Sugar And Spikes
or Something Less Messy
- My favourite pet was a raspberry flan
- I seem to fly across a thousand themes:
- O Xella, I await your soft reprieve
- It wasn't midnight when the maiden screamed
- Keep all virgins equal now, for ninety-five are gone!
- The Oslo Chain-Gang went awry,
- Chopping up the lobster into countless tiny pieces
- All ends in a well,
- As the man with the lawnmower said to his dog,
- It was very, very sharp, and she screamed a little scream:
My favourite pet was a raspberry flan
Which resembled a woman much more than a fellow
And dyed itself green much more often than yellow
And ended its life when the earthquake began.
We rumble and rumble, volcanoes of Asia
For the sun is in Taurus, and tidal the moon,
The doughnut was washed, and the old paper spoon
Lets out a laser wot frettens to daze yer.
Expurgation is an anagram of sin
And Worcester sauce a telegram of woe
But not the right colour for the Alamo,
Where periphrastic doughnuts enter in.
Pyrex is a motor-neurone's spark
And if I hope to fall upon your sword
The which, or so it's said, the muskrat gnawed
Although the wombat found it 'ard to vark
This uncooked Snark
Cairo ain't the daughter of the Nile
But of Napoleon, to be Francophile,
(The frog is but a winter toad
And dies upon the mispwonouncd woad,
And burns on the atomic pile
(Of Tate, or Lyle)).
Magus is the daughter of Magee
The magistrate fell straight into the sea
I seem to fly across a thousand themes:
Razorblades, potatoes, asymptotes ...
November handstands, sunken quinqueremes,
Salubrious lobsters and asthmatic ferrets
Who the rival spurgeon bloats;
My themes are better than your scansion merits.
She whose teeth were sharp and nails were long
And painted green with jagged, ragged tips
Whose fingers sang an evil, ribald song
Whose tongue was scarce more barbed than were her lips;
She breathed the air, it fell, congealed, to drips,
And imprisoned her hair net with stainless steel grips:
Medusa struck twice on the gong.
But Val, at whom the gods ha' laughed
At bay (O foxes!), stay your aim
Like Stell across a field that's strafed,
Or else an architect whom none could tame
Till they lock him in a rotting frame
And all that's left is ... lame.
(For Val, you see, is daft).
I deem that I, who now have flown aloft,
Should never have departed from my swamp
To circumcise the stokers in their croft
Who crop the sheep with circumstance, or pomp.
And with their rubber jaws do stoatly champ and chomp
And in their playgrounds on the ramps do romp
(My love, you see, is soft).
O Xella, I await your soft reprieve
Your cutting blade of justice, I await
While grinning now and laughing in his sleeve
I drearily resign myself to fate.
O Xella, I expect your silent eyes
Your glazed acrylic eyeballs I expect
To see through my torments, my lays, my lies,
For you alone, my soul's elect.
O Xella, your alluvial face is now
Unto me like a page of glass arrayed
With lots of snails on it
In martial rank arrayed
Like the lines of a sonnet.
O Xella, now I dread your wrath so dire
That I would rather vomit in the sea
Putting out my heart's sulphuric fire
And emptying my pockets of Magee.
O Xella, tell me you'll come back
And send me soon a telegram
Addressed to Margelet-the-sack
No. 8, the new wigw m.
O Welder, leave this verse alone,
Or else atone.
O Xella, who unpicked the cotton?
Was the fabric really torn to shreds?
Is the art of welding now forgotten
Are the nurses handcuffed to the beds
With unscrewed heads
It wasn't midnight when the maiden screamed
It was not 8:08 when the dormouse dreamed:
Sharper was the knife than ere before.
Dawn was distant when she screamed again:
The dormouse didn't scuttle from the rain;
The coalship was not scuttled by the door,
On the Dogger Bank deserters roam
Labouring over seas of viscous foam,
A soup tureen of spongy gore.
Mother carved the Monday joint with glee
And drowned her sorrows in a cup of tea
A tea-cup that was used by men of yore.
Parse no more!
These strains of war
Are quite enough
For bandsmen buff
And bluffers bland,
With dripping swords chop off their bloody hands!
It's quite enough
For grocers gruff
But what a bore!
Oh! Tell no Moor.
(It's half past four!)
The artichoke was planned
But the article was banned
From censorious applause
From the month-old Mandragores
That now infest the Strand
And threaten soon Trafalgar Square
With sit-down strikes for juster cause, or just because
I slit you now who are who ever was. Who ever was?
Keep all virgins equal now, for ninety-five are gone!
The rest live on,
Though I beg to doubt their hygiene:
Followed me to school each day
The longer way
The Stoneleigh way
Keep your virtues even now, though ninety-five are gone!
All ninety-one (attributed to Owen -- or John?).
I insist they must be lanced!
Keep your vigil at the station, the nineteen-five is gone!
Through the tunnel in the mountain
On its way to far Ceylon,
Keep the vergers off the verges, for from ninety, five have gone
The mountain is so fair
O woe, woe, woe, I shine with a luminous gleam
And noone is quite what they seem
ON NE VOIT PAS.
The Oslo Chain-Gang went awry,
And killed one perch too many
The birds, I say, were rather dry
And sought a damper alibi.
