Not me

Oh to be a crested goose
above the sea so clear,
bound for Valparaiso
or anywhere but here.

Oh to be a dentist
or the Laird of Cap-na-dree.
Oh to be just someone else,
anyone but me.

I see you read these ragged lines,
your face is turning blue:
I must admit, now I think of it,
I’m glad that I’m not you.


Mother’s love

Is that you, Cedric, in the hall?
Come and join me, dear.

— Oh mother, I’m just dashing out
to — get some ginger beer.

You’re hiding something, Cedric,
a mother always knows.

— Not at all, dear mother,
now why would you suppose…?

You never used to be like this,
you always told the truth.

— Well, if you must know, mother,
I’ve got a date with Ruth.

— Now don’t be silly, Cedric!
That’s not at all like you!

— I do still love you mother,
but I’m nearly fifty-two.

Not until September, dear,
there’s still a bit to wait.
Now come in here and join me
or you’ll get no birthday cake.


Up in court again today,
same old judge as last time.
He said ‘You again, you bastard!
Is affray your only pastime?’

— I just had to come again, M’Lud,
to see your smiling face,
and the way you hand out justice
with such poise, such easeful grace.

Can I have your autograph?
to me that would be bliss!
I love the way you’ve done your hair
— any chance of a kiss?

‘Contempt of Court’ is what he said
— it pierced me like a dart!
Oh how we lovers misconstrue
the passions of the heart.


The happy strangler

I fastened a hand-made noose to my wrist and set off.

The sky above the city was demon-black, and I was in strangler’s Heaven. Nearby, a taxicab splashed a deadbeat, and in the distance, a siren wailed a baleful threnody.

I smiled to think of God’s infinite goodness, in which we mortals macerate like cockroaches in the cesspit of life.

Just then —  a violent tug on my shoulder! I was yanked back by — what? Something huge, powerful, was hauling me by my collar: ‘Strangler caught! Set to dangle!’ (Strangling Today) ‘Local vigilante nabs monster!’ (Local Gazette).

In an instant I was skimming across the street like hemp on a beldam’s neck, drawn by some unknown but irresistible force.  The fiend — for fiend he was — beetled into a police station, and I followed.

So as I sit here in the dank, I wail a threnody of my own:

Oh Lord, though now my end be nigh,
no longer on the loose,
I beg you from my strangler’s heart
for a well-made, hand-made noose.

The happy angler

I fastened a hand-made cock-a-bundy to my hook and cast off.

The light over the lake was angel-silver, and I was in angler’s Heaven. Nearby, a dabchick plashed, and overhead, a linnet piped a tuneful threnody. I smiled to think of God’s infinite goodness, in which we mortals soak like mackerel fillets in a herb and lemon marinade.

Just then —  a violent tug on my fishing line! I was yanked forward by — what? Something huge, powerful, like nothing I’d ever caught before: ‘The Catch of the Century!’ (Angling Today) ‘Local man lands monster!’ (Local Gazette).

In an instant I was skimming across the lake like a speedboat, drawn by some unknown but irresistible force.  The creature — whatever it was — went lower in the water, and I followed.

But even as I sank, I still found time to pipe a threnody of my own:

Oh Lord, though now my end be nigh,
and I’ve befouled my undies,
I thank you from my angler’s heart
for hand-made cock-a-bundies.

The price of fame

Honeyfritz Belmondo is weary night and day,
his spangly suit is crumpled, his hair in disarray.

What’s the matter, Honey? Have you been working late?
How can ‘Ace’ Belmondo appear in such a state?

What will your producer say, and what will your fans think?
Some nasty tabloid paper might even mention ‘Drink’!

— Here, take a million dollars, just get me outta here,
away from hordes of teenies always screaming in my ears.

I need a quiet hideaway, far from glitz and fame,
just some homely château, and a bottle of champagne.

Delmar & Lucy

Delmar passed away this week,
age of ninety-two,
and forty-seven murders,
give or take a few.

So let’s see if Delmar Harkness
can convince the Prince of Darkness
not to drop his butt in Hell’s eternal flame:

‘Listen to me, Lucifer,
(or can I call you Lucy?)
we have so much in common,
your crimes were just as juicy.

I’ve always been your biggest fan,
since I was two feet tall.
I always bought your t-shirts
and your poster’s on my wall.

— Nah, I’m gonna drop your sorry butt
in Hell’s eternal flame.
Gotta keep my standards up,
protect my famous name.

I just hope this reconfirms
what we already knew:
I’m a much bigger bastard
than you.

