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This collection has been selected from Terence Anthony's publications....

Butterflies and Bicycles, Stories from Joe's Diner, Picking Up The Pieces (Americana Reflections), Different Shades and

Folk Country Americana (The lyrics & Verse of TERENCE ANTHONY). 

"From the sad and the serious,

to the lighthearted and the lyrical...

A wonderful, eclectic mix"



LONDON – 1840


May I please ask you, Sir, can you spare a little change?
Perhaps you have a sixpence that you don’t need.
Please don’t judge me too harshly,
Please don’t think that it’s strange,
That I am only seventeen, and have a baby to feed.


But it seems to me, Sir, that you’re a decent man,
Who always tries to see the very best in everyone.
Believe me I’m a good girl, who fell on difficult times,
I can tell you honestly, that I have committed no crimes.


And so I ask you once again, to spare a little small change,
And maybe you’ll remember me when you go back to your grange,
And know the silver sixpence, that you have placed in my hand,
Will help to feed my baby, who one day will understand,
That just a little kindness, can go a long, long way,
And he will remember the sixpence, that helped to save the day.


The precious silver sixpence, that surely saved the day.

The Apple Tree

You say that you don’t know me, but I remember you,

When you were just a little boy of ten;
Sitting in my apple tree, to see what you could view,
Falling down, then climbing up again.


Perhaps I should have scolded you, but you were having fun,
And who was I to stop a child at play?
Life is an adventure when, the heart is very young,
And I would never take that dream away.


And so I made you welcome with some cake and lemonade,
But never really knew from where you came;
As you left and closed the gate, you looked at me and waved,
I never thought I’d see that smile again.


But here we are once more my friend, though many things have changed,
The laughter in your eyes is still the same;
Which makes this such a special day, that fate somehow arranged
And just to let it pass would be a shame.


So now do you remember me, before my hair turned grey?
And you became a young man in your prime;
Sitting in my apple tree, when you were only ten,
That golden summer, once upon a time.

The day that Superman Died

I always knew that Superman could fly,
And I believed that he would never die.
That was how I used to feel, when I saw the ‘Man of Steel’,
In the comics that I read in days gone by.


When you’re young your Super Heroes are so real,
But only when you’re young, well that’s the deal;
That’s the time they live and breathe, they are strong, and you believe,
But only when you’re young, yes that’s the deal.


Those Saturdays down at the Picture Show,

With all the other kids I used to know.
For a nickel and a dime, we could move through space and time.
But now that seems a long, long time ago.


When Superman was up there on the Screen,
I always knew that I could live the dream.
And know a special truth, that only comes with youth,
But now I’m old, I know it’s not the same.


If I’d recognised my feelings,

Then perhaps I would have cried,

On the day that Superman died.

The "Catalina"

Yesterday, I  saw  the ‘Catalina’, flying  proudly  in  a  perfect  sky,

Then  coming  in  to  land, on  a  perfect  sea,

And  I  gave  a  little  smile, and  I  gave  a  little  sigh,

For  the  memories  came  flooding  back  to  me,

Of  that  day  in  the  bay  back  in  1953,

When  I  saw  that  flying  boat  for  the  very  first  time,

And  I  loved  the  way  it  moved, and  I  loved  it’s  great  design,

And  I  was  just  a  little  boy  of  nine. 


My  father  was  a  pilot  in  the  war,

Now  he  started  reminiscing  as  we  sat  there  on  the  shore,

On  that  golden  day, way  back  in ’53,

When  we  saw  the ‘Catalina’ resting  on  a  perfect  sea. 


I learnt so  many  things  about  that  special  plane,

For I had  so  many  questions, and  my  father  would  explain, 

Of  the ‘Catalina’s  service   in  the  war,

And  how  it  helped  our  heroes, on  land  and  sea  and  shore.


Now  I  watch  the ‘Catalina’  resting  on  a  sapphire  sea,

And  remembering  my  father, and  what  he  meant  to  me,

And  the  time  we  spent  together, sitting  by  the  bay,

And  the ‘Catalina’ flying  in, on  that  golden  day.




Somewhere  in  Flanders  field  there  lies

A  boy  I  knew  so  well,

From  the  fading  dream  of  golden  days;

We  were  friends  from  childhood,

To  the  moment  when  he  fell,

Drifting  down  beyond  the  twilight  haze.


In  scarlet  cap  with  silver  crest,

I  see  his  smiling  face,

Shining  brightly  through  the  passing  play;

From  the  playing  fields  of  morning,

To  a  dark  and  lonely  place,

Weeping, at  the  closing n of  the  day.

