Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Monster on the Church Wall

Mrs. Watkins sat uneasily in her seat appearing to listen to Rev. Haynes as he expounded the Scriptures that Sunday night.  She always enjoyed his preaching for he was humorous but yet profound.  This night, however, she was encountering an experience that had nothing to do with the message.  All was well with her until the largest church lizard came to rest on the wall just above her.  She had kept an eye on him all night as he preyed on the flying insects which were silly enough to venture too close.


Ever since the time when one of these such reptiles had jumped on her, she was never at ease with them in her vicinity.  She was really uncomfortable now.   She was unable to move further along the seat because of the people sitting next to her.  She did not want to disturb them because they seemed quite intent on the message and yet she was especially terrified by the monster poised above her.  Unable to do anything about her predicament, she tried as much as possible to remain composed.  She kept one eye on the reptile and the other on the preacher.


Suddenly the creature raised its head.  She was sure it was going to jump.  It appeared to stare at her with such deliberation that she became afraid to look at it directly.  She sat and prayed in her seat that this monster would not jump.  Suddenly an idea struck her.  With all the unconvincing courage she could muster, she decided to give the creature one of her sharp looks.  This look had always worked with her Sunday school class when a youngster was not paying attention.  This strategy had absolutely no effect on the lizard.  He just stayed there and stared at her.  She tried rolling her eyes and bearing her teeth but the creature stood its ground.  With that she had not the slightest doubt that this creature of which she was so afraid, had definite intentions and those intentions were on her. 

“But why?” she wondered. What was there about her that of all the congregation, it had picked out her?  Why did it have to choose her wall for a resting place?

“Perhaps,” she thought, “therein lies the answer.”

Mrs. Watkins was a creature of habit.  She operated by her own set routine and allowed nothing or anyone to alter it.  Every time she entered church she sat in the same seat.  For over thirty years she had done this.  She became so obsessed with this practice that if anyone was occupying that seat when she arrived,  he or she was forced to move.  More often than not, however, she was always early enough to procure her seat before anybody else took it.  The members knew her so well that they would always say, even to strangers, “You had better not sit there, that seat is reserved.”  At this time, however, any seat in the church would be preferable to the one in which she was now sitting.


The duel of stares continued.  She could no longer concentrate on what Rev. Haynes was saying for all her attention was now focused on the reptile on the wall.  Needless to say, she was also the centre of attraction for the lizard.  Their locked eyes and made four and neither blinked nor was in  anyway distracted from the object of their intent.  As she looked steadily at the lizard, it appeared to grow bigger and bigger.  It started to crawl along the wall nearer and nearer, the effect causing her heart to pump faster and faster and louder and louder.  She could not believe her eyes.  “Was this monster growing right before my eyes?” she asked herself, her fear building to panicky heights.   She touched the member beside her trying discreetly to get her attention but the member was too absorbed in the service to notice her.  On her second attempt , she was reprimanded with, “Be quiet!  I don’t want to miss this point.”  It was as though this were some orchestrated plan to teach her a lesson.  She considered her options carefully and as she deliberated, the monster on the wall crawled closer and closer.


The lizard stopped.  It lifted its head high showing a yellowish bag beneath its mouth.  It was as if it were propping on the bag.  Suddenly, as if by magic, the bag disappeared.  The creature rose up on its legs with its tail lifting high in the air and then there was an ear splitting scream, the compliments of Sister Watkins.  The service came to an abrupt end and all eyes stared at one object.  Sister Watkins was in a frantic state as she tried to evict the unwelcome visitor which had landed in her hair.  So much was her fright, that she soon passed out.  When she regained consciousness she was lying in one of the pews.  The first words she uttered was, “Why me?  Why did he choose me?”

Having exhausted his night’s supply of food, the lizard had spied a lone insect flying over Sister Watkins’ head.  Patiently he had waited until the insect had alighted then he made his advance.  Each time he moved the insect would start flying around again.  He had inched closer and closer until he was near enough to spring on his prey.  As soon as the bat alighted again, the lizard sprang.  The rest is history. 

Sister Watkins no longer sits in that seat.  The seat is no longer reserved and in addition Sister Watkins stays away from walls.  The next time you sit near the wall in church, look up.  There might be a monster above you.

                                                                                       Stewart Russell © 1999

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Conflicting Similarities of English

Some may have a problem with this title
Such contradictions of sort can’t be vital,
But blame your praises on the language
And by the end of this poem find courage.

