Elegy Written In Ripon Market Place (with apologies to Thomas Gray)




Four horn blasts toll the knell of parting day.

The tourists leave. There’s nothing else to see.

Late shoppers homeward plod their weary way

And leave the square to squalor and to me.


Now shine the orange street lights on the sight

Of stubbed out cigarettes, so dearly bought

By smokers who still think they have the right

To shun the bins without a second thought.


Gum chewers too are careless in their aim

And dog owners ignore the public’s moans.

Drinkers must also take their share of blame

For broken glass upon the new laid stones.


The gluttons, worst of all, have passed this way.

Discarded wrappings prove they’ve had their fix

Of pizza, kebabs, fish and chips, yet may

Have still found room for bags of Pick and Mix.


For many boxes of polystyrene

Half eaten greasy cheese topped burgers bear

And many a consumer, growing green,

Adds foul aroma to our Ripon air.

This parody first appeared as a protest in the Ripon Gazette, shortly after thousands of pounds had been spent on relaying stones in the Market Place.