Return to School

They’re going to pull it down, my old school,
That’s a pity, after all those glorious years;
But it’s derelict now, and I know it has to fall,

So I went inside the gate, whilst holding back my tears.


The corridors echoed to a familiar noise,

The coming and going of so many eager boys;

I heard their ghostly voices from out of the past,
A timely reminder that nothing ever lasts.


I saw books and pencils scattered on the floor,

But of course I realised I didn’t need them anymore;

And there on a blackboard, in a practised hand,
I saw notes from a Master that I tried to understand.


And in the Great Hall, through the darkness and the dust,

I saw the names of heroes, and I knew the best was lost;

I heard the choir singing, but there was no one there,

And then there was a stillness in the air.


I remembered my classroom, a green field, and the games,
And each sporting ‘First Eleven’, in their special picture frames;
But a man from the Company was tugging at my sleeve,

And reluctantly I knew I had to leave.


The very next day, when I passed that hallowed ground,
I saw men and machinery, and I heard the dreadful sound,
Of the building that I loved been slowly torn apart,
And that left an empty feeling in my heart.


This was my school, and those were my years,

That’s why I had returned, perhaps to find some souvenirs;
Yet nothing could match the memories, that I’ll share with all my friends,

And hope that we are wiser, when the final lesson ends

Pascal (so little time)

I  never  wanted  it  to  be  this way,

But  sometimes  you  don’t  have  any say;                                   Fate  takes  a  hand, and  puts  you  to  the  test,

But  it’s  hard  to  understand, when  you  lose  the  very  best ….
I’m  sorry  that  you  never  met  Pascal,

And  never  heard  his  laughter, and  never  saw  his  smile;

And  never  knew  the  boy, wise  beyond  his  years,
And  never  shared  his  happiness, before  the  silent  tears.

But  now  the  days  go  by  without  Pascal,

And  I  will  miss  his  laughter, and  I  will  miss  his  smile;

Remembering  the  boy  running  in  the  lane,

Sometimes  falling  down, then  trying  to  hide  his  pain;

Now  life  without  Pascal  is  not  the  same.

His  life  was  brief, just  like  a  shooting  star,

Hoping  to  reach  some  distant  point,  tho’  never  moving  far;

But  now  my  child  I  wonder  where  you  are.


Are  you  in  a  place  where  a  bluebird  sings?
Are  you  playing  your  favourite  games, and  making  lots  of  friends?
Are  you  chasing  the  rainbow, that  appeared  after  the  rain ?

But  most  of  all  I  need  to  know, when  will  I  see  you  again?


So  little  time  my  friend, so  little  time,

Sharing  life’s  brief  moments, by  chance  or  by  design;

But  must  we  lose  the  ones  we  love, before  they  reach  their  prime?

So  little  time  my  friend, so  little  time.


So  little  time  Pascal, so  little  time.

Burley Wood

Remember  Burley  Wood, on  the  edge  of  town ?

Well, soon  it  won’t  be  there  anymore;

The  Company  has  said, that  the  trees  are  coming  down,

And  they  won’t  change  their  mind, yes, that’s  for  sure.


The  controversy  began  about  a  year  ago,

When  the  bids  came  in  to  buy  that  precious  land;

Precious  to  the  people  for  a  hundred  years  or  more,

That’s  something  that  the  Company  could  never  understand.


And  soon  their  steel  and  concrete  will  dominate  the  sky,

In  the  place  where  children  played  not  long  ago;

Bright  flowers  that  young  lovers  pick, will  fade  away  and  die,

And  Burley  Wood, will  be  no  more.


Hide  and  seek  in  summer, a  place  to  walk  the  dog,

The  memories  come  flooding  back  to  me;

And  picnics  with  the  family, or  resting  on  a  log,

Recovering, from  climbing  up  a  favourite  tree.


Orange, red  and  gold  were  shades  of  autumn,

And  spring  arrived, to  melt  the  winter  snow;

The  birds  came  alive, with  the  rising  sun,

And  we  would  watch  the  seasons  come  and  go.


Tomorrow, I  shall  return  to  Burley  Wood,

And  think  of  you, my  dear  old  friend;

And  take  a  final  look, at  the  place  that  we  both  loved,

In  those  golden  days  of  summer, that  we  thought  would  never  end.

Joe's Diner

Well, just before you reach the city limits,
You're bound to see ‘Joe’s Diner’ on the right;

Call in there for ham and eggs and coffee,

He’s open every day, and through the night.


It seems like Joe has run the place forever,
Well I've been eating there since ’68;
He serves the finest ‘T-Bones’ in the County,
And there’s so much, you need a bigger plate.


