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Where Do Babies Come From?


Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into here.

Where did you get your eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.

What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the starry spikes left in.

Where did you get that little tear?
I found it waiting when I got here.

What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.

What makes your cheek like a warm white rose?
I saw something better than anyone knows.

Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.

Where did you get this pearly ear?
God spoke, and it came out to hear.

Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into hooks and bands.

Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherubs’ wings.

How did they all just come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew.

But how did you come to us, you dear?
God thought about you, and so I am here

~George MacDonald

Top 10 Poems


What are the world’s most popular poems?

Between May 15th 2007, and March 21st, 2008, Classic Poetry Aloud had some half a million downloads from across the globe. This shows the most downloaded poems, and so the world’s most popular poems, to be:

  1. She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron
  2. Ode to Autumn by John Keats
  3. If by Rudyard Kipling
  4. Sonnet 18: Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day? by William Shakespeare
  5. Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  6. How Do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  7. O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman
  8. Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley
  9. Death by John Donne
  10. Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats


Super rabbit rabbit rabbit or white rabbit

What do you say first day of each month

To bring you luck

Fluffy white bunny rabbit.jpg

“Rabbit rabbit rabbit” is one variant of a common British superstition which states that a person should say or repeat the word “rabbit” or “rabbits”, or say the phrase “white rabbits”, or some combination of these elements, out loud upon waking on the first day of the month, because doing so will ensure good luck for the duration of that month. Today, it is a frequent tradition in many English-speaking countries.

“My two daughters are in the habit of saying ‘Rabbits!’ on the first day of each month. The word must be spoken aloud, and be the first word said in the month. It brings luck for that month. Other children, I find, use the same formula.”The exact origin of the superstition is unknown, though it was recorded in Notes and Queries as being said by children in 1909:

In response to this note another contributor said that his daughter believed that the outcome would be a present, and that the word must be spoken up the chimney to be most effective; another pointed out that the word rabbit was often used in expletives, and suggested that the superstition may be a survival of the ancient belief in swearing as a means of avoiding evil.

It appeared in a work of fiction in 1922:

“Why,” the man in the brown hat laughed at him, “I thought everybody knew ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.’ If you say ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit’—three times, just like that—first thing in the morning on the first of the month, even before you say your prayers, you’ll get a present before the end of the month.”

Today it has spread to many English-speaking countries and in the United States the tradition is common in New England, in particular in Massachusetts andVermont,[citation needed] although, like all folklore, determining its exact area of distribution is difficult. The superstition may be related to the broader belief in the rabbit or hare being a “lucky” animal, as exhibited in the practice of carrying a rabbit’s foot for luck.[citation needed]

During the mid-1990’s, U.S. children’s cable channel Nickelodeon helped popularize the superstition in the United States as part of its “Nick Days”, where during commercial breaks it would show an ad about the significance of the current date, whether it be an actual holiday, a largely-uncelebrated unofficial holiday, or a made-up day if nothing else is going on that specific day. (The latter would be identified as a “Nickelodeon holiday”.) Nickelodeon would promote the last day of each month as “Rabbit Rabbit Day” and to remind kids to say it the next day, unless the last day of that specific month was an actual holiday, such as Halloween and New Year’s Eve.This practice stopped by the late 1990’s.

Rabbits have not always been thought of as lucky, however. In the 19th century, for example, fishermen would not say the word while at sea, and in South Devon to see a white rabbit in one’s village when a person was very ill was regarded as a sure sign that the person would die.

As with most folklore, which is traditionally spread by word of mouth, there are numerous variants of the superstition, in some cases specific to a certain time period or region.

  • “When I was a very little boy I was advised to always murmur ‘White rabbits’ on the first of every month if I wanted to be lucky. From sheer force of unreasoning habit I do it still—when I think of it. I know it to be preposterously ludicrous, but that does not deter me.” – Sir Herbert Russell, 1925.
  • “Even Mr. Roosevelt, the President of the United States, has confessed to a friend that he says ‘Rabbits’ on the first of every month—and, what is more, he would not think of omitting the utterance on any account.” – Newspaper article, 1935.
  • “On the first day of the month say ‘Rabbit! rabbit! rabbit!’ and the first thing you know you will get a present from someone you like very much.” Collected by the researcher Frank C. Brown in North Carolina in the years between 1913 and 1943.
  • “If you say ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit’ the first thing when you wake up in the morning on the first of each month you will have good luck all month.” Collected by Wayland D. Hand in Pennsylvania before 1964.
  • “Say ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit’ at the first of the month for good luck and money.” Collected by Ernest W. Baughman in New Mexico before 1964.
  • “…it must be ‘White Rabbit’ … but you must also say ‘Brown Rabbit’ at night and walk downstairs backwards.” Reported in a small survey that took place in Exeter, Devon in 1972.
  • “Ever since I was 4 years old, I have said ‘White Rabbits’ at the very moment of waking on every single first day of every single month that has passed.” Simon Winchester, 2006.
  • “…the more common version ‘rabbit, rabbit, white rabbit’ should be said upon waking on the first day of each new month to bring good luck.”
  • Superstitions what are yours
  • send them to us at

