Rhyme Crimes by Robert Steele

  The following lines were written with sincerity in an attempt to communicate my feelings, to perhaps entertain, to celebrate words, to create what I hoped at the time to call poetry. I think I'm only now beginning to learn a little bit about poetry. Who knows, there may be a poem in me yet. I have a great love for my own local tongue but please forgive the spelling. I have never found time to study a Scottish Dictionary.

Rhyme is mine The sonnet My cat Sooty
Freedom cake To a sonnet Annbank Old Mans’ Cabin
Marriage A toast We won’t forget you
Swishin' the wishin' away Winners and losers Shitterton
Take it Betty The Wilderness
Childhood An acre and an acorn Lost
 Mother A song for the poet

The Labrador

Birds of Prey

Treasure Every Moment.

Back to Catrine-Ayrshire



Rhyme is mine.

Someone told me rhyme is out of fashion,

But I’m a sentimental type of man,

I like wee cosy words, they’re really smashin’,

I like to make wee rhymes up when I can,

The happy things we say are worth remembering,

And happiness itself to me is rhyme,

I love the sound of words so much,

I sometimes don’t care what they say,

Or who they touch,

The gentle stroke,

Your bones to soak,

A sweetie poke:

No crime is rhyme,

When time is mine.


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Freedom Cake.

8 ounces of wisdom,

6 ounces of health,

A large packet of confidence,

2 good books (sifted together),

2 large onions,

A tin of laughter,

1 pint of tears,

A pinch of madness,

Love to garnish.

Bind all ingredients with moderation and cook in bright sun both sides, leave to cool in the moonlight, serve with morning dew, in the smallest possible portions.


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Swishin’ the wishin’ away.

Wish I was an ordinary worker with a mortgage,

Who liked to go to football and the like,

Wish I was a big head with a pea brain and an ego,

A shit machine who liked to brawl and fight,

Wish I was a soldier in armed combat with a riffle,

Or a shepherd with a curly stick,

Or an office clerk with piles,

Wish I was a monk who had a God and drank just water,

Or a disco stud,

Or maybe just a child.


It’s popular to think we know ourselves and who and what we are,

And so we teach our children how to make the same mistakes,

I am but a child in thought and children are my teachers,

I’m happy to be learning how to play.

The children sing and play in rhyme,

And life goes on for ever,

If you want a thing enough it will be yours,

And all I want is children who are happy to be clever,

I want to be a child for ever more.


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My cat Sooty.

My cat’s been reared on mice and rabbits,

It disnae feed frae tins,

And some folk say it’s awfu’ cruel,

Tae lae the pare wee thing tae rin,

I share wi’ her my milk and cheese,

She likes a fish and guid fresh offal,

I daur the R.S.P.C.A.,

Tae tell me that’s unlawful.

Her coat is black and shiny,

Like the very best o’ coal,

And she’s the very best o’ cat,

You want tae see her catch a mole,

She even caught a stoat last week,

And birds and shrews and voles I’ve seen,

It’s whiles quite a gory sicht,

The trail o’ death she leaves behin’.

And yet she’s terrified from hens,

For she was reared among them,

I’ve often seen her slink away,

When e’er she saw them comin’,

And dogs? She disnae bat an ee,

She aye has the advantage,

She runs richt up the rowan tree,

If she thinks they’re kinda savage.

I mind aye day I watched her,

Lyin’ sprawled oot on the compost heap,

The steam wis risin’ through her bed,

But she lay still, as still can be,

It crossed my mind she micht be deid,

But just before I rose tae see,

A sly big collie crossed the green,

Stalkin’, wi’ an evil ee.

At this I had to warn her,

For fear it caught her unaware,

Then Sooty lifted up her head,

And glowered oot withoot a care,

The collie barked a fearsome shriek,

And made his run in fur the kill,

And Sooty stretched her claws and yawned,

And cuddled back doon just as still.

She saw the dug for whit it wis,

A barkin’, yappin’, snappin’, actor,

She kent that he wid only chase,

And maistly tae impress his maister,

I won’ert if she was naive,

An’ I hadnae time tae save her noo,

But Sooty had the whole thing sussed,

She knew fine what this cur would do.

His bark became a yelpin’ greet,

His act had been a failure,

He snapped within an inch o’ ‘er heed,

And still he couldnae raise her,

He backed off tae a deeper growl,

For which he had tae dip his heed,

Was this to be his final act?

