Writin' Blues

Well the blues, give me your write hand.

Archive for the month “April, 2015”

Poetry – Day 4

Short and sweet today. A while ago I was challenged to write a filthy limerick containing a Latin phrase, this is what my brain produced (btw, Leominster is pronounced “Lemster”):

A callow young farmer from Leominster 
Paid a whore and attempted to enter
But on him was the joke
For the whore was a bloke
Who winked and said,

“Caveat Emptor”

Poetry – Day 3

Day 3 of NaPoWriMo and it’s back to the blues with these two poems: The first one (which I wrote today) is inspired by memories of Clarksdale and the monument to the legend of Robert Johnson making a deal at a crossroads. Whether you believe it or not, it’s a definitive blues story that I think is let down a little by what has been erected at the intersection of Highways 61 and 49.


Only my opinion of course 🙂

Down at the Crossroads

(R. Wall)

I pilgrimmed to the Delta
To mark 50 summers passed
And wandered through the cotton land
Imagining the past

I searched for myth and folklore
Of pacts and midnight deals
I found the blues in Clarksdale
The truth, to me, revealed

I stopped on Highway 61
Where it crosses ’49
I saw the devil in the detail
As I stood beneath the sign

Screams the banner
Cartoon axes painted blue
Someone traded in their soul, it’s said
Looks like that might be true

Here’s one I made earlier:

In 2003, I began a poem that attracted the attention of a German blues singer, Werner Lindner, who turned it into a song and recorded a demo version:

I Never Knew

(R. Wall)

I never met a race horse
I didn’t want to back
I never had a job
Where I didn’t get the sack
I never played a card game
I knew I wouldn’t lose
I never knew a time
That I couldn’t play the blues

I’m living me a life
Where it seems I’m born to lose
Sometimes it feels
Just like I’m walking
In someone else’s shoes
It’s something deep inside me
I know I’ll never lose
I never knew a time
That I couldn’t play the blues

I never knew a time
Where I wouldn’t start a fight
I never found a bar
Where I wouldn’t drink all night
I never met a drink
That I knew I could refuse
I never knew a time
That I couldn’t play the blues

I never knew a time
That I didn’t have a worry
I never met a town
I didn’t leave in a hurry
I never found a wrong path
I knew I wouldn’t choose
I never knew a time
That I didn’t have the blues

Poetry – Day 2

Today’s poem was inspired by Andrew Peters, a fellow blues fan, occasional sparring partner on Twitter and general antidote to social media. Andy is the author of a series of novels featuring the “Blues Detective” – a Welsh private investigator living in Memphis – and other works including my personal favourite, “Joe Soap”.

Check out his work, you won’t be disappointed.


“All poetry is shite!”
The Welshman yelled from exile
“It’s just random words,
in random places
On the page…”
Who am I to argue,
The assertion of a Sage?

I wrote this poem several years ago and if, while reading it, you experience a subterranean revolving sensation; that will be Edward Lear spinning in his grave…

The Owl & The Pussy Cat
(with apologies to Edward Lear)

The owl and the pussy cat went to sea

In a beautiful, pea-green boat

They sailed past Dover

And were swiftly pulled over

By HM Customs afloat


T’was a miserable caper

For they had no papers

To prove the land they were from

And with a brisk rubber stamp

They were sent to a camp

With others who seek asylum


The owl looked up to the stars above

And sang to a small guitar

“Oh customs man, oh customs official

What a stupid official you are, you are

What a stupid official you are.”


Official said to the owl,

“You ill-tempered fowl

You sewer-mouthed so and so

We had no way of knowing

Which way you were going

I’m just doing my job, you know


And oh how we laughed

at your pea-green craft

you must take us for mugs

a bird and a feline?

Adrift in a sea-lane?

We stopped you to search for drugs, for drugs

We stopped you to search for drugs


And then he took them away

For half a year and a day

To a place that they called Heathrow

He said “Oh prisoners of mine,

This is your quarantine,

For the next six months,

This is your home.

Now don’t cry like babies,

For we don’t want rabies,

In the land where the oak trees grow,

As pets with no owners,

On you is the onus,

I don’t make the rules, you know, you know,

I don’t make the rules you know.”


Protesting their crime

The two did their time

And the six months slowly crawled by

And on the last day at 3

They were finally set free

By a pig who lived in a sty


On the day of release-a,

They dined on a pizza,

And ice-cream that they ate with a spoon.

