Category Archives: humorous verse

Celebrate your Legs

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Some of us are weak kneed, knock kneed, knuckle kneed,
dreaming of much nicer knees, knees that are nobble-free,
knees that never creak, or no knees at all.
We’d not need knees if we were lacking legs,
but if our legs dropped off we’d be heading for a fall;
so we all want legs, and without our knees
our poor old legs would be stiff as pegs,
good for little more than standing tall.

The shape and the size and the state of our thighs
may be sore to the eyes, but a word to the wise –
some of us may agonise, may disguise or try to downsize,
thinking them too wide or too pied, but they help us to stride
down the roadside, hillside, wayside, on any side and every side,
waggling our backsides, or gliding like a bride.

Shins are pretty thin, their bones sit next to skin
sensitive to irritating scraping and scratching,
low furniture abusing them, banging them and bruising them,
at every opportunity, but they’re streamlined for sprinting.

Calves are often floppy, they may be thick or thin,
they often swell in places where you want them to go in.
If they get too flabby our jeans may be a squeeze,
while skirts can swing and rise up in a sudden gusty breeze,
revealing all our bulgy bits, and that is not much fun,
but the chub will turn to muscle if we regularly run.

Ankles are all angles, and at risk from hockey stick,
which with a careless swing, can deal a painful clip,
they’re delicate, and sensitive to every graze and bruise,
and when ambushed by a table leg, they usually lose.
But they’re worth all the pain and the occasional sprain,
as the moment they recover, they’re in action again,
helping you to balance and lifting up your feet,
while twisting round to steer you up and down the street.

Legs may be lanky, flabby, lean or even beautiful –
however they may look, they are usually dutiful,
taking you to places far too narrow for a car;
from bathroom into bedroom – then to ballroom or to bar.
They’re useful on a bicycle if you want the wheels to turn,
and if you didn’t have them it would cause you some concern.
You cannot do the can-can without a working pair,
and for roamin’ in the gloamin’ there’s nothing to compare
with your legs, whether hairy, freckled, ugly or glamorous —
and they prove to be an asset when yer man is getting amorous;
You can wrap ’em round or lay ’em flat or bend ’em at the knees,
or contort them in whatever way the two of you may please.

To celebrate your legs, play some music, have a dance,
jump and hop and wiggle while you still have got the chance.

I wrote this poem a few months ago for a friend, to include in a book she was writing about legs, which has just gone to print.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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Lord Backsivore’s Letter #a poem

Note: Backsivore, or Backsie Fore, is a word (or phrase) from the Devon dialect. It means back-to-front.

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The sun shines bright with a matt-black glow
each late-night morning in Backsivore.
While stars ask each other which way to go,
thrilled nihilists speak of a meaningful core

Babies rise late to starve screaming mothers
before peeling toast from their jam.
The vegans grab guns and hunt for  plump plovers
while Beefeaters gobble up ham,

and the man in the moon puts on her dress
to strum on an an unstrung guitar,
and the song unsung is an ungarbled mess
about unspoken secrets repeated afar.

In the deep-forest city of Backsivore,
each week ends before it begins,
months are short and years are shorter
and decades are the length of two pins.

Centuries remain an untrodden track,
since there’s no known way to measure
the length of elastic componants so slack,
so none of the sums add together.

In Backsivore the losers win prizes,
and petite women wear a large sack
while L and XL are the smallest of sizes,
and a shirt buttons up at the back.

Every brave truth is a cowardly lie
and all bitter lies are sweet facts.
The curtain twitcher is no kind of spy
and the sadists disperse kindly acts.

I’m quite convinced that I’d never would guess
that I’ve said too much, and much less is more,
I hope this is useful, no more and no less…
Coldest Regards
from Lord Backsivore.

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©Jane Paterson Basil

Trickery

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Boil the cauldron till it sings,
then add a pair of spider wings,
leaf of toad and bud of newt,
heart of fungus, rabbit’s root —
Throw them in and mix them up
to make a wicked witches cup.

Worm’s left leg and fishes foot,
frozen flame and snow-cap soot —
add a pinch of ghoulish youth,
a silent laugh, a liar’s truth,
hemlock toenails, adder’s hair —
fling them in without a care.

Eye of creeping pondweed slime
and other stuff that makes a rhyme
will finish off the recipe,
now stir it gently just for me.
Mash it up and make a paste —
not a drop must go to waste.

Now try this recipe on all
insurance men who come to call.
Smear it thickly on your face —
they’ll run away without a trace,
then wash it off, and you will see
your skin will glow more healthily.

Oh! what a foolish girl she is
that she should vainly take notice
of a stepmother like me,
and make my toxic recipe.
Her former beauteous, smiling face
now melts beneath a gruesome paste.

