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Poetry Challenge

So here, it is the September 2003 Poetry Challenge, in which I attempt to come up with a new piece of poetry (in whatever form) every day for a month. This page will be updated daily for the next month (hopefully) and there'll be updates on the progress of this on my homepage. I am, of course, open to suggestion and welcome any comments, opinions or general musings that anyone wants to add. If you've got anything to say, you can use the Comments link/form below or do it via my homepage, where you can also find my e-mail address for the sending of private comments/abuse. Cheers.

Does one have anything one wishes to say?

Tuesday 30th September

End of term hysteria

Dry your eyes, the race is over
Here comes the joyous month October
Free at last from the sheer hell
Of my appalling doggerel
No more badly constructed lines
Jagged metre, dodgy rhymes
No more the subject matter strange
And to funny words a way arrange
So shout and cheer and drink and cough
But please don't write this website off

John Hegley is still a c*nt

The psychiatrist said "It's plain to see -
At school, the speccy c*nt was he
To stop the bullies he'd make them smile
Which raised his self-esteem a while
But walking home, along the lane
He'd suffer that same abuse again
At night he'd vow to make them suffer
To never cause such hurt to another
When his moods were deepest black
He'd swear to get his own right back
And he did that and so much worse
By spreading his unholy verse."

Monday 29th September


Not making an effort
Not taking the trouble
Not rolling a six
Not throwing a double
Not giving a toss
Not caring a fig
Not having a ball
Not flipping my wig
Not batting an eyelid
Not cracking a smile
Not toeing the line
Not going that mile
Not working for peanuts
Not breaking my back
Not going forward
Not coming back
Not ever coming back

Sunday 28th September

Sunday Dinner

I have taken the position
Of upholding the tradition
Of the Sunday dinner that my brother calls "Big Meat"
A roasted hunk of animal
Potatoes coloured caramel
Vegetables and gravy, a proper English treat
And it'd be remiss of me
Just to provide sufficiency
So I set the challenge with the overloaded plate
When the meal has ended
Will your stomach be distended
Or will you still have room inside, room enough for cake?

Saturday 27th September

Dario G.

Dario, Dario, get well soon
Come back to the ground where they sing Blue Moon
Come back to the team, the one you made
Come back to the place where football is played
Dario, Dario, give us a wave
A wave for the fans whose lives you've saved
A wave for the people with faith in you
A wave for the fans of a team called Crewe

Friday 26th September

Elvis (fragment)

From a fiery sky
On the Ninth of July
In the year Three thousand and Five
In a flaming ship
From His galactic trip
The King comes back alive
With a burning love
From on high above
He's back to claim His throne
In the human race
He will take His place
As the greatest ever known
A thousand years have passed
Since he "breathed his last"
But they still all know one thing
And they all agree
That it's plain to see
Man, that cat could sing

Thursday 25th September

Sleep Well

Good night, dear guest, but before you go
There's a couple of things you ought to know
Don't get nervous and don't take fright
If you hear things going bump in the night
The creak of the stairs with the killer's soft tread
Is only the cats or my oldest son Fred
The tap at your window is only the trees
Saying hello as they move in the breeze
The gurgling noise coming out of the sink
Is air in the pipes, or so we all think
And that scrabbling noise that sounds like a rat
Comes from the roof where nests there a bat
And should you wake to a piercing scream
That's just my wife and another bad dream
And ignore the fact that in this bed
The late Lord Malmesbury lost his head
And there's one more thing I ought to tell
That bedroom door leads straight to Hell

Wednesday 24th September

Country 'n' Western Song

I didn't think that I was due for happiness again
Since I caught you cheating on me with my ex-best friend
And though I don't regret the day I sent you both away
I still miss that doggie every hour of the day

But now I've found another and I'm not so blue
For she is much more pretty and much funnier than you
She knows how to love me and to make me feel so fine
Me and your mother, girl, we have a real good time

It's true that she's older and facing a decline
But when she takes her teeth out she still can blow my mind
Her body might be losing it's once gymnastic grace
But she can do the hula while she's sitting on my face

I like to keep it in the family, you know that's a fact
So I called your little sister, now she's in on the act
And your cousins and your aunties have all been in my bed
And I would have done your grandma but we both know that she's dead

I've been through your family, I've slept with all the girls
But I wouldn't do that to the men, except for cousin Earl
Instead I stole their dignity, I've made them look like clowns
I hear they're rounding up a mob to run me out of town

And so I'll put an end to it, this sordid, sorry tale
I cashed in all my savings and the house is up for sale
I'm moving on, dear sister, you can have your quick divorce
I'm moving out to Georgia so that I can wed my horse

