your bed
Or are you in the loo instead?
It’s very strange why this should be
The time you always need a wee.

Millie, will you go to sleep?
Please don’t make a single peep
And don’t get up at crack of dawn.
I need my sleep, I’m feeling drawn.

Millie, are you sleeping yet?
I didn’t mean to wake you, pet.
When you’re asleep, I feel ignored.
So come and talk to me….. I’m bored.

© C McQueen 2019

The Haphazardly Poetical – Bury Me

Photo by Trust “Tru” Katsande on Unsplash

As a child I was fascinated with the stories of how the yew tree came to be associated with graveyards: the idea of people being buried with a handful of yew seeds as a nod towards resurrection appealed to my sense of morbid fascination. Then I read a book that suggested that through the ages people had been routinely buried whilst still alive. Now, I understand that the past held in its armoury some pretty brutal forms of discipline and punishment, and I’m fairly certain there were people around who would have been only too happy to employ such methods – many of them our very own monarchs for example – but those unfortunates who suffered such a fate must surely have been small in number. Besides, the book claimed that signs of live burial were still being found amongst those buried in the twentieth century, which led me to believe that the majority were probably innocently interred: presumed to be dead at the time of burial. Not a pretty thought, is it? But it also leads to the conclusion that a similar number also woke up as they entered the crematorium furnace – maybe less appetising yet.

For years it haunted me, but as the only solution I could think of involved me being kept above ground until there was absolutely no doubt of my demise, whereupon I would have to be taken off to meet my maker in a series of buckets, I suppressed it. More recently, I have thought of insisting that I be put in my box holding my mobile phone, but I know what the battery life is like. If I awoke with flames licking around my body, only to find that my phone battery had gone, I would be so mad! I fear that my geriatric organs have little value for transplant, certainly it would probably only be a cobbler that would care for my liver, so I do not have even the failsafe of having had my organs harvested pre-bonfire. I’m guessing that there’s little chance of waking up after that. Anyway, I think that was what was on my mind…

Bury Me
Bury me up in a tree
Where the warming sun can shine on me.
Not by its roots,
Or in its shade,
Nor in the silence that it’s made.

Bury me in the canopy
Where the morning birds can sing to me.
Not at its feet,
In darkened balm,
But ever held within its arms.

Lay me in that skyward place,
Held within its firm embrace.
A silhouette
On dappled skies;
Alone to face that long goodbye.

Bury me amongst the leaves
Encased within the living wreaths
Where, should I wake
At dawn’s first bid,
I won’t be under nailed-on lid.

Let me lie, under the sky,
Where I can feel the world pass by,
So, when my mortal
Days are through,
We’ll be together, me and yew.


The Haphazardly Poetical – Untitled (and For Very Good Reason)

Photo by Trust “Tru” Katsande on Unsplash

This is not about me. This is not about my wife. This is not about anybody I know. I feel that this is a point I must make before I go any further. The whole is not about anybody in particular, but the parts are about everybody. I have no idea why we all have the capacity to get on other people’s nerves quite so much – but we do. I am particularly good at it, I know. I don’t mean to do it, but my hit rate is unfeasibly high. My problem is that my tongue moves way before my brain has had time to slip into gear. I don’t (often) say bad things, just the wrong things. It’s a gift.

Anyway, this rhyme does not have a title because I know, if it did, it would upset someone and, quite honestly, it’s just meant to be amusing…

I know I shouldn’t breathe so loud, I know that I’m a fool.
I know that I am always wrong, that’s why you lose your cool.
I know that I’m a waste of space and always in the way.
I know you’re right to take offence at everything I say.

I realise life’s hard for you and that I just don’t see
Whenever things go wrong for you, it’s all because of me.
I apologise – I’m in the way. I know I stand too near.
I know that when you want me, I am never ever here.

I understand it’s true and that it needs repeated stating,
But every now and then I get so very irritating.
I know you need the chocolate – I can see what it has triggered.
It’s just a spot, I swear it’s not your whole face that’s disfigured.

I put the vase too near the edge, that’s why you knocked it off.
I know it’s not your fault and I would never, ever scoff.
So just lay down, relax a while; we really shouldn’t carp
And darling, please put down that knife – it’s very very sharp…


I’ve just realised that this is my 100th post.  As I set out with the intention of posting just once a week, this landmark has arrived far more quickly than I anticipated.  I will have been blogging for a year in November and, I fear that I might have to scale back a little at that time, both for the sake of my sanity and the good of your patience (which I may be beginning to stretch).  I think that two posts a week will probably prove more manageable for me (Wednesday and Saturday perhaps) and I will be less inclined to repeat myself.  If I write more, I will publish it anyway.  The alternative is to publish shorter pieces, but, as I am such an old windbag, that will probably not work for me.  Perhaps I can drop in these occasional poems (unexpectedly well-received) as additional pieces – that might work.  Anyway, what I actually wanted to say was thank you for sticking with me so far, and I hope you will bear with me if, in the future, I do cut down a little.