And what a clever witch am I,
I didn’t need tell a single lie;
The silly salesman ran away
to see her glowing green and grey,
and now the mirror will agree;
there’s no-one prettier than me.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Indomitable # a poem

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Standing on the window ledge polishing the glass,
petrified pedestrians staring at my ass.
Don’t think about the pavement thirty feet below;
hang on to the window frame and don’t let go.
When the windows are clean, the battle is won;
you call it risky but I call it fun.

The disused viaduct is surprisingly high,
If I was to plummet I would surely die.
The protective fence is no wider than my shoe –
close your eyes tight if I am scaring you.
Ten steps to go, and I’m feeling driven,
you call it madness but I call it living.

Lying in the park in the middle of the day,
just around the corner from the kids at play.
Frankie is practicing his knife-throwing skill;
every near miss is giving me a thrill.
Watching his smile as he hovers above;
You call it dangerous but I call it love.

Image of Castle Hill Viaduct. At some point before I moved to the area – in my teens, a fence was built along each edge of the bridge, to make it ‘safe’.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Vanity

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I can’t believe I spent so long on this…

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I hope you won’t think
that I’m fishing for pity, or some reassurance;
I could not bear the idea of that,
but a burning issue is seeking attention,
and it’s worth a mention,
so this is the thing, you see;
I just no longer like being me.

I hate to confess the breadth of my reasons,
and I can’t blame the troubles that came my way,
or the way my life has generally been,
so nobody else is to blame;
it’s only because I am me.

I will put it succinctly:
I no longer
respect myself.
So I will be brave
and straight to the point,
as I stand here before you…
stripped to the hips.

Does my bum look  pretty,
is it pert and flirty?
Do you think it is priceless
or simply  blown out and flabby and big?

It wasn’t a bad poem to start with, but I had to make all sorts of changes to force it into the shape of a woman’s body. Sometimes, wrecking a poem can be time-consuming and gruelling work…

©Jane Paterson Basil

Awesome Drivel ~ a poem

Nobody seems to say “awesome” these days.

Maybe it’s too last year – rather passé,
though “rather” has been relegated to rich Etonians in the UK,
who are deemed to utter “I say, rahhther…”, with irritating regularity,
and folk don’t say “passé” –
it would seem “passé” is a past fashion,
which was only ever used by elegant types anyway,
give or take the odd bohemian.

Another word long gone, along with flappers in their spiffing frocks,
jolly good chaps being top-hole,
and groovy chicks doing the twist to fab Beatles tunes.

Wonderful, marvellous and outstanding are OK,
while a smidgeon too run-of-the-mill;
but we never say “run-of-the-mill”
and nor do we speak of a “smidgeon” these days,

Maybe it’s been replaced by by a tad.

I’m so square when it comes to lingo –
except the word “square” hasn’t been cool
since Teddy boys grew too respectable to tear up cinema seats,
I haven’t heard “lingo” since 1994,
and I fear that while I wasn’t looking
“cool” may have fallen through the floor
into the cemetery of outdated words.

My ignorance makes me feel like a savage,
yet when the young say “savage”, they mean awesome,
which brings me back to the question of whether “awesome”
has ceased to be de rigueur.

As for “de rigueur”,
who knows?

.

The Daily Post #Savage

©Jane Paterson Basil

The Ballad of Dreadful Cecil

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Cecil was a vile pretender
whose cruel disguise was retail vendor;
in market stalls all round the county,
he set up alluring bounty
of stone and marble kitchenware,
then sat in wait upon a chair.
He displayed to avid eyes
pestles and mortars of every size.

On his stall, the largest vessel
was devoid of matching pestle.
“Where could it be?” I hear you ask –
Why; in his hand, and tightly grasped.
Before I tell you of his ruse,
you need to know it won’t amuse,
for he was evil to the core –
a scofflaw who loved blood and gore.

If a housewife took a shine
to a pestle quite divine.
he didn’t sell it as he aughta,
but hit her with his mighty mortar,
then hid her underneath the table
just as fast as he was able,
making sure that no-one saw
her collapse upon the floor.

It gave him joy for many years
to cause such agony and tears –
but one fine day he came a cropper
via a woman in a topper;
when he hit her on the head
she pretended she was dead.
He didn’t know that her dark hat
had deflected his hard bat.

He had caught a clever sort
strong of body, quick of thought;
She jumped up and pushed him under –
was that lightning, was it thunder
he heard crashing in his ears,
summoning his deepest fears?
No, the poor old wormy wood
had taken all the weight it could.

The table smashed to smithereens
to the sound of Cecil’s screams
from beneath the splintering table –
it was like the fall of Babel.
Stoneware hit his back and head,
turning concrete bloody red.
As he desperately wrestled
He got tangled in the trestle.

So enmeshed was dreadful Cecil
he was buried with his trestle.

My best friend challenged me to write a poem with the last two lines ending, respectively, in Cecil and Trestle. This was the result.

©Jane Paterson Basil