Awe children 2

It caresses kids' smiles like a fairy,

Or it pounds little hearts when life's scary.

It's a magical world,

Or it's terror unfurled,

So put awe in kids' lives, but be wary.




 On ancestral green acres of Britain,

 Live aristocrats who’re seen sittin’

Each Fall crossly cluckin’

 At fallow deer fuckin’,

 For shootin’ them then is not fittin’.


Although they may legally spring into courageous armed action against the unfortunate male buck on 31st July every year, these aristocratic hunters are not permitted to start slaughtering the gentle does for their mirth until 31st October, when the rutting season has ended.

These are not the barbed comments of a tree-hugging townsman resentful of landowners. On the magical South African farms of my childhood, many hundreds of fallow deer imported from England roamed safe from the sport-hunter's gun thanks to my grandfather's enlightened view that killing for fun is a depravity that humans should have outgrown by now.





D’you talk about violence and sex

In one breath, or erections and wrecks?

Well how, in God’s name,

Can you think them the same,

Those who’re wringing or kissing our necks?




On political so-called correctness,

 I spit (for it spits on directness).

 You may play craven games,

 And invent inane names,

 But do not seek from me such abjectness.




Being very correct or polite

Has its place, but I’d rather invite

You to simply be kind

 (If that’s not a huge bind),

 For it’s straight and it never seems trite




Bad luck's not when you're shot but just grazed

And a tree takes your slug. God be praised!

Bad luck is — written large —

When your dynamite charge

Blasts it free and you're dead more than dazed.


Henry Ziegland was the victim of history's most determined bullet. In 1913 he was killed by the very slug that had missed him in 1893. Lodged in an oak for twenty years, it tore through Henry's brain after being blasted free by the dynamite that he was using to demolish the tree.





Our compassion's expression's affection,

A beautiful human connection.

It doesn't ask much —

Just a smile or a touch

Nurtures love and affection's reflection.




 Our beliefs have wrought death on this earth

By creating more mayhem than mirth.

Now billions have died

Due to addle-brained pride

Over this or that marvellous birth.




The most vile wads of filth found on earth

 Slaughter us (and themselves) for their mirth.

It seems such a shame

We can’t stop their sick game

 By flushing those swine-turds at birth.




Perhaps the smart races of Europe

 Deserve those resentments they stir up,

But as the world’s driven

 By things they have given,

 The leeches should dig less manure up.




A man fights to win medals and things

 For male pride and the glory it brings.

Pride doesn’t help much though

His starvelings and widow

 When pawning their bikes and her rings.



Black boy

When He walked amongst men, even God

 Required raiment and bread, and was shod.

Now He seemingly likes

Watching bare-bottomed tykes

 Shuffle shoeless and foodless. It’s odd.




There was a kind woman named Sue

Who would cry for an hour on the loo,

Thinking hard about Jesus,

And children’s diseases,

And God and His uncaring crew.

(inspired by a classic)




The godsquad says God’s underpinning

 Its battles with Satan and Sinning,

 With Popes and with Islam,

 Assisted by His Lamb.

 So why, for God’s sake, aren’t they winning?




There was an old Fellow named God

Who had children so sinful and odd

That He passed His long days

Giving thought to new ways

 To stomp harder on those whom He trod.



Primitive man

 Yet He was rather useful, was God,

For each thunder-awed ignorant clod

Who existed by living

In fear and misgiving

 Could cling to His legs when He trod.




Think of Sodom and fallen Gomorrah,

God’s wrath, and the woe, and the sorrah

He brought down on men

 Who behaved rudely then.

 He’s more tolerant now – or less thorrah.




Breathless mystics who’re yearning for Heaven

Revere, besides God, #7,

Old bones, the odd cow,

Or some saint, anyhow,

 Sundry things that make yeastless bread leaven.




He’s created by people who praise Him

(A thought which does not even faze Him)

But that self-seeking rumour

That God dislikes humour

Must truly (He made us) amaze Him!




Though your God-slant on blasphemy's crass for me,

It's not a great gas for me, blasphemy.

I do not show disdain

For the truth, so it's plain

You need not say a blasphemy mass for me.


Blasphemy, for many of us, is not just the denigration of the gods of believers, but also the denigration of provable truths by believers. Which sin is worse, and ultimately most harmful to us and our troubled world, is a question that should be of central importance to all of us.





You say God-spurning atheists lust

Just for profit and tat till they're dust?

They're well-rounded, I feel,

Those whose life-paths reveal

A compassionate non-prophet thrust.


In most English-speaking countries the word tat refers to tasteless baubles and worthless junk.

The point of this verse is that idealistic agnostics and atheists are no more likely to hanker after material things at the expense of noble ideals than committed believers are. Open-minded Christians and Jews should perhaps try harder to see that there is something curiously noble about those who quietly do good deeds without expecting any reward at all in an after-life in which they do not believe.





 Don't think animal-lovers are bland,

 For compassion's a powerful stand.

Would your boy march with Death

If he'd felt the warm breath

 Of a dormouse asleep in his hand?




Of the creatures that give our world cheer,

 The shy panda’s the gentlest, I fear,

So it isn’t surprising

That now they’re devising

 To burn its last forest next year.



Cud-chewing cow

That charming old cud-chewing cow

 Gave us milk by the sweat of her brow,

So got pampered for life

 By both farmer and wife.

 Have you read enough fairy tales now?




