Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Poem of the week: Granny in the poo

The day Granny fell in the poo and was chased by hounds

Here's a story of our Granny,
She may be old but she is canny
Gran does what Grans never do,
And one day she FELL IN THE POO!
And then was chased through woods and bogs
By an excited pack of dogs!

Granddad and she walked on the downs,
Where you can view the sea and towns.
They walked past an old famous pond
To see the countryside beyond.
Then Gran saw something she thought might
Be some old prehistoric site.
A place that could be very old
Where she’d find, jewels, bones and gold.
“I wonder what this thing could be.
I'll climb on top of it and see!”

She took one step, and then took two,
There was a squelch beneath her shoe,
Her foot went in, what could she do?
It was a pile of old sheep poo.
She knew that something had gone wrong
When she first smelt the horrid PONG!
Oh what an awful sight to see,
One leg was in beyond her knee.
The other sinking rather fast,
And every step might be her last.
She shouted to her husband Nick
“I’m falling in.  Please help me, quick”

Nick answered “Grab my hand. You must!
Roll and you won't go through the crust.”
So she rolled down and all was well,
Excepting for the awful smell.
She stood up then and almost cried.
She said, “I really might have died!
I didn’t like it – nor would you,
To drown in piles of smelly poo!”

The two of them made quite a scene,
Their feet and legs were browny green.
Then Granny said, “Here’s what we’ll do,
Run to the pond. Wash off the poo!”
They ran, looked round for men and houses,
And seeing none, took off Gran’s trousers.
She washed her legs and feet so green,
Till they were moderately clean.
Then suddenly a fox rushed by.
And granddad said "I wonder why ...."
Then they heard barks and hunting sounds
And then they saw a pack of hounds!

The hounds smelt Gran and thought "That knocks
Spots off the boring smell of fox.
Lets go and see what it can be
It smells like paradise to me."
And so the hounds all turned and ran
Until they had surrounded Gran.
They barked and woofed and wagged their tails
And licked her toes and feet and nails.
They swallowed both of granny's socks
The huntsman shouted "Chase the fox!"
"Let go my trousers "Granny screams
They'd grabbed her trousers by the seams
And two dogs pulled on both the legs.
"Don't pull so hard" our granny begs.
But then there was a tearing sound
A pair of shorts lay on the ground.

The huntsman yelled. "Your stupid stunt
Has totally destroyed our hunt.
There's only one thing I can do
I'll set the hounds to chasing YOU!"
There wasn't any time to plan.
Gran grabbed her pants and off they ran!
The hounds came after thinking "Well
What fun to chase this lovely smell."
Well, just imagine how it feels
When hounds are biting at your heels.
They saw a tree and did not stop,
Till they' had scrambled to the top.
When they looked down all they could see
Was hounds who barked around the tree.

The huntsman shouted "Just my luck.
Hounds must go home - I hope you're stuck!"
And so they were. Stuck in the tree.
They didn't dare climb down you see.
A woman rode up on a hoss.
"Oh Lord" said Granddad, "she looks cross."
She shouoted "YOU get off my land!
You hippie nudists shoulld bel banned!
You totally destroy my view.
The tree is ruined and I'll sue!"
Then Granny said "We can't get down"
The woman gave a haughty frown.
"I'll call my men who have an axe.
They'll cut you down in forty wacks."
She called, and Granny's heart went thump.
Gran said. "We're going to have to jump."
They jumped and ran, it wasn't far
Until they'd got into their car.
"Come back and give your name I say"
But Granddad quickly drove away.


When they got home they had to laugh,
As they sat in a lovely bath.

Gran's trousers, just to end my song,
Had one leg short, the other long.






 Nick Mellersh 2009 for our golden wedding party

With Christmas coming I thought the tone of this blog needed lightening up.  We have been on gloom and war all through November.  Seeing my only fan is my great niece, I thought she and others lucky enough to have a childish  temprament enjoy this tale which is based on a sort of truth.  Granny did step into a pile of sheep poo on the downs thinking it might be some historic tumulus and did wash herself in one of the dew-ponds you find up there.  The story about the hunt and the tree is, thank goodness, fiction.

