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Ray Blyde

Ray Blyde's excellent life story appears serially in the Crazy Oik. His poems are just as funny and these too will find their way in there in dribs and drabs. However, if you'd like to read them all here they are, prefaced by my intro which appeared on the Penniless Press website



Ken Clay

Daily Express Building - Great Ancoats Street - Manchester

The Penniless Press website wouldn’t ordinarily be interested in whimsical doggerel but we have stumbled across something which looks like it – and yet is more than that - funny, observant and authentically oik – crazy oik even (among which category I include myself). Not the boring, self-indulgent, introverted, derivative shite usually peddled by the struggling genius with which we want nothing to do.

Your aspirant oik writer springs out of nowhere from no tradition with an urgent need to express. As Ray puts it: 

I want to write because I feel I have a need to express myself in the fullest possible way. I have been writing off and on for perhaps three years without a great deal of success. This does not deter me because there are times when there’s a certain consolation even writing for one’s own satisfaction. Also if nothing else it has taught me to listen and observe because there’s usually a story to be extracted from every situation. Last but not least it is a craft which has to be learnt thoroughly. 

Clinton cards may be an influence but we wouldn’t go further than that – he’s not the new William Blake or John Clare; he could be Dylan Thomas post pub or Pam Ayres before the operation. Auden sometimes had a larf with this kind of thing and they say TS Eliot wrote Eskimo Nell but I doubt Ray has even heard of these worthies.

Another feature of the crazy oik is a passionate reverence for the printed word. I myself spent hours – days even – producing texts with a John Bull Printing outfit (for anyone less than 60 this entailed squeezing little rubber letters into a grooved wooden block). Then I got a second hand typewriter which was so heavy I had to perch it on my bike saddle and push it two miles home.

Ray worked on the Daily Express in Manchester (that fine modernist black glass building still stands in Great Ancoats Street). He was a stereotyper – he shaped the moulds from which the metal plates were cast. One can’t help feeling the Express missed a trick – Ray’s poems would surely have raised the tone of that rag. But although he was in the heart of the print industry he could hardly have run off his works during a lull. Instead he got them typed and then cut out the chunks of typed paper and glued them into an exercise book. Reminiscent of the Bronte sisters at Howarth stitching their little home made books. It was this volume he showed to Bob Wild (another crazy oik contributor who features on this site) in the gym (the gym!!?). Bob smuggled it out to a Xerox machine. We hope Ray will be bucked up by this belated recognition and be gratified to know that at least one reader larfed out loud at My Daughter’s Boyfriend’s Father.


Selected Poems
Ray Blyde

Life begins at forty, 
Spanish Nights
What Good Is A Car On The Path
Awakened From A Troubled Sleep, 
The Chaps
My Daughters Boyfriend’s Father. 
The Human  Race
My Home Town
Heat Wave.
Man’s Best Friend
The Runaway Tram
Have You Ever
Streets And Roads
The Storm


Life begins at forty, 
At least that’s what they say, 
You'll have to come to terms with it 
In each and every way.

Unfortunately the things you find , 
you'd really like to do,
Are no longer recommended
For one as old as you.

If you eat too much, 
Or drink too much,
Your doctor won't approve,
He'll suggest you get your waistline down,
By keeping on the move,

So sell the car and buy a 'bike, 
What have you got to lose, 
Unless you much prefer to have 
A night out on the booze?

The family feel quite often 
Dad's not going to survive, 
He's getting near retirement, 
And he's only forty five.

In some respects they might be right,
It's very often true,
Your prospects in the business world,
Are sparse and very few.

So if your made redundant,
and you don't know what to do,
Take heart! it couldn't happen
To a nicer bloke than you.  

Don't save all your money 
For that far off rainy day, 
Enjoy yourself and live it up 
Only once you come this way.

Life begins at forty,
And, when all is said and done,
You'll awaken one fine morning, 
To find you’re forty one!


With my loving daughter I went to Majorca
We went to a hotel in town.   
The weather was great,
So we soaked up the sun
In hopes of it turning us brown. 

One night we decided to go for a drink,   
To a club not far from our board.
For a hundred pesetas
There’s no doubt we were told,
You can get as drunk as a lord.        .

