Oh, blackbird …

Oh, blackbird

Sitting on the garden fence

Sing a song for me

As I sit here all alone

Watching you watch me

 

Sing me a lullaby

When I go to bed at night

Sing a song to wake me up

In the morning light

 

Oh, blackbird

Sitting on the garden fence

You look tired and worn

Why have you stopped your singing

Why are you forlorn

 

If I could sing

I’d sing for you

The sweetest melody

The sweetest song that I could sing

Would be my legacy

 

Oh, blackbird

Sitting on the garden fence

As I watch you I see

That you are old and turning grey

An old bird like me

 

Now our children have left home

So quickly they all grew

To make their own way in this world

They’ve gone to pastures new

 

If I could sing

I’d sing for you

The sweetest melody

The sweetest song that I could sing

Would be my legacy

 

So, blackbird

Sitting on the garden fence

Sing a song for me

As I sit here all alone

Watching you watch me

 

@ rowland paul hill  11 August 2018

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Bluesman from the gutter v8

Champion Jack lived up the Way

Came here from the U S A

To play boogie-woogie

Barrelhouse piano blues

 

Thomas William “Jack” Dupree

Grew up loving cabbage greens

And played boogie-woogie

Barrelhouse piano blues

 

Cherokee mum Congolese dad

Murdered by the Klan Jack said

Colored waifs’ home that’s where Jack grew up

Colored waifs’ home that’s where Jack grew up

 

Cruel mean childhood in New Orleans

But saved from the gutter aged fourteen

By a kind-hearted woman seven kids of her own

Only mother Jack had ever known

Only mother Jack had ever known

 

Nineteen thirties New Orleans

Boogie-woogie in his genes

From Tuts and Willie learned his trade

No time at all he made top grade

Playing boogie-woogie

Barrelhouse piano blues

 

Met Joe Louis world champion

Learned to box like his icon

Won Golden Gloves and championships

Served as a cook on US Navy ships

Spent two years a captive in Japan

 

Post-War playing clubs and bars

Popularity began to soar

Decided to leave the U S A

To live and work in the U K

Playing boogie-woogie

Barrelhouse piano blues

 

Champion Jack owned a Chevrolet

Parked outside his house up the Way

Flashiest car in the neighbourhood

Bought by a Bluesman who’d made it good

Playing boogie-woogie

Barrelhouse piano blues

 

Champion Jack played with them all

“Slowhand”, Korner and Mayall

“Bluesman from the gutter” he’s called

Be prepared to be enthralled

By his boogie-woogie

Barrelhouse piano blues

 

He played boogie-woogie

Barrelhouse piano blues

 

 

@ rowland paul hill   7 May 2018

Autochthonous

Autochthonous

 

Hadn’t heard

that word before

But now I have

I know it means

indigenous

 

And indigenous

I know that I am not

For though I’m British bred

I was born in Germany

 

As for my ancestry

It goes back all the way

To Ethiopia

 

On the Horn of Africa

 

You ask me how I know

To which I say

The fact of the matter

Is in my DNA

 

The evidence is there

The truth is out

That I’m not indigenous

Of that there is no doubt

 

@ rowland paul hill 24 March 2018

 

(Inspired by a reading of Daljit Nagra’s poem –

“The truth of Mr Bulgram’s English”)

stormy weather

wild wintry winds woosh wind

slates down-crash

smash to smithereens

on footpath outside house

to whose front wall

by single thread of bracket screw

drainpipe lifelined leans

and gutter languid vertical

brewer’s-droop-dangles down below

dislodged from fascia board

over which rains rush flow gush galore

as heavens heaving vent their spleens

with Thor-almighty roars

 

@ rowland paul hill 16 March 2018

….merleau-ponty

bumped into merleau-ponty

who was walking up the street

the day before he set off

for a weekend in The Lakes

 

smile upon his face

no sign of a grimace

which in two days time

would mark his passage

from living in this world

to his final resting place

 

on his way to lunch

at a local hostelry

or perhaps to his bank

to withdraw some money

looking quite relaxed

at ease inside his skin

no way could I know it was

the last time I’d see him

 

grieved for merleau-ponty

along with other staff

reminiscing good times

ignoring all the bad

 

smile upon his face

no sign of a grimace

which two weeks before

had marked his passage

from living in this world

to his final resting place

 

@ rowlandpaulhill 14 March 2018

(Conceived and written today; inspired by my last meeting with a work colleague who died in October 2006 and a poem by Stephen Spender)

Bluesman from the gutter v6

Champion Jack lived up t’Way

Came here from the U S A

To play boogie-woogie barrelhouse

Piano blues

 

Thomas William “Jack” Dupree

Grew to love his cabbage greens

He played boogie-woogie barrelhouse

Piano blues

 

Cherokee mum Congolese dad

Murdered by the Klan Jack said

In t’colored waifs’ home’ that’s where Jack grew up

In t’colored waifs’ home’ that’s where Jack grew up

 

A cruel mean childhood in New Orleans

But saved from the gutter aged fourteen

By a kind-hearted woman seven kids of her own

The only mother Jack had ever known

The only mother Jack had ever known

 

Nineteen thirties New Orleans

Boogie-woogie in his genes

From Tuts and Willie learned his trade

No time at all he made top grade

Playing boogie-woogie barrelhouse

Piano blues

 

Met Joe Louis boxing champion

Learned to fight like his icon

Won Golden Gloves and championships

Served as a cook on US Navy ships

Spent two years a captive in Japan

 

After the War playing clubs and bars

Jack’s popularity began to soar

Decided to leave t’USA

Cross t’Atlantic for t’UK

To play boogie-woogie barrelhouse

Piano blues

 

Champion Jack owned a Chevrolet

Parked outside his house up t’Way

Flashiest car in t’neighbourhood

Bought by a Bluesman who’d made it good

Playing boogie-woogie barrelhouse

Piano blues

 

Champion Jack played with ‘em all

Korner, “Slowhand” and Mayall

“Bluesman from the gutter” he’s called

Be prepared to be enthralled

By his boogie-woogie barrelhouse

Piano blues

 

@ rowland paul hill 11 March 2018

 

“A brighter future” v2.

 

 A brighter future” the poster read,

for students piling up big debts they’ll

not pay back before they’re dead.

 

Come to University – apply with all

alacrity – money from the money-tree

will pay for your third-rate degree.

 

Though Oxbridge might be out of sight,

for students from poor families,

there’s plenty more from which to choose

– heads we win tails you lose.

 

Money for nothing your kicks aren’t free;

diet based on Greggs pasties;

nowhere to go, your money spent

on second hand textbooks and sky-high rent.

 

A brighter future” the poster read,

for students piling up big debts they’ll

not pay back before they’re dead.

 

But even though good jobs are scarce

you don’t want to stay at home,

with yobs and knobs, who laughed at you

and called you names; those half-brain fools who beat you up

as you stepped off the bus back home from school.

 

Come to University – apply with all

alacrity – money from the money-tree

will pay for your third-rate degree.

 

@ rowland paul hill 3 March 2018