Don't forget to look at the sister blog "Nude a week" by my wife, where there is a sweet little Christmas film see http://njeanius.blogspot.co.uk/
And don't forget my father's ebooks at njeanius.uk, an excellent Christmas present for anyone interested in the story of the first World War. 
Hope to put up another of these stories during December and a holy one for Christmas sorry it will have to be orthodox Christmas or Epiphany now£.  Meanwhile happy Christmas to all my readers (hope there are some!! I'd love to hear from you.
,Love Nick

Saturday, December 5, 2015

three world war 1 books


 Here is a video I have just made about the three World War I books written by my father.H E L Mellersh.  They are now being published as ebooks.  This is a link ro the website www.njeanius.uk where you can read bits and buy them for your ebook reader whatever it may be.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

War Poets 7: You can't blame us

“You can't blame us” said the generals,
“We did what you told us to do.
We thought that you asked us to win the war.
And we won it. What more could we do?”

“You can't blame us” said the government.
“We had to defend the land,
And these things always come at a cost,
Surely you understand.”

“You can't blame me, said the soldier.
I just did what I was told.
And anyway I was simply a kid.
I was killed at twenty years old.”

So was it all simply nobody's fault?
The horror, the killing the pain?
It seems like the truth. But if it is true,
Why it's certain to happen again.
                                      Nick Mellersh November 2015

Wrote this after going to a talk with a retired general who lives in a village not far from us. (The link at "general" leads to more about him.)  His talk was entitled "Lions Led by Donkeys." It was about the first world war and whether the generals had been given an unfairly bad press.  

He is an impressive and intelligent man and he made the case very strongly that the generals had been unfairly blamed.  The type of war was new, the enemy efficient and determined yet the British army (unlike the French and the German) never showed signs of falling apart. And they were the army that brought it to an end in the last 100 days.  Days my father missed as he was at home in hospital with his third wound. The generals, given the circumstances did a surprisingly good job.

I believe this to be true.  And so did my father who fought in the war and wrote three books about it. But somehow the whole thing left me feeling unhappy.  If everyone was doing their best (and generally they were) why was the outcome so terrible. The preservation of peace is a dilemma and mankind seems thoroughly bad at it.  As I write this the clouds of war are gathering.  We must try harder than a predecessors if we are going to avoid another ghastly bloodbath  But surprisingly we avoided a nuclear war in the fifties and sixties when that seemed inevitable so let us not give up hope.

(What seems to me very frightening is the way the debate is skewed. Corbyn asks whether the plan to drop more bombs on ISIS (and kill a few more misguided idealistic young men) is really a part of a coherent military strategy. The press discuss everything but this. Mostly "should we leave it to our allies to do all the dirty work then", and "I suppose Corby thinks we can just send a few policemen around to Raqua and arrest them all"  But thinking back to the 50's maybe we can sort out the mess in the middle east without making things a million times worse.  I hope so.)

The last few weeks of this blog have been dealing with serious issues mostly to mark the publication as ebooks of my father's books about World War I.  You can have a look at excerpts from them all at njeanius.uk/warbooks.

Next week it should be time for something a bit more happy.  Oh yes and for some beautiful drawing have a look at my wife's blog,http://ipadpainting-jeanie.blogspot.co.uk/ this week showing four life drawings. 

PS: I managed to find the bit that was in the Lymington times about my dad's books today.  It's up on the website.





Wednesday, November 11, 2015

War Poets 6: Who reads the peace poets?

War poets! - we love 'em
They're exciting and never a bore.
War poets!- there's action, emotion,
There''s glory and horror and gore.

Where are the peace poets?
You won't find their books on our shelf.
The tiresome old, boring old, treadmill of life
We've experienced that for our self.

Yes give us the glory, the action,
The pity the horror, the gore.
Yes let's read the war poets
While we wait for another war.
                                Nick Mellersh November 11 2015

Well I've written it the peace poets poem that has been going around my head for a long time.  Not aas good as it looked in my mind but not bad I think.  At least it is short.  It is too easy to run on and on when not bound by some set form like the sonnet.