New Poetry from TJ Beitelman :: AMERICANA

Americana is a wide-eyed view of the extraordinary world around us, one most of us rarely have the capacity to see.
 —Mark Neely
In TJ Beitelman’s poems, “everything’s a powder / keg,” where everyday occurrences explode into expressions of joy and heartache. Americana begins with an examination of American icons and institutions, then moves out in widening circles to encompass everything from Greek myth to global politics. Here you’ll find strange bedfellows—Bogart and the Big Bang, Hank Aaron and Buddhism, Hezbollah and Frank O’Hara—drawn together by Beitelman’s nimble mind. Full of surprising turns and observations, Americana is a wide-eyed view of the extraordinary world around us, one most of us rarely have the capacity to see.
 —Mark Neely, author of Beasts of the Hill
Beitelman’s Americana is a funhouse full of mirrors that reveal the comic, the tragic, the beautiful, and the grotesque of commonalities we can’t avoid: pop culture, politics, history. It is a funhouse where “truth and memory are mute” and the connections between, say, “Bela Lugosi and truck tires” are what guide us through spinning tunnels and illusions. And as we exit, it’s difficult to say what is more real: Beitelman’s mad rendering or the world that inspired it.
—Michele Battiste, author of Uprising
The sky opened in the ten minutes it took to fete
Hank Aaron after he hit #715. Hank says time
paused as he was rounding the bases: the college
kids patting him on the back between second

and third might as well have been gnats or rain-
drops…O, the rain! Who was the first to think
the unthinkable?—Wait, if this gets called, do we
go back to 714?
 Tomorrow is another day, indeed.

Hank, the Buddhists say it is raining everywhere.
The greatest Zen masters proclaim their impotence:
I cannot be a good Zen master; I have seen good Zen
masters. As for me, I can’t be a good homerun hitter—

that’s no false modesty. Some things we just can’t
do. But I’ve seen a lot of homeruns, Hank, and now
I suspect each one is nothing special, a single ball
socked into the night. Yes, they can be washed off

the books, even the momentous ones. Nothing
to do but wait and see if what we’ve seen is real.
We sit in our hard bleacher seats, hold the breath
we share. We stare straight up into the spitting sky.
About the Poet
TJ Beitelman is a writer and teacher living in Birmingham, Alabama. He’s published a novel, John the Revelator, and two collections of poetry: In Order to Form a More Perfect Union and Americana, all from Black Lawrence Press. His stories and poems have appeared widely in literary magazines, and he’s received fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham. He taught writing and literature at Virginia Tech, where he earned an M.A. in English, and at the University of Alabama, where he earned an M.F.A. in creative writing and also edited Alabama Heritage and Black Warrior Review. Since 2002, he has taught creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham, and he’s an Artist in Residence at the Gorham’s Bluff Institute on Sand Mountain in northeast Alabama. He can be found on-line at and at  






VE Night – Then and Now – by Iris_Bruce

Following are two poems, the first written on 8th May 1945 by me, aged 11:

VE Night

I went to see a bonfire
On V night on a hill
The searchlights all were glowing
And all was bright and still

Then someone raised a mighty shout
‘Throw on some wood’ they said
‘Let’s go and bring the people out
To see the embers red’

‘Let’s let off lots of fireworks
Some yellow, Green and Blue
Some Catherine wheels and rockets
And rain of every hue’

The people sang the people danced
They threw wood on the fire
And many children saw entranced
That scene, their hearts’ desire

For some had never seen before
A fire so big as that
While fireworks and searchlights
They made a union jack

And when at 4 o’clock next morn
The crowd went down the hill
And dawn was breaking far away
That memory lingered still

by Iris Aspland, aged 11

Sixty years later, and now a bit older, written on 8th May 2005:

VE Night

I’m going to see a bonfire
A bonfire on a hill
To celebrate VE night
The memory lingers still

It’s 60 years ago now
And many things have passed
But those celebrations left
Impressions that will last

We’d never seen a firework
Or pretty coloured rain
The only rockets that we knew
Inflicted deadly pain

We’d seen the dockside burning
Incendiaries in the street
But to dance around that bonfire
We thought a wondrous treat

The searchlights that had chased the planes
Made patterns in the sky
The church bells, hooters, sirens
We heard on hilltop high

We sang and danced and laughed and cried
As we went down the hill
And dawn was breaking far away
That memory lingers still

By Iris Bruce (60 years on, and the poetry hasn’t improved!)

Extracts from May the 8th 1945 by Simon Armitage – VE DAY

We were bulldog British and still alive
with the future as bright as the widening sky
in the V of Churchill’s victory sign.

Heat in the heart, a lump in the throat,
hope like the sun
and all of us giddy and grateful and young
and we’d won, we’d won, we’d bloody well won.

