I forgot to mention – I had a poem accepted for the latest Best Of Manchester Poets anthology. That means I’ve had a poem in each collection. Poems are judged anonymously.
This year’s poem is called Tsetse Rat. It’s one of my favourites of all I have written: it was inspired by the sight of a dead rat at the bus stop.
If you happen to be in and around Manchester tomorrow night, the book’s launch is taking place at a free event at the Eighth Day Cafe, Oxford Road, M1 7DU, 7:30-10. Poets in the book will be reading from the collection and it is hosted by Dominic Berry.
I can’t make it, unfortunately, because I’m feeling a little slimsy at the moment; but I was at the launch of the first anthology and it was great fun.
Poor rat and your pedestrian end:
was it death by cat?
I hope it was old age; you fell asleep.
Dark comfort in your long rest.
Dangerous praise to resent your passing,
forlorn corpse; scorned by
heels and prams and bicycle wheels.
Sleep peacefully, rat, on your dull part
of the dirty path; curled like an idle moon.
The previous word was ‘rutilant’: Glowing or glittering with ruddy or golden light – what I do each time I have a poem accepted. It never gets old.
I know I’m nine days late saying this, but I had a lovely Mother’s Day last week. In fact, I was in a state of being highly pleased, or oblectation, the whole weekend, from the Friday night of Spud’s performance to the Tuesday after, when I visited another blogger (tomorrow’s post).
Sunday started with church, followed by my writing group at the art gallery. Later, a walk with the dogs and Hub, a call from my first-born and the Dancing On Ice final was topped only by Spud making Chinese for dinner, under his father’s supervision. It could have been toast and cereal for all I cared – all that mattered was no cooking for me!
Spud gave me Maltesers, Black Jacks, Fruit Salads and Parma Violets. If you think about it, it’s a weird way of spending Mother’s Day – pretending to be a kid with your favourite sweets. Ah well, my kids are used to weird.
Tory Boy wrote a poem; he then recited it, set to one of my favourite pieces of music.
Sweets and poems – my children know me well.
Before I let you read the poem, I have to say in my defence that, while I adore it, I feel there’s a little of the pleonastic about it. I’m not sure you need to know all this stuff about me: I’d like to keep my Excels At Being A Mother laurels just a little while longer.
Apologies for the layout, sweetie – WordPress doesn’t like your formatting.
A Mother’s Love, by Tory Boy
From my very first of check ups
Where the nurses went ballistic,
To the custard in a bottle
Now my teeth are a statistic
Then came the first of prunes
Where my bottom poo’d a’plenty
To falling out the pram
Luck-i-ly the road was empty
Wear a helmet with my scooter?
Whatever were you thinking?
A skateboard helmet for my bike?
I can feel my brain is shrinking
You walked me to my high-school
When all the other kids could see.
Then we went to war and
you said ‘If they fire please call me’
However did I make it?
I don’t think I will ever know
But if there’s one thing that I’m sure of
Its that my love for mum has grown
As she keeps on trying her best
To give my life the best of starts
Because my mummy loves me
And I love her, with all my heart.
The Laughing Housewife Goes To Tellyland is taking a short season break and will be back tomorrow.
In the meantime, it’s somebody’s birthday…you may remember this banner:
Aquatom created it for me; now it’s my turn to create something for him.
His birthday poem has chops and changes in the rhythm: that’s my homage to his ever-changing blog look and not an indication that I might have struggled writing this one.
- Read it out loud to a rapping rhythm
- Take a breath after the first stanza, to allow for the change in rhythm
- Rush through ‘dotwordpress’ on the last line, or it won’t sound right.
Well, here goes:
For You!You!You! youyou!
His name is Tom with the prefix ‘Aqua’
Read his blog; you’ll enjoy some laughter
You won’t need gin or wine or vodka
He’s a really nice bloke
And he likes to make a joke
But he also does bespoke
Christmas headers for this Tilly
In return I give this silly
Rhyme from a grateful filly
His name is Aqua with the suffix ‘Tom’
If you’d like to give him a birthday balm
Happy Birthday, Tom!
If you would like a nonsense birthday poem, leave your details in the comments section or email me at email@example.com
Write about what you did last weekend as though you’re a music critic reviewing a new album.
Tilly Bud has been silent for three weeks but on Sunday she finally went back to church.
How we wish she hadn’t. She still has real pitch issues and half way through ‘Nearer My God To Thee,’ she nearly was because the congregation couldn’t take much more. Fortunately, the inspired coughing fit from an under-used voice box that livened up the second chorus saved the day.
