The Queen of the Cockles

black seashell beside beige stone
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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The Queen of the Cockles

Fine scallops and oysters
For townlands and cloisters,
And cockles and mussels – alive, sirs, alive !
Come find one and pluck it
From out of my bucket –
It’s yours for a penny – or fourpence for five.

…………Fresh from the beaches of fair Dublin Bay,
…………Fresh from the sands where they thrive, oh !
…………Fresh from the beaches, and fresh ev’ry day –
…………Cockles and mussels alive, alive-oh !

There’s no need to scrimp it
With whelk or with limpet –
I’ll sell you no snails, sir – I’m clams through and through.
Don’t ask me for sprinkles
Of peries or winkles –
Why settle for one shell, when you can have two !

…………Fresh from the wash of the fair Irish Sea,
…………Plucked-out as soon they arrive, oh !
…………Fresh from the sand to the boat to the quay –
…………Cockles and mussels alive, alive-oh !

There’s some who dig beaches
For lugworms and leaches,
But they make a slimy and wrigglesome catch.
And scampi and crab, sir,
Will scamper and jab, sir –
But mine are like eggs that are waiting to hatch !

…………Fresh from where seagulls love combing the sand,
…………Fresh from where cormorants dive, oh !
…………Fresh from Portmarnock and Dollymount Strand –
…………Cockles and mussels alive, alive-oh !

So what do you say, sir,
To venus or razor ?
Just tease-out my beauties with jack-knife or steam.
They may hold a pearl, sir,
A feast for your girl, sir,
You’ll soon warm her cockles with cockles in cream !

…………Fresh from the beaches of fair Dublin Bay,
…………Fresh for your ladies and wives, oh !
…………Fresh-in from Skerries and Claremont and Bray –
…………Cockles and mussels alive, alive-oh !

 

 

Doves & Cockerels

action adult antique blur
Photo by Jahoo Clouseau on Pexels.com

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Doves & Cockerels

…………(A Tale from the 80s)

Born, bred and boarded in England, by chance,
Yet closer to Calais than Canterb’ry town –
Where the Channel keeps nibbling the chalky-white Downs,
And keeps her from cycling to France.
Trapped by La Manche
From Dunkirk to Rennes –
But still she stays staunch:
La Douvresienne !

Douze ans is she, in the town of her birth,
And watched by the Castle that keeps her kept here.
But the bright lights of Calais are teasingly near –
Yet somehow they’re out past the end of the earth.
Trapped by the rosbifs
Like Jeanne d’Arc back when –
This unwilling hostage:
La Douvresienne !

She lives by the gateway, she lives by the quay,
And watches the French as they come off the ferries
In Deux-Chevaux Citroëns and bob-cuts and berets,
With bœuf bourguignon and bagettes bearing brie.
She mimics their movement
Agen and agen,
With steady improvement:
La Douvresienne !

When the weather is right and the signal is clear,
She re-tunes her black-and-white into their station
And watches in awe at the sights of a nation,
And wishes she understood all she can hear.
She mimics their voices,
Both women and men.
She makes the right noises:
La Douvresienne !

But their language is tricky to lodge in her head
All accents and commas and genders to test her,
And sometimes it’s only a shrug or a gesture –
It’s just like their spelling, there’s so much unsaid.
She’s learning at school
With the rest of Class 10.
She’s sounding so cool
Is La Douvressienne !

She fancies herself as a Mademoiselle,
But family hist’ry declares her a Miss
But what do they know of Gainsbourg or Matisse ?
It’s more than genetics that makes her a belle.
It’s more than a pose
For this proud Madeleine:
She’s no English Rose,
But La Douvresienne !