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The Dive

December 1, 2013

It’s well over half a century now since my grammar school days but I remember them well and have often regaled my family with tales of the period.  Along with my mates, I was always up for a bit of fun and some of our escapades did result in “The Whack” – i.e. the slipper applied to the seat of our pants!  Of course, corporal punishment is banned in British schools today.

I was twelve years old in ’59, getting interested in girls (very!) and was much into the popular music of the day – skiffle, rockabilly, rock-‘n’-roll.  Naturally I sported a quiff like Elvis and played air-guitar to his ‘Blue Sued Shoes’, Eddie Cochran’s ‘C’mon Everybody’, Buddy Holly’s ‘Peggy Sue’ and Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around The Clock’.  More than any other, though, the song that has haunted me down the years is Lonnie Donegan’s ‘Hang down your head Tom Dooley’, which I’d croon to myself when facing “The Whack”.  This is the song I’ll forever associate with the shiny new jukebox in my poem below… 




Down “The Dive”

we felt alive,

back in ’59.


Satchels dumped, ties askew,

we were grammar school boys

from up the cobbled hill,

fresh-faced still

but keen.


Nettle beer, cold and sweet,

jukebox belting out the beat,

we’d pose with fags unlit

and try our luck

with the girls.


Caught, we’d be for it next day,

teeth gritted against “The Whack”,

determined not to crack,

shed a tear

or scream.


Down “The Dive”

we felt alive,

back in ’59.


Paul Beech


Copyright © Paul Beech 2013



Have a great Sunday, everyone.


From → Poetry

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