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SOME OF MY POEMS.

An Introduction to My Poems.
Have You Been Today?
Wales Car-go.
Wish You Were Here.
Love On The Rocks.
The Protection Racket.
Trying To Please Mabel.
Bluff Knoll Blues.
Bovine Blues.
Better Than You Are.
Drink And Be Wary.
Litter-Bugs.
The Old Man.
Flying With Intent.
All Fired Up.
Fall For It Blues.
No Match For Geriatric James.
Boris D'Yorn.

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An Introduction to My Poems.

As a person who has dabbled in the pastimes of mountaineering, rock climbing, and caving since early 1963 I've been involved with many adventure clubs.

Over the years I have concocted quite a few poems (for newsletters, magazines, etc.) relating to the above pastimes.

Most of my poems were originally written with safety or environmental aspects in mind - in the hope of encouraging members to do the right thing for themselves, their partners or groups, and the environment.

Nevertheless, I thought that folks living further afield than Western Australia might get some pleasure from some of my efforts so I've included a few here.

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Have You Been Today?

In this modern day of the car and jet there's still a motion we must do
The Prime Minister has to do it and so must me and you
All doggies seem to do it from the day that they are born
It seems that every dog in town comes and does it on my lawn.

Queen Elizabeth 1 did it when she crossed Sir Walter's shroud
Dame Edna was known to do it on the stage in front of a crowd
Guy Fawkes did it in the cellars, he created quite a stink
Einstein used to do, he said it helped him think.

The water-catchment area is a place it shouldn't be done
Don't do it all over your father, don't do it all over your mum
Old people find it hard to do, it causes some much pain
When babies try to do it, their faces show the strain.

Some people do it down the gullies, where others fear to tread
Some do it on their carpets, and it makes some folk turn red
Some do it in the daytime, some do it in their sleep
Some have been known to do it while going down the street.

When Mawson did it on the ice, he looked so cold and forlorn
'Twas said that Cook did it on the deck while sailing round Cape Horn
A man did it on a tight-rope while moving on tip-toe
"It really was an amazing sight." said a lady who stood below.

Tarzan was known to do it in his house atop a tree
While Eyre did one that stretched from Melbourne to Albany
It's been done by many soldiers on the parade ground at Duntroon
And it's said that Neil Armstrong did it first upon the moon.

Some people smoke while doing it, that must give them much power
While many people have been known to do it in a shower
You would never ever do it while standing in the station
Some people even do it while they're sponsored by the nation.

It could be most embarrassing and make you look a fool
If you insist on trying to do in a paddock where there's a bull
Some need to do it in a storm, some do it when they're bare
My grandma wouldn't do it unless she had something nice to wear.

Sweethearts do it together when they go down lover's lane
Barnstormers were known to do it on the wing of an aeroplane
To do it on the convict ships, the prisoners were untied
Sharks waited in the water for those who did it over the side.

Some people take pills to help them go, some to slow them down
It's been done out in the jungle, it's been done on the pavement in town
It's been done far out in space, it's been done around the farm
Good maps, showing where to do it, have been put out by CALM.

A few have done it on Everest, but they are the elite
Most people have been known to do it before they reach a seat
A jumbo jet is big and you can do it in the aisles
But, be wary of doing it on a jetty for you may trip over the piles.

Some do it in their shorts, some do it in a suit
Babies do it in their nappies and mother says "How cute."
Some people do it in their pants, some do it in their shoes
Some do it in the proper place, some do it where they choose.

My mother often does it but it makes my father cough
My sister does it every day but she's only showing off
I saw my fat aunt Doris do it, the sight!, it made me stare
While cousin Shirley and her boyfriend liked to do it as a pair

Some people do it fast, some people do it slow
Few people never bother, most people have to go
I knew an old couple who did it hand in hand
I even had a friend who, from doing it, was banned.

It's not the weather that should bother you
Or which way the wind is blowing
Or who sees you while you're doing it
It's what you pass when you are going.

Now you've read these words of wisdom
And listened to my talk
Don't sit there on your bottoms
Get out and take a walk.

Dave James. January 1988.

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Wales Car-go.

There's a place that I'll hold near and dear
It's a place of hills and vales
The memories I have are so very clear
Of the beautiful and wild North Wales.

North Wales, a place of adventure and mystery
Fears of danger and the unknown
A place steeped in tradition and history
The place that Llywelyn called home.

It's also a place of mountains and crags
Where persons can wander at will
The finest dressed and those clad in rags
Were slaves to the lure of the hill.

As a young lad down south, not rich like a Lord
I was smitten by love for these peaks
But money for trips was hard to afford
Sometimes I would save up for weeks.

Those Welsh trips were fun and gave us much joy
We took chances in many old cars
To keep them going, the tricks we'd employ
Were many and as varied as stars.

We rode Standards, Triumphs, Rileys and Rovers
They'd all get us up there and back
Leylands, Chryslers and Jaguars
Not one left us there by the track.

Old Hillmans, Morris', Austins and Fords
We took a chance in them all
Sunbeams, Vauxhalls, Humbers and Bedfords
Not one would cause our downfall.

I'd work hard for a month and put money by
And slowly my money would grow
Without patience I'd wait, feeling like I could cry
Then there'd be only one week left to go.

On Monday the weekend would seem an aeon away
On Tuesday it would seem even worse
On Wednesday for the hours to go faster, I'd pray
On Thursday I'd feel I could burst.

Then at last, Friday and not enough minutes on hand
To do a days work and pack
Collect my mates as already planned
And head up the bituman track.

Through the thick traffic of Reading we'd rattle and weave
Past Trolley-bus and lorry we'd toil
Caversham Bridge behind us we'd leave
In a cloud of thick smoke from burnt oil.

Yes, Caversham Bridge, over Old Father Thames
Scene of many a good happy time
Of younger events, never caught through a lens
But in memory are printed so fine.

Memories of beautiful long summer days
Idling there by the shore
Of hiring a boat and the evening sun's rays
Reflecting redly off ripples galore.

But now times have changed and there's hardly a glance
At the spot where we once fished for trout
We don't look at the prom where we once used to dance
And had many a brawl with a lout.

Those were the days when we were trapped near our home
We had no car to take us for a ride
But our interests have changed, with the years, as we've grown
And now we are never inside.

Through Woodcote we'd race while we'd talk of the week
The police would pass by with a frown
With sometimes no spare and rads with a leak
It's a wonder we got out of town.

Past Oxford we'd go, by now settled in
Each able to forget the bald tyres
Someone would look out and say over the din
"They call that the City of Spires.".

Then through Kidlington and Woodstock to the sound of a song
Each song with a chorus or more
We'd be glad we'd brought our woollies along
As the wind blew through holes in the floor.

Chipping Norton is passed, just lights in the distance
Through Shipston-on-Stour in a rush
Stratford-on-Avon gave us young blades the chance
To whistle and make a girl blush.

More girls at Alcester, they'd wave to us there
And giggle as we'd pass on by
Once we'd have gone around the square
And for the second time, given them the eye.

Then through Reddich, its church with a steeple-like frame
That's made many a man laugh and scoff
For as you look at the design of that steeple, it's plain
That the tiles seem to have all fallen off.

Bromsgrove, the famous Lickey Incline starts here
The undoing of many a great train
You could stop for a while and watch them pushed from the rear
By an engine, 'Big Bertha' by name.