Was Sooty tae be left fur deid?

But in a flash her back was up,

She turned intae a cobra hissin’,

The collie shrunk back oot o’ range,

And Sooty started spittin’,

I never saw such hate afore,

Or furious evil vengeance,

The dog jumped back to bark some more,

But only with pretensions.

This collie wisnae bred tae kill,

Although he liked to chase,

He made a final gallant brainge,

And Sooty clawed his honest face,

The pare bit collie squealed in pain,

And limped away dejected,

And Sooty glowered o’er at me,

And cuddled back doon unaffected.

She stole a sideways glance at me,

That made me wonder at such cunnin’,

It wasnae just an evil ee,

But sic a thing was used to winin’,

And then she stretched oot a’ her length,

Like a goddess who’s in full command,

Then took her famous regal pose,

To survey lessors on her land.

Perhaps it was to reassure,

This vulnerable servant,

But she gave a meow of recognition,

Both innocent and vehement,

And then came trotting full of joy,

Her meows were timed like language true,

It crossed my mind to run away,

This ruthless creature knew me too.

But up she came to stroke her back around my legs, to purr and sing,

She putters like a model plane,

Caresses like the breath of spring.

By this the collie’d reached his maister,

And he cooried doon in pure disgrace,

The man bent doon tae tie his lead,

And saw the damage tae its face,

He kicked the pare thing in the ribs,

And daured it no’ tae run away,

I’m glad I havnae got a dog,

If that’s what maisters huvtae dae.

My cat’s been reared on mice an’ rabbits,

It disnae feed frae tins,

And some folk say it’s awfu’ cruel,

Tae lae the pare wee thing tae rin,

I share wi’ her my milk and cheese,

She likes a fish and guid fresh offal,

I daur the R.S.P.C.A.,

Tae tell me that’s unlawful.


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 The sonnet.

I love you life, I love you more than darkest peace,

And every night I wallow in your gentle form,

Then morning oozes in, to herald day’s release,

The ever changing patterns in the sky at dawn,

Each sunrise is a constant source of joy to me,

And never two the same to see or smell or hear,

Each day is a kaleidoscope of things to see,

I treasure every moment of my passing year,

And sorrow, grief and anguish serve to reinforce,

The pleasure there is living in a world so fine,

And when from life my conscious mind will be divorced,

This pen will thank old nature for a pleasant time,

And then to worms this carcass will be fodder sweet,

I’ll be no more than loam in this great compost heap.


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To a Sonnet.

Farewell old friend, rest ye well in peace,

I never liked your awkward gait,

You always did remind me of a butterfly caged,

Or sage and onion stuffing on a chicken plate,

Like any faded masterpiece in musty museums hanging,

All lifeless and forgotten, yet properly framed,

I wish I knew you better but my ear was never tuned,

Perhaps the sonneteer has sealed your fate.


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A toast.

Here’s to women and children,

I bless their wee socks,

Here’s to freedom and laughter,

And honest old folks,

Here’s to all human kindness,

And fellowship true,

Here’s to women and children and you.


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Winners and losers.

Winners and losers, all playing the game,

Users and boosers, all hopelessly lame,

Possession, aggression, obsession, depression,

Precision decisions and nuclear fission.


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A song for the poet.

Here’s a song for the poet who emptied his heart for the rhyming,

Here’s a song for the poet who captured the dreams of mankind,

Here’s a song for the poet who faced the whole world with his whining,

Here’s a song for the poet who gave his own eyes to the blind.

He can sing you a poem or read you a ballad so tuneful,

He can colour your dreams, he can warm up your loneliest night,

He can drown you in sorrow, remind you of all that is evil,

He can show you your god or your lover, your greed and your pride.

Here’s a song for the man who gave love to the hearts that he pitied,

Here’s a voice for the dummy who sang to the world with his pen,

Here’s a song for the poet who challenged the earth and its meaning,

Let me sing you his song, for he’s only, your only true friend.


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When you lean too far and your love falls through,

And you’ve built your walls so narrow,

There is no-one you can turn to,

No more truth that’s everlasting,

Empty beds and endless cigarettes,

An old guitar that’s broken,

And a heart too weak to hate,

A clock that races never-ending,

A friend too good to make a call,

An understanding for all love songs,

Nothing left, you know it all,

The simple cures,

The need for courage,

The hopelessness, the whys?