And I remember, in my times of trouble,
How Joe would put a smile back on my face;
Just serving words of comfort with the coffee,
So I don’t want to lose this special place.


But eat at ‘Joe’s’, for no one knows,
What all those grey suits plan at ‘City Hall’;
They shake you by the hand, then re-possess the land,
And you are out of business by the Fall.


I sometimes wonder if they have no feelings,
The grey suits that control the city purse;
‘cause if they did they’d leave alone ‘Joe’s Diner’,
But no, they let things go from bad to worse.


They build their super highways, but you’re going nowhere fast,
So maybe all the ‘Suits’ will think again,
And leave us with ‘Joe’s Diner’, well at least until the last,
And we can eat those ham and eggs again.

'Mister Murphy'

No, I  don’t  ever  get  to  feel  lonely,

tho’  I’ve  never  had  children  or  a  wife;

But  the  truth  is, I’m  never  really  on  my  own,

‘cause  there  is  someone  special  in  my  life. 


I’m  talking  about  the  greatest  friend  a  fella  had,

his  name  is   Mister  Murphy, he’s  my  dog,

And  if  I  ever  lost  him, that  would  make  me  feel  real  sad,

Like  the  time  that  he  went  missing  in  the  fog.  


He’s  sitting  at  my  feet, and  hears  me  talking;

His  big  brown  eyes  are  looking  straight  at  me,

He’s  waiting  for  those  words, ‘’shall  we  go  walking’’?

Then  puts  a  friendly  paw  across  my  knee. 


And  so  I  take  him  out  into  the  forest,

And  he  just  loves  it,  barking  at  the  birds;

When  it  comes  to  company, I’ve  got  the  very  best,

I’m  not  sure  that  I  can  put  it  into  words. 


A  stranger  one  day  asked  me, ‘’Is  your dog  a  special  breed’’?

And  I  replied, ‘’That’s  obvious  to  see’’;

He  looked  at  my  companion, then  I  knew  we  both  agreed,

How  special  Mister  Murphy  was  to  me.


Yes, he’s  a  little  bit  of  this, and  a  little  bit  of  that,

Tho’ I  don’t  really  care  about  his  breed;

But  he  moves  like  a  greyhound, when  chasing  that  ‘darn  cat’,

I’ve  never  known  a  dog  with  so  much  speed.


But  sometimes  he  gets  lazy, and  just  lays  there  on  the  lawn,

Contented, just  to  watch  the  world  go  by;

Then  I  join  Mister  Murphy, as  he  greets  me  with  a  yawn,

And  we  both  fall  asleep, beneath  a  crimson  sky.

Crazy Mixed Up World

Late at night when the world is winding down,
I get the feeling something’s wrong.
I take a walk through the streets of the town,
Hear voices calling, but then I carry on.


In paper boxes down the cold alleyways,
I see the victims of the night;
The lonely people who have known better days,
And now they’re hiding from the light.


Yet someone sleeps in a warm feather bed,
And someone is near the fire glow;
While some folk think they’d be far better dead,
It’s a crazy mixed up world you know.


Rain soaked pavements reflect the neon light,
And somewhere nearby a sad cafe;
With ‘certain ladies’, just a part of the night,
But true love seems many miles away.


Yet someone smiles at a welcoming touch,
And someone will say ‘I love you so’;
While some folk think that the pain is too much,
It’s a crazy mixed up world you know.


Time goes slowly and the night lingers on,
Then suddenly the shadows disappear;
A new beginning, with the bright morning sun,
And it’s time to throw away your fear.


People rising and about to take flight,
Hurrying to catch the morning train;
They’ve disappeared, those ‘certain ladies’ of the night
And the world starts turning once again.


They’ve disappeared, the lonely people of the night,
And the world starts turning once again.

On the Shoulders of Love

From  the  smallest  to  the  tallest,

When  your  father’s  trusted  hands,

Raised  you  there, to  where  you  touched  the  sky;

You  were  a  child  on  the  shoulders  of  love,

And  looking  at  the  world  from  way  up  high.


And  the  world  was  a  magical  place,

With  so  many  things  to  see  and  do;

And  there  would  be  a  loving  embrace,

When  the  darkness  closed  in  around  you.


In  the  morning  when  sunlight  filled  the  room,

And  you  were  ready  for  another  day,

You  always  knew  that  you  were  not  alone,

With  someone  there  to  show  you  the  way.


And  now  you  have  a  child  of  your  own,

And  remember  how  it  was  back  then,

When  you  were  on  the  shoulders  of  love,

I  know  you’ll  make  it  happen  once  again.