On to Kidderminster and Allen's Cafe for tea
We were always prepared for a lark
Once the police run us out of town, much to our glee
For climbing the Multi-storey car park.

Over the River Severn, at Bridgenorth, we'd drive
Then up past the station we'd wind
Where locals work hard to keep steam trains alive
But in those days, steam trains were easy to find.

Much Wenlock, remembered for one of the boys
Who's life was snuffed out just past here
Climbing and motorcycles were his only joys
His short life was full of good cheer.

Round the by-pass, Shrewsbury is there on the right
The A5 for the rest of the way
Oswestry, the next town to show in our light
For the cars to keep going we'd pray.

Then at last, the Welsh border at Chirk we would reach
A cheer as the hill we'd descend
Each would hang on to the car like a leech
As we'd hurtle round the sharp winding bend.

Already the hills as we'd go on our ride
Past Llangollen in the black of the night
Their closeness was felt as they pressed in from each side
'Till they hid all the stars from our sight.

One night in a blizzard here, without any warning
We ran into a snowdrift so deep
That we couldn't get out until late the next morning
But at least we had a good sleep.

Those winter trips were the ones I loved most
The spirits were always kept fired
The experience of snow, fog and floods I could boast
Who cared if we were so terribly tired.

"You're welcome to drive" would say my mates with a grin
"We'll sit back and have a good sleep."
I'd thrill as the wheels on the black ice would spin
But then a blizzard would force us to creep.

Fast or slow, we were easy, it wasn't just luck
Rain or snow, we would come out the best
All those years I'd spent behind the wheel of a truck
Had prepared me so well for the test.

Further on we'd go without hesitation
Then Corwen and time for a pie
You could get food all night at the old railway station
In those days long gone by.

Then, one night the doors were locked and barred
A chip-machine outside in the gloom
One chip for a shilling left us bitter and scarred
And with a feeling of modern day doom.

The station at Corwen is now closed for the night
The first of my traditions to go
We eagerly looked for that old station light
As on our way to the mountains we'd go.

No more would we walk into that disused railway station
And ask for a pie and a tea
And say "'Ow do! What's the weather situation?"
'Twas like losing a small part of me.

And so life would go on and so would we
The station was there in our minds
We'd leave Corwen behind and cross over the Dee
More adventures and traditions to find.

Out over the moor on the edge of our nerves
Our bodies alive with the thrill
Then helter-skelter down steep winding curves
Of roads clinging tight to the hill.

At the bottom, turn left and over the arch
That, in the same year was brand new
As Napoleon was stopped on his conquering march
At a place called Waterloo.

Over the bridge is Bettws-Y-Coed
Jammed tight with tourists, it's true
In the daytime the holdups are hard to avoid
But at night you could just race on through.

Straining on up past the great Swallow Falls
Then over a bridge, in our light
Appears the Ugly House with its chunky stone walls
At last we'd know we were alright.

Who cared if the engine was knocking like mad?
Or the tyres were shredded and tattered?
Who cared if the back axle was grating real bad?
We were there and that's all that mattered.

A few more minutes and Capel Curig is there
Turn left for 'The Pass' and 'The Horseshoe'
Or straight on if you want some fresh Ogwen air
And skies that are sunny and blue.

Which ever way, it wouldn't be long
And we'd look out of the windows together
Eyes piercing the dark so as not to be wrong
In the search for the signs of good weather.

If the promise was there we'd sigh all around
And go climbing the next day for sure
But if storm clouds were down to our level of ground
We might go walking as we'd oft' done before.

A hush would descend on the group at this time
Thoughts of tomorrow's expected events
Then turn into the campsite and the sweet smell of pine
And the scramble to put up the tents.

We'd care not one bit about the bitter cold breeze
Or frozen fingers that couldn't untie
Icy laces, buttons or zippers with ease
We'd be there with spirits so high.

At the moment we were there and that was our goal
Now we could wander and roam
But, towards the end of the trip as homeward we'd roll
It would be just as important to get home.

Dave James. May. 1988.

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Wish You Were Here.

Pre-dawn in the hills, the group's already alive
To the apprehension and expectancy on which we all thrive
The freezing cold blackness had helped make the mood
Along with a feeling of stark solitude.

The snap of new snow under the boot
The voicing of fears left un-said and mute
Breakfast is had amid the whisper of jokes
The smell of greased bacon and yellow egg yolk.

Then a few muffled clinks as some sort out their gear
A sleepy "Be quiet!" from a tent fairly near
Rucksacks lifted to shoulders at last
The first few steps on that mountain so vast.

Warm tents left behind as the cold starts to bite
Their headlamps turned on, making circles of light
Away from the campsite, some quick nervous chatter
And curses as an ice-axe is dropped with a clatter.

Soon the warmth of exertion keeps the coldness at bay
And down the back trickles the first sweat of the day
Breath like small clouds panting out between lips
A smoker goes into some bad coughing fits.

Then, for a while all is quiet save the squeak of the snow
Under crampons and boots, as onward they go
Not one word is said until the grey light of dawn
Shows that another new day has been born.

But, that sky in the east turns a yellowish hue
And a few scattered clouds are as black as a flue
The leader then knows that the weather will turn
And he points out the sign so the others will learn.

They're amazed, for the dawn is a beautiful sight
There's no sign of bad weather to the left or the right
The leader explains that he knows it would pay
To leave the big peak for a more promising day.

They accept the fact, but disappointment is there
Each knew that the leader was experienced and fair
Reluctantly, they agreed on a peak closer by
As good as the main top, but not half as high.

With purpose again, ever upward they went
To reach this new peak was their only intent
Forgotten, that feeling before, of dashed hope
As they cramponed their way up the firm, snowy slope.

The tents far below, the track getting steep
Legs feeling like lead as onward they creep
Thoughts of failure start to enter the mind
As each copes in their own way with that terrible grind.

Breath now coming in short, rasping gasps
Cold-pinched faces look like miserable masks
Protests from muscles as they cry out for rest
The heart very loud as it pounds in the chest.

Shouts snatched away by the roar of the gale
As they reach an arete and the ridge they now scale
Ice like small darts blown over the crest
Stinging their faces and causing more test.

Hands numbed with cold,, iced rope stiff like cable
Goggles misting up, snow crisp and stable
The verglassed rock gives them nothing to hold
There's nowhere to hide from the wind and the cold.

Then the leader who, like a shepherd that day
Gave help and encouragement as they climbed up the way
Quietly said "The top is just there."
The feeling they felt was a feeling so rare.

They felt such relief that they'd been through the worst
The happiness grew 'till they thought they would burst
They collapsed on the peak with a sigh in their yells
They were content and relaxed, at peace with themselves.

Then Duvets were donned as the cold started to seep
For the warmth of the body is vital to keep
The quick, hurried lunch as they look at the view
Of glaring white snowfields and mountains so blue.

But then, to the west, dark clouds hide the scene
There are curtains of white where the peaks should have been
The leader remembers the sign at the dawn
And knows that they're in for a really bad storm.

Unhurriedly, he gathers his group right away
And explains that they must descend without delay
As they turn and face the way they had come
Mist fingers pass over and block out the sun.

Then temperatures dropped, the wind froze on their backs
Colours had changed to drab whites, greys and blacks
A few flurries of snow whirling past helter-skelter
They move down from the ridge in their search to find shelter.

But the wind finds them there and plucks at their clothes
The chill creeps up from their hands and their toes
The damp reaches through to their inner-most skin
But the group struggles on, determined to win.