The pains that cripple,

Loves sweet nipple,

Running dry.

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We won’t forget you.


How does it feel to be seventy three and on your knees?

It’s times like this when friends can help you through your day,

Sometime soon you’ll feel the big one,

He’ll nug at first - then he’ll grab and choke,

You’ll see all your precious memories in a flash,

Your conscience dark, will be framed in the pit below,

You won’t have a choice,

You’ll float up into your own oblivion,

Or sink into the everlasting misery you created and become another eerie howler,

Safe within the dungeons.

Human life exists only within human minds,

A horse doesn’t see what we see, but it remembers danger;

You won’t fritter out and be no more,

You will remain within the conscience of every living creature you touched,

In death you will be very much alive,

Let us hope your memory will be cherished,

And not written in the horses brain as warning signs of things dark and evil,

You are! your thoughts,

Pave your way into eternity in human kindness.


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I remember reading  a small article in the paper in the early 70's which explained the following and I wrote this poem down straight away. The people of Shitterton were quite happy with their village name and the Council in their wisdom decided to change it. If you do a seach for shitterton you will find it is still the preferred name of the area and although I never got to visit the place myself it would seem to be a very popular part of the Dorset countryside. 

Sitting near Bere Regis, this little hamlet was once embarrassed by its prefix which was Piddle and they were thankful when the name of this which is used by other villages was changed to Puddle, but still the last name can conjure up variations! So now the village name plate on the roadside is marked as Sitterton.

It was down in the south of old England,

A particular place that I know,

In the beautiful county of Dorset,

‘Twas there a small hamlet did grow.


And the place that I speak of was Shitterton,

And a beautiful hamlet were she,

‘Twas not just a place you would skid around,

As the name might suggest it to be.


But Shitterton soon was a bitter town,

Till a clever young lawyer said, ‘Right’,

We’ll rename our Shitterton, Sitterton.’

So they ripped up the signposts that night.


And they renamed their Shitterton, Sitterton,

Yes Sitterton it was to be,

But all was not over in Shitterton,

As the resident soon were to see.


Shitterton lies by a river,

The great river Piddle by name,

Would our lawyer be happy with Piddle,

Or would he be hiding in shame.


So with Shitterton left in a muddle,

The lawyer said, ‘listen to me,

We’ll change the name Piddle to Puddle,

At least it still starts with a P’.


The first time I’m down in old Dorset,

There’s a lawyer I’m dying to see,

I’m longing to sit in his Sitterton,

And to paddle his Puddle in P.


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An acre and an acorn.

I know a little place,

Where the days are full of happiness,

And mother nature smiles upon the land,

It’s a perfect little haven,

And I’m working hard and saving,

Just to buy the right to be there when I can.


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Take it.

I was running away from pressure in my early days,

Playing freedom man, following dreams,

I looned around and spat it out,

Ignored advice and did it twice,

And still I couldn’t change a single thing,

Young man your world is what you make it,

Don't stop to wonder why,just take it,

But be wary of the countryside and tranquil scenes on winter nights and silver rivers filled with trout and hens a clucking in and out and seed to sow and soil to grow and folks who know,

A hunting we will go,

A a hunting we will go, do dodo dodo do’.


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Children growing up together,

Sharing beds and blushes,

Learning how to greet the world,

Discovering what lies behind the linen of humanity,

Sharing dreams and expectations,

Like brothers and sisters,

Learning how to tie their laces,

Straighten their ties.

And boys romp and girls frolic,

All on a bright spring day,

Till evening comes.


Then they grow apart together,

The girl will swell,

And woman the creator will make her boy a man.

Then all will be like watching life,

And children growing up together,

Sharing beds and blushes,

Learning how to greet the world.


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Youth and truth run hand in hand,

Or at least they did for me,

I sometimes thought I was a saint,

And only young folk really see,

How wrong I was,

I blundered on and bludgeoned off frustration,

Advice from elders all ignored,

Freedom was my only station.

The flight of youth, what fool would change?

The first of spring, the morning dew,

The birth of reason, tears of joy,

Everything so fresh and new,

Long summer seasons, camping out,

Tree trenches and midnight raids,

Building rafts and setting fires,

Those truly were the happy days.