* * *

A war that began and ended in rain.
Sprayed bullets of rain.
Rain that drum-rolled
on the church hall roof,
when nice Mr Chamberlain
went to the stage
and fell for the three card trick
then returned to his seat
empty handed and deceived.
“I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received.”
Empty handed and deceived.
Hard weather ahead. Storms to the east.

The curtains drawn.
A black, underground war.
We kept it dark.
We dug deep,
moved through tunnels and tubes.
We slept in a midnight garden,
in tin sheds
or crypts or bunkers
of railway sleepers and piled earth.

We dreamed with the worms
under a Braille of stars,
under the ploughed lawn …

Some nights — a blanket silent.
Some nights we woke in sweat
to a sound like a needle or drill coming near,
a nagging, gnawing mosquito drone in the air.
Doodlebugs. Rocketing dinosaur birds …

* * *

we’re dancing on paving stones
littered with shrapnel
we’re scaling the lampposts
and mounting the flagpoles
we’re hitching our skirts
and letting some steam off
heading up west
for a beer and a knees-up
we’re cheering and leering
and waving and leaning
from black-eyed windows
in bomb-struck houses
streaming from camouflaged
Anderson shelters
we’re picking through splinters
tripping through embers
we’re out in the terraces
down on the pavements
with teapots and doilies
on trestles and tables
we’re singing our hearts out
going bananas
to tunes rattled out
on war torn Joannas
we’re pissing on Wagner
we’re whistling Elgar
we’re hearing the call
so we’re off to Trafalgar
to ride on the lions
clown in the fountains
we’re draped on the railings
at Buckingham Palace
we’re letting off rockets
and roman candles
it’s less like VE day
and more like a blitzkrieg
we’re off down the alleys
and into the side-streets
to fondle and fumble
with somebody’s missus
to smother a sailor
with lipsticky kisses
we’re blowing up condoms
we’re joining a conga
that’s half a mile long
and wiggles and wanders
and shillies and shallies
and keeps getting longer …



Till the barrel runs dry
and it’s almost dark,


for an English oak
on fire in the park.
And the spangle and spark
of a pearly king
in a drunken, one-man
Lambeth Walk.
And the dome of St Paul’s
picked out by torch
still golden and true
after years of hell …

* * *

Returning from war.
Returning to what?
One man is met.
One man is not.
One man is slapped on the back in the pub.
One man’s house is boarded up
One man’s wife takes him straight to bed.
One man’s dog comes running. Draws blood.
One man is kissed on the mouth and neck
and the curtains are drawn.
One man sits and stares at the wall.
One man’s wife has gone for a walk;
there’s a scribbled note,
there’s a tin of pilchards under a plate.
One man’s wife is flat on her back
with GI Joe doing press-ups on top.

In another man’s garden, the flowers and stones
read Welcome Home.
One man weeps in a room on his own.
One man is asked his name by his son.

* * *

The stars took the shape of a Swastika once
but the heavenly bodies are ordered back.
Now there’s a V sign, a spitfire, a Union Jack.

Last year there were Nazis at work
in the sewers and drains, a wolf in the wardrobe,
a storm-trooper under the bed. Last week

the cellar was Auschwitz, the attic was Belsen,
the bath tub was beached in the shallows at Dunkirk,
the barbed wire fence at the end of the lane

was the limit — the front-line.
Today there’s an apple, a smug looking egg teed up in a cup,
the promise of meat, a trout to be cooked.

Like Eden again. Britannia back on her throne.

But it’s quiet. It’s small …

We were saved, all saved for good, and utterly changed —
agreed. But there, at the time,
on the winning side of the finishing line,

in the glare of unconditional light,
in the litter of glory,
and after the beer and the flags

and triumphant dancing and mad, jubilant sex,
we stood for while, and waited, waited,
wondering what came next.

by Simon Armitage

George Mackay Brown – Famous Scotish Poet

  • brown
    George Mackay Brown
Born: 1921 in Stromness, Orkney Islands
Died: 1996 in Stromness
First Book: The Storm (Orkney Press, 1954)
Awards: Short-listed for the 1994 Booker Prize for Beside the Ocean of TimeGeorge Mackay Brown is considered to be one of the greatest Scottish poets and authors of the twentieth century. His technical mastery and control of both prose and verse attracted a world-wide readership. Although never reaching bestseller status, his books were published in more than a dozen countries around the world, drawing hundreds of avid fans to his house in Orkney each year.

Born on 17 October 1921 into a poor family living in Stromness in the Orkney Islands, Mackay Brown attended the local Stromness Academy. It was here he discovered a talent for writing, excelling in the weekly compositions set by hisEnglish teacher.

His time at school was brought to a premature end when he contracted tuberculosis and was sent to a sanatorium in Kirkwall. He was troubled by the disease throughout his life and never completely returned to full health. His illness excluded him from service during the Second World War, and made him essentially unemployable on a long-term basis.