Looking back on that night        
There’s no doubt they were right
There isn't a lot I can tell.
I remember falling all over the road,   
Going back to the Siesta hotel.  
The man at the desk was most helpful it seems
As he assisted me up to my room, 
He opened the door, and I staggered inside, 
And I thanked him with modest aplomb.

The door closed behind me,
I searched for the switch,
To lighten my way to the bed.
No switch could I find.
So I turned on my heel	.
And went into the bathroom instead,

I swayed to and fro,
Wondering which way to go,
The handbasin lay in my path,
I took two steps backward
and slipped on the soap,
And fell with a crash in the bath.

Sometime later I managed to crawl to my bed,
I was sore from my feet to the top of my head.
So in future when drinking,
I must try to atone.
If I go near a club,
I'll leave my money at home.


It stood there gleaming on his drive,
It was his pride and joy.
He leathered it and polished It, 
His wife he did annoy.
Her complaint was justified,
At least she thought it so.
"What good's a car upon a path,
When the blessed thing won't go".

He refused to take it on the road
In case he got a scratch,
Because he said "the paintwork
Was difficult to match".
He wouldn’t start the engine
In case he wore it out,
And if children played around it
He used to yell and shout!

"Get away you rag a muffins, 
And play farther up the street, 
Have you no respect for motor cars? 
and things that look a treat",

One night when all was quiet, 
Someone stole his car away. 
On arising in the morning, 
He saw to his dismay, 
"My goodness gracious Mabel 
Get up and look without, 
Someone's pinched my motor car, 
The dirty rotten lout.''

Later in his garage,	
He found a note which read,
"You silly ass I pinched your car
While you lay in your bed".

The Police were called,
A search was made,
But all to no avail.
The car had gone for ever.
And the moral to this tale?

If you have a prize possession, 
Don't have it just for show,
Put your hat and coat on
Get in and make it go.

Don’t be like our hero
I didn’t like his style
He ran his car on polish
Instead of petrol by the mile.


Awakened from a troubled sleep, 
He blinked and gave a gentle sigh. 
The day was warm a cooling breeze, 
The sun shone from a cloudless sky.

Struggling to an upright stance, 
His body crashed against the strap. 
His tranquil mood then turned to hate 
To find himself caught in the trap,

He flailed his arms and kicked his feet,
His mouth wide open tries to shout
No sound came forth.
His head rolled back,
Then a roar just like a thunderclap,
But before I go much farther,
I think you should be told,
The little chap can't help it,
He's only six months old.


The chaps are a rare combination of men
There were thirty one women,
And eight of them men.
They all got together regardless of sex,
To book for a coach trip to Scotland and back.

Elfren our driver, 
A Welsh, sort of chap,   
Who sat at the front,
And looked down at his map,
To decide where to go the following day,
Then after some moments,
Would lookup and say.

"All aboard then chaps,   
And we'll wend our way north,
To the land of the fiercesome Scot.
If you look out of the windows,
You'll probably see,
The remains of a tower house or mot”.

"You'll visit Creetown, Dundrennan,
Or gatehouse of Fleet.
See Culzean castle, climb Merrick,
Rather hard on the feet.
But which ever you do,
There’s one thing for sure,
A day out with the chaps,
And you'll come back for more". 

The last night they stayed there, 
The chaps had some fun.
They joined in the dancing,
The Scots had laid on.
At the end of the evening,  
They all formed a line,
Crossed hands together,    
And sang old langs Syne.


Have you ever considered.
How good life would be?
With no states of depression,
And no misery.
When its swings are all upward,
And everything’s nice.
When things go wrong,
They’re put right in a trice

The height of euphoria, 
To last all your life, 
Not marred by illness. 
Or trouble, or strife
With plenty of money, 
To buy what you want. 
A house at the seaside, 
A Rolls at the front.

We could live our lives knowing, 
That there's plenty of time. 
To achieve our ambitions. 
Away past our prime, 
A selfish delusion? 
Perhaps, who can tell. 
The fun you have dreaming. 
Will do just as well.


A grey intruder. 
Comes to rest,
Amid the arctic gulls. 
Their snow white bellies. 
And translucent wings, 
Beating, hovering, gliding.
In Venice of the north.

Midsummers day.
The people are leaving.
They wave from their boats.
We wave back.
And watch in silence.

