Monday, May 16, 2022

The Fine Old English Gentleman: New Version by Charles Dickens

 (To be said or sung at all Conservative dinners)

I'll sing you a new ballad, and I'll warrant it first-rate,
Of the days of that old gentleman who had that old estate;
When they spent the public money at a bountiful old rate
On ev'ry mistress, pimp, and scamp, at ev'ry noble gate,
In the fine old English Tory times;
Soon may they come again!

The good old laws were garnished well with gibbets, whips, and chains,
With fine old English penalties, and fine old English pains,
With rebel heads, and seas of blood once hot in rebel veins;
For all these things were requisite to guard the rich old gains
Of the fine old English Tory times;
Soon may they come again!

This brave old code, like Argus, had a hundred watchful eyes,
And ev'ry English peasant had his good old English spies,
To tempt his starving discontent with fine old English lies,
Then call the good old Yeomanry to stop his peevish cries,
In the fine old English Tory times;
Soon may they come again!

The good old times for cutting throats that cried out in their need,
The good old times for hunting men who held their fathers' creed,
The good old times when William Pitt, as all good men agreed,
Came down direct from Paradise at more than railroad speed …
Oh the fine old English Tory times;
When will they come again!

In those rare days, the press was seldom known to snarl or bark,
But sweetly sang of men in pow'r, like any tuneful lark;
Grave judges, too, to all their evil deeds were in the dark;
And not a man in twenty score knew how to make his mark.
Oh the fine old English Tory times;
Soon may they come again!

Those were the days for taxes, and for war's infernal din;
For scarcity of bread, that fine old dowagers might win;
For shutting men of letters up, through iron bars to grin,
Because they didn't think the Prince was altogether thin,
In the fine old English Tory times;
Soon may they come again!

But Tolerance, though slow in flight, is strong-wing'd in the main;
That night must come on these fine days, in course of time was plain;
The pure old spirit struggled, but its struggles were in vain;
A nation's grip was on it, and it died in choking pain,
With the fine old English Tory days,
All of the olden time.

The bright old day now dawns again; the cry runs through the land,
In England there shall be dear bread — in Ireland, sword and brand;
And poverty, and ignorance, shall swell the rich and grand,
So, rally round the rulers with the gentle iron hand,
Of the fine old English Tory days;
Hail to the coming time!

So there we go, as relevant today as back when Charles Dickens wrote it.

If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy, Rudyard Kipling's A Smuggler's SongSoliloquy on an Empty Purse by Mary Jones or the The Masque of Anarchy, Percy Shelley

Have fun reading,
A.J. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Lords of the Sea

 And thus we fought for honour, Lord

T'was our honour lord, we lost. 

We faced the kraken, Lord
And couldn't take its arms

So we filled the seas with oil
And we filled the seas with death

And now that evil kraken
will take its final breath

But the fisherfolk can't eat the fish
And our soldiers die

And a new evil it stalks across the land
My lord, 'tis you and I 


A quick little poem this Tuesday, I hope you enjoy.

A.J.

More kraken poems:

The Kraken by Alfred Tennyson
Under the Surface

And if you're interested in my other writing, please check out what's new on my blog: https://ponderbooks.com

My books are available wide, and my favourite, Quest is now out in audiobook. (If you're in US Chirp is the cheapest option 😊😎)







Tuesday, February 22, 2022

OMG - in honour of Winnie the Pooh being out of copyright, Teddy Bear by AA Milne

I love this poem so much because it's about celebrating who you are and understanding that fashion is fleeting.  :) 

TEDDY BEAR

A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at;
He gets what exercise he can
By falling off the ottoman,
But generally seems to lack
The energy to clamber back.

 
Now tubbiness is just the thing
Which gets a fellow wondering;
And Teddy worried lots about
The fact that he was rather stout.
He thought: “If only I were thin!
But how does anyone begin?”
He thought: “It really isn’t fair
To grudge one exercise and air.”
 
