Nov 8th

Remembrance Day 2015 - We Will Remember Them

By Mary B

For The Fallen
(Laurence Binyon)

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Originally published in The Times on 21 September 1914.

Oct 30th

The Tick the Tock


The sky is dark. Celestial Sphere

day is pushed aside I fear

nights are longer now and so

'click' long-life bulb begins to glow

I glance at time. The Tick the Tock

my heavy heart. Hands five o'clock


Thoughts abound and swirl in head

how to fill my time 'fore bed

shall I watch the 'magic box'

or look through window 'wait the fox

on his nightly hunt may pass

leaving calling card on grass

I glance at time. The Tick the Tock

my heavy heart. Hands six o'clock


Now long-life bulb has gained more power

full brightness now, which took an hour

black rectangle beckons me

"Press my button" says TV

"I can fill your lonely hours

with my mesmerising powers"

I glance at time. The Tick the Tock

with heavy heart. Hands seven o'clock


Turn my head away and look

there on table, unread book

has been lying there for ages

hopeful that I turn its pages

pick it up and read reviews

'A Masterpiece' the Evening News

I glance at time. The Tick the Tock

my heavy heart. Hands eight o'clock


I hear the rain begin to fall

and then a Barn Owl's haunting call

from the corner of my eye

a ghostly shape flies quietly by

it seeks to find a tasty bite

on this dark and dreary night

I glance at time. The Tick the Tock

with heavy heart. Hands nine o'clock


I look again at book, unread

think 'just one chapter then to bed'

with two hundred pages turned

the midnight oil has now been burned

storyline is so compelling

how it will end, there is no telling

I glance at time. The Tick the Tock

my weary eyes. Hands one o'clock


I close the book, reluctantly

bed is gently calling me

flick the switch to kill the light

long-life bulb gives up its fight

slowly now I make my way

the end of yet another day

I glance at time. The Tick the Tock

morn' befalls. Hands five o'clock


LJE (Copyright)


Oct 18th

If I Should Never See The Moon Again

By Mary B

If I should never see the moon again

Rising red gold across the harvest field

Or feel the stinging soft rain

As the brown earth her treasures yield.


If I should never taste the salt sea spray

As the ship beats her course across the breeze.

Or smell the dog-rose and new-mown hay,

or moss or primroses beneath the tree.


If I should never hear the thrushes wake

Long before the sunrise in the glimmering dawn.

Or watch the huge Atlantic rollers break

Against the rugged cliffs in baffling scorn.


If I have to say good bye to stream and wood,

To wide ocean and the green clad hill,

I know that he, who made this world so good

Has somewhere made a heaven better still.


This bears witness with my latest breath

Knowing the love of God,

I fear no death.



Written by Major Malcolm Boyd, killed in action in France, June 1944


Read on the Archers by her granddaughter Pip at Granny Heather's funeral 14 October 2015

Oct 8th

Play up! play up! and play the game!

By Mary B

Probably the best known of all Newbolt's poems and the one for which he is now chiefly remembered is Vitaï Lampada. It refers to how a future soldier learns stoicism in cricket matches in the famous Close at Clifton College, Bristol:

("They Pass On The Torch of Life")

There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night --
Ten to make and the match to win --
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote --
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'

The sand of the desert is sodden red, --
Red with the wreck of a square that broke; --
The Gatling's jammed and the Colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England's far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'

This is the word that year by year,
While in her place the School is set,
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind --
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'

Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1938)

The following narrative is from KenDrive's website:

In an era of Victorian propriety and emphasis on the seriousness of the protestant work ethic, Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1938) exemplified and championed both characteristics in both his writing and in deed.

Eminently respectable, Newbolt was a lawyer, novelist, playwright and magazine editor. Above all, he was a poet who championed the virtues of chivalry and sportsmanship combined in the service of the British Empire.

Born in Bilston, Staffordshire, and following studies at Clifton College and Oxford University, Newbolt became a barrister.

Although his first novel, Taken from the Enemy, was published in time for his thirtieth birthday in 1892, Newbolt’s reputation was established in 1897 in a poem written about a schoolboy cricketer who grows up to fight in Africa, Vitai Lampada. There, in the panic of battle the boy is stirred to heroic action by schooldays memories: “his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote - / Play up! Play up! And play the game!”

“Play up! Play up! And play the game!” – words that have become famous through the years - symbolised Newbolt’s view that war should be fought in the same spirit as school sports.

The poem was well received both critically and publicly at the time, and his work underwent a further revival at the outbreak of the First World War, when optimism was high; however as gloom set in, Newbolt’s verse consequently suffered in popularity.

