Charlie’s Poems 9

                       Relics of Joe


A philosopher true was Joseph

          (You all know ‘Blackberry Joe’

Who gourmandised in Nant-y-Ffrith


          On the fruit that laid him low)

I’ve made a rhyme for Joseph,

          About his pipe and bike –

I only wish that he were here

Twiddling ‘em round on his little gear –

          I’ve not yet met his like!


A Chater-lea had Joseph

          What service it has seen!

The rear stays bent, the frame is kinked

          It long since lost it’s sheen;

And only one could ride it

          And make it travel fast

For speed, he had a growing thirst

He always reached the tea-place first

          He never was the last!


A curious way had Joseph

          When out upon his steed

He had a knack of falling off

          When travelling off at speed

He’d argue with a milk float

          And through the air would soar –

His happiest time, he used to say

Was on a certain frost-bound day

          When oft he graced the floor.


And on the death of Joseph

          He made a last request –

That we should put his Chater-lea

          With him to rest

‘Twould help him on his journey

          Towards his heavenly home

But probably he’ll blind along

And at the fork roads he’ll go wrong

          And into Hades roam.


And another thing had Joseph

          He could not do without –

When once he got his pipe alight

          He’d put us all to rout:

He’d sit down in the tea place

          And puff away serene

Until a kind of foggy gloom

In layers floated around the room

          And turned us sick and green.


A clarion call had Joseph

          That all his clubmates knew

Of other things he troubled not

          What’er the wind that blew:

“Gimme my bike, and gimme my pipe

          And gimme a blackberry tree

Gimme a place where I can feed

And out upon my lightsome steed

          How happy I will be!


“I care not how the rain comes down

          I care not how it blows

For when I am on my Chater-lea

          What matter if it snows?

I’ll get my good pipe going

          And content will I roam

Puffing slabs of bluish haze

Until I get you in a maze

          And send you gasping home”


We asked him what he was smoking

          Whatever was the dope?

Some said that it was corduroy

          And others swore it was rope

The air could be quite solid –

          It would not even bend

We could find nothing to compare

It made the vilest Woodbines there

          Seem like some Eastern blend.


So if by some miscarriage,

          When the heaven’s gate he tries

The guardian angel bars his way

          Refusing Paradise

And Satan then refuses

          To let him in as well

He’ll light his pipe and puff away

And stay there until Judgement Day

          In his own private Hell!

October 1926


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