The Girl in the Yellow Dress

I’m eighty-five years old, and I forget so many things,
I guess my age is catching up with me;
But I remember a special time, when I was just sixteen,
And a girl in a yellow dress I used to see..
playing in the park, or running in the lane,
Her beauty once reflected in a stream,
Her eyes the deepest blue, her hair a golden flame,
Walking in the sun, through fields of emerald green.


Perhaps she didn’t notice me, but now I’ll never know,
For even strong willed boys are often shy;
I couldn’t find the words that say “I love you, please don’t go”.
So the girl in the yellow dress went walking by.
And I will miss her, until the day I die.

HopaLong Cassidy

There’s  a  warehouse  on  the  corner

Of  Delaney  Street  and  Franklin;

But  going  back  at  least  some  sixty  years,

It  used  to  be  a  movie house                                                           Where  all  the  kids  would  go;

But  I  still  hear  the  echo  of  their  cheers. 


When  they  saw  the  7th Cavalry,

Coming  right  over  the  hill;

Chasing  all  the  Indians  away;

And  I’d  be  some  great  general  then,

Or  maybe  Buffalo  Bill;

And  always  live  to  fight  another  day. 


But  each  kid  had  their  favourite  star,

And  mine  was  dressed  in  black;

His  name  was  Hopalong  Cassidy  by  the  way;

He’d  always  fight  guys  fairly,

Never  shoot  them  in  the  back;

Yes, I  remember ‘Hoppy’ to  this  day. 


His  great  white  horse, his  Stetson  hat,

And  his  favourite  neckerchief;

Yes, that  was  Hopalong  Cassidy  my  best  friend;

Although  I  never  met  him,

He  was  always  there  for  me;

In  the  way  that  Movie  Heroes  give  you  strength. 


The  cowboy  with  the  silver  hair,

Riding  out  over  the  Plain,

My  hero  Hopalong  Cassidy,

Please, come  back  again.

The House on Cricklewood Avenue

The  house  on  Cricklewood  Avenue  looked  menacing  in  the  dark,

A  silhouette  against  the  evening  sky;

And  children  playing  in  the  park, who’d  soon  be  homeward  bound,

Said “Don’t  go  near  that  house  or  you  could  die.”


The  place  looked  so  deserted, there  was  not  a  sign  of  life,

Yet  tales  were  told  of  what  went  on  inside;

The  house  on  Cricklewood  Avenue, that  made  the  blood  run  cold,

Was  that  the  place  where  little  children  died?


Some  said  the  house  was  haunted, and  reports  of  evil  deeds,

Would  keep  away  so  many  girls  and  boys;

But  I  was  left  undaunted  by  the  thorns  and  tangled  weeds,

To  reach  the  house, despite  a  warning  voice.


The  dark  and  dusty  windows  made  it  difficult  to  see, 

If  anyone  was  hiding  there  inside;

But  the  house  on  Cricklewood  Avenue, was  waiting  there  for  me,

For  suddenly  a  door  was  open  wide.


I  stepped  into  the  hallway, I  was  shaking  all  the  time,

But  there  was  no  one  answering  my  call;

 “I’m  just  a  little  boy  I  cried, are  you  a  friend  of  mine?”

But  the  house  it  seemed  was  empty  after  all. 


And  just  a  few  days  later, that  old  house  was  up  for  sale,

I  saw  the  sign  they’d  fixed  upon  the  wall;

Replacing  the  original  that  fell  down  in  the  gale,

But  that  was  long  ago  when  I  was  small.


Now  the  house  on  Cricklewood  Avenue  is  full  of  life  and  joy,

Illuminated  by  a  golden  sun;

And  from  inside  the  laughter  of  a  happy  girl  and  boy,

Reminds  me  how  it  should  be  when  you’re  young.

Donaldson V.C

The year was 1934, and I remember it so well,
That peaceful time before the War,
When so many of my friends marched in to Hell.


But going back to 1934,
Before the wounds that never healed,
Fighting to win a different ‘War’,
Playing for the ‘Lockhart Cricket Shield’.


The College Team was excellent that year;
The `Favourites’, you could say, to win their games;
A group of lads who showed no fear,
And I remember all their names....


There was Bates and Evans in the slips,
And Chester, ready in the deep;
And Wilson’s spinning finger tips,
And Bentley-James, to wicket-keep;
The flashing ‘blade’ of Vernon-Brown,
Who liked to bat at number three,
Hitting the ball around the ground,
For every man and boy to see;
Those great ‘all-rounders’, Henderson and Blake,
Equally as good with bat and ball;
The lightning pace of Butterworth and Drake,
But one name was greater than them all....
Donaldson.... William Robert Donaldson, Billy to all his friends,
Hoping to score a thousand runs, before the Season ends.