We waited almost a month for Tilly’s reappearance, which begs the question: why? It’s Bye-bye! not Buy! Buy!
Describe the most satisfying meal you’ve ever eaten in glorious detail.
I don’t think I’ve eaten in that restaurant.
I would never patronise an establishment that uses only lower case letters in its name.
If you could un-invent something, what would it be? Discuss why, potential repercussions, or a possible alternative.
Why? If you don’t know, you must be a teenager.
Potential repercussions - my boys would never talk to me again. By mouth or phone.
Possible alternative - the actual words.
I’m guilty of cunctation in answering this prompt because I suspect I’m in a minority. I don’t believe in the purity of language – it lives and grows and changes and that’s fine; but I don’t want to witness the return of near-illiteracy. A balance must be struck: evrtng n moderation.
Write an ode to someone or something you love. Bonus points for poetry!
Double bonus points for adding a tune?
Sing this to I Like Big Butts by Sir Mix-A-Lot. Don’t look up the actual lyrics because this is a family blog.
I love real words and I cannot lie!
You other bloggers can’t deny
When a kid sends you an itty-bitty text
You wanna throw it in his face
You get rung
Wanna get real tough
Cuz you can’t tell him to get stuffed
In text speak into the jeans he’s wearing
I’m cross and I can’t stop swearing
Oh my boy I wanna throttle that
Fone you always carry
My husband tried 2 warn me
dat dat fone U got
mAk me so angry
U sA U wanna git n my hands
I won’t buy U cuz I ain’t yor avg nd usr
I found a great site for those of you who would like to be able to understand the texts your children and grandchildren send to you: Transl8it!
Well-spotted, those of you who identified ‘bleb’ as yesterday’s word.
It is a small blister, rather like me on a rant.
I feel terrible.* Janet’s birthday was on 12/12/12. She mentioned it on her blog and in my comments but I didn’t read either in time to respond.
I am quite literal: because Janet is too polite to say, Oi! I want a poem! I didn’t write a poem for her birthday. Remember, if you want a nonsense birthday poem, you must tell me in the comments or via email. Maybe I need to set up a separate page.
Fortunately, Janet got over her politeness to demand, Oi! Where’s my poem?
I first met Janet when she emailed me out of the blue to tell me that my gravatar was not linked to my blog. We’ve been firm friends ever since.
Janet’s first language is Chinese but you’d think it was English. She has a lovely, clever son of twelve, called Ben, who has his own rather impressive blog. He could teach us all a thing or two about history. Janet is sweet and kind and well worth a visit.
A Birthday Apology To Janet Williams
On her birthday that’s not good
I’d time travel if I could
I know she’d understood
Battling with my tenses
This poem is nonsens-
ical’s my consensus
The kindest girl on the planet
is my dear, sweet Janet
whose name rhymes with ‘pomegranate’
Umm, one more thing, chum:
you are a great mum
I mean it, by gum!
Happy birthday, Janet. You have the honour of receiving my most nonsensical poem yet.
*Don’t worry: I can assure you that Janet will assure me that I have nothing to feel terrible about. She’s that kind of person: kind.
Here’s a quirky thing: a Tinman with a great big heart.
According to Oz Wiki,
With or without a heart, [Tinman] was all along the most tender and emotional of Dorothy’s companions.
Judging by my favourite Tinman‘s posts about his beloved family, that’s still true.
Tinman has a heart so free
It’s filled with love for all to see
So proud of Tinkids 1,2,3
His posts are always full of glee
He’s also married, happily
The funniest man in the blogosphere
I really find him rather dear
But funnier than me, I fear
Hence this greeting (insincere)
Shame he can’t rejoice with beer*
*That’s the luck of the Irish
Happy birthday, Tinman!
Dear readers, if you like laughing, visit Tinman. Though it kills me to say it, he’s hilarious and I’m not a bit jealous. Not one bit. Not at all. Really.
There sure are a lot of birthdays in December. I guess we know what bloggers’ parents like to do in March.
This is Rosie the Riveter. In America, she’s a famous World War II icon.
My friend Janie Jones, who has a birthday today, is not really called Janie Jones; it’s a pseudonym. She uses Rosie the Riveter’s picture, sort of: it’s a facsimile she drew to make sure the nasty SOPA people (remember them?) can’t lock her up:
I can see her building planes and munitions because she’s tough, after the things life has thrown at her; though she’d rather tell a joke – usually dreadful, and therefore hilarious to me.
