The Cinema in the nineteen-thirties

Depression stalked our beloved Country
with endless days of poverty and want.
Sad memories of the First World War
still deep in our hearts, to grieve and to haunt.

A six-day week, a pay packet to spend;
put nine-pence aside to go, with a friend
to see a film and sample delights
of Romance and Glamour, on Saturday nights.

Bright lights beckoned as we stepped off the bus,
everything seemed to be welcoming us.
The foyer, a cavern of red, gold and cream,
then darkness, a torch and the Silver Screen.

The supporting film and a Disney cartoon;
the appetizer to start with but then, very soon,
came the big film, the one that we’d all come to see;
the old and the young, my best friend and me.

The dancing of Ginger and Fred Astaire
dispelled the ‘Blues’ as we sat and stared,
while Mickey Rooney, precocious child,
and Judy Garland, drove their fans wild.

Engulfed with laughter at the Marx Brothers antics;
‘A Night at the Opera’, drove us all frantic.
Then, ‘Gone With The Wind’ with Vivienne Leigåh;
such a beautiful girl, just as we longed to be.

The curtains swished down, a machine all aglow;
the cinema organ, came up from below
as the man in coat-tails played tunes of the day
and we stood and queued for ice creams from a tray.

s The Cowboys lived and died by the gun.
The one with the white hat always won
All of them fired their guns quite a lot,
but the man, in black, was the one who got shot.

A romantic gesture; light your Love’s cigarette.
We hadn’t been told not to smoke, not yet.
She blew perfect smoke rings with elegant ease,
her red lacquered lips pouting to please.

The bedroom scenes were all very chaste,
nobody took off their clothes in haste..
Those on the bed were told to be sure,
to keep one foot firmly attached to the floor.

Each film had been censored and vouchsafed to show
happy endings for lovers and villains brought low.
We swallowed it all, at least for a while,
a picture of Heaven, Hollywood style.

Evil was never allowed to succeed
but in real life, were warnings we needed to heed
when goose-stepping men marched across Pâthé News
we felt the return of our fear-faden ‘Blues’

But we were young and still full of hope;
and, with what Life threw at us, we felt we could cope.
We knew what to do. from our own box of tricks,
was to spend every Saturday night at the ‘Flicks’.

© Marion Sharville

The School Nativity Play

On a day that’s cold and grey
the children act their Christmas play.
Their teachers have spent many hours
making cardboard sheep and cows.

Mixed infants gather on the stage
and shuffle to their places;
sit mums and dads, their glowing pride
lighting up their faces.

The shepherds and the Magi,
from distant lands have come,
at least along the corridor
from classroom number one.

Three tallest boys, with stuck on beards
are looking rather wary
in case the glue should come unstuck.
….and little Rose plays Mary..

The angels with their tinsel wings
below the star hung on a string,
are told to hover round about;
hands clasped in solemn prayer throughout.

Freshly laundered for today,
tea-towels and bathrobes hold their sway
to let the audience know full well
they’re now in ancient Israel.

The infant lying in the crib
is Joseph’s little brother Sid,
whose mum has lent him for the day,
the baby Jesus part to play.

He’d just arrived at home, whom mum
had called their ‘Little Stranger’
where he had slept in a nice clean cot,
not in a grubby manger.

And young Joseph as he stood
beside the babe, was feeling good
to be a part of this great story
of PEACE and JOY and LOVE and GLORY.

© Marion Sharville

The Veteran’s Journey

The Faculty of Life regrets and fears
the package we’ve delivered is worse for wear.
It started off quite clean behind the ears
but found parts of the journey hard to bear.

The exuberance of youth first sped him on,
the outer wrapping strong and still intact
but “Follow orders, lad, now go along,
the years of war will put a stop to that.”

His mates who fell, still live inside his head
as homeward bound to strangers, he now goes.
Responsibilities and cares make up his bed,
back in a life that he no longer knows.

The solitude, despite surrounding love;
a bubble that no pin can ever burst,
has changed his way of thinking; how to move
with caution, a skill in which he is well versed.

Persistence, nurtured through the killing time,
prepared the way for Hope to struggle through
as shattered lives break rank and cross the line;
to a field of bitter memories, in which to start anew.

The condition of this package is a mess.
We did our very best to keep him safe
but the Faculty of Life must now confess
it was his inner strength that helped to reach
this place;

The outer wrap is torn but underneath,
the inner man stores courage; some to spare.
Hope, the eternal optimist, will breathe
and fan the flame of youth that once was there.

Time has patched him up with unseen thread;
embroidered golden moments on his heart
to balance things twixt living and the dead
but those closed eyes remain a vital part.

© Marion Sharville

Summer 2012

What a summer it has been;
the most rain we’ve ever seen,
the people from the ‘Met’ could not say why.
My garden’s like a lake,
no lie and no mistake,
I swear a submarine went floating by.

