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jenny linsel Feb 2017
There was a house at the end of my street
No-one lived there for very long
During the war, an entire family wiped out
When an aeroplane dropped a bomb

The family living there at the time
Amounted to unlucky thirteen
Mother, father, baby Mary
And ten children in between

They were a lovely family
Liked by everyone
Janet Smithson who was a nurse
And her hard-working husband John

They were in the front room having tea
On that fateful day
When an aeroplane scored a direct hit
And God took them all away

The whole town was in mourning
For the Smithson family
Mother, father and eleven children
The youngest baby Mary who was three

What was left of the house was boarded up
Then the tenants would move in
Off would come the boards
The walls they were so thin

We'd hear their every movement
If they slammed a door, the walls would shake
Wild parties held by young teenagers
Would keep us all awake

A tenant would live there for a couple of months
Then they’d go on their way
We'd ask them why they were moving out
But none of them would say

This went on for many years
Tenants would come and go
I asked the landlord what was wrong
He said that he didn't know

One day I plucked up the courage
To question a tenant as they were about to leave
She said “I’m almost scared to tell you
I’ve never been one to believe

But there is something supernatural
Going on in the hall
When everything is quiet
We can hear screaming coming from the wall”

She said she'd looked on the internet
In the local branch library
And read up on the house's history
And the sad fate of the Smithson family

After years of squatters and standing empty
The house it was pulled down
But what happened to the Smithson’s
Is still remembered in my home town
jenny linsel Feb 2017
Our elderly neighbour passed away
We went into her house, it looked so bare
The only thing that remained of her
Was a shawl draped over her chair

I remember when she moved in
In nineteen ninety five
She told us she'd had three heart attacks
And was lucky to be alive

Everyday she’d come and ask
If I’d go for her cigarettes
Or go to the local betting shop
And put on her horse-racing bets

One day she asked me in
And showed me a photo of her son Dave
She said he had an unruly beard
Because he was too lazy to shave

She had shelves full of biscuit tins
And said “Biscuits are bad for your health”
Then took the lid off one
And said “it’s where I keep my wealth”

There must have been at least a grand
In used ten pound notes
She peeled two off the ***
And said “Buy yourself a winter coat”

I refused the money
To take it didn’t seem right
She said “you need the money more than me,
I've noticed your sad plight”

I asked her what she meant
And she said it was a scandal
Me walking around with a tear in my sleeve
I explained I’d caught it on a door handle

She had an ornate mantelpiece
With a China dog at either end
I said “those are probably valuable”
She said she'd been left them by a friend

She had two porcelain orbs
Hanging from her window sashes
I commented that they were pretty
She said they contained her late husband’s ashes

I asked if he'd been her only one
But she told me she'd had three
A Butcher, a Tailor
And the last one would go to sea

She’d heard he’d had a girl in every port
But hadn’t known if it was true
Then letters from different women arrived
She’d lost count at twenty-two

I sat in awe of all her antiques
She said she’d had a valuation
An offer from a local dealer
Had filled her with anticipation

She unbuttoned her hand-knitted cardigan
And reached into her blouse pocket
She asked me to hold out my hand
And she placed in it a locket

The locket was adorned with filigree
And was pretty beyond compare
She told me it contained
A lock of her late mother’s hair

I said I couldn’t take it
It must be of sentimental value
She said “Rather you than my son’s wife
Cos I know what she’ll do.

She’ll be straight round to the jewellers
And see how much it’s worth.
I can’t stand that woman
Though my son thinks she's the salt of the earth.

She's a right gold-digger
With my boy just for his money
When I try to warn my son
He seems to think it’s funny”

I tell her that it’s time I went
And she says “You’d best go home,
Nobody understands the loneliness
When you live alone”

I feel a pang of guilt
But I can't stay there forever
She says she'll go to bed when I’ve gone
Because she’s not feeling too clever

Later on that same day
We all heard an almighty bang
At her lounge window was an empty space
Where her curtains used to hang

My father broke down her front door
She lay beneath a wood hall stand
Lifeless and ashen, both eyes open
A porcelain orb clasped in each hand

Her son visited the following day
And stripped the whole house bare
No antiques left or money
Just her shawl upon her chair
jenny linsel Feb 2017
I look into the mirror
And who is that I see?
Someone I don't recognise
Is looking back at me

The lines upon the forehead
That are called ‘worry lines'
Are caused by getting stressed
Far too many times

A line next to the right eyebrow
It’s the liver that's to blame
Due to excess alcohol
Or so the doctors claim