However, the extended periods of rest which the disease enforced upon him meant that he was able to read and write extensively, thereby developing his literary talent. By the early 1940s his prolific writings were beginning to emerge publicly with news stories, reviews and a regular column in the Orkney weekly newspaper. This column was a constant feature throughout the rest of his life, with his final piece appearing just two days before his death on 13 April 1996.

After his initial success in the early 1940s he began to drink heavily and only wrote occasional poems and his column for the local newspaper. This lifestyle continued for almost ten years before he received an invitation to become a mature student at an adult education college in Dalkeith in 1951. The college was run by Edwin Muir, a poet and fellow Orkadian whose work Mackay Brown greatly admired. Much of Muir’s work, and especially his 1940 The Story and the Fable (which Mackay Brown read when he went to the University of Edinburgh two years after graduating from the Dalkeith college), interweaved Orkadian life and history with myth and legend, and had a profound effect on the future style and subject-matter of Mackay Brown’s later achievements.

In the summer of 1970, he met – entirely by chance – the composer Peter Maxwell Davies in the remote valley of Rackwick in Orkney. In the subsequent years, the two men forged a fiercely strong friendship and went on to collaborate together to produce many of Maxwell Davies’ Orkney-inspired works.

Following the publication and success of Booker Prize short-listed Beside the Ocean of Time, Mackay Brown wrote two collections of short stories, the second of which was published posthumously. When he died on 13 April 1996, he left a legacy for both Scottish literature and the communities of the Orkney Islands. Able to transcend the common and often mundane perception of Orkadian life and history, Mackay Brown’s writing was ethereal and timeless, filled with strong universal truths that deeply touched his global readership.

A Calendar of Love, Beside the Ocean of Time, Greenvoe, Hawkfall, The Island of the Women, A Time to Keep, Vinland, and Winter Tales are all available from now Polygon. Selected pieces are also published by Polygon in Lament: Scottish Poems for Funerals and Consolation and Scottish War Stories, and an extensive interview with Mackay Brown is featured in Scottish Writers Talking.

On the Finding of Richard III’s Bones: A Poem – YOUR FAVOURITE POEM

Richard Buckley, the lead archaeologist on a project to identify the bones, told reporters that tests and research since the remains were discovered last September proved “beyond reasonable doubt” that the “individual exhumed” from a makeshift grave under the parking lot was “indeed Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England.”

Enter BUCKLEY, solus

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this corpse of Richard;
And all the clouds that lay dully upon our land
In the deep bosom of the news cycle buried.
Now are our CVs bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised trowels and shovels hung up for monuments;
Our dull symposia changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful departmental meetings to delightful orgies.
Grim-visaged death hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He lies peacefully in the University of Leicester
To the lascivious gapings of a muted press corps.
And I, that am but a simple archaeolgist,
Not made to court the desperate inquiries of a fevered public;
I, that am but a man, and want credit’s laurels
To strut before a mass of jealous associate professors;
He, that was curtail’d on the field of Bosworth,
Cheated of his young life by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish’d, sent before my time
Into this unbreathing dirt, spine so obviously twisted,
And I, so friendly and unassuming
That dogs rub against my pant leg as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of few discoveries,
Have no other delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy his wizened shadow in the ground
And descant on his own deformity:
And therefore, since I can finally prove an identity,
To entertain these fair well-spoken graduate students,
I am determined to prove a hero
And embrace the untrammeled triumph of these days.
Soil impactions have I studied, the Priory’s footprints measured,
By historical prophecies, rumours and dreams,
To set my brother Oxford and his sister Cambridge
In deadly hate the one against the other:
And if Queen Catherine be as true and just
As I am wise, diligent and unassuming,
This day should Richard carefully be dug up,
About the prophecy, which says that ‘B’
Of Leakey’s heirs the finder shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here
The BBC comes.

By Nicole Cliffe | February 4, 2013






Been out in the lifeboat often? Ay, ay, sir, oft enough.
When it’s rougher than this? Lor’ bless you! this ain’t what we calls rough!
It’s when there’s a gale a-blowin’, and the waves run in and break
On the shore with a roar like thunder and the white cliffs seem to shake;
When the sea is a hell of waters, and the bravest holds his breath
As he hears the cry for the lifeboat — his summons maybe to death —
That’s when we call it rough, sir; but, if we can get her afloat,
There’s always enough brave fellows ready to man the boat.

You’ve heard of the Royal Helen, the ship as was wrecked last year?
Yon be the rock she struck on — the boat as went out be here;
The night as she struck was reckoned the worst as ever we had,
And this is a coast in winter where the weather be awful bad.
The beach here was strewed with wreckage, and to tell you the truth, sir, then
Was the only time as ever we’d a bother to get the men.
The single chaps was willin’, and six on ’em volunteered,
But most on us here is married, and the wives that night was skeered.

Our women ain’t chicken-hearted when it comes to savin’ lives,
But death that night looked certain — and our wives be only wives:
Their lot ain’t bright at the best,sir; but here, when the man lies dead,
‘Taint only a husband missin’, it’s the children’s daily bread;
So our women began to whimper and beg o’ the chaps to stay —
I only heard on it after, for that night I was kept away.
I was up at my cottage, yonder, where the wife lay nigh her end,
She’d been ailin’ all the winter, and nothing ‘ud make her mend.

