VHS men

VHS Men

When Andrew McCarthy came over all cute
in “Pretty in Pink”, a stirring took root,
When Christian Slater took off his shirt
in “Pump up the Volume”, my oestrogen hurt,
When young Patrick Swayze did shimmies and thrusts
all through “Dirty Dancing”, all virtue went bust…
Real boys were rubbish, so time and again
I spent happy times with my VHS men.

 

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Photo by Sharon Christina Rørvik on Unsplash

From Dovecote Hill

Just on the edge of my home town of Bruton, Somerset, lies Dovecote Hill (and yes, it does have a dovecote on it!) From there, you can see the whole town, which, for most of my childhood at least, formed most of my world. So for me, it’s a place of great nostalgia… and for longing for simpler times.

From Dovecote Hill 

From Dovecote Hill, my thoughts spill down on drowsy mill-town streets
and run the maze of alleyways where once my youthful feet
traced winding paths around the huddled houses that complete
this view of all I knew and loved
from Dovecote Hill.

The fields were loving ramparts shielding us from drifting mists
of worldliness – as if this town were all that might exist,
so we grew up as slowly as the silver river twists
through all I see, from here above
on Dovecote Hill.

This frantic, anxious world conspires to see my spirit crawl
and falter, courage crippled by the hugeness of it all.
One sight could help me find once more the strength of being small –
this view of all I knew and loved
from Dovecote Hill.

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We Girls

“Sugar and spice and all things nice” was not written about REAL girls. I know, because – spoiler alert – I WAS a girl. Here I am look – aaah. Yeah right.

This poem’s about all the little girls who come home scratched and grass-stained, sniping snd whining, with a crown of daisies and  one pigtail undone. I trust that today’s “pink culture” has not obliterated this fine breed entirely.

We Girls

Each daisy’s a piece of the moon,
Strewn on the welcoming grass,
Waiting for fidgeting fingers to pass
And weave it in bangles and bows,
Those are not alleys, they’re dens,
We seize them, we lose them, we take them again,
And dance as our dynasties grow,
Pavements and bollards and walls,
Are obstacle courses enthralling us all,
Hop-trip with our quickstepping feet,
Sweet is the call of the slopes,
As laughing we log-roll and slip-slide and hope
To emerge with our kneecaps complete,
Meetings in hedge-huddled homes,
Stones which are amulets,
Sticks which are witchety wands,
Bonds that we form as we talk,
Chalking graffiti and hopscotch wherever we walk,
Home with the set of the sun,
Running, at one with the fun of our world…
We girls skip to a time-honoured tune –
Each daisy’s a piece of the moon.

 

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Unsheath Your Sword!

I’ll let this one speak for itself!

Unsheath Your Sword!

I share my house with two small boys,
Who’ve wearied of construction toys
and bicycles and felt-tip pens,
And simply want to FIGHT LIKE MEN!
And so, all though the living room,
With shouts of “Fie! Await your doom!”
“On guard, my lord!” and “Tally-ho!”
The battle rages to and fro.

“Unsheath your sword!” cries number one,
“Disarm, foul wretch!” yells number two,
“Stand down, or I will finish you!”
And thrust and parry, through and through.

The dress-up clothes fly left and right,
Until a Power-Ninja-Knight
emerges, snarling, poised to fight,
“Behold!” he yells, “and fear my might!”
Then snicker-snack! His vorpal blade
streaks round the lovely home I’ve made,
I scream, “Just leave your brother be!”
But guard the telly bodily.

“Unsheath your sword!” cries number one,
“Disarm, foul wretch!” yells number two,
“Stand down, or I will finish you!”
And thrust and parry, through and through.

Too much! It’s getting on my nerves,
I hide the swords – but fresh reserves
are roused – the bits of pipe, the sticks,
The pistols made of lego bricks;
The Dark Lord, who is nearly eight,
exclaims “Accept your fate!” But wait…
A mortal wound! A hurty thumb…
The Dark Lord’s crying for his mum.

“Unsheath your sword!” cries number one,
“Disarm, foul wretch!” yells number two,
“Stand down, or I will finish you!”
And thrust and parry, through and through.

