“Grandad”, said the little boy, “why do people fight?
Why do people argue, and both think that they’re right?”
“That’s tricky”, said his Grandad. “Sometimes we make a fuss,
Because we simply can’t accept that folks aren’t all like us.
‘Depends on where you’re standing. Your point of view can vary.
Of being narrow-minded, we really should be wary.
Take my stick for instance. I’m pointing it at you.
I’ll show you how it’s easy to have a different view.
I’m going to twist it clockwise, to me that is quite clear.
The handle’s turning clockwise, for me whilst sitting here.
For you, at whom I’m pointing, that’s simply not the case.
The tip turns anti-clockwise when it’s that end that you face.
One stick, in one direction, is turning, but you see,
On which way it is spinning, we simply can’t agree.
If we chose to argue, we’d both be wrong and right.
And if we didn’t compromise, we’d end up in a fight.
So if there is a conflict, my own advice to you
Is, always try to understand the other’s point of view.
Use the stick example to help them understand
That different perspectives can get quite out of hand.
And, in the end, if reason is not enough to crack ‘em,
Just simply say “Oh, what the heck!” and use the stick to whack ‘em!”
© Dick Ockelton, February 2013
Our love boat has just kept on ploughing/going*
We’ve pulled together, never bowing/slowing*
Through sun and rain but always vowing/knowing*
It’s been worth forty years of rowing
(*Delete as appropriate)
© Dick Ockelton March 2013
The Audi Dude’s a special breed,
That isn’t hard to see.
They drive A4’s and stuff like that,
But mostly the A3.
There was a time when Audi folks
Were not the type to trouble you,
When did they take the Loony’s Crown,
Away from BMW?
They should, by law, be made to learn
A special highway code,
Meant just for them so other folk
Feel safer on the road.
An idiot’s guide with simple rules -
The red light stands for “stop”,
So when pedestrians cross the road.
You shouldn’t take a pop.
Stopping is quite possible
Without last minute braking,
The inside lane on motorways
Ain’t just for undertaking.
Whilst on the phone and switching lanes,
Remember whilst you talk,
That Audis do have indicators
On a little stalk.
Think on whilst playing racing games,
You barmy pedal pumper,
It’s stupid doing eighty
Just a foot off someone’s bumper.
What on earth is that about?
When all is done and said,
For all the crazy stunts you’ve pulled
You’re just two cars ahead.
So ask yourself before you make
Another killer move,
What flips that switch inside your head?
What are you trying to prove?
© Dick Ockelton January 2013
Don’t mention spaghetti!
Don’t dare say that word!
To eat it with dignity’s
No matter how close
You get to the plate,
You know that last mouthful
Is going to wait…..
Until you are gently
Flushed with success
At actually not
Having made a mess.
The person you’re with
Doesn’t think you’re a fool.
They think your slick fork-work
Is really quite cool.
Your shirt is still pristine,
Your manners exemplary
But, sadly, your triumph
Is doomed to be temporary.
You think you’ve survived it,
But don’t be deceived.
Just as you are starting
To feel quite relieved
Whilst twirling a forkful,
It gives a quick flip
And, lashing around
Like a Balrog’s whip,
Splatters your shirt
With a spray of tomato…
Just as you and your Date
Were all set to depart. Oh…
Oh Fickle Fate!
You just messed up
It seems to happen
Let’s face it,
You’re just pasta redemption!
© Dick Ockelton November 2012
“Landed”, it says.
Landed safely. Always a relief.
Waiting with welling anticipation, we left an impossibly tidy house.
A proper welcome. Pirate towels, toys, a full fridge,
Soon to be wreckage.
Doors swish and swish and swish again
As we strain to read tags on bags
Trundled by weary travellers.
It’s their flight! At last, at long last.
The doors give a final sigh
And release our grandchildren.
Subdued. Then smiling. Then running, laughing.
Then grimacing and squirming,
Clamped in hugs.
And behind them their parents. Our children.
Laden, responsible. Grown.
Grateful to let go for a while.
Then it’s into the whirlwind week.
Laughter, fun, food, and the inevitable fight,
Releasing the tensions of rose-tinted expectation.
Kids on shoulders. Snuggling in for a bedtime story.
Plasters on knees. Tears dried.
And the exhaustion. Oh, the exhaustion!
Memories of what we were about
For all those years.
What we were for.
And suddenly it’s over, far too soon.
Back to the airport, no longer welcoming.
Hasty, clumsy embraces. Mumbled farewells. Muffled promises.
Brimming eyes avoided, we turn and walk away
A little too quickly.
No more words. One last wave,
Far enough away to put on the brave face.
And they are gone.
We tell ourselves that our children are happy, that they have a good life.
That our grandchildren, far away, do know us and love us.
That time will fly until we see them again.
That’s what we tell ourselves
But our hearts
Our super-fit Olympic winners
Inspired we lump-like sofa-sinners,
With Jess and Mo and Chris and Laura,
And Vicki – how we all adore her.
The country celebrated headily,
Crunching crisps and supping steadily.
