Posts Tagged ‘Northern Lights’

Bad poetry?

August 13, 2010

Just William — his favourite spot in front of the fire.

When it comes to writing, you never know what others will choose as their favourite pieces. You could go by those who ‘know’ what is good, especially when it comes to poetry. Rhyme is out — or is it?
I wrote a little ditty in celebration of the life of a cat that I had never met. It only took a few minutes. I sent it to a friend who had just buried his beloved cat. But a copy remained in my files.
When I, along with Bob Taylor, published Northern Lights, I needed a poem to balance a section. Something simple and light-hearted. I used the cat poem and called him William.
William was a cat that had belonged to one of my sons many years ago. He was one of many, born in a barn at the local farm. I can’t say that I was pleased to have yet another pet to supervise. Of course, I was the one who had to look after him, feed him and take him to the vet when necessary. He became part of the family, but a cat that was always aloof and his own person. That is, until he became old and really poorly. I hated to see him suffer and when I took him to the vet I hoped termination would be recommended, so I could have him put to sleep without a guilty conscience, The vet said his kidneys had hardened and put him on a drip. I asked if William was suffering. She said with his health problem he would be dozy and not feel pain much. So I collected him to live on for a few more weeks.
I had to feed the cat with a syringe because his gums were rotting. The cat was not too pleased and I got the benefit of his anger. (Such scratches!) But I persevered.
For the first time in his life, when he was smelly with pus and losing teeth and hair, William wanted to come on my knee. Every time I sat down, William would jump up and sort of purr. He did not live much longer and I found him dead in his bed. My hubby buried him in the garden.
So this little ditty is really about two cats.
The funniest thing about the poem, is that it was picked out by a reader as being her most favourite piece in the whole book. It reminded her of her dead cat. The lady was incredibly thankful and full of praise.


William was my darling —
A friendly little cat.
Each time that I came through the door
He was waiting on the mat.
How he loved a cuddle,
Me too I must confess,
For when upset and moody
He softened my distress.
I buried him in the garden,
Just where he loved to sit
And stretch out in the sunshine,
Or take a little kip.
I’m really going to miss him,
He eased my woes and fears.
My little friend has given me
The best of his fourteen years.

Writing For joy
Gladys Hobson — Author
Diary Of A Country Lady
Magpies Nest Publishing.

Nothing To Fear — humour/horror story by Gladys Hobson

May 6, 2010

Nothing To Fear

Dark morning in Lent

‘Anyone there?’
No answer, so what the ‘ell were the chancel lights doing on?
‘Huh!’ she said, locking the door of the west porch behind her and waddling up the centre aisle. ‘If I’d left them on there’d be the Devil to pay.’
Chuntering to herself, Doris made her way to the vestry, switched on the nave lights and took the vacuum cleaner and dusters from a corner cupboard.
‘They’ve ‘ad the kids in again,’ she grumbled when she saw the state of the floor near the outside door. ‘Blooming mud and rubbish all over the place. What the ‘ell are these nails doin’ ‘ere?’ She looked around the floor. ‘Whackin’ big hammer, and what’s this? Looks like a stapler. God knows what’s been goin’ on.’
She tossed the offending equipment inside the cupboard. ‘Vicar can sort it out. Must be somethin’ to do with Lent — God knows what.’
There was a tap on a window. Something shaped like a head draped with a sheet was being waved about outside.
‘Flippin’ kids; always tryin’ to scare me.’
She raised her fist in the direction of the vestry window.
‘Bugger off!’
She took off her coat and was about to hang it over the vicar’s surplice on a hook near the door: ‘Huh, that could do with a wash. And what’s ‘is clothes doin’ dumped on the floor? Vicar’s wives aren’t what they used to be: too busy doin’ their own thing. Mind you, Vicar’s no better. I don’t know — church’s goin’ to the dogs.’
Putting the offending clothes over a chair, she threw her coat inside the cupboard and took out a broom. Pulling on a wraparound pinny, she swept the mud into a pile and left it until she could sweep it outside. Then she noticed the vestry key was in the lock.
‘Good ‘eavens, the door’s unlocked. Must have been open all night. Huh! No wonder the place is in a mess.’
Opening the vestry door wide, she swept the mud outside. In the churchyard, the kids were playing with their skateboards — footing them along the steep paths, leaping on and off the fallen gravestones.
‘No respect for the dead. They need their ‘ides tanning,’ she muttered, waving her broom at them. Sighing and shaking her head in disbelief at the antics of modern youth she hurried back inside, locking the door behind her.
She dragged the vacuum cleaner out of the vestry into the nave.
‘Funeral in less than an hour, Lent service this afternoon — what the ‘ell do we need that for? Vicar’s a right killjoy. Can’t even eat a bit of chocolate without feeling guilty. Oh well, got to get cracking.’
Muffled noises echoed around the church. The hairs on her arms stiffened and her heart rate zoomed. ‘Don’t be stupid,’ she told herself, ‘It’s that coffin sitting in the side chapel that’s spooking you. Get the job done and get out.’
A thought struck her. Suppose the coffin’s occupant is still alive?
‘Huh! Imagination running riot again, Doris. Time you gave this job up, you’ll be seeing ghosts next!’
Starting from the back of the church, she plugged in the cleaner and began her work — another half hour and the vicar would be arriving. She began singing ‘Abide with me’.
Just outside the side chapel she found empty beer bottles strewn around.
‘My goodness! No respect for the dead these days. Mourners drinking beer last night? Celebrating their inheritance? Huh! No business comin’ in the church and leavin’ the vestry door unlocked. I don’t know, whatever next?’
She trotted off to the vestry for a black plastic sack.
‘More work to do. The vicar will be here any minute. Better not be in one of ‘is moods.’
She started picking up the bottles. Muffled moans sounded from the side chapel just behind her. Fear immobilised her body. Bottles dropped from her hands with a crash. Icy fingers gripped her heart, stiff pimples covered her flesh, her hair uncurled and stood on end.
She forced herself to move. She was being stupid again: it was just kids messing about, the central heating playing tricks, timbers shrinking, or….
Slowly she turned to face the coffin.
‘Is there anyone there?’ she croaked, unable to think what else to say.
The coffin lay still and silent on its trestle in front of her. The only movement coming from the single spray of red roses resting on the lid — petals were dropping like tears of blood to the floor below. Her heart began to slow its rapid pace. She sighed with relief. ‘Silly woman, Doris.’
Suddenly the sound came again — much louder this time.
Her eyes darted to her left. Her mouth opened in a scream, but nothing came out. Paralysed to the spot her gaze was held captive by the vision before her.
Sitting naked in front of the chapel altar, his hands nailed cruciform to the altar frame, and his feet nailed to the floor below the step on which he sat was the Reverend Donald Charles Geoffrey Bloom — Father Don, as he preferred to be called. His bloodshot eyes were wild with fear and pain. Muffled grunts were vibrating the plastic tape sealing his mouth.
Grey ash of penitence drifted over his head, down his face, over his body and onto the sanctuary carpet. On a board resting on a piece of sacking stapled between his legs, was written:


