Love in a garden

To my left the bois-fidèle,
to my right the myrtle:
a sickly-sweet profusion
that sets my heart a-kirtle.

If I could have you here again
just for one last time,
I’d lop your rotten head off
and bury it in lime.

I’d place a tasteful stone, of course,
with some kind words on it,
to tell the world I love you
as a rosebush loves a shit.


Afternoon off

I must remind old Catflap
that I won’t be here for tea.
I’m meeting Captain Carver
at the Kat & Kedgeree.

Oh, by the way, Mudflap, I won’t be here for tea.

— M’Lud?

No tea this afternoon, Flipflop… take the afternoon off.

— M’Lud?

I’m going out, Slipknot, so no tea today. You can take the afternoon off.

— Afternoon off, M’Lud?

Oh for God’s sake! I won’t be here, Drainpipe. You can take the afternoon off!

— You want tea now, M’Lud?

No! I’m meeting Captain Carver, I won’t be…. oh forget it, Turnpike!

— Captain Ernest Carver, of the 13th Infantry Brigade, M’Lud?

Yes, old Irondrawers himself! We’re meeting at four at the Kat & Kedgeree, so I won’t…

— Beg pardon, M’Lud, but Captain Carver was killed on the twelfth of May 1915, two miles north of Verdun. Sniper on the Hohenzollern Redoubt, M’Lud.

Nonsense, Pikestaff! I got no such report!

— Possibly out of respect, M’Lud. Oh, and the Kat & Kedgeree closed in 1982, M’Lud. There’s a teashop there now.

Yes, in the drawing room. Thank you, Cornstarch.


Face it

In semblance of a toad
my beldam bears her load
with all the grace and dignity she can.

Her face is pocked and bulbous
and her skin is tough as stone:
sometimes I think I’m married to a man.

I buy her salves and lotions
and all kinds of pungent potions,
but her face is still the face of Desperate Dan.

My beldam withered on the vine
but now just look at me:
I’m still the handsome charmer
that I was at twenty-three.


The honest trade

I wandered lonely as a crone
who has nor friend nor telephone,
and made my way to a sylvan glade
where Nature’s sweets were all arrayed.

All about the curlews curled,
and twemlows piped To-whit!,
while just ahead in a bobbing bed
of bluebells sang a tit.

Jonquils jostled feverwort,
twined tendrils with St Joan,
and all above this verdant stage
a sunny sun sunshone.

You’d think that such a comely scene
would lighten my sad mood:
but you don’t know me, reader
— I’m not that kinda dude.

I blew that creepy sylvan gaff,
and ran to The Honest Trade:
— I’ll have a pint with you, Sir,
and call a spade a spade.


‘Damn your eyes, Seth Cardew,’
said Twemlow with a snarl,
‘keep thy peepers to thyself,
or I’ll pitch thee in the marl.’

— I ain’t seen nuthin’, Captain,
I swear it ‘pon my life.
T’aint my bizness what ya do
ta ‘personate a wife.

With that, poor Twemlow’s
his ardour all depleted.
He slowly let the air out,
and lay down, quite defeated.