As you can see from the earlier posts I'm a bit doubtful about the influence of the war poets.  It is so hard to mourn the horrors of war without in some way glorying in it.  War poetry seems to me to verge on the edge of pornographic violence.  I suppose this is part of the old argument between Plato and Aristotle.  In brief the  argument goes.  Plato "Watching all these plays about people killing each other just encourages people to do it."  Aristotle "No no, it enables us to feel the horror without actually really doing it - it purges the mind/"  The argument is pretty much that, though put at greater length (try here to learn more.) .  And the answer is really we don't know whether it is good or bad, or maybe we don't care.  People are going to watch violence and read about violence whether it's bad for them or not.

Perhaps it also throws light on the difference between Owen and Sassoon.  The last two posts on this blog have been readings by my friend Nigel Pascoe of poems by this pair of World War I poets.  Sassoon's "The General" distances itself from the horrors.  Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est" dives straight in and immediately involves the reader in the emotion and the horror.  Those, like myself and my father, who prefer Sassoon to Owen are perhaps fearful that being too close to the emotion is too much like glorying in it.  Hard to say who is right.  Hard to remember the dead of the wars in a way that seems honest and right.

I mention my father because I have just published his books on World War I as ebooks.  He fought on the front from 2015 and was wounded several times.  There are three of these books, an autobiographical novel, a true autobiography, written many years later, and a life of Siegfried Sassoon which of course mentions Owen (Sassoon and Owen met in a shell-shock hospital and Sassoon encouraged and influenced Owen.)  You can read about my father's books here on the njeanius website and there is plenty on the web about the meeting of Sassoon and Owen.  You could start here.

There's a lot more I would like to write more generally about poetry and what it is for.  Also I have found on Google (thanks be to Google) the parody of "Scorn not the Sonnet" about keeping poems short.  I hope to cover it in my n ext when I will leave war poetry for a bit.
Link to my Dad's World War I books




Friday, October 30, 2015

War Poets 5: A reading of Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est"


 If you cannot see the video or it does not play on your device click here to see it on Youtube.

This is probably the most famous English poem from the First World War.  You can see why.  It is graphic and terrible.  I could not face putting together a video of images that matched the words so instead I put up images of war memorials - scanning the page you get from Google images if you search for "first world war memorials."

It is hard to know how we should remember wars and those who fought in them.  Everything seems wrong.  Most of the memorials re-echo the words "Dulce et decorum est pro patria more" (It is sweet and fitting to die for your country.)  Yet, in Europe at any rate, Owen and his fellow writers and historians have destroyed the "old lie", few of the young think of war as glorious.  But perhaps somehow they have founded a new lie that war is uniformly horrific and the dead have been led to the slaughter like cattle.  If the old lie were true war would be uniformly worthwhile and glorious.  But if the new lie were true wars would have ended long ago. War, it is plain to see, goes on and on and and on.

I've been thinking this as I prepared three of my father's World War One books for publication as e-books. He fought in the same battles as the war poets and thought hard about the war. Strangely after recovering from his third wound he was sent back to France on the first day after the armistice in November 1918.  All psyched up to fight again he felt almost disappointed that the war had ended.
You can read excerpts from my father's books at at njeanius.uk

My father talks in his books about learning to capture the purposefulness and unity you find in war and using it in peace.  I hope that the publication of my father's books may, in a small way, help to make this possible.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

War Poets 4: A moving reading of "The General" by Siegfried Sassoon


 
If the video does not play on your device you can see it on YouTube if you click here.


 This is Sassoon's "General"again.  It has been beautifully read by my friend Nigel Pascoe  so I am not apologetic about it being on the blog the time before last..  It's an impressive poem and an impressive reading too. 

My father H E L Mellersh fought in the war near Fricourt on the Western Front a few miles from where Sassoon also fought.  