No more can they see, the white-out's complete
The snow gets deeper and soft under feet
One lad climbs the ridge to look down in the cwm
But there was nothing below but greyness and gloom.

The leader turned and saw the lad there
He called out a warning for him to beware
The ridge had a cornice, a large wave of snow
On ridges, for this reason, climbers always stay low.

Too late, for the lad had dropped out of sight
With a jerk on his friends, the rope snapped rod-tight
Boot belays and ice-axes saved him that day
The lad dangled below in a quiet, gentle sway.

The cornice had collapsed at the point where he'd been
And he dropped in the cwm with a terrified scream
Crevasse rescue techniques would soon see him up
It would be part of the fun for this carefree young pup.

Soon he was safe and they were ready to go
The cold had crept deeper and morale was now low
They must get moving to generate heat
And get off that mountain before they were beat.

And still the snow fell, thick, freezing and white
It battered the group as they slowly lost height
With compass in hand, the leader did guide
While the group out in front could only slither and slide.

They were down off the ridge with steepness now gone
Snow knee-deep as they tried to push on
The leader asking them not to relax
And each taking turns to force out the tracks.

Then, the white-out is looking much lighter ahead
Dark shapes through the mist, seemingly up overhead
A few tiny houses, trees and small lakes
The shrieking storm gone, save for some wind-blown flakes.

The sun forcing through and, as the mist thins out more
They see tiny coloured tents on the white valley floor
All tiredness forgotten, a spring in their step
Forgotten as well, the snow, cold and wet.

They yodel and cheer as they romp deeply in snow
They'd been through the test and now could let go
The leader smiled as he watched them at play
It was always like this after a long, gruelling day.

He felt the thrill too, but had learned to contain
The wave of elation that came after the strain
Of a day in the hills in white-out and storm
When they'd get back to the valley and tents safe and warm.

Then the last half a mile, tiredness once more
They stagger and stumble, each movement a chore
Then, at the campsite, again they march in straight and true
For they'd shared an experience that is enjoyed by so few.

Dave James. July 1988.

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Love On The Rocks.

For years I've looked upon you
Full of passion and desire
I've seen you in your many moods
And longed to show my fire
My eyes have traced your lovely curves
And played upon your lines
And I've often longed with all my heart
That you would one day be mine
And when at night I'd lay alone
And think of what could be
I'd wish a wish, my greatest wish,
That you belonged to me
I've kept my feelings secret
And loved you from afar
Because you always left me breathless
As you stood there like a star
The flame has burned much brighter
Than any you've known before
To hold you there in my embrace
Would thrill me to the core
But now I stand before you
And feelings well up inside
Not those of burning passion
But of fear that I can't hide
I've already tied the love knots
And am ready at the start
Then the same old thoughts, foreboding,
Come clutching at my heart
To find some form of welcome
Across your face my eyes do roam
All I see is a blank wall
I pack my gear and clear off home.

Dave James 1988.

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The Protection Racket.

In the beginning we had the stone in the crack
We collected an assortment as we walked up the track
They were simple to place
And removed without trace
Above all, they cost nothing at that.

Those before us had no protection at all
To save them in the event of a fall
It was a disgrace
To drop from the face
"The leader must never come off." was the call.

Pegs were a protection, as you would well know
But using those pegs made cracks widen and grow
"This just will not do."
Said a purist or two
"These pitons will just have to go."

Truck wheel-nuts would just do the trick
They were threaded with slings thin and thick
After removing the nut thread
And it was often said
That the truck wheels came off very quick.

It didn't take long for to realize
That we needed more nuts of a difference size
Cracks were often more wide
Or tighter inside
So an assortment of nuts were taken up by the wise.

There's just one thing we complained of at that date
Even then it was just between us and our mate
There were no "if's and buts"
Those racks full of nuts
Were a soul-destroying, strength-sapping weight.

But still, even these nuts were free
For trucks were abundant you see
But the crunch was quite near
Someone said "Here!"
"The cash for those nuts could all come to me."

Nuts were soon sold in an assortment of shapes
Names were invented for all different makes
They realized our plight
And made these nuts light
Our lives were no longer so badly at stake.

From 'One's' upwards went chocks on wire
With these, grades were pushed even higher
Old climbers were brave
But we were safety's slave
We were the embers of the original fire.

We had Copper-heads, Wedges and Bat-hooks
We were ever updating our books
There were nuts made of plastic
In colours fantastic
Some used them and some bought them for looks.

Lighter and better went the trend
For safety, as we would ascend
There were Hexentrics and Chocks
That you could buy in a box
Then a miracle, along came the 'Friend'.

Now we have Micro-mates, Stoppers and Camalots
Flexible friends, Wallnuts and Rocks
Rock 'n' rollers on hand
Makes the leader feel grand
As he tries to climb dangerous spots.

But a new 'anchor' has caused quite a jolt
Causing some oldies to call for a halt
They left no traces
Of protection on faces
Now the faces are being scarred by the bolt.

Yet, the fire has been fueled once again
Youngsters have re-kindled the flame
Instead of our ambling antics
They now do acrobatics
They make us look docile and plain.

Now I look at my up-to-date rack
And often my memory goes back
To those days of my youth
When we had nothing to use
Except the faithful old stone in the crack.

Dave James. June 1988.

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Trying To Please Mabel.

I can't get the bloody thing in
Soon Mabel will look up and sneer
She's always the same when this happens
Been like it since early this year.

I took hold of it with my two fingers
But it's far too thick to get in
If you saw where I'm trying to put it
Your face would break out in a grin.

Oh! I know I'm not much of an expert
I never pretended to be
She should be using more tact
And try to be patient with me.

She said she'd been at this for years
I know she could give me advice
But she's below me and looking so bored
You'd think that her heart was pure ice.

She told me that she loved me last Sunday
If she did, well, she'd tell me the way
Of just how to get it in properly
It's not much to ask, wouldn't you say?

She wanted us to do this together
She said, I'm better than her brother, Jim
But I'll fall well below her expectations
If I can't get the bloody thing in.

She told me I needed experience
So I practiced outside the church hall
It just didn't quite feel the same
Using slots between bricks in a wall.

Soon she'll be saying "What's the holdup?"
She's already beginning to moan
It's not my fault it won't fit
It's the only one that I own.

I'd like to get it in deep
It would certainly make me feel great
I can't hang about for much longer
Soon it'll be far too late.

She forced me to do this thing with her
I'm trying hard, purely for love
But for Mabel I wouldn't be here
So I'll give it another good shove.

I still can't get the thing in
I'm so vexed, I could use some bad grammar
I suppose I could try, before I let go
To give it a bash with my hammer.

Ah! At last, it's forcing in well
I'll just give it another good clout
Oh horrors! It's shot out and dropped down
Do you think I should give Mabel a shout?

I went to the funeral when they buried her
And though I did cry, plead and beg
They wouldn't let me near her body
And still in her skull was my peg.

That peg hit her square on the head
I didn't give Mabel a Shout
It's gone with her up to the dead
Now I can't get the bloody thing out!!!

Dave James. 1976.

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Bluff Knoll Blues.

The walls are enormous and I'm so small
I've looked forward to this all the year
But now my keenness has started to pall
How I wish I'd never come here.

My courage has gone, my stomach is tight
My future is looking quite drear
If I had enough breath I'd scream in fright
How I wish I'd never come here.