Doon the watter on a Sunday,

Swimming in the river nude,

Playing truant on a Monday,

Strip Jack Naked in the wood,

Kissy hunts and kick the can,

And chap the door and run away,

To hell! with plans to be a man,

I’d rather be a child again.

Plastic guns and plastic dolls and electronic trains,

We made hazel bows and arrows and paper aeroplanes,

Home made sledges, holes in hedges, pram wheeled trolleys roamed the street,

We used to go and dig up groundnuts,

Sourops were another treat.

Pea shooters were made by nature,

The weed we used would sting your lip,

We gathered haws for ammunition,

And whiles the big haws didnae fit,

Stolen barley, it was lethal,

You could fire it oot like a show’r o’ hail,

But when your Maw was makin’ soup,

You’d catch it in the tail.

Go’n for newts and guddlin’ trout,

And dammin’ up the burn,

Makin’ swings across the water,

And everybody got their turn,

But somebody hadtae try it oot,

In case it wisnae quiet secure,

And when he landed in the burn,

You couldnae see the rest fur stoor.

And now computers rule the roost,

And bob a jobs are a pound a fling,

The children still have happy times,

Although they play with different things,

The holy terrors of today are still just children out to play,

The trouble is they don’t have peers,

As unemployment rules the day.


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Annbank Old Mans’ Cabin.

It’s just another Ayrshire toon,

Where ance appeared a villa,

Another stop on the merrygoroon,

Wi’ bridies for the dinner,

A pot o’ soup that’s thick as any guid old wife could swee and steer,

A cauldron sweet wi’ barley meat and brisket for the dog I fear,

An honest workin’ population,

Wi’ characters and hardies,

A freenly place though minor station,

An’ no too mony gadsalardies.

There’s Jim and John and Andrew Jess,

And twa frae Skares and Pipe Jim Brodie,

And Angus Frew Lik’ a dose o’ the flu,

Could upset oany bunch o’ cronies,

But no’ a heart is wrangly placed,

An honest working population,

The city slicks just filter oot,

Like Annbank wis probation.

A first set sicht on Annbank toon,

Tae earn an honest shillin’,

Wee Tam and I did venture doon,

And rendered oorsel’s willing,

A C.P. scheme wis on the go,

Tae build an ol’ mans’ cabin,

So along wi’ fower local boys,

We startet knockin’ stabs in.

But winter wisnae far awa’,

and Tories don’t like overmannin’,

We struggled on through wind and rain,

In spite of a’ the lack o’ plannin’,

And up it went, oor Annbank castle,

A shelter frae the winter blast,

And there it stood, the boys were prood,

The ol’ yins had their hut at last.

But some things werenae meant tae be,

As some folk never come thegither,

An evil wind came skirlin’ in,

And tore the hut asin’er,

We stood aghast wi’ open mooths,

And watched the windows crackin’,

But then a great big dod o’ roof,

Took off and sent us packin’.

As if it wisnae bad enough,

This demon kite was keen,

It must o’ flew for fifty yards,

And it smashed a cor an’ the boolin’ green,

I never saw such winds before,

You’ll think I’m just a haiver,

But Tam wis wheecht richt aff ‘is feet,

And tossed ‘roon like a caber.

We had tae laugh when the storm had passed,

For what was done was done,

And Tam soon worked oot what was wrong,

‘It’s built on evil grun’,

The ol’ anes said,’An act of God’,

And Angus had a field day,

Myself I went to see Jim Bruce,

Tae see what he would say.

‘Mr. Bruce, the gem’s abogie,

I think I’ll book a flight tae Boston’.

‘It’s no’ that bad Rab, settle doon,

There’s still another hut in Galston’.

So we muckled in and began again,

Like the windmill in Orwell’s Animal Farm,

I was aye in mind o’ pare ol’ Boxer,

And ‘never through me shalt thou come to harm’.

So we cleared up the mess and the broken glass,

And we brought the other hut from Galston,

And the coal board came tae the rescue again,

Wi’ never a question o’ what it was costin’,

We built this hut wi’ gales in mind,

We did oor best wi’ what was there,

The’l aye be them that criticise,

But a’ they kind belong in Ayr.

So what’s there now was oor best shot,

As strong as we could make it,

The men were pleased wi’ what they got,

It’ll take some wind tae shake it,

I’m sure the folks will rally ‘round,

And raise the funds tae keep it,

A credit tae a happy toon,

Wi’ nae time for the sleekit.

