Recent Posts

31 December 2014

Monkey Brand is perfect for

Spotless Earthenware
Smiling Housewives

Clean Baths
Happy Husbands

White Marble
Contented Servants

Shining Pots and Pans
In The Parlour

Polished Stair-Rods
In The Kitchen

Bright Fire-Irons
In The Factory

Sparkling Glass-Ware
Simple!! Rapid!!
Clean!! Cheap!!

From an ad in a biography of William Lever: The King of Sunlight by Adam McQueen (Bantam Press, 2004). Submitted by Rishi Dastidar.

29 December 2014


One of life's greatest certainties
is that the ground is solid
beneath one's feet

so the sudden appearance
of chasms, however small,
is unsettling.

From British sinkhole spike prompts warning, David Shukman, BBC News. Submitted by Angi Holden.

24 December 2014

The Famous Squib Case of 1793

Scott v Shepherd

A lit squib
was thrown into a crowded market
by Shepherd

and landed
on the table of a gingerbread merchant.

A bystander, to protect himself
and the gingerbread,
threw the squib across the market

where it landed
in the goods of another merchant.
The merchant grabbed the squib

and tossed it away,
accidentally hitting Scott in the face,
putting out one of his eyes.

From Wikipedia's article on squibs, retrieved 12 September 2014. Submitted by Susan Taylor.

23 December 2014

The Pornography of Everyday Life

Last year,
I woke up
in a hotel room
in Amsterdam.

There was
a woman
in my bed.

I looked
in the mirror
and saw
that my eyebrows
were gray.

I saw
that I was

Painter Alexander Melamid, quoted in Forty-One False Starts by Janet Malcolm (Granta Books, 2014). Submitted by Howie Good.

22 December 2014

My Favourite Fairy

She has very delicate sparkly bright blue eyes
and a red red red red red red dress
That’s why I love her
so much

A small girl talks to her mother. Overheard on the street, 3 September 2014. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.

19 December 2014

Missed Connections

I get frustrated with things in my personal life sometimes,
especially her.
I’m missing consideration, and a loved feeling.
My life is being spent in a back seat to others
whom I always take care of with little reciprocation
and even less thanks.
I spend time fantasizing about the feeling of woman,
giving a damn,
and of the random,
uninitiated touch or smile.
Why must I work so, so hard
just to get so, so little?
All I want is someone's time and consideration
without the feeling that I owe them for it.

From Craigslist Miami, Missed Connections MfW, March 2014. Submitted by Dawn S. Davies.

18 December 2014

The Shores of Tripoli

Never sell the bones
of your father and mother.
Every damn fool thing you do
in this life you pay for.
The bastards tried to come
over me last night.
I guess they didn't know
I was a Marine.

Is it not meningitis?
All right then, I'll say it:
Dante makes me sick.
Damn it! How will I ever
get out of this labyrinth?
Useless … useless …
My vocabulary did this to me.

Don't ask me how I am!
I've got the bows up … I'm going!
I understand nothing more.
The bastards got me,
but they won't get everybody.
This is the fish of my dreams.

Last words from Wikiquotes. Submitted by Howie Good.

17 December 2014

Can I?

Write compound sentences
Use punctuation correctly in my writing
Plan a short story
Deduce information from a text and picture
Start sentences in a variety of ways
Use key events in a narrative to write a play script
Deduce information from a variety of sources
Use some compound and complex sentences to describe life in the workhouse
Extend my sentences using connectives
Use persuasive language to give my side of the argument
Use the language from a narrative text to create a poem
Understand a character’s point of view
Edit and improve my writing
Write a paragraph using connectives and a variety of sentence lengths
Use speech punctuation correctly in direct speech
Answer questions from a character’s point of view
Punctuate speech correctly
Use drama techniques to explore a character’s feelings
Use a range of more connectives to extend my sentences
Predict the next section of a story
Use the apostrophe correctly
Write a persuasive letter
Record speech
Plan a newspaper report
Write an informed letter
Write a diary entry
Create a non-chronological report
Answer questions from a report
Write a character description
Record speech correctly
Contract sentences
Write in the style of an author
Research an endangered animal
Recognise persuasive language
Write complex sentences
Create a slogan for my campaign
Collect research for a biography
Answer questions about someone’s life
Use punctuation
Write a letter to a pen-pal
Edit and improve my writing
Write compound and complex sentences
Write my thoughts and feelings about an event that has happened
Write a short diary entry
Use all the features of a dairy
Write an effective letter opener
Write a sports’ commentary
Collect facts for a report
Generate questions for my report
Create a headline
Plan a newspaper report
Use punctuation correctly
Identify the features of an advert
Use persuasive language
Write a script
Research for a biography
Plan a biography
Understand the difference between direct and reported speech
Use direct speech in my writing
Use dashes in my writing
Use effective language to have an effect on the reader
Use complex sentences in my writing
Change the tense in various sentences
Group ideas into paragraphs

Can I?

