Humorous verse: Vinnie’s new shed

So as to enhance his street cred,
My Vin got himself a new shed:
Defence shutting out the world’s strife,
Life’s irritations – and the wife …
He beamed with elation and glee,
Then grabbed his transistor*, made tea
And, with the cry: “The match is on,
The Spurs are playing!”, he was gone.
And then for hours, from within,
There issued most enormous din
As Vinnie whooped and wailed and yelped,
Oh how I wished I could have helped
But did not enter (not that brave):
The sign that guards the shed? Man Cave!

*Radio

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Humorous verse: An alien’s lament

British passport – what a prize!
It’s your birthright, lucky guys,
But, to aliens such as me,
It’s as precious as can be,
So I greatly cherish mine,
Which does make me feel so fine
(More so as I am quite skittish),
I’m thus loving being British;
This is why I, with great pride,
Share my status far and wide
Half-expecting a huge cheer;
Enter Ian*, who’d appear
On my walks from time to time
Undertaking the odd climb
(You remember? He’s the guy
Who has rubbished my mince pie);
Ian, hearing me thus boast,
Looked as if he’d seen a ghost:
“British passport? You?? How come???”
What a bummer – and then some:
His demeanour was so shocked
That my world just shook and rocked;
How much more of toil, sweat, grit
Till they see me as a Brit????

 

*I am very fond of Ian, by the way. He has a fabulous sense of humour and is great fun to be around. Although we tease each other, it’s all done in a friendly and playful manner. I’m saying this because he thought he had offended me by his incredulity; in fact, I found his reaction absolutely hilarious. No hard feelings, Ian, I hope.

Humorous verse: Anna’s mishap

A keen fellwalker having the good fortune to be surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful mountains, I lead a fabulous walking group called the Roamers. Well, at least I try to lead them – but sometimes I do manage to lose some of them. As on that infamous occasion at Easter when traffic was heavy, our parking spot had been unexpectedly blocked and my mobile decided to die on me. Unable to communicate with the drivers of several other cars in our group, I contrived to lose one vehicle with its precious cargo of four Roamers. So much for my being a leader …

 

If you heard my moans and groans,

They were all about the cones,

Traffic cones – I kid you not –

Blocking our parking spot;

With no parking to be found,

We drove round and round and round,

All five cars – and all spread out –

Nightmare, without any doubt;

With my mobile on the blink,

I was flustered, couldn’t think

(You go into panic mode

When you’re missing a car-load);

We then started our hike

Without John, Rose, Pam and Mike;

You could not – not if you tried –

Find a soul as mortified

As I was, but I must say

It was John who saved the day!

Sage and with a brilliant mind,

Our John’s one of a kind:

On his gizmo, also smart,

Our route he did – yes! – chart

And, with deftness and no fuss,

Led his party straight to us!

Dearest John, believe you me:

In your debt I’ll always be;

Your computing expertise

Has now put my mind at ease

‘Cos I know that, with your aid,

Roamers cannot get mislaid!

 

 

Humorous verse: Beast from the East

Recently, we’ve been hit by an icy blast from Siberia, dubbed the Beast from the East. This is my humorous take on it.

 

We’ve been blasted by the Beast,

Blown straight over from the East;

Fed by northern polar vortex,

It would slice right through your cortex,

Landing an almighty blow

With its gales and frost and snow,

Blizzards, whiteouts, drifts and ice;

And there was, indeed, a price

If you tried to brave this storm:

You could not stay dry or warm.

So to end up safe and sound,

You wrapped up and went to ground,

Keeping all essentials handy,

Namely whiskey, rum and brandy;

Soon, your innards were ablaze,

With you swaying in a haze,

Feeling comfy, snug and cosy,

Both your cheeks and nose quite rosy;

This is how (you get my drift?)

Best to deal with Putin’s ‘gift’.

Satirical verse: UKIP Brexit if you want to

As my Brexit-inspired satire continues, here is my mini-glossary for those reading this post outside Great Britain.

UKIP stands for the UK Independence Party, which is a Eurosceptic and right-wing populist political party in Great Britain. The party strongly opposes immigration, pledging to reduce it to zero within five years. Incidentally, the wife (alluded to below) of the party’s former leader (who is a great fan of President Trump) is German.

Brexit refers to the British exit from the European Union, narrowly voted for in the 2016 EU membership referendum. Brexit has bitterly divided the country, and even the government cannot seem to agree what sort of Brexit it wants. Needless to say, Europe is baffled …  

 

We don’t want no immigration

To pollute this brilliant nation;

We were once the purest race

Which this Mother Earth did grace

(Sorry, there is one correction:

German wives are an exception),

 

But the EU plots and schemes

To extinguish our dreams

About being alien-free

In this land of ours – see?

