odes both odd and exceptional

As regular readers will know my old dad was a bit of character. He had a long list of silly ditties and odes, one of which was brought to mind by another blogger recently in connection with the turn of the seasons into spring.







And in turn that led to













My youth was dotted with poetry both classical and nonsensical. Kipling to the fore but many many others. As we hit spring and I think about the burgeoning countryside, one comes to mind. Dad loved this as an evocation of a countryside he loved and feared was disappearing. Oh to write poetry like Kipling, eh?


They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few)
You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.
But there is no road through the woods.

Did you have bequeathed to you poems? Silly or sensible?

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in miscellany, poems, poetry and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to odes both odd and exceptional

  1. Sue King says:

    Silly poem:
    A marrow’s a cucumber’s father,
    A marrow’s a cucumber’s dad.
    He started off life as a guerkin,
    So he hasn’t done so bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sue Vincent says:

    I know the first one well 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. willowdot21 says:

    On the phone right now, but will get back to you as , as ever you have got me thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. roweeee says:

    Yes, Geoff. With a father that looked like Basil Fawlty, I did.This is my Dad’s version of the rhyme which is on Google. Have you heard this before? Don’t recommend eating while reading this!!
    Best wishes,

    Did you ever think when a hearse goes by
    That you might be the next to die
    They wrap you up in a bloody sheet
    And throw you in hole about six feet deep
    All goes well til the end of the week
    but then your coffin begins to leak
    Worms crawl in and worms crawl out
    Maggots play pingpong on your snout
    Your liver turns a sickly green
    Your guts squirt out like thick whipped cream
    You wrap it up in a piece of bread
    And that’s what you eat when you are dead.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Archaeologist says:

    Many years ago I was chatting to the librarian of the Folklore Society in London, and the conversation came round to nonsense texts. These were published as broadsides (cheap pamphlets) from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. One had passages similar to the rhyme, which I then recited. She was of the opinion that it was a traditional rhyme, similar to the broadsides. I mentioned this to dad and he told me that he had been told it by his father. So, in remembering it, brother, we are part of that strange and wonderful process Oral Transmission.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I had Mother Goose, Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, and Roald Dahl. But my favorite was Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. And I’m currently readimy If: A Treasury of Poems For Almost Every Possibility to my youngest. Poetry is a thing in y home, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And I’m typing from cell. Please forgive the auto correct feature. It does not know how to spell. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      My brother has just reminded me of another dad recited. I wish I had learnt more off by heart

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s so great though. My family didn’t recite but at least I had a love of books. They may not have understood it but they did support it. And they never looked down on my writing poetry myself. They actually think it’s pretty great. So, I’m trying to make sure my kids know the value of poetry and writing and stories.

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        Every time I hear someone passing their love of poetry onto children and the next generation of poets my hearts purr just a little! Dad wrote loads of poetry, a lot of which I only discovered after he died but he found a way to hook both my brother and I to its bumper and drag us along where it might take us. It took me to about 16 before I got what he was on about but once I did. Roger McGough was my first love – perfect for a teenage boy!


  7. willowdot21 says:

    Here are two that I love

    SPRING, the sweet Spring, is the year’s pleasant king;

    Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,

    Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing,

    Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

    The palm and may make country houses gay,

    Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,

    And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay,

    Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo.

    The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,

    Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,

    In every street these tunes our ears do greet,

    Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

    Spring! the sweet Spring!

    Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908)


    Ducks’ Ditty.’

    All along the backwater,
    Through the rushes tall,
    Ducks are a-dabbling,
    Up tails all!

    Ducks’ tails, drakes’ tails,
    Yellow feet a-quiver,
    Yellow bills all out of sight
    Busy in the river!

    Slushy green undergrowth
    Where the roach swim–
    Here we keep our larder,
    Cool and full and dim.

    Everyone for what he likes!
    WE like to be
    Heads down, tails up,
    Dabbling free!

    High in the blue above
    Swifts whirl and call–
    WE are down a-dabbling
    Up tails all!
    Kenneth Grahame

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Autism Mom says:

    Some of my earliest memories are of my father reading “Paul Revere’s Ride” and “The Raven” as bedtime reading. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Archaeologist says:

      And our father would read ‘Smuggler Bill’, by Thomas Ingolsbury.

      The fireflash shines on Reculver Cliff
      The answering light burns blue in the skiff
      And there they stand, that smuggling band
      Some in the water, some on the land
      Ready their contraband goods to land
      The night was dark, they were silent and still
      At the head of them all was smuggler Bill

      Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      They are great, aren’t they. Not that you’d expect someone who thought the war of independence a mistake and America would have done better under the Crown! (my dad) to read Paul Revere!


  9. Charli Mills says:

    Loving this collection you sparked! I’ll add Ogden Nash:
    “If called by a panther
    Don’t anther”

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Sherri says:

    A friend and I used to recite Kipling’s ‘If’ over and over…she even gave me a framed print of the famed poem. Oh to write like the man himself indeed. I worked at the main Post Office in Hadleigh, Suffolk as a young-un. The cleaner was a man called Reg (written a few stories about him) and he used to recite Spring has Sprung poem in his wonderful Suffolk accent. Frst time I ever heard it. Of course, for me, my favourite has to be The Tyger 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. trifflepudling says:

    Great contributions, thanks! V. happy reading.
    This one courtesy of my mother. There was more, but I can’t remember it!

    Table Manners, by Gelett Burgess

    The Goops they lick their fingers,
    And the Goops they lick their knives;
    They spill their broth on the tablecloth–
    Oh, they lead disgusting lives!

    The Goops they talk while eating,
    And loud and fast they chew;
    And that is why I’m glad that I
    Am not a Goop–are you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Excellent. Thank you. My dad had a special grace he inherited from his uncle. Thank the Lord me belly’s full, An inch above the table, I’ll be damned, that I have crammed, All that I am able.


  12. I think I’m that other “blogger” who reminded you of the spring poem. 🙂 I’m glad you remembered so many more. Write them down (you probably have) so you always have them. I adore hearing stories about your dad. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. lorilschafer says:

    Just in the interest of pointing out a potential regional difference, I remember:
    Spring is sprung
    The grass is riz
    I wonder where
    The flowers is.
    Of course, your version is better – especially since I can’t recall the rest of mine 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ellen Hawley says:

    I know a man named Michael Finnegan
    He had whiskers on his chinnegan
    along came the wind and blew them in agin
    Poor old Michael Finnegan.
    Begin agin.

    (and then, of course, you do: I know a man named…..)

    Liked by 1 person

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