Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bob Wolf - The Quest Begins

by Roger Stevens and Michael Leigh

The sky was as blue as a blueberry fool
The fields were as green as peas
The smells of Autumn drifted through
The decayed traffic lights and trees
Reminding Bob of cheese

Bob closed the gate and walked away
With scarce a backward look
His mother watched and bit her lip
And as she hung the beetroot on the hook
A tear splashed on her library book

Oh, Surrey wastelands -
Once green belt
That held life's trousers on
The empty houses, broken dreams
Once so alive with children's song,
And the merry click of Playstations, all long gone.

Bob walked along the dusty streets
And whistled as he strode
A favourite song from years gone by
About the Highway Code.
From a drain, a robin crowed.

But what was that?
Bob's heart stopped.
A ghostly sound. A soul in pain.
Like hogs loosed on a frozen heath
Like rats run-over by a train
(Bob's heart began to beat again
And he sighed with great relief)

On the road there lay an upturned van
That bore the legend V
Cautiously Bob tip-toed past
But then, a breath, an icy blast
A monster was upon him fast
Its mouth a hole of blackest black
Its head two hippos in a sack
Its claws as sharp as brie

Bob drew his trusty sword and then
He threw his pencil down
For art would not discourage it
Our Bob thought with a frown

The ghastly thing towered over him
Like a tower towering high
It's shadow whiffed of sulphur
And its feet of dead-dog pie
What do you want, vile creature?
Cried Bob, fearing the end.
When all at once the monster hushed
And said, its voice a silky sigh,
I only want... a friend

So, Bob felt sorry for the beast
He asked, What is your name?
Some call me Ice-cream-of-the-soul
Others call me Shame
To many I'm Death-upon-a-stick
My mother calls me Slim
In legend I am Discouragement
But you can call me Jim.

For many years I've been alone
Like a watch without a strap
Lying forgotten in a drawer
As Time drips like a broken tap

That drips all of the time
Upon some long neglected, faded map
The creature sniffed
The creature sighed
And then committed suicide.

But Bob took pity on the beast,
Reviving him with mouth to mouth
I'll call you Fred, he said. And we
Will do the thing that we do best
Have adventures on our quest
But first we'll have a little rest
And a cup of tea

And thus it was
Bob found a friend
Some one to talk to as they strode
A companion for his journey
Along the Surrey Road
And as they walked they talked of spots
And why giraffes explode


Roger Stevens said...

I was getting some poems together for a book of stories-that-are-poems for a children's book when I found this that I wrote years ago with Michael Leigh. The plan had been to rewrite Boewulf! Anyway I thought it might be fun to give it another airing.

wastedpapiers said...

The version I have with all the collages is somewhat different-

The days are dark
The saddened land bequeathed in grey
The sky is red as ginger balls
The winter's ground is hard as iron
White the snow, it gently falls
White the dandruff, swirling densely
From whencely?

Bob Wolf
Bob Wolf
Opens his door and strides forth
Muscles rippling like concrete coal bunkers
But Wait! A voice calls. It's his Mum.
Is your vest clean? Back to his hovil
He returns. To wash his vest
In mush and Bovril.

and so on in that manner for 32 more rib tickling pages!

Roger Stevens said...

Yes. The extract I've chosen comes from the middle of the first section after the introduction. It has been reworked a couple of times over the years for various projects.

Maybe we should get back to it and finish it.

But then again... maybe not.

wastedpapiers said...

It does seem a waste to leave it lying around collecting dust. I will have a go at adding more collage and cut-ups this week and send it back to you once I have discovered your new address.

Roger Stevens said...

I see from Flickr that it must have run out of steam with you this time. I think it's usually me...

Yes, let's revisit it...

The section here I'm reasonably pleased with from the words point of view. Might want to do some work on the intro...

Maybe we should sally forth into the first of our hero's adventures?

wastedpapiers said...

I have the book so it was probably me who ran out of steam for some reason.
I'm pretty good at starting projects but lousy at finishing them off.
Some people might call this treason.
But I like to call it ~ Rolf.

cocaine jesus said...

Not since Spike met Peter,
Not since Pete met Dud,
Not since Little grew Large and morecambe got Wise has there been such a pair.
A pair of what you may ask BUT a pair nonetheless.

wastedpapiers said...

Yes, we've met on several occasions and so it never ceases to amaze me that we'ev remained friends for so long!