The line next to the left eyebrow
Is connected to the spleen
So much for thinking the body
Is like a finely-tuned machine

At the corner of both eyes
Are very deep crow’s feet
These are connected to all organs
As they admit defeat

We used to call them ‘smile lines'
But not much smiling has been done
When you have ill-health
Life is not much fun

Black bags under the eyes
Are signalling poor circulation
Or maybe just a lack of sleep
Nightmares without an explanation

The pancreas could be at fault
If there are ‘laughter lines'
But they could just be caused
By laughing numerous times

Lines above the upper lip
They could be caused by smoking
But they also indicate spleen trouble
Those lines are thought-provoking

Lines upon the neck
Otherwise known as a ‘double-chin’
Can be caused by too much gluten
Putting a thyroid in the spin

In the mirrors reflection
There are so many lines to see
Then I realise the person in the mirror
Yes, it’s me!
jenny linsel Feb 2017
Sam the dog and Pearl the cat
Were sitting on the wall
They do it every day
So it isn't strange at all

They have little conversations
Which only they can understand
They talk about their little quirks
And none of them are planned

Pearl goes first of course
And Sam lets her have her say
He knows better than to interrupt
He learnt his lesson the other day

“I scratch my scratching post
And I chase my clockwork mouse
I leave my loving mistress
Little gifts all around the house

I eat all of my food
Then I use my litter tray
Or sometimes one of her slippers
When she looks the other way

I sleep lots throughout the day
Until about half past seven
Then I think it’s playtime
Until well after eleven

Each day she fills my water bowl
But I don't use it for a drink
I prefer to use the kitchen tap
While balancing on the sink

I like to lodge my face in things
And my mistress gets fed up
The other day I got it stuck
Inside a paper cup

I've got a lovely padded bed
For when I need a sleep
But I sleep in the bathroom hand-basin
It’s nice and cool and deep

I love it on a Tuesday
My mistress gets her magazine
I sit my bottom on it
It’s pages sight unseen

One of my favourite pastimes
Is scratching on the door
I make her think I want to go out
Then I curl up on the floor

I put on my needy face
When I smell nice food
My mistress never shares with me
How can she be so rude?

I like to go upstairs
On the bed I like to lie down
Nestled in a furry ball
On a fluffy dressing gown

Sometimes I hide in cupboards
Then suddenly jump out
My mistress tells me off for startling her
You probably hear her shout

I sit on the laptop keyboard
While my owner tries to chat
To her human friends on Facebook
I soon put a stop to that”

Sam now has his say at last
And looks straight at Pearl, the cat
“You think you get into mischief,
Well I can better that

I love going into town
Though it isn’t very far
My favourite thing is the lovely breeze
On my head out of the window of the car

Sometimes my mistress brings me a doggy bag
From her favourite restaurant
It contains all of my favourite things
She knows exactly what I want

Last week she took me in the car
Allegedly to the park
It was really a trip to the vets for ‘the snip'
I was totally kept in the dark

I do a vanishing act at bath time
I always hide under the bed
So I get taken out to the garden
And end up getting hosed-down instead

Whenever my belly is scratched
No matter where we are
I lay on my back with my legs in the air
As if playing an air-guitar

I love rolling in smelly stuff
Much to my owner’s dismay
It's one of my favourite pastimes
I do it almost every day

I'm the master of the head-tilt
When I smell nice food on the table
I sometimes get some scraps
But not from greedy aunt Mabel

Odd times I chase my tail
I chase it round and round
Then I spin around a couple of times
Before exhaustedly lying down

I keep eating grass
When my tummy is upset
But sometimes I eat too much
And I end up at the vet”

It’s almost five ‘o’ clock
Both hear the rattling of a tin
That sound means it is dinner time
Time to be going in

Sam gently says to Pearl
“See you tomorrow, the same time”
Pearl preens her whiskers and purrs softly
Then over the wall she starts to climb

Sam spies a muddy patch
He'll save it for another day
Then he'll see his pal, Pearl the cat,
When she’s next out to play
This is a poem about the quirky habits of pets.
jenny linsel Feb 2017
Sing no sad songs when I pass
As sunlight filters through stained glass
Though you look upon me as I lay
In front of you all on this mournful day

Think of times recent and of times past
Think only of me when you saw me last
Full of life and fun and love
Before my journey up above

Think of all the times we had
Some were joyous, many sad
The beautiful places that we went
The camping trip to picturesque Kent

The occasional times when we fell out
When your mind was filled with doubt
But our differences we resolved
When people ceased to get involved

I want to see you all in colours bright
That will fill me with delight
I really hope you won't spend hours
Trying to find the perfect flowers

