Sunday, 17 January 2010


I came across a lovely piece of nonsense verse in my grandfather's journal 'Pierrot's Album' which I'd like to share with you.

I think nonsense verse is such a lovely art form. We all have silly moments, usually in private, but to put your daft thoughts down on paper takes some courage.

The poem was written during the war years in the early 1940's, when the situation in Britain was dire and people must have struggled to find humour anywhere. This makes the poem even more poignant.

News was filtering through about Operation Barbarossa, Hitler's ill-judged attack on Russia and perhaps our spirits were raised as we heard of the Nazi's difficulty as they encountered the cold Russian weather. This undoubtedly inspired the poet's thoughts as he penned these lines. Note that many of the place names are real.

'Road to Moscow'

From Omsk to Minsk a thousand miles
From Plonsk to Plinsk is furder
From Plinsk to Plonsk you can't go wrongsk
Tho' all the way it's murder.

They have no trams from Tomsk to Omsk
No taxis up to Plopski
The trains are bad to Leningrad
and petrol not a dropski.

The road to Moscow goes through Umsk
Thro' Dumpsk and Umpski Dumpski
and all the way from Omsk to Plonsk
You're marching on your tumski.

So Heil to Omsk and Tomsk and Plonsk
and Heil to Plinsk and Plonski
From Plinsk to Plonsk you can't go wrongsk
So now we shan't be longski.

N. Gubbins (1941)


  1. Your Grandfather quite a poet.. As I remember from history lessons the invasion of Russia was one of the main turning points in the war.Just read "Tristan Betrayl" by Robert Ludlum.. pretty good read

  2. So pleased you posted this. I have been searching for it in my mind for decades. It was a favourite poem of my parents - my father was part of the team negotiating with the Russians before they unexpectedly announced their mutual non-belligerence pact with the Nazis, so he, like the whole government, was delighted when Hitler was foolish enough to launch Operation Barbarossa