NEWS! My father's two books about his World War I experiences along with his book on the life of Siegfried Sassoon have been published as ebooks in the last few days.  So now you can buy them at a fiver a time they are well worth a read.
The covers for the newly published e-books.  Jeanie Mellersh designed the covers.
Learn more at njeanius.uk.
 Nigel Pascoe, reader of the poem in the video, has a lot of poetry readings on the net.  He will be reading more by Sassoon and some by Wilfred Owen on this blog soon. If you would like to hear more of Nigel's readings, visit https://www.spreaker.com/user/8153704/episodes/feed

Monday, September 14, 2015

War Poets 2 - Siegfried Sassoon: "The General" - In memory of Ted Soffe

‘GOOD-MORNING; good-morning!’ the General said
When we met him last week on our way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of ’em dead,
And we’re cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
‘He’s a cheery old card,’ grunted Harry to Jack

As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.


But he did for them both by his plan of attack.

This is perhaps Sassoon's best known poem.  Short and to the point. with a beautifully planned and unexpected end.  

There is a story about the picture I have used.  It is of Ted Soffe a member of a established family in the New Forest village where I live.  The family recently asked to have his picture (the one above) placed in our village church as a memorial to the 100th anniversary of  his death in Gallipoli in September 2015.  The picture is now on the altar and we are asked to pray for him and his comrades.

Sassoon's poem backs up the feeling that the generals made a mess of this war.  This was once the accepted view but, with time, opinion on this has shifted a little and many now think that the generals were faced with a totally new type of war and by and large did surprisingly well.  
The Gallipoli campaign however is still thought of  as a fiasco and a terrible waste of life including that of Ted Soffe.  So perhaps it makes sense to associate this poem with Gallipoli and Ted Soffe.  Though, to be fair, the fault was more with the politician's than the military.  Here is a good summary of story.  The Australians and New Zealanders who suffered disproportional casualties still remain extremely bitter about Gallipoli.  Overall there were well over 100,000 casualties in Gallipoli, many of them through disease rather than bullets with about two thirds of the casualties being Turkish.  However in Turkey it is still regarded as a great victory.

As well as the Gallipoli campaign and the death of Ted Soffe and many an other, 2015 also marks the centenary of my father joining the army in World War I.  He survived or I would not be here.  I suppose the war, long gone in most respects, is being remembered by thousands of families across Europe and beyond.  To mark my father's centenary his writings on the war and his views on Siegfried Sassoon are about to be published in three e~books.  More information at www.njeanius.uk

PS: I find that one historian who wrote of Gallipoli was a school friend of mine Robert Rhodes James, now sadly dead.  I will always remember him for his wild enthusiasms for this, that and the other schoolboy craze and his consistent and much needed friendship when I was a new boy at the school.  I miss you Rhodes James, and wish I had thought to thank you while you were still alive.

PPS.  I have now been in touch with Angela Rhodes James his wife and at least had the opportunity to tell her the story about her husband.  I think it gave her pleasure to know that he was remembered from so long ago.  She is currently working to put Rhodes James's archive on line.  I think this is the link.
http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/db/node.xsp?id=EAD%2FGBR%2F0014%2FRHJS 

I should really add a bit more about Ted Soffe.  I hope to in due course.
 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Poem of the week - On reading the war poets - start of a series about war poetry


There's no such thing as bad publicity” Sam Goldwyn


I'd like to see a tank come through the class
Smothered in flags, steered by a bold Dragoon,
While teacher lists the horrors of old wars
And reads out poems by Owen and Sassoon.

Then hearts would jump, and brightness fill young eyes
And the whole room would fill with tears and cheers,
For war's addictive and it lifts our hearts
Despite its mounds of deaths and lakes of tears.

Yes there's excitement, beauty, friendship, love
Among the young who fight an ugly war.
This truth forgotten, then forget the hope
That someday we will suffer war no more.

Nick Mellersh 2015

I have often thought that the war poets are popular in part at least more because we are excited by war just as much as we are horrified by it. So this poem is a sort of parody of Sassoon's Blighters (see below) that tries to make that point. I often think that maybe war poems do as much to promote war as to discourage it.

No question that the poems are good.  Great even. Everything by Sassoon is beautifully made and seems to fit perfectly into place.  (Notice how my poem is stretched out to three stanza's while Sassoon manages it in two and with two rhymes in each stanza.) Owen is more swept with emotion and loose than Sassoon but in a way easier to read and empathize with. Anyway I hope to get my friends the Pascoes, Nigel and Lisa to record a set of poems by Sassoon and Owen and  perhaps add one or of my own.  I am struggling with a poem called "Who reads the Peace Poets."  So I hope you'll be following this and giving your opinions on whether you think Owen is better than Sassoon and on how and if the world can learn to live without war.  This is in part of course because I am just about to publish my father's life of Sassoon as an ebook - see the ebook tab at the top of this page.