For many weeks he pressed in vain
His nose against the window-pane,
And envied those who walked about
Reducing their unwanted stout.
None of the people he could see
“Is quite” (he said) “as fat as me!”
Then, with a still more moving sigh,
“I mean” (he said) “as fat as I!
 
One night it happened that he took
A peep at an old picture-book,
Wherein he came across by chance
The picture of a King of France
(A stoutish man) and, down below,
These words: ”King Louis So and So,
Nicknamed ‘The Handsome!’" There he sat,
And (think of it!) the man was fat!
 
Our bear rejoiced like anything
To read about this famous King,
Nicknamed “The Handsome.” There he sat,
And certainly the man was fat.
Nicknamed “The Handsome.” Not a doubt
The man was definitely stout.
Why then, a bear (for all his tub)
Might yet be named “The Handsome Cub!”
 
“Might yet be named.” Or did he mean
That years ago he “might have been”?
For now he felt a slight misgiving:
“Is Louis So and So still living?
Fashions in beauty have a way
Of altering from day to day.
Is 'Handsome Louis’ with us yet?
Unfortunately I forget.”
 
Next morning (nose to window-pane)
The doubt occurred to him again.
One question hammered in his head:
“Is he alive or is he dead?”
Thus, nose to pane, he pondered; but
The lattice window, loosely shut,
Swung open. With one startled “Oh!”
Our Teddy disappeared below.
 
There happened to be passing by
A plump man with a twinkling eye,
Who, seeing Teddy in the street,
Raised him politely to his feet,
And murmured kindly in his ear
Soft words of comfort and of cheer:
“Well, well!” “Allow me!” “Not at all.”
“Tut-tut! A very nasty fall.”
 
Our Teddy answered not a word;
It’s doubtful if he even heard.
Our bear could only look and look:
The stout man in the picture-book!
That 'handsome’ King - could this be he,
This man of adiposity?
“Impossible,” he thought. “But still,
No harm in asking. Yes I will!”
 
“Are you,” he said, "by any chance
His Majesty the King of France?”
The other answered, “I am that,”
Bowed stiffly, and removed his hat;
Then said, “Excuse me,” with an air,
“But is it Mr Edward Bear?”
And Teddy, bending very low,
Replied politely, “Even so!”
 
They stood beneath the window there,
The King and Mr Edward Bear,
And, handsome, if a trifle fat,
Talked carelessly of this and that....
Then said His Majesty, “Well, well,
I must get on,” and rang the bell.
“Your bear, I think,” he smiled. “Good-day!”
And turned, and went upon his way.
 
A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at.
But do you think it worries him
To know that he is far from slim?
No, just the other way about -
He’s proud of being short and stout.




Hope to see you again soon,
Busy writing
A.J. 
P.S. You may enjoy, or really hate my poems "in the style of" A.A. Milne

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Quest Audiobook Out Now

 



Yes, Quest is now an audiobook. 
It was one of the most expensive things I've ever done as an author. But it was hugely worthwhile. Very satisfying and extremely nerve-wracking at the same time...but it's all worth it now as with Benjamin Fife’s narration, the characters of  Quest come to life.*

Cheer for Princess Sylvalla as she escapes the confines of Avondale castle and discovers a world of fantasy, adventure and danger.

Follow Jonathan Goodfellow as he rejects a life of wizardry in search of his fortune—the fortune he lost when he lost his wagon and everything in it. Well, he didn’t lose the wagon, exactly, it was stolen. Stolen by Dothie, an evil wizard who has plans to get a fortune of his own.

Boo the evil wizard as he creates chaos wherever he goes, and then attempts to kidnap the princess Sylvalla—which is ironic because the princess is accidentally taking on a spot of kidnapping herself…

*The only problem is that you'll miss out on the footnotes. But if you’re not a footnote fan, that has to be a definite advantage of the audio book. :) 

Shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel award. To find out more about Quest click here

Or buy the series now—available wide, or see below for the Amazon preview... 

