Miss Riggs

My Gran, Rosalie Riggs (later Rosalie Wither) worked as a nurse on hospital train from 1940 – 1942. The hospital trains transported injured soldiers who had come home from the front to hospitals all over rural Britain. The carriages were converted to hold two layers of beds on each side, with the nurses working in between. Journeys were often long with track bombings, diversions and long waits in sidings to allow armaments trains through.

In 1942, Gran was discharged from the Red Cross on health grounds. In photos from that time, we can see she had lost a considerable amount of weight. Three weeks later she signed up for the Women’s Royal Air Force. She served at a base in North Wales for most of the rest of the war.

She married in 1943. My Grandad’s father had connections with the mill trade and worked for the Ministry of Supply, and managed to source some velvet fabric for her dress. – a real rarity in wartime.

Gran on the train in 1940

Miss Riggs

She was a white-toothed woman
bound to the run of the rails and the times
yet sharp as her hospital corners.

She was a force of defiance
with a cross to smite the viscous dark
that skirted the oily sidings.

Was starch fit for resisting
the muddied blood of khaki men
made shocking pink by shrapnel?

And did her apron’s brightness
bleach darkness from their hungry cheeks
and tiredness from her sockets?

She was a white-toothed woman.
In April, nineteen forty three,
she married in snowy velvet.

 

By the way, I couldn’t tell you how white my Gran’s teeth actually were. “White-toothed” is not a direct reference to the state of her dentistry. I can tell you however that she was formidable.

A hilariously staged photo of the nurses jollying through an air raid. Gran is on the left. I rather think I can see her contempt for this whole photographic shenanigans in her eyes!

The interior of a typical hospital train

 

By the way, if you enjoy poetry, why not follow the itallrhymes facebook page? It, er, doesn’t all rhyme. But much of it does!

Spread the rhymes!

Get Fit with Boris

I don’t really mind that the government are advising us to lose weight, although combining it with incentives to eat out seems not ENTIRELY joined up! Nonetheless, it’s a TERRIFIC opportunity to take the piss, and who am I to refuse.

Get Fit with Boris

Drop your chips and sausage patties,
get in shape for Covid, fatties!
Come on Maureen! Come on Doris!
Let’s get fit with beefy Boris!

OK, let’s start. To get us warm,
we’ll streeetch the truth. Feels good! Now form
a partnership with someone near –
aaand leave. NICE WORK! Next, let’s all veer

towards the right – and right again –
aaand right. Come on now! Feel the pain!
Now sink real low to please the press,
reach out and… take donations! Yes!

You’re doing great! Last thing – let’s weave –
AVOID those questions! Nice work, Steve,
and good job, Raj! Now, who’s with me?
It’s two for one at KFC.

 

Follow me on Facebook for rhymes and poetry gubbins! Who could resist?! www.facebook.com/itallrhymes

Image: Pixabay

 

 

 

Spread the rhymes!

STUFF

I sometimes preface my free verse poems with ‘I was in a weird mood when I wrote this.’ I WAS in a weird mood when I wrote this, but it was pre-lockdown. Now we’ve all spent far too much time at home with our STUFF, I don’t think it’s weird at all.

Stuff

STUFF trailed its tarnish across the Orient
then braved the oceans in first world gladwrap
like delusional human traffic.

STUFF squatted in a whorehouse warehouse
waiting for empty shelf-space, and the footfall
of an empty passer-by.

STUFF showed ankle in an email,
shoved its tongue in my High Street ear,
seduced me with sweatshop promises.

STUFF demanded its keep in energy,
whined for drawer space
and then crawled, feckless, onto my table top,
cheap plastic legs akimbo.

I looked it fresh in the eye and asked:
What do you want of me?
STUFF shrugged.

 

First published by Snakeskin Poetry.

If you’d like new poems from me, and other poetic STUFF sent straight to your newsfeed, then please follow itallrhymes on Facebook!

Spread the rhymes!

Bummer

 

Bummer

My buttocks have grown little wings,
the result of a number of things,
but primarily my
predilection for pie
and the filthy fulfilment it brings.

I have side-bums that flap like a cape!
I’ve tried Spanx! I’ve tried packaging tape!
Oh, but hope ever springs
that these wings are the things
that my arse-fat will use to escape.

 

For rhymes, non-rhymes and other poetry-related capers, why not follow my Facebook page?  www.facebook.com/itallrhymes

Spread the rhymes!

The Lockdown Lament

This one needs no introduction…

The Lockdown Lament

“Oh to spend time with the family!
Freed from our offices! Freed from our schools!
Imagine the hours of harmony!”
That’s what we said, we ignorant fools.

Have you ever tried video-calling New York
to talk about trends in a businessy way
while your kids disembowel the cat with a fork
and your husband walks by with his goods on display?

