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’.



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.


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.

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.


Absolute crackers

Cheese and crackers make a snack,
but can they fill a void?

— Depends on its dimensions:
how big is it? How woide?

I have in mind an average void,
measured lengthways, soide to soide.

—  In that case, cheese and crackers
can surely be deployed.

But then, which cheese and crackers
are best to fill a void?

— Always go for gluten-free,
the doctors haven’t loid.

Bath Olivers or Grahams?
How would you decoide?

Should a tangy plum-based chutney
be served up on the soide?

Should the cracker pierce the Stilton
as the bridegroom does his broide?

— There are some conversations
that it’s better to avoid.



Let’s turn to Herman Honeypot
and ask if he has thought a lot
about the plight of lemurs
in Lahore:

‘Don’t talk to me of lemurs,
those Devils of Lahore!
I’ve thought of nothing else
since I was four.’

‘When I was four, in Lahore,
my nana said to me
‘See the cutesy lemurs,
now ain’t they fun to see?’

‘Just then a mangy lemur
leaped right on top of me,
grabbed me by the twemlows
and sneered with vicious glee!’

‘Since then I can’t come eye to eye
with lemurs in Lahore.
Imagine being twemlowed
at the ripe old age of four!’

Oh the dangers of the talkshow!
We’ve touched a painful spot!
Let’s leave it now, and thank our guest,
Herman Honeypot. 

The poet bemused

Leonora Casteneda
has been on the phone once more,
looking for more syllables
to add to her rich store.

I said ‘Leonora, Ma Tresora,
don’t you think you have enough?
Imagine if your moniker
was Dee or Dolly Duff?’

‘Don’t syllabalise to me, young man!’,
said Leonora, tartly.
‘If you do, you’ll lose your Muse,
and I don’t mean partly.’

Ok, Mizz Casteneda,
anything you say!
I’ll try to find more syllables
to bedeck your sobriquet.

And so the search continues
in the Land of Logopeda.
Who’d want to be a poet,
with a Muse like Casteneda?

Up and down the shelves I squint
from A to Zarzaroma.
Who’d want to be a poet,
with a Muse like Leonora?


Folly whacked

Whack fol-de-dido,
whack fol-de-day,
whack fol-de-diddle-o,
and whack fol-de-day.

These and similar diddly-doos have been foisted on us for centuries, especially by purveyors of traditional folk music, aka sheep-shaggers.

So it falls to me, your humble servant, to whack the folly from such metrical inanities, and to restore propriety, decorum, and seemliness to our musical lineage.

So here goes:

With a rinky-dinky-do
and a rinky-dinky-day,
come all ye lads and lassies,
and listen to my lay!

[Catweazle has left the building.]

Music in time

The moon is a boon
when you croon a tune,
but you lose the boon
if you croon at noon. 

You see, a boon may be said to arise
from the confluence of moon and croon,
whereas the confluence of noon and croon
gives rise to no comparable boon.

In short, while the Boon-Croon Hypothesis
is accurate as far as it goes,
the non-confluence of moon and noon
limits its application, as everyone knows.

All together now:

The moon is a boon
when you croon a tune,
but you lose the boon
if you croon at noon. 



Benny Gorgonzola
(yes, like the cheese)
has brought the Metropole Hotel
crashing to its knees.

Not content with crackers
and a range of zesty dips,
he now demands Marsala grapes
— at his fingertips!

Six waiters and a pageboy
are searching high and low:
One has gone to Trapani,
another to Bello.

‘I know the grapes I’ll give him,
if he comes round here again:
The grapes of wrath will sear a path
through Benny’s abdomen.’

So be careful what you order
when you’re at the Metropole:
Just eat the goddam crackers
and cheese-parings in a bowl.



Honeyfritz Belmondo has escaped the old plantation!
Shield your dams and daughters and send warning to the nation!

When Honeyfritz is on a blitz (like Mankovitz before him),
he rages like a cariboo — no mortal can ignore him.

He’s armed to the teeth from top to neath with mail and bristling armour.
If he spies a beldam, he’ll be ravage-bent to harm her.

Searchlights sweep the darkening air, seeking out Belmondo’s lair.
Snarling dogs and barking men comb the byways and the fen.

Honeyfritz, oh Honeyfritz! why must you with your cunning wits
cause havoc, wild dismay, and devastation?

— I just like the exercise, bracing air and open skies,
plus I’m out of rose hip tea at the plantation.