From a 10-year-old's literacy exercise book, listing the learning objectives for one academic year.

16 December 2014

12 Reasons You are my Ex

1. Exacerbate: to make worse
2. Exact: to call for and obtain (“exact revenge”)
3. Exaggerate: to overemphasize or overstate
4. Exalt: to glorify or intensify
5. Examine: to inspect, investigate, or scrutinize
6. Exasperate: to aggravate or enrage
7. Excavate: to remove or expose by digging or as if by digging
8. Exceed: to be greater than or to go beyond a limit or normal boundary
9. Except: to keep out or to object
10. Excerpt: to take out or select, especially writing, for other use
11. Exchange: to trade
12. Excise: to remove by cutting or as if by cutting

From 90 Verbs Starting with "Ex-", Daily Writing Tips. Submitted by Sean Wai Keung.

15 December 2014

A Life's Parallels

Never on this side of the grave again.
Christina Rossetti

Synthetic coconut shies.
Whiskers absurdly long.

Give the show away.
Everything tawdry and shoddy.

Was it always so?
Were they as cheap looking
in one’s youth when one loved it all?

Does one get fastidious as one grows
older and the fair
always was rowdy
and dirty
and unappealing?

As we came away,
all Himself said was:
“Our poor park,
how untidy it is.”

Diary of a Sheffield housewife, August 1942. Diarist 5447 in the Mass Observation Project. Submitted by B.T. Joy.

12 December 2014

A hundred identical hooks

Believe the unbelievable
Love hurts

The end begins
Every second counts

Get carried away
Justice is coming

No guts, no glory
Assume the position

Evil rises
Looks can kill

Once upon a time
Unlock the secret

Revenge is coming
Love is a force of nature

Journey beyond your imagination
No body is safe

Fear thy neighbor
Break the silence

There is no substitute
Hold your breath

If looks could kill

A hero will rise
A love story

Love stings
Be careful what you wish for

Blood is thicker than water
The con is on

There is no escape
Lead us into temptation

Every family has a secret
Are you in or out?

This place is so dead
The time has come

The ultimate battle begins
Everything will change

Fight fire with fire
Escape is the only solution

Life happens when you least expect it
No one gets out alive

There’s one in all of us
Nothing is as simple as black and white

A comedy for the romantically challenged
The end is near

Take a stand
No soul is safe

Love thy neighbor
Join the party

Fear nothing, risk everything
How far would you go for a friend?

There’s one in every family
The boys are back in town

The journey begins
The hunt begins

They are coming
Legends never die

The real ghost story
Heaven help us

There’s only one way out
Get in the game

Heroes aren’t born, they’re made
Revenge is a dish best served cold

Let the mind games begin
Fight or die

Get some
Time is running out

Everything you’ve heard is true
Catch her if you can

Enter at your own risk
Get in, get out

Everybody has a secret
It’s time to take a stand

It’s her world, we’re just living in it
Careful what you wish for

A comedy to arouse your appetite
Everything comes full circle

Some secrets are better left buried
This might hurt a little

A legend never dies
You are what you eat

Feel the love
Are you game?

We’ve all been there
There are no clean getaways

There goes the neighborhood
Something wicked this way comes

The legend comes to life
Everything is connected

You can’t choose your family
Trust no one

There are two/three sides to every (love) story

A list of identical taglines for pairs of different movies in a blog post by Christophe Courtois. Submitted by Mark Dzula.

11 December 2014

Welcome to inclusion

Please do not remove mice
or keyboards. Look towards
the person who is speaking.

Only you can change your attitude:
think about word chunks you know.

What can you say
if you haven’t heard or understood?
You must build the tallest tower
to win the competition.

Text from notices pinned and projected on the walls of a classroom in Haverstock School, 9 July 2014. Submitted by Natalie Shaw.

10 December 2014

Floral Tributes

The alternative is to
Pick tributes from your garden.
Seasonal wreathes, using ivy,
Berries and autumn colours
Look beautiful.
Foliage is always available
Even if there are no blooms.
Some families
Simply supply all the mourners
With a single seasonal bloom
To place upon the coffin.
Others choose a sprig of rosemary
That can be dropped into the grave.
The possibilities are endless.

From The Natural Death Handbook, 5th edition. Submitted by Karen JK Hart.

09 December 2014

Sweet Thursday

What happened in between
the troubled life of Joseph and Mary

there would be no game.

Enter Suzy - the creative cross
tinder is as tinder does

the great Roque war
whom the gods love, they drive nuts

there's a hole in reality through which
we can look if we wish.

Hazel's brooding flower
in a crannied wall

parallels must be related:
lousy Wednesday: the playing fields of

Harrow: the little flowers of Saint Mack.
Suzy binds the cheese

a pause in the day's occupation
sweet Thursday, sweet Thursday

sweet Thursday was
one hell of a day.

Chapter titles 1-21 from John Steinbeck's 1954 novel Sweet Thursday. Submitted by Victoria Bean.