Have you ever tried tempting the kids from their screens
to do papier-mâché or make lemonade
or have ‘fun with a workout’ (whatever THAT means)
while they pelt you with attitude, grunts or grenades?

Have you ever tried teaching a nine-year-old maths
and a five-year-old spelling whilst muffling a scream
as you realise you’re living with sociopaths?
‘Is this it?’ you enquire. ‘Am I living the dream?’

“Oh to spend time with the family!
Freed from our offices! Freed from our schools!
Imagine the hours of harmony!”
That’s what we said, we ignorant fools.

 

 

For rhymes, non-rhymes and other poetry-related capers, why not follow my Facebook page?  www.facebook.com/itallrhymes

Photo by John Salvino on Unsplash

Spread the rhymes!

Trucking to Tiny Town

Something fun, fluffy and small – perfect for a big wet weekend!

Trucking to Tiny Town

We’re trucking, we’re trucking to Tiny Town
where everything’s teeny-wee-small,
We’ll park our pantechnicon by the gates
cos we don’t want to squash them all!
We’ll swap our big boots for tiny flutes,
and play them a tiny tune,
We’re trucking, we’re trucking to Tiny Town –
PARP PARP! We’ll be there soon!

We’re trucking, we’re trucking to Tiny Town –
we’ve packed them a picnic tea,
A biscuit, a plum and a gherkin – yum yum!
Enough to feed thirty-three!
We’ll shed our big thoughts, and we’ll laugh and cavort
til we feel just as huge as the moon,
We’re trucking, we’re trucking to Tiny Town –
PARP PARP! We’ll be there soon!

 

For poems (that mostly rhyme!) and poetry-related stuff, why not follow the It All Rhymes Facebook page?

Photo by Phil Hearing on Unsplash

 

Spread the rhymes!

Home

What do I love about my country? The scenery. The history. The humour. What don’t I love? The hijacking of patriotism. The urge to close doors to the world. The misplaced superiority. And horseradish sauce.

Home

Home is not an iron fence
or a nation’s bullish confidence.
Home is not the salt we sweat
in conflict, nor the traveller met
with distrust and intransigence.

Home is not immune to time
or compromise; no sacred line
partitions it from otherness.
And home is not the hate we dress
as pride, plastic and anodyne.

Home is not a prize we’re due,
a baked philosophy to skew
to every cause we scurry round.
Home is merely borrowed ground –
whichever flag we pin it to.

 

 

Like this? For more poetry and poetry-related stuff (but not too much), why not follow the It All Rhymes Facebook page!

Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

Spread the rhymes!

Mummy’s Millions


I wish Harry and Meghan well. No-one deserves to be mauled and vilified the way Meghan has been – by the press at least.

But in our very British way, we all seem to be obsessed by where they are going to get their money from. Er… I don’t think Harry has any worries in that department.

Mummy’s Millions

People say “Harry, how WILL you two cope
having nothing – apart from each other?”
I say, “Look, don’t you worry – I’m hardly broke,
I am minted! All thanks to my mother.”

Most will remember her caught in the net
of her fame, undeservedly goaded –
which was tragic. But what all you people forget
is that Mummy was totally loaded.

A people’s Princess! Yes she was! There’s no doubt!
She grew up having people all round her!
There were people to cook and to chauffeur her out
to the polo – where Daddy first found her.

She listened with love to the poor and sick,
she spoke out against conflict and hate,
and she kept twenty million under a brick
round the back of the Althorp Estate.

So I don’t need the palace to give me the nod
and the prejudiced press can jog on,
I have served, I have smiled, now I’m taking my wad…
and me and the missus are gone.

 

 

Like the rhymes? Why not follow the It All Rhymes Facebook page for a rhyme or two in your newsfeed every week?

Photo by William Krause on Unsplash

Spread the rhymes!

Cakey Yum Yum

Just some Saturday silliness…

Cakey Yum Yum

One lost pea on a cinnamon tree
Two giggle-bunnies on a hill (hee hee)
Three French fish in a factory
And a slice of cake for me! (Yum yum)

Four small boys singing baba-doo-dee
Five little bites from a flea (what flea?)
Six grains of sand playing chicken with the sea
And a slice of cake for me! (Yum yum)

Seven posh pigs strutting stylishly
Eight awkward aunts on a bus (Coo-ee!)
Nine black holes – oh catastrophe!
And a slice of cake for me! (Yum yum)

“What ho!” says the vicar, “Will you have another slice?”
“Ooh YES,” I reply, “How nice.” (Yum yum)

 

 

Geek notes: This one exists thanks to my fabulously creative friend Caren Krutsinger, who (jokingly) challenged me to write a poem about peas in a cinnamon tree. 🙂

Like the rhymes? Why not follow the It All Rhymes Facebook page for a rhyme or two in your newsfeed every week?

Photo by Karly Gomez on Unsplash

Spread the rhymes!