Thursday, 16 July 2009

A spot of nonsense ...


Being in the mood for a bit of nonsense yesterday morning, I dug out some absurdist poems that I wrote some years ago for the writers' group I belonged to (5 women, the Wishing Wellies' group, so-named because we met in a house in Clearwell village and we did a lot of wishing that one day our work would get published …)

I found the poems, quite liked them all over again (though I've since subbed them to my online professional writers' group who have exacting standards and have already started to offer critical comments ... so think of these below as The Draft For Now :-) .

Anyways, one of the poems was (is) … a version of the children's rhyme 'there was an old woman who lived in a shoe …'

While I was working on my version, I thought of how female elders keep cropping up in the free-write exercises I do intermittently with the afore-mentioned online group, and I thought of two other lovely rhymes about old women that I'd like to 'versionalise' – the one where she's tossed up in a basket and carries a broom (one of my all time favourites, I sang it to my children, now I've remembered about it I'll sing it to my grand-daughter) … and the one where she swallowed a fly, a spider, a bird, etc

I'm so loving all of these that I've decided to write a triptych … three old woman poem versions … that I'm calling the Crone Collective

I'm planning to contribute the Crone Collective to the Celtic Year Project I'm involved in, catalysed by Samhain in November – 'traditionally a time to honour our ancestors' and 'linked with courage and protection' and when 'hags' (old stems of mullein soaked in wax) are used as torches …

I'm also planning on performing these as performance-poetry slots in the Words & Music Cabarets that are held locally monthly, starting again in September.

Well, that's the background tale.

Now for the first of the poems:


The Crone Collective

There was an old woman who lived in a …

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
and had so many children that she didn't know what to do

so she let them do it instead.

There was an old woman who danced in a slipper
and breakfasted daily on herring and kippers

which gave her good skin but unfortunate breath.


There was an old woman who slept in a sandal
and wore tiny skirts that caused huge scandals

as often as she liked


There was an old woman who caroused in a boot
and spent all her Saturdays playing the flute

which annoyed the man in the trainer next door


There was an old woman who cooked in a wellie
and made several fortunes from parmesan jelly

and treacle-fried potatoes


There was an old woman who lounged in a clog
and owned fifty rabbits, ten cats and six dogs,

which were all called Spot


There was an old woman who dozed in a dap
and dreamed all day of marmalade baps

and pink tartan caps
and black satin wraps
and old treasure maps
and who knows perhaps
she's still in that dap


let's give them all a clap!

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