(black) Saturday limerick 12.11.16

There’s some noise, and a sly, noxious smell.
Someone’s let off a trump, can’t you tell?
The voting has ended
And what’s done can’t be mended
So it’s ‘Goodbye, and see you in hell.’

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Saturday limerick 5.11.16

A couple from St Pierre La Mer
Embarked on a torrid affair.
The pair, well-endowed,
Attracted a crowd
When doing the deed en plein air.

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Saturday limerick 29.10.16

In France what you mustn’t be doing
Is mixing your words when you’re wooing.
Un baiser is a kiss –
Every schoolchild knows this –
But if you baise you’re not kissing, you’re screwing

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Saturday limerick 22.10.16

To inform, educate, entertain:
The BBC’s role was made plain.
But there’s been a take-over
By programmes on make-over
In fashion, décor and terrain.

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Saturday limerick 15.10.16

A frisky young fellow from Lille
His girl friend’s tétons tried to feel.
She told him: ‘Michel
Snogging’s all very well
But if you go any further I’ll squeal.’

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Saturday limerick 8.10.16

A burly young fellow named Thierry
Went to a fancy dress ball as a fairy.
His date said: ‘Mon chou,
That look isn’t you –
In fact, it’s decidedly scary.’

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Saturday limerick 1.10.16

The BBC’s losing its wits
And the viewers are all having fits
Since it opted to take off
The programme called Bake-Off
And consign poor Top Gear to the pits.

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Saturday limerick 24.9.16

We all stood in line for a flu jab
And the nurse said: ‘We’re trialling a new jab.
It may work, it may not –
We don’t know what we’ve got –
But we’re hoping to hell it’s the true jab.’

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Story for today: Somewhere a Woman is Writing a Poem

Somewhere, a woman is writing a poem.

She’s calling the poem ‘Somewhere’ because she doesn’t know where she is. The food pushed through the hatch in her door is unfamiliar: hard flat breads with a taste of unknown spice, thin stews with lumps of what might be lamb, might be goat or… she prefers not to think what the lumps might be. She dreams of Friday night feasts at home: a take-away Chinese, a pizza.

Her room – cell? – is sweltering in the daytime and freezing cold at night. She has no blanket, only a thin mattress and the clothes she was wearing when she came here. She is given water to drink, a grudging cupful twice a day, neve enough to wash with. Her hair is matted and she knows she stinks.

What does she remember? Hammering sun on a brutal street, a car crashing to a halt, dirty hands snatching her phone, her notebook. Her photos are gone, her precious selfie with Jake and the dogs, her contacts with the outside world. Snarled words in a corruption of English she can barely understand.

But she is an Englishwoman. That much she knows. She remembers – dimly – a life of comfort and culture. Once – when? – she went to theatres and concerts. She must hang on to that. She is an Englishwoman. An Englishwoman does not break, she does not cower, does not beg and weep. She may be ragged and filthy, her clothes felted with grease and sweat, but her mind is her own.

Cabin’d, cribbed, confin’d – she musters all the Shakespeare she can remember, chanting the beautiful verse aloud until her voice begins to resemble her own once more. From Shakespeare to Baudelaire: she is French-educated and blessed with a retentive memory. ‘Hypocrite lectrice, ma semblable, ma soeur,’ she paraphrases. Will there ever be a lectrice, a reader, she wonders.

She is not forgotten. She knows, she is sure, she hopes she is not forgotten. Somewhere, somewhere, someone is searching. Badgering politicians, writing petitions, bombarding the media. ‘Where is… ?’ But she has forgotten her name. No-one speaks it now, and she has other, more important things to think about.

Her mind. Her mind is her own; she dresses it with sweeping landscapes, with rolling music and thundering words. Here is where she lives now, and here no-one can confine or restrict her. And she will write, too. She will tell her story, though paper and pen she lacks.

Closing her eyes she imagines the market square, the people, poorly dressed but clean, clustering around the storyteller as he begins his tale. ‘And so it was, O best beloved…’

She is the storyteller now. She sits cross-legged on the hard bed, in the bleak room; she tells her tale, beginning again every day, every day taking the narrative a little further forward, a little further back, straining to capture the smallest clue, piecing the scant details out with her imagination.

And when the tale no longer holds her she turns to her poem, the never-ending saga of where and who and why. She doesn’t know if it is good or bad, but its rhythm soothes her – enchants her, even – for blessed minutes on end when she is free of the suffocating now. And though she doesn’t know the answers to where and who and why, she knows she is somewhere, she is real, she is alive. And someone, somewhere else, is looking for her.

Somewhere, a woman is writing a poem.

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Saturday limerick 17.9.16

If you dine at St Aubin La Ferté,
And the waitress is pretty and flirty,
It’s so you’ll overlook
The food (badly cooked)
And the fact that the cutlery’s dirty.

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