Some Officers Have Coaches And Horses To Order About

detail from Royal Sappers & Miners, Working Dress, 1854 by George Campion

Some Officers Have Coaches And Horses To Order About

Landau, take me down the lane.
Hansom, turn beyond the trees.
Phaeton, take me home again
By fifty-four degrees.
Ride a tangent from the mews
To the sign of the Hypotenuse.

Adjacent to the Octogon,
Opposite the bend in the strand,
For a measurable distance on.
Times by the four-in-hand.
Send a spyder, send a fly,
On a steeplechase by the root of pi.





On the Inability of many Victorians
to adequately append to their Dissertations
such short and succinct titular Benamings
as would better serve their weighty Publications
without exposure to crucial Details
of sundry Devices and Plots thus delineated
by which the presumed Reader is disprivileged
and their subsequent Enpleasurement undersated.




a load of balls



Here’s a sing-song on playing ping-pong,
With a rat-a-tat-tat on the tic-tac-toe
With a whack and a smack and a snickersnack,
With a there and back to the come and go –
But the pitter-patter must clatter, I bet
When heard from the other side of the net.

Here’s a song-sing on playing pong-ping,
With a mi-re-doh to the swash and the swish,
With a tock-tick tock-tick clacker-click,
With a slow-slow-quick and a bosh-bash-bish,
With a fum-fo-fi-fee la-la-land –
But how does it sound if you play left-hand ?

Here’s a sing-ching on playing pong-pong
With a buckle-my-Schubert under par,
With a nee-nah nee-nah stick it up your jumper,
Baa-baa blast-off twinkle star,
With an eeney-meeny knees-and-toes –
But how does it sound if you’ve got no nose ?

Here’s a see-saw on Plato plink-plonk
With a yan-tan-tesseract mamma-me-and-you
With an all-for-one and a four-four-two,
A diddy-diddy-doo-da and lop-bop-be-doo
With an ella-menno-pee and a ringo-john-and-paul
But how does it sound from inside the ball ?

Here’s a *dok-dok* on playing *pat-a-pat*
With a *boing-boof-bok* and a *spit-spot-SPLAT*



Trees in Threes

flight landscape nature sky
Photo by Pixabay on

Trees in Threes

Alda Oldman the alderman
(Or Alda the Elder, as she is called),
Once planted an alder (or was it an elder ?)
That stands so bold (or stands so bald ?)

Linda Limey loves her lime tree –
Maybe citrus, maybe not,
But looks sublime in Summertime
When limelit in its limestone pot.

Poplar black and willow white,
I think that I have got that right –
But easy to confuse them, each,
Like copper birch and silver beech.


egyptian symbols
Photo by Lady Escabia on



We’ve seen them all on ev’ry wall
In Egypt – carved in profile style –
But here’s a game to try and name
The most – Let’s see, it’s been a while…
The eye of the Sun, I know that one,
The wavy lines that mean the Nile,
The ankh, the egg, the owl and leg,
The feather, sphinx, and crocodile,
The scarab of course…and was there a horse ?
The slug-like snake, that’s worth a smile…
The goose (or duck)…and then I’m stuck…
But the walls stretch on for mile on mile.



Twenty Seconds

washing hands


Twenty Seconds

Eeny meeny, counted Queenie,
Fingers one two three and four –
A fish alive and thumb makes five,
And on the other hand there’s more.
So rub-a-dub and squeeze and scrub,
And this little piggie wee wee wee
Index middle ring and little,
Pinkie perky owe-you-tee.

Queenie went to market
To buy a bar of soap
She went to Deal and Margate,
And Cape Town on the Hope,
But a laundry-maid from Washington
Had bought up ev’ry crate,
So Queenie had to wash with none
But ashes from the grate.

Queenie on her lone and only,
All her friends are all indoors –
All down with spots and chicken pox,
And tummy-aches and sores.
Queenie finds the streets are empty,
Like the swings and slides and stores –
They cannot come and play today,
They’ve all been through the wars.



Urban Spiritual

telegraph pole
Wires by Tom Lantaff


Urban Spiritual

If the bells ring out from the crossing tower,
I’ll meet my love upon the hour;
I’ll meet my love, and we shall stroll
From the old gas works to the new may-pole.

If they call to prayer from the minaret,
I’ll meet my love on the High Street yet;
I’ll meet my love, and we shall wend
From the old canal to the new bridge-end.