Working on my dad's World War i ebook has made me think a lot about war, why we do it and how we can avoid it.

Anyway here is the Sassoon poem.

Blighters
The House is crammed: tier beyond tier they grin
And cackle at the show, while prancing ranks
Of harlots shrill the chorus, drunk with din;
We’re sure the Kaiser loves our dear old Tanks!’

I’d like to see a tank come down the stalls,
Lurching to rag-time tunes, or ‘Home sweet Home’,
And there’d be no more jokes in music-halls
To mock the riddled corpses round Bapaume.
Siegfried Sassoon
 
 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Poem of the week 12: More silly rhymes - Druskininskai and budgerigar

A pilot from Druskininskai
Lost his girlfriend and started to cry.
I said "If I were you-ski
You'd do what I do-ski
Just have a good screw-ski 'n fly."

Druskininskai is a spa town in Lithuania where I taught English once for a few weeks.  Probably writing this was a way I occupied a sleepless night.  Anyway not a bad rhyme I thought. 

Do you know any favoutie silly rhymes or maybe you wish to challenge me with another word to waste a sleepless night of rhyme searching. Here's one I wrote ages ago when someone on the telly was challenged for a rhyme for" budgerigar."  My solution was

Teaching a parrot to say "pretty Poly"
Is often dull and never jolly.
But one thing is far worse drudgery - far
It's trying to teach a budgerigar.

And talking of ebooks, which we weren't, my dad's first world war books will be published in the next few weeks.  If you are a World War I buff search the ebook or Kindle store for H E L Mellersh.  They are a really interesting set of books by someone who fought on the Western Front as a young man.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Argos Catalogue is our holiest book

Oh the Argos catalogue is our holiest book.
And if you don't believe me, you should take a closer look.
It's for all ages, for all classes. It's not snobbish, it's not tribal.
Fifteen hundred coloured pages all much brighter than the bible.
Laid out in useful sections, page after page it seems
Can bring us the material to realise our dreams.

Here the dreaming bold explorer can wrestle nature's rages
With anoraks and wind-proof tents in ten full-colour pages.
And the young girl who is blossoming imagine she's a queen
Wearing ear rings, nose and toe rings and everything between.
The toddler and pensioner can dream they're bully boys
With bicycles and tricycles or shining techno toys.
There's pages and pages of things you'd love at school
And a tiny, shiny mobile that will make you feel so cool.
And the spotty adolescent can imagine he's a stud
With that so-cool leather jacket and that holder for his “Bud”.
There's potions, and there's lotions, and perfumes from afar
That will help convince your lover just how beautiful you are.
There's things to make life better no matter what you do
Every page turned is a promise there can be a better you.

Oh the layout it is tawdry. And the text is rather naff
But that need n't be a worry. It's the things that we must have.

Yes there's really something holy in pages such as these
We're so simple and so innocent and such easy folk to please.
And a dream that things can change you's not as stupid as it seems
For us fragile human beings are as fragile as our dreams.

Nick Mellersh 2008

 I think I wrote this when I was church warden.  And if any job is likely to make you despair of religion, it is that.  Anyway there is still something innocent, and childlike, and even admirable in the hope we put in getting new things.  Experience tells us it won't help, but who learns from experience? 

Anyway the ebooks are nearly ready so more news of them soon.
Nick 

Sorry I've failed to get a poem up for a few weeks.  I've been away and came home to find my boiler and my septic tank didn't work any more.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Poem of the Week: The curse of the iphone

A Cautionary tale of Jane and James

Dedicated to my grand-daughters Jasmine and Aline in the hope of saving them from a terrible fate

This is the tale of Jane and James 
Addicted to computer games.
Parents were begged in plaintive tones
About their need for brand new phones.
"We need it for our homework, Dad,
And Uni too and you'll be glad
When we're the brightest kids by far
And in each subject get A star.
Sure as our names are Jane and James
We'll never use them to play games!"

