Poetry Corner

go straight to the poems

It is a given that the vast majority of poetry is pretentious babble of febrile meaning and negligible importance. That is what makes the best poems so great - that they stand so proud of the crap. Gathered here is my take on those greats.

In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite. Paul Dirac

Comments, corrections, contributions and criticisms are welcome. Please write to the curator.

Please also check out the Submissions page. Any aspiring wordage artistes are invited to leap into print on these pages.

Poetry Party is back in stock, at least for now. And a new page of non-English poems ,

Click the name to go straight to the poet: (when implemented in due course)

Poetry pages rewritten in August 2009 after several years of inaction. I will add the links and index [done] in due course as part of the Great SnapDragon Rewrite.

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maya angelou W.H. Auden  
Hillaire Belloc John Betjeman Geoffrey Blackburn
Captain Hamish Blair RN Eric Bogle Bertold Brecht
John Cooper Clarke Leonard Cohen Billy Collins
Noel Coward e.e. cummings  
Walter De La Mare Michael Drayton  
Michael Flanders John Fuller  
Mark Haddon Ernest Hemingway Cicely Herbert
Arthur Hodgkinson Thomas Hood  
Jenny Joseph    
Greg Keeler Rudyard Kipling [more]  
Philip Larkin John Lennon  
Roger McGough Louis McNeice John Masefield
A.A. Milne Adrian Mitchell Paul Muldoon
Ogden Nash;    
Brian Patten Sheenagh Pugh  
Henry Reed Rachel Rose  
Shakespeare Edith Sitwell Eunice de Souza
E.J. Thribb Dylan Thomas  
John Wilmot Roger Woddis  
W.B. Yeats    

In Memoriam Kenneth Wood, inventor of the "Kenwood" Mixer and the Reversible Toaster.

So. Farewell then
Ken Wood.

Inventor of the

Reversible the of
Wood Ken.

Then farewell

E.J. Thribb, inventor of the
Reversible Poem (½71) 

Published in Private Eye, Number 936, 31 October 1997, page 19. 

The cleverest poem by the cleverest of poets

Lessons of War: Naming of Parts

To Alan Michel 

'Vixi duellis nuper idoneus
Et militavi non sine gloria' 

Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday
We had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But today,
Today we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighbouring gardens,
And today we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards; we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
They call it easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring. It is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb; like the bolt,
And the breech, and the cocking piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For today we have naming of parts.

Henry Reed (1914 - 1986) 

This is my favourite poem (and still is years after starting this section of the site). That I first heard it proves that Poetry Please (BBC Radio 4) serves some purpose, however limited, Its magic lies in the way it switches seamlessly between two disjointed narratives. Some interesting comments here .

I think the Souza and Yeats below should be the forward to every book of verse. Only Thribb and Reed (above) and a few others bypass the Health Warning which Souza and Yeats provide for the Rhyme Enthusiast.

Meeting Poets

Meeting poets I am disconcerted sometimes
by the colour of their socks
the suspicion of a wig
the wasp in the voice
and an air, sometimes, of dankness.

Best to meet in poems:
cool speckled shells
in which one hears
a sad but distant sea.

Eunice de Souza.
The third of "Five London Pieces". 

Thanks WM. The first two are probably my favourite poems on the site, certainly Naming. This puts the rest into context.

On Being Asked for a War Poem

I think it better that in times like these
A poet keep his mouth shut, for in truth
We have no gift to set a statesman right;
He has had enough of meddling who can please
A young girl in the indolence of her youth, 
Or an old man upon a winter's night.

William Butler Yeats

Another from Wondering Minstrels, here's their comment, Yeats wrote this little beauty on being asked to come up with "a war poem" in 1919 - part of his anthology "The Wild Swans at Coole".

Having been inspired by Toaster and Parts, and informed by Meeting and Being Asked, my ideal poet would write something like this:


	You are the bread and the knife,
	The crystal goblet and the wine...
	-Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.

Billy Collins

Thanks Minstrels. An absolute masterpiece of poetic demystification. Takes the wind and bluster and pomposity out of the pretentious sails of most other poets. Straight into my top 5.