And then wing in paw,

Along the M4,

They danced by the light of the moon the, moon

They danced by the light of the moon.


Oh God, not bloody poetry... sighed the nation.

Today is the start of National Poetry Writing Month, or, as we trendies who is down wiv de kidz like to say: NaPoWriMo.

It’s a little-known fact that I am, in fact, a professional poet with poems seen in print in such august publications as Woman’s Weekly (who paid me £10) to The Daily Mail (who didn’t). I have written several poems and also performed a few times at Ledbury Poetry Festival.

As impressive as these credentials are, poetry for me has always taken second place to writing ‘proper’ stories and so I’ve never really taken them seriously – which is probably a good thing.

My interest in verse ranges from the WW1 poets to WH Auden to Spike Milligan, all of whom have influenced me in one way or another. Influenced being a very loose term.

Anyway, I only heard about NaPoWriMo the other day and the challenge of writing 30 poems in 30 days intrigued me, so I thought I’d give it a go.

In addition to (hopefully) creating new verse I will also post previous poetic offerings that I have dredged up from memory – I hope you like them.

All the poems that appear on this site belong to me, so please play nicely.

So, without further ado, my very first NaPoWriMo offering is in the form of that ubiquitous fallback option for every Secondary School English Teacher – The Haiku

Poetry Challenge


Thirty Poems, Thirty Days

Will I Make The Grade?

This is a monologue that I wrote in 2004. It began as an idea for an attempt to write nonsense verse, but soon developed a darker side:

Thomas Green the Submarine
By Richard Wall

A troubled lad named Thomas Green,
Claimed to be a submarine.
His father said, “Son, don’t be daft,
to be an underwater craft,
You must be steel, not flesh and blood.
Submerged, you’ll not do very good,
How long d’you think you’ll hold your breath?
The water’s cold, you’ll catch your death.
Come on Thomas, eat your tea,
Let’s speak no more of the undersea.”

Tom listened to his father scoff,
Refused to let it put him off.
He eyed his dad with naked scorn,
And then declared, “We dive at dawn!”
The cheeky lad was sent to bed,
and when he’d gone his father said,
“A submarine? The thought’s absurd.
That boy’s not right, you mark my words.”
His mother sighed, “Oh leave him be.
It’s just a phase, you wait and see.”

Next day they went to wake their son,
But found that Thomas Green had gone.
Police were called, the search commenced,
To find the lad their vowed intent.
They searched for days to no avail.
His tear-stained folks, distraught and pale,
pleaded for his safe return,
but mum and dad would later learn,
that while they cried on live TV,
Thomas Green had put to sea.

The first event to get them thinking,
Was hearing of the ferry sinking.
“Mystery Blast!” the newsreader said.
“We don’t know yet how many’s dead.
And this just in! I’ll hand you over,
To our man, who’s down in Dover.”
The news reporter, a handsome hunk,
Cried out, “Another ship’s been sunk!
The navy’s on their way with divers,
To see if they can find survivors.”

It didn’t stop there and on live TV,
Tom carried out a wolf pack spree.
Two more ships sank ‘neath the waves,
Creating two more watery graves.
As they stared at the telly screen,
Shell-shocked, Mr and Mrs Green,
Put together two and two,
And said, “Looks like we’re in the poo.
They’ll think our standards must be slipping,
If our son’s sinking merchant shipping.”

The Royal Navy arrived on scene,
And began the hunt for Thomas Green,
But Thomas, without fear or barrier,
Sank their brand new aircraft carrier.
The captain yelled, “All hands on deck!”
Mr Green yelled, “Flippin’ ‘eck!
This has gone beyond a joke,
They’ll not like that, those navy folk.”
And he was right, they weren’t impressed,
To lose a ship, their Sunday best.

The navy said, “Enough’s enough.”
The gloves came off, they acted tough.
A frigate with a huge depth charge
Arrived on scene and gave it large,
Stirring up a huge maelstrom,
In the search for U-Boat Tom.
The explosion made the water boil,
Then came the tell-tale slick of oil.
Then all was quiet on the briny scene.
Was this the end of Thomas Green?

A few months on, the fuss died down.
The Greens moved to another town,
Of their son they heard not a thing,
Until one day the doorbell ring.
A parcel in the letter flap,
A puzzled Mr Green unwrapped,
And there, inside a plastic bag,
A Jolly Roger pirate flag.
Somewhere at sea on a secret mission,
Submarine Tom is no longer missing.

See you tomorrow 🙂

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