This Sort of Thing...


Rediscovering Holes



This is a poem I wrote some time ago. Fifty-two years ago to be more precise. I rediscovered it the other day whilst searching in the loft for my copy of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In a dusty and battered old suitcase in which I keep my wonderful treasures from the past, I found some of my school exercise books from the early 1970s. They were rather faded and dog-eared and the staples that held them together had rusted. Backing the books with leftover scraps of gory kitchen wallpaper to protect them had turned out to be a great idea (though not mine) because they were still in relatively good condition. Strange then that my poem had survived but the house in which the walls had been decorated with this psychedelic parchment hadn’t, having been demolished in the 1990s to make way for a Tesco supermarket.

Flicking through the leaves it was as if they were brand new. I couldn’t remember writing anything that their faded, musty pages contained. Reading their contents made me simultaneously smile, cringe and pine for those long gone days of my youth.

The date I had written at the top of the page on which the verse appeared (in my best joined-up handwriting which I’m no longer able to do) was 30th March 1971. At the time, Hot Love by T.Rex was at the top of the BBC singles chart, Leeds United were almost invincible, Janet Moody was gorgeous but unapproachable and I would have been thirteen and a bit, and a bit spotty and a bit shy.

I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing but today’s sexagenarian me wouldn’t be able to write anything quite like this, even though I still get the occasional spot on my nose.

Until now it had only ever been read by me and Mrs. Stow, my English teacher. But now it’s your turn. My apologies for taking so long to share it. You see, I’ve been a bit busy.



One day

My mother yawned, her

Mouth an outstretched


Keeping my feet firmly on the ground,

I peered in.

Almost fell in.


Look said the clown

Your nose has two holes in it.

For every word mouth speaks

Nose utters two.

Siamese sniffs and snores.


He talks and talks

Building a wall of words.

I take my muted trumpet

And silently blow, blow, blow

Out, through his word wall.

Still, my, head, nods,

Politely, thinking miles away,

And still he talks and talks,

Certain sure that I’m still, still,

Inside his Jericho, ericho, ericho, ericho.


Rediscovering Holes

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