Canine Graffiti by Mike Jenkins

 Some loopy boy wrote 'FUCK OFF'
in firm felt-tip on the white back
of a nippy-as-a-ferret Jack Russell.

Senior staff spotted it while it shat
in the midst of a modern dance
formation – leotards snapped!

(When they weren't busy piercing ears
with sharp instructions, or spiking hair
with swift backhand cuffs,

they did have time to snoop on lessons
which exceeded the statutory decibel rate.)
They set off in pursuit of the errant dog,

skilfully hurdling its poop in the process.
They chased it into Mathematics
where it caused havoc by lifting a leg

45° towards the blackboard's right-angle.
Then through the Audio-Visual concepts room,
across the film of Henry V, making Olivier's horse

rear and throw the bewildered actor.
It hid behind a smoke-screen in the bogs,
sniffed out bunkers in the coal-bunker.

For hours it disappeared and Senior Staff
suspected a trendy English teacher
of using it as an aid to creative writing.

Finally it was duly discovered
by Lizzie Locust (Biology), necking
with a stuffed stoat in the store-cupboard.

Now you can see the distraught Headmistress
scrubbing form bell to bell in her office,
a small dog held down by burly, sweating prefects.


by Mike Jenkins
from Invisible Times

Additional information: Just in case some of the words don’t make sense because they’re British words, or slang and euphemisms specific to the South Wales Welsh-English speaking region, here’s a quick breakdown of some of them:

Loopy: strange, odd, crazy, affected, etc.

Felt-tip: a marker pen, usually a cheap one meant for kids but it can mean the bigger ones too.

Nippy: to do something in a fast, quick, spritely, etc, manner e.g. ‘I’m nipping over to the shops do you want anything?’

Shat: the past tense of the verb ‘to shit’. It’s not a proper word as far as I’m aware and ‘shit’ is more or less used as it’s own quasi-infinitive in most cases i.e. ‘he shit himself [yesterday]’, ‘he has [just now] shit himself’, ‘he will shit himself [if he eats that]’.

Backhand cuffs: backhand hand motions or in this case backhand slaps to pupils or backhanded admonishment due to frustration at not locating the dog yet. That thing where teachers take out their frustrations by speaking passive aggressively towards pupils out of a sense of personal frustration (when it’s nothing to do with said pupils) as I’m sure we have all seen in our schooldays.

Snoop: spy, eavesdrop, etc.

In the bogs: the ‘bogs’ are the toilets… because, at least in my experience, there would be mysterious pools of water on the floor by about 10AM each school day and you could never be certain if they were sink water shaken off of hands or bodily fluids… the smoke screen in the bogs being that it’s where pupils would go to hide when smoking as is no doubt universally the case.

Bunkers: ‘bunking off’, ‘doing a bunk’, etc is the act of not attending class. Skipping class, skiving, but it can also mean playing truant as well though here it’s just the former. The play on words being that people skipping class are in a room intended for storing coal thus both are commonly referred to as ‘bunkers’.

Store – cupboard: A room where school equipment is stored behind a locked door. Usually a small antechamber between two classrooms or a smallroom leading from one classroom like an en suite bathroom but filled with shalves of old textbooks, random items and a prime location for pupils or members of staff to neck on with each other.

Necking: to ‘neck on’ etc involved kissing but implies a more salacious aspect such as groping, french kissing, fondling, etc. Usually done in a place intended to give some privacy but usually easily discovered such as behind the bike sheds or in a storeroom cupboard. ‘Necking on’ being a term often ascribed to teenagers at a party experimenting with such aspects of intimacy.

Prefects: In my experience sixth formers doing something for their school leavers certificate to have extra ‘good citizen’ points when applying for university. Not the Head Boy or Head Girl but given tasks by staff and running or representing various matters for the student body. Compare them to the ‘student council’ in anime for a more commonly known version of this type. I guess though on the whole it’s just teacher’s pets, the (within the school) social elite or those who are already prone to social climbing and a lust for power even at this early an age.

