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 Tragic Tale Of Sprout's Demise (being an explanation of the eating habits of some monkeys at festive times)

Before the ape forsook his tree, to totter upright everywhere,
There was an age, long past and gone, when sprouts had arms and legs and hair;
And in a world where I.Q. scores were running at an all time low,
The clever sprout bestrode the stage, proclaiming forth with fine bon mots.
And all the creatures were agreed that if poetic words were gold,
Their friend, the sprout, would surely be the richest by a good tenfold.
In admiration sprout was held by those who heard his words declaimed;
Except, that is, for one a little jealous of Sprout's worldly fame;
For sulking in his tree aloft, Old Monkey felt he should be king;
To be admired throughout the land, deferred to by all living things.
And being of a nature dark, inclined to plot and stop at nought,
Skulduggery and wicked plan would be Old Monkey's first resort.
It wasn't long before his friends became aware of Sprout's demise,
When in a nearby bush they found his legs and arms somewhat abscised!
Old Monkey, questioned 'bout Sprout's fate, denied quite flatly any part,
But gave the game away when he could not control a sprouty fart.
The rest is lost to history; we do not know what ends this scene,
Or how creation coped without their witty bard with leaves of green.
And many years have passed since sprouts could walk or talk of things sublime,
Yet many monkeys still enjoy a feast of sprouts from time to time ...

Copyright © 2012 Jonathan Humble
(... if you have been affected by events in this recount, help is at hand on the Sprout Lovers Anonymous Hotline)

An Explanation Of Why Pirates Dress As Pirates At The Pirates' Christmas Ball

Within a cramped and dimly lit, old, seedy, basement room,
Secreted in The Jolly Sailor Inn by Falmouth dock,
A meeting came to order of a shady little group
Of salty chaps with tricorn hats, big boots and stripy socks.
Bizarre in their appearance, round a table sat this crew,
Some members sporting eyepatches, with rings in mottled ears,
And perched upon odd shoulders, squawking out most noisily,
Were weird and scruffy parrots nestled on their buccaneers.
“Belay the noise and heed me well," the chairman bellowed forth,
And glowered round the room at all the coves before his eyes;
“Apologies are offered from Black Jack and One-Eyed Sid,
They're currently a-swinging from their gibbets up on high.”
“Oo arrrggh!” replied the motley crew, who downed a toast of grog,
In memory of Jack and Sid and all who jig and prance
When dangling from the hangman’s noose on Tyburn’s windswept knoll,
Unwilling partners in Grim Jim the Reaper’s final dance.
As silence fell upon the room and all respects were paid,
The chairman dabbed a teary eye and cleared his throat of phlegm :
“Good masters from the mighty ships that plunder Cornish seas
I call to order members for this Pirates’ AGM!”
"Now as y’know, Agenda Item One, contentious be,
So we must full apply our best attention one and all.
A question of perplexity, that always causes grief:
What theme shall we ‘ave this year for the Pirates’ Christmas Ball?”
The group began a murmuring which quickly grew and grew,
As keen debate and argument erupted o’er the choice.
A fist fight briefly took a hold until a musket shot
Brought sense and order to the room, and then up spoke a voice:
“We could all come as vicars,” ventured Peg Leg Pirate Pete,
Whose mother dearly wanted him to get a clergy job.
“You scurvy dog! That’s utter bilge!” another voice rang out;
'Twas Peg Leg’s mortal enemy from Bodmin ; Long John Bob!
And soon the room became quite polarised between the two
For Bob’s mates favoured dressing up as cowboys from the West,
With vicars versus cowboys as the choice before them all
A show of hands was how the question would be put to rest.
The chairman counted out aloud, as arms were duly raised,
And taking note that those with hooks for hands had half a vote,
Declared a draw, and as was custom when the poll was tied,
A free for all ensued, with daggers drawn by each cut-throat.
And so like all the AGMs that pirates could recall,
This meeting ended badly with a mighty bloody brawl,
And as was customary in that County of Cornwall,
The pirates dressed as pirates at the Pirates’ Christmas Ball !

... Aarrrggghh! Jim Lad!

Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Humble

My Camel's Name Is Brian

My camel's name is Brian,
He lives beside my bed,
He has concerns about the ache I have inside my head.
Not everyone can see him,
As camels go, he's small;
In fact my wife and doctor don't believe he's there at all!
But being empathetic,
Dear Brian talks with me;
He tucks me in at bedtime and he makes my morning tea.
In many ways he's perfect,
I only have one grouse;
I do wish he'd stop leaving little piles around the house.

Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Humble

Glad To Be A Dalek

I'm not your average Dalek,
You know the sort I mean,
All bent on domination;
Giving vent to all that spleen.
I like to think I'm different
From other Dalek crew,
Who keep emotions hidden
While exterminating you.
I don't agree with killing,
With plans to subjugate.
The Universe is lovely
And I find it hard to hate.
In fact, I've got my own plan;
I'm working from within!
I'm teaching other Daleks
How to knit and sew and spin.
I run a secret workshop
Where Daleks can relax
And find their inner Dalek;
Get the monkey off their backs.
We try to be creative;
To make things, not destroy.
I run a Dalek choir
Learning Ludwig's 'Ode To Joy'.
So if you see a Dalek
In homeknit wool poncho,
Don't run off in a panic,
Come across and say 'Hello!'

Copyright © 2014 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 © 2014 Jonathan Humble

Dear Dorian Gray Enterprises ...

I bought an item in good faith about six months ago which has failed to meet the stated guarantee.
I have followed the instructions (to the letter I might add), yet the end result has disappointed me.
I located the equipment in the attic, as it said, and then left it to fulfil the task at hand,

While awaiting for improvement through reflected evidence, ‘though I am not vain you have to understand.
I have gathered testimonials, enclosed at your request, to substantiate the lack of all success.
With the portrait now returned, a refund of the purchase price would be welcome at the following address …

Yours etc.
(c/o Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris).

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

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