Revisiting a blog post from 2012 in memory of my Dad, with new drawings from Janis Goodman…

A poem by Alfred Lord Table-Tennyson









On one side of the river lie
Long beds of turnips and of rye
(‘tis used as green manure, that’s  why)
And past KwikFit the road runs by
From wint’ry Camallotment
Where gale-force winds and snowy showers
Have killed off all the cauliflowers
And where the silent shed imbowers
The Lady of Shallot.

Only the postie, walking early
Down the river path to Burley,
Hears a song that echoes cheerly
From the nearest shed quite clearly,
Across be-wintered Camallotment:
And by the moon, dogwalkers weary,
Bagging turds in uplands airy,
Listening, whisper, ‘Tis the fairy
Lady of Shallot.’

Frozen Camallotment

There she sits by night and day
Waiting for winter to go away.
She heard The Reluctant Gardener say
Her looks will fade if she should stray
out onto frozen Camallotment.
One knows not what the weather may be,
And so she sits there steadily.
But cooped-up in the shed feels she,
The Lady of Shallot.

Through the window most unclear
That’s there before her half the year,
A man in a flat cap doth appear
And there she sees the A65 near
Winding down to Camallotment:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly council-churls,
And tail of Dog MS unfurls
Outside on Camallotment.

And then one day near her shed-eaves,
Some tools from out the car are heaved,
And sun comes through the wych elm leaves,
And flames upon the brazen greaves
Of Sir MS Lancelotment.
Up to the shed he boldly stumbles
When asked to dig the earth he grumbles
‘I can only stay an hour,’ he mumbles
‘On this freezing Camallotment.’

His furrowed brow in sunlight glows
(On burnish’d tyres he usually goes)
Beneath his baseball cap there flows
His greying hair, and rose-red nose
On perishing Camallotment.
From the bank and from the river
The cold air really makes him shiver
‘It’s brassic by this bloody river,’
Sings Sir MS Lancelotment.



She leaves her seat, she’s lost her head,
She hops three paces thro’ the shed,
A knight like this she’d planned to wed
And take unto her turnip bed
On forsaken Camallotment.
But down she falls, and flat she lies
The window cracks from side to side;
‘I forgot I wasn’t real!’ sighs
The Lady of Shallot.

In the stormy east wind straining
On other plots, the workers waning
The broad stream in its banks complaining
Heavily the low sky raining
Over lonely Camallotment.
And bold Sir MS looks quite flurried
‘Has a bird got in that shed?’ he worries
And to the padlocked door he hurries
To the Lady of Shallot.

And there she gives him quite a fright
Lying, robed in black and white
That loosely blows from left to right
Her skirt being made to catch the light;
Scare pests from Camallotment.
But undeterred, he takes her hand
And as he brings her out to stand
He hears a craz’d humming sound
From The Lady of Shallot.

He hears a pop song, not quite holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted slowly,
‘By heck’ he breathes, and ‘Holy Moly!’
And quickly pegs her in the lowly
Soil of Camallotment.
It’s done. He puts his tools away
And lives to dig another day
Relief. It’s been a bad spade day
For Sir MS Lancelotment.

But he gets over it. Now she stands
Upon the Parish Council lands
In rain and snow and river sands
Holding sunlight in her hands
On chilly Camallotment.
And though the birds shit on her dress
And rain has made her face a mess
She wears the smile of someone blessed,
The Lady of Shallot.