Our challenge is immense –

We must mount a bold defence.

 

When we seal our porous border

We’ll restore all law and order,

And, to pick our fruit and veg,

We will summon good old Reg

(He is 80 – did we mention? –

This will help him boost his pension).

 

We will stop most foreign aid

And engage in global trade

Beyond EU neighbourhood

(North Korea would be good),

Plus, in line with our agendum,

We will rule by referendum.

 

Also (you’ll be filled with glee),

We will let you park for free*

When you do your weekly shop

(We don’t reckon it’s a sop:

As an ordinary Brit,

You’ll be rather badly hit**).

 

Even if our gut gets busted,

We want to be done and dusted

By the end of next year – max;

See how neatly all this stacks?

(We can – by all indicators –

Trust our clever negotiators.)

 

To take charge of our laws,

We must rally to the cause

With a zealous incantation:

“We are here to save our nation,

And, in Donald’s dazzling vein,

We’ll make Britain great again!”

 

*For at least 30 minutes

**In your pocket

 

PS

 

Wanna know – that’s by the way –

What folk Googled the next day***?

“What’s this construct called EU?”

You are laughing? It is true;

Still, we say: “You know the score,

That’s**** what you have voted for.”

 

***After the 2016 referendum on Britain’s EU membership

****Whatever that is; if the government still (at the beginning of 2018) can’t agree about what sort of Brexit it wants (hard, soft or anything in-between), you can jolly well make up your own wish list and announce that this is exactly what you have voted for – hey ho!

 

Satirical verse: The globe-trotting Brexiteer

Readers from countries other than Great Britain may wish to note that this satirical verse is about the current British Foreign Secretary, who is an ardent Brexiteer (a person who is in favour of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union).

 

I am a one-nation Tory

Who cares not a jot for glory,

Am your quintessential Brit

Appreciated for my wit

And a slightly raffish look;

I know how to write a book

And draw lots of nice red lines,

Am a connoisseur of wines,

And I never, ever never tire

When suspended from zip wire.

When our greatness is at stake,

I will (always) have my cake

And will eat it – hence my girth

(Please contain unseemly mirth);

Round the world I widely roam

(Though, sometimes, without a comb),

And I think you ought to ditch

Your displeasure with the rich;

In a nutshell, that is that;

Let me tell you where we’re at.

(I mean our negotiation

Re the freedom of our nation.)

I’d had not a drop of Marnier*,

When I told this old chap Barnier

He could go and jolly whistle;

Fair enough: he didn’t bristle

But came out with poppycock

About loudly ticking clock;

We are not, so as you know,

Giving Barnier any dough;

Of this there can be no doubt:

After all, we’re getting out,

So you can now go and chill;

What? We’re paying 20 bill.???

Nah, not on your blinking nelly!

(I’ll repeat this on the telly),

Not if I can … wait a sec,

PM’s waving a fat cheque …

It says 40 – but that’s double!!!

Grrrr, we really are in trouble:

That’s the dosh, I acquiesce,

Promised to the NHS;

Payout wasn’t in our plan –

Things are going down the pan;

But fear not (I’m being frank):

With a tiger in my tank,

I will cut us such a deal

That you’ll think it is a steal;

I’ll outshine the other stars

And put Elvis – yep – on Mars**!

 

*Grand

**An expression Boris Johnson used to describe the likelihood of his becoming Prime Minister

 

Satirical verse: Supplication of a Pole in Brexit Britain

I have now started writing political satire (in verse) inspired by Brexit. To those reading this outside Britain, this country has voted (albeit narrowly) in favour of leaving the European Union. This has provoked much controversy and created deep divisions between the supporters and opponents of Britain’s membership of the Union. I believe that one of the reasons behind the vote to leave was the desire to curb immigration. Since I hail from Poland, and am thus one of those immigrants whom many (though, of course, not all) Brits seem to dislike, I am getting my own back by satirising Brexit in verse. Enjoy!

 

With this country set for Brexit,

Please don’t show me to the exit

‘Cos, some misdeeds* notwithstanding,

I could pass for quite upstanding

(Although not when in repose

After vodka overdose,

But I know that it is sinful

Having what they call a skinful):

I will not condone a fiddle

And sit roughly in the middle

On the scale from saints to sinners;

I eat carrots with my dinners,

Take crushed garlic, go for walkies,

Have foresworn soft-centre choccies,

And I’m also (fancy this!)

Upping my Omega 3s**.

I did pay my taxes – once***

And have grabbed at every chance

To perform a kindly deed

When I spied a soul in need;

Have you ever even tried

To become a helpful guide

To a dear old lady who

Looked confused and lost to you?

