Rural village life in the 1950s was so insular.
Many villagers had no television or car.
Generations had been there in that place
and not wandered far beyond that space.
Social scenes – school, church, pub and women’s Institute.
To broaden the mind, those places were no substitute.
There were brownies, guides, cubs and scouts
for kids who wanted an evening out.
By word-of-mouth there was gossip and rumour
which speedily spread like a growing tumour.
Some of it was based on circumstance,
and some was based on ignorance.
Old Ambrose was known as the village fool
who regularly played pocket pool.
Those billiard balls he used in his game
were rumoured to be shrivelled as he was lame.
His wife was locally nicknamed – Loopy Lulu
as she waffled and dithered on her dotty avenue.
Bad nerves were one of her many spoken ills.
It was rumoured the doctor gave her sugar pills.
When Ambrose built a brand-new house
on the wages of a poor church mouse,
the village erupted in much speculation.
It was rumoured he stole from his employer’s garden.
He had sold fruit, vegetables and flowers,
while pretending to work for many hours.
The stolen produce was hidden and taken away.
It was rumoured to a local town on market day.
People had seen all the bounty, it was clear;
but when Ambrose was asked, he gave a deaf ear.
His new garden showed he continued his capers.
It was rumoured from his employer’s four acres.
Sleek-haired Cyril was by all the girls chased,
but in reciprocating this he showed no haste.
Other jealous boys thought this unusual.
It was rumoured Cyril was homosexual.
Plain Jane was very clever at school.
She was never one to play the fool.
After final exams her marks were at the top.
It was rumoured her dad made her work in a shop.
Shy hefty Colin had a ready smile
but did not think that girls were worthwhile.
When teased he went into denial.
It was rumoured he was a pedophile.
Gloria was giggly and such a tease.
She insisted that people always say – please.
She thought her airs and graces made her grand.
It was rumoured she got pregnant from a one-night stand.
Yes, there was in the village a flasher.
They compulsively show their genitalia.
The local dads gave him a warning,
“Molest our girls and we’ll give you a thrashing.”
Andrew was always a compulsive liar.
It was said he set a barn on fire.
He was never seen to smile or laugh.
It was rumoured he was a psychopath.
Others had seen him pull insects’ legs off.
When they would not copy, he would scoff.
Seeing things suffer was where he was at.
It was rumoured that he had tortured a cat.
But Andy went beyond a regular fight.
He kicked someone’s head, who lost his sight.
His parents had always been in denial.
It was rumoured they wouldn’t attend his trial.
Sexy Eddie had always chased the girls down.
They fought him off and called him a clown.
A local hooker’s lays were never enough for him.
It was rumoured he used animals as an interim.
Every village had a prostitute.
The local slut, by repute.
Veronica really did not keep score.
It was rumoured she was anyone’s whore.
The boys called her – Ronnie – as a joke,
but it was – Randy – when they gave her a poke.
They didn’t have to get her into bed,
she would do it standing on her head!
Those girls who were an easy lay
and allowed everyone to have their way,
end up socially on their own.
It was rumoured she was abused at home.
When she realised that nobody liked her,
it was too late for a change in character.
The village girls kept their distance.
Nobody took her to the local dance.
The villagers knew an oversexed miss
could end up with the syphilis;
or it could be the gonorrhea,
the rumour was you should steer clear.
When she disappeared for six months,
the rumour was – a pregnancy bump.
Veronica had given a local man the ‘clap’,
and he gave her more than a hard slap.
When a body was found in a local hedgerow,
you didn’t have to guess, you would know.
It was probably her, the villagers said.
It was always rumoured she would end up dead.
Big bad John never did as he was told.
He went his own way – naughty and bold.
He left school and went to work on his own.
It was rumoured he made a fortune in town.
Ian was one of the scholarly boys,
never wasting time playing with toys.
He was quiet and did experiments,
away from other kids’ constant torments.
When he became top of the class,
the kids kicked him up the arse.
He was teased and bullied all the time.
His parents protested about this crime.
Eventually they decided to move away
and Ian looked forward to that day.
The class jeered and shouted the day he went
and Ian much regretted the time there spent.
His new school was the place he wanted to be.
He excelled in maths, physics and chemistry.
The boy who the village kids did despise
was rumoured to have got a Nobel Prize.
Jean was popular in the village and all around.
She was bland and dim, never making a sound.
She laughed at her low marks and ignorance,
but had no partners at any school dance.
She was eager to please; you just had to ask,
gave way to critics, and did any task.
At playtime, she was always ordered around.
She did not say no – or stand her ground.
Jean’s popularity was based on subservience,
behind her back, they called her a nuisance.
At social events her success had waned.
She was the one they ignored and blamed.
When the village kids had grown to adults,
Jean was never included and given insults.
Too young, at 24 she died.
The rumour said it was suicide.
Jack the builder combed his wife’s pubic hair.
Three days a week she was having an affair.
When a daughter was born to Jill and Jack,
she had a coat of fur on her back.
It was an omen said the village gossips,
the child was paying for the mother’s slips.
Three year’s later she had a brother,
the child was an image of the lover.
Jack fell off a ladder and hit his head.
He was laid up for three months in his bed.
Jill looked forward to life without Jack,
then she fell down and injured her back.
Her lover told her she was out of luck,
a back injury wouldn’t allow a good fuck.
Anyway he had found a much younger lay.
Jill’s tumbling was over unless she would pay.
After the fall, Jack was never the same,
he said Jill had to take some of the blame.
He had heard the gossip about the children
and suggested they move to another town.
The local vicar had gathered great respect,
but the village was too small for his intellect.
A Cambridge scholar did not belong there,
especially one who rewrote the Lord’s Prayer.
It began – “Our Father, creator of the universe,”
but the village reaction was somewhat terse.
Many of them were back in a medieval time,
when such changes were considered a crime.
He told confirmation classes to participate;
sitting in silence was not a good state.
Was Reverend Godfrey-Thomas given the chop?
The rumour was that he became a bishop.
In past times, village folk regularly
tugged their forelock for village gentry.
Later, that salutation habit did not linger.
Now they are more likely to give them the finger!
A man in the village had an alcoholic son;
but up at the big house that applied to everyone.
He said he would take to drink if he could choose,
but the rumour was he couldn’t afford booze.
The annual summer gala was the year’s big event
everyone attended, both worker and gent.
The tents went up for food, games, and tea
and everyone took part very happily.
The beauty queen sipped wine from a silver cup,
while her attendants pouted as the runners up.
Village fool Ambrose decorated the queen’s float,
and the fee for the flowers made him gloat.
For the young people, it was time for fun and play,
while the oldies complained it was better in their day.
As they all sat around chatting over their tea,
the oldtime village gossip flowed profusely.