The Fruit Fool

The kumquat sobbed upon the shelf,
A fruit somewhat benighted,
Despite the verse he'd sent his love,
His love was unrequited.
You see the fool was unaware
He'd got much too excited;
His muse turned out to be a plum,
For kumquats are short sighted.

Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Humble

The Tripe Hound Of Little Ormstonmere

Amongst the dark foreboding hills of ancient Lancashire,
The eerie howls rolled down the moors o'er misty peatland bogs,
To echo round the cobbled streets of Little Ormstonmere
And cause the good folk there to stare and shudder in their clogs.

For knew they well this howl from Hell and what it did portend,
And how great loss was wreaked upon the town in times long past,
When from the realms of Lucifer, the beast's leash did extend,
And Tripe Hound ran amok, to leave all mournful and aghast.

With sadness and reluctance moved the townfolk to the square,
Each citizen a-burdened with a tribute to the feast,
Which grudgingly they lay upon a table by the Mayor,
Who checked its weight would satisfy and sate the evil beast.

Then from the hills emerged the brute with eyes aflame and cruel,
As townsfolk scuttled off to hide behind their bolted doors
And leave a trough of tripe o'er which the Tripe Hound could now drool,
And scoff the lot, before it disappeared amongst the moors.

No morsel left for Little Ormstonmerians to eat,
The town would have to live on offal served up in a skin.
With tripe now gone, and plans postponed for all to be replete,
Black pudding topped the carte du jour and stopped them getting thin.

Amongst the dark foreboding hills of ancient Lancashire,
Satanic howls can still be heard o'er misty peatland bogs,
And there behind locked doors the folk of Little Ormstonmere
Have cause enough to hide their tripe and shiver in their clogs.

Copyright © 2013 Jonathan Humble

The Sad Tale Of The Reckless Rhubarb

'Twas on a clear and moonlit night by Castleford's green fields,
The stick of rhubarb's mind to thoughts adventurous did yield.
And turning to his nearby love, he made a solemn pledge
To sail away, like Hemingway, and live life on the edge.
His love, a slender leek, was anxious for his safe return,
But with a brave and loving smile, disguised her grave concern,
And pinned a white rose on his chest, that he might not forget
His roots lay in the rhubarb sheds of Yorkshire, not Tibet.
The rhubarb journeyed far and wide upon his reckless quest,
And seeking thrills where e'er he could from Goole to Budapest,
He soon became quite famous in the circles of those chaps
Who dice with death and thrive on courting danger and mishap.
But flirting with capricious lady luck, he soon found out,
How fickle fortune’s finger of ill-fate can turn about,
And duelling with a maharaja in the mystic east,
Our hero was chopped up and served with crumble at a feast.
Quite unaware of how her love had met a sticky end,
The faithful leek made wedding plans whilst waiting for her friend,
But over years, in Castleford, the leek was left unwed,
And sits in moonlight, quite alone, outside the rhubarb shed.

... Awww!

(Disclaimer: No rhubarb was injured in the drafting of this poem)
Copyright © 2011 Jonathan Humble

The Salford Sock Society

The Salford Sock Society have meetings once a year at a quiet public house beside The Quays,
And upon the winter solstice, on the stroke of three o'clock, they will each roll up their trousers to the knees.
Using combs, they fashion hairstyles where the partings are quite low; just above the left ear, sweeping to the right,
And with scarves around their necks to brace against December winds, later on they venture out into the night.
In a circle, in the car park, they all gather to revere items from the chairman's briefcase, fine and rare;
One red football sock with grass stains from a match in '68, and a lock from off their saviour's thinning hair ...
"Bobby Charlton! Bobby Charlton! Bobby Charlton!" they intone, pulling down their own right socks each one in turn,
Then the relics with great reverence are passed round one and all, while the landlady brings tea out in an urn.
With all tributes now completed, they adjourn back to the bar to discuss Sir Bobby's triumphs heretofore,
Leaving free the car park for the yearly rites and rituals of the brotherhood that worship Dennis Law ...

Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Humble


A disillusioned fifty-something contemplated life one wet Tuesday while he mopped the kitchen floor,
Then he hung the floral pinny that he'd borrowed from his wife oh so neatly on the hook behind the door.
As he took the lid from off the biro deftly with his teeth, and the nib above the paper hovered close,
In his mind he tried to conjure words that aptly summarised how he felt, avoiding clichés too morose.
"My esteem is sorely compromised; conformity's my all!" wrote this malcontent in ink as green as jade;
Then he left his note beside the tea pot with an added kiss, and walked out the front door horribly afraid.
With his brolly and his mackintosh, he caught the 42, which then whisked him off away and out of town
To a new life full of peril and uncertainty and risk, with his rubric now completely upside down.
As itinerant and hired hand, he hitched across the world, 'til he fell upon hard times in Marrakech,
And while fending off attentions from a bearded chap in red, had a Godly visitation in the flesh:
"Hear me well, you lowly fifty-something; this is not for you, with your mackintosh, your brolly and your angst.
You were meant for pipe and slippers, with a cup of tea in hand, not cavorting in a souk with mountebanks."
So the fifty-something thanked the bearded chap in red he'd met, for his offer of position as a bawd,
And he packed up his belongings with a wistful look around, while his hand was taken firmly by the Lord ...
Then he found himself upon the lino, mop within his fist, in a floral pinny feeling like a twit,
As his wife entered the kitchen, where she looked down to the floor and informed him of the fact he'd missed a bit ...

Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Humble

Postcard From Beyond The Looking Glass

I said goodbye to sanity one Thursday late in June.
I kissed it fondly on the cheek and gave it a balloon.
It soared into the clear blue sky under a gibbous moon.
I shed a melancholic tear and sang a mournful tune.
I parted from reality, after a pipe or two,
And surfed across dimensions on a wave of Irish stew,
The recipe for which was told me by an old gnu,
In transit on a scooter to romantic rendezvous.
The first postcard I sent en route to Lunacy was dear,
I bought it in a Kasbah in a back street in Tangier,
From five performing oysters with a taste for Yorkshire beer,
And all with accents from the county of North Lanarkshire.
They demonstrated how to knit spaghetti whilst asleep;
A skill that’s underrated by the chaps who stick to sheep.
But ‘though I practised, soon I found the learning curve too steep,
And sadly was not able to achieve that quantum leap.
In Marrakech, engaged upon a deadly game of chance
With exiled semi-house trained right wing cobblers from France,
I rolled the dice to win and leave the boot merchants askance,
As with a flirty cheese plant in a tango off I danced.
The last postcard was sent just as the cheese plant let me down;
She left me for some big shot from the richer part of town.
And at the time I thought that in self-pity I would drown,
But found salvation hiding underneath an eiderdown.
It’s hard to unicycle with a duvet on your back,
And so I hopped the last bit quoting Proust, Poe and Balzac.
And with my fellow wanderers, met down a cul-de-sac,
Where we were told strife, woe and angst could all soon be unpacked.
The terminal provided for the weary and confused,
Was furnished quite eclectically to calm and keep amused
The screw deficient travellers, who wandered and perused
The waiting room in search of comfy chairs on which to snooze.
My life now is anomalous, with chaos everywhere,
But I've made most uncommon friends, and what we have we share.
I spend my time with Baxter, an eccentric white March hare,
And I am happy here beyond the looking glass somewhere.

... wish you were here ツ
Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Humble