I have always liked her blog but I liked it even more way back when I was awarding Cowabungers (remember them?) for the blogger who left the best comment of the week in here. To stay clear of the SOPA police (you must remember them), she didn’t use the image that was her award which I had stolen from elsewhere on the internet; instead, she drew another facsimile:
Janie put it in her sidebar and gave it the title:
Winner of the Coveted CoWAbunger Award, October 10, 2011
See that? COVETED.
I like Janie Jones a lot.
I Like Janie Jones A Lot: A Birthday Poem
I like Janie Jones a lot.
Of plenty she’s not got.
She works real hard
though it be ard
uous to raise alone a tot.
Dedicated parents are scarce
in this selfish universe,
but selfish she is not.
I like Janie Jones a bunch.
One day I’ll buy her lunch.
I might even tease her
with a single Malteser
she won’t be allowed to munch.
Dedicated poems can be ard
uous to write but not hard
this time. This line is the punch.
Sorry for the weak ending, Janie.
I know it’s kind of lamey.
Happy birthday, Janie Jones. I hope the future’s rosy.
Benzeknees left this comment a while back:
Since hubby forgot my birthday last year, maybe I can at least get a birthday poem. December 4 is my birthday.
To ensure he doesn’t forget again, I have written a cautionary tale.
A poem sung to the tune of, When Santa got stuck up the chimney
When hubby forgot her birthday she began to shout:
You naughty boy won’t get any toys when your day comes about!
My birthday’s flat
My mood is black
My fist is itching, too
Because you forgot my birthday:
Yes you, yes you, yes you!
It was on the night of her Big Day
When Benzeknees began to sway
Into the chimney she pushed her bloke
He felt smothered, began to choke
Oh, what a terrible plight, no joke
She left him there all day
Her hubby she pushed up the chimney
He began to yell
I’m so sorry
But don’t you worry
I promise I’ll behave well!
My head was up there in the other where
I know it made you blue
I’ll no more forget your birthday
Love you, Love you, Love you!
Happy birthday, Benzeknees! Hope it does the trick.
If you would like a nonsense poem for your birthday, leave a comment with some details.
Happy Birthday To A Many Named Woman
Miss Whiplash made a splash the first time she crossed my blogosphere.
She was not the naughty madam of the news, as I had feared.
A lovely lass of 72 who was sweet and always here,
liking every post of mine but without the help of beer.
Her real name is Patrecia
with the spelling most peculiar.
Her honesty is refreshing;
if I’m not being too familiar.
There is one thing I need to ask;
I hope she won’t take me to task -
I really need to know
for this poem has nowhere else to go:
are the women hairier
Happy 73rd Birthday dear, sweet Patrecia.
May your kitchen be new, your animals be many and your husband called Neville.
Dear readers, visit Patrecia at her blog. You won’t be sorry.
If you would like a nonsense poem for your birthday, leave your details in the comments. Payment is a visit to Patrecia’s blog.
To my darling husband:
I love you.
Enjoy the Walnut Whips.
174 calories in each -
I gave you six; am I a peach?
Scottish Shortbread to come after,
given with kisses, received with laughter.
You got Haribo and Buttons, too,
plus birthday cake – what’ll you do?
You really have to watch your weight
now you’re an ancient 48.
Happy Birthday, Sweetie Pie.
PS This colour is sky blue – just for you xx
pat-a-cake pat-a-cake camping gal
take me a-trekking as fast as you can
climb up a mountain, live in a tent
write all about where you were and you went
chuck in a baby gap 15 years long
a teenage girl runner, tall-limbed and strong
throw in a pic of a mad man’s part-y
then follow instructions: sit down and read me
I received my copy of Flavoured as Much as Coloured:
Published by Clitheroe Books Press, it has one of my South Africa poems in it.
From their website:
Clitheroe Books Press publishes poetry pamphlets
The Press is publishing a series of pamphlets called Poet’s Dozen.The editors are Theresa Robson and Jo Harding. The first one, Flavoured as Much as Coloured, was launched on the 26 July just before the Food Festival with the theme of food. [...] Anyone living in or connected to the Ribble Valley may submit a manuscript to the Press and we are always looking for new voices.
A little ray of sunshine on a dark and rainy day.
- Clitheroe food festival 2012 (thatninch.wordpress.com)
On the Park
park the dogs will bark big dogs slim dogs
fat dogs lap dogs dogs you want to pat dogs
brown dogs black dogs blonde dogs pack dogs dogs dogs
try to chase a cat dogs chase another dog dogs
chasing off the birds dogs dog poo dog wee
try to chase chase where
chase me on me on the dogs
me the the will
dogs park park bark
I said I’d tell you about the time I had a poem turned into a piece of art work.