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Bomber by Ifor Thomas

After fifty-six years the aluminium is slate grey

And the ribs of the wings as light as bird bones.

Wind rattles through the remains of the bomber

that failed to clear the escarpment of Cwar y Cigfan.

 

The walkers rest here, throw stones for the dog

Drink beer, share a bag of crisps, lean against the rough memorial.

The wreaths of last November have moulted their poppies

There is a wooden cross jammed between stones.

 

It’s a long way home for the five Canadians

Whose names are now barely legible.

Above a hang glider hovers on the edge of a thermal

Then skitters into a mocking dive.

 

Clouds are solid enough to reach up and grab

like the craggy hand that pulled these airmen to earth

splattered their blood over the stones and sheep shit of Cwar y Cigfan.

Made them forever part of Wales.

 

By Ifor Thomas

The Sad Bad Tale Of The Old Odd Dog by John Rice

A dog went hunting sausages

For breakfast last Christmas week,

His ears were pink, his teeth were blunt

And he’d elastoplast on his cheek

 

His legs were Chinese chopsticks

His tail made of chewing gum.

He wore roller skates and a T-shirt

With a frying pan stuck to his bum.

 

This dog spoke many languages

Including German, Dutch and French –

He could fly a plane with his eyes shut

Or sit cross-legged on a bench.

 

But this old dog was not so lucky

When winter came around;

They sawed off his chopstick legs for firewood

Leaving him far too close to the ground.

 

The stumpy bits left proved useless

When trying to cross the street –

His chewing gum tail got stuck to the road

And now he’s Kennomeat.

 

by John Rice

Shaggy Doggerel by Eric Finney

Sir Fitz, gallant knight,

Rides over the plain

Wearly now, in darkness and rain.

His day has been full

Of incredible deeds;

A hot bath and bed

Are now just what he needs.

He’s not brought his mac,

And water’s got in at the front

And the back.

Lem, his horse, is exhausted –

He’s a great weight is Sir –

And he hardly responds

To the touch of the spur.

But look! Far ahead

There’s the sight of a light –

For Fitz and his gee gee

A right welcome sight.

‘It’s a castle!’ cries Fitz,

‘One last effort, old nag,

Think of warm stables,

And hay in a bag!’

Soon the drawbridge is lowered,

The portcullis grinds up,

And our heroes plod in

For a bite and a sup.

Can you picture their faces,

Can you see their dismay

When they’re told

By the Lord of the place

They can’t stay?

Sir Fitz, it appears,

Who kills rogues by the dozen,

Has knocked off, amongst them,

The Lord’s second cousin.

‘Besides,’ growls the Lord.

If you want further reason,

We’re full up with tourists

This time of season.’

‘We’re both whacked,’ pleads Sir Fitz,

‘And old Lem’s got a cough.’

But the Lord of the castle again says,

‘Push off.’

‘At least,’ says Sir Fitz

With desperate force,

‘Let old Lem stay with you,

And give me a fresh horse.’

‘We’ve no horses to spare:

None to lend, none to flog;

I’ll tell you what, though,

I can find you a dog.’

‘A dog to ride out on!’ snorts Fitz,

‘Funny joke!’

‘Not at all,’ roars the Lord,

Laughter making him choke.

And the servants bring on,

At his word, a huge cur –

A mean-looking creature

with coarse ginger fur,

Cross-eyed and lop-sided,

Face fixed in a leer,

With a stump for a tail

And only one ear.

‘Well, Sir Fitz,’ says the Lord,

‘Doggy’s raring to go;

Saddle up and get mounted.’

Fitz’s answer came slow:

‘What’s a stupid suggestion;

I’m not going – that’s flat.

You can’t send a knight out

On a dog like that.’

 

by Eric Finney

I Saw A Mouse Set Cheese Traps by Mike Harding

I saw a mouse set cheese traps

One morning after tea.

A fly read the flypaper

And though it seemed strange to me,

A cat burglar was stealing dogs

And right across the street

A lollipop man was being licked

From his head down to his feet.

by Mike Harding