Southampton is a Cool Cat

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Southampton is a ferrel catp1170655

stretched out on a grand, green lawn

of broad summer sunshine

Fatted on battered haddock

grappled for against gulls

conquests behind nightclubs

kicked-over street bins

reeking of curry and booze

She cleans her face but not Her furp1100615

Who does She need to impress?

 

Southampton is a cool cat

catch the rat between two rivers

acrobatics at gas works

parkour-flipping around the old town walls

From hooks of port cranes

She sees it all.


Southampton is a wise old catp1090073

hoisted up quick and sailed close-to-wind

Her kittens roam world-wide

thirst knowledge – take notes

stalk students on side-streets

hide beneath Ford Transits

 

Southampton is flatteredp1100968

by the kindness of strangers

You’re fun – She likes to play

Curl up with Her by the coal fire

Stroke, purr, snooze,

Come dawn She’ll yowl you out of bed

Howl and holler ‘til She’s fed

p1120095Southampton is the eternal cat

you will never own

She’ll still be here

when you’ve sneaked out

by the back stairs

never to be forgotten

so longed for on your return

 

p1110933You will find Her asleep on tombs of sea captains

who dutifully sank with their vessels

You will find Her at the dock-gates

preening Her paws for sailors

from mighty merchant boats

who came bearing gifts

in big metal containers

For this ship’s cat

that can stare at Queens

 

p1140027Call Her names across the pitch… Scummer!

But don’t come looking for a fight – Mush!

Or She’ll give you War

Southampton. The great Defender

She sees you in the dark

She will hook out your eyes

with Her steel claws

One Spitfire pounce can kill

Wounds licked  –  She’ll be on her feet again

This Cat has nine lives

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Poem and Photos © Southampton Old Lady

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Haiku Challenge: Star Child

Child with painted face. © Southampton Old Lady 2015
Child with painted face. © Southampton Old Lady 2015

universal child

unique, incandescent star

guide us through our fate

 

In response to Ronavan Writes Haiku Challenge using two words: Child – Star

Have a go or see others here: https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/ronovanwrites-weekly-haiku-poetry-prompt-challenge-82-starchild/

Two Minutes Silence

eleventh hour, eleventh day, eleventh month …

Belgian Soldiers War Graves, some of the many nationalities of soldiers buried at Southampton Common Old Cemetery.
Belgian Soldiers WW1 Graves, some of the many nationalities of soldiers buried at Southampton Common Old Cemetery if they did not get lost on the field.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them …

From For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon

Remembrance

Poppies

Watts Park leaves fall softly from tall sycamores

fluttering like wounded birds

perch briefly on broad-shouldered uniform

before landing on sodden ground

conkers and grass compressed in to mud

by platoons of polished black boots

Remembrance poppies

Our Civic Centre clock chimes:

‘O God our help in ages past

Our hope for years to come…’

Bishop of Southampton delivers solomn sermon,

and there’s poppies, poppies, poppies…

But my thoughts slip away to you dear Father

medals

I have recycled your values

composting leaves, endlessly reprocessing

The earth reminds me of your grave.

I think of battle fields

bomb craters and dugouts became giant puddles

and there’s soldiers, soldiers, soldiers

Who would volunteer to become a soldier?

You did dear Father

Lied about your age so you could enlist

to join your regiment of pals

blasting out ‘Reveille’ or ‘The Last Post’ on your bugle

marching bravely in your correct-angled beret

through streets of England and Malta

through deserts of Egypt and Burma

over mountains in India and Italy

for Crown and Country

for your neighbours and family

for us that we may live in hope of peace

Southampton Cenotaph

November 11th,  2013

Portsmouth

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Good Morrow Old Pompey! 

How the Dickens thee be?

Southampton stops by this fine Summer’s day.

After cash-jab and face-lift, looks young and healthy

I calls on thee ‘Neighbour’,

but ‘Scummer!’ ye names me 

Thee Royal Navy and I Merchant Sea

Yet ye stole my ferry passengers

And should-be-mine bananas fatten your docks

I sings out: “Daylight Come and I Want go home”.

“What Shall We do with a Drunken Sailor?” is your repost

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Come jolly Jack Tar

slap my back if I slaps thine

Chants we more o’them shanties

and buy me a bevvy

at Spice Island Tavern

we’ll sup to “fair ladies”

my Queens and Princesses

your grand Ark Royals

and here’s to Lord Admiral Nelson

and his flagged Victory.

Your rum and brandy, my wine and beer

We feast on mackerel – all sprightly silver,

 like 30 pieces, or was that of eight?

Lament our great losses:

My tragic Titanic

Your dear Mary Rose. 

Evoke Dunkirk spirit –

How we did save them

by the thousand

How we did fight them

shoulder to shoulder

against the French, and on D-Day, the Blitz …

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Let’s parade to bagpipes along your old battlements

Lungs refresh’d

with Southsea salt-air,

We skiff English pebbles

aim for Spitbank

and against that greasy-grey grave of great sea.

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Thee, and thy gulls, have welcomed me 

And now I must bid fare-thee-well and Adieu..

Let’s stay always Mateys

And repay my Southampton a visit

real soon.

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Note: I wrote this after visiting friends in Portsmouth, about half an hour’s ride away. Historically Southampton and Portsmouth have always been rival ports. It is only heard in football match chants nowadays. But the two cities have always pulled together hard against common enemies.