And it was done with time to spare, upon that College field,
Triumphantly raising in the air, the ‘Lockhart Cricket Shield’.


But he played his greatest innings in 1943,
Leading out those brave young men, and winning the VC;
Billy the Hero, once again, but this time in the War,
Carrying on despite the pain, to reach his highest score.

Chapter's One to Nine

Grand-papa, l heard the children call,

How did you live your life when you were small?
Can you remember, did you have lots of fun?
And I replied, sometimes I cried, but mostly it was fun,

In ‘Chapter One’.


In ‘Chapter One’? What is ‘Chapter One’?
I told the children what that meant,

I knew they’d understand,

That life is a book we write, about our time,
The days and years from ‘Chapter One’, perhaps to Chapter Nine’,

When we are very old, but can recall,
Those special days of love, when we were small.


A picnic in the park, with lemonade,
A friendly voice when it got dark, so we were not afraid;
We’d fly a paper plane, or play a favourite game,
Enjoying all the seasons as they came.


The April showers, and then the summer heat;
The fallen leaves of Autumn, that moved below our feet;
A snowman in the yard, when winter came,
A lonely figure in the night, that melted in the rain.


So many golden days, and happy years;
Rut suddenly it fades away, and then it disappears,
The opening chapter, when life was fine,
But there is still so much to do, from Two, to Chapter Nine.


But listen children, please have lots of fun,
For nothing beats the best of ‘Chapter One’;
And love your friends, but try to be yourself,
And then return your book of life, back to the Master’s shelf.

I think perhaps I knew ....

There was something in the air,

It was not the time to sell the moment cheap;

The boy’s thin arms around me, as he rested in my chair,

The prelude to an everlasting sleep.


He was as light as a feather,

When I laid him in his bed,

His complexion almost whiter than the sheet;

And as the child lay sleeping I could hear his gentle breath,

But then silence .... does the heart still beat?


The boy with no tomorrows,

Leaving memories of the past,

And sadness at the closing of the day;

But then we share our sorrows, for we know that nothing lasts,

And we are unknown players in life’s sad and tragic play.


Then down the lonely days,

And after all these years,

There doesn’t seem much more than I can say;

But that was the beginning, of all my silent tears,

When the boy with no tomorrows slipped away.

The Boy with no Tomorrows

The 'Kabin' (isn't open anymore)

‘The ‘Kabin’ isn’t open anymore’:
I read that simple notice on the door:
But I stood there in the rain,
And I read those words again,
‘The ‘Kabin’ isn’t open anymore’.


The ‘Kabin’ was our favourite candy store:

We’d go there after school, and stay ’til four:

Buying sweets and lemonade,

And then resting in the shade,

Listening to the waves break on the shore.


I think about the ones I used to know,
My best friend Mary-Ann, and Phil and Joe,
Mr. Williams owned the store,
And his son, killed in the war,
Now that seems a long, long time ago.


The memories, they come flooding back to me,
Of all those halcyon days in ’53:
And that place down by the beach,
And those friends, now out of reach:
They will always mean so much to me.


‘The ‘Kabin’ isn’t open anymore’:
I read that simple notice on the door;
I tried and tried again,
But then no one could explain,
Why the ‘Kabin’ isn’t open anymore.


It is such a crying shame,
And I don’t know who to blame;
Now the ‘Kabin’ isn’t open anymore.

James Dean

I  was  on  the ‘Super  Chief’ in  nineteen  fifty –three,

On  my  way  to  Hollywood, to  set  the  spirit  free;

And  though  I  didn’t  know  it  then, I  guess  I  couldn’t  see,

How  far  I’d  go  in  Hollywood, from  nineteen  fifty-three.


But  going  back  a  little  while, I  made  the  New  York  scene,

I  met  a  guy  who  didn’t  smile, who  said “My  name’s  James  Dean”;

I  listened  to  the  words  he  said, the  kid  was  so  alive,

How  could  I  know  he’d  end  up  dead, in  nineteen  fifty-five?


We  hung  around  in  clubs  and  bars, and  met  some  crazy ‘Dudes’,

Who  thought  they’d  all  be  movie  stars, but  didn’t  have  the  moves;

Not  like  my  good  friend  Jimmy, who  knew  he’d  be  the  best,

Along  with  Clift  and  Brando, much  better  than  the  rest.