There’s a villa down in Annbank,

Where retired men can gether,

To sit and play at dominoes,

Or just tae have a blether,

‘Roon a barrel en’ frae Killoch,

May they brithers be the gither,

Long may yer lum reek doon in Annbank,

Aye a hope it reeks for ever.


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The Wilderness.

It’s snowing in the wilderness,

A soft and cosy snow,

A peaceful moment,

I have prayed long and hard for snow like this,

I also prayed I’d win the lottery,

Now the snow has come,

I pray I never win the lottery,

Just give me more snow,

Snow me in.


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Betty had a heart as warm and nourishing as any mother’s breast,

She’d have suckled a pig,

She gave her all,

She took all the blows,

She hungered for every moment.


If there is a god ,

We must thank him for giving us Betty,

We must also thank him for taking her back,

We can’t live on without learning her gifts.

Who’ll be Betty now,

Will we learn to laugh like Betty laughed?

Betty lived,

Now Betty’s dead,

Without Betty we’re all dead,

A fire has gone out,

Norman McCaig is dead,

Betty is dead,

Full stop.

But only fools stop,

Betty taught us that,

I can feel her laughing yet.


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Keen to please she's seldom at ease,

A lifetime locked in sameness, drenched in boredom,

A broody hen that clucks and clicks,

And stretches now and then and runs for freedom,

But her freedom run is short enough,

A hasty drink, a peck about,

And back to check her brood,

And nestle into dreams of yesteryears,

And could have beens,

And never seens,

An evergreen.


All alone she worries on,

The chicks have flown,

All gone.


I am here and you are there,

Where nothing else can harm you,

You are free from grief and pain,

Where nothing can alarm you,

I can't forget your suffering,

Your courage and conviction,

You taught me to be humble,

In a world of greed and friction.


A farmer and a gardener, a puritan, a mother,

You taught us all to follow God,

You made us truly brothers,

And now you rest in pure clean earth,

Your honest toils have ended,

I'm happy to be part of you,

I'm proud to be descended.


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Birds of Prey 


They soar so high, those birds of prey, majestic and so regal,

They drop so fast, when eíer they sight, a dinner for an eagle,

The poor, the weak, les villageois, are easy meat below them,

The pigeons and the starlings, and the people who adore them.


From a speck of movement in the field, the king of skies will strike,

That innocence, that now is meat, won't even know what bites,

Itís just as well we bear in mind, what made the eagle great,

We must evolve beyond the fields, and look beyond the gate,

And seek our prey and take our fill and leave but naught to fate.


No sympathy, no empathy, no fears of retribution,

Except to use such things as tools,

To win the day.

To soar so high above the crowd,

To rule the sky,

To be  alive,

Not strive to survive,

To thrive.


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The Labrador


Sweet innocent creature, the best dug in Ayrshire,

How glad I am to know you,

No worries you, of human frailty,

You look only for friendship and love,

And quietly accept all rejections.


And brave you are, to rush in, where only fools would tread,

Searching only for friendship and love,

Untaintable thing, with a heart so pure,

You have taught me more than any man could teach.


Before I knew you, a dog was a dog,

I hated dog lovers, thinking they were insincere, or simply mad,

I wonder now if anything can be learned from a man's reaction to his dog,

I've heard it said, you can never trust a dog lover,

They don't have any love left for people.

But when people let you down,

Maybe we should wonder if it wasn't us that let them down,

This is the only way you can see it when your dog lets you down.

This precious freedom we all cherish, is a heavy burden for most people,

Couldn't we all be a bit more faithful,

Like the Labrador.


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Treasure Every Moment.

Treasure every Moment of your time on Earth,
Because every other second someone dies,
That someone could be just a child, on a rowing boat thatís full of hope,
And heading for a better life, beyond the stormy skies,
Or just another father going overboard to save his child,
Or just another stabbing in the street,
Or just another heart attack,
Or just another plane thatís crashed,
Or just another victim of manís Greed.

But every other second thereís another birth,
And one could be an Einstein in the make,
And one could be a Ruler who unites mankind,
That one could be the one to banish hate,
And one could be that one your child was born to love,
Or one could be a mother to us all,
So, treasure every moment of your precious time on earth,
Every Winter, Every Springtime, Every Summer, Every Fall.

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Copyright R.M.Steele.ģ
Last revised: March, 2012.