I’d be in there like a shot,

Never mind how hard she fought …

But there are (I’m shy, don’t clap)

More fine feathers in my cap:

I have never been a chancer,

Smuggler, banker, spy, pole dancer

(Although I’m a dancing Pole),

I have tended to my soul

And renounced the deadly sins****,

And I’ve used recycle bins,

Plus, I never did striptease …

Can I stay then? Pretty please!

 

* We shall not dwell on those, though

**The lovely natives routinely place the apostrophe before the ‘s’, where it’s redundant because ‘3s’ is a regular plural; we may be aliens, but we have studied English grammar – in depth

***Or twice

****Well, at least three of them

 

Comic verse: Sales and philosophy

As notorious as our gales

Are the January sales,

Where you always – yes you do –

Find a bargain, if not two.

When an urge within you surge,

Your account you swiftly purge

(It’s now down to but a dime)

And have jolly, jolly time

Buying all that lovely stuff

Until husband says, “Enough!”

Then you wait, all tense and pale,

Till the February sale,

When you go, with joy and glee,

On another spending spree.

It’s now March – the sale is on,

Blimey, how the time has gone.

Then it’s April, May and June;

All those sales – oh, what a boon!

(Don’t you love the current trend

With the sales that never end?)

When your hubby grabs your purse,

You protest: “It could be worse:

If you think about it, honey,

I am saving lots of money!”

At which point, you hear a groan

And see hubby lying prone;

This prevents a likely scrape,

And you make your bold escape

With a ponder that goes thus:

Why can’t men be more like us?

Here’s to a stress-free Christmas!

It’s been a while, but I’m sure you’ve been so busy you’ve barely noticed. Anyway, I’m back but will be changing course: I’m working on a book of humorous verses, some of which will be posted here from time to time. This one, which comes with warm season’s greetings, is about my stress-free Christmas – hope yours is too.

 

She’s a secret that is murky:

She has never stuffed a turkey;

Christmas pudding and mince pies?

That’s the stuff she simply buys.

She looks forward with great glee

To a Christmas that’s stress-free,

Which, of this there is no doubt,

Means, quite frankly, eating out;

This is why she is so merry

(Though her hubby blames the sherry),

Knowing they will have a ball;

Merry Christmas, one and all!

 

84 – Frolic: Fused Participles (FROM my book: Don’t Dangle the Investigators! Parodies and Participles)

I have decided that, before I can proceed with further books on grammar, I need to refine what I have already written. Having thus shortened Hilarity with Misrelated Participles, I have re-published it as Don’t Dangle the Investigators! Parodies and Participles. Below is a short extract from the book, in which my Polish granny and I go shopping and, most unexpectedly, find ourselves discussing fused participles.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_________________________________________________________________

Granny and I left the gallery and headed for the mackerel. Unfortunately, our way was blocked by three highway-maintenance vehicles, a mechanical digger and a large sign proclaiming Men at Work.

“Those British men, they aren’t terribly modest, child, are they?”

“Why not, granny?”

“Well, our men just go to work and that’s it. But, here, they put up signs.”

“No, no, granny, it’s simply a warning.”

“Do you have to warn people that your men are at work? Is this a rare occurrence?”

“No, no: it’s only when they dig up the road.” Indeed, when we got closer to the sign we could see a large hole in the road, with exposed pipes jutting out from both sides. One highway-maintenance man was peering intently into the hole, another highway-maintenance man was shouting into his mobile phone, two highway-maintenance men, their backs to the hole, their arms akimbo, were ogling the passing females and wolf-whistling at the younger ones, yet another highway-maintenance man was leaning on a shovel and puffing on a fag, and the sixth highway-maintenance man was sitting in the cab of his vehicle reading a newspaper. Well, reading might be stretching it somewhat, for my sneaky peek revealed that the gazette was full of photographs of scantily clad lovelies and appeared to feature very little print, but, one way or the other, he seemed totally engrossed in it.

“Where are they?”

“Who, granny?”

“Those men at work.”

“Here.”

Where?”

“Here, here, these six here.”

“But they are not working.”

“Maybe they are on a break.”

“But it’s not long since lunchtime.”

“It’s probably an early-afternoon break, granny. I imagine they will then have a mid-afternoon break and a late-afternoon break. Unless, of course, they’ve gone home by then.”

“Do they need six men to dig one hole? When they have a digger.”

“A-a-a-a, they might not need six men, but at least they have created employment for six men.”

Having pondered this rationale for a while, granny followed me to the supermarket.