In  ‘fifty-two’  I  loved  New  York, and  James  Dean  made  it  great,

sometimes  we’d  sit  around  and  talk, until  the  hour  got  late;

Then  walk  around  the  city, and  take  in  every  scene,

The  ugly  and  the  pretty, with  my  best  friend  James  Dean.


One  day  Jimmy  said “You’re  good, you  write  terrific  stuff, 

Why  don’t  you  go  to  Hollywood, I  know  you’re  good  enough,

And  maybe  in  the  years  to  come, you’ll  write  a  script  for  me”,

But  in  a  sad  September  sun, I  knew  it  couldn’t  be. 


The  year  was  nineteen  fifty-five, I  turned  the  radio  on, 

Jimmy,  are  you  still  alive? I  can’t  believe  you’re  gone;

But  then  I  read  the  headline, the  legend  had  begun,

And  Jim  went  home  before  his  time, in  that  September  sun.

Moving On

I’m  standing  in  a  cold  and  empty  room,

my  footsteps  are  sounding  on  the floor;

The  furniture  has  gone, and  I’m  leaving  soon,

When  I  turn  the  key  and  lock  the  front  door.


I’m  saying  farewell  to  the  place  that  we  called  home,

That  is,  Melissa, and  the  kids  and  me;

But  Melissa’s  not  here, and  the  kids  have  moved  on,

And  now  I  know, it’s  happening  to  me.


So  I  spend  a  little  time  in  every  room,

Remembering, the  laughter, and  the  tears;

And  sweet  Melissa, who  had  to  leave  to  soon,

And  never  knew  too  many  golden  years.


And  then  I  turn  the  key  and  lock  the  door,

And  suddenly  the  house  looks  very  small;

I  walk  away, but  then  look  back  once  more,

And  I  tell  the  taxi  driver  where  to  call.


Yes, I’ve  got  a  fine  apartment, with  a  great  view  of  the  bay,

But  living  on  my  own, is  not  the  same;

I  miss  my  wife  and  children, and  there’s  not  much  more  to  say,

But  how  it’s  all  worked  out  is  such  a  shame.


Now  I’m  moving  on, and  getting  by,

Well  you  have  to, if  you  want  to  show  some  pride;

It’s  not  easy, but  I’m  going  to  try,

Despite  the  hurt  I’ll  always  feel  inside. 


And  I’ll  keep  moving  on….moving  on.

Breaking Stomes and Aching Bones

Breaking  stones  and  aching  bones, the  nightmare’s  back  again,

You’re  working  on  a  chain  gang, with  all  those  broken  men;

Well  maybe  you’re  just  dreaming, you’ll  have  to  count  to  ten,

And  maybe  you’ll  be  back  at  home, instead  of  in  the ‘Pen’.


Breaking  stones  and  aching  bones, the  work  is  mighty  hard,

You  think  that  you  could  get  away, if  you  could ‘jump’ the  Guard;

And  break  the  chains  that  bind  you, but  there’s  a  loaded  gun,

That’s  bound  to  hunt  and  find  you, before  the  day  is  done.


No  hope  on  the  horizon, but  still  you  must  be  strong,

And  try  to  find  the  reason, that  everything  went  wrong;

And  when  you  leave  the  chain  gang, and  all  those  breaking  stones,

You’ll  come  up  with  a  simple  plan, to  save  those  aching  bones. 


But  then  the  nightmare  wakes  you  up, and  you’re  at  home  in  bed,

You  rise  and  fill  a  coffee  cup, to  clear  your  troubled  head;

But  suddenly  reality  is  knocking  at  your  door,

And  men  in  dark  blue  uniforms, are  waiting  there  for  sure.


The  past  is  catching  up  with  you, they’re  taking  you  away,

The  nightmare  that  was  bugging  you, is  coming  true  today;

And  you’ll  be  on  that  chain  gang, with  no  one  else  to  blame,

And  breaking  stones  and  aching  bones, are  coming  back  again.


Breaking  stones  and  aching  bones, is  that  what  life’s  about?

You  hate  the  situation, but  how  do  you  get  out?

You’re  looking  for  an  answer, my  friend  I  wish  you  well,

But  get  it  right, or  in  the  end, you’ll  spend  your  days  in  Hell. 


Breaking  stones….breaking  stones….                                           Those  aching  bones….breaking  stones.  


Hey, Kid ! Get  out  of  this  bar, I  don’t  want  to  see  you  getting  hurt;

You  think  your  tough, well  maybe  you  are, but  you’ll  end  up  in  the  dirt,

With  blood  on  your  face, your  teeth  on  the  floor, and  not  a  friend  in  sight;

And  I  can’t  help  you  anymore, if  you  won’t  see  the  light.