If the trumpets bray the sabbath’s start,
I’ll meet my love in the Hounds & Hart;
I’ll meet my love and we shall roam
From the old duck pond to the new dogs’ home.

If chanting comes from the temple door,
I’ll meet my love by the superstore;
I’ll meet my love and we shall stray
From the old sheep track to the new free way.



Don’t be a Steve

Young Boys Playing Dice by Bartolomé Murillo


Don’t be a Steve

Some are Mikes and some are Harrys,
Some are Davids, some are Barrys,
Some are even Lens and Larrys,
So I do believe.
Some are Gavins, Grants and Garys
Some are Dustins, some are Carys,
As they live and breathe.

Not all children must be Steven,
Some are Karl or Keith or Keven,
Some of them are daughters, even !,
Nora, Nell and Neve.
V or PH ?  Stop deceiving !
Pick a name for high achieving !
Not all kids are Steve.


Incidentally, Bartolomé Murillo’s middle name was Esteban.



Unparalleled Revival

Tribute to Harnett by Donald Clapper

Unparalleled Revival

in my actions, I shall pinge you well alone –
My manners may be peccable, but ruthfully they’ve grown.
I’ve mantled them from bootsome parts of like and parate form –
Deceitless in intention, with an ert and toothful gorm.

I bunk your valid theory, which has gusted my good taste,
The nocent may be nocuous, but we are praved and based.
My spirit may be delable, my courage may be trepid,
But let my mind combobulate, and once more I am crepit.

Feeling good and gruntled, I was ruly in my care,
And was looking couth and gainly with my kempt and shevelled hair –
“Be mayed by hapfull fortune, and chelant with passion’s thrill –
Be feckfull, wieldy and toward, with ept and bashless skill.”

Little Miss Pinball

Sorry, I can’t find any details about the artist.  And it doesn’t directly realte to the poem, and the girl depicted is older…but it’s just too cool not to.


Little Miss Pinball

I know a young lady named Scatterfoot Sadie
Who cannot sit still for a second –
She hustles and bustles and flexes her muscles,
And scuttles whenever she’s beckoned.
Perhaps all her fidgets in feet, knees and digits
Are gyroscopes keeping her poise –
Or maybe it serves as a mask for her nerves
With her tremors all lost in the noise.

Here she comes Sadie, she buzzes and hums,
            As she zig-zags from thither to yon.
            Here she comes Sadie, and Sadie she comes,
And Sadie she goes, and she’s gone.

I know a young petal who never does settle,
Since bouncing in booties and bonnet.
I know a young rhino who wears out the lino
By clomping and pomping upon it.
I know a pied piper who’s more than just hyper –
She’s mega and giga and terra.
She’s magnitudes faster, with energies vaster
In both her success and her error.

            Here she comes Sadie, with whistles and drums,
Both skylark and trumpeter swan.
Here she comes Sadie, and Sadie she comes,
And Sadie she goes, and she’s gone.

I know a young poppet who just cannot stop it,
And never has recourse to brake.
With swings and trapezes, she’s blown on the breezes,
And whips up the wind in her wake.
There’s some folk who mention her roving attention
That points to some point of attraction,
And some folk who think that’s she’s too scared to blink
Just in case she should miss any action.

            Here she comes Sadie, all peaches and plums,
As her sweetness must sugar-rush on.
Here she comes Sadie, and Sadie she comes,
And Sadie she goes, and she’s gone.

I know a young girl who is always a-whirl,
Like her timbers are tossed on the ocean –
She dashes and darts as she stutters and starts,
And when even at rest, she’s in motion.
Her larynx is thrumming, her fingers are drumming,
Her eyeballs are to-ing and fro-ing –
Her atoms are spinning, her neurons are singing,
Her bramble-patch hair-thatch is growing.

            Here she comes Sadie, all fingers and thumbs,
As she fiddles and tinkers anon.
Here she comes Sadie, and Sadie she comes,
And Sadie she goes, and she’s gone.

I know a young missy who’s terribly busy
Upon some endeavour or other –
Her hoardings and strewings and feverish doings
Are lost upon even her mother.
She’s so all-commanding she just leaves us standing,
Awash in the glow of her starlet –
For we who are left are the warp and the weft
All throughout which she’s threading her scarlet.

            Here she comes Sadie, dispelling the glums –
She dazzles where sunlight is shone.
Here she comes Sadie, and Sadie she comes,
And Sadie she goes, and she’s gone.