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.


Games we play

We start by playing Count-the-Ducks
and Mary-make-us-merry,
then move on to Lonesome-John,
then Hunt-the-bitter-cherry.

How we strive at Build-the-hive
and Fill-the-master’s-pot.
In the end, we all contend
in Please-forget-me-not.

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.

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.


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.


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’.


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?


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.



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.


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 —.’



The recent outbreak of Appalling Punning (AP) has reached ceramic proportions:

— Our hotel offers ceramic views across the lake.

— Just add a dash of ceramic vinegar, and toss.

— Is IS developing a ceramic bomb?

A leading ceramic at Harvard University commented: ‘We’ve noticed that outbreaks of AP tend to occur during times of ceramic downturn. People are bored and depressed, and will do anything for ceramic effect. AP can be spread through ceramic syringes, and can cause ceramic upheaval to the ceramic nerve.

If you’re infected with AP, take ceramic acid immediately, and call the Ceramic Duo.

And if that doesn’t work, you can always blame the Ceramic State.’


Cook’s Corner

Try Twemlow’s ‘Country Chicken’
if you think you might be missin’
out on protein or some other

Fry it up with delmars
and pilbeams from a can,
then serve it hot, and like as not,
you’ll feel a whole new man.

Try Smeeton’s ‘Pungent Pickle’
if your tastebuds need a tickle,
or your palate is as pallid as a corpse.

Try Smeeton’s with Thai sausage
or with leek and onion potage:
you’ll be laughing like a horse with no remorse.


Foot soldiers


Breakthroughs in podiatry
don’t often make the news,
but all those instep insights
mean you do get the proper shoes.

Take Elmer Twilb, Podiatrist,
as our first example:
without his pioneering work
I’d neither stomp nor trample.

Let’s not forget good Dr Scholl,
the Hero of the Callous.
To wear his comfy toe-pads
is to glide about a palace.

Podiatrist, chiropodist,
call them what you will,
I praise them at the shoe store
every time I foot the bill.


Twemlow’s Herbarium

Acacia Hermetica, good for snakebite.
Arsesmart, a balm for all manner of evil.
Aqua Salva, can revive a dead cow.
Aqua Vita, can quell a noisy beldam.
Belmain, prevents scrofulus in lawyers and infants.
Bishop’s Crowbar, disperses wicked thoughts.
Blinny, blent with cowslips, is good for sickly porkers.
Derbyshire Kale, induces night-sweats and fevers.
Chickwort, a salve for knotted pilbeams; also good against earthquakes.
Duckweed, cures all manner of pustules, black kelbs, and botches.
Fumaria, eases the bilious flux in geese and clergy.
Horse Tar, applied to the nether lips, can cure the scummox.
Ibex Cincinnatus, cools the brainpan and relieves guilt.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit, good for pregnant beldams.
Lemanwort, good against hypocrites.
Sorrel, taken at night, a caustic for pungency.
Tincture of Bezel, good against calamity.
Trumpwort, good for a laugh.
Verba Ludica, good for a lively brainpan.