The Pencil

The pencil wrote a learned note,
In which he dropped a Karl Marx quote,
So all could see his pedigree
In matters of great weight.
And by his side, awash with pride,
His chum the biro certified
In Garamond on paper bond,
His prowess in debate.
"We know our stuff!" was biro's bluff,
Although, in truth, not quite enough,
For biro's mind was unrefined;
Quite prone to blotchy spin.
And o'er the way, a rubber lay;
Hell bent on spoiling biro's day,
Before the pair, could both declare
A dialectic win.
"Your points are flawed," the rubber roared,
As pencil sharpeners guffawed.
"And for a Bic, you're rather thick!"
The rude eraser said.
A good retort, the biro sought,
But to his mind there came but nought;
In blotted ink, all he could think
Was “Go and boil your head!”
Then with a smile, and bags of style,
The pencil waited with some guile,
For all ensuing ballyhoo
To cease and give respite
And as he spoke, with heart of oak,
Defeating foes at just one stroke,
With peerless wit, quite exquisite
The pencil showed his might:
"You've sharpened wood, 'til points are good,
Erased mistakes where e'er they've stood,
But thoughts abide, unqualified,
Within this pencil case;
Do we agree technology
Could quite outmode both you and me,
With processed word quite undeterred,
'Til we are all replaced?
Come, let's be friends, as all depends
On how we now can make amends.
For lest we choose our wit to use,
The end I can foresee."
Then all around stared at the ground,
As thoughts became somewhat profound;
They'd not evade the moot point made :
2B or not to be ...

Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Humble

Extreme Northern Pastimes

Two aging northern fellows met one Tuesday afternoon
At a quiet coffee house in Pontefract,
And while dunking their biscotti in their macchiato froth,
Both decided that they’d make a sporting pact.
For they wanted to revive pig-hopping as a local game,
One of many northern pastimes full of charm,
Where competitors retracted either foot in headlong race,
With a pig tucked firmly underneath each arm.
But unfortunately, as you know, the price of bacon rose,
As the cost of living went on the rampage,
Making purchases of piggies something one could not afford
If one’s income was below a banker’s wage.
So the aging northern fellows, in pursuit of sporting dreams,
Turned to Plan B in enthusiastic mood,
And they sorted out a set of rules pertaining to a match 
Of wild ferretting at midnight in the nude.

Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Humble


Mick And The Tree Of Knowledge

Old Mick the gnome, who loved to roam,
And often wandered far from home,
Once on a spree, a tree found he,
Awash with luscious fruit.
He clambered high, for Mick was spry,
His hunger for to satisfy;
But knew he not, the fruit he'd got
Was biblical to boot!
"Oh clever me!" quoth Mick with glee,
Whilst perched up in the 'Knowledge Tree',
As high aloft, this fruit he scoffed,
And spat the pips to ground.
Then God with might, and beard all white,
Brought down his foot from Heaven's height.
Acquainting gnome with all the loam
That layeth all around.

Copyright © 2013 Jonathan Humble

All The World’s A Stage … or how not to cheer yourself up on a Sunday morning

All The World's A Stage ... or how not to cheer yourself up on a Sunday morning by NorthernJim

When I am old and gone to seed, when hope indeed, quite disappears;
When hair migrates from off my pate, to relocate in nose and ears;
When as I rise up from my chair, my groans declare decrepitude;
And after bathing, I object to my reflection in the nude,
I shall return to times long past, when in contrast my feet could fly,
When as a youth I was quite lean, and less obscene upon the eye.
To when my mind was sharp and clear, and pints of beer did not rush through
My kidneys to my bladder sac, to send me back off to the loo.
I’ll mutter as my sixth age slips, with wrinkled lips, to old buffoon,
With spectacles upon my nose, before I doze mid-afternoon;
A shrunken shank upon the stage, into old age just as Will said:
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans everything; my hook I'll sling ... and end up dead.

Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Humble

The Cautionary Tale Of Fred The Ferret Wrangler

Fred was a ferret wrangler,
The best in Easingwold,
And folk would travel far and wide
His wrangling to behold.
The gift was in his fingers;
The ferrets seemed entranced,
As hands and ferrets blurred as one
And to Fred's tune they danced.
But Fred had other passions
To complicate his life;
Along the Thirsk Road, Cheryl lived,
A chicken farmer's wife.
And 'though it was immoral,
The wrangler would pay court;
Fred flirted with young Cheryl
Until husband grew distraught.
Forbidding Fred to visit,
He swore under his breath 
That should Fred ever show his face,
He'd meet a pitchfork death.
But true love can't be stymied
And at a farmers' fayre
Where Fred's skills with his ferrets
Were on show for all to share,
The lovers reunited
Behind the produce tent,
Whilst ferrets, quite unsupervised,
On chicken hunt all went.
The upshot being carnage
With feathers strewn about
And chicken guts the evidence
Of carnivore blowout.
But those who read the future,
and entrails comprehend,
Would quickly have picked up
That Fred was due a sticky end.
And sure enough that Tuesday,
Behind his ferret shed,
The boys in blue of Easingwold
Found Fred completely dead ...
Which serves as sober lesson,
One Fred did not discover,
Avoid the chicks when wrangling,
If you're a ferret lover. 

Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Humble

A Dog's Life

A Dog's Life by NorthernJim
With one ear flopped, my dog attempts my mind to mesmerise,
By gazing up with large and brown, pathetic, soulful eyes,
And just in case I’m at a loss
To comprehend the scene’s pathos,
Through mime his point is got across
With glances at his lead.
An epic battle comes to pass; for frailty he scans.
We hold our ground pertaining to our Sunday morning plans;
The slippers on with cup of tea,
Or outside sniffing every tree,
Which pastime will the outcome be,
And who shall now succeed?
A stronger will and intellect this blackmail would outface,
Establishing that roles of pet and master were in place …
The fact that now I’m in the field,
In welly boots my feet are heeled,
And for my dog, a stick I wield,
Defeat, I must concede.

Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Humble

Faulty Tuesday

Fred The Meddler by NorthernJim
On an underwhelming weekday, Fred the Meddler volunteered to embark upon a quest to find the man
Who, from sources of impeccable credentials he had heard, was responsible for Tuesday’s faulty plan.
Having audited his inbox, with its plethora of mail from a host of disenchanted, irate folk,
All complaining that this Tuesday was defective at the best, and in some cases “beyond a bloody joke”,
This obliging, self-appointed, quasi-ombudsman set off by balloon (as was expected by the crowds,
Who, with rousing and absurd rendition of "La Marseillaise", sent him on his way up to the darkening clouds).
But while struggling to hold his course against prevailing winds, clumsy Frederick fell out from up on high,
Landing some would say quite luckily upon the scaly back of a dragon flying fortunately by.
After hurried introductions and apologies of course, Fred requested that the dragon set him down
Somewhere close to where the architect of Tuesday’s disarray had his office in the posher part of town.
But the dragon, feeling peckish (as it was around mid-day), flat refused to acquiesce to Fred’s request,
And without a by-your-leave, it scoffed poor Fred down in one gulp, leaving no time for the poor chap to protest.
Well the moral of this story is a little bit obscure, and one Fred the Meddler did not learn, alas:
Tuesdays often are a trifle disappointing I have found and it’s best to keep your head down ‘til they pass.

Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Humble

Ponsby-Clasp And The Perils Of Peanut Propulsion ... or why chimpanzees avoid elephants on trolleys

Come gather round and listen to a tale of yesteryear,
When men were men and went on expeditions without fear,
When handlebar moustaches were in vogue and hearts were true,
When shooting and then stuffing stuff was what we used to do.
The double barrelled brotherhood would travel far and wide
In pith helmet and khaki shorts to cover broad backsides,
As on their way through Africa they hunted high and low,
In search of the exotic to the jungle they would go.
One noted bold Victorian was Gerald Ponsby-Clasp,
Renowned as an adventurer whose exploits made one gasp,
And who, while at his club in town, declared his latest plan
To bring back to captivity a beast unseen by Man.
"I shall bring back to London Zoo that fabled pachyderm,
The greater spotted elephant, so that we might confirm
The truth in all the legends that its size is quite unique,
And makes his jumbo cousins look like pipsqueaks, so to speak." 
The other members all agreed his plan was quite first-rate,
And Ponsby-Clasp was made of stuff that made the Empire great ...
Six months then passed, as through the darkest depths of Congo hell,
The expedition searched and searched until they felt unwell.
Then finally, whilst trekking by the Tanganyika lake,
They heard a bellow so distinct, there could be no mistake.
And in a stroke of luck, the Behemoth that they had found,
For just a bag of peanuts, meekly followed them around.
It followed Ponsby-Clasp until they reached the Stanley Falls,
Where daring do would see them overcome that water-wall;
For Ponsby-Clasp decided they would build a sturdy ramp,
With trolley set on rails of steel, and beast quite tightly clamped.
A rubber bung was firmly placed to block its fundament
And peanuts fed, by barrel load, to fuel the elephant.
With careful eye for detail, a trajectory was planned
So that the flying elephant would in a strong net land.
Across the water on the other side and then to coast
Where in a steamer off they'd sail with what they prized the most.
But after months of feeding it, to generate the fuel,
No expedition member volunteered to be the fool
Who’d pull the bung from out the backside of the pachyderm,
And so it took a while to get a chimpanzee to learn
To follow the instruction: “Pull the bung completely out!”
However, when unto the ape, instructions Clasp did shout,
The beast moved only bowels and up ramp went ne’er a whit
To disappoint assembled crew, and cover all with shit.