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Billy Collins

I like this man more and more.
And it nicely rounds up this brief guide to the requirements, risks and dangers of Verse and the nature of Failure. One more vital entry below, added Oct 05.

A View of Poets

They are seldom racing cyclists
And are largely innocent of the workings of the petrol engine
They are, however, comfortable in taxis.
They are abroad in the small hours
And will seek out the caustic blue liqueur
You purchased in Majorca for comedy reasons and will rise late.
There are whole streets where their work is not known.
Spectacles, a father in the army and the distance to the next farm
Made them solitary.
Their pets were given elaborate funerals.
No-one understands them.
They are inordinately proud of this.

Mark Haddon

Mark's book The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea was published on 7th October 2005 and he read this poem and a few others on BBC Radio 4's Front Row on 17th. His previous book was the remarkable novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time . The title and text are as taken down from the radio broadcast and so may be inaccurate. Punctuation and lineage are approximate.
As previously mentioned, I do enjoy demystification in poetry, as in everything else, and this is super.

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Now when I was a young man I carried me pack
And I lived the free life of the rover.
From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback,
Well, I waltzed my Matilda all over.
Then in 1915, my country said, "Son,
It's time you stop ramblin', there's work to be done."
So they gave me a tin hat, and they gave me a gun,
And they marched me away to the war. 

And the band played "Waltzing Matilda,"
As the ship pulled away from the quay,
And amidst all the cheers, the flag waving, and tears,
We sailed off for Gallipoli.

And how well I remember that terrible day,
How our blood stained the sand and the water;
And of how in that hell that they call Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter.
Johnny Turk, he was waitin', he primed himself well;
He showered us with bullets, and he rained us with shell --
And in five minutes flat, he'd blown us all to hell,
Nearly blew us right back to Australia. 

But the band played "Waltzing Matilda,"
When we stopped to bury our slain,
Well, we buried ours, and the Turks buried theirs,
Then we started all over again.

And those that were left, well, we tried to survive
In that mad world of blood, death and fire.
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
Though around me the corpses piled higher.
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head,
And when I woke up in me hospital bed
And saw what it had done, well, I wished I was dead --
Never knew there was worse things than dying. 

For I'll go no more "Waltzing Matilda,"
All around the green bush far and free --
To hump tents and pegs, a man needs both legs,
No more "Waltzing Matilda" for me.

So they gathered the crippled, the wounded, the maimed,
And they shipped us back home to Australia.
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane,
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla.
And as our ship sailed into Circular Quay,
I looked at the place where me legs used to be,
And thanked Christ there was nobody waiting for me,
To grieve, to mourn and to pity. 

But the band played "Waltzing Matilda,"
As they carried us down the gangway,
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared,
Then they turned all their faces away.

And so now every April, I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me.
And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march,
Reviving old dreams of past glory,
And the old men march slowly, all bones stiff and sore,
They're tired old heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask "What are they marching for?"
And I ask meself the same question. 

But the band plays "Waltzing Matilda,"
And the old men still answer the call,
But as year follows year, more old men disappear
Someday, no one will march there at all. 

Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda.
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by the billabong,
Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?

Eric Bogle

Thanks again to the Minstrels. I know this from a June Tabor recording - I can barely listen to it and always shed a tear. There is no finer voice and, to be fair, I think it doubles the impact of the poem

Let Me Die a Youngman's Death

Let me die a youngman's death
not a clean and inbetween
the sheets holywater death
not a famous-last-words
peaceful out of breath death

When I'm 73
and in constant good tumour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car
on my way home
from an allnight party

Or when I'm 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber's chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
and give me a short back and insides

Or when I'm 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece but one

Let me die a youngman's death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax and waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
'what a nice way to go' death 

Roger McGough 

Still remembered from A-level English back in the 1960s. I still have Blackburn's Gift of Tongues, inscribed Property of St Julian's Senior High School.


The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.

And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever. 
The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.

And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks. 
The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.

And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman's lime. 
The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores. 

And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars. 
And I am dumb to tell the lover's tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

Now Wales have forgotten how to play rugby [I wrote that before the stirring events of 2005 and 2008], DT is one of the few cultural entities we can still boast. There should be three or four of his poems in this collection and I expect there will be eventually.