I was fossicking for fennel
when I fell into a floe,
fifty feet below the fen
and filled with freezing snoe.

‘’Sno use’, I felt, ‘to fulminate
against my f—ing luck:
I’m fated now to die here
like a friendless f—ing schmuck.’

Just then a voice from far away
and from across the years:
‘If you use that word again,
I’ll fustigate your ears!’

’Twas the voice of my dear mother,
from the long ago.
She’s the one who sent me out
for fennel in the sno.

The visit

Opoponax O’Malley
will be in town today.
Let’s hear it for Opoponax
and hope that he will stay.

Opoponax is making tracks
for Delmar’s Beer ’n’ Babble.
Let’s hope he won’t be discompoped
by all the milling rabble.

Opoponax is leaving
— I think he’s had enough!
I would’ve thought Opoponax
was made of sterner stuff!

Just twenty beers at Delmar’s
and a burger, fries and shake.
He didn’t even stop off
at Rita’s Country Bake.

Opoponax, Opoponax,
we hope you liked your visit.
Come and see us any time
— it’s not a chore now, is it?



When I get out I’m gonna shout
from the rooftops and the trees:
‘I didn’t kill the sous-chef
— he tried to fillet me!’

Twenty-seven years in jail
for a crime I didn’t do:
he slipped on a potato
and the fillet knife went through.

I still can hear him gurgling
on that filthy kitchen floor,
and cursing the potato
while he thrashed about in gore.

Now I aim to clear my name,
and unbesmirch my scutcheon,
though remorse is off the menu
— the sous-chef had it coming.


The power of words

Yestere’en I ambled out
to Man Loon’s Penny Store,
to buy some desquizillas
and a tithe of elphinore.

Man Loon and his fustilugs
were sat behind the bar,
watching some tv show
and sipping from a jar.

They never speak to customers
(unless you speak Chinese),
so I nodded and befumbled
in behind the herbal teas.

Suddenly old Man Loon
was beside me like a cat,
and his fustilugs was threatening me
with a baseball bat.

He said ‘Get out, you thieving bastard,
and don’t come here again!’,
but he said it all in Chinese,
so I just smiled at them.

Then the fustilugs besmote me
with her baseball bat,
which is so much more effective
than all that verbal chat.


Cake & satin

I’ve always been artistic
and really quite refined.
My tea is sweet verbena
and my socks are satin-lined.

One likes to nibble fruitcake
while one reads the New York Times,
starting with the book reviews
— their critics are sublime!

They tear an author’s work to shreds
in calculated prose,
while I nibble on my fruitcake
and scratch my knowing nose.

It’s not an easy life, of course,
the life of the aesthete,
but it helps if one has fruitcake,
and satin on one’s feet.


Let’s see if Dieter Drummond
has the gall to stake a claim,
after spending all the petty cash
on Rita What’s-her-name.

Dieter treated Rita
to a holiday in Nice,
then he bought her dainty frillies
from La Maison Caprice.

And all the while the petty cash
lay empty as the void:
not a cent to pay the rent
or feed a hungry boid.

Oh Dieter, must you treat her
like the Queen of Andrapash,
when the boids and Dale the landlord
are relying on the cash?


A writer’s complaint

Leroy Spurtz has the kind of name
you’d find in the Olympics,
and yet the crazy bastard
went and studied astrophysics.

I had him down for greatness
on the parallel bars,
instead of which he wastes his time
gazing at the stars.

What’s the point?, I ask myself,
of this here writing game,
when the characters I dream up
just treat me with disdain?

Anagram jam

Delmar likes the medlar pears,
for anagrammic reasons.
He picks them up at Mardel’s,
when the medlars are in season.

Such a pity Mardel’s pears
cause Delmar’s dermal lesions.
I told him to eschew the pears
but Delmar won’t see reason:

‘I’m not larmed by lesions
or by other dermal flaws.
I just lard ‘em up with medlars
and apply ‘em with a gauze.’

‘So don’t despise the medlar,
which makes such soothing jams,
and also shows such acumen
in making anagrams.’


Spend and save!

Twemlow’s Fondant Fancies
are now on special offer:
buy some extra packs today
and stash them in your coffer.

Who knows when fate’s rude hammer
will fall upon your toe?
Twemlow’s Fondant Fancies
will help absorb the blow.

Who knows when life’s cold chisel
will slice your heart in two?
Twemlow’s Fondant Fancies
will save you buying glue.