A rainbow; sun and rain
says the Flood won’t come again
but I think that we should keep a watchful eye.
The country-side is sodden,
the crops have all gone rotten,
it’s enough to make a lot of people cry.
The prices in the shops
have risen higher than the crops,
so, we open up our purses with a sigh.

The sun has gone on holiday
to countries far away.
It didn’t have the grace to say “Goodbye.|
It pops back now and then,
we think ‘Summer’s back again’
but before we’ve dashed outside, it’s had to fly.

A girl bought a Bikini,
it was very teeny-weeny
but she never had a chance to lay and fry.
The dream she had relied on.
was, her Bikini would be spied on
by all the handsome men, when passing by.

.But the wind was rather chilly,
goose-bumps came willy-nilly,
to spread all over her and multiply.
she ran back home to don
a shirt and heating on;
summer frolics put on hold for bye and bye.

If the world is getting hotter,
then, the Weather-man’s a rotter;
he’s been feeding us a really blatant lie.
The way the Eco-system’s going,
there is no way of knowing
but I’d say another ice-age’s pretty nigh.

© Marion Sharville

Come into the Garden Maud

by Narion Sharville

Much maligned myopic Malcolm,
meaning to mow the lawn in March,
missed that month but managed May
In the meantime, the grass had grown
monumentally much more.
Maud, meandering and meditating
among the magnificent Marigolds,
is mercilessly mown down
by the mechanical mower,
manifesting immediately
into minced morsels.
Miserable, mal-adjusted Malcolm,
missing Maud, muddled in mind, mopes,
muses on her mysterious metamorphosis.
Meanwhile, Maud, macerating
in her moist compost mausoleum,
is maturing into a malodorous
magnificent mulch.


The open gates of book
and verse and speech and glance
invite us just inside to chase
the butterflies of thought
that light upon our ignorance;

to gaze upon soft vistas,
pearl-covered with the dew
of age-old wisdom nourishing
the frail hypothesis, the struggling
seeds of something new.

We are free to wander
each newfound path that winds,
to crush the weeds of prejudice
and pluck the buds of truth
from the magic gardens of our minds.

© Marion Sharville

A Carrot in the Toaster

I’ll put a carrot in the toaster,
a pot of face cream in my shoe.
Anything will do
as long as it is out of place;
a silent clue what I must do
to see me through
this ‘clean forgotten’ phase.

A handkerchief, tied in a knot,
once helped a lot.
A different issue, is a tissue.

A diary to rely on,
is the answer, if I choose it,
but then, I’d only lose it.

I will create a memory-mate.
Not a lot of people boast a
carrot in the toaster.

© Marion Sharville


The school bell rings its message out,
it’s home time, mum and tea.
The subsequent stampede resounds
with cries of “Wait for me.”

This kaleidoscope of infants,
their clothes in disarray,
are gathered up by doting mums
and slowly led away.

When all have gone, do daily sounds
still echo through the halls;
come floating from the rafters
and bounce around the walls?

Does Miss Payne’s weary voice call out
“No running on the stairs”
and all those feet yet clatter
through the hall and into prayers?

Does pushing, shoving anarchy
and voices, shrill and high,
stay still, for just a moment
as a teacher passes by

then rise again, discordant tones
of chair legs fiddle-squeak,
a timpani of desk lids;
trumpet voices as they speak

to long lost friends across the room,
whom every day they see,
tuning up these instruments
for the school cacophony?

A symphony that does not end, at last,
with rapt applause
but by the teacher entering
and closing of the doors.

The encore…”Children, settle down now,
Tommy, no more talk,”
the fidget-laden silence
and the scratch of teacher’s chalk.

© Marion Sharville


This is the tale of Flannelette Bill.
who, to this day, haunts the cotton mill.
One day at the loom, he was swept off his feet
and woven into a flannelette sheet.

At the mill, a week’s notice was always required,
unless, of a sudden, a workman was fired.
The way that he went caused quite a commotion,
especially as Bill had been due for promotion.

“He didn’t give notice,” the management said
as they laid the sheet out on the night watchman’s bed.
“He didn’t clock out, which is never allowed,
at least as he is, he will not need a shroud.

It’s most aggravating, he worked a short day,
so just tell his widow, we’re docking his pay.
Don’t think that I’m hard, I’m really quite nice.
to prove it I’ll sell her this sheet at half price.”

© Marion Sharville


Ollie, the Ostrich sticks his head in the sand
when things do not go exactly as planned.
His mother says, “Oliver, don’t do that, dear,
,there’s nothing as bad as sand in your ear.”

He’d wanted to fly, since he was a chick
but had never been able to master the trick.
A contradiction in terms, is a bird who can’t fly,
I’ll go and eat worms, he said, with a sigh.

I can run like a horse and get up to great speed
but I cannot achieve the lift-off I need.
His failure to fly he could not understand
and, covering both ears, stuck his head in the sand.

Marion Sharville ©

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