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Toady Tells Me, Over Tea And Tabnabs

03 April, 2020: Toady Tells Me, Over Tea And Tabnabs

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Toady Tells Me, Over Tea and Tabnabs

                                                     For Brian Rudd

By Marion Starling Boyer

My father was Boy Toady and I was
Young Toady. Grandfather was Old Toady
and when he died we all moved up one.
Winterton people had nicknames
because there were too many in the village
with the same name. On a drifter,
there might be two Bob Greens asleep
below so if you're going to call the watch
you need shout up Bob-the-devil
not Bob Crow to get the right one.
In the George family there was Social George,
Cuddy George, Jack Starchy, Bill Starchy,
Eddie Starchy, and Punch George. Punch
George drove a big lorry into Yarmouth.
There'd be about eight hundred men and boys
to cart from Winterton for the fishing. Mute,
(I don't know why they named him Mute) he was
a Goffin, and he had two lorries. There was Fizzle,
Flat, and Fatty, Duff, and Dumps, Jello, Poachy,
Fourboat, and Eric Kettle who we called Teapot.
"Toady Tells Me Over Tea and Tabnabs," by Marion Starling Boyer, from The Sea Was Never Far. Main Street Rag. 2019. Used by permission of the author.
Marion Starling Boyer has written four poetry collections, which include, The Clock of the Long Now (Mayapple Press); Composing the Rain, (Grayson Books 2014 winning chapbook); and Green (Finishing Line Press).

The poem, “Toady Tells Me, Over Tea and Tabnabs,” is from her fourth book, The Sea Was Never Far (Main Street Rag, 2019). Poems from this book have won recognition as a finalist in The Atlanta Review’s 2019 International Poetry Competition and by The Tishman Review for “Best of the Net.” A recent transplant to Ohio from Michigan, Boyer enjoys teaching workshops for Lit Cleveland and Lit Youngstown. Find her at

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Write a poem that is an apology to your reader beginning with, "Let me first say...."
Yes yes yes to Barbara and Diane’s comments. From the title through the last line, such a pleasure.
4/4/2020 10:04:57 AM

Diane Kendig
Barbara, me too., though those speech lines and rhythms and lists permeate the whole book. What a treasure!
4/4/2020 7:56:13 AM

Barbara Sabol
I just love the speech lines through this poem, and the rhythms created by the list of names. So engaging!
4/3/2020 5:44:07 PM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.