Hard sell

Twemlow’s Juicy Fruities
will always hit the spot,
whereas other Juicy Fruities
will not.

So grab a pack of Twemlow’s,
don’t let the moment pass.
No more prevarication,
or we’ll kick your fruity ass.

Squandered life

Who dares to speak of bed-sheets
when a necktie will do?
Fix it firmly to the cross-beam
and bid us all adieu.

— Well, I’m very glad that’s over,
I thought he’d never go.
He seemed to think that bed-sheets
like little apples grow.

Untie the knot and put it back
in Captain Tandy’s drawer.
The Captain’s only had one tie
for fifty years and more.

And therein lies the contrast
between Tandy and the stiff:
the latter was to squander
as the former is to thrift.

London Transported

In the wild Chorasmian wastes,
where the Oxus river flows,
I loitered many years
and suffered many blows.

All those years I longed for
a Sikorsky helicopter,
or short of that, a camel,
so I could adopt her
as my transport from that
stark benighted ground.

But no ‘copter and no camel
ever came my way,
all transport just a mirage
feeding on my fevered brain.

I’m reminded of those dark times,
every time I go to town,
while I’m standing on the platform
on London Underground.


Message received

What kind of heinous hellhound
would invite his ageing Dad round
and then slice the old man’s gullet ear-to-ear?

This is not a gentle story:
if you’re anathema to gory
I suggest you leave and pet a fallow deer.

Detectives in this bloody case
have launched an international chase
to stop the hellhound getting in the clear.

Let’s hope the patricidal swine
is made to toe the moral line,
whereby we don’t slice Daddy’s gullet ear to ear.

It’s written in the Good Book,
just go and have a good look
if you think it’s right to slice your Daddy dear.

The old paternal gullet
has no need for knife or bullet:
Must I stab you in the neck to make that clear?

Twemlow & I

While I beguiled the beldams
with my sultry southern charm,
Twemlow went to work
to disarm the alarm.

Agile as an alley cat,
he scaled the mezzanine,
while I regaled the beldams
with my Dapper Dan routine.

Twenty minutes later
we were flying to Peru,
diamonds in our pockets,
gilded gew-gaws for the crew.

So if you seek a life of ease
in old palatial style,
get yourself a Twemlow
and a wicked winning smile.


Silas of the lambs

Let’s see if Silas Poggenpohl
can put our minds at rest,
in the matter of the fifteen men
on a dead man’s chest.

Tell us, Silas, if you will,
exactly what you saw.
Even minor details
can be crucial to the law.

— Well, Oi were walkin ‘ome on Tuesdee,
rat-arsed as a koite,
when Oi perceived (is that the word?)
a most perdigious soight.

Blow moy brains and tweak moy nose,
roight there on the road,
were a bloated dead cardarver
wot looked just loike a toad.

Oi knew it were a man, though,
cos ‘e wore a sheepskin ’at.
You don’t often see a toad
in an ‘at loike that.

— But what about the fifteen men
you reported on his chest?
Is your statement truthful,
or just some shepherd’s jest?

— Well, Oi din’t ezactly count ‘em,
fifteen is a guess.
You can’t expect percision
in a shepherd’s wilderness.

Oi’m not edercated
like you lot in the law.
All Oi do is pass on to you
wot Oi think Oi saw.

And Oi think Oi saw ‘bout fifteen men,
dancin’ on ‘is chest,
though they moight ‘ave been the buttons
on ‘is regimental vest.

Just cos Oi talk funny,
(and this ‘ere poet makes it worse)
don’t mean that Oi’m a-jestin’
with you learned legal Sirs.

— Thank you, Mr Poggenpohl,
we have no further questions.
We find the poet guilty
of appalling condescension.


Ask the doc

Dear Dr Feelgood,
My wife has warts, which I’ve been treating for years with French mustard and fiery twemlows. But just recently she had a very bad reaction: her nether warts swelled to the size of a ball (somewhere between golf and tennis), and began selling tickets to sporting events. Is this normal?


Dear Worried,
Yes, it’s quite normal, though relatively rare. A recent case in Italy involved fiery twemlows and tickets to La Scala.

However, you should monitor the situation carefully. If you see any sign of tickets for volleyball, call your doctor immediately.

Dr Feelgood 


Social scene

Youngest scion of the footwear dynasty, 20-year-old Alvin Calvin-Twilb, has been spotted with leggy blonde heiress Leonora Bowes-Lyon, 18, at Instep, a trendy nightclub in Knightsbridge, London.

They were seen leaving the club together at 3am on Sunday. A pal tweeted: #footwear: Alvin & Leo, just good friends?

Last year, Alvin left Cambridge under a cloud, but things may be looking up for the handsome socialite, whose great-uncle Twemlow was equerry to the Duke of Norfolk.


Spaced out

See the ardent astronauts
arcing through the ether:
will they get home safely
or be meeting with St Peter?

Let’s hope it is the former,
and not the latter case;
for the latter case would shatter
our resolve to conquer space.

Oh no! We have a problem!
NASA, are you there?
A fiery conflagration
has erupted in the air!

— Time to go now, Tommy,
it’s time you were in bed.
No more fireworks for tonight,
(they fuck with that kid’s head).


The heart & the arse

From what dark source does my despair
take its primal rise?
Is it from the feeling
that this life is empty lies?

— I’m not sure, Captain Tandy;
never gave much thought to that.
Now could you shift your primal butt,
you’re sitting on my hat.