For readers who prefer their expletives to be deleted, the next two poems contain a significant number of swearwords. There are only two involved, lots of Bloodys in the first and even more F***ings in the second. If you would prefer to bypass these two then click here. The inclusion of this pair began with a rather good play (TV film) Strumpet on BBC2 on 7th October 2001. One of the main characters, stunningly played by Christopher Eccleston performed the second poem, Chickentown, in a pub (or club, or Karaoke night, or something similar) in an early scene. I then found it on the net for inclusion on this page and when Jan saw it, said "he pinched that from Bloody Orkney". She's right - pinched it very well, too.
Here they are

The Bloody Orkneys

This bloody town's a bloody cuss --
No bloody trains, no bloody bus,
And no one cares for bloody us --
In bloody Orkney.

The bloody roads are bloody bad,
The bloody folks are bloody mad,
They'd make the brightest bloody sad,
In bloody Orkney.

All bloody clouds, and bloody rains,
No bloody kerbs, no bloody drains,
The Council's got no bloody brains,
In bloody Orkney.

Everything's so bloody dear,
A bloody bob, for bloody beer,
And is it good? No bloody fear,
In bloody Orkney.

The bloody flicks are bloody old,
The bloody seats are bloody cold,
You can't get in for bloody gold,
In bloody Orkney.

The bloody dances make you smile;
The bloody band is bloody vile;
It only cramps your bloody style
In bloody Orkney.

No bloody sport, no bloody games,
No bloody fun, the bloody dames
Won't even give their bloody names
In bloody Orkney.

Best bloody place is bloody bed,
With bloody ice on bloody head,
You might as well be bloody dead,
In bloody Orkney.

Poet not known at the time it was added, but (Jul 02) natasha has kindly written to advise that the author is Captain Hamish Blair RN.

Evidently Chickentown

the fucking cops are fucking keen
to fucking keep it fucking clean
the fucking chief's a fucking swine
who fucking draws a fucking line
at fucking fun and fucking games
the fucking kids he fucking blames
are nowhere to be fucking found
anywhere in chicken town

the fucking scene is fucking sad
the fucking news is fucking bad
the fucking weed is fucking turf
the fucking speed is fucking surf
the fucking folks are fucking daft
don't make me fucking laugh
it fucking hurts to look around
everywhere in chicken town

the fucking train is fucking late
you fucking wait you fucking wait
you're fucking lost and fucking found
stuck in fucking chicken town

the fucking view is fucking vile
for fucking miles and fucking miles
the fucking babies fucking cry
the fucking flowers fucking die
the fucking food is fucking muck
the fucking drains are fucking fucked
the color scheme is fucking brown
everywhere in chicken town

the fucking pubs are fucking dull
the fucking clubs are fucking full
of fucking girls and fucking guys
with fucking murder in their eyes
a fucking bloke is fucking stabbed
waiting for a fucking cab
you fucking stay at fucking home
the fucking neighbors fucking moan
keep the fucking racket down
this is fucking chicken town

the fucking train is fucking late
you fucking wait you fucking wait
you're fucking lost and fucking found
stuck in fucking chicken town

the fucking pies are fucking old
the fucking chips are fucking cold
the fucking beer is fucking flat
the fucking flats have fucking rats
the fucking clocks are fucking wrong
the fucking days are fucking long
it fucking gets you fucking down
evidently chicken town

John Cooper Clarke 

Both have an irresistible rhythm. I think Orkneys is best performed rather laid back, with an air of resignation, Chickentown rather more strenuously. Both with a regional accent


It's coming through a hole in the air, 
from those nights in Tiananmen Square. 
It's coming from the feel 
that this ain't exactly real, 
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there. 
From the wars against disorder, 
from the sirens night and day, 
from the fires of the homeless, 
from the ashes of the gay: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

It's coming through a crack in the wall; 
on a visionary flood of alcohol; 
from the staggering account 
of the Sermon on the Mount 
which I don't pretend to understand at all. 
It's coming from the silence 
on the dock of the bay, 
from the brave, the bold, the battered 
heart of Chevrolet: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

It's coming from the sorrow in the street, 
the holy places where the races meet; 
from the homicidal bitchin' 
that goes down in every kitchen 
to determine who will serve and who will eat. 
From the wells of disappointment 
where the women kneel to pray 
for the grace of God in the desert here 
and the desert far away: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

Sail on, sail on 
O mighty Ship of State! 
To the Shores of Need 
Past the Reefs of Greed 
Through the Squalls of Hate 
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on. 