You’re  just  a  kid, you’re  seventeen, you  won’t  know  what  to  do,

When  some  dark  stranger  makes  the  scene, and  points  a  gun  at  you,

You’ll  think  he’s  old, you’ll  think  he’s  slow, you’ll  think  he’s  past  his  best,

But  you’ll  be  crying  like  a  crow, when  you’re  put  to  the  test.


And  that’s  if  you  survive  at  all, so  Kid  come  on  get  wise,

I  want  to  see  you  standing  tall, not  like  the  other  guy’s,

Who  think  they’re  rough, who  think  they’re  tough, and  have  the  right  to  kill,

And  throw  away  the  chance  to  love, and  end  up  in  Boot  Hill. 


Leave  it  there, that  loaded  gun, that  you’ve  hid  under  your  shirt,

You’re  just  a  kid, I’ve  told  you  son, that  soon  you’re  going  to  get  hurt;

So  leave  the  bar, and  leave  this  town, and  make  a  brand  new  start,

And  maybe  Kid, you’ll  be  around, with  a  smile  and  a  tender  heart.


So  Kid !  Get  out  of  this  place, I  don’t  want  to  see  you  lying  dead;

Staying  alive  is  no  disgrace, it  shows  you’re  using  your  head;

Then  one  day  when  you’re  good  and  grown, you’ll  know  these  words  were  true,

‘cause  you’ll  have  young  kids  of  your  own, and  you’ll  know  what  to  do.


Hey  Kid ! Please  believe  me, I  was  a  young  fellow  too,           When  I  got  into  trouble  at  the  age  of  twenty-two;

But  then  somebody  helped  me, just  like  I’m  helping  you,

To  see  the  light, and  get  it  right, and  end  up  happy  too.

Good Times, Bad Times (and not much in between)

From  cowboys  and  country  roads, and  all  those  crazy  fights,

To  young  men  in  grey  suits, who  loved  the  city  lights;

From  pretty  girls  who  loved  too  much, to  those  who  didn’t  care,

And  sad  ones  that  lost  their  looks, and  those  with  the  golden  hair.


I’ve  heard  it  all, I’ve  seen  it  all, I’ve  lived  a  hundred  years,

And  you  could  learn, from  what  I’m  telling  you;

And  maybe  I  will  raise  a  smile, or  maybe  there’ll  be  tears,

But  you  will  find  that  what  I  say  is  true.


The  villains  and  the  good  guys, I guess  I’ve  met  them  all,

The  stupid, and  the  very  wise, who  saved  me  from  a  fall;

And  friendly  folk, who  shared  their  food, and  helped  me  on  my  way,

And  just  a  few  with  evil  blood, who  tried  to  spoil  the  day.


I’ve  had  a  lot  of  money, that  I  won  in  poker  games,

Cause  I  could  spot  the  phonies, that  would  never  give  their  names;

And  then  as  I  grew  older, I  put  my  winnings  in  the  bank,

For  when  the  deck  grew  colder, and  my  luck  would  draw  a  blank.


I’ve  lived  a  lot, I’ve  loved  a  lot, and  made  some  big  mistakes,

But  I’ve  never  blamed  another  soul, when  I  didn’t  get  the  breaks;

I’ve  been  a  travelling  cowboy, to  the  East  and  to  the  West,

I’ve  worn  the  boots, and  hated  suits, and  shook  hands  with  the  best.


Sometimes  I’ve  lived  in  hovels, and  I’ve  stayed  in  fine  hotels,

But  I’m  not  the  type  that  grovels, to  the  smart  and  to  the  swells;

I’ve  been  around  the  World  three  times, and  seen  so  many  things,

I’ve  made  some  friends, and  drunk  the  wines, with  peasants  and  with  kings.


Good  times, Bad  times, and  not  much  in  between,

You  only  get  one  shot  at  life  my  friend;

So  try  to  make  the  most  of  it, the  ever  changing  scene,

‘cause  it  doesn’t  really  matter  in  the  end.

And  I  think  I’ll  have  another  drink  my  friend!

Chromium and Steel

I’ve  never  been  jealous  in  my  life,

That  was  until  today;

When  a  blue  and  silver  limousine,

Happened  to  pass  this  way.


Real  leather  seats, and  tinted  glass,

And  chromium, and  steel;

And  I’ve  got  to  say, the  guy  had  class,

That  fella  there  at  the  wheel.


In  light  blue ‘shades’ and  short  blond  hair,

The  ‘spit’ of  Steve  McQueen;

And  with  a  look  that  said ‘Beware’,

And  just  a  little  mean. 