 Human avarice hurts the prized horse,

 Who makes profits for men on the course.

What becomes of him when

He’s stopped winning? Why, then

   He gets flogged into fields to graze gorse.


The multi-billion-pound racing industry has traditionally done very little to promote the welfare of racehorses after they have served their purpose. Many are shot within weeks of their retirement. Others are slaughtered for pet food. Some get passed from owner to owner, and often end up neglected in fields. It is left to the animal welfare agencies to help those who are most abused.





 The sleek greyhound can’t always be swift,

 So his owners all end up real miffed.

They tot up the cost

 Of the winnings they’ve lost

 And then cruelly cast him adrift.


Retired greyhounds are treated even more shockingly than racehorses. The press in Britain regularly exposes organised slaughter of these gentle animals on killing farms supported by owners. The dog-racing industry does little to stamp out this evil.





Many hunters consume things they’ve caught

 On their tables with wine or good port.

 Less excuse have the others,

 Best drowned by their mothers,

 Who mangle and maim just for sport.



Burning house

I've a tragic and true tale to tell

Of a mouse (now avenged) burned to hell.

The poor bastard who did it

Lost house just to rid it

Of mouse who, in flames, spread them well.


In January 2006, Luciano Mares of Albuquerque, New Mexico, heartlessly threw onto a pile of burning leaves a live mouse he had caught in his house. The smouldering rodent wreaked his revenge by escaping, and scampering in agony back into the house, which he quickly set alight. Though I am very pleased that Mr. Mares survived, I believe that justice was well served.





 Enduring’s the fame of old Churchill,

Though some are allowed to besmirch still

 His dignified mien.

It’s unfair and obscene

 What those pigeons for whom he’s a perch spill.


London's pigeons, the most determined and disrespectful enemy ever faced by Winston Churchill, are now treated to a dose of electricity when they try to land on the head of his statue in Parliament Square. This defence does not, however, help against those treacherous British pigeons who favour Blitz-inspired aerial bombardment of both Churchill and his faeces-flecked capital.





It is said of brave Baroness Thatcher

 That three mortal men couldn’t match her.

When she once saw a mouse

 In her Downing Street house,

 It took six mortal men just to catch her.


Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of Britain from 1979 to 1990. She was ennobled by the Queen after leaving office. My limerick does her an  injustice, for in reality all the terrified mice moved out of 10 Downing Street as soon as she moved in.




Blair, Tony

It’s true that Prime Minister Blair

Flattens foes till they howl their despair,

But he makes life a hell

For some Britons as well

Because Blair takes great care to seem fair.


Tony Blair (b. 1953) became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after his Labour Party won a landslide victory in the 1997 general election. He is best known outside Britain for his support of President George W. Bush in the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The "some Britons" mentioned in the limerick include those who are appalled by the apparent worsening of many problems under his government, including those associated with law and order and immigration.

There is a very common perception in Britain that he and his government are far more concerned with image than substance. They would perhaps have been more popular had they honoured the spirit of my school motto: Esse quam videri (It is better to be than to seem to be).





I'm a bell-ringer now! Yes, today

Some galoot with the key walked away,

And we're left in the lurch

Wrongly jailed in this church!

Well, what else can we do? Should we pray?


My wife and I, innocently enjoying the quaint splendours of an old church in the English village of Brewood in Staffordshire, heard a loud bang. My investigations revealed that the venerable oak door had been closed on us and that its huge key had been wielded by an unwitting jailer — presumably one simultaneously both deaf and blind — to render the closure temporarily irreversible. My attempts to project intelligible sounds through the long tunnel of the keyhole were partially successful in that they were heard by a lone foreign tourist. Despite my tunnel vision, I spied her frozen in her tracks in the graveyard outside as she stared in horror at the ancient door. Within seconds, she had begun to slalom impressively between the tombstones towards the safety of the darkening village.

Only my inspired decision to become a bell-ringer saved us from spending a cold winter's night sleeping between the ancient crypts. We were released after five hours by an embarrassed Anglican layman — the only one in the village, apparently, whose hearing had been sufficiently well-developed to both hear the bells and consider the lack of talent displayed by the bell-ringer to be worth investigating. After offering us a cup of tea — this was England, remember — he asked me to sign the visitor's book. I obliged. ‘You may be anxious,’ I wrote, ‘to encourage lapsed Christians to return to church, but I feel that this is perhaps not the best way to go about it.’





You'll see blackthorns round each lovely bend

If you cruise England's waterways, friend.

Though their little sour plums,

On their own, wrinkle gums,

In sloe gin they're a heavenly blend.


Says this semi-teetotal boat gypsy of six years. Both the waterways and the spring-heralding white blackthorn blossoms are certainly lovely, just as the fresh sloes are certainly unpleasant. As for sloe gin, I have been told that it's delicious, but I suspect that it, too, would wrinkle my own unappreciative gums.




Black swan

A black swan ruled our waters today,

Having skied in on hisses of spray.

Back and forth he swept by

With his regal head high,

Antimonarchist me in his sway.


The black swan is a native of Australia. Although a few have been brought into Britain, they are rarely found in the wild. During the many years that my wife and I lived on a boat, it was only on this one memorable day that we encountered a black swan on the inland canals. He graced as with his serene, magnificent presence for just a few hours until, in a powerful surge of beating wings and flying feet, he took off beside our boat and flew away mysteriously into the dusk, never to return.




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