And so, the Ninja claims his prize,
“Bow down!” come his triumphant cries,
The Dark Lord staggers, bruised and spent,
And kneels, tear-stained and penitent,
Meanwhile, I count at least a score
of weapons strewn upon the floor,
My house is not a home, it’s more
the aftermath of Agincourt.

“Unsheath your sword!” cries number one,
“Disarm, foul wretch!” yells number two,
“Stand down, or I will finish you!”
And thrust and parry, through and through.

 

© Nina Parmenter 2018

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School Sport

This a “concrete” poem – a poem shaped like the thing it’s describing. If it doesn’t look like the picture above, turn your phone on its side or get a larger device (wink wink). Now – gym knickers on, and let’s proceed.

School Sport

.                       School sport,                                           Tick tock,
.              simply a torture form                                 Tick tock,
.           a notch or five above the                           Oh watch
.        norm, the most horrendous                      the clock,
.        cruelty designed specifically                  When will
.          for me, who has no puff &                    this finish,
.            cannot aim – picked last                     this quest
.               in every single game:                      to pillage
.                       School sport.                             pride and
.                                                                              joy and all
.                                                                            respect??
.                                                                          In half my
.                                                                        lifetime, I
.                                                                      expect, as
.                                                                    this is just
.                                                                  a wheeze
.                                                                to squash
.                                                              my will, to
.               bring me                     to my knees;
.                  for sticks and balls may hurt
.                      us all, but double games
.                                will break me.

 

© Nina Parmenter 2018

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Nevermore

I am blessed with two children, and that’s the family I always dreamed of. But  it does seem like only yesterday that starting a family, being pregnant, the whole baby thing – well, it was all an adventure that lay ahead of me. And now, it’s all behind me.

And I think it’s OK to ponder on that, without everyone hollering “Ooooh do you want another one then?” No, I don’t. But yes, just sometimes, I feel a little wistfully sad that that phase of my life has gone by.

Nevermore

Nevermore the swell beneath my fingers,
Nevermore the flutters in my core,
Nevermore the secret smile that lingers.
Once, my womb bore nothing but potential,
Now it’s finished, done, inconsequential,
Nevermore to matter, nevermore.

Nevermore the sleeplessness that floors me,
Nevermore the ligaments so sore,
Nevermore the nausea that gnaws me.
Once, the humdrum hit a strange hiatus,
Once I was cocooned by special status,
I’ll nevermore be special, nevermore.

 

©️ Nina Parmenter 2018

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Pampered Pussy

Depending on your way of thinking, you may be pleased or disappointed to hear that this isn’t a vajazzle poem (although what a terrific topic for a later date!) – it’s about an actual cat.

My beloved childhood cat Sidney was a soft old bugger. But sometimes he’d come over all “call of the wild” and be seized by the need to climb a tree. This was Not A Good Idea. The sight of him, splayed on top of a tree, the tree bending under his weight (he was massive), and him wondering what on EARTH just happened – that will stay with me forever.

God love him. Somewhere beneath that cute, cuddly exterior was a petulant, prowling prairie cat and sometimes, that petulant, prowling prairie cat just had to come out.

Pampered Pussy

They call me pampered pussy,
“Such a PRETTY pet!” they purr,
All they see’s a funny feline,
Just a friend with fluffy fur.

Hear me humans! I AM HUNTER!
I am leopard, lynx and lion,
I am panther, I am puma,
I will eyeball you with iron!
I’m machine. A mighty muscle,
I am sleek and sinewed steel,
Engineered by evolution,
You are nothing! You should kneel!
Shhh now. I will show you.
See the tremble in that tree?
It’s a beast and I will best it!
Stand aside now, scum, and see.

I creep.
I crouch.
I climb!
Curled
claws
clutching
confidently,
cleverly
crafted
curves
completely
coordinated,
I coast
coolly,
competently,
courageously,
to the crown.
THE CREATURE
IS CONQUERED!!
Now – cower,
clumsy
cretins!
For
I
am
CAT
!!!!!!

(Quick question.
How DO I get down?!)

 

©️Nina Parmenter 2018

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The smell of the weekend (a tale from my childhood)

It is said that smell is the very best sense for evoking memories. But can words evoke the smell?

I picked a very favourite smell from my childhood – the smell of custard bubbling in the pan – to try to find out. For me, custard is intertwined with happiness, family, and that wonderful “happy belly feeling”. Maybe it might take you back to Sunday puddings too.

