Just for a change, a little bit of poetry. (I’d make this headline rhyme but I really don’t have time.)

John Masefield and Spike Milligan. I prefer the Milligan stuff…

WE have a lot of time to think these days, don’t we?

My mind drifts back, sometimes to work, sometimes to old friendships, sometimes to the arts.

Today, I started thinking about poetry.

Well, English was a favourite subject and was one of my (two) honours in the Leaving cert all those years ago.

I humbly suggest this might be useful for Higher Course Leaving Cert English students.

So am I about to quote yards of Milton’s Paradise Lost?

Eh, no.

Funnily enough, Spike Milligan comes to mind…

For example, I prefer Spike’s version of John Masefield’s Sea Fever.


I must go down to the sea again,

To the lonely sea and sky,

I left my shoes and socks there,

I wonder if they’re dry?


I also prefer Spike’s take on Hamlet:


Said Hamlet to Ophelia,

I’ll draw a sketch of thee,

What kind of pencil shall I use?

2B or not 2B?


I’m not sure whether or not Spike had a version of Wordsworth’s classic. But I like this one:


I wandered lonely as a cloud,

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I heard a shout,



And Spike’s not the only one who likes Shakespeare:


Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Weather isn’t looking great,

Cold and wet, heard Jean Byrne say

And winds could well be gale force eight.


I have come across a few versions of The Lake Isle of Innisfree…


I will arise and go now,

And go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there,

After a three year battle with a couple of local residents who objected to me getting planning permission and taking it to An Bord Pleanála which took forever




I would arise and go now,

And go to Innisfree,

And small cabin build there,

Of clay and wattles made,

Nine bean rows would I have there

But the broadband signal’s weak,

Though they’ve promised an upgrade.


Nursery rhymes don’t escape rewriting either.


Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,

All the king’s horses,

And all the king’s men,

Broke their sides laughing.




Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall,

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall,

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall,

He was a politician.


Then there’s this:


Sing a song of sixpence,

Pocket full of rye,

Four and twenty blackbirds,

Baked in a pie,

When the pie was opened,

All the birds were dead.


And this:


Diddle, diddle, dumpling, my son John,

Went to bed with his trousers on;

One shoe off, and the other shoe on,

He’s going to have some head on him in the morning.


And this:


Hickory Dickory dock,

Two mice ran up the clock,

The clock struck one,

But the second one escaped without injury.


And this:


Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
Diarmuid Gavin designed it you know


And finally this:


Little Miss Muffet,

Sat on her tuffet,

Eating her curds and whey

When along came a spider

And sat down beside her

And she crushed it to death with a tray






2 thoughts on “Just for a change, a little bit of poetry. (I’d make this headline rhyme but I really don’t have time.)

  1. thank you for making me laugh on this strange and wonderful Monday morning.


  2. Liam McCormack

    Got a laugh out of that. Helps through the work here. Ta


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