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Poetry Pleases: Howden Clough

Poet John Cooper has never forgotten horrible, horrible Howden Clough.

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Horrible, horrible Howden Clough
The sound is enough to put me off.
I agreed to go with a childhood chum
transporting rock cakes baked by his mum.
We took the bag on the one-bus-a-day
to feed his aunt living over that way.
Horrible, horrible Howden Clough
the name was enough to put me off.

When the bus got us there and set us down,
we found it was the last one back into town.
It would pick us up in half an hour
and wouldn’t wait if we weren’t there.
Horrible, horrible Howden Clough,
I couldn’t get out fast enough.

We found our way to his auntie’s place,
dinghy and smelly – a thorough disgrace.
She was one of those aunties you never embrace,
black teeth, sour breath and warts on her face.
We bunged her the buns and she made us some tea,
the cups she used were too mucky for me.
I made a dash for it – just made it all right but
my mate had to stay there all through the night.
Horrible, horrible Howden Clough
I recall it all and, by hell, it was rough.


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