In English language there are synonyms
These are words that mean the same thing,
Opposite to these would be the antonyms
Moving from the ending to the beginning.

Then there are words we call homonyms
These are spelt differently but sound alike,
The wonder of wonders is the contronym
One word, opposite meanings: a huge mite!

Aught can mean nothing or it can mean all
Dyke can mean a ditch or might mean wall,
Give out may produce or stop production
Buckle is fall apart; fasten: the other option.

Grade is to level but can also be to incline
Show or hide is screen based on the time,
Fix is to restore but also means castrate
Like an old house or deny a dog its mate.

Cleave to separate or together they will cling
Cut a piece of meat or simply stick something,
Left means who remain or also who departed
Wind up is at the end or a watch when started.

Out may mean the stars or a bulb that’s blown
Out of is outside or “work out” of one’s home,
Put out is to generate or just put out the light
Miss or hit in two games is regarded as a strike.

Then we have transparent, obvious or invisible
One may be a glass or a person quite discernible,
Oversight is responsibility; maybe just an error
Fast may be unmoving or quickly coming terror.

First degree may describe a least severe burn
Or a most severe murder a juror should learn,
Handicap is advantage given to some in a race
Also disadvantage in life that some people face.

Clip like cleave may mean to fasten or detach
Bolt is to secure or a horse that’s hard to catch,
Dusting is to add tiny particles to solve a crime
Or remove tiny particles so that things may shine.

Adding seasonings to our food is to garnish it
And yet to garnish one’s salary is to subtract a bit,
I am starting to end having completed the start
I will share one more verse and then we will part.

For some reason or other I avoid an odd number
What does one do when the stoplight says amber?
Whoever heard of a stoplight that knows colour?
And if it’s a stoplight why move at all, why bother?

Count all these verses and they number thirteen
I’ve added two more verses; I know you’ve seen,
Twice I have lied yet I have told you the truth
Check after verse eleven and you’ll have the proof.

Stewart Russell © 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Not for Malicious Conveyance

             Image result for Phone ringing

Sis Matilda rings up Sis Hilda

Phone ringing off the hook
Hilda never bothered to look
Settling in her gossip chair
She forgot every other care.

Picking up phone with style
Her face light up with a smile
Hi Matilda this you calling me?
Check yuh phone you can’ see?

I know it had to be you
You call to tell me ‘bout Sue?
Girl Sue is now old news
I hear some yuh can’ refuse.

Tell me wuh yuh hear now?
That Bert get butt by he cow?
Where you really living girl?
You really living in this worl’?

That news was so long ago
Could be ‘bout a month or so
So wuh juicy news you hear?
Chile doan prolong muh fear.

Easy, doan tek off yuh clothes
Shirley come into some blows
‘Pears she was pun de phone
Talking in a very endearing tone.

Tell muh wuh really happen?
She still live up in Clapham?
Yes in dah two be two house
Foolisher than a church mouse.

‘Pears Malone pass in he truck
And Shirley run out o’ luck
She din finish cook he food
De man was more than crude.

She is a foolish girl yuh know
But he din have to beat she so
‘Pears he ask she fuh he food
An’ she start playin’ she rude.

He grab two window sticks
An’ start to pour on de licks
He hit she eva which place
It was such a huge disgrace.

But Malone en a church man?
Yeah but he got a very heavy han’
To think of it I really must smile
Spare de rod and spile de chile.

But how you get dat in hey?
Malone preach dat on Sunday
Oh yes he is a lay preacher
Girl he is a interesting creature.

It serve she right, though
She had de phone hot fuh so
Not me an’ dat phone thing
I does cook an’ wash an’ sing.

De phone is a useful appliance
Not for malicious conveyance
I will never be caught doin’ dat
You could agree dah’s a fact.

You does really mek me laugh
Wha loss I hey gine crack in half
Wha’s dah I hear from you lip?
You doan indulge in phone gossip?

I does use this phone for business
Witness to people an’ help wid stress
I doan have time for gossips
Never from these anointed lips.

I have to agree wid you, soul
We must be about de Lord’s fold
He say we must feed he sheep
But de church like it gone to sleep.

She shun be gossiping on de phone
Guess she feel she did home alone
Shud a had de food ready for Malone
Hope she en got nuh broken bone.

But Matilda was he right to beat she?
My Hubert wun dare try dat wid me
He tell me once in hey I is de man
Girl in now I did done brek ‘e han.

