This poem is inspired by Dverse poets Dverse and the strange word coddiwomple. This seems to be defined as English slang but as I had never come across this I was gripped by a resfeber feeling( travel fever) to see if I could find where the word had originated from. It’s not in the Oxford dictionary yet, unlike lolly gagging! However it has a kind of ancient ring to it. Maybe a cross between a cod piece and a wimple. I am travelling through Dorset to visit a friend. Dorset is stunningly beautiful but has so many strange, odd and rude sounding place names. I always want to find out more.It is also a place for going on a literary tour with Thomas Hardy and others. But most important perhaps in the struggle for equality is Tolpuddle.
For me it’s not where we travel to but how we travel anywhere. Hopefully then our minds can be opened to different experiences and understandings.
If you coddiwomple in Dorset as I am doing now
You pass by place names so fun and strange.
Some will tempt you back to visit
Some will remind you of the past
Some will scare your wits away.
Fiddleford is one where maybe someone fiddled by a stream
But what they fiddled may have been a dream
If they could happily wander up the the river Piddle
And excuse themselves with just a little widdle
Dorset farming folk out in the cold.
From Roman times in Blandford Forum
No slave could ever make a quorum
The ancient chalk giant at Cerne Abbas
Still well endowed with great prowess
His private part gives hope for future births
Dorset folk of old from Celt to Roman bold.
Down to the coast to find a woman’s love
For her lieutenant looking out to sea
Lyme Regis, royal and proud
Among the fossils of prehistoric swamps
Ammonite from Jurasiic Times.
Dorset fossil hunters find a kind of gold.
To roll along on paths through Hardy’s heavenly hills
Farming folk and friends of Tess
Characters in dark distress
Obscured within the depths of native woods.
Good folk must prevail for Dorchester jail.
The devil never far away with rocks thrown down
To make Old Harry and Aggleston
Places like Dewlish are devilish and Grim’s Ditch
Makes the Pokesdown goblins twitch.
Dorset folk beware the uncanny in the air.
But now in modern times when we’re coddiwompling along
To pass by Puddletown is easily done
We go too fast on the new highway
And can now by pass the place of martyred men
Tolpuddle and its meeting tree
Dorset folk who wanted to be free.