Tuesday 23rd September

Tiredness can kill

Struggling hard for inspiration
Tiredness fogging concentration
Eyelids heavy against the weight
Of Sleep, my foe, my friend, my fate
Yet in my head there run ideas
Of poems enough to last for years:
On Love and Loss. A modern fable
Butter: From the cow to table.
Computer love between two geeks
My family and assorted freaks
A butler's tale. A maiden's song
She loved her man, he done her wrong
Accountant's woes and housemaid's knees
Meditations on the leafy trees
I must find time to work these out
And work them up, but have no doubt
They will until tomorrow keep
Tonight I simply must have sleep

Monday 22nd September

Cheap Limerick

A young fellah named Kev came to town
To take his friend Jim's drinking crown
He started the race
Couldn't keep up the pace
And now he's asleep in the lounge!

Sunday 21st September

Another bloody hangover

Another bloody hangover, another Sunday morning
Crawling to the bathroom for some technicolour yawning
Trying to stop the dreadful noise of pounding in my head
Trying to scrub the taste away, the taste of something dead
The self-inflicted damage caused by self-intoxication
Strangely this self-knowledge doesn't help my situation
And every morning older, the hangover's get worse
Can I hold my beer no more, or is it some old curse?
Or is it just my body saying "Son, I cannae take it -
The body is a fragile thing so why are you trying to break it?"
Dozing on the sofa till the worst of it has faded
Another bloody hangover, another day yet wasted

Saturday 20th September

If you knew me

If you knew me
Would help me when I'm down?
Straighten up my frown
And mend my heart?

If you knew me
Would you take the time to call?
Help me when I fall
And heal my pain?

If you knew me
Would you hold me in your arms?
Keep me safe from harm
And be my friend?

If you knew me
Would you want to be my wife?
Have me in your life
And make you whole?

If you knew me
Would you talk to me at all?

Friday 19th September

A job that slowly kills you

Forget about the frippery
I'm working in the chippery
Serving up the portions for the hungry passers-by
Cut out all the mockery
I'm working in a frockery
Finding different sizes for the fussy girls to try
Leave it with the japery
I'm working in an apiary
Scraping out the honey for the royal slice of bread
There'll be no debauchery
I'm working in the mortuary
Scraping out the samples and stitching up the dead
No more with the hilarity
Now I work for charity
Trying to raise cash enough to cure the common cold
Stop all the tomfoolery
I'm working now with jewellery
Selling off the silver and the diamonds and the gold
Snuff out all the gaiety
Now I've left the laity
I've become a preacher for the Church of Jesus Christ
Turn off all the jollity
I'm teaching sociology
The students look like zombies only zombies have more life
No time for buffoonery
I'm working at the prunery
Trimming back the branches of the bushes and the trees
And if you have temerity
To ask us why we stick at these
Jobs we hate, we'd tell you that we can't afford to leave

Thursday 18th September

You tripped me up

Slipping out of bed on a bright and sunny morning
Slipping on your coat and shoes and slipping out the door
Slipping out for carrot cake and coffee on the High Street
Slipping in another's arms, you're slipping out of love

Falling from your pedestal and falling out of favour
Falling for another's charms and falling to the floor
Falling from each other's grace and never falling in again
We're falling apart this time and falling out of love

Flying off the handle as you fly into another's arms
Flying to the moon with him while I'm stuck on the earth
Flying back and forth between your lover and your husband
Flying in the face of facts - we're flying out of love
Wednesday 17th September

Late Summer Holiday

They're both going on a late summer holiday
I'll be home alone for a week or so
Then I might at least get a bit of peace
That's provided that they go
They're leaving in the morning
They're driving all the way
They'll still be here at tea-time
Or not go till Friday
While they're off on their summer holiday
I'll be lying-in till one or two
Stay up late watching crap on satellite
Leave the seat up on the loo
I'll do the things I want to
I'll download loads of porn
I won't get dressed till Wednesday
I'll go to bed at dawn
And when they get back from their summer holiday
I'll say that I've had a dismal time
I have missed them both so very very much
Can you take me when you go next time?
Can you take me when you go next time?

