Jan 25th

It's Burns Night - Robert Burns Tribute

By Mary B

Address to a Haggis


Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
'Bethankit' hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect sconner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit:
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!



paunch, guts





well swollen
bellies, soon





weak, rush

fist, nut



tops, thistle





Jan 8th

The Loom of Time

By Mary B

The Loom of Time

Man’s life is laid in the loom of time

To a pattern he does not see,

While the weavers work and the shuttles fly

Till the dawn of eternity.


Some shuttles are filled with silver threads

And some with threads of gold,

While often but the darker hues

Are all that they may hold.


But the weaver watches with skillful eye

Each shuttle fly to and fro,

And sees the pattern so deftly wrought

As the loom moves sure and slow.


God surely planned the pattern:

Each thread, the dark and fair,

Is chosen by His master skill

And placed in the web with care.


He only knows its beauty,

And guides the shuttles which hold

The threads so unattractive,

As well as the threads of gold.


Not till each loom is silent,

And the shuttles cease to fly,

Shall God reveal the pattern

And explain the reason why


The dark threads were as needful

In the weaver’s skillful hand

As the threads of gold and silver

For the pattern which He planned.


Author Unknown

Dec 20th

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple - by Jenny Joseph

By Mary B

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired

And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

And run my stick along the public railings

And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

And pick flowers in other people's gardens

And learn to spit.


You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat

And eat three pounds of sausages at a go

Or only bread and pickle for a week

And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.


But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

And pay our rent and not swear in the street

And set a good example for the children.

We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.


But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple. 


Jenny Joseph


Dec 7th

Memorable Shakespeare

By Mary B

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, 

This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, 

This other Eden, demi-paradise, 

This fortress built by Nature for herself 

Against infection and the hand of war, 

This happy breed of men, this little world, 

This precious stone set in the silver sea, 

Which serves it in the office of a wall 

Or as a moat defensive to a house, 

Against the envy of less happier lands,-- 

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.



William Shakespeare, "King Richard II", Act 2 scene 1

Greatest English dramatist & poet (1564 - 1616)   

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 Brenda....you 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.

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