Category: poetry

The handmaid’s tale

Constance often rues the day
she took a job at Clark’s.
She’s on her feet from early morn
until the sky bedarks.

She cleans up after Delmar
and delouses Morton’s hair,
then she feeds ol’ grandpa
in his creaky baby chair.

Worst of all is Otis,
with his surly curt demeanour:
who’d have thunk a schoolboy
could be such a nasty schemer?

Constance labours night and day
in Clark’s infested hovel,
though she dreams that one day
it might produce a novel.

A gritty tale of squalor,
through the handmaid’s eyes:
just the sort of thing
to win the Booker Prize.


Public opinion

Let’s see if Precious Little
has anything to say
about the trial of Twemlow,
which comes to court today.

— He’s guilty as a jackdaw,
on that I won’t demur.
Let’s hope the court condemns him,
the rancid heinous cur.

Is that all, Miss Little?
Give us something we can quote.
In your dealings with young Twemlow,
is there anything of note?

— I never met the bastard,
and I hope I never will.
I only know what I have read
in the Daily Swill.



I spent the night at Cardew’s
cos the roads were blocked by trees:
Hurricane Tzatziki
brought the country to its knees.

Elmer’s Spicy Chicken
bore the brunt of Nature’s ire:
chicken wings and nuggets
now bedeck the old church spire.

The side of Twemlow’s toolshed
is bespattered with hot sauce
(typical of Twemlow
to gain from Elmer’s loss).

The road to Carbonara
is impassable, they say,
blocked by stricken cedars
that bestrew the sodden way.

I must go back to Cardew’s
once the roads are clear,
to thank them for the shelter
that they offered with good cheer.

I’ll also thank the Lord, of course,
by stopping by the church:
Praise the Lord for hurricanes,
and spicy chicken lunch.


Family ties (2)

Uncle Delmar shakes his fist
at rascals Ralph and Brad.
He knows that in a few short years
they won’t be playful lads.

They’ll grow up mean and surly,
in a world that treats them bad.
They’ll both end up in prison,
just like Delmar and their Dad.

At the stump

Ariosto Milner will be here at six o’clock:
I must check my stores of nerve gas
and my anti-aircraft stock.

Regular as clockwork,
Milner comes round every year,
puffing like a steam train,
and beaming ear to ear.

‘Vote for me,’ says Milner,
‘pledge me your support!
For Mayor of Delmar County
I’m the perfect sort.’

‘The folks of Delmar County
will live la vie en rose
and there’ll be no more taxes
cos I’ll tweak the Senate’s nose.’

‘And then I’ll build a great big wall,
of steel (or maybe glass),
to keep the folk of Delmar safe
from what might come to pass.’

‘There’ll be candy for the kiddies
and beer for burly chaps,
and all the pretty beldams
can twang my nether flaps. ‘

I’ve heard it all before, you see,
Milner at the stump.
Sometimes he reminds me
of tremendous Donny Trump.


Cape of Good Hope

“The Cape gannet, or malagash, is also known as ‘velvet sleeves’.”

Wheeling round the Cape in squadrons,
malagash swoop and dive
and dart at shoals of fodder fish
five hundred feet below,
— slick as velvet —
then launch again,
past anxious mariners
peering into sextants,
calculating the good
and the hope.

The extra mile

“— Fie upon thee, varlet,
in your fustian and comb,
I’ll not disburse a single groat,
till you have hied me home.

A fig for filthy lucre,
the devil’s lubricant!
Avaunt, and stop your hansom
where you see the monument.”

Mind you, I still had to pay the extra fare,
but it made me feel better at the time.