The doctor had given her up, sir, and I knelt by her side and prayed,
With my eyes as red as a babby’s, that Death’s hand might yet be stayed.
I heerd the wild wind howlin’, and I looked on the wasted form,
And though of the awful shipwreck as had come in the ragin’ storm;
The wreck of my little homestead — the wreck of my dear old wife,
Who’d sailed with me forty years, sir, o’er the troublous waves of life,
And I looked at the eyes so sunken, as had been my harbour lights,
To tell of the sweet home haven in the wildest, darkest nights.

She knew she was sinkin’ quickly — she knew as her end was nigh,
But she never spoke o’ the troubles as I knew on her heart must lie,
For we’d had one great big sorrow with Jack, our only son —
He’d got into trouble in London as lots o’ lads ha’ done;
Then he’d bolted his masters told us — he was allus what folks call wild.
From the day as I told his mother, her dear face never smiled.
We heerd no more about him, we never knew where he went,
And his mother pined and sickened for the message he never sent.

I had my work to think of; but she had her grief to nurse,
So it eat away at her heartstrings, and her health grew worse and worse.
And the night as the Royal Helen went down on yonder sands,
I sat and watched her dyin’, holdin’ her wasted hands.
She moved in her doze a little, then her eyes were opened wide,
And she seemed to be seekin’ somethin’, as she looked from side to side;
Then half to herself she whispered, “Where’s Jack, to say good-bye?
It’s hard not to see my darlin’, and kiss him afore I die.”

I was stoopin’ to kiss and soothe her, while the tears ran down my cheek,
And my lips were shaped to whisper the words I couldn’t speak,
When the door of the room burst open, and my mates were there outside
With the news that the boat was launchin’. “You’re wanted!” their leader cried.
“You’ve never refused to go, John; you’ll put these cowards right.
There’s a dozen of lives maybe, John, as lie in our hands tonight!”
‘Twas old Ben Brown, the captain; he’d laughed at the women’s doubt.
We’d always been first on the beach, sir, when the boat was goin’ out.

I didn’t move, but I pointed to the white face on the bed —
“I can’t go, mate,” I murmured; “in an hour she may be dead.
I cannot go and leave her to die in the night alone.”
As I spoke Ben raised his lantern, and the light on my wife was thrown;
And I saw her eyes fixed strangely with a pleading look on me,
While a tremblin’ finger pointed through the door to the ragin’ sea.
Then she beckoned me near, and whispered, “Go, and God’s will be done!
For every lad on that ship, John, is some poor mother’s son.”

Her head was full of the boy, sir — she was thinking, maybe, some day
For lack of a hand to help him his life might be cast away.
“Go, John, and the Lord watch o’er you! and spare me to see the light,
And bring you safe,” she whispered, “out of the storm tonight.”
Then I turned and kissed her softly, and tried to hide my tears,
And my mates outside,when the saw me, set up three hearty cheers;
But I rubbed my eyes wi’ my knuckles, and turned to old Ben and said,
“I’ll see her again, maybe, lad, when the sea give up its dead.”:

We launched the boat in the tempest, though death was the goal in view
And never a one but doubted if the craft could live it through;
But our boat she stood in bravely, and, weary and wet and weak,
We drew in hail of the vessel we had dared so much to seek.
But just as we come upon her she gave a fearful roll,
And went down in the seethin’ whirlpool with every livin’ soul!
We rowed for the spot, and shouted, for all around was dark —
But only the wild wind answered the cries from our plungin’ bark.

I was strainin’ my eyes and watchin’, when I thought I heard a cry,
And I saw past our bows a somethin’ on the crest of a wave dashed by;
I stretched out my hand to seize it. I dragged it aboard, and then
I stumbled, and struck my forrud, and fell like a log on Ben.
I remember a hum of voices, and then I knowed no more
Till I came to my senses here, sir — here, in my home ashore.
My forrud was tightly bandaged, and I lay on my little bed —
I’d slipped, so they told me arter, and a rulluck had struck my head.

Then my mates came in and whispered; they’d heard I was comin’ round.
At first I could scarcely hear ’em. it seemed like a buzzin’ sound;
But as my head got clearer, and accustomed to hear ’em speak,
I knew as I’d lain like that, sir, for many a long, long, week.
I guessed what the lads was hidin’, for their poor old shipmate’s sake.
So I lifts my head from the pillow, and I says to old Ben, “Look here!
I’m able to bear it now, lad — tell me, and never fear.”

Not one on ’em ever answered, but presently Ben goes out,
And the others slinks away like, and I say, “What’s this about?
Why can’t they tell me plainly as the poor old wife is dead?”
Then I fell again on the pillows, and I hid my achin’ head;
I lay like that for a minute, till I heard a voice cry “John!”
And I thought it must be a vision as my weak eyes gazed upon;
For there by the bedside, standin’ up and well was my wife.
And who do ye think was with her? Why Jack, as large as life.

