The visit

A regal Titulado
came riding into town
his entourage a legion,
plus a monkey and a clown.

Then my cell door opened
and the warden and his goons
started roughing up my bedclothes
interfering with my prunes.

‘Oh Titulado, sweetie,
whatever can this mean?
Have you come to search my bedclothes
for the Pearl of Elmerdene?’

’Shut your face, you thievin’ nark,
we know you’ve got it here,
my Playboy 1972,
the one with Germaine Greer.



Some clownish hoydens on the bus
were causing a to-do.
The driver told them to get off,
which they refused to do.
So I rose up to my awesome height
(4ft 5 on a Saturday night)
and biffed the hoydens soundly.
‘Oh thank you, Sir’, said driver chap,
for you have saved my bus,
and not just my bus but all of us
with minimal bust or fuss.’
‘My pleasure, chap’, I did recap,
We must always rout the hoyden.
Now carry on and drive your bus
and drop me off in Croydon.’


Triste tryst

‘Oh, mother of —!’, said Sergeant Pluck,
‘I’ve left my truncheon at the Dog & Duck,
in gay old Wardour Street.’
‘Oh, be not afeard’, said Mistress Beard.
‘I’ll get your truncheon when I take my lonely luncheon
in Wardour Street, where lovers meet.’

Well, Beard and Pluck never met at the Duck
— that was never his intencheon —
though he did heave a sly and rascally sigh,
at the thought of a beard on his truncheon.


Under cover

My trip to Seoul was cancelled
at the warden’s own request.
He really shouldn’t interfere
with the work of the SAS.

I’m working under cover,
so of course he can’t be told
that I could paralyse him
with a toothpick or a comb.

I just need to wait for clearance
and the nod from MI5,
then I shed my secret cover
and my agent will go live.

My poems are secret cyphers
for our boys in air defence.
If you read them backwards,
they make a lot more sense.


Beyond words

There’s a lot to be said for waking the dead
in the middle of the night.
They’re always fast asleep by then
so it gives ‘em quite a fright.

‘Hello, Aunt Bessie, is that you,
and what’s it like being dead?’
‘Yo, Uncle Moe, was it a blow
of a crowbar to your head?’

We have such a laugh, the dead and me,
thanks to my ouija board.
I must ask for Ronnie Biggs next time:
‘Where did you stash your hoard?’


Tragedio maritimo

A tourbillon came screaming
through the harbour late last night.
Five fishing boats were overturned
all rest was put to flight.

The streets are under water,
it seeps through every pore.
In Necker St the briny deep
has entered every door.

We cannot tell the cobbles
from the stones upon the beach.
Poor Bessy Bilge was swept away
beyond all human reach.

The Baptist church on Decker St
was raised up by the flood.
They’ve prayed for that to happen,
but they never thought it would

Now you know the power of nature
as she holds her deadly sway
over all the little fishy folk
who live near Morecombe Bay.



Sarah Wagbutt carries marrows
to the market every day.
They’re cumbersome and heavy
and they make her body sway.

Wagbutt’s not her real name,
just a cruel appellation,
that some nasty wordsmiths call her
when they see her plump formation.

‘Oh I hate these fuckin’ marrows,
why couldn’t we grow peas?
Then I’d glide to market like a swan
with graceful poise and ease.’

‘Have you seen the price of peas?’
said her mean old bastard dad.
‘Now wag your butt to market
or the marrows will go bad.’

So Sarah learns — as learn she must —
the harsh reality:
in the marketplace of nonsense verse,
the marrow trumps the pea.