And  by  his  side  a  pretty  young  girl,

No  more  than  twenty  three;

And  there  we  were  in  different  worlds,

The  two  of  them  and  me. 


What  a  car, that  dream  machine,

The  dashboard  polished  wood;

The  headlights  burning  bright  and  clean,

No  motor  looked  this  good. 


Then  burning  rubber, and  moving  fast,

That ‘cool’ car  left  the  scene;

With  a  pretty  young  girl  with  lots  of  class,

And  a  guy  like  Steve  McQueen. 


Will  I  forget  this  special  day?

I’m  sure  I  never  will;

When  blue  and  silver  passed  this  way,

And  chromium  and  steel.

Showtime at the Zoo

Down  at  the  City  Zoo,                                                                     I’ve  seen  a  thing  or  two;

Crazy  times  you  wouldn’t  believe,

But  trust  me, they’re  all  true!


I’m  the  City  Keeper, I  close  and  lock  the  gate,

The  people  leave  at  5 o’clock, but  I  stay  on ‘til  eight;

I  feed  the  birds  and  animals,

I  wash  the  cages  down,

I  work  with  Joe  and  Alison,

But  when  they’re  not  around,

It’s  party  time, oh  what  a  time!

Before  I’m  homeward  bound. 


When  I  tell  the  latest  jokes,

The  lions  give  a  roar;

Hyenas  laugh  until  they  cry,

Then  they  come  back  for  more!


Then  I  make  a  pot  of  tea,

For  all  the  chimpanzee’s;

And  one  or  two  jump  on  my  back,

And  try  to  steal  my  keys! 


An  eagle  takes  a  fancy,

To  a  bird  of  paradise;

The  parrot’s  talk  among  themselves,

But  then  that’s  no  surprise! 


The  elephants, the  tigers,

I  guess  I  love  them  all;

But  when  I start  to  sing  a  song,

The  snakes  climb  up  the  wall!


The  polar  bear  has  had  enough,

And  he’s  back  in  the  pool;

I  used  to  think  I  knew  my  stuff,

Well, maybe  he’s  no  fool!


But  then  I  tell  another  joke,

It  gets  them  every  time;

Before  I  close  and  lock  the  gates,

And  that  suits  us  just  fine!


Down  at  the  City  Zoo,

I’ve  seen  a  thing  or  two;

Crazy  times, you  wouldn’t  believe,

But  trust  me, they’re  all  true!

The Nightmare

Last night there was a tiger in my room,
And when you’re only ten that’s not so good,
Because I didn’t have a rifle or a gun,
And so I did the only thing I could.


I hid under the sheets and said a prayer,
And told that horrid beast to go away;
In the morning the tiger wasn’t there,
And so I lived to fight another day.


I told the other children that I knew,
How brave I was, though I’m not really sure;
But one thing that I know I’ve got to do,
Is put a tiger-trap outside my door.


Then if that great big cat comes back again,
He’s going to get an awfully big surprise:
When captured by a little boy of ten,
Who when it comes to tigers is so wise.

All poems available in my

book 'Putting it into words'

November 2016

Spider Talk

I don’t want your money, said the spider to the fly,

I just want to eat you up, so you’d better get ready to die;
And you ain’t going to change my mind, no matter how hard you try,
So now my friend it’s near the end, and you’d better get ready to die.


The fly was feeling kind of sick, not ready for his fate,
And then he came up with a trick, but knew it couldn’t wait;
And saying to the spider, “Before you start to poke,
Take it easy, sit awhile, and listen to my joke.”


The spider gave a little smile, and said, “You’ve got some nerve,
I’m going to wait a little while, that’s more than you deserve,
And if your joke is funny, then I’ll let you fly away,
But if it’s bad, I’ll get real mad, and eat you right away!”


The fly said, “It’s a deal, and thank you spider,
It’s good of you to give this fly some hope,
Now open up your ears a little wider,
’cause now you’re going to hear a funny joke.”


“A spider was eating in a Bistro,
But he wasn’t very happy with the cook,
He said this food is awful, you’ve got to take it back,
’cause you've only put one fly into my soup!”


The cook said, “It’s an accident, we don’t put flies in soup,
So if you’ve got one you’re a lucky guy,
But if you come in here again, you'd better bring a group,
Or else we’ll have to charge you for the fly!”


And so the joke was over, and what would the spider say,
Would he eat the funny fly, or let him get away?
I could give the answer, but no, I think instead,
If you want to know what happened next,
Then look on the Spider’s Web!

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