Tuesday 16th September

A Troubled Conscience

I have noticed all my lines
Share metre same and simple rhyme
This has caught me unawares
Have I copied old Pam Ayres?
Or is my style from others lifted?
Hegley, Hughes, or some more gifted?
Perhaps from Keats or Yeats or Wilde
Or Kipling, who I read as child?
Or is it Betjeman and, worse,
A pale shadow of his master's verse?
I cannot sleep with guilty thought
My work is all from others wrought
I tell you for I have no doubt
That those who cheat will be found out
And it is to Hell I surely will go
If I have copied Richard Stilgoe

Monday 15th September

The History Man

In the back of the bar
Where the old men spar
And life slips off the rails
Through a thousand tears
And as many beers
The Teacher's telling tales
Unravelling the mystery
Of incidents of history
And the parts in it he played

Of how he conquered Burma
From Dunkirk's bloody beach
And how he turned the medals down
So he could come and teach
He once wrestled with Cromwell
And used to export slaves
He was a Cornish smuggler
With his booty in the caves
He built the wall for Hadrian
And worked upon the rail
He once helped out King Arthur
By burying the Grail
His letters to Nye Bevin
Built the N.H.S.
One night in bed with Caxton
He drew the printing press
He used to work in Pudding Lane
And one night sparked a fire
And if you said you'd helped make bread
He'd know you were a liar
But though he can't distinguish
Those other lives from his
We sit with him on Tuesday nights
And always win the quiz.

Sunday 14th September

Norman Wisdom Blues

When I lie in my bed at night
And think about my life
I think of all the pretty girls
I never made my wife
I think of all my troubles
And the way I always lose
And then I realise I've got
The Norman Wisdom blues

I've done a lot of little jobs
At none of which I've stuck
I've tried to do the best I can
But I've run out of luck
And all that I have left for you
Are memories to share
Of who and what and why and when
And how and which and where

I've been a window cleaner
I've worked down at the store
I've been a civil servant
And the long arm of the law
I was drafted in the army
I fought, I did my bit
But when the war was over
My face just didn't fit

I upped and joined the Navy
Thought I'd spend my life at sea
But I spent all my time ashore
And trouble followed me
But I always tried to do my best
I'd always plead my case
But they put me in a rocket
Sent me off to outer space

Then lastly at the dairy
Where I drove a horse-drawn cart
I worked again for Grimsdale
This time he broke my heart
When he sold out to his rival
For an offer he couldn't refuse
Since when I've been here crying with
My Norman Wisdom blues

And I still I can't ever shake
These Norman Wisdom blues

Saturday 13th September

Love is......

Go on and hug and kiss her and tell her that you care
Tell her that you love her while you're cumming in her hair
Don't tell her she's too fat, she can never be too thin
Don't talk about her moustache while you're spunking on her chin
Tell her that she's your true love and there will be no other
And make sure she never finds out you've been sleeping with her mother
Of all the bums in all the world you've never seen one fitter
And that's the only reason why you take her up the gritter
She's not just your sex object - you love her for her mind
Sometimes it's such a turn-on that you take her from behind
Cunnilingus isn't dirty, abnormal or just weird
It's that it takes a month to comb her pubes out of your beard
And when she starts complaining as you tie her to the bed
Ask her if she'd rather do the washing-up instead
And if you've found the sort of girl who tolerates all this
You'll never have true happiness or even wedded bliss
For all the time you're thinking, believe me this is true,
Another girl might let you do the things that She won't do

Friday 12th September

Photographic Memory

You're giving me your picture
Can you sign it on the back?
Put something simple like "I'll miss you"
And we'll let it lie at that
No other empty promises
We cannot keep as friends
We began as perfect strangers
And this is how it ends
I'll wipe the bad times from my memory
And keep the good times in my mind
And any time I speak of you
My words will just be kind
I left you older, wiser,
You left for something more
And the only thing you left me
Is your picture in my drawer

Thursday 11th September


My Dad
He drives me mad
My Mum
She makes me glum
My sister
Is a schemer and twister
My brother,
Oh God, he's another
My wife
Is the bane of my life
My daughter
Doesn't do what I taught her
My son
Lord what have I done?
The rest?
Well, surely you jest?

*Not my family though - they're all lovely

Wednesday 10th September

Is it only 10 days?

Inspiration strikes still late
I guess that I should concentrate
Try to write my poems early
Before the days chores do disturb me
Still at least I've managed to
Daily write a poem that's new
Though some are really not that great
Some aren't half bad, and so I'll state
It's my intent to keep on writing
And your ideas I'm now inviting
Give me themes or thoughts or phrases
Something I can sing the praises
Or something I can mock or curse
In some pathetic comic verse
Gentle reader help me please
For I am here upon my knees
Indulge me with a small commission
Don't leave me in this sad position
Whatever poem you ask of me
I'll gladly give as gift to thee
And whatever I write, however I tell it
When I am famous, you can sell it

Tuesday 9th September

These tattoos really hurt but now I can see you every time I close my eyes

Now's the time to close the show
Goodnight my friends, it's time to go
We'll play you out with this sad song,
A tragic tale of love gone wrong
Called "I didn't hear you coming in,
You've caught me wearing mother's skin
And if you think that's really bad
Don't ask me what I did with Dad"