He en mek me so he can’ hit me
Risk hitting an’ any man gine see
I, Hilda, en no body’s punching bag
I am real serious, I doan just brag.

I hear you girl an I understan’ too
But Shirley en like me or you
We doan waste time wid gossips
No never from we anointed lips.

But who she did pun de phone wid?
Wid Hilda you can take off de lid
I gine tell yuh in strictest confidence
Dis en for malicious conveyance.

Cross yuh heart and hope to die
Come on Tilda doan mek muh sigh
You eva gih me news dat I tell out?
You know Hilda could shut she mout’.

Awright den understand dis is news
Not to be open’ for public reviews
She did talkin’ to…you wun guess
Come and tell me doan gih me stress.

Shirley tell me in strictest confidence
My phone en for malicious conveyance
I am a very trusted confidante
Wha other people does do I just can’t.

She did talkin’ to Malone work boss
You must keep dis a secret at all cost
You can’ mean upright Belton Birch?
But all o’ dem does guh to we church.

I tell you girl de church gone sleep
Of dis news doan let me hear a peep
You is de only body dat I tell
I hope you can keep a secret well.

Matilda and Marcie

Hilda hold on think I hear a beep
This is Matilda you may speak
Marcie here; yuh got time fuh me?
Sure I always got time fuh you girlie.

De news you gih me is not true
I check it wid Shirley sister Sue
De pastor heard and investigate
I hope dis news en come too late.

Don’t worry, Marcie I only tell you
I always had doubts dat it was true
Marcie all of it is lie or only a part?
Dese days yuh can’ tek nuttin to heart.

But how de pastor get to know?
Shirley and her husband told him so
I doan understan’. What you mean?
Somebody wanted to create a scene.

You mean Shirley did not get beat?
Malone never touched she I repeat
An’ de boss man dat not true either?
All started by the same news provider.

Anybody fine out who is the gossiper?
It’s not a him for sure, ‘pears it’s a her
You can tell me, I am your frien’
An’ should I tell out dat be de end.

Awright I will tell, hope you can keep
Hope you en one to talk in your sleep
De last letters in she name is I-L-D-A
Can’ be Sis. Hilda, heard her just today.

No it is not Hilda, definitely not
So guess again and see who we’ve got
Dat’s a hard one and I do not know
But listen up, Marcie, I really must go.

Always nice hearing you call anytime
Or we can go St. John and have a lime
Just remember I had somethin’ doing
Can’t talk no more I must be going.

OK then, tell me when you fin’ out
I can trust you to shut your mout
Your phone is a useful appliance
And not for malicious conveyance.
Switched back to Hilda

Why she had to call at this very minute?
Talkin’ to her is sometimes de limit
Sorry, Hilda, for keeping you so long
But I just get a call from de church clown

No problem chile just leh we continue
‘Bout Br. Birch, hmm, dis better than stew
You were telling me ‘bout he and Shirley
Wha he do to he best frien’ is beyond me.
Hears a Car outside

Wait, I hear a car outside de house
It is de pastor and he church louse
How de two o’ dem get here so soon?
I was just tallkin’ to dat ole goon.

Gotta go let me see wha dey wish
De two o’ dem not my favourite dish
Call me back as soon as dey gone
I gine be hey even till after dawn.

Before I go leh me put you on yuh guard
Marcie comin’ at you real, real hard
She seh you scandalize Bro and Sis Malone
Can’ fine nuttin better to do pun you phone.

I tell she straight not de Sis Hilda I know
And wid that I tell she I have to go
Was she who call when I heard de beep
I feel she does talk even in she sleep.

A knock on the door

I hear dem knocking pun de door
I gine hear you; we will talk some more.

Matilda changes her tone

Thanks Sister Hilda nice sharing with you
I pray dat your husband get over de flu.
Four persons enter

Hello Pastor, Marcie, Bro and Sis Malone
I was just here ministering on de phone
Yuh know de phone is a useful appliance
I does never use it for malicious conveyance.
The pastor has the final word

I quite understand, Sister,  what you are saying
But I am concerned for those you are slandering
Your phone should be used as a useful appliance
But you are using it for malicious conveyance.