It was him as I’d saved from drownin’ the night as the lifeboat went
To the wreck of the Royal Helen; ’twas that as the vision meant.
They’d brought us ashore together, he’d knelt by his mother’s bed,
And the sudden joy had raised her like a miracle from the dead;
And mother and son together had nursed me back to life,
And my old eyes woke from darkness to look on my son and wife.
Jack? He’s our right hand now, sir; ’twas Providence pulled him through —
He’s allus the first aboard her when the lifeboat wants a crew.

Written by George Robert Sims

A crusading journalist, social reformer, playwright, musician, author (novels and short stories) and an occasional poet





It was upon that day so fair
To celebrate without a care
There was naught to mar the day
As children on the sand did play
For joy to all was with them then
No hate or malice had there been

I remember that little child
Oh so young and meek and mild
A sweet face for all to see
How angelic could one be?
Then out there in waters deep
A line of foam was seen to creep

The sea now it did subside
And from the shore began to hide
Now the child saw sea bed
Where once the sea was overhead
Moving now to closer be
She moved from sand towards the sea

Now the wave it built up high
Yes, as if to touch the sky
With thunderous roar it came on in
Taking child and car and rusty bin

No man or woman did it spare
For gentle child it did not care
No compassion did it feel
Its waves did lash and curl and peels



Poems about Grandfathers


One does not have to do anything to become a grandfather. It simply happens when your child has a child. It is up to you to decide how involved you will be in your grandchild’s life. There is an inherent biological relationship but the emotional bonding between grandfather and grandchild comes only with effort. It happens when the grandchild sees that you are open to forming a relationship. It happens when you get off your easy chair and make the effort to see what matters to your grandchild.

My Granddad

You are my Granddad

You are not just a fad

Like an x box, tablet or phone

I know you tend to groan

But you are my Granddad

Who makes me happy and sad

You can be very annoying

But when you’re in the bath

And I hear you sing

I am glad you are around

When I hear that sound

You are like a Victorian pear

You have always been there

Very mellow and soft to touch

Granddad I love you so much

Gillian Sims

My Dads Dad

My Granddad came to stay

My Dad bought him a card

I’m only four

And not sure

What this card was for

And this puzzled me

Was Granddad doing his family tour

I’m not sure

I’m only four

Was it Granddads birthday

So I asked my dad

To explain to me

What this card was for

He said it’s Fathers day

And your Granddad is daddy to me



Making the most out of being a father

th (1)


Father’s Day is this Sunday, a day when we are all meant to say thank you to the fathers in our lives. Fathers have a powerful role to play in their children’s lives as they often provide very different input than mothers.  Studies have shown that involved fathers have a positive effect on almost all areas of child development, including intellectual ability, educational achievement, psychological well-being, and social behaviour.

Our resident experienced clinical psychologists, Dr. Natalie Cheatle and Dr. Annika Clark from The Parent Space ( have kindly provided us with some practical and effective tips on how fathers can make the most out of their relationship with their children. While the degree that a father can be involved on a day to day basis varies greatly depending on the particular family set-up, fathers can make the most of whatever time they do have with their children and maximise their impact, by considering a few areas in particular:

Father & Child

Separating work from family time

Flexible working clearly has many benefits but also means that it is far harder to switch off from work than ever before. It is tempting to think that children won’t notice if you quickly check email on your phone but they will pick up if you are distracted or your mind is elsewhere.  It is frustrating for anyone if they don’t feel properly listened to or understood and children are no exception.  They may pester you continually or start behaving badly to capture your attention any way they can. Alternatively, some children may feel defeated and quietly give up on you.

What to do:

  • Put phones aside and truly concentrate on being with your children for a period of time. They will delight in having your full attention and will get the message that you think enough of them to totally put work on hold for a time to be with them. Try to clear your mind of any other distractions and focus on enjoying them in the moment.
  • Avoid feeling pressured to do ‘something special’ or elaborate. Children crave time with their fathers and are often perfectly happy joining you with jobs or just chilling out with lego or a book.

Reallocating roles

Although fathers are more hands-on than ever before, mothers are still more likely to be responsible for taking care of children, managing their routines and arranging childcare, a dynamic often set up during maternity leave. Often mothers develop a set way of doing things, making it difficult for working fathers to come home and not only enjoy being with their child, but join in the daily routines without some sort of criticism, whether implied or explicit. This can lead to fathers feeling somewhat redundant and can set up of pattern of further withdrawal, reinforcing the problem.

What to do:

  • Carve out a niche that is yours e.g. bathtime, bedtime story, or breakfast / dinner time at the weekend. Choose something that you can commit to the majority of the time and try to make it something that is an everyday event to ensure it happens.
  • Make the most of weekends – explicitly discuss the division of chores and fun time with the kids so both parents get some of each.
  • School involvement: most parents can’t attend every event, so pick the things that are most important to your child.  Sports day might seem more important to you than a choir performance but if your child is prouder of his singing than his sports achievements, that’s the one to go to (and explain this to your child).