Monday 8th September


Over moonlit seas where their bones shine white
The skeleton crew sails home tonight
And down by the junkyard, in a circle of men
The Great Palliacci cries his heart out again
Across by the harbour, in a bar full of girls
The sailors are telling tall tales of the world
Of treasures they've lost and battles they've fought
And The Great Palliacci is now holding court
While up in the lighthouse, alone with his mind
The lighthouse keeper is marking off time
Thinking of Jenny waiting sweetly at home
And the Great Palliacci sits sadly alone
The bars are all closing, the sailors all leaving
Alone on the quayside, the watchman is sleeping
His body at home while his mind's roaming free
And The Great Palliacci walks into the sea
The circus is closed now, and the big top is gone
And the freaks and the carneys have long since moved on
But down in the graveyard still can be found
The Great Palliacci - the sad-hearted clown

Sunday 7th September

On the demolition of an old pub

Farewell to you, dear old Toby Jug
Home to the scoundrel, the tart and the thug
And those were just my fellow workers
The evening shift and the lunchtime shirkers
Those uncivil servants letting off steam
Having done duty for country and queen
So here's to those nights of lager and pool
Those playing it hard and those playing the fool
Here's to the Captain, to Glav and the Squeeze
To Robbie and Nigel, to Debs and Louise
Here's to the comedy talents of Brady
To wise old Mick Fil and his darling old lady
And here's to the Y-bird, Barry and Dave
To Roy and to Doibly and the problems they made
And to "porn star" Steve Ansell, and the stories he told
And to Karen, Deb's sister, who made us feel old
And to those I've forgotten, and there must be a few,
I'm raising a glass in tribute to you
I'm not very good at keeping in touch
But that doesn't mean I don't miss you so much
So here's to the past and the times that were great
Here's to the friends who were more than a mate
And here's to the people I miss now and then
Unlike the pub, I hope I see you again.

Saturday 6th September

Between triumph and disaster

Ah, stout Macedonia
How I wish that I had known ya
Would perform with such endeavour
Make our boys look none-too-clever
I could have spared myself the pain
Of watching England toil again
I watched and stared and shook my head
I should have watched England-France instead

Friday 5th September


Wider than a bus
Lower than a train
Longer than a car
Quieter than a plane
Cheaper than a taxi
Less effort than a bike
Easier than walking
What is there not to like?

Thursday 4th September

Happy Birthday Muzz

I tried writing a poem
It turned out a bit lame
Only 'fuzz', 'buzz' and 'does'
Rhymed with your nickname
And finding matches for Andrew
Was equally hard
So I scrapped the idea
And I've sent you a card

Wednesday 3rd September

Are you Local?

Slippery Jack's on the slippery slope
Eight men down and he's giving up hope
Oozing out life on the 40-card drag
Sucking like Hoover on the end of a fag
Go Johnny, go, go. Quick, name your pairs
Your jacks and diamonds, your wildcards and spares
For the hangman is waiting to take all the fools
According to German or Italian rules.

Tuesday 2nd September

Unfinished Business

Hip-hop Betty was queen of the shakes
Nighthawk Eddy was king of the snakes
Monkey-wrench Rosie was queen of the den
Muscles Johnson was king of the men
Brainbox Annie was queen of the geeks
Pinhead Johnson was king of the freaks
Straws Malone was queen of the boozers
Fingers Freddie was king of the losers
But they never ruled the world
And they never got the girl
And they never made the grade
And they're still not getting paid
And they never left the town
And they're still not coming down
And they're still not getting high
And they'll never touch the sky

I was the king of nowhere
And you were queen of the same

Monday 1st September

Saturday Night Banter


You wot? You wot? YOU WOT?
You callin' me a pouf? Is that what you're sayin'?
Outside! Now! I'll smash yer bleedin' face in!
Don't bring yer mates, it's just me and you
Oh, bring them anyway - I'll f*cking do them too!
What's the matter son, lost yer nerve?
Trying to back out of it like some bleedin' girl?
Stay out of it Terry, I'm gonna leather this twat
I ain't gonna let anyone talk to me like that.
The bouncers are coming? Ah, you're not f*cking worth it anyway.


Hello darling , what's your name?
Do you come here often? Yeah, I'm the same.
You with anyone? Fancy a drink?
It's hot in here, don't you think?
D'You want to go outside for some air?
Here, there's a cab, can I take you somewhere?
Up the back alley? Blimey, you're fresh
But if you're throwing in breakfast the answer's 'Yes'
Oi, Lads! See you tomorrow. Alright?

Copyright Jim Lawrence September 2003