The Smell of the Weekend

A tale from my childhood

Weekends. A lie in. Some morning TV,
A trip to the library, a dash to the shop,
Some football to watch or some good friends to see,
And a hot, milky pan that would bubble and pop,
Cos weekends meant pudding – with custard on top.

The anticipation was always a killer!
I’d trawl through my homework, my nose ever twitching,
Awaiting the blanket-soft scent of vanilla,
Velvet-cream thoughts so distracting, bewitching.
And then – yes! – a sweet, silky smell from the kitchen.

So I’d chomp through my meat and potatoes and veg,
(Or whatever our prelude to pudding that day),
The waft from the stove setting senses on edge,
Til finally! Pudding! And all was OK…
I’d open my mouth and slide sweetly away.

 

©️Nina Parmenter 2018

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Dinner with the girls

Last Saturday I went out for dinner with some fabulous friends, and it struck me how very similar it was to dinners-with-friends 20 years ago – but yet how very different. Different place, different friends, slightly different topics of conversation – yet the laughter, the bonding and the sheer joy of time spent with my ladies remained the same.

And, obviously, my face hasn’t changed a bit.

Dinner with the girls

1 – THEN (1998)

Dinner with the girls today,
So little time, so much to say!
We’ve spent the whole week studying,
So let the gossiping begin!
The sales today were just THE BEST –
I got this tiny glittery vest,
Which works for me, cos when I’m out,
I hoik em up; there’s boys about!
Let’s get into the crux of it:
Do you all wax your lady bits?
And when you’re naked with a man,
Do you do EVERYTHING you can?
For pudding? Ice cream! Make it 2!
My friend will have a Malibu.
Then let’s go clubbing, drink some more,
But try to get to bed in four –
Tomorrow, MUST be up by two,
I’ve got an essay still to do.

I hate it when the evening ends
Cos nothing beats good times with friends.

2 – NOW (2018)

Dinner with the girls today,
So little time, so much to say!
We’ve spent the whole week parenting,
So let the gossiping begin!
The sales today were just THE BEST –
I got myself this thermal vest,
Which works for me, cos when I’m out,
I layer up; there’s flu about!
Let’s get into the crux of it:
Do you all wax your husbands’ bits?
And when you’re naked with your man,
Do you keep socks on if you can?
For pudding? Crumble. Gluten free.
My friend will have a cup of tea.
My goodness!! Is it half past ten?
I must be getting home again –
Tomorrow, MUST be up by
eight,
I’ve got the hall to decorate.

I hate it when the evening ends
Cos nothing beats good times with friends.

 

©️ Nina Parmenter 2018

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Big long German words

Some people say German is an ugly language, but I’ve always found it incredibly enjoyable to speak, wonderfully descriptive, and, at times, hilarious! Besides, writing this allowed me to spend some time rifling through my Duden German dictionary, which took me right back to the happy place of my student days.

So, if you’re ready for a bit of fun oral exercise…

Big long German words

Big long German words are such a banquet for the ears,
They’re scary on the page, but please, just set aside your fears!
For like those German vehicles we’ve taken to our hearts,
The perfect German word is made from perfect German parts.

“Staubsauger” means hoover, or a “sucker up of dust”,
A “Büstenhalter” is a bra, or “holder for the bust”,
“Liebestrunken” means besotted, “drunk or high on love”,
A “Handschuh” is “a shoe for hands” – you’ve got it, it’s a glove!

“Gluhbirne” means “glow pear”, or a lightbulb, as you guessed,
“Brustwarzen” are nipples, simply “warts upon the breast”,
“Fahrtrichtungsanzeiger”? Well, that won’t take much unravelling,
It’s an indicator, or a “thing that shows which way you’re travelling”.

“Nacktschnecke” means “naked snail” – a slug to me and you,
“Durchfall” – well, that’s diarrhoea, or “stuff that falls straight through”,
“Fallschirmspringerschule” is a parachuting school,
And it means “a school for jumpers with umbrellas for a fall”!

So that’s the way it works! You see, it’s not TOO big or clever,
You just work out all the little parts, then stick them back together,
And now you’ve got the basics nailed, you won’t get stuck again
On words like “Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän”!

 

©️ Nina Parmenter 2018

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