Windrush Rhymes 1929-1939.    by Hubert Watson          
 "What at Windrush", they ask,
     "Does anyone do?"
     Let me take up the task
         To explain it;
     To draw is my aim
         A picture that's true,
     And these rhymings might claim
         To attain it.

The Breakfast hour is half past eight,
Note this my child and don't be late
Though one of riper years, if good,
May claim a certain latitude,
And all upon the Sabbath Day
In bed a half-hour more can stay.
Luncheon at one will ready be,
Four-thirty is the time for Tea.
In evening dress and shoes that shine
At seven forty-five we dine.
But you'll be glad to hear that one day
We do not 'change' and that is Sunday;
Sometimes on other evenings you
May get a dispensation too.

To every meal the hungry throng
Is duly summoned by a gong;
And -- mark it well -- before the meal
The gong will sound a double peal,
The first a timely warning sings
Ten minutes ere the second rings;
And, whilst one stroke the former ends,
The next with two the welkin rends
In such clear tones that to confuse
Second with first is no excuse,
And whoso dare such plea to make
May forfeit toast, or soup, or cake.

Hard by the fireplace in the Hall
A box of brass hangs on the wall,
And letters there should posted be
On Sundays by the hour of three,
Whilst on a week-day if you wait
Till nearly five you'll not be late.

If, for your boots or shoes you search,
You'll find them somewhere on a perch
Against the Cloak Room's wall; and please
Remember when removing these,
Should they be needing Hector's care,
To place them in the basket there,
Don't let them in unseemly rout
Over the floor be strewn about;
Also, to notice do not fail,
That hatpegs aren't a towel-rail.

A bathroom, you'll agree with me,
Should be as clean as clean can be.
To find it all untidiness
Gives the next comer much distress.
So be considerate in your dealings.
Think of the poor next-comers feelings,
And do the best that ere you can
To leave the room all spick and span.

Now to complete the list of crimes
A string of 'Don'ts' shall end my rhymes.
Don't leave the field gate open wide,
Nigger take too long a ride,
With golf-balls don't the windows break,
Don't tease the gold-fish in the 'lake';
Do not let Juggins fight with Tim,
If Buzz is naughty punish him;
Don't practice hockey on the lawn,
Don't riot in your rooms at dawn;
Matchboxes don't purloin and when
You take a candle or a pen
Be sure to bring it back again,
Don't slam the doors, don't let the fire
For lack of tending slow expire;
Don't rouse a certain person's wrath
By cutting of the billiard cloth
Or letting ashes on it fall;
Don't on the table in the Hall
Your letters leave without a stamp,
Don't throw on beds your clothing damp;
A certain desk forbear to use,
Observe, in short, your P's and Q's.
And, lastly, do not, for your lives,
Poke fun at ageing relatives;
If seeming too inclined to fuss
Acknowledge that the might be 'wuss',
And, if too prone to doubts and fears
Make due allowance for their years!

And now I think that I would rather
A finish put to all this blather.
In spite of 'Donts' I hope and pray
You will enjoy your holiday,
And, asked what sort of time you had,
Admit that it was "not too bad".


By special request
I have added a selection from the poems which, until the rooms were recoloured,
used to decorate a part of the house known as 'Poet's Corner'.
They are by various hands in different styles and languages, and they too will not,
I trust, cause any offence but, rather, some mild amusement.              H.D.W.


The cistern to induce to work
Release the chain without a jerk;
And, kindly as you go outside,
Leave door and window open wide.

To pull or not to pull, that is the question!
Whether 'tis better in the mind to infer
Your cistern full, or else to stay a little
The more to assure the water's quick descent
At a gentle tug -- I counsel you my lord.
To screw your courage to the sticking point
And pull at once; 'tis odds you will not fail.

And, pray you, when you've buttoned and would go,
Leave door and window open, for the air,
Physicians say, is nature's purifier,
And thus you signify a vacant throne.

Does one pull the chain down all the way?
     Yes, to the very end.
How long thereafter shall I let is stay?
     A moment or two my friend.

It is not for the night my resting place?
     Not if you pull aright.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
     Not if you use the light.

Shall I meet other visitors inside?
     They will have gone before,
Leaving the door and window open wide?
     The window and the door.

If I do as others week by week...?
     Of comfort you shall give the sum.
Will the air be fresh for all who seek?
     Yea, fresh for all who come.
On brimming cistern see a pendant chain;
Gently release it and, behold! a rain
     Of water streaming in a cleansing flood.
It passes on, and all is peace again.

And now at last the daily task is o'er,
Fling up the window, open wide the door.
     The Moving Finger writes, and, Thou, go forth
To seek what next He hath for thee in store.

Take, sir, this little paltry chain,
     For though the links are thick with rust
     It matters not -- I ever trust
The consequence. The falling rain.

Shall, if you gently loose it, pour
     To flush the pan beneath and make
     Sweet once again; but in your wake
Leave window wide and open door.

IN FOREIGN TONGUES (German, Hindustani, Latin)
Mach's fenster auf.
Lass luft hinein.
Der nächste wird
Dir dankbar sein.

Sab pani ta ki nichhe awe
Yeh zanjir ahista khenchha jawe
Aur jab tun bahar jana chahe
Darwaza khirki khule rahen.

Horrida votivo micat haerens pariete cellae
     Chartarum series, ningit et elegias.
Edocet ut laevam admoveam lentoque tumultu
     Bandusiam immittam; nil moror iistud opus.
Ferrea solvit aquas facili nimis arte catena;
     Difficiles versus nectis, amice, tua.

Now read a long poem by Richard Alexander Usborne to Dorothy Watson, Chatelaine of Windrush