I feel sick inside and all alone
My life to me is dear
If only I'd stayed with Mum at home
How I wish I'd never come here.

I'm up two-fifty metres and not so bold
The corner of my eye holds a tear
If I fall off will that runner hold?
How I wish I'd never come here.

I don't want to fall, I don't want to die
So I hang on tight in fear
If only I had wings so I could fly
How I wish I'd never come here.

I see tiny folk standing on the ground
They've got the right idea
Staying below all safe and sound
How I wish I'd never come here.

I'm half a pitch up with nowhere to stop
And I've almost run out of gear
I should've bought more runners at the climbing shop
How I wish I'd never come here.

There's an overhang and another pitch
Before I'm in the clear
The side of my face has started to twitch
How I wish I'd never come here.

My arms are aching, the strengths all gone
And the rock falls away so sheer
Oh! Why am I such a silly ol' Pom?
How I wish I'd never come here.

I raise my eyes and pray to the Lord
A better life I'll steer
If he gets me off safe, that's his reward
How I wish I'd never come here.

My mate down there is looking bored
And now he's starting to sneer
The rope looks like a piece of cord
How I wish I'd never come here.

Another step, another move
A little bit higher I peer
I might just reach the top of that groove
How I wish I'd never come here.

I reach the top, one pitch to go
I can see the summit quite near
My mate is coming up in tow
How I wish I'd never come here.

In terror I start the final rope
I really feel quite queer
Of living through this I haven't a hope
How I wish I'd never come here.

Another crux, let's end it all
Cut the rope, jump off, disappear
But wait! here is the top of the wall
How I wish I'd never come here.

One more pull and I'm standing there
I let out a yodel and a cheer
My fear has gone and my despair
I'm so glad that I came here.

That night down the pub I told all my pals
How easy I made it appear
I even impressed one or two of the gals
Or was it that half o' pint of beer?

Dave James. October. 1987.

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Bovine Blues.

Said one cow to her bovine friends
"Now there's a stroke of luck"
"Some climbers have trampled the fence"
"And left it all smashed up."

"Let's take a walk into the lane"
"Wander a different land"
"We might find plenty of fortune and fame."
The whole herd said "That would be grand."

The first cow stepped gingerly over the wire
The second stepped carefully through
The third stepped onto a barb
And let out one heck of a moooo.

They followed the lane, through trees it did wend
All ambling along at quiet pace
A motor-cyclist roared round the bend
And was turned, with a cow, into paste.

More wary now they plodded, until
They came to a bituman road
A semi was storming down the hill
With bales of wool for a load.

The cattle scattered in panic and fear
It made them gasp hard for their breath
And although the driver tried hard to veer
Two cows were smashed to their death.

To regain control the driver fought hard
But the forces exerted their pull
As the load was starting to topple off
One more was crushed by a great bale of wool.

Another truck came round the bend
Not expecting to see such a scene
To hit cow or semi was that driver's choice
As it died, the cow bellowed a scream.

The survivors from this once peaceful group
Scattered in one's, two's and three's
A dozen or so ran over a cliff
And were killed below in the trees.

Another group met a handsome bull
Those climbers had been his way too
The poor fellow was hit by a railway train
And a squeak had replaced his great moooo.

Some bovine ladies were horrified
At what had happened to their man
They each agreed on mass suicide
And ran out in front of a van.

To quit this scene of carnage
One cow ran blindly amok
A gorge was there, she ran over the edge
And was smashed to death on a rock.

Finally, only two cows were left
From the pride of the farmer's fleet
They wandered up along the road
The death of their friends they felt deep.

Night descended and so, at last
The climbers soon headed home
They were speeding their car along the road
When the driver let out a groan.

With no time to stop, he did shout
Seeing cows in the glare of his light
"What stupid fools let those out?"
As he braked with all of his might.

The car didn't hit those two cows
It rolled twice then wiped out a wall
Bodies and gear flew up in the air
Each body was killed by the fall.

Once more those cows were terrified
But, once more they soon found their calm
Said one "I hate this outside world."
"Let's hurry back home to the farm".

You can't blame farmers for being unforgiving
And keeping us out on the road
They could lose their livestock and their living
If you forget your COUNTRY CODE.

Dave James. March 1988.

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Better Than You Are.

Said this Caver "I'm better than you are."
"To say I'm the best would be truer."
"I'm right on the ball."
"'Cos I've done it all."
He was found, next day, dead in the sewer.

His audience of the previous night
Thought he was probably right
They had no excuses
For their cuts and their bruises
'Cos he put up one heck of a fight.

As they went caving the following weekend
Along a passage, just near a sharp bend
Came something from hell
'Twas the most awful smell
Have you got some spring-pegs they could lend?

They came to the deepest spot yet
They were elated and happy, I'll bet
But still it was there
That stench in the air
There was nowhere from it they could get.

In spite of the terrible stink
They smashed their way through to the brink
Of the great River Styx
My! They were in a fix
And there stood the Caver, with the Devil, in pink.

He said "I'm still better than you are."
"To say I'm the best is still truer."
"I'm still on the ball."
"'Cos I've done it all."
"And to prove it I was here before you were.".

Up spoke the Devil with zest
He said "You'll all do a test."
"You'll smash all the stalagmites."
"Shawls, columns and helictites."
"And whoever breaks most will be best.".

The others all smiled with great glee
For they'd smashed many already, you see
It'd be a cinch, they all knew
For he had smashed few
And they'd gone on many a spree.

But the Caver said "I'll not be part."
"Of wrecking things so near to my heart."
"Don't do this sad thing."
"I'll let you all win."
"Here's a toast to you all for a start".

As he spoke it was soon plain to tell
That the others were learning as well
"Leave the formations intact."
"So our kids can see fact."
He said as they came under his spell.

The others were filled with remorse
As they heard his plea for the cause
He had proved he was best
He'd not failed the test
He was better than them, of course.

The Devil said "If that hole you fill in."
"I'll let you all out from within."
"Go out, start again."
"In caves use your brain."
"And you'll all be as experienced as him.".

Some Cavers over the 'pretties' will roam
Others like taking them home
The experienced will know
That they'll never re-grow
Be like the Caver and leave them alone.

If, in a cave, a smell should get worse
Don't ignore it or have a good curse
Think, have you been fair?
Have you smashed anything there?
Remember, the 'others' could be you in this verse.

You've probably read this and said "Ooer!"
"Poems from Poms should be fewer."
But please, don't smash our caves
From now to your graves
Let the caves be much better than you are.

Dave James. September. 1987.

PS. 'Poms' (as in last verse) is a name given to English people living in Australia.

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Drink And Be Wary.

"Let's go camping by the river." said Cuthbert to his mob
"To walk from Highbridge to Blockitt Dam would surely do the job."
Six days the trip would take them, past cataracts and pools
They'd not get into trouble for they'd learned the basic rules.

They left a car at Blockitt Dam, the pool above was clear
The dam was just a concrete wall that had been there for many a year
A bridge was built above the dam to get from bank to bank
Some pillars rising from the pool, each span, a wooden plank.

Cuthbert pointed to the bridge, "That's where our walk will end."
"It's easier on the other bank as the river we descend."
"There are better camping spots that side, it's easier through the bush."
"And we can take a few short-cuts to speed our downward push.".