Being a good role model

Children learn their ‘templates’ for managing relationships, emotions and social situations from people who are significant in their life. Fathers are often the main masculine role model for their children. Sons will watch their fathers for a concrete example of the man they could become and daughters establish a template for how they can expect to interact and be treated by other men and future partners.

What to do:

  • Having a good relationship with your child’s mother, whether you are together or not, has been shown to be the main factor underpinning the positive impact fathers can have. Leading by example and being supportive and respectful of your partner sets up implicit expectations to children about the right ways to behave and how to expect to be treated in relationships.
  • If
    you’re feeling tired, stressed or if you’re having a bad time at work then you’re bound to feel less patient than usual and more short tempered.  If you feel that you are about to lose the plot with your children, take some time out to calm down.  If you do overreact to a small misdemeanour, then it is important that you are explicit with your children and give them a short explanation, and apology if appropriate. Even older primary aged children are still concrete in their thinking and may automatically assume they are somehow responsible for your mood unless told otherwise.

Building strong relationships

Research has shown that fathers are more likely to engage with children in a directive way through giving instructions, correcting behaviour, suggesting solutions for problems and leading play. While all of these are sometimes necessary and even beneficial, they are not strategies that necessarily promote close personal relationships.   Finding alternative ways to interact with children that deepen your relationship will stand you in good stead as your children get older and their issues more complex.

What to do:

  • Take a step back from noticing and correcting poor behaviour and refocus on what your child is doing well, their good qualities and what you enjoy about them.
  • Let children guide the conversation so you put more focus on genuinely listening and responding to what they say.
  • It is tempting to automatically give advice when children come up against problems and feel frustrated if they do not take it up. Helping children to think through possible solutions for themselves and evaluate which might work best will encourage independent thinking, help them feel understood and make it more likely that they will bring future problems to you.
  • Rough and tumble play, often uniquely a father’s role, is an important part of children’s physical development. It helps children deal with aggressive impulses, gives them an opportunity for intense physical contact and allows them to test out their strength in a safe manner.
  • As they get older and their outside activities take up more and more time, finding a way to share their interests is a good way to spend quality time together, even if it involves learning about something that’s not obviously interesting to you.
  • Consider one-to-one outings/trips away with one child for maximum bonding.
  • Be particularly careful with your girls: studies show that men tend to spend more time with their sons growing up than they do with their daughters, especially leading up to adolescence and puberty.

Managing work trips

Finally, many jobs these days involve travelling and spending time away from the family.  Even though children can adapt to this well, it is still worth thinking about what might be going on for them and how to keep them feeling secure.  Younger children who have not yet developed a good understanding of time are more likely to feel confused by changes in routine but even older children and those used to regular short separations might get upset at a slightly longer trip away, which often takes parents by surprise.

What to do:

  • Visual charts or calendars showing how many nights you will be away can be really helpful.
  • Giving some warning to prepare them is important and explaining to them the necessity of the trip can help them understand that you are not leaving them because you prefer to be away from them.
  • Acknowledging that it does feel strange when a member of the family is away can help them understand their own feelings.
  • Telling them explicitly what you will miss about them (rather than just that you will miss them generally) can make things more concrete for them and help them feel better.
  • For children of reading age, leaving a few little notes around for them to discover while you are away, along with the obvious telephone and email contact, can be a nice extra touch to help children feel connected in your absence.
  • When you come home, be prepared for them to have got on without you and expect that it might take a day or two to fit back in with family routines.     

On a final note, as a working father, there are likely to be times when you may feel a bit disconnected from what is going on for the family and everyone’s lives seem to be going in different directions.  When this happens, there is a temptation to withdraw and let everyone get on with it.  However, this feeling is usually a cue that you should try to do the opposite: find a way to get more involved again, don’t underestimate how much your children benefit from your inp

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Honor This Day
Dedicated to the life of Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013)

When I was a child
I once heard a word
I wondered aloud
For it seemed quite weird
A news report suggested
A man had been arrested
Far too young to know
My life spent running in the fields
Playing baseball, freely walking
Along open avenues
Without fear
A simple reality
That contained
Certain love
Quiet guidance
Granted peace
Far away in a distant world
Untouched by my eyes
My age of living souls
Were being gunned down
Randomly with purpose
A driving brutality
Seemed normal …
To live freely
Without bullets or maim
That’s when I read a magazine
Newsweek recognizes
Ten years later
The Sharpeville massacre
Later that year Kent State
A couple of years earlier
A dream shatters … MLK Jr
And then the story about
Emmett Till I discovered
The slaughter of a young boy
One brutal moment after another
In 1975, I am a teenager
The war is over
We are protesting nukes
Low-impact en masse hostility
Seemed less effective
Than flowers
Hanging from rifle barrels.
I’m a sophomore now
Skipping school
Looking for a cause
A world reaching well past me
Existed on a principle of freedom
“Free Mandela”
Soweto uprising
End the strong arm
Of Apartheid
There it was
In rainbow colors
I could no longer
Simply run through the fields
Without realizing pain
While across the world
The news read gloomily
Of a distant opinion
His protest screamed agony
We must be educated!
In memoriam
I am the privileged one
I have lived to watch a man
Know freedom beyond words.