Donate to charity, learn the art of giving
In my opinion, flowers are for the living
Make sure they play my favourite song
I'd like everyone to sing along

You'll all be upset beyond belief
Know now I’ll understand your grief
I'll see the tears on your face
But be assured I’m in a better place

I'm now at peace and out of pain
Looking forward to when we meet again
I've gone on ahead, I’ll stand and wait
For you to meet me at the gate

I'll smile at you and you'll smile back
I hope you won't be wearing black
Then I’ll take your hand in mine
And we'll be together for all time
jenny linsel Feb 2017
A curled-up bundle of skin and hair
Adorns the window-seat
The sorry remains of Kitty
The old lady down the street

To those who saw her struggle daily
With her heavy shopping trolley
All of her ignorant neighbours
And her estranged sister Polly

To all of the people
Who used to stand and laugh
Here lies Kitty, loner Kitty
Written on her epitaph

Kitty was a lonely soul
No family or friends had she
Only the teenagers two doors down
Tony, Beth and Marie

They'd pop in on pension day
And ask her for a loan
With no intention of paying her back
Got money for drugs then left her alone

Just the other day
She'd decided to have a look
In the sideboard drawer
For her pension book

The book wasn't where she'd put it
In the right-hand drawer
Maybe she'd done like two weeks ago
Dropped it on the post-office floor

Mrs Kemp had brought it round
Said she'd noticed it after she'd left
She stressed she was lucky that it had been found
Nearly a victim of I.D theft

Her state benefit had been cut
Though not told the reason why
Thinking about rent and energy bills
She'd often sit and cry

Tony, Beth and Marie are banging on the door
What do they want from Kitty?
They've had it all and they want more

Kitty is now at peace
Her maker she has met
She died alone in squalor
Her heart filled with regret

The council fumigated the house
Used disinfectant till it was replete
The only evidence of Kitty
A large stain on the window seat

There are so many like Kitty
But no-one cares ask why
Abandoned by society
And left alone to die

All that remained of Kitty
Was curled up on the window-seat
The quiet soul with no-one
The old lady down the street
jenny linsel Feb 2017
Today is Monday, pension day
Tommy is standing in the queue
Behind him is his neighbour
Who everyone calls Nosey Sue

In front of him is Carol
Who works in the general dealers
He saw her in town the other day
In her clapped-out Reliant three-wheeler

The queue is getting longer
And the odour isn't nice
It’s a mixture of sweat and eau de cologne
And some guy is wearing 'old spice'

Carol turns to Tommy and says
“There’s a lot of bills that need paying”
He sees Sue listen attentively
To hear what they are saying

Sue tells them both
“Gas and electric are getting dear”
Carol says “you shouldn’t have been listening” with a sneer
Sue looks put-out and turns her back on them
A heavy smoker at the front coughs
And says his chest is full of phlegm

The  girl behind the counter says “too much information”
The man laughs and discloses he's on the list
For a knee operation
Tommy is tired of waiting
While others stand without a care
He sees a woman further back
Spraying perfume in the air

One of Tommy’s neighbours
Her name is Bernadette
Though attached to an oxygen supply
Says she's gasping for a cigarette
Tommy tells her she should pack them in
But she says with a wry smile
“It’s the smoking that keeps me thin
It wouldn’t be worthwhile”

The queue is getting shorter
Tommy is almost at the front
Heavy smoker spits on the floor
But no-one dares confront

Carol pays her bills
And bids Tommy goodbye
Sue gives her a ***** look
But she has no idea why

Tommy is now at the counter
His pension to collect
The cashier hands him the money
And asks him to check it’s correct

Tommy’s been given a fiver too much
And hands the extra over
Sue comments that if it had happened to her
She'd have been in clover

The cashier thanks Tommy for being honest
Sue says she thinks he's mad
“Honesty's the best policy” Tommy asserts
“It’s a thing of the past and that’s sad”

Sue smirks and says “You’re a fool, Tommy Jones
I'd have kept it without a thought,
Think of all the little treats
That fiver would have bought”

Tommy says to Sue, up-close so she can hear
“I may not have that extra fiver, but my conscience it is clear”
He bids farewell to Bernadette
Still gasping for a smoke
And waves his hand to the rest of the queue
Even though they've never spoke

Sue says “I’ll see you again next week
Or maybe some other time
And I hope the cashier makes a mistake
Then that fiver will be mine”

Tommy smiles at her and thinks
‘Will she ever learn?”
He hopes the cashier doesn't slip up
When it is Sue's turn
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