They crowded in the other cars and drove up to Highbridge
They crossed the arch and parked the cars at the top of Bethryn's Ridge
The gear was sorted, sacks were packed, away they went at last
Down the ridge to gain the track and the river flowing fast.

All went well 'till they reached the track, where Walter gave a shout
"The weight of my sack is killing me, I'll have to sort it out."
The flask of spare car engine oil he'd packed by accident
He wouldn't carry that much further and into the river it went.

Now they walked beside the river, sweat pouring down their backs
The sun was beating hot on them as they struggled along the tracks
They'd have a rest and drink a beer for they'd brought along a lot
The smokers could have a fag, so they sat down at that spot.

It made them laugh to see the empty cans float down the stream
Throwing rocks to try and sink them really was a scream
Cigarette ash and dog-ends were thrown in willy-nilly
All too soon it was time to move as the day was turning chilly.

That night they camped beside the race, the fire was roaring high
Potatoes were on to boil and the eggs were on to fry
Pies were warmed, tea was made, they really had a ball
Rubbish was thrown into the river, shells, tea-leaves, peel and all.

Then they sat to booze and sing, it was a fantastic night
Tinned oysters washed down with beer, they were really doing it right
They went to town, enjoyed themselves, who was there to see?
They were away from civilisation, this was being free.

One by one, they crept away, some to go to bed
Some towards the river with dizziness in their head
Feeling sick and sorry, some collapsed beside the race
The fruits of that great night were washed away without a trace.

The following morning, hungover, they staggered from their tents
The ladies, they went upstream and it was downstream for the gents
Each picked a spot to settle and let nature take its course
The river washed it all away as it passed with such a force.

Breakfast was prepared and eaten, they cleaned around the site
A few of them still suffered from the revelries of the night
More beer-cans, egg-shells and tea-bags were thrown into the stream
They left behind the tidiest campsite that you have ever seen.

And so they plodded on until lunch-time came around
They reached a shady tree and rested on the ground
Out came the Promite sandwiches, the salads and the cheese
And the wrappings went into the river, blown there by the breeze.

One said "The time has come, I surely need a bath."
His squeals of ecstasy made all the others laugh
Soon the whole group was in there, passing around the soaps
And the bubbles floated downstream like a million sailing boats.

Then someone shook a can and beer sprayed on the crowd
A spraying war developed and the happy shrieks were loud
The beer made them all sticky, their hair was not so posh
Out came the soap and shampoo again, their skin and hair to wash.

For three days in this manner, they walked beside the stream
The odour from their clothes got bad and they didn't look so clean
"I've got some soap detergent." said one to all the rest
"We'll wash our clothes here in the river." So they set to with a zest.

With cleaner clothes they settled down to make themselves a meal
Empty tin-cans went into the race along with orange peel
The usual tea-bags and slops were thrown into the deep
For the campsite must be left looking tidy, clean and neat.

The week it went so quick, their happiness immense
They had a great adventure sleeping by the stream in tents
But now the trip was closing, they were very near the end
The dam should come into their sight, just around the bend.

"Here's the pool and Blockitt dam, But what's that rotten smell?"
Said Cuthbert as one sniff soon broke the tranquil spell
Thick scum and garbage had collected in the pool above the dam
Such a sight would surely disgust the most untidy man.

The rubbish floated below the bridge, the smell was bad just there
The dam held back the stinking mess, acting like a snare
The pool was really filthy, who'd drink that water now?
A thirsty farmer wouldn't after days behind a plough.

And yet, this was the water that the farmer had to drink
He hadn't seen the rubbish yet, nor smelt the rotten stink
His cattle had, and two were dead, floating in the pool
Wasted just because someone had not observed the rule.

They reached the bridge, the smell was worse, it made them gasp and gag
As one person they rushed the planks, it was no place to lag
Holding breaths and in a bunch, they raced across the span
To get away from that rotten stench was their only plan.

But the bridge was old and weak, it couldn't hold those folk
As they raced across the middle span, the aged plank soon broke
With screams of desperation, each person sank from sight
Into that dark and filthy water, once so clean and bright.

Their heavy sacks had kept them down until they threw then off
Each member came up from the deep with a splutter and a cough
In panic, they fought each other, to leave that awful mess
How that group got out alive is anybody's guess.

Coughing, spluttering and retching, each person reached the bank
And looked back at the place where all of them had sank
Their sacks were at the bottom and they knew without a doubt
That they'd have to dive back in the mess to try and fish them out.

A dozen times, no less, each dived to grab a sack
And drag it more towards the bank to try and get it back
Those sacks were still quite heavy, they'd move a foot or two
But they had to keep on trying for those sacks were all brand-new.

The stench was over-powering, the water tasted bad
It was the worst experience and nearly drove them mad
They were covered in the awful muck, it was in their clothes and hair
But to leave those sacks lying down below was more than they would dare.

Finally, they had them all and staggered from the pool
And walked down to the car-park, each feeling such a fool
People held their noses and reeled away in shock
The picnic area emptied quick though it was only twelve o'clock.

This drove the group to fury, they'd never live it down
Each one tried to hide the shame as they headed back to town
One thing they all agreed upon was, that the makers of that mess
Should be thrown into that stinking pool, a dozen times, no less.

Dave James. September 1988.

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Litter-Bugs.

Algernon loved caving and often he would go
Exploring deep into the bush with his life-long friend named Mo
His ambition was to find a cave that no one else had seen
With chambers fit for a King's own eyes, this was his only dream.

At Algy's place in secret, they'd meet and make a plan
Then steal out in the dead of night in Algy's Austin van
They'd park the van beside the road then take a good look round
Before sneaking out into the bush trying hard to make no sound.

Now, Mo and Al disliked the bush, 'twas a nuisance that's for sure
It slowed them down and made them tired, to them it was a bore
They never bothered to keep it clean as onward they would press
They threw their rubbish everywhere and left it in a mess.

Paper lollie-wrappers would be thrown down by the track
Lunch-bags and old batteries were never taken back
Tissues, Glad-wrap and silver-foil would be spread along the way
Empty tins and Coke-cans were left out there to stay.

But caves, well, they were different and must be treated right
Folk shouldn't go and rubbish them 'till they're a sorry sight
They never thought that others would think the same of the bush
They just scattered rubbish everywhere as onwards they would push.

One day they found an entrance after digging for a while
'Twas new and never been explored, it made them laugh and smile
They tried to move a large rock, the last to block the hole
When it dropped down with an awful thump and towards the lads did roll.

They'd both been just below that rock, they thought there'd be no harm
Algy was the first to scream as he was pinned there by the arm
"Help me, Mo." groaned Algy. "Help me quick, I beg."
But Mo was just as helpless for he was pinned there by his leg.

The next day Mo's mum rang Algy's mum to ask where were the pair
Algy's mum, with horror, said "I thought they were with you there."
They rang the local Cave Ranger who said they'd not booked in
But, he'd organize a search and they should keep in touch with him.

Without panic or risky driving, they looked for Algy's van
'Till they found it near the thickest bush that was rarely trod by man
They'd never go in there, they thought, they'd try each side and behind
They wouldn't look in that thick bush, there'd be nothing there to find.

That dense bush would be left 'till last, a day or two at least
They'd have to search it in the end, before their efforts ceased
Meanwhile, they'd look in easier bush where the way was fairly clear
But one had noticed something strange and asked "What's this down here?".

A lollie-paper, bright and new, was laying on the floor
Two metres into that dense bush was a day-old apple core
He craned his neck still further and, much to his surprise
Saw more rubbish on the ground right before his eyes.