  

Thank you for reading,
A.J.
PS: If you're looking for more books with great heroines check out my books page, or Female Heroes Are For Everyone on my writing blog. :)

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Snow White and Rose Red - The Dragon Shifters Hoard

 Do you remember the story of Snow White and Rose Red?

Jessie Willcox Smith
Public Domain
It's one of the fairy tales that really spoke to me. I think it was because it was originally written by a woman and the two girls simply had more agency than in most fairy tales. They got to go out and do things, look out for each other, make mistakes and live happily ever after. 

So of course Eileen Mueller and I wanted to write their story...but different. first things first. No old-school characterisations of dwarfs.  TBH in the original story the dwarf is more like a gnome, but that also seems problematic. So that character is now a...no, of course I'm not telling you that. It would be a total spoiler. :)

It's a total re-imagining of the story—with the girls having powers that need to be kept hidden as they're brought into a world of dragon shifters, mages and deadly fae. 

Red brings the fire. The quote is from Dante's perspective. Think of him as the prince...except he's not stuck in the form of a bear. He has other problems that revolve around the dragon-shifters hoard and his family. So those plot points are in there, with the girls unwittingly helping the villain of the story. 

Just saying, because it's hard to pick up.

If you'd like a sneak preview of Snow and Red-book 1 of the Dragon Shifters' Hoard check it out my website here. 
 

Snow brings the cold. The quote is what Zephyr thinks when he sees her. Yes, both "princes" are in this story. No point having the extra one turn up at the end, is there? 


In fact both Zephyr and Dante feature in their very own prequel...The Draki Twins, and it's absolutely free. And it has nothing to do with the Snow and Red fairy tale...but it does give a little background for the beginning of the series. 

Check it out at your favourite ebook retailer here:  https://books2read.com/DrakiTwins


So, now I've told you mine, what's your favourite fairy tale? 

Have fun reading (& retelling fairy tales)
A.J. 


Free


Sunday, February 6, 2022

Happy Birthday in a Minor Key and other assorted humorous poetry by Bill Bailey

 

Bill Bailey happens to be one of my favourite comedians. 
And no, I haven't shared everything he's done here, but this is special because today is my birthday. And also because he starts this segment with two short poems. 

And they're great. Not because they are wonderful poetry or anything like that, it's because one of his most impressive features is that he always knows just how to finish a work. It's sublime.

So, I thought as today is my birthday, I'd start it off with this lovely birthday song, enhanced by the sweet melancholy of the minor key. 



Okay, maybe it's not that sweet. But it kinda is.
And that's because of the ending. After getting progressively bleaker, the twist is hilarious. And there's something to be said for a nihilistic lack of sugar coating, or dare I say a furniture-chewing Grinch. It might be just me, but I find it uplifting.  

So  happy 'meaningless milestone of decay' to me!!!! :) 
Have a great day, everyone
A.J. 

If you like this you may also like:

Tim Minchin's F- the Poor (For musical comedy) 

Or the slightly ore uplifting milestone poem: An Affliction of Poetry: Running away with a Christmas Sonnet

Or if you like reversals, you may enjoy: A Sonnet to the Muse

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Ask me not

Ask me no secrets
I'll tell you no lies

Mask-carnival - gold

Ask for no boon and
You'll get no surprise

For questions are deadly
When you're in the know

And Grifters be hiding 
behind solid gold doors

With solid gold excuses
And solid gold mores

And they pay well for silence
...

So listen well to their threat
...



You can ask not for your country
And not for yourself

You can ask and be answered
You can knock on that door

But never, dear, never
Don't you dare ask for more


There we go, it's been a while since I wrote a poem-but I had this saying rattling around my head and when I looked it up all I got was "Ask me no questions..." If anyone can think of a poem, or fairy tale I might have got "Ask me no secrets, I'll tell you no lies." I'd really appreciate it, I'm absolutely drawing a blank. 

Have a great week,

A.J. 

And if you like this poem you may also like:

The Circle of Life


#protest poetry