The city, so clean, 
And vital.
Copper topped minarets, 
Wide avenues.
Blue sky and billowing clouds, 
In mirrored monoliths.

Bridges yawn,
Over wide clean waters.
Where once the gun boat lay.
The Wasa ship.
A million fragments joined
Like a giant jigsaw,
Up from the depths,
To test man’s ingenuity.

The siren sounds,
Our time cut short.
We board and sail.
Slowly past a thousand islands.
To the open sea.
We turn and look once more,
A glimpse of paradise.


It’s going- to rain!
I think it will,
And I'll get wet
That is until.
I buy a mac,
A gamp or hat.
The aternative to that?
I'll get wetter
Than a sewer rat.

I'm tired and weary, 
My clothes are torn. 
My feet are aching.
My shoes are worn.
I sometimes wish 
I'd not been, born.

My giro's spent, 
But then again, 
I need no rent. 
A cardboard box 
Will do just fine, 
To rest my head, 
From time to time,

It’s going to rain!
I'm sure it will
I think I'll shelter 
Here until. 
The last drops fall, 
Then I'll away. 
To circumvent 
Another day.


My daughters boyfriend’s father.
Wants to change his job, and rather,
Hopes his prospects in the future
Will be good,
He's quite a handy fellow,
He can even play the cello
And works just as well
With metal as with wood.
He wrote several applications,
To local fire stations.
He was it seems prepared
To work at night,
They sent him up a ladder,
He got an awful fright,
He shouted "get me down from here”
He couldn’t stand the height.
Once again without a job,
My daughter’s boyfriend’s dad,
Approached the local council,
To see what jobs they had,
"There's not much here",
The man declared.
"Why don't you come back later.
A vacancy is coming soon,
For a rat exterminator",
"I fancy that, I'll call again".
Said my daughter’s boy friend’s pater,
He got the job,  
But killing rats,
It made him feel a cad,
“It’s not the job I thought it was”
Said my daughter’s boy friend’s dad.
"Laying poison, setting traps,
Is not my cup of tea,
To see the little beggers die,
It's all too much for me,”
One night when all was quiet.
And dark as dark can be,
He stole back to the centre,
And set the blighters free.
They ran away in hundreds,
Left the council hopping mad,
He's such a tender hearted man.
My daughter’s boyfriend’s dad.


A chap I know,  
His name is Wood. 
Had time off work, 
Was not too good.

The doctor looked
At him and said,
"I think you ought     
To be in bed".
That swelling on         
Your face is bad,         
I'm not surprised
Your looking sad."

“What d'you think
It is?"said Wood 
"I'm not too sure"' 
The doc explained,
“It's rather large 
And looks inflamed, 
In fact it wobbles 
When you talk. 
Does it wobble 
When you walk?"

Said Wood "I really
Couldn't, say,
It only came up yesterday.
It's painful when I work
with timber,
Makes me feel a sorry sight",
"That explains it " 
Said the doctor,
"You've got a dose
Of wood termite".

"Can't you give me something 
For it", said Woody 
With a plaintive wail. 
"Surely it can't last 
For ever. Won't I 
Live to tell the tale?"

"I shouldn't worry”,
Said the doctor, 
"I think although,
I'm not too sure.
Cuprinol's the 
Only treatment, 
Creasote the cnly cure"

Woody took the doc’s prescription
Dosed himself
Three times a day.
Sure enough it
Killed the termites.
And poor Woody
Sad to say.


The price of progress,
May be high.
For good or evil,
Man must  try.
To shed his dreams,
Of quest in space.
And try to save 
The human race.

The effort spent, 
To reach the stars. 
Like satellites, 
To planet Mars, 
The money saved, 
From probes in space. 
Conserved to feed 
The human race.

Man’s requirements,
Here on earth,
Are basic,
Needing all his worth.
Not speeding from his
Problems here,
To problems,
On another sphere.


Liverpool, my home
Beside the Mersey,
Murky brown.
I hardly recognise your face.
It's changed so much,
I can't keep pace.

Your buildings standing
Aeons of time.
Have shed their skins.
Revealing, that,
Beneath the grime.
The surface shine,
Reflects the grace.
A heretage, a pride of place.

Your one way streets, 
That twist and turn. 
Confuse my mind. 
I'll have to learn, 
To navigate them true, 
To find the places, 
I once knew.