He called the others back, "Now this you all should see."
"There's a rubbish trail into the bush, I think you will agree."
They peered still deeper through the gloom, at a freshly broken branch
The lads had gone into that bush, they could tell with just one glance.

Those searchers pushed into the bush, disgusted at the scene
Of all the rubbish by the trail, where those two boys had been
They came upon a Possum, it was laying there, and dead
Curiosity had killed it, there was a lunch-bag over its head.

Then they saw a Bandicoot, it was running around quite blind
To see it staggering through the bush, they almost lost their minds
It had bitten into a battery, instead of catching flies
Caustic had spurted out, and gone into its eyes.

Further still they found a 'Roo, it was laying there serene
What had killed this creature? It was young and strong and clean
They examined it and what they found gave them no cause to gloat
For a lump of new discarded string was stuck in that 'Roo's throat.

And still more litter scattered there to show those men the trail
They thought they'd seen it all but, these sights made them go pale
A bloodied Wombat, in agony, it would not last the day
For an empty tin, with knife-sharp lid, had left it slashed that way.

Meanwhile, our two 'heroes' were having a bit of luck
They'd managed to dig Mo's leg out from the place where it had stuck
They'd worked 'till Algy's arm was freed, it took an hour or more
They were over-joyed to find that they were only bruised and sore.

But, by that time, it was too late to walk out through the night
They snuggled down together, to wait 'till it was light
The cold crept through their bodies as they lay there on the ground
Finally, they slept, a slumber that was sound.

They were awakened there next morning, by talking near at hand
Some people coming through the bush, this wasn't what they'd planned
"Quick, hide before they see us." Said Algy to his mate
But even as they made to move, Al knew it was too late.

From the bush there stepped a man, then others soon appeared
They'd found the lads there safe and sound, but no one even cheered
"Collect your gear and come with us." said the leader of that team
"We'll show you why your littering is the worst we've ever seen."

It wasn't long before those lads could see the wrong they'd done
They'd ignored all other's feelings while they'd gone and had their fun
Rubbish thrown down on the ground had spoiled the bush for others
They were most relieved when they were told to go home to their mothers.

Back at home their mums were cross, "You've caused us such a fright."
"You failed to book in with the ranger, you know that isn't right."
"You've thrown your rubbish in the bush and caused us so much shame."
"You're both banned from caving, it'll be three months before you go again.'.

Algy was astounded, but he knew that it was fair
They'd gone into the bush, without a thought or care
Their punishment was just, he knew without a doubt
That cave would still be waiting when they were finally let out.

But Algy was mistaken, for, in that rescue group that morn
Was a wily Caver of great renown, our old friend, Boris D'Yorn
He'd seen the hole and felt the draught where Mo and Al were found
And had taken compass-bearings, so he could re-locate that ground.

The next weekend old Boris set off, with a group of caving mates
They'd booked in with the Ranger, so there would be no mistakes
They soon stood at the spot, where Mo and Al had dug
And could see the rock down in the hole, that had acted as a plug.

But now the way was clear and they crawled down through the hole
Boris reached for his trusty torch as the scene went black as coal
He shone the beam to left and right, then all went quiet as death
For the scene that stood before them, caused each to gasp for breath.

King Solomon's Mines were paled, by the sight that these men saw
The group had been in many caves, but, this one shook them to the core
The beauty of the chambers were a wonder to behold
And every move those cavers made caused more beauty to unfold.

A stream was winding through the cave, its waters crystal clear
The flowstone all along the banks was white without a smear
Chandeliers and curtains were hanging down each grade
While the colours up there in the roof were of every hue and shade.

Helictites and cave-pearls, pendulites as well
Held those old explorers in their magic spell
Columns, shawls and rimpools were there for each to see
Grottos set in walls, like window's of mystery.

As they pushed on through each chamber along that crystal stream
They knew that they were in the cave of every Caver's dream
They'd survey the cave then gate it, to save it, this was wise
For a cave like this was fit for the King of King's own eyes.

Mo and Al returned, but, they were already three months late
For the cave had been explored and mapped, then closed up with a gate
They never did see in there, but they mended their old ways
They regretted littering the bush until their dying days.

As you wander through the bush, don't be like those lads
When they were young and foolish and acting like two cads
Don't use our bush as a rubbish tip, if you take it in
Carry it back out with you, and PUT IT IN A BIN.

Dave James. August. 1988.

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The Old Man.

I'm sitting on this little ledge,
And feeling very lonely,
I mutter to myself and pledge,
To find somewhere more homely.

I think of other ledges,
That I've sat on in the past.
Anchored there by pegs and wedges,
With views below so vast.

I think of ledges in the heat,
With the horizon all a-quiver,
But then, freezing snow around my seat,
Would make me stand and shiver.

Sometimes I'd sat there rather bored,
While friends made their ascents,
My memory is so fully stored,
With those many past events.

Of blazing sun or storm-filled skies,
The thrilling clutch of fear,
Of heeding good tips from the wise,
And of death that's been so near.

On lofty ledges I was free,
Whether frozen cold, or warmer,
I suffered all in my quest to see,
What was just around the corner.

Aching legs, blistered feet,
Packs weighed down with gear,
Watching friends as up they creep,
And thinking that I'd like a beer.

Energy bursting and hard to contain,
Determined to see up beyond,
Anticipation added to strain,
Causing memories of which I'm so fond.

Now I'm sitting on this little ledge,
Youth has gone, long past,
My keenness has lost its fine edge,
The curtain's nigh down at last.

You may glance at me sitting alone there,
You'll see, as you pass on by,
A bent old man with snowy-white hair,
And you'll be quick at averting your eye.

You will not think to wonder,
If I've 'Been there! Done that!'
Or what I did when younger,
You won't think to stop for a chat.

I'll look so aged and infirm,
As if never put to the test,
As if I hadn't had one single yearn
Or a life that was so full of zest.

And yet, over deserts and mountains I've wandered,
I've found caverns never before seen,
I've scaled cliffs and dived under water,
And thrice around the world I have been.

I drove trucks all over Europe and Aussie,
Had a brawl with a lout in N. Z.,
I've been swimming in the Med. with no cossie,
And many a time have been near dead.

I've had narrow escapes in Bangkok,
London, Bombay and Bahrain,
I've twice nearly died from a shock,
And even been trapped in a drain.

In Treforest I saw coloured hailstones,
I watched the Arend-Roland Comet go by,
I once discovered some fossilised bones,
As digging for gold I did try.

I was locked in an oven for two days,
I've been blown in the air by a bomb,
I've climbed a ship's mast as it sways,
And have smootched with the girls on the Prom.

Head first down a lift-shaft I once fell,
And we used to live in a tin hut,
There are so many tales I could tell,
But I just keep my mouth firmly shut.

You wouldn't care about all my knowledge,
Nor hear any tales that I'd utter,
I'm just an old man on the pavement edge,
Cold and wet, with my feet in the gutter.

Dave James. 10th. October. 1993.

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Flying With Intent.

"Grab the tent or we'll lose it." Said Joe,
As the wind gave one almighty blow,
Each grabbed at a guy,
And was raised into the sky,
'Till they saw all the mountains below.

Joe and his friend, Toby, held tight,
To those guy-ropes as they stared down in fright,
The wind was so loud,
As they passed through the cloud,
At the start of that terrible flight.

