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.

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The meaning of life

The gomzel crashed into the blozz,
and all were tamelled, all because
the kalpine wasn’t working at the time.
So thank the Lord for queltons,
and for metamodal gliss:
man’s life is cheap as tadpole’s
and it means as much as this.


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.


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’.


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.


Winged symphony

See the Greater Spotted Nicaraguan Scythebill
plash among the reeds,
observe the Chestnut-backed Jewel-babbler
as on the shore it feeds.

See the Black-backed Tody-Flycatcher
mount the evening air,
and the Streak-headed Argentinian Brush-turkey
in its woodland lair.

Let’s hear it for the Lesser-spotted Red-backed Buttonquail
among the leafy green,
and the Sulphur-bellied Tyrant-Manakin,
although it’s rarely seen.

Give ear to Klaas’s Cuckoo
as it pipes a threnody,
while the Warbling Doradito
sings the bass notes in C.

The symphony is ending,
I’ve had enough of it.
I would have liked a mention
of the common garden Tit.


 

Swing low

It’s appealing or appalling
— I really can’t decide —
the way my buxom beldam
swings her butt from side to side.

Tidal waves can strike the shore,
causing devastation,
a butt-induced tsunami
that could sink an island nation.

Swinging like a lantern
on the good ship Pendulum
there’s something quite hypnotic
about my beldam’s bum.


 

Helpline

I was searching for a word to rhyme with candour when the phone rang.

Hello. Who’s this?

Alexander.

Who?

We met at the Goose & Gander.

Sorry, I don’t…

You must remember me! I was dressed as a salamander.

Sorry, I can’t…

The New Year Ball? You were dressed as a Space Commander.

That’s right, I was. But I don’t…

And you offered me a back-hander.

I what?

You offered me a back-hander so you could philander with Leander.

But that’s slander!

There you go. Bye.


 

The line of duty

I was spotted recently at the royal wedding, and ever since then my phone hasn’t stopped ringing:

— Was that you with the 7th Earl of Melmontshire?

— Was that you with Demerara De Courcy-Devereux? Is she as delightful as they say?

— Was that you with Prince Percival Poggenpohl von Schoenberg-Schlesvig-Holstein?

— Was that you shagging a horse behind the privet hedge?

Of course, one doesn’t confirm or deny anything, but I refer the interested reader to the next editions of Town & Country and Horse & Garter, and to my forthcoming Compendium of Upper-class Nancy-boys & Tarts (C-NTS).

All in the line of duty.


 

Oliveriddle

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?

Anyone?

That’s it! Correct!

Lawksamussy!

My readers are such a clever chattering of choughs!

Take an extra helping of pine nuts, and enjoy.


 

At The Odeum

Gilbert Twill is sure to thrill
with his new production,
coming to the West End soon,
The Vagabond’s Seduction.

The scene is set in Guzzler’s Gulch,
somewhere in Tasmania,
it tells the tale of Twemlow
and his morbid dipsomania.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll puke a lot
as Twemlow raises Cain,
then you’ll storm out of the playhouse
and never come again.


 

Ap-palling

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
requisites.

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.


Society column

Mantled in Murmansk mink, Leonora Cazenove stepped gracefully from a cab in Drury Lane, amid a throng of well-wishers. She looked radiant in a Chloe Deluce evening dress and sequined shoes by Patrice. Her escort for the evening, Honeyfritz Belmondo, was effervescent in a velvet ensemble and a crimson Oscar Wilde hat.  He smiled and waved flamboyantly to the crowd, while Leonora, more reserved, glided quickly into the brilliantly-lit foyer. The fabulous pair had arrived for the opening night of Give Us a Dab o’ That, a light-hearted farce from the pen of Lionel Smooch.

This is the third time the celebrity duo have been spotted together, so rumours are swirling about in the beau-monde. Has Leonora found love again, following her very public split from Joachim Cumbersnatch? Can playboy Honeyfritz finally put an end to those sordid rumours about his personal life? I, for one, have never believed the catty innuendae of the gutter press (though the hat doesn’t help, Honeyfritz, dear), and I wish the couple several weeks of happiness together.


Godawful

An Arctic blast came rasping
through my squalid little home,
carving gelid pathways
through my brittle little bones.

It tore the sheeting from my roof,
and scalped me as it raged:
now I sit here naked-pated
in my empty little cage.

Overhead, I see the stars
— they seem frozen just like me:
just how squalid does it get
in God’s awful axletree?


The poet & his neighbours

He sits around at home all day,
staring into space,
wearing silk pyjamas
and a scowl upon his face.

— It’s true I don’t go out much,
I stay in my own place,
but I don’t wear silk pyjamas
on my face.

The little kids are scared of him,
they call him ‘Bugaboo’,
and of course he lives alone,
odd as a boot and a shoe.

— I used to have a beldam
who shared my hearth and home,
but you won’t know what odd is
until you’ve met that crone.

He doesn’t have a TV,
doesn’t use the internet.
I’ve heard he reads a lot of books,
so what would you expect?

— Most people’s lives are not like mine;
I sometimes wish they were.
Then they might start to understand
why I just do not care.


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.


 

Talkshow


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. 


Spring is sprung

Professor Delmar Delagrange did something really very strange
last time he snuck in here for cakes and ale.

He said ’Now that spring is coming and the hedgerows all are humming,
why don’t we stop pretending that we’re sane?’

‘Why don’t we just come out and say that we’re as mad as Hogmanay,
or (better still) those scholars from Louvain?’

Then Delmar rose to his full height, and bidding Biddy bring a light,
he strode up to the bar and grabbed the rail.

With one prodigious leap — like a dolphin from the deep —
he stood up on the bar and wagged his tail.

‘I’m as mad as any zany from the land of Cockamamie,
and now that spring is sprung I’m off the scale.’

Then Delmar did a drunken dance, dropped his drab scholastic pants,
and cartwheeled off the bar — to no avail.

The floor rose up to meet him (as if it were to greet him),
and he cracked his skull against a metal pail.

Then Delmar, overwrought, crept like an afterthought,
across the floor and out, like a snail.