The natives on the pier head sit, 
Their lilting nasal tones abound. 
Communicate their Celtic wit, 
To each and everyone around.

Ships that crossed the river,
with their passengers,
And freight.
Have sailed into obscurity,
Or so I'm told, of late.

Liverpool, my home town.
Beside the Mersey,
Murky brown.
I think I recognise you now,
No fault of yours,
I did not see
The changes that have set you free.


Blazing, Burning. 
Searing, shimmering. 
Soaking up my very being. Clammy, cloudless. 
Humid heat.
Pushing me, crushing me. 
To defeat.

Breathless, baleful, 
Caustic, glare. 
Envelopes me, 
I cannot stare. 
Sending down, 
Your fiercesome glow. 
I wish you'd, 
Hurry up and go!


A fellow called Proctor,
Besides being a doctor.
Owned many large firms
I am told.
When dabbling in finance,
He played the stockmarket.
And even went mining for gold.

His interests and hobbies, 
included the church. 
Where he assisted the vicar
With sermons and prayer, 
And played the church organ, 
With dexterous flair,

His favourite pastime, 
Was driving fast cars, 
Which were tuned to perfection, 
Then driven at speed 
In a forward direction, 
When an error of judgement, 
Approaching a bend, 
The car left the road
And began to transcend, 
It broke into pieces, 
And that was the end.

On his headstone, it read,
"Here lies Doctor Proctor,
A miner, choirmaster, director,
and rector,
Who died in a Victor, 
while out for a drive.
Had he been concentrating,
Instead of debating,
The cost of share prices,
He'd probably still be alive.

A child that was passing, 
The grave at the time, 
Asked his father a question, 
He had on his mind. 
"How?" said the lad, 
As he pulled up his socks. 
"How did they get all 
Those men in one box?"


To the vet he took his dog
He seamed concerned about its head
For whilst chasing next doors cat
Our canine friend had trapped his tat.

His head he thrust through next doors fence 
You would have thought he had more sense 
And created such an awful din
His owner rushed out from within
The sight that met his gaze that day 
Filled him with horror and dismay.

In its struggle to be free 
Oh what a shocking sight to see 
The flowers planted with such care 
Their petals flying everywhere 
The bits and pieces filled the sky 
Enough to make you want to cry.

The owner firmly gripped the dog 
As if to pull it from a bog 
His neighbour helped him with a push 
With one almighty heave and shout 
The owner and the dog shot out.

The vet perused its broken head
It doesn’t look so good he said
For it to heal and stop infection
It needs some form of light protection
It’s serious though it may not look it
What about a plastic bucket.

A good idea the owner cried 
But how to get the dog inside 
Just cut the bottom out he said 
And jam it quickly on its head.

So if your in our part of town
You see a bucket upside down
You care to look inside you'll see
It’s not a flower plant or tree
If it’s moving fast then I'll contend
As sure as eggs its man’s best friend!


I boarded the tramcar, 
And what did I see? 
The cord from the trolley, 
Had just broken free.

It trailed far behind us, 
The guard rang the bell. 
But the tram carried on, 
Like a bat out of hell.     :

It roared and it lurched, 
And swung from side to side, 
Its warning bell was clanging  
On this gastly terror ride. 

The driver struggled, 
In his goggles and his cape,
To wind the handle on the brake
But there was no escape

My journey of pleasure,
Began to go sour,
As we careered down the track, 
At sixty miles an hour.

The people in horror shouted,
"Can't someone make it stop". 
And their torturous cries resounded

Amid the cries of anguish, 
Someone kept a steady head.  
“Why not pull the trolley down,  
Before they find us dead?"

An adequate solution,
but how to reach the cord?
An old man used his walking stick
To pull the cord aboard.

The trolley on the cable, 
The power restored at least. 
The driver once more able. 
To control the savage beast.

I got off the tramcar,
What did I see?
Forty happy passengers,
Alighting there with me.

We looked for the old man. 
But he could not be found. 
Wasn't that his walking stick
There, lying on the ground.


He stood before the mirror
And there to his surprise
He couldn’t pull his stomach in
It was an awful size
His Measurements he could recall
So many years ago
Were those of Mr. Universe
But now its two ton Joe.