They sailed over Wales and The Lakes,
Then Scotland in a couple of shakes,
Greenland was passed,
And the Arctic so vast,
Said Joe, "I wish we had brakes.".

Great feats were not their intent,
As on that frightening journey they went,
But, I'm happy to say,
That on that very same day,
They were first to the North Pole by tent.

They turned right after reaching the `Pole'
It seemed Russia would now be their goal,
If the wind kept on blowing,
That's where they'd be going,
They'd end up in a mine, digging coal.

Then a roar made each one's heart pound,
They turned topsy-turvy and spun round and round,
They hung on in a sweat,
For a passenger jet,
Had near' caused them to fall to the ground.

Over Russia they flew like a kite,
And were mistaken for a spy satellite,
Fighters went to the scene,
Where those lads should have been,
But they'd already sailed off into night.

They flew through a storm in the dark,
And lightning soon left its mark,
On the back of Joe's pants,
It sure made him dance,
As he tried to extinguish a spark.

The lads were beginning to tire,
As the tent took them higher and higher,
They were scared by the glows,
On the end of each nose,
'Till they found it was St. Elmo's Fire.

On over Russia and China they flew,
The dawn at Tibet showed a view,
Of mountains so high,
They were touching the sky,
A magical sight for these two.

They sailed over those peaks so tall,
Then, there was Everest, the tallest of all,
As they went over the top,
The wind it did drop,
And the pair of them started to fall.

They landed on the soft crest of snow,
It had fallen but an hour ago,
The warm gentle breeze,
Had not caused it to freeze,
And temperatures weren't very low.

Now, if you count on your fingers, you'll see,
That our heroes had triumphs, one, two and three,
They'd flown to the `Pole',
Then reached each climber's goal,
And had been first to do it for free.

As they stood on the top feeling grand,
They were the highest men in any land,
They'd be famous in town,
If they could only get down,
But they had no ice-axe or crampons on hand.

Gingerly, they began their descent,
After they'd rolled-up and buried the tent,
So it could be seen,
Where those two had been,
Besides, the poles were all broken and bent.

They slowly crept down to the windy South Col,
After struggling to pass the South Summit's knoll,
Then the weather took hold,
And really turned cold,
'Till it reached the inner-most soul.

Soon their fingers had turned numb and white,
As those two lads slowly lost height,
They had an iced nose,
And cold, unfeeling toes,
Each was worried by thoughts of frost-bite.

Down the Lhotse Face's great icy wall,
Our lads felt so insignificant and small,
The vast Western Cwm,
Caused a feeling of doom,
As did the dangerous Khumbu Ice Fall.

They reeled down the last frozen ramp,
They were feeling exhausted and damp,
The sun had just set,
When, a climber they met,
Said they were just near the famous Base Camp.

News of their trip had come over the air,
And Base Camp was ready to welcome the pair,
A large crowd had gathered,
As in the lads staggered,
They were amazed at the whole weird affair.

Still, they cheered at the wonderful feat,
This triumph would be quite hard to beat,
By the camp fire that day,
Our two heroes lay,
And quickly thawed out in the heat.

As the heat reached their inner-most core,
They started to feel painful and sore,
Then, they stared in alarm,
For each had an arm,
That was two times as long as before.

It was worse when they stripped off to bath,
And caused all the others to laugh,
After that height-losing grind,
They looked down to find,
That their legs were both shorter by half.

So, be careful when camping you go,
And strong winds are starting to blow,
Get anchored down fast,
Or you'll be caught in a blast,
And go flying like Toby and Joe.

They had glided through dangerous skies,
Been places avoided by those that are wise,
But, few are taken in,
By this yarn that I spin,
After all, it's been nothing but lies.

Dave James. 30 th. November. 1988.

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All Fired Up.

Basil was a smoker, he loved to have a drag
His mates had given up the habit, so he never shared a fag
"One day you'll start a fire." his mates kept on at him
But Basil was extra careful and put his butts into a tin.

"See what you've done?" they shrieked at him, as a fire got away
"You've dropped a lighted butt and caused this fire today."
But Basil, he knew better and pointed to the ground
"You lit your campfire before you cleared three metres all around.

They were resting by the track, when Dan said "I smell smoke."
"It must be a smouldering dog-end, it's gone beyond a joke."
But Basil saw a bottle lying in the blackened grass
And the sun was shining through it like a magnifying glass.

One fire started beneath a car, they drove it from the spot
"Basil, it was a fag-end, this time you've done your lot."
The fire was fought and finally out, when Basil showed them how
A broken exhaust had blown out sparks and caused that fire just now.

While brewing up some tea, The stove had just boiled the billy
A fire erupted on the spot. "It was Basil." Said one friend, Willy
But Basil hadn't lit his fag and he was quick to speak
"That fire was caused by spilled fuel where the "chuffa" has a leak.

While grown-ups made the lunch, the children played some games
Someone screamed out "Fire!" You could see the leaping flames
"It was Basil." Said his friends as they doused that burned-out patch
Then one of the children confessed that he'd caused it with a match.

They couldn't start the car one day, jumper-leads were used
Then there was a roaring fire and Basil was accused
"Two leads were dropped." Said Basil. "You caused the fire I've found."
"Those ends had sparked together as they landed on the ground."

They only just got out in time, but the hut was burned real bad
"Basil, we can stand no more of you and your rotten fag."
But Basil said "You foolish lot, I was expecting this one night."
"For Clarence fell asleep, while reading, and his candle was still alight."

Basil was the safest, he knew there was no doubt
With confidence he sat back and took his "baccy" out
Lit his fag, took a puff and threw the match away
The fire it caused was the worst they'd seen, it burned for many a day.

Dave James. August 1988.

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Fall For It Blues.

As he fell into space from the rock
He knew that there wasn't a hope
He hadn't placed one single chock
But then, he'd soloed up there with no rope.

"I'm too good for a helmet." He cried
As he did all those twenties and led
He didn't look too well as he died
When a stone fell down onto his head.

"My hero!" She sighed, as she watched
Showing off on a cliff, this young blade
But her worship was soon to be scotched
He died climbing well over his grade.

"Don't bother to anchor yourself to the ground."
Said the leader of this magnificent pair
He fell off in one fifty foot bound
And pulled his second ten foot in the air.

"There's only some boot-lace on this runner."
"But it'll hold a good fall, I'm sure."
A chock on wire would have been better
For it broke and he fell to the floor.

"That runner looks good." Said the rock-man
As he dangled ten metres aloft
"I'll not bother to check if the chock's rammed."
The runner popped out when he coughed.

He had few krabs left for his last runner
So chose one he'd found under a bush
He fell, it broke, what a bummer
He went down with a terrible whoosh.

This climber started to yelp
And, though I only had on my old shoes
I dashed up the face for to help
Slipped off, now I'm singing the blues.

These lads had got lost in the bush
Like a lion I sprang into action
I ran over a cliff in my rush
And spent six months lying in traction.

"My sweater was too heavy to bring."
He said, on the last pitch of the day
"It's cold in this wind, even if it is spring"
"Now exposure's coming my way.".

The story went right round the Nation
He'd disobeyed a serious order,
And died of de-hydration
'Cos he didn't take near' enough water.

I'm fast running out of energy
And though I feel so terribly rude
I didn't bring eats and I'm hungry
Could I borrow some of your food?.