We’d many medals from the North,
But who remembers who came fourth?
Fourth is the cruelest cut of all.
They trained and strained and hit the wall.
It seems somehow to be so wrong
They came away without a gong.
It’s patently just so absurd….
No medal if you come sub-third?
So “nearly there”, so “not quite made it”,
So “just fell short”, so, “no parade” it…
Seems so harsh, so mean, so tough,
So “sorry, not quite good enough”.
So “no cigar” so “no champagne”,
So “go to Rio, try again”.
So “very near and yet so far”,
So “sorry, don’t know who you are”.
We need to put it in perspective.
These athletes, far from ineffective,
When their banners were unfurled
Became the fourth best in the World.
Fourth in the World! I’m telling you,
That’s more than most of us could do.
These are no slouches, no slow-pacers,
Let’s hear it for the world’s Fourth Placers.
So come on then, Olympic fans,
Let’s raise the roof for also-rans.
The world needs more heroic triers,
The gritty type that still aspires
To greatness though they’ve had a knock.
Focused, steady as a rock.
Though they didn’t come first or third or second,
They’re clearly a Fourth with which to be reckoned.
© Dick Ockelton August 2012
I’ve tried it with my finger nails, I’ve tried it with my thumbs.
I’ve tried it with a pencil and that little stick that comes
embedded in my mobile. The display just doesn’t change.
The icons stay immovable, refuse to re-arrange.
The screen is in the headrest, on a long haul flight, economy.
Attempts to find a channel have eliminated bonhomie.
It’s “thump-screen technology” for me, as touch don’t work.
The guy that’s in the seat in front just thinks that I’m a jerk.
I jab and prod his headrest as he’s trying to have a kip,
and there’s something in his attitude that says he’s going to flip.
© Dick Ockelton June 2012
(To the tune of the Dambusters’ March)
In ’52 Elizabeth became our Gracious Queen,
For 60 years as Head of State such changes she has seen,
The war had been quite shattering,
Our chip shop took a battering,
We listened to the radio, and children played with Plasticine,
When she acceded to the throne the world was brown and beige,
Austerity and rationing were symbols of the age
To play outside was still alright, the new TVs were black and white
And learning how to read and write not boring.
No one should ever frown on
Liz when she has her crown on
She has ruled with dignity
She deserves our cheers.
Be gone republican purists
She fetches in the tourists
Thrilled by pomp and circumstance throughout the years
Though she appears on postage stamps she’s never ever licked.
She has some barmy relatives she’d rather not have picked.
Who’ve talked about transgressions in seedy life confessions
And though at times she must have felt
“Those blighters need their backsides kicked”
She never flinched or lost her rag and used her Monarch’s power,
To send a gang of Beefeaters to lock them in the Tower.
Instead she’s simply hung about to keep the silly blighters out
and hope the crown will jump a generation.
Though she has loads of jewelry
She doesn’t like tomfoolery
When her kids went off the rails
She gave them such a look.
She still maintains discretion,
Through each embarrassing session
When minor royals grab the spoils
Or write a book.
Her Uncle was a bounder and her Mum bet on the nags.
And drank and swore a little bit and really liked her fags.
Her sister was quite wayward, and in her young heyday would,
Insist on being naughty with a sporty bloke who liked his Jags.
Though thrust into the limelight by her Dad’s untimely end,
Our Queen has never compromised by following the trend
Of finding someone else to blame for behaviour that’s a cause of shame
Whilst politicians try to frame advisors.
On coins but in nobody’s pocket,
Does her bit and we shouldn’t knock it.
On her diamond jubilee, she’s our crowning jewel.
We don’t need aircraft carriers
Who cares we ditched our Harriers
She’s something that the Yanks ain’t got and that’s so cool.
We’re glad that we’ve still got our Queen, our crow……ning…..jewel.
© Dick Ockelton May 2012
It can be windy, Whitstable,
But the mill on Borstal Hill doesn’t go round.
Upkeep isn’t cheap
And you can’t buy sails in the sales.
So there it stands.
Restored but bored.
Wanting to give it a whirl,
Wanting to fly, but wingless,
Its spindly black cross
Unmoved by the breeze.
It’s a marker for those at sea,
But that’s not what it wants to be.
It’s been home to a painter,
But that ain’t a patch on milling –
not half as thrilling.
It went against the grain.
A mill can feel pain.
Longing to get back to the daily grind,
The thump and creak of the stones.
It yearns to do a proper job again.
To be proud.
To have its millhood restored.
But no sails, no chance.
So its best bet is a holiday let.
But when the wind blows,
It remembers what it was.
© Dick Ockelton May 2011
You know he’s got a wine box though he’s using a decanter.
He can’t fool me, and I can see through all that wine buff banter.
“Decanted from the bottle”, he says “at great expense”,
But if you try to challenge him, he gets a little tense.
It’s never seen a bottle, it’s from a box instead.
There’s just one little giveaway. It’s got a foaming head.
© Dick Ockelton October 2011