But Oh alas it was not true
For playing's all that they would do.
When each of them had got their phone,
They could not leave the games alone.
The only way they could be seen
Was staring at a tiny screen!
They would not look at you or talk,
Or read or sleep or eat or walk.
In a strange world each to their own,
They just stared at their brand new phone.

Their Dad for burgers had to go for
While James sat playing on the sofa.
He mumbled curses then took sips
Of Cola and ate bags of chips
The game and nothing else would matter
While he got fatter, fatter, fatter
He would not leave the game alone
Until his weight was 20 stone!
He played a baseball game until
He'd mastered every single skill.
Then one day with all bases loaded,
He ate a chip - and then exploded!
He died in very little pain.
The new phone never worked again.



So what you ask became of Jane?
Did she escape her new phone's curse?
Sadly her fate was even worse!

She found a score she had to beat,
And from that day refused to eat.
She'd not eat breakfast lunch or dinner
And she grew thinner, thinner, thinner!
They tempted her with cakes and cream
But "no" she said "I have a dream!
I must be Champion Supreme!
I'll leave food - if it;'s all the same,
Until I've won my final game!"
In six months time at last she won.
And then she thought "What have I done?
What is there left for me to do?
I know! At last there's time to poo!"
(At this point you must not forget she
Was thin as a strand of cooked spaghetti.)
She sat down on the toilet seat,
Then slipped in bottom, hands and feet.
It greaves me but I have to say
The string-thin child was flushed away!
Moral
Children should only use these media,
To crib their homework from Wikipedia!
                                                        Nick Mellersh September 2012 Pictures by Jeanie Mellersh

This is my attempt at a modern version of Hillaire Belloc's cautionary tales like the stories of Jim who was eaten by the lion and Matilda who burnt her house down.  I'm quite pleased with it, but it would be nice to get more of Belloc's tone and conciseness.  And Beloc never uses triplets (three consecutive rhyming lines) which I often do and maybe shouldn't.  Anyway it leads me nicely on to ebooks as I learn from my father's first world war books that Belloc wrote a column in one of the papers about the war's progress. The ebooks are going ahead slowly and will be available soon.  See the ebook page.

I love Belloc and his poems. Do you remember an Inn Miranda is something other than the Cautionary Tales that I always remember.  His proposed epitaph was
       When I am dead,
       I hope it may be said,
      His sins were scarlet,
     But his books were read.

P.S.  I've just found a complete online version of the Cautionary Tales with the original illustrations by BTB (Basil Temple Blackwood) who was some aristocratic friend of Belloc. See following,  my poem's advice in the poem, the entry in Wikipedia.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Poem of the week 9: Silly Rhyme Season

Ye anglo-indian poet challenge

A Rhyme for Rabindaranat Tagore

If  you want to hinder a gnat before

It bites and stings.

Hit it with the complete poetical works of Rabindarat Tagor

And squash its wings.



and IF you are ready, a rhyme for Rudyard Kipling

If you can ride a bike, with mudguard rippling

While writing poems that keep in perfect time,

Why, you're a poet, good as Rudyard Kipling

And, what is more, you've mastered silly rhyme.

In an election result caused in no small measure by last week's poem on behalf of the super rich, their party has triumphed again in the English election, Oh bother! Who would have thought this blog was so influential? Anyway it is time to go off in a huff and talk about something entirely irrelevant like silly rhymes. 
Lying in bed one night in a school in Bataha India (click here to learn about it. It's really interesting!) I started wondering if I could find a rhyme for Rabindarnat Tagore. It was easier than I thought.
Buoyed by this I spent the rest of the night tyying it with Rudyard Kipling. He ho for silly rhymes!! I love them!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Poem of the week 8: The super rich AREN'T RICH ENOUGH

The super-rich ARE N'T RICH ENOUGH!
It's tragic but it's true!
The poor things need financial help
From folks like me and you.
This is the truth they tell us
(It would break a heart of stone!)
From the television stations and
The newspapers they own.
And some have even said aloud
(Oh woe and lack-a-day!)
That if we do not pay them more
They'll up and go away.