“Where the hell is everything?” Having purchased smoked mackerel at the fish counter, we made for the sauerkraut, but it wasn’t where it was supposed to be. “Blast, they’ve moved everything around again.” We walked up and down several aisles in pursuit of the elusive sauerkraut. “Here it is! We can make you some bigos now; it will remind you of Poland. They call it a hunter’s stew over here.” I grabbed the jar, and we made for the checkout.

“I hope you don’t mind my asking, but where did you find this sauerkraut?” enquired a deep manly voice behind me. I nearly tripped: he said my! I quickly turned round, and, for a brief moment, our gaze became locked. “Of course I don’t mind your asking,” I said with a broadest smile I could muster. “It’s down the next aisle – on the left. By the pickles.” He smiled, nodded his acknowledgement and kept looking at me. It was clear that, in that fleeting moment, there was created a bond of common understanding between us: he knew that I knew. And I knew that he knew that I knew. And he knew that I knew that he knew … anyway, I’m sure you get my drift. Then, granny tugged at my sleeve and hissed, “Stop staring at him like this; you are a married woman.” The spell was broken, the stranger turned away and proceeded in the direction of the pickles, and we made for the checkout.

“Why were you gawping at him?”

“I wasn’t gawping!”

“Yes, you were. You looked as if you’d seen a unicorn.”

“Did I really? Well, he did say my, granny.”

“What was he supposed to have said?”

“You see, many people would have said me: do you mind me asking. But he said my. And I said your – to let him know that I also knew.”

“Is it such a big deal, child?”

“Well, not if you are a well-rounded human being, granny, it isn’t. But you know that I’m mad about grammar, don’t you?”

“If you ask me, it’s the most superior form of madness, child.”

“Thank you, granny. People have been saying things like ‘I hate them misbehaving’, ‘she feared him leaving’ or ‘there is no chance of us winning’ for yonks, of course.”

“Of course, child.”

“A-a-a-a, but that’s just it, granny.”

“That’s just what?”

“Well, the participial constructions such as these make much more sense when their personal pronouns are in the genitive case.”

“What’s the genitive case?”

“A type of possessive.”

“As in their, his and our, child?”

“Absolutely, granny. After all, I’m not trying to say that I hate them, am I?”

“Well, you might be. If they’ve been beastly to you, for example.”

“No, no: I didn’t hate the perpetrators themselves – I hated their misdemeanour.”

“That’s more like you, child.”

“Thank you, granny. So you just say ‘I hate their misbehaving’, and you can rest assured that you won’t be scarring them psychologically for the rest of their natural.”

What?”

What what?”

“Natural what?”

“Life. By the same token, she did not fear him himself, did she?”

“You never know, child: he might have been violent. Or offered to help with the ironing.”

“No, no: she feared his leaving. Changing the case of the personal pronoun from objective to genitive – or possessive – transforms the participle from purely verbal into a hybrid.”

“A hybrid? You mean like a Labradoodle?”

“Great analogy, granny. A hybrid participle has some features of a verb and some of a noun. Hybrid participles are sometimes called gerunds. Whichever label you use, they denote the thing you hate – or the thing she feared.”

“Nimble things, these participles: metamorphosing from verbs into nouns just like that.”

“They certainly are, granny. By contrast, the purely verbal participles in constructions such as ‘them misbehaving’, ‘him leaving’ and ‘us winning’ have been dubbed ‘fused’.”

“By whom?”

“The Fowler brothers. Over a hundred years ago, they heaped condemnation on such usage.”

“Did it work?”

“No, granny; condemnation rarely does; you need far subtler tactics. Anyway, fused participles continue to be widely used. But the thing is that, these days, pretty much all of those who are clued up about grammar agree that, in similar contexts, the genitive case of personal pronouns is vastly preferable to their objective case. Actually, in formal communication the possessive has become the norm. It’s like a litmus test.”

“A litmus test?”

“Yep. You know instantly that people who say ‘I hope you don’t mind my asking’ know their onions – you just know.”

“Onions are every bit as good for the brain as the mackerel.”

“No, no, granny: it’s just a saying – I meant grammar.”

“Indeed, indeed: a well-nourished body will allow one’s mind to fire on all cylinders, and grammar certainly requires all of one’s cylinders to be in tip-top condition; you know what they say.”

“What do they say, granny?”

Mens sana in corpore sano.”

“Absolutely, granny, but even copious quantities of onions and mackerel won’t do the trick if grammar is off the menu.”

“How could grammar possibly be off the menu, child? It’s the structural basis of communication.”

“I know, granny, I know, but they had it off the menu here for decades – I’ve told you. It’s only now that they seem to be waking up to its importance.”

“Well, onions should certainly help there, child: they improve alertness.”