Sunday, August 06, 2006


(Note: The following story was the result of a 10 minute writing exercise during our last meeting. The writer was asked to incorporate the following words: Noddy and Big Ears, cottage, cup of tea, bed.)

The milkman had heard the stories and read the newspapers. For the first time he wondered just what did go on inside that pretty cottage.

‘I’m going to have a look!’ he decided.

He dropped their bottle of full-cream milk onto the doorstep at nine o’clock one soft twilight evening. The front door was closed, of course, but he saw convenient chinks in the curtains of a few windows. He sneaked around to the kitchen window. There they were, sitting at the table drinking tea and chatting comfortably. But the milkman couldn’t hear what they were saying and after two boring minutes he pressed one ear against a corner of the window glass. Then he caught a few words.

Noddy yawned and said, “Time for bed, I think.”

Big Ears stretched. “Me, too. I’ll make the hot water bottle.” He went to the stove and filled an old rubber hot water bottle from the steaming kettle.

‘Aha!’ thought the milkman. ‘Only one hot water bottle for the two of them!’

Noddy and Big Ears left the room arm in arm. The milkman sneaked around the house to a bedroom window that also had a convenient chink between the pretty curtains. He saw there was only one bed in the room. Then Noddy and Big Ears strolled in together and started to undress. The milkman’s eyes began to pop.

“Oh, the window,” said Noddy. He came to the window in his night-shirt and pulled the curtains shut.

‘Darn’, thought the milkman. ‘How do I find out now?’

He tiptoed around to the kitchen again. No one in town ever locked their back door. He opened it and crept up the darkening hallway.

Something white floated towards him. The milkman stepped smartly into the kitchen alcove.

But it wasn’t a ghost. It was a golliwog in a white night-shirt. And he opened the bedroom door without knocking and went in…

‘I don’t want to know!’ whispered the milkman, and fled.

MONYA CLAYTON© 12th June 2006

HAIKU by Monya Clayton

This haiku refers to "Spanish Waters" by English poet John Masefield, b. 1878 - d.1967. Appointed Poet Laureate in 1930, awarded Order of Merit 1935.

Here's the first & ninth & tenth of the ten verses.

"Spanish waters, Spanish waters, you are ringing in my ears,
Like a slow, sweet piece of music from the grey forgotten years;
Telling tales, and beating tunes, and bringing weary thoughts to me
Of the sandy beach at Muertos, where I would that I could be."

"It's not the way to end it all. I'm old, and nearly blind,
And an old man's past's a strange thing, for it never leaves his mind.
And I see in dreams, awhiles, the beach, the sun's disc dipping red,
And the tall ship, under topsails, swaying in past Nigger Head.

I'd be glad to step ashore there. Glad to take a pick and go
To the lone blazed coco-palm tree in the place no others know,
And lift the gold and silver that has mouldered there for years
By the loud surf of Los Muertos which is beating in my ears.

"Now, from the sublime to the ridiculous, my haiku lines:

"An old blind pirate
Raves of gold lost long ago,
And grieves for lost youth."

(C) Monya Clayton, May 11th 2006

OVER THE HILL by Monya Clayton

“A pig on a mountain,” a sage once said,
“Sees more than a man with a bag on his head.”
I remember it now when I’m getting old
And “You’re over the hill,” I’m sometimes told.

‘Over the hill’ means past your use-by date,
Whatever you try will be way too late,
You’ve done your dash and had your chance,
‘Make way, old thing, our turn to dance.’

The road, they say, that matters most,
Runs up the hill to the winning post.
Keep eyes ahead, don’t slow the pace,
To the top of the heap, the end of the race.

I tell you, kids, I tried that path,
No time to look, no time to laugh.
The road was steep through rocky ground,
I barely saw the view around.

Too tired to even see the top
Till I was old and had to stop.
I was over the hill. And like the pig,
I looked and saw the world was big.

Run up the mount with a bag on your head
Ignore the view, and then drop dead.
Around the earth I gaze at will –
The scenery’s better, over the hill.