And what's the cause of all their woe?
The reason clear of course is
That the stingy, mingy, grasping poor
Are stealing their resources!

The super rich are feeling poor!
To make their wealth much surer.
All sound men say, the only way
Is make the poor much poorer.

So reach into your pockets
Pay up, and never fuss.
For if the super rich are poor,
What hope is there for us!

--------------------------------------------------

Well not a word of this is true
There'd be no tears of sorrow
If each one of the super rich
Should quietly die tomorrow.
We'll always have the super rich, but here, oh here's the curse
That if we purge this super rich, the next lot may be worse.

                                                              Nick Mellersh 2008 & 2915

With the election coming up I thought it was time for a political poem.  So here it is. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Poem of the week 7: 10% Extra FREE!



Yes sister! Yes brothers! You're the lucky one, it's yours ! 10% Extra - FREE!
Of what? Chocolate Buttons?” No better! “Luxury Body wash?” No better still.
Whisky? Champagne?? COCAINE!??!!” No better yet!
Ten percent more of life! Yes sisters, brothers that's what you've been given.
Ten percent (maybe more) Ten percent extra years and days,
Ten percent more than ever our grandparents had.
It's almost certain to be true for you, and I'm the same.
It's yours, it's ours. 10% extra days all FREE!!!

How should we spend them then?

There is no doubting how we should spend them.
Spend them in joy, rejoicing in the world we're lucky that we live in.
Spend them in wisdom, teaching the little we have learned,
Spend them in dance and feasting
Spend them in love.

But sadly most of us will spend them as we spent
That other ninety odd percent that wasn't FREE or EXTRA -
Spend them in getting by, complaining now and then
And sitting down.

Well let's try for the first choice. I'll try. You try too.
Nick Mellersh 2015

Well there was a big spike in the readership for Nigel Pascoe's reading of "This England" which went up last week. It's good, so take a look and a listen. There'll be more from Nigel soon.  Meanwhile here is one of mine I quite like.  Maybe I'm getting a bit preachy in my old age but it still seems quite fun.  Anyway hope you like it.

 And talking of ebooks we've settled on three covers for the three first world war books of my dad's.  More about them on the  ebooks page - click on the ebook tab at the top or click here.



PS: We've got a new logo for Njeanius productions.  More of that next week

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Guest Spot: Nigel Pascoe reads "This England"


video

I am asking my friends to contribute to this blog.  First of these is Nigel Pascoe reading "This England" by Shakespeare from Richard II. Nigel, as you will hear, has a wonderful reading voice. He says  "Here is an extract from the most patriotic speech in the English language put by Shakespeare into the mouth of the aged John of Gaunt."

The photos in the video are of the New Forest -  the part of this "blessed plot" that Nigel and I are lucky enough to live in.  They were taken by my wife, Jeanie and me.

And talking about ebooks (which we weren't but I am trying to push the three World War I war books by my father soon to be published by Jeanie and me - click on the ebooks tab at the top of the page) ... anyway Nigel has got some of the plays he has written available as ebooks on the Kindle store click here to go and look.  Be sure to purchase a copy or two of Nigel's plays.

PS: Poetic question of the day.  Does poetry work best when it is read aloud? Personally, I don't think so. But some poems seem to beg for a live reading.  Not enough of the ones I wite or so I have been thinking lately.

PPS2:  There's a new nude up on Jeanie's blog.  A nice water colour a bit like Gaugin.  Click here to see it. 

PPS:
And here are the words that Nigel reads: For the context click here

This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Poem a week 6: Un-holy Awful Week

Picture of Christ in the wilderness by Stanley Spencer
 It's going to be an awful week. Look at the calendar.

Sunday: Ride on donkey while crowds shout "Go on! Fight and defeat the world's biggest army".

Monday: Kick out the cheats from the temple and get cursed for doing it.

Tuesday: Try to teach but get interrupted by tiresome fanatical Pharisees asking me trick questions.

Wednesday: Same as Tuesday. Then, at night, sweat blood praying we might find another way.