Even through the haze of her shocked brain, Doris remembered the village gossip about the vicar and the treasurer’s wife. Her eyes turned towards the coffin. Elizabeth Jones had died — or so it was rumoured — of a self-administered abortion. She looked again at her suffering vicar and nodded her head in understanding.
She turned and picked up the broken glass. How silly of her to think the body in the coffin was alive. Mrs Jones was dead all right: there’d been a post-mortem. Poor old Mr Jones was a very distraught man. Well, no man likes to be cuckolded… it’s against ‘is dignity. And to end up a widower as well. ‘Dear, oh, dear…’
‘Change and decay…’ she sang to no one in particular.
She stopped and picked up a small card.
‘Now what’s this?’


She dropped the card into the sack. ‘What’s ‘is card doin’ ‘ere?’
She dragged the sack to the vestry. ‘Better get on, the funeral will start soon — ‘ope Vicar’s ready in time.’
She took a last look at the side chapel.
‘I don’t know, the lengths folk go to at Lent… ash on ‘eads… fasting… flagellation… and now this! Why can’t Vicar give up sweets like the rest of us? Well, I’m not cleaning that lot up.’
‘’Elp of the ‘elpless……………….’

Gladys Hobson’s story is published in Northern Lights
Author’s books
Writing For Joy
Magpies Nest Publishing
My Space
Ask Gran Hobson

Diane Taylor West

August 7, 2008

Diane Taylor West

Diane Taylor West

Diane Taylor West

Ms West is a teller of tales and a writer of poetry. The variety of work she produces is wide and varied, from writing up her column in a local weekly paper to producing both humorous and poignant poems, stories and anecdotes for magazines and anthologies. Here are two examples of her work.
First poem. I have chosen this one as a starter because I think it is one of her best. Nothing pretty-pretty but stark and chilling! An abused child caught in the grip of fear, from which there is no escape.

A Crying Shame…(ssh)

Silent tears are the voices
That no-one hears
Caught in the throat of fear
Waiting for release
When it comes
If it comes.

Forbidden words
Hidden away
Locked in the vault of guilt and pain
Waiting for release
When it comes
If it comes.

Trapped behind a mask of lies
And the ignorance of unseeing eyes
Waiting for release
When it comes
If it comes.

A dirty game
A crying shame.

Taylor West

And now for something completely different!

The Flasher

The man in the raincoat stands up and prepares
As the girls head towards him, of him unawares.
He waits till they’re next to the sign that says trash,
Then steps out in front of them, gives them a flash.

One says, ‘Oh my God!’ and then ‘Yeuk!’ says another,
‘I’ve seen bigger things on my two-year-old brother.’
They all fall about laughing, to his surprise,
So he hastily tries to zip up his flies.

Much to his horror, he gets his ‘thing’ stuck;
What a time to have such a run of bad luck.
His eyes start to water and he blinks away tears
As he waits till the pain in his groin disappears.

He staggers away, loudly groaning with pain,
And he resolves that he’ll never go flashing again;
But after a while he begins to feel better —
He’s watching a woman who’s posting a letter.

The pain’s gone completely, and now he feels fine.
He’ll make sure that nothing goes hay-wire this time.
He stands in the bushes, unzipping his fly,
And a bee flies inside it — oh me, oh my!

Taylor West

Read more of her poems in Northern Lights, stories and poems from the North of England. ISBN 978-0-9548885-8 Go to to sample pages of the book.