Then Ponsby-Clasp let slip the stiffness in his upper lip,
And with great heaving raucous laughter seemed to lose his grip.
When asked what was the cause of mirth, he pointed through the dung
To where the chimp strove earnestly to put back in the bung.

Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Humble


You're in a kitchen by yourself,
The cosy's on the pot,
A little voice inside your brain
Starts badgering somewhat.
You do your best to be mature,
But then you find instead,
Before you know just what you've done,
The cosy's on your head.
Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Humble

Deplutocrat's Demise

Amongst the northern factories, a bob or two was made
By businessmen, in times gone by, when workers were ill paid.
And in the Ridings tales were told of Mammon’s keenest soul,
Who made the acquisition of great wealth his only goal.
Josiah Bowes-Deplutocrat surveyed his country pile,
And on his sallow face allowed a cold obnoxious smile,
As he reflected on his wealth, accrued through dint of sweat
And broken backs of northerners he'd never ever met;
For landlord as he was to all the poor on his estate,
He gave no quarter when at times the rent came in too late.
The stories of his lack of image in a mirrored glass,
Like wildfire spread and were quite rife amongst the working class.
And on the rare occasions when through city streets he strolled,

The dogs would howl in fear, as in his wake the air went cold.
In every aspect of his life, he took without return,
Affecting those that wear flat caps, whilst lacking all concern.
Associates in business knew his grasping ways of old,
And rumours spread he’d parted with his soul for Satan’s gold.
For none recalled just how Deplutocrat first made his mark,
And many wondered if his past held secrets deep and dark.
Then, on one inauspicious winter’s day, a test was set,
By forces from Eternity quite disinclined, as yet,
To give up hope Deplutocrat had any soul to save,
And cheat Old Nick, before he popped off to a wormy grave.
Angelic hosts would offer him the chance to clean his slate,
Forsake his wealth and do good works before it was too late.
But when in terms most stark and clear, the consequence was shown
To indolent refusal to reform and sins atone,
Deplutocrat was seen to sneer, quite loathsome to the last,
And set his fate along the road to meet a fiery blast.
So, Providence, in unseen ledger, made a gentle note,
And in its ghostly copperplate, this memorandum wrote:
That unlike Scrooge, Deplutocrat should not escape his fate,
And through excessive wine and food, his heartbeat should abate,
Until in death, Deplutocrat departed sans regret,
To sweat and toil eternally, forever deep in debt.

Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Humble

God's Gift

Three fervent bearded scholars, blessed with massive intellect, sat beside an open fire in debate,
And the focus of their discourse, wrapped in finest silk brocade, lay upon a richly jewelled and golden plate.
For their god had tasked them jointly, as custodians in chief, with the role of keeping safe His special gift.
So they talked and argued all night long of how it might be stored, but their keen debate became a violent rift.
And as insult followed insult, with a push and slap thrown in, thuggish brawling from their discourse did transpire,
And amongst the flying fists and feet, the present was displaced, ending up upon the embers of the fire.
Hosts of angels sent to oversee the scene looked on aghast, as in flames their boss's gift was soon consumed;
For they knew that if a group of blokes, purported to be wise, bollocksed up the task, the human race was doomed.
As they fluttered off to Heaven to report the sad event, two were heard, in terms angelic, to agree
That the fault lay in the choice of which custodians to use, and that women were the world's best guarantee.