The old man said "Learn by my mistakes."
"I've been lucky and lasted this long."
"One error is all it could take."
"And I was frequently wrong.".

Said young to old "You don't know all."
Said old to young "I never will."
"Things change so quick when climbing the wall."
"I'll still be learning when I'm over the hill.".

"Don't listen to him, the old clot."
"Take no notice." The blade said out loud
He listened to him who had not
And was soon playing a harp on a cloud.

"Cloud at two levels, that means rain."
Said the old one, who'd studied the weather
Said the young one "Don't talk out the top of your brain."
But it turned out that the old one was clever.

Oh! If only he'd listened to the sane
"Always carry your water-proofs with you."
The rain's running deep through the drain
It's running through his under-clothes too.

You've probably read this and thought 'Enough is enough,'
'On safety, this bloke sure can bind.'
But the feelings of sadness can be so very tough
On the family and friends that you leave behind.

Dave James. November. 1987.

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No Match For Geriatric James.

They'd reached the top and done themselves proud
They had all that gear, enough for a crowd
They looked like the best while descending the tracks
And muscles held out to the weight of their 'sacks.

Others they passed had to stop, stand and stare
"Did one really need all that gear to get there?"
But, our heroes passed with a nod and a "Hi!"
They were hot, sweaty and tired so they hurried on by.

Their water was warm, still, it may be needed
They'd stashed plenty of reserves as up the path they'd proceeded
The night before it had been icy and cold
But even now, in emergency, it could be worth more than gold.

They'd had plenty of clothes and plenty of food
The weather was great, which aided the mood
They'd done half the `Wall', then The Chasm was climbed
To the weight of those 'sacks, our heroes were blind.

The day soon passed and they were back at the camp
But, though they'd each had a `Coke', their throats weren't even damp
Said one, "Some tea would just do the trick."
"We'll boil up the billy, get the matches out, quick.".

"You get them out." Said another, "I've none."
"The last box I had, I lent to my mum."
Pockets were patted, guilty looks shared
Amongst all that equipment not one match was bared.

The 'Old one' smiled inwardly, now he'd have a game
"Wot! No matches, you 'eaps?" They all winced in their shame
"That's not very good, I pray this lesson you've learned."
"Try the car cigar lighter and I 'ope you get burned.".

The others looked embarrassed but, they'd give it a try
And hunted for paper that was reasonably dry
Geriatric James walked off round the back
And secretly reached into his emergency 'sack.

With a shout of "Rotten Pom!", his friends soon saw
That he had matches, a dozen or more
The tea was soon brewed, not a droplet was missed
And each knew that matches would be on each future list.

Dave James. March. 1988.

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Boris D'Yorn.

He dropped his torch the other day
He’d gone caving for a lark
With one source of light he went in for a play
Now Boris is lost in the dark.

Oh! How he wished he’d brought a spare
To show him the easy way out
Nobody even knew he was there
There’s no hope of hearing a shout.

He’d lost his torch when he stubbed his toe
Or he’d been at the camp by now singing songs
He’d been told about boots a while ago
But Boris felt better in thongs.

With hands out-stretched in front of his face
He started to walk around
Not going more than a single pace
He suddenly ran out of ground.

Down he went with a jar here and there
To Boris, the end for sure
The blood ran thickly through his hair
‘Til at last he knew no more.

Until a light was shining through
A ‘Being’ standing nearby
It said, “Boris, I’m here to save you.”
“And this is the reason why.”.

“Lives can be lost when looking for fools.”
“And those who say “She’ll be right.”
“Heaven is full of those poor souls.”
“Who went out on a rescue at night.”

“I’m one of those souls and for my pluck.”
“I was granted just one favour.”
“I knew that soon you’d run out of luck.”
“So I asked to be your saviour.”

The ‘Being’ stepped out into the light
His helmet was easily seen
Boris’ head was a sickly sight
Where his helmet should have been.

Over his shoulder there was a ‘sack
Full of food, drink, and more lamps
When all that was on Boris’ shoulder and back
Were cuts from that fall down the ramp.

The ‘trog-suit’ he wore was protection enough
A belt held it neat at the waist
But Boris’ shorts weren’t very tough
And his T-shirt had been thrown on in haste.

The ‘Being’ wore boots that were sturdy and strong
And protection was given to toes
Boris hunted for his open blue thong
While pain wracked his body in flows.

From the ‘Being’s’ neck a whistle hung
He had learned the distress-call from the start
But around the neck of Boris was flung
A chain, holding a nice golden heart.

“My wish to save you was not for yourself.”
“But so others could learn by your faults.”
“I asked that your body should stay in good health.”
“So you can teach others who enter these vaults.”.

Boris then said “I’ve learned my lesson.”
“I’ll go forth and do as you say.”
“Of what’s happened here I’ll ask not a question.”
“But I’ll be safer for living this day.”.

“No more shall I say “Don’t worry about that.””
“And “She’ll be right in the end.””
“No more will I say “Keep it under your hat.””
“My ways I surely will mend.”

The pain in his back got worse and worse
Until he felt that he should scream
Then he woke up with a grunt and a curse
It had all been a terrible dream.

He had dropped off to sleep when they’d paused for some lunch
He’d not been missed by his friends
They had not counted as they’d moved on in a bunch
They’d had other things to attend.

He lay on his back, a sharp rock jutted up
It was this caused the pain that he felt
He rolled on his side, the pain soon let up
And on his two knees he knelt.

His torch should be there and he felt all around
His panic was scotched as he patted the sand
He grovelled and groped all over the ground
But his torch was not nearby at hand.

He didn’t dare move or walk from the spot
In case he should trip over a boulder
And then he realised his faithful old ‘sack
Was still slung on the back of his shoulder.

He opened it up and took out his ‘two-cell’
The batteries were strong, just brand-new
He shone it around and let out a yell
As his ‘Dolphin’ came into the view.

He took up his ‘sack and reached deep into it
There were extra lights for use at a push
Water, food, a small first-aid kit
And a compass in case he got lost in the bush.

He remembered the ‘Being’ and thought “Why me?”
And looked back on the way he’d trained folk
Maybe he had been a bit easy and free
And made safety a bit of a joke.

Never again would one source of light do
Or a chin-strap made out of old string
Never again a thong or a shoe
Or relying on water from a spring.

From now on it will all be done right
The correct methods will always be shown
For, if they get lost in the bush one dark night
The life lost could be his own.

Now, he’d blow his whistle to north then south
In case his friends should hear
But, as he put the whistle to his mouth
He heard a sound quite near.

He listened hard, then heard a voice
A search-party came round the bend
They were startled to see him, then rejoiced
Until he said he was not with his friends.

The searchers had suddenly become serious again
At finding Boris there on his own
The safety of adventurers was their ultimate aim
They’d practiced for long hours near their home.

Just then the others, who had lost their own way
Came happily on to the scene
An old caver had shown them where the exit-path lay
Boris thought of the ‘Being’ in his dream.

The search-leader said “We gave you ‘till ten.”
“After the time you wrote down had run out.”
Boris had done right to ‘book in’ with them
‘Twas the right thing to do, there’s no doubt.

He told how he’d slept, and related his dream
His friends hung their heads low in shame
Mistakes were made, but it was clear to be seen
That each realised how each was to blame.

This event has long passed, but Boris recalls his vision
And tells it to folk that are new
To teach them correct is his dedicated mission
I think it’s the only way, don’t you?

Dave James. January 1988.

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