Dedicated to the life of Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013)

Thom Amundsen

If I Lived In A World With Less Pain…Promote Yourself



If I Lived In A World With Less Pain….


I Would if I Could

I am Joy and I want the world to know,

What I would do if this were so.


If I lived in a world with less pain, this is what you would see.

A world filled with less struggles and strain, aching to be free.


I would be a voice that does not go unheard.

But instead be one of distinction to serve,

A community of people with better places to go

In their provision of care that exceeds “the pain world” we’ve come to know.


Pain as it is, with treatment that works.

Not pushed or stereotyped merely because we “irk”,

The professional that thinks we all are the same,

Prescribing a drug that has the same name,

Even if our conditions are in different range


If I were this person this is how it would be,

You could hear my voice but you can’t see me.

Because if I was in less pain I would be free.


Free to live with less struggles and despair,

but with a greater hope to overcome obstacles I can bear.


Free to speak without feeling ashamed

of the world I now exist in with the devastation of pain.


Free to choose a doctor that will openly listen to me

and not place me in the same category.


Free to live out the goals I so desire,

without constantly feeling

 sick, weak, or tired.


Free to be the person I was created to be,

to live out the purpose that was predestined for me.


With more strength than I now have that would carry me through, a life filled with courage and hope anew.


If I lived in a world with less pain “I” would be,

the person behind the door you cannot see.

The person longing, waiting to be free.


Free to be Joy. Free to be me!


I do hope my poem is selected and appears on your site. It would be an honor because my greatest desire is to share my voice and these words with the world. Please note: the door represents the person you can hear but cannot see longing to be free!
Thank you poetreecreetions
  by Joy D



th (2)


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, 
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, 
Till on the haunting flares(2) we turned our backs 
And towards our distant rest(3) began to trudge. 
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots 
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; 
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots(4)  
Of tired, outstripped(5) Five-Nines(6) that dropped behind.
Gas!(7) Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, 
Fitting the clumsy helmets(8) just in time; 
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, 
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime(9) . . . 
Dim, through the misty panes(10) and thick green light, 
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. 
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, 
He plunges at me, guttering,(11) choking, drowning. 
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace 
Behind the wagon that we flung him in, 
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, 
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; 
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood 
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, 
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud(12)  
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, 
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest(13)  
To children ardent(14) for some desperate glory, 
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est 
Pro patria mori.(15)

Wilfred Owen
8 October 1917 – March, 1918

Notes on Dulce et Decorum Est

1.  DULCE ET DECORUM EST – the first words of a Latin saying (taken from an ode by Horace). The words were widely understood and often quoted at the start of the First World War. They mean “It is sweet and right.” The full saying ends the poem: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori – it is sweet and right to die for your country. In other words, it is a wonderful and great honour to fight and die for your country.

2.  Flares – rockets which were sent up to burn with a brilliant glare to light up men and other targets in the area between the front lines (See illustration, page 118 of Out in the Dark.) 

3.  Distant rest – a camp away from the front line where exhausted soldiers might rest for a few days, or longer 

4.  Hoots – the noise made by the shells rushing through the air 

5.  Outstripped – outpaced, the soldiers have struggled beyond the reach of these shells which are now falling behind them as they struggle away from the scene of battle  

 6.  Five-Nines – 5.9 calibre explosive shells 

7.  Gas! –  poison gas. From the symptoms it would appear to be chlorine or phosgene gas. The filling of the lungs with fluid had the same effects as when a person drowned

8.  Helmets –  the early name for gas masks 

9.  Lime – a white chalky substance which can burn live tissue 

10.  Panes – the glass in the eyepieces of the gas masks 

11.  Guttering – Owen probably meant flickering out like a candle or gurgling like water draining down a gutter, referring to the sounds in the throat of the choking man, or it might be a sound partly like stuttering and partly like gurgling 

12.  Cud – normally the regurgitated grass that cows chew usually green and bubbling. Here a similar looking material was issuing from the soldier’s mouth 

13.  High zest – idealistic enthusiasm, keenly believing in the rightness of the idea 

14.  ardent – keen 

15.  Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori – see note 1 above.

These notes are taken from the book, Out in the Dark, Poetry of the First World War, where other war poems that need special explanations are similarly annotated. The ideal book for students getting to grips with the poetry of the First World War.

The pronunciation of Dulce is DULKAY. The letter C in Latin was pronounced like the C in “car”. The word is often given an Italian pronunciation pronouncing the C like the C in cello, but this is wrong. Try checking this out in a Latin dictionary! 


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