It's coming to America first, 
the cradle of the best and of the worst. 
It's here they got the range 
and the machinery for change 
and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. 
It's here the family's broken 
and it's here the lonely say 
that the heart has got to open 
in a fundamental way: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

It's coming from the women and the men. 
O baby, we'll be making love again. 
We'll be going down so deep 
the river's going to weep, 
and the mountain's going to shout Amen! 
It's coming like the tidal flood 
beneath the lunar sway, 
imperial, mysterious, 
in amorous array: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

Sail on, sail on ... 

I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean 
I love the country but I can't stand the scene. 
And I'm neither left or right 
I'm just staying home tonight, 
getting lost in that hopeless little screen. 
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags 
that Time cannot decay, 
I'm junk but I'm still holding up 
this little wild bouquet: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

Leonard Cohen

Similarly for Canada (see Thomas above) , but without the rugby [I didn't appreciate Neil Young's remarkable cultural contribution when I wrote that].

New addition (3 poems) 1st October 2001
There is a program on BBC Radio 4, Sunday mornings at 6 a.m. called Something Understood. It seeks to be a rambling multi-faith, multi-(audio) medium session, exploring a given topic. It is rarely engrossing, often annoying, usually has something worth noting and every once in a while has something worth waking up for on a Sunday morning. Last Sunday's was entitled Feet of Clay. It included a sequence of poems, which worked together beautifully, written by Brecht, Kipling and Belloc. I don't think any of the three poems have appeared on WM and though Kipling and Belloc are represented, on the site, there is no Brecht. In fact, I cannot find the Brecht anywhere. This presents a few difficulties:

  1. I'm not sure it is a poem maybe it is just lines from a play. No matter, it sounds like a poem.
  2. Having failed to find it, I have had to transcribe it (I recorded the repeat on Sunday night). Inventing the line structure for a poem you have only ever heard is an interesting challenge have a try.
  3. Some of the words are wrong. I always have this problem with pop-songs - I can hum the tune but only guess at the words. I'm sure most are right in this case but real egg on face - the first word is almost certainly wrong. It sounded like "Timor" but the only reference I can find to Timor on the net is the island of East Timor. So it goes.

Deepak from Wondering Minstrels came to my rescue on the name: The Timur in mention is probably Timur the lame. He was a central asian warlord who amongst other things invaded India (maybe around the 11th century). This poem is now on the WM site - link

I'm not saying anything against Alexander

Timur, I hear, took the trouble to conquer the earth.
I don't understand him.
With a bit of hard liquor you can forget the earth.

I'm not saying anything against Alexander,
Only I have seen people who were remarkable,
Highly deserving of your admiration
For the fact that they were alive at all. 

Great men generate too much sweat.
In all of this I see just a proof that
They couldn't stand being on their own
And smoking and drinking and the like.
And they must be too mean-spirited to get
Contentment from sitting by a woman. 

Bertold Brecht

On the poem itself, I agree almost completely with the sentiments and love two lines in particular - Great men generate too much sweat and the final sentence. Overall it is a fine complement to my favourite Shakespeare sonnet My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun. They are both saying that … well see for yourself.

A Dead Statesman

I could not dig: I dared not rob:
Therefore I lied to please the mob.
Now all my lies are proved untrue
And I must face the men I slew.
What tale shall serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?

 Rudyard Kipling 

The program's presenter put this in the context of Kipling's only son having been killed in the First World War, and his body never identified.


Life is a long discovery, isn't it?
You only get your wisdom bit-by-bit.
If you have luck you'll find in early youth
How dangerous it is to tell the truth.
And next you learn how dignity and peace
Are the ripe fruit of patient avarice.
You find that middle life goes racing past
You find despair and at the very last
You find as you are giving up the ghost
That those who loved you best
            Despised you most. 