Newbolt came to dislike his most famous poem Vitai Lampada. During a 1923 speaking tour of Canada he was constantly called upon to recite the poem: “it’s a kind of Frankenstein’s Monster that I created thirty years ago,” he complained.

The poem retained its popularity in Canada long after it fell out of favour in Britain.

Oct 8th

Life's Journey


                                         Life's Journey


I travelled one day on a journey

through a Universe painted with stars

Passing planets of mystical wonder

to the eerie red desert of Mars


I counted the three rings of Saturn

her moons shimmered far into space

I bathed in the sea of tranquility

but of water there was not a trace


An endless cascade of death's showers

though my bearer was only but one

Supernovas formed glittering crystals

as they danced in the flames of the Sun


Then a vision of magical beauty

drew me closer and soon to her breast

I had reached now the end of my journey

here was the place I would rest


My prescence one day would be mortal

a being who'd come from afar

Look into my eyes and you'll soon realise

I was born in the heart of a star


Today like that star I must leave you

my travels again have begun

Look skyward tonight and see Leo so bright

here my journey is finally done.




 Joint Copyright. 


My darling Sister wrote this most beautiful poem.

I wrote one more verse (the final one). I read it at her funeral.

The reference to Leo was because it was Brenda's star sign.


As it is National Poetry Day, and especially as the theme is Light, I thought it was the perfect time to share this with my friends at Dropby. What a wonderful and gifted poet my Sister was.

RIP are missed more than you'll ever know. 


Oct 8th

National Poetry Day

By Ann R

At our book club meeting this month we had to choose a couple of poems each and read them out, both of the ones I chose were by Christina Rossetti.  It was very difficult finding ones as most of the ones I like are miles long (The Lady of Shalott, The Raven etc). However, this is one that I chose:

A Birthday

My heart is like a singing bird

Whose nest in a water'd shoot;

My heart is like an apple tree

Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;

My heart is like a rainbow shell

That paddles in a halcyon sea;

My hear is gladder than all these

Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down

Hang it with vair and purple dyes;

Carve it in doves and pomegranates

And peacocks with a hundred eyes;

Work it in gold and silver grapes

In leaves and silver fleur-de-lys;

Because the birthday of my life

Is come, my love is come to me.

Sep 25th

Gertie Goes to Rehab


They tried to make her go to rehab

but she said No No No

so Mary said 'I must insist

get in my Aygo-go-go'


The place they went is secret

known only to a few

Gertie's got an en-suite room

in a most delightful blue


In this place so secret

her treatment will commence

she can't escape though try she might

it's got a twelve foot fence


Her day begins at seven

with breakfast oh so filling

then it's off for counselling

despite not being willing


But things will change for Gertie

and in the coming days

she'll start to get much better

see the error of her ways


Perhaps one day she'll DropBy

and not play oh so dirty

the past is done and we can say

'You're very welcome Gertie'!


LJE (Sept '15)


Sep 12th

Ode To Autumn - John Keats

By Mary B

I was reminded of this poem again after reading Beryl's comment earlier today...........

Ode To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

© John Keats. All rights reserved, 1819

Aug 5th

'Gertie the Gremlin'


Gertie is a Gremlin who's causing so much trouble

We need to tell her 'On yer bike' and 'Pedal on the double'

She's stealing many pictures and hiding them away

Where she puts them no-one knows, it's causing much dismay


Has she got a 'Lost and Found' compartment in her bag

It must be bulging fit to burst, beginning now to sag

I bet she finds it funny to leave us all in wonder

To make us think it's all our fault, our own computer blunder


Is Gertie getting very rich by selling them each day

Has she got a full page ad called 'Gerties Pics' eBay

Gumtree is another one, she could be on their site

Let's surf the net, get evidence and start the DropBy fight


'What do we want, our pictures back' & 'When do we want them, now'

The battle-cry for DropByers, let it be our vow

To banish Gertie from this site, to post our pics at leisure

That they will stay for all to see, for our enduring pleasure



Jun 21st

A plea for Ann R


Dear Herefordshire Council

I'm sending you this plea

on behalf of all the DropBy folk

(it's founder; Mary B)


We have a friend called Ann R

who can be quite a lark

but today we all were shocked to learn

that she lives in a local car park


We're not sure if it's NCP

or a Council run concern

suffice to say it matters not

so to you we now must turn


Ann's life is made so difficult

by the Smiths' the Browns' and Jones'

who deprive dear Ann of restful sleep

from the noise of their mobile phones


Can you remedy Ann's predicament

will you allow Ann R a chance

Give her somewhere to store her 'Nano'

somewhere she can sing, perhaps dance?


Thanking you in anticipation


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