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The Lil' One-Holer

Updated on October 6, 2014

By: Wayne Brown

It was a slightly distant walk, one dreaded in the night

Most would wait if they could until the coming of light

The path was well trodden with flow of both directions

A building less than beautiful with all its imperfections


It was best built in the direction known as the downwind

Lest the odor from it function would visit you soon again

It was cold in the winter as it was heated only by the solar

The average one was built to accommodate a one-holer


A dunny, a squatter, a biffy, were just some of the names

Applied to this little hut whose purpose was all the same

A place to ponder thoughts and clear the mind’s fog

A place to use the pages of the Sears-Roebuck catalogue


The roof was tilted backward, rough wood was weathered

A single door at the front on leather hinges tethered

There was no electricity, the inside was dark as night

But the quarter moon in the door did let in some light


Some walked to it while others would run, to satisfy an urge

What a welcome little sight when the system needs a purge

Sitting downwind alone for the purpose of its intent

It had a familiar look about it and a more familiar scent


Cold nights trudging through the snow to that cold, cold seat

Or hot summer nights without a moon for creatures there to meet

One never knew when the urge might just awake their sleep

And send them scurrying through the dark to that little aroma heap


A once popular little place but progress made them fewer

Man found pipe along the way and created him a sewer

To undermine the purpose of this narrow little house

The home to spiders, brown snakes, and , yes, even a mouse


Man has come a long ways from the days of that little long drop

Progress has moved forward and the work will never stop

Now the toilet has actually been moved into our own house

Leaving them all homeless, the spiders, brown snake, and mouse


Now we have an outhouse that is really not outside at all

And with the new fangled toilets we also lost the long fall

No longer are there cold treks to that building in the bush

Now we just step across the haul and dump it with a flush


Modern convenience has made outhouses fewer and fewer

Mankind has created marvels with his funky little sewer

And progress has taken us considerably further from that hell

Of sitting on a one-holer and lighting matches to kill the smell


Oh that little one-holer brought us far throughout history

And gave us a place to go when the urge hit you and me

Let it stand forever in our hearts for its purpose and intent

As a landmark to all mankind as the place that he once went


© Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved



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    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @Dorsi...Absolutely true...I have had the same thoughts as a child going to the one my grandparents was a two-holer! They had plenty money! LOL! WB

    • Dorsi profile image

      Dorsi Diaz 

      7 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      I've never read a poem about an outhouse - until now!

      Well done!

      And here's our little family story about that dad was camping many years ago and went in to use one - and within minutes he came hollering out of that outhouse pulling up his pants. There was....a big snake in the hole!!!

      Priceless ....and I always think about that whenever I have to visit one of those one-holers!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Dim Flaxenwick...Memories come in all forms and it is amazing how similar our life experiences are even though there are thousands of miles that separate many of us. WB

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      7 years ago from Great Britain

      ooh so so funny.

      In Wales grandma had one of these known as a

      Ty bach in Welsh. Literal translation is little house

      squares of cut up newspaper hanging on a nail on the back of the door.

      Thanks for the memories.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @saddlerider1...Dang Ken, you had me doubled over laughing about this one. The poison ivy was over the top. I think you go the makings of a funny hub there! Thanks for the good words. WB

    • saddlerider1 profile image


      7 years ago

      I can remember going up to my Uncle and Aunt's old cottage in the Laurentian Hills of Quebec. They to had an outhouse or shitter we called it back then. A one holer it twas.

      Spiders and garter snakes loved to roam and god forbid if a skunk got in when you wanted to go, we found ourselves running to the bush for a dump and grabbing a hand full of leaves and praying it wasn't poison ivy.

      Yup god bless the one holer, it was necessary indeed, for without it we would be like the bears dumping in the woods. LOL

    • profile image

      Stu From VT 

      7 years ago

      OMG - did the feds take over sewer processing too? It looks like we have a new Tenth Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution are delegated to the United States. All powers not prohibited to the states and the people are prohibited to the states and the people." Quick, look - Frank Lautenberg is doing handflips!

      Please note that this post is legal. Although Lautenberg has stated publicly that TPM members should have their First Amendment rights taken away, he agreed to let us keep them anyway. What a high class guy!


    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @RealHousewife...You sound like my wife, Barbara...she can stand anything except the sight of blood and inconvience. She truly believes our superiority over other species lies in the ability to accessorize! LOL! WB

      @BethPerry...Thanks Beth, glad you liked it.