To remedy the problem
He thought he'd sell his car     
And give himself more exercise
By running in the park
At six thirty every morning
So dark as dark can be
Joe went without his glasses
And ran into a tree.

He blacked his eyes
And cut his nose
He was a ghastly sight
His trousers split right down the back
Then from left to right
But not deterred in any way
Our hero had decided
Come hail or rain or even snow
His outsize tummy had to go.

So once again he set off
It was a painful slog
He covered half the journey
Then was set on by a dog
Fear made Joe run faster
Than he'd ever run before
Eventually exhausted
He collapsed upon the floor.

So the moral to this story
There must be one I’m sure
Joe has made his mind up
To exercise no more
His doctors recommended
He's almost sure to try it
Instead of running round the block
Stick to a rigid diet.


The old man’s mind reflected
On that cold December day
Glimpses of nostalgia
For his home so far away

Autumn homes for autumn years
He heard his family say
You’re growing old and senile Dad
Well have you put away
“Oh no you wont” the old man cried 
"I’m sound in wind and limb
I wont be pushed into a home
On such a paltry whim

I’m not as quick as once I was
A few short years ago
My hearing may not be so good
My eyesight’s failing too
But by and large you must agree
I’m still your flesh and blood
Don’t throw me on the scrap heap
Because it wont do any good.

Come now Dad remember your nearly seventy two
And mother’s not here any more
To take good care of you
We can’t find room to house you
In our eighteenth storey flat
But when you’ve been to see us
There’s been a. welcome on the mat


She's small and dainty, 
Full of warmth 
And always on the go 
She has a little problem 
She really cant say no.

She doesn’t have much money
I think she will some day
But in the meantime if you’re short
You only have to say.

Every Monday without fail 
She embarks upon a diet 
But by Friday full of tatey pie 
You really ought to try it.

She has a lovely nature
With powers to persuade
When lights need fixing
Cooker mending
Tele on the fade
She just says be a love or flower
She’s really got it made.

So if your wondering who I mean 
You really ought to know 
There’s no one else in this wide world 
To beat our little Mo.


Have you ever been chased by a lion,
And you find that you can’t get away,
You travel as fast as your able,
But the darned things decided to stay,
Your poor legs won’t run any faster,
Your lungs are bursting it seems,
You’re just at the end of your tether,
When you wake up from one of those dreams.

Have you ever been on top of a building, 
When somebody gives you a push, 
The feeling of falling is shocking, 
And the grounds coming up with a rush, 
You see all your past life before you, 
It gives you a feeling of dread, 
You’re shouting and screaming in terror, 
Then you finally wake up in bed.

Have you ever been inside a harem,
Reclining in comfort sublime,
The attention of dozens of women,
As they supply you with good food and wine,
One dusky maiden you fancy,
Eyes you with romantic intent,
With aromas of perfumes exotic,
She slowly parades round your tent,
You feel that your life’s just beginning,
The blood rushes up to your head,
What happens next, well I’ll tell you,
You’re clutching your pillow in bed.


A vast amount of people,
Commute from A to B.
They drive their cars,
From work to home,
Throughout the country.

The morning of the following day,
The multitudes come back.
On streets and roads,
The heavy loads,
Along the railroad track.

So ponder for a moment,
Imagine if you can,
A time devoid of streets and roads,
Like prehistoric man.

He never knew of street signs, 
Nor read the highway code. 
He could park his Brontosaurus, 
In any place he chose.

Whether streets and roads,
Are good things?
Is difficult to say,
One thing we can be sure of,
I think they’re here to stay.


The sky darkens as of night, 
With clouds skimming swiftly by. 
The wind intense so cold, 
Blows with irrepressive might,

The old house with turrets high,
Empty for years a sentinel,
Upon the cliff it lays to rest,
It's sandstone silhouette against the sky.

And yet for decades past,
In proud defiance bares it's breast,
So successfully to defy,
Nature’s armies from on high.

Water's whipped by natures breath, 
Reach forward their frenzied heads, 
In foaming pinnacles of power, 
To roll on relentlessly to death, 
Beneath the bastions ivory tower.

The storm its fury spent,
Moves on never to return, again.
The house its barricades unbent, 
Astride the ocean to remain, 
It's empty portals deeply etched, 
An epitaph to man's domain.