Through the valley

Though I walk through the Valley
of the Shadow of Death,
I can’t help thinking
I haven’t lived yet.

Where’s the Porsche Carrera
I dreamt of as a child?
Where’s the busty trophy wife
to drive my buddies wild?

And where the hell’s that Nobel prize,
for all my poetry?
They gave one to Bob Dylan,
they can give one to me.

We all know God’s ‘mysterious ways’,
but now he’s getting cheeky.
I’ve gotta get that Lear jet soon,
before I’m too antiquey.

The Lord is my shepherd,
and I’m just a sheep.
I hope you weren’t waiting
for anything deep.


Winged symphony

See the Greater Spotted Nicaraguan Scythebill
plash among the reeds,
observe the Chestnut-backed Jewel-babbler
as on the shore it feeds.

See the Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher
mount the evening air,
and the Streak-headed Argentinian Brush-turkey
in its woodland lair.

Let’s hear it for the Lesser-spotted Red-backed Buttonquail
among the leafy green,
and the Sulphur-bellied Tyrant-Manakin,
although it’s rarely seen.

Give ear to Klaas’s Cuckoo
as it pipes a threnody,
while the Warbling Doradito
sings the bass notes in C.

The symphony is ending,
I’ve had enough of it.
I would have liked a mention
of the common garden Tit.


Book review

Chapter One was very good,
our hero starting out.

Chapter Two dragged on a bit,
our hero wracked with doubt.

Chapter Three, not for me,
too much dialog.

Chapter Four I did enjoy,
the vampire in the fog.

Chapter Five, the brothel scene,
(they don’t teach that in school).

Chapter Six, OMG!
— she really was a ghoul!

Chapter Seven, at the morgue,
the zombie and the creep.

Chapter Eight, I can’t relate,
cos then I fell asleep.


Swing low

It’s appealing or appalling
— I really can’t decide —
the way my buxom beldam
swings her butt from side to side.

Tidal waves can strike the shore,
causing devastation,
a butt-induced tsunami
that could sink an island nation.

Swinging like a lantern
on the good ship Pendulum
there’s something quite hypnotic
about my beldam’s bum.


Assisted flight

Zip me up, Morwena,
I’m ready for my flight.
Crank the gears, Dalhousie,
I’ll soon be out of sight.

Make sure you feed Beelzebub
— that cat was my best friend.
If some of you were more like her,
this wouldn’t be the end.

Just time to write a heartfelt note
to my old sparring bitch:
‘If I hadn’t married you,
I would still be rich.’

So zip me up, Morwena,
I’m ready for my flight.
Leave the gun beside me,
and turn out the light.


Sweet love

I told my beldam sweetly:
‘I won’t be home till late.’
I should have seen it coming:
skillet cracked my pate.

I asked my beldam sweetly:
’Now would I ever lie?’
I should have seen it coming:
steak knife, left eye.

I told my beldam sweetly
that she’d make a good Marine.
I should’ve seen it coming:
ruptured spleen.

I’ve learned my lesson now, of course,
deeply and completely:
if you’ve got a wicked beldam,
don’t do ‘sweetly’.



Beneath th’umbrageous conifer
my love and I did tryst.
I told her that I loved her
and essayed a Gallic kiss.

She said ‘Oh, you filthy bastard,
keep yer tongue inside yer head.
I’m not that kind of girl, you know,
not until we’re wed.’

I left th’umbrageous conifer
feeling like a wretch.
That’s what beldams do to you,
every chance they get.

Just say No

Captain Tandy lit the fuse
when he ordered all his crews
to unload their precious cargoes
in Lahore.

All hell broke loose in London,
on the trading floor:
‘What’s that heathen up to
with our cargo in Lahore?’

‘What good’s our precious cargo
on the shore in old Lahore?
Get yer ass to old Shanghai
and sell our precious store.’

— I’m sick of this here opium,
a vile and noxious trade.
Why can’t we sell bananas,
or a home-made lemonade?

‘Captain Tandy, you’re dismissed!
This is mutiny!
You can’t disobey an order!
I’m in charge, not thee!

— ‘Fraid I must, you bastard.
My conscience is serene:
you own the ships and cargoes,
but you don’t own me.

Now Tandy sails the eastern seas,
plying honest trade,
selling wicker baskets
and his home-made lemonade.



I was searching for a word to rhyme with candour when the phone rang.

Hello. Who’s this?



We met at the Goose & Gander.

Sorry, I don’t…

You must remember me! I was dressed as a salamander.

Sorry, I can’t…

The New Year Ball? You were dressed as a Space Commander.

That’s right, I was. But I don’t…

And you offered me a back-hander.

I what?

You offered me a back-hander so you could philander with Leander.

But that’s slander!

There you go. Bye.