Hillaire Belloc 

I have had to transcribe that one too, but I think it's pretty straight.

Down With Fanatics!

If I had my way with violent men
I'd simmer them in oil,
I'd fill a pot with bitumen
And bring them to the boil.
I execrate the terrorist
And those who harbour him,
And if I weren't a moralist
I'd tear them limb from limb.

Fanatics are an evil breed
Whom decent men should shun;
I'd like to flog them till they bleed,
Yes, every mother's son,
I'd like to tie them to a board
And let them taste the cat,
While giving praise, oh thank the Lord,
That I am not like that.

For we should love the human kind,
As Jesus taught us to,
And those who don't should be struck blind
And beaten black and blue;
I'd like to roast them in a grill
And listen to them shriek,
Then break them on the wheel until
They turned the other cheek.

Roger Woddis

Added 9th May 2002, being the daily(ish) poem from Wondering Minstrels.
Another addition to the growing irony section. It visits a skilful and stylish plague on the houses of extremists of all kidneys.

Just Gimme Some Truth

I'm sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
I've had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of hope
Money for dope
Money for rope

I'm sick to death of seeing things
From tight-lipped, condescending, mama's little chauvinists
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth now

I've had enough of watching scenes
Of schizophrenic, ego-centric, paranoiac, prima-donnas
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of soap
It's money for dope
Money for rope

Ah, I'm sick and tired of hearing things
from uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocrites
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now

I've had enough of reading things
by neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now

All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

John Lennon (1940-1980)

Not the same without the bitterness of delivery when you hear him sing it, but worth a place nevertheless.

A blade of grass

You ask for a poem.
I offer you a blade of grass.
You say it is not good enough.
You ask for a poem.

I say this blade of grass will do.
It has dressed itself in frost,
It is more immediate
Than any image of my making.

You say it is not a poem,
It is a blade of grass and grass
Is not quite good enough.
I offer you a blade of grass.

You are indignant.
You say it is too easy to offer grass.
It is absurd.
Anyone can offer a blade of grass.

You ask for a poem.
And so I write you a tragedy about
How a blade of grass
Becomes more and more difficult to offer,

And about how as you grow older
A blade of grass
Becomes more difficult to accept.

Brian Patten

I do like irony. Thanks, as usual to the Minstrels.

The Age Demanded

The age demanded that we sing
And cut away our tongue.

The age demanded that we flow
And hammered in the bung.

The age demanded that we dance
And jammed us into iron pants.

And in the end the age was handed
The sort of shit that it demanded. 

Ernest Hemingway

This catches the eye rather well. I didn't realise Hemmingway did poetry. Minstrels.

Let's do it

Verse 1 

Mr. Irving Berlin 
Often emphasizes sin 
In a charming way. 
Mr. Coward we know 
Wrote a song or two to show 
Sex was here to stay. 
Richard Rodgers it's true 
Took a more romantic view 
Of this sly biological urge. 
But it really was Cole 
Who contrived to make the whole 
Thing merge. 

Refrain 1 
He said the Belgians and Greeks do it 
Nice young men who sell antiques do it, 
Let's do it, let's fall in love. 
Monkeys whenever you look do it, 
Aly Khan and King Farouk do it, 
Let's do it, let's fall in love. 
Louella Parsons can't quite do it, 
For she's so highly strung, 
Marlene might do it, 
But she looks far too young. 
Each man out there shooting crap does it, 
Davy Crockett in that dreadful cap does it, 
Let's do it, let's fall in love. 

Refrain 2 
Our famous writers in swarms do it, 
Somerset and all the Maughams do it, 
Let's do it, let's fall in love. 
The Brontes felt that they must do it, 
Ernest Hemingway could-just-do it, 
Let's do it, let's fall in love. 
E. Allan Poe-ho! ho! ho!-did it, 
But he did it in verse. 
H. Beecher Stowe did it, 
But she had to rehearse. 
Tennessee Williams self-taught does it, 
Kinsey with a deafening report does it. 
Let's do it, let's fall in love. 

