Dandelion Days

Sweet peaceful field on the edge of town, embraced by trees
Its long grass borderlands populated by squirrels and rabbits
and dizzy whiteheaded elderflower sprays sent spinning by the breeze
Thirsty lunchhours half-heartedly hunting fairies in the hollow of the Old Third Tree
and building them houses from twigs in the fifth silver birch
Idle dustbowl lunchtime play seemed to stretch for eternity
Until the shadows cast by the creosote-scented fence against the crumbling redbrick wall yawned tall
and the reception kids’ mums and dads came to call, which summoned the ice cream van
Whole lunchtimes spent constructing 100-head daisy chains with chaingangs of girls in check dresses
Boys playing pirates whirled and shrieked around us, flashing white shirt corners untucked in defiance of the dinnerladies
We’d literally have a field day
The squeak and smell of pumps (or were they plimsolls? It was never settled – we lived the isogloss) on varnished wood as we trekked through the hall, sepia sunlight striping the floor we skipped over
Pointless circular games like ‘I am the greatest/Oh no, you’re no-ot, not for the longest *clap-handstand*’
and cowardly kisschase when you still had no idea why anyone would want to touch a boy’s cheek
*
Ah, truly sunsoaked summers, a sweet land of grass cuttings & heat haze
The drone of nearby lawnmowers and soaring distant planes
I miss those days
Carefree of everything but where I’d hidden my conkers
What flavour squash to have
And not being too far away to hear the bell.
Sometimes I want to be 7 again.

*

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Hard Times of Young England

An updating of a traditional English folk song, with apologies to Billy Bragg & Steeleye Span whose much superior versions inspired the creation of mine

Come all fellow graduates of two or three years

All those who are struggling to forge a career

And tell of your problems with measures austere

Saying O, the hard times of young England

For young England very hard times.

You’ve taken your place in the job centre queue

If you won’t do cold calling there’s no job for you

So what’s all the graduate talent to do?

Saying O, the hard times of young England

For young England very hard times.

You want to stay local to work and invest

In an outlying region that has caught your interest

But if you don’t live in London you’re rather hard pressed

Saying O, the hard times of young England

For young England very hard times.

Two months on the dole and your savings are spent

So it’s back to your parents’ to save on the rent

With youth unemployment at twenty percent

Saying O, the hard times of young England

For young England very hard times.

Your find yourself temping, which pays for your train

Was uni just three years of effort in vain?

But with some out there worse off you can hardly complain

Saying O, the hard times of young England

For young England very hard times.

You need more experience in business, they say

So you become an intern and work 9 hours a day

But you can’t work forever without any pay

Saying O, the hard times of young England

For young England very hard times.

For forty-five years baby boomers we learn

Their wages and pensions have toiled to earn

That we can’t buy their houses is not their concern

Saying O, the hard times of young England

For young England very hard times.

So now to conclude and to finish my song

Let’s hope that austerity need not last long

And I may soon have occasion for to alter my song

Singing O, such good times for young England

For young England very good times!

Broth of Heaven

An ode to soup, to the tune of Cwm Rhondda

When I need a bowl of something healthy

then I make a vat of soup.

Chopping carrots and an onion

Letting scattered thoughts regroup

Amber nectar

Health protector

with some buttered tiger bread

with some buttered tiger bread.

~

Open now the pack of herby goodness

when the verdant leaf comes from.

Full of fibre, manganese and iron

blended up to sup upon.

Coriander!

Coriander!

I will never tire of thee

I will never tire of thee.