Breakfast at Dauphigny’s

—  Have you voltaired, Lionel?

— No, but I’ve twemlowed like billy-o!

— Don’t be crude, Lionel, especially at the breakfast table!

— Twemlow tells a cracking story. Le Salon de Mme Anueil…

— Stop it at once! Tosh and flim-flam! What about you, Jocasta? What are you reading?

— I’m reading Robespierre on the duties of government, Mama.

— Oh how exciting! Are you enjoying it?

— Well yes, up to a point.

— Oh dear! Is there some obstacle, some entrave, to your reading pleasure?

— There’s just too much Montesquieu in his thinking, Mama. It rankles.

— That’s certainly true, Jocasta. Well observed! He was steeped in Montesquieu, and lacked the largesse to admit it.

— You agree with her about everything!

— That’s not true, Lionel, and you know it. We differ sharply on the Council of Trent, for instance, and on the centrality of la tendresse in human affaires.

— We don’t disagree on that, Mama. Only our paths diverge…

— Well put, Jocasta! More chocolat?

— I hate that chocolate. Makes me puke.

— Stop it, Lionel, at once! You’re just like your father!

— Where is Father, by the way? Why does he never come home?


Looking out

I’d be better off in China,
where at least they make good tea,
or maybe Valparaiso,
where at least you’re near the sea.

I’ve heard good reports of Murmansk,
see the sun up there, at least.
Baghdad’s another option,
Jewel of the Middle East.

Pakistan is worth a look:
they’ve got that Khyber Pass.
Better than this concrete hell
— Cell Block C, my ass.

The line of duty

I was spotted recently at the royal wedding, and ever since then my phone hasn’t stopped ringing:

— Was that you with the 7th Earl of Melmontshire?

— Was that you with Demerara De Courcy-Devereux? Is she as delightful as they say?

— Was that you with Prince Percival Poggenpohl von Schoenberg-Schlesvig-Holstein?

— Was that you shagging a horse behind the privet hedge?

Of course, one doesn’t confirm or deny anything, but I refer the interested reader to the next editions of Town & Country and Horse & Garter, and to my forthcoming Compendium of Upper-class Nancy-boys & Tarts (C-NTS).

All in the line of duty.


Going low

See the lowly earthworm
as he crawls along the ground.
Now there’s a lesson for us all
— wisdom most profound.

The earthworm’s not ambitious,
for money or for fame,
he pays no heed to politics,
doesn’t know the leader’s name,

He doesn’t have a passport,
so he can never lose it,
and even if he had a phone
I’m sure he’d never use it.

He has no fear of terrorists,
or planes that get mislaid,
though he frets a little sometimes
about the gardener’s spade.

Oh to be an earthworm,
the lowest of the low!
If I keep writing crap like this,
I won’t have far to go.


House of love

Love and Folly bought a house
filled with gold and treasure,
a place where they could be themselves,
and live their lives at leisure.

Then Time came knocking at their door
and told them ‘By the way,
did I mention that the lease is up?
You’re out on first of May.’

Love and Folly left their house,
one to west and one to east.
Now other lovebirds own their house,
for a while at least.



Oliver Oliphant oils the elephants
at the Parkway Zoo.
Now if Oliver Oliphant oils the elephants
at the Parkway Zoo,
what do you think that Tigger Taboo
could possibly do at the Zoo?


That’s it! Correct!


My readers are such a clever chattering of choughs!

Take an extra helping of pine nuts, and enjoy.



What a ballyhoo this is
and how I crave the grave!
The cold earth all around me,
and no more need to shave.

I tire of life’s imperatives,
like having to get up,
and mooch around the streets all day,
a tired abandoned pup.

The sky above depresses me,
— all those stupid clouds!
And who needs so much sunlight?
All I need’s a shroud.

I’ll be happy then, I know,
like a pig in clover.
Just leave me at the Cheshire Cat
until this thing is over.



How can I achieve my dreams
when all about me this world seems
as mad as summer nights in Tanganyika?

Can I ever be, as I so wish to be,
the man who put the chic in chicken tikka?

Will I ever sail my twemlow across the Bering Sea?
Will the beldams ever drop their drawers as soon as look at me?

Will I win the Nobel Prize, or bask in Belle’s adoring eyes?
Will I ever tell myself the truth, instead of telling lies?

Nature’s end

See the waves beguile the shore
with their loving lapping,
and see the empty cartons,
and the cans, and plastic wrapping.

‘We really must address this’,
says activist Todd Tapping.
‘We must protect Dame Nature,
or anything could happing.’

‘It’s ok, Mr Tapping’,
yawned Dame Nature from her couch.
‘All the world has gone to hell
and I’m a total slouch.’

‘So what if there’s some muck about,
and all my springs are stuck?
I’ve been around so very long
I couldn’t give a —.’