Copyright © 2013 Jonathan Humble

The Very Little Thingy

"I should like to know the answer!" said the very little thing,
From the box of unimportant odds and sods.
And the other stuff discarded, from below their layer of dust,
Trembled weakly as it argued with the gods.
For those deities of consequence, so awesome and immense,
With disdain looked down upon this also-ran,
As the least important thingy in Creation now complained
That it hadn't been consulted on "The Plan."
"You are small and insignificant. You do not need to know,"
Chorused all the high and mighty with one voice.
"Little thingies are more happy when in darkness they are kept,
Living pointless lives with limited free choice."
So in order to disprove this thought, the very little thing,
With a barrel load of wit, aplomb and style,
Wrote a thesis stating deities belonged in fairy tales,
Then put down its pen and waited for a while.
Well the mighty and mysterious and host magnificent
With self-righteous indignation and some pique,
Self-imploded in their anger leaving nothing but a smell
And a thingy best described as quite unique.

Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Humble

Recipes From The Happy Hippy Cook Book

A plate of scattered crumbs is set
Beside my comfy chair,
And drowsily I quite forget
Just who I am and where;
For something here is not quite right,
I feel it in my bones,
Which oddly seem so very light
For reasons unbeknown.
I find it hard to concentrate
On tasks of high demand;
My brain would like to relocate
To airy fairy land.
And as the mist descends to blur
An ever-changing scene
Of images more weird as 'twere
Dreamt up on mescaline,
A thought pops up amidst the bliss;
A mental note I make:
I must ask what my Aunty Fliss
Puts in her "special" cake.

: )

Copyright © 2013 Jonathan Humble

Don't Throw It; Stow It ... being an explanation of Cagmagery

When Fred screwed down his last jam jar in 1981,
Having filled it with brass hooks, knobs, bolts and rings,
And then placed it on the wooden shelf besides the other jars,
With their contents on display of many things,
He was unaware his fine collection, lovingly arranged,
Was good evidence that in life there exists
Folk inherently disposed to find and store all sorts of stuff
Known in certain circles as Cagmagerists.
For Cagmagery’s a mixture of all sorts of bits and bobs
That accumulate in boxes, drawers and tins,
With the quality and type dependent where the stuff is found
But in some households might end up in the bins.
Whereas we of Fred’s persuasion wouldn’t ever knowingly
Acquiesce to its disposal in this way,
For we have a little voice that would pipe up inside our heads
Urging that it could be put to use some day!
One just never knows when one will need a washer, screw or bolt,
Length of string, knick-knack, or other strange doo-dah,
And if there’s a message or a moral to this little verse;
Then it’s hang on to that useful old jam jar.


Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Humble

Poop Or Stick? ... being an illustration of Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection

In rhyming couplets here below, I set out Darwin's Theory
Of how Mankind developed from an early cousin's query:
For Monkey from the upper branches of his family tree,
Sat contemplating odds and sods and all things chimpanzee,
And while he searched and groomed the hairy back of his best chum,
With fleas plucked with dexterity betwixt finger and thumb,
His apish mind reflected on the day's stand out event:
Of how a stick applied in termite hole was time well spent.
"A most successful tool!" quoth he, and later on that week,
His kith and kin all brandished sticks like some high order clique.
Emboldened by this quantum leap in termite acquisition,
Old Monkey waved his stick about with dreadful ostentation,
But as he swung it here and there in careless, loutish show,
He caught a nearby cousin with a nasty glancing blow.
A prehistoric light bulb, with anachronistic glare,
Lit up inside Old Monkey's head pertaining to warfare;
His stick might be effective in a dust up with that group
Of rival chimps, and be more use than simply chucking poop ...
Quod erat demonstrandum; poop or stick's an illustration
Of Darwin's Evolutionary Theory of Selection.

Copyright © 2013 Jonathan Humble