      @Stu From VT...We may be back using them soon than we like. The boys down at the sewer processing plant won't be getting their checks either. LOL! WB

    • profile image

      Stu From VT 

      7 years ago

      Hi Beth,

      Don't get irrationally exuberant. Porcelain and running water are not YET regulatory violations, but for your safety they may be later. You could slip and hurt your head on the porcelain. You could fall in and drown in the water. Maybe we'll have a network of federally operated pit stops with no-slip flooring and bodily suspension wires. And finally, the morbid risk of death in the bathroom will be conquered! My legs are getting all tingly. Maybe I should send this in to Chris Matthews. Look for me on MSNBC tonight.


    • profile image

      Stu From VT 

      7 years ago

      Wayne - thanks - good advice!!!

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 

      7 years ago from Tennesee

      This is great! And tells me why we should all be eternally grateful for porcelain and running water, lol.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      WB - there are some modern conveniences I do appreciate! Indoor plumbing is for sure one of them! I even camp at the Holiday Inn - I tell David I require very little to be happy - but I'm not sleeping on the ground or using an out house! Lol. Up and hilarious!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Eiddwen...Thanks much, glad you had fun with it! WB

      @attempthumor...Ah, yet..fond memories of the "old thunderbox"! LOL! Newspaper has a lot of uses, huh? WB

      Stu From VT...I'd stick with tea leaves! LOL! WB

    • profile image

      Stu From VT 

      7 years ago

      Well, I gotta look deep into something; it sure ain't gonna be that pic at the top. :)

    • attemptedhumour profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      What a great poem wayne, you have captured the essence of that rickety sentinel to a tee. We will look upon, rather that sit upon, it fondly. The outside dunny is a scary but necessary evil when no alternatives are available. Torn up newspapers nailed to the wall are often a feature providing interesting articles sometimes without endings. Any port in a storm will do. Brilliant mate!

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      Priceless Wayne and I vote up all the way !!

      Thganks for this gem.

      Take care


    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Stu From VT...At least you are able to look deep enough into it to find something good...Obama probably doesn't even know what a shovel looks like. WB

      @Truckstop Sally...I've been around the block! LOL! We have come a long way but we may be headed back in the same direction we came from if things don't change. WB

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      7 years ago

      Your hub reminds us that we do take lots for granted . . . I don't even want to know what your inspiration was for this one. Maybe that ditch shouldn't be sooooo wide. Ha!!

    • profile image

      Stu From VT 

      7 years ago

      Boy, what a boondoggle "shovel ready" was. The only thing he did right was cash for clunkers. True we probably spent alot more in incentives than we got in gas savings, but look how many Obama bumper stickers we got off the road!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Stu From VT....Hey, I heard it was a "shovel-ready" job and I just wanted to cash in on the stimulus package! LOL! WB

    • profile image

      Stu From VT 

      7 years ago

      This absolutely has to be the first poem on this "topic" I've ever heard. Now tell the truth - how big a federal grant did you get to write this? :)

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Becky...That was a classy stall...just needed a miror on the wall! LOL! WB

      @marellen...I suppose my ideas just arise from life experience and memories...something triggers a thought and it takes off from there. WB

      @drbj...I encountered one of those in a hotel in Italy back in the late 70's...a real sporting event to say the least, Doc. WB

      @writer20...They can make a port-a-potty seem uptown! LOL! WB

      @Cardisa...It makes them all the more beautiful, huh? LOL! WB

      @Hypenbird...I think someone installed a large camshaft in my brain at some point! LOL! WB

      @SusieCat7...Thank you, so glad you had fun with it. I thought videos were great too! WB

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      7 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Thank goodness I never have to us one.

      Great laugh thanks a lot.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      When you visit the Far East, Wayne,

      That one hole may be in the ground.

      And squatting to do your business

      Is sometimes difficult I found.

      It's times like those I reckon,

      That I long for the one-hole seat.

      It made life much more pleasant,

      And definitely much more neat.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      7 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      You are highly creative and do it with class. You are more than a one holer to me Wayne!

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      7 years ago from Jamaica

      What a way to describe a toilet!

      This reeking smells!

    • suziecat7 profile image


      7 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Cracked me up. I'm not sure I wouldn't have developed some sort of complication from holding it especially in the winter. Loved the videos. Thanks.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very clever Wayne....put a smile on my face....I still see and use that one-holer when camping and I sure don't miss it...

      Take care......Where do you get your ideas.....they are sure priceless...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Funny, you are in a strange mood lately for sure. Of course, my mom's family was rich, they had 2 holes, divided by a short wall. You could see your neighbor's head.


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