The Alliterative Gossip (Or Fake News)

Long, long ago, before mobile phones, and even longer before Facebook and other social media were invented, every town needed a town gossip. This was an unpaid job, but the people who did it were really well motivated, and they often worked long days to get the job done. They had to go out in all weathers to places where other people gathered, and they had to be prepared to talk to and listen to all sorts of people, from the grand to the very shady. Their job was to gather local news and pass it on to other people. It was a bit like being a journalist for the local radio, but that hadn’t been invented yet either. Just like today though, they were sometimes accused of creating fake news.

On a typical day the town gossip would get up early in the morning and go down to the shops. The gossip wasn’t necessarily going to buy anything, but would linger for a while outside the butcher’s shop. There, Mrs Brown might be queueing to buy six succulent slightly seasoned sizzling sausages for Saturday’s supper. The gossip would strike up a conversation with Mrs Brown and casually ask if any of the sausages were for her lodger.

The gossip might then go to the flower stall on the green and, after complimenting the flower seller on price for fourteen fine fresh freesias for fifty pence, the gossip would tell the flower seller that Mrs Brown might be developing a ‘thing’ for her lodger, because she is trying to impress him with the superbly succulent slightly seasoned sizzling sausages for Saturday supper.

The gossip would then walk on past the local pub, where the lamplighter’s lad is high up a ladder conscientiously cutting the candle, clearing the cuttings and cleaning the glass. There she would observe that the lanky lad’s large ladder is leaning lazily in a lopsided way before telling him that, if he is going to buy any flowers from the flower seller on the green, he needs to check them carefully because the remaining red rambling roses are radically reduced because they reek and are ready to recycle.

The gossip’s next call is at the police station where there is a poster on the door about a missing kitten. The gossip tells the police “It’s possible the peculiar pedigree pussy purring and playing on my patio fits the description.” The constable knows the town gossip only too well and says the missing cat has already been found and this shouldn’t be police business anyway. “OK”, says the town gossip, “Then if you’ve really nothing better to do, you need to have a word with the lamplighter’s lanky lad. He is likely to lose his life because his large ladder is leaning lazily in a lopsided way”.

At lunchtime the gossip visits the best place in town for genuine juicy guaranteed gossip; the Greedy Gourmet Cafe. Here the gossip eavesdrops on the next table where a couple of cousins are quietly conversing about their current concerns, in the corner, over a comforting cup of cocoa. The gossip listens to what they say then leans over and concurs that more people should consider contributing to community care and condemns the constable’s candidly cutting comment about catching cute kittens.

After finishing her now cold cup of cappuccino coffee the gossip decides to spend the last of a lovely day loitering leisurely and listening to more loose larynxes in the local lending library. By the time the gossip leaves the local lending library loaded with little labial lapses, it is time to toddle tiredly toward the trendy town takeaway for a teatime tikka or tapas. Here, treat in hand, before hurriedly heading homeward, the gossip beseeches a bespectacled businessman to beware befriending the book borrowers and bibliography browsers at the borrowing library because their banter beggars belief

Fake News

Fake news is in the news

If that can be believed

What’s true or false is hard to tell

It’s so easy to be deceived

 

Exaggeration, if you will

Is one old type of lie

But what of calling others names

In an effort to decry?

 

A tweet or text, or video clip

Sent, cannot be denied

Inconsistency may also be fake

Specially to mask one’s pride

 

It Could be Worse

Despite the fuss on the national news

Last week’s earthquake brought hardly a bruise

Barely enough to make walls shake

But ‘quakes elsewhere, leave deaths in their wake

 

Classed as ‘light’; Richter 4.4

Even more slight than in ’84

When we swept up the kids and ran outside

If the earth moves, there’s nowhere to hide

 

Now, it seems, we’ve another ‘grave’ threat

The ‘beast from the east’, a new cause to fret

A Siberian blast, bringing snow and ice

At -5C, the Beeb says it won’t be nice

 

But some can recall the freeze of ’82

When staying outdoors wasn’t good for you

At -26C, that really was cold

It killed by degrees, especially the old.

Stop the Deaths

It has to stop; it serves no end

Except to fuel a relentless trend

Religious difference, sectarian strife

Cannot justify taking life

 

We are all people, making our way

Our differences don’t give cause to slay

Calm hot tempers, counsel care

Terrorism leads nowhere.

The UK General Election

A cross put on a paper

Seems simple in a way

Amazing, then, that this small act

Empowers each to have a say

 

The outcome isn’t as I’d hoped for

I’m quite worried by the result

But I can accept the majority view

That’s what it means to be adult

 

Some people see it differently

Wanting to impose a new regime

Cars, bombs and knives as weapons

Murdering to achieve their dream

 

Let them not take away our rights

Hold our laws and freedoms dear

They must not win by violence

We will not live in fear

 

If society is built on values

With some common moral code

Life and liberty are the bedrock

And democracy the road

A Fundamental Truth

 

dark sky

We knew it was to happen

Somewhere within a crowd

More terror visited uselessly

To try to make us cowed

 

The carnage and the mayhem

The tragic loss of life

This time a home-made IED

Last time a car and knife

 

What sort of mind can plan this

How mad must someone be

To be a bomb, a murderer

A lunatic running free

 

This cause cannot be justified

Though perhaps I waste my breath

There is no place in paradise

Secured through others’ death