 Stewart Russell © 2013

Friday, August 22, 2014


The evening train sped slowly up the track
Carrying weary workers on burdened back
Not a sound could be heard in the silent din          

As it chugged to the next stop at Island Inn

The engine labored down the steep hill
Passengers were shouting though quite still
When all of a sudden and out of nowhere
A sound was heard somewhere out there

There was instant silence in the noisy train
As all tried to see above the clattering rain
Pitter patter it went as though on tiny feet
The strangest of sounds bitter yet sweet

A baby wide awake in a very deep sleep
Wanted to know why the hill was so steep
Go back to sleep you shouldn’t be awake
Do stop blabbering for everybody’s sake

Mummy was sleeping so the baby obeyed
Still hoping the train would get on its way
Conductor was bothered anyone could tell
He was fast asleep in the train’s stairwell

Wake him wake him was the silent shout
As calm passengers started rushing about
Leave him alone let him sleep till dawn
Said the irate speaker with a quiet yawn

Meanwhile the pandemonium continued
The sound of the train was now choo-choo
The chugging stopped, the sky turned blue
What had caused it all, still nobody knew

Investigate it said a hairy, baldhead man
Never was like this said conductor Dan
Awaking from his sleep he simply went back
The train sped straight along the winding track

Drama after drama unfolded on the train
Rats in the kitchen roaches in the drain
None understood though picking their brain
There were sunlit skies and driving rain

Everyone was asleep on this uneventful night
None could tell whether it was fear or fright
That drove them to panic in such a calm way
Assured that this night was a very funny day

Never happened before now I truly can say
Only last week I think it was Wednesday
When on this train we were travelling along
Suddenly everything started to go wrong.

Never happened before the conductor was sure
He thought back over a hundred years and more
From the time he had started working this track
For every occurrence he would always think back

The stranger it seems the more normal it gets
I am told rats and roaches were kept as pets
And what never happened occurred every day
It was always like this as the train went its way

The rats I could understand and the roaches too
But what about driving rain out of skies clear blue
What about the train speeding slowly along
And the silent din something had to be wrong

Listen to me I understand that there is more
This happened for a truth, more than folklore
In the train they heard a plane coming in to land
The pilot was blind and only had one hand

The hand was on the next seat not at his side
And the plane was landing just above high tide
He waved his other hand to the conductor below
Who said something’s wrong I know I just know

The conductor said to me I was sitting quite near
This kind of thing happens all through the year
That one hand pilot he flies that plane well
Many in that tide there I often hear them tell

Many have flown with him in that very plane
They have flown with him again and again
He’s never had an incident there’s none to tell
All of them there in that tide, some gone to hell

I have flown with him too for hundreds of years
On this very train you could ask any of my peers
Not one would tell you a lie, too old for that
When we travel on this train we sleep not chat.

Some call this a ghost train that’s old wives crap
I’ve driven this for years and never had a mishap
Hundreds of years of experience and that’s a fact
And all who travel with me just keep coming back

I started to think like I’d caught the wrong train
Why if I am really here where had I left my brain
Must be some connection, this train and that plane
But can’t tell what it is, it’s driving me insane

With that I picked up my brain and began to think
I went to the fridge and from there took a hot drink
I sat on a train seat my legs curled under me
And there I tried to unravel this great mystery

To do justice I was forced to look way back
To the time the train started out on the track
Having sped out slowly after a long, hurried wait
It powered its way quietly past the station gate

It motored straight along the very winding track
Labouring down the steep hill everything in tact
Then there was that silent sound I remember now
Strangely silent as it were I heard it somehow

I was deeply asleep trying to catch up on the news
It was raining heavily from a sky of dark blues
The rain poured down though not a cloud in sight
It was stunningly amazing on this sunlit night.

The more I think about it the more confuse I get
Everything dry as bone yet outside is boiling wet
Looking at this phenomenon not sure that it exists
Trying to come to grips with all its turns and twists

About to give up now I’ve had enough of this
Plane heading for the train I’m hoping it will miss
Don’t bother young man the train conductor said
Soon everyone one of us will join the silent dead

I began to wonder could this really be real
I will lose my life on the long forgotten trail
Fighting with my thoughts, this cannot be true
While struggling with the tears clouding up my view

Come on soothed the old man this is nothing new
I have often witness this ever since my youth
He turned to walk away and then I heard the crash
In just a matter of seconds everything was ash

The flames climb to a height encouraged by the rain
Rats burnt in the kitchen and roaches in the drain
Right then I began to notice I couldn’t see my hand
‘Tis only then I recognized I was the one hand man

How many times I’ve experienced this I can never tell
For I always ended up sleeping in the train’s stairwell
There’s much more to tell that’s one thing I know
But guess what you must wait a hundred years or so

Stewart Russell © 2012