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Poetry Magnum Opus

Innocence and austerity


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There were lots o' shops along our road, and shopkeepers weren't aware they’d been tagged with a secret code, that only we could share.We’d choose our nicknames for 'em all, (it wasn’t very hard)---lots o' laughter behind the wall, coming from our back yard. There was ‘Winkie Dip’ in the bike shop, with his daft lad called Cyril; who had a twitch that wouldn’t stop (and he looked just like a squirrel). We called the butcher, ‘Be-My’ ( his surname it was Guest); he always bragged his manky pies were better than the rest. And cobbler, ‘Eighty-Odd-Eyes’ had specs like bottle bottoms: spitting little nails like flies, then whacking till he got ‘em. 'Fumbling Fred' the photographer, had a tur-terrible stutter; he buggered snaps up regular, and blamed it on his shutter. 'Bogey Black' the bookie, had a speaker in the lane, where they gathered for a flutter---all them wi' half a brain. And shoplifting was commonplace: (folk didn't have much money,) up before the magistrate, sometimes it was funny. One of 'em-- Sweat-yeller Grace, hid some butter in her hat. But it got warm, ran down her face and covered her in fat. Sweet-shop-man said “trade was bad”: that he’d been sorely hindered by rumours that a little lad, saw a mouse in his front window. Scampering: from box to box, sampling and nibbling; then scooting along his counter top, pooping and a-dribbling. He’d chased the lad with his walking stick and face like a busted boot: but he seemed to disappear real quick--near our lane, or thereabout!!!

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David W. Parsley

Benjamin, that tur-terrible stutter is one of many nice touches in this piece.



- Dave

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Thanks Tink and Dave. I thought this would perhaps help lighten the tone a little over the holidays. It's an excerpt from a collection of humorous anecdotes I wrote about ten years ago in Yorkshire dialect (which I have diluted here). The pieces are loosely based on childhood memories and situations set in early post war England. I was told they resembled an English version of the old American,“Our Gang” films, with Alfalfa and Buckwheat etc: but that was not my intention. It gave me much pleasure to write in a simple and humorous vein at the time. :smile: Benjamin

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