A water-rat surveyed the scene,
The corpse of Uncle Benny
Brother to the long-dead queen
Who didn't know who Xella'd been.
The end was so unfinished, though
I ate a shilling and a penny;
Then for some change I up did throw,
And changed my money into dough.
And yet like rabbits bred the bread
And spread to far Kilkenny,
Where pygmies on a pewter sled
Cut off poor hapless Walter's head.
They buttered it and ate it whole
(They didn't give me any;
I had to eat a long-dead mole
Which did no wonders for my soul).
And when the biscuit was at bay
The short-bread was engulfed
And thus is found the real way
Or trolley-bus at break of day.
O separation! Saccharine!
The reclaimed land is fenny,
Eviscerate the Mandarin
And celebrate the out and in
Alone at last I savour sin
For Ferdinand and I are twin!
Chopping up the lobster into countless tiny pieces
Like tiny Argonauts in search of insect fleeces
I hope the Welder's daughter doesn't mind my mad caprices
I wish to argue not another word.
You celibate surd!
Counting out the pieces of the lobster's tiny claws
I came upon a hunch of hips, a scarlet nest of haws.
O ye nubile maidens, now come ye out of doors
I seldom shun your viscous repartee
So bloated are we!
O bloat, bloat, bloat, on thy cold grey stare, o crab
Corambis slayed a Cummerbund upon a marble slab;
The Welder sang to Circe all the ballads wrote by Bab,
And slashed her wrists as quickly as he could:
A new Herod!
The lacerated fragments of the crab (or was it Moses?)
Were used to fertilise the lawn, and Cleopatra's roses
Wherever her little weedy asplet goes, his
Own must add a soberer thought,
"I may be caught!"
Chopping up the spinster into seven countless pieces
The Jenny left a problem -- what with seven concurrent leases,
The jemmy probed a left-hand lock, and stole all the police's
Countless copper plate
Crippled crustacea are seldom atoned;
Thanks for the pincers you loaned
To my cat
(The one who sat on the mat
All ends in a well,
Who welds with an awl,
Whose wall is an elk
Whose stall is a whelk
Whose wheel is a deal,
The tail of a whale
Whose toe is a top
Whose shoe is a shop.
It is as you like
Come straddle my bike
And pump up my pike
What 'flatable fish
Or eatable dish
Would strike you pro-pish?
What floatable boat
A gloatable groat
O gout-ridden whelk,
From mountainous Selk-
irks me much.
My irksome crutch.
The best of poetry on Mars has neither rhyme nor reason;
Let me give a sort of thing to show you what I mean:
The skunk is but a serpent out of season
To read Kunke at a time was nought but treason,
For the unrelenting toad is but a sorry mangosteen.
Come to our Walter Committee Meeting
And rearrange the seating.
As the man with the lawnmower said to his dog,
"Methinks you would make me a delicate frog.
I'll give you some wool and a set of my tees
And a workable cure to a nasty disease
But sharpen your sickle and look in the book
Or you'll forget in the middle the way you should cook."
As the girl with the melon remarked to her friend
"I can't get it in, no matter which end,
I'll give you a spanner and chisel as well
A verminous font, a Canterb'ry bell
But sharpen your sickle, and polish your hook
And take all your problems to Prudence, the cook".
As the boy with the bun exclaimed to his glee,
"I bit it and look what I found!"
He died on the fourteenth of Febr£ rì
And was buried ten feet in the ground
When he turned in his sleep the universe shook
With the nightmares he dreamed of an impudent crook.
The lawn is no more
The clover is cleft
It falls into four
And expires on the floor
Of speech bereft.
"I bit her, I bit her, and look what I found!"
A lump of corruption, ten feet underground
Twelve arms in the sky, nine hands to a horse
Six feet is the sailor, three birds in the gorse
Have prickled the preacher as only they may
And the flower on the lawn was the dawn of the day.
It was very, very sharp, and she screamed a little scream:
And when she saw her fingernails emitting vapid steam
She cried aloud and carped about the songs of Julian Bream,
Scratching her pouch.
It was O so very cold as she heaved a little yawn,
A periphrastic sneeze that was fifty hours long
Atishoo! The issue we fissured at dawn
Enjoying the pong.
It was seldom very hot when she bathed her biscuit tin,
Collecting the saliva in a jar;
It needed little coaxing to make her want to sin,
You sordid samovar.
I boiled myself in oil (but I said that long ago).
Oh! The Welfare State stopped in 1888!
Seven stones my weight is now -- I always told you so.
I shouted through the beak of a long-forgotten crow
And off-they-went so speedy that the ground began to shake
And the mighty ocean cried aloud "I am, I think, awake,
And in the main, I see, I think my wine-dark waves are woven,
And yet my inspiration was from Ludwig van B.
Though I couldn't play it 'cos the notes were all too sharp
And cut my fingers into tiny bits, you see."
The horn was sounded, cud was chewed, and then the hoof was cloven.
The birds all to their nests have flown, the rabbits to their burrows
And yesterday is dead and so are our tomurrows.
©1973, 1999 The Rat Fathom Poets
Edited by Peter Christian
May 31 2023.