Thursday: Supper with supporters. Nice, but most don't understand me and one plots to betray me. Arrested on my midnight walk.

Friday: Whipped, hauled in front of the Roman governor, crucified.

Saturday: Wrestle with the devil in hell, or so the myth-makers say.

Sunday: Come back alive. I hope. They'll be talking about it in two thousand years if I'm right. But sometimes I think maybe I'm not.



It's going to be an unholy awful week.

However you think of it, holy week, the week of Jesus's crucifixion, changed the history of the world and it all happened in eight days. Since then all history has been coloured by the events of that week. I never know what to think about it.  Do you?

PS: The plan to publish e-books goes ahead. Click on the ebook tab at the top for a pic of one of the planned covers.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Poem a week 5: Spring is nearly here




There's a smidgen of a smidgen of colour round the oak
Like a little misty halo, like a shifting orange smoke.
There's a whisper of a whisper of flowers on the ash
Like tiny threads of cotton, like a greeny-yellow rash.
And for sure, there on the chestnut, there's a swelling sticky bud
(Though the fields around are soaking and the cows knee deep in mud.)
And the primroses are blooming, and it's fast becoming clear
There's a rumour of a rumour that spring is nearly here.
                                                                     Nick Mellersh

I wrote this in 2008 for my blog called Oak in Autumn for which I photographed an oak tree not far from home almost every day of the year.  I managed to quite a nice video of the miraculous change of the bare tree to a tree full of green. You can see it at http://www.mellersh.org/oak/ and you can learn more about this particular 600 year old tree named Yseult after a remarkable friend of ours who lived nearby.

If you looking for more poems about spring.  Hopkins sonnet  Spring  is wonderful though the second half (the sestet) is hard to grapple with unless you know something of Hopkins religion but the first bit is so wonderful who cares? I love also this by e e cummings in Just spring

If you're wondering why tiny oak leaves look sort of pinky orange, like the poem says, it's because the chlorophyll hasn't really developed yet and the main colouring is carotene. (Now late March is the time to see it - at any rate down here in the South of England)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Poem a week 4: The world will be a lovely place when people are extinct

My profoundest thought

I give you the profoundest thought, that I have ever thinkt,

The world will be a lovely place when people go extinct.

There'll be no more global warming, and those polar bears so nice

Will play and jump and hunt around on miles of arctic ice.

There will be no drugs or alcohol, no dealers – “Mr Bigs,”

There won't be male chauvinists, except, perhaps, for pigs.

All sins will go unnoticed. There'll be nobody to vex

By what we eat, or what we wear or how we practise sex.

There won't be screaming preachers, there won't be crashing bores

Or nice young men to shoot at us in very nasty wars.

There will never be no hunting of fox or deer or pigeon

No racism, no ageism and imagine! No religion.

The world will dance with pleasure. There will never be a care.

The only downside I can see, is that I won't be there.

Nick Mellersh 2015

Well it's not that profound a thought really but it is a strange one. Pope, you may think, expressed it better in his Essay on Man.  
Man, he said, was:

          Sole judge of Truth, in endless error hurled,
         The glory, jest and riddle of the world 

 Pope, who was probably the most accomplished of our classical poets is also famous for this couplet in his Essay on Criticism

      True wit is nature to advantage dressed
      What oft was thought but ne'er so well expressed.

The classical view, held by Pope, contrasts with the romantic view which believes poetry discovers something new as opposed to varnishing existing truths.  You can make a good case either way.  

Now it is your chance to choose.  You can judge if Pope or me best expressed the thought about man.  If you vote for me - please tell me and follow this blog! If you vote for Pope, congratulations on your poetic acumen and follow this blog anyway.

Back to my poem. Those who think the world will be a better without this that or the other, sadly delude themselves, especially those who want to do away with religion.  To me religion is the only credible attempt man has made to tackle the paradoxes of life.  So now you see why my poem is my profoundest thought! See you in a week or so. Nick

PS: Jeanie, my wife, is running a lovely blog at the moment that featur3es a nude drawing a seek. They are beautiful. This week it's an Ipad painting and you can watch a movie of the painting process. Click here for http://ipadpainting-jeanie.blogspot.co.uk
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