I entered a writing competition called Wherefore Art Thou? It was run by Stockport Art Gallery. There were no prizes as such, but the winning entries had their work converted into a piece of conceptual art by the artist Nicola Dale.
There was some confusion over the notification email and I wasn’t convinced I was a winner; but my friend emailed to ask them on my behalf and they told her I was, so I went along to the exhibition launch. The worst that could happen was that I would be there to support four members of my writing group who were also winners. We were rather proud of our tally: one-third of the winning entries.
By the way, don’t think I was being dozy about the email: one poor girl had been notified that she was a winner but there was no art work for her poem. She was mortified.
I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at the gallery but I had an unexpected WOW! moment when I turned the corner: Nicola had made physical what I had tried to do on the page. I loved it instantly.
Here is a pic for scale:
Each piece of art work had some, many or all of the words of the original texts in some form: a poem called Entwined had every word on a label attached to a long thread of wool and the whole entwined on its plinth; my friend’s poem about Guernsey evacuees to Stockport had key words on a Scrabble board. Another piece was words on t-shirts. There were also audio and video works.
I’m not a fan of conceptual art – I always think of Tracey Emin: too lazy to clean but smart enough to get others to admire her detritus and pay her a fortune for the privilege. Or Damien Hurst: pickled cow? Please! But it was interesting to see how text can be interpreted by an artist.
Another interesting facet of the exhibition was that many of the texts were inspired by art works in the gallery; then they were turned into art works themselves: full circle.
I had a pleasant surprise: the winning entries were included in a glossy brochure that accompanies the exhibition and, although only one was turned into a piece of art, all six of my submissions were printed in the brochure. But…I wasn’t happy:
- I had completely re-written one poem by the time of the exhibition and the version in print reads like an early draft.
- On The Park used coloured fonts for effect but was printed in black.
- A three-part poem had sub-headings and <gasp!> no spaces were used between the sub-headings and each first line.
- The layout for one poem was all wrong.
- The title of another was incomplete, which can obscure its meaning.
Judges beware! Don’t select my poem/s if you can’t do it right. If I say I’m a little precious about how my writing appears on the page, that’s like saying a hurricane is a little squall.
However, I was satisfied with the sixth poem, which was laid out perfectly in the brochure.
We stayed a couple of hours at the launch and I had a glass of wine to insert spine so that I was able to read out On The Park to a bunch of strangers. It got a decent reception, thank goodness. It is a poem intended for children and needs to be read aloud for effect. It came from a workshop at the art gallery last year about rhythm, run by the Scouse poet Terry Caffrey.
Here are some of the other installations*:
*See! Right there! That’s exactly what I’m talking about – you can install toilets or light fittings or new kitchens, but art?
We asked the gallery if they would sell my piece but they said ‘no’. This is where the Hub comes in. Never let it be said that he can’t make happen that which his wife desires to happen.
No, really; never let it be said: that last sentence was execrable.
The Hub and Tory Boy put their heads together: the Hub arranged for one of his photos to be enlarged and put onto canvas; and Tory Boy paid for it. Don’t I have the sweetest family in the world?
And clever: they put the picture up in the kitchen, as a means of forcing me into it upon occasion.
I liked her blog from the moment I heard the name, because I was heavily into The Little House on the Prairie at the time, where they use McGuffy’s Reader to teach Nineteenth Century children (hey, I’ve followed blogs for dafter reasons than that).
Ann blogs about cats, a lot – another reason to make me a fan. Like that mad dictator of one of the Russian ‘Stans who dedicated a public holiday to water melons, Ann has Cat Thursday – my favourite day for her posts. Check out her latest pic:
Ann also blogs about books, promoting new releases. Treble fandom. She has just reviewed a book by Kellie Meister called Crazy Critter Lady. Make of that what you will…
Ann tells me that she is ‘extremely casual…been married 30 years’…make of that what you will.
Here is her birthday poem:
A Birthday Poem For Ann
Happy birthday, Ann,
of whom I am a fan.
Married to Bill
(make of that what you will)
for thirty years.
herself to her readers
with cat pics that get weirder
by the Thursday.
I can’t stay away:
McGuffy likes fluffy
like I like McGuffy.
Of folk she never speaks ill;
make of that what you will.
She likes to distil goodwill;
make of that what you will.
This poem’s going downhill -
make of that what you will.
No need to be my mind reader:
I like McGuffy: read her.
***If you would like your own nonsense birthday post, leave your details in the comments section.