On the town

We dropped the beldams off
at Trudy’s Hair & Nails,
then we pootled round to
Delmar’s Farm-to-Table.

Delmar does a wicked steak,
his onions are to die for.
We’ll collect the beldams later,
if we’re able.

It was Hairy Males, I tell you,
my memory is clear.
’Scuse me Sir, is Judy’s Lane
anywhere near here?

Time for just another one,
they can’t be far from here.
Maybe should’ve mentioned:
Delmar does a wicked beer.

World view

The signs of doom are myriad:
see how Turkey has been syriad,
and Rocket Man’s
a hero for a day.

The planet’s over-heating,
fatcats are over-eating,
and the seas are full of plastic

The powers-that-be are lurking,
pulling strings behind the curtings,
but the TV has fantastic

While China rises in the east,
and tired old Europe limps,
I’m just staying home in bed,
watching Homer Simps.

Lake Isle on the range


Oh give me a home where there’s no mobile phone
and policemen sing ‘Boogie da Beat’.
I’ll make my way there in a high sedan chair,
with a Pekinese pooch at my feet.

When I arrive I’ll build a hive
for honeybees (like Yeats).
I’ll have clay and wattles and plenty of bottles
to store in my underground crates.

With my bucket and spade in the bee-loud glade,
I’ll live on damsons and dates.
I’ll write my poems all night long,
though they’ll never be nothin’ like Yeats’.

Sore loser

Pucker up, Sabrina,
don’t let the whole team down.
The boys will want to see a smile,
and not your frosty frown.

They’ll be here any minute,
(their train is pulling in),
so pucker up, Sabrina,
and give the boys a grin.

— What kind of sucker puckers up
and gives it out ex gratia?
Anyway, the f—kers lost,
beaten by Croatia.


I like the chicken tikka
and the chicken korma too,
but I’d go naked in a snowstorm
for chicken vindaloo.

I’d eat a box of bees,
cross the Rockies on my knees,
and I’d sell my horse and beldam too.
I’d go through the Khyber Pass
on my scrawny naked ass,
just to get myself
a chicken vindaloo.

So if you’d rather see me dressed,
(and it is a better view),
invite me round to your place
for chicken vindaloo.


Bitter things

The biscuit barrel’s empty,
the jam pot is a void.
I feel the end is coming:
my larder’s never loid.

I should have stuck with pickled beets,
in vinegar and lime.
It’s funny how the bitter things
withstand the test of Time.

Everything that I have made,
all by Time destroyed.
Although I am not bitter,
I’m a little underjoyed.

Schoolboy humour

My beldam’s buzzums bounce about
beneath her bulging bra.
When the schoolboys see her,
they run and shout ‘Hurrah!

for Bessie’s buzzums,
the biggest ever seen!
Just don’t get too close to them,
they’ll crush you in between!’

My beldam doesn’t mind, of course,
she’s used to repartee.
When she bounces home at night,
she gets far worse from me.


All day long an acrid pong
assails my timid nose.
I’ve tried to find its provenance,
but so far, no succose.

Is it coming from the basement,
or from the house next door?
Wherever it is coming from,
it’s really whelming, o’er.

I hope this doesn’t end up
like a story on TV,
where the neighbour has been
lying dead since 1993.

When did I last see him?
He never seemed to smile.
Still, I won’t disturb him.
I’ll wait a little while.


Love & war

Love and war commingled
on the field at Waterloo,
the kind of chance encounter
that the history books eschew.

While riding near a forest,
upon his milk-white steed,
Captain Nobby Twemlow spied
a ma’amselle in a mead.

‘What ho!’, said Captain Nobby,
‘now that’s a pretty wench!’
‘With any luck, I’ll get a f—k,
and still defeat the French’.



My beldam’s eyes are like the night
the iceberg sank Titanic:
cold and dark and lonely,
filled with ever-rising panic.

And here I am, Carpathia,
watching from afar.
Nothing I can do tonight,
or any night, so far.

She sinks beneath the churning waves.
I lie here in the gloom,
till explosions in her boilers
send me flying from the room.


Travel plans

I’ll need twenty camels to carry my women, and make sure the kedgways are decently covered with scarlet cloth. Ensure the beasts are sturdy and well watered (the camels, not the women).

So saying, I went inside and placed an offering on the altar of Gadzoum al Buzzoom.

Then I called my astrologer and ordered him to name the most auspicious day for my departure.

— Thursday looks good.

Why pronounce you thus, Purveyor of Ancient Wisdom?

— 10% off at Must end Friday.