Is my pain a living thing,
a creature born of thought?
Have I nurtured darkness
in the cauldron of my heart?

— Now that one, I can answer.
I can reply to that:
It’s the pain your arse will feel,
if you don’t get off my hat.



Once more the fiendish Twemlow
can be seen for what he is:
the Beast of Borromeo
and the Cad of Old Cadiz.

— What is it this time, Tandy?
Has he robbed the Royal Mail
or done a Harvey Oswald
on the Mayor of Kinsale?

— Nothing quite so petty,
that wouldn’t be his style.
He’s cut my beldam’s bra-straps
with a hacksaw and a file.

— At least the Royal Mail is safe,
and the Mayor can go to bed
without thinking there’s a bullet
lodged somewhere in his head.

— You always take the villain’s side,
I see your flag unfurled.
Are you and Twemlow in cahoots
to suffocate the world?

— Nothing of the kind, old bean,
there’s no cahootish swizz.
Now I must be going
— last train to Old Cadiz.


Twemlow’s Secret

When winter nibbles at your nuts
and all around are frozen butts,
you must take preventive action
against the freezy faction,
and buy Twemlow’s Combination Vest & Drawers.

The vest is tried and tested
and the drawers cannot be bested
as defenders of your thermal status quo.
There’s no need to shake and shiver
when you cross that frozen river,
if you’re wearing Twemlow’s toasty Vest & Drawers.

So if you feel a chill,
when you’re hiking in the hills,
or kneumonia’s knocking knimbly at your door,
just take preventive action,
make a quick one-time transaction
and buy Twemlow’s Combination Vest & Drawers.

The vest alone could save your life,
the drawers will fail you never,
but buy the combination
and prepare to live forever.


My client’s playful shooting
of Twemlow in the head
is sometimes seen as evidence
he wanted Twemlow dead.

But who among us, gentle folk,
has not been just as playful,
when the sun is shining brightly
and there’s bullets by the trayful?

The interplay of human skull
and barrel of a gun
has always been a comic turn
— a bit of ludic fun.

So loosen up your scruples,
and your waistbands, if you must,
and join the peals of laughter
as Twemlow bites the dust.


Flat out

The earth is flat, I tell you,
just use your common sense.
How else could we stay upright
with aplomb and confidence?

All the water would run off,
if the earth was round,
and people in Australia
would be living upside down.

The chimney would be through the floor
the floor above their heads,
the mattress pressing on them
when they’re lying in their beds.

What kind of life would that be
for Sheila or for Bruce?
The earth is flat, I tell you
— now, please, cut me loose.

A visit to Yorkshire

Observe how cheesy biscuits
are neither sweet nor tart:
a monumental tribute
to the biscuit maker’s art

Observe in passing also
the crunchy Ginger Snap:
the kind of crisp confection
that put biscuits on the map.

To your left, the Macaroon,
to your right, the Puff.
We’ve been crafting biscuits
since Kipling was an oeuf.

That concludes our tour today;
we hope you have enjoyed it.
The exit’s through the Gift Shop:
there’s no way to avoid it.

The cat & the devil

— Would you like a julep, Twemlow?
— No thanks, not for me.
Juleps make me jumpy
as a tomcat in a tree.

— But a julep is a calmative,
it won’t inflame the blood.
Try the mild laburnum,
with a twist of devilwood.

— Oh, go on then, Leonora,
I’ll try it just this once,
but don’t blame me if the cat in the tree
performs some cunning stunts.

Morning charm

Armed only with disarming charm
I face each barmy day
as if I were an army
facing down a vast array
of armed alarming archers
in the garments of their trade.

Armed with harmful marmalade,
arrayed in armazine,
with pharmacies of Marmite
in their ardent magazines,
they march around the armoire
and atop my old armchair,
airy air-drawn arabesques
as if I wasn’t there.

Ancient Athens never saw
armadas quite like that,
but I can charm the arse
off Agamemnon’s cat.

As in all great poems,
we reach the anti-strophee:
— I’m not going anywhere,
until I’ve ‘ad my co-ffee.



Leonora’s elephant
is now in Chester Zoo.
Quain removed it yesterday,
despite her wild boo-hoo.

Leonora’s elephant
(Xenophon by name)
was not a fit companion
for an innocent beldame.

What pachydermal magic
did Xenophon exude
to entice young Leonora
to ride it fully nude?

Let’s not go there, Gentle Reader,
where beastly thoughts may fester.
Let’s draw a veil of silence
— though we might stop off at Chester.



Let’s see if Lexi Lennox
can decipher ancient runes.
He’s as subtle as a salmon
in a sack of silver spoons.

— I’m sure it’s ancient Hebrew
(akin to classic Welsh)
yes, I’m sure it’s ancient Hebrew
— either that or something else.

— What’s it say, young Lexi?
What’s the general gist?
I’m as eager as a deacon
at the Easter eucharist.

— It’s about a beldam
and a lusty country squire
fornicating in a churchyard
and cavorting in the choir.

— That’s enough, young Lexi,
we’ll have no more of that!
Go back to Harry Potter
and the Magic Cricket Bat.

Travel advice

No one likes an astronaut
with not enough to do:
it creates a bad impression
and could jeopardise the crew.

Don’t keep gazing at the stars
or staring into space:
keep a dish-cloth handy
and tidy up the place.

Keep the portholes shining,
and polish all the knobs:
don’t let the Klingons think
that we’re a bunch of slobs.

Try to look presentable,
and keep your visor clean,
and when you meet a Martian,
don’t wear green.