The Haphazardly Poetical

The Haphazardly Poetical – Clock


Photo by Trust “Tru” Katsande on Unsplash

Clocks are such maudlin devices: ‘tick’ there goes a second of your life, ‘tock’ and there goes another one. I wish I could live without them really, but I have an almost pathological hatred of being late, so it’s not terribly practical. Still, I do not like clocks, particularly the pendulum ones that beat away, ‘you live/you die’ hour after hour, day after day, and the chimes that subdivide mortality into easily-digested portions: ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for three…(I know, I know.) Clocks, it seems to me, are the anthropomorphic representation of human frailty: Disney does impermanence. Yet, despite the abiding reminder of mortal transience that is inherent in the spinning wheels, they are, in some ways, even more maudlin when they stop. The image of mortality is too close for comfort – especially if you have to climb a ladder to change the battery…

The clock speaks to me: it speaks of passing years.
It speaks of fading memories that echo in its wheels.
It speaks of future darkness as eternal slumber nears.
It speaks of frail mortality with each second that it steals.

It calls ghosts to me: each pulse of beating hands
That holds within asymmetry the pause that marks the last
And tumbles ceaseless, whispering as falls the hourglass sands:
Today the dark antithesis of promises now past.

A gentle recognition of the endlessness of time:
The inescapability of what must be will be –
The closeness of the curtain in this earthly pantomime –
That rings to sound elevenses, then once again for tea.


The Haphazardly Poetical

The Haphazardly Poetical – 100% Is All

Photo by Trust “Tru” Katsande on Unsplash

Well, something had got under my skin, but I’d be lying if I said I knew what it was. Sometimes it doesn’t take much. The news does it most often I suppose: a sense of hopelessness, rage and grim wonderment at where it is all going. A helplessness when faced with those who seek solutions to all of our problems by blaming those of different race, colour, religion, sexuality and God knows what else. There are those who do not hear and there are those who do not listen. There are those who let their dogs shit in the playground… This is hopelessness tinged with helplessness and probably best consumed with a large Scotch. Come to think of it, that could well be what got under my skin in the first place…

100% is All
10% of all the wrong decisions you have made
10% of all the best laid plans that you have laid
10% of all the bills you can’t afford to meet
10% of all the rooms you can’t afford to heat
10% of all the laughter and of all the tears
10% of all the hopes that later turned to fears
10% of all the prayers that drifted on the wind
10% of all the sacred vows that you rescind
10% of all the times you haven’t made the grade
10% of heaven, if the premiums are paid.

The Haphazardly Poetical – A Poem About Inventing

The Haphazardly Poetical – A Poem About Inventing


I blame the weather.

When I am trying to concentrate, the part of my brain that is not involved will often wander off and find something else to do. I am dropping this little poem in here – I was going to say as a bonus, but that implies it has some value, so I’ll just say as an extra – simply because it was written almost subconsciously as I attempted to muster the rest of my cerebral troops into line and thinking about what I wanted to say in ‘Reinventing the wheel’. It is all total nonsense of course – but then so is life most of the time – and it tells a little bit of the story of the previous blog: this is what goes on in the rest of my head if I try to make myself concentrate. I thought I’d just slip it in whilst no-one was watching…

The doo-dah on top of the thingamabob
Is joined by two pins from the side,
To the oojamaflip with the red flashing knob
That’s almost as long as it’s wide.

The boot at the top of the gasket
Is joined by a bundle of wire,
To the loop on the side of the spindle
Which is why it won’t go any higher.

If you just take a turn on the handle
Then the cogs and the wheels will all spin
And the tap that dispenses the water
Will magically turn it to gin.

The thingy will slice you some lemon
And ice will come out of the hole –
A pull on the lever for tonic –
And olives will land in your bowl.

But maybe your taste is for whisky,
Just toggle the switch on the floor
And the wosname will pour you a stiff one
Whilst the oatcakes come in through the door.

And if all that you want is a coffee
There’s already a doobrie for that
And although I didn’t invent it
I can point you to where it is at.

Although, in my head, I have made this,
In my room there is nought by the wall.
The handle just opens the cupboard
And the wosname does nothing at all…

I hope you won’t hold it against me…

The Haphazardly Poetical – An Appreciation of Poetry