Verse 2 
In the Spring of the year 
Inhibitions disappear 
And our hearts beat high, 
We had better face facts 
Every gland that overacts 
Has an alibi 
For each bird and each bee, 
Each slap-happy sappy tree, 
Each temptation that lures us along 
Is just Nature elle-meme 
Merely singing us the same 
Old song. 

Refrain 3 
In Texas some of the men do it 
Others drill a hole-and then do it, 
Let's do it, let's fall in love 
West Point cadets forming fours do it, 
People say all those Gabors do it, 
Let's do it, let's fall in love. 
My kith and kin, more or less, do it, 
Every uncle and aunt, 
But I confess to it- 
I've one cousin that can't. 
Teenagers squeezed into jeans do it, 
Probably we'll live to see machines do it, 
Let's do it, let's fall in love. 

Refrain 4 
Each baby bat after dark does it, 
In the desert Wilbur Clark does it 
Let's do it, let's fall in love. 
We're told that every hormone does it, 
Victor Borge all alone does it, 
Let's do it, let's fall in love. 
Each tiny clam you consume does it, 
Even Liberace-we assume-does it, 
Let's do it, let's fall in love! 

Noel Coward

Another great English wordsmith. Some of the references have aged, but that just adds intrigue to wit and style. I pinched the text from Leo's Lyrics. It is not quite how I remember, so I will seek confirmation, but the great couplets I do recall are there.

Proud to be Proud

I'm proud I'm a man, 
and I'm proud I'm right handed. 
I'm proud I was born well endowed.  

I'm proud of my Ford 
and my team when they've scored 
and I'm proud I can drive when I'm plowed.  

I'm proud of George Bush, 
and I'm proud of my tush, 
and I'm proud I can fart really loud. 
And I'm proud to be proud to be proud to be proud to be proud to be proud to be proud.  

I'm proud to be white, 
and I'm proud that I'm right, 
and I'm proud I'm obnoxious and loud.  

I'm proud of my gun 
and that we're number one, 
and proud I ain't part of the crowd.  

I'm proud of my flag, 
and I'm proud I'm no fag 
and I'm proud of my gut when I've chowed. 
and I'm proud to be proud to be proud to be proud to be proud to be proud to be proud.  

I'm proud at all costs 
there's no wars that we've lost, 
no victors to which we have bowed.  

I'm proud I've got guts, 
and I'm proud I kick butt, 
and I take the revenge that I've vowed.  

I'm proud I'm a Christian 
and proud I don't question 
the reasons I have to be proud. 
Yes, I'm proud to be proud to be proud to be proud to be proud to be proud to be proud. 

 And as my mama used to say when I'd come home pants crappin' drunk, 
"Well, Gregory, I certainly hope you're proud of yourself," 
And I'd say, "Gosh, Mom, now that you mention it,
 I'm proud to be proud to be proud to be proud to be proud to be proud to be proud." 

Greg Keeler 

Greg performed this on BBC Radio 4 one Sunday morning in August 2001. It is (I hope and trust) one of the great expositions of irony and magnificent fun. It brings to mind one side of one of my favourite films - Nashville (we must be doing something right to last 200 years). It is even better sung. Click here for the site selling his songs.
Greg becomes only the third verser to get a second entry on the page with this plaintive offering he kindly sent in,

Piggy Boy's Lament

Oh pray deliver me up from this land where
they call their dogs Booger. I have no need
of knowing what Grammaw is doing with that weed.
If I hear another banjo, I fear I shall tear
the strings therefrom and garrote myself. I care
little for removable front teeth, which, indeed,
seem to be the rage among those who lead
rather primitive lives by the river and wear
union suits with drop-flaps in the back.
And I would prefer not to woo a bride
fresh from gutting a hog or a gunny sack
full of mudcats. Perchance you would spare my pride
the injury of yodeling when you pronounce my name.
Just point me in the direction from which I came.

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were sloppy-stern
    And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can
    And don't have any kids yourself.

Philip Larkin (1922-1980)

Cruel, fair and, of course, not applicable in our cases.

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page rewritten 11th August 2009