"Terces The Furtive Clam"
or 'Bit of Halley's Comet'


Dai Gestive
The Leaden Potto

  1. For one night of rare enchantment, I passed ninety nights of dis-
  2. "Pass the varlet, goblet," cried the sergeant in a trance.
  3. Let us drink a Hungarian toast to the Whale!
  4. The table was laid, the glasses were set.
  5. The keystone stood aloof beside the sea.
  6. See the polecat dance the polka

Listen to reading

For one night of rare enchantment, I passed ninety nights of dis-
May my lover from the factory give me more eternal bliss.
Let her slumber, let her snore, let her quiver, let her roar,
Let her do just what she will -- for after all she ain't no whore.

In my night of rare enchantment on the Ford production line
I woke in agony, to find a rivet in my spine.
Let it stay there, let it be, it's no catastrophe,
Let her do just what she likes, after all her will is free.

My night above the casement was worth all its weight in mould:
The mushrooms sang a lullaby of sweetness quite untold,
Such as milk or flowing honey (or maybe of flowing money?)
It matters little which, but it certainly was runny.

The pervert is puce!
Strive not to unloose
The secondary goose
Or Mallarm‚,
Or piously pray;
For Charlotte Russe
Is rather obtuse
And sings in the bath all day.

The bandsman is buff!
They pay him enough?
For that yellow stuff,
Or La Fontaine;
Yet once again
My Lemon Puff
Is often gruff
Like the kings that thund'rous reign.

So rarely is the serpent slow
Enough to see a walnut flow:
My nights of rare enchantment, so
Slightly blemished.

"Pass the varlet, goblet," cried the sergeant in a trance.
"Ease the stands," said the conductor an hour before the dance.
His baton had a bat on: if you gave it half a chance,
You could see it dance the polka.
I was saddest when the folk a-
Round me said, "No More Romance!"

The day was over now and yet the lusty knight was gone
On an errand for the Marquis of Lower Babylon,
Whose kitten had a mitten with a marigold upon.
You could see it dance a tango.
When they cried aloud, "You can go
Now", I said, and rambled on.

The catatonic couple dropped in death-throes to the floor,
Like the epileptic crisis of a month-old matador.
What's the matter with the hatter? Surely 'twasn't him we saw?
You could smell him rape the typist,
Crying, "Diese dumme Weib ist
Nicht so schlecht!" Who kept the score?

The new digestive amphitheatre never looked so grand
(It was new, you see), a fact that everyone should understand.
And yet it would be better if everyone were banned
From waltzing with a warrior
Whom nobody is sorrier
To see than those who walk on sand.

The poet was a picturesque but sadly lacking shrub.
He lacked the necessary shade to hide a lion cub.
He invested all his savings in a desultory tub,
Where the foxes learned to trot
And de-rail the Irate Scot
Who wheezed, "Rubadub dub. Glub!"

Let us drink a Hungarian toast to the Whale!
That's to say, spout the liquor 8 feet in the air
And later go back quietly home, to where
Music's unsound and the sirens are male.

Let's crunch an incredible toast to the Melba
Unimpeachable dish, beyond all compare
And later go slowly back home, to where
My love lies, leaning on her elba.

Let's burn a dead duck, let's fry it, let's roast
Let's spit it 8 miles to a far distant coast
Where we hope it will simper and give up the ghost
Of the mallard's aforethought, "How much is the most?"

But if ducks don't exist then nothing is "more"
Like a beingless apple devoid of a core
On which toothless old twits incessantly gnaw
In lieu of the joys of an unwilling whore.

May the clue to the crux of this capital clan
May the root of my rabid revenge
Be uncovered in ancient Stonehenge
Or in subtly suburbical Penge,
Where the underground railway eng-
Ine ran.

O ye subtle engines of the slimy Northern Line
Where the nauseating despot holds his court
Of antiquated boxers that never yet have fought,
Of dilapidated mousetraps that never rodent caught
(Those excellent devices, so rarely these days bought)
These things of ancient myth will come no doubt to nought
The numberless confection the doughnut-counter sought
As he downed the methylated mud and spurned the parson's port
And the nights of rare entrancement. In cyst upon a Wart!

"I most certainly will not".

The table was laid, the glasses were set.
I thought of my grandfather's silhouette
Enshrined for all time on a large photograph.
I think I shall chop it in half
And sell it for sixpence at Widdecombe Fair.
Answer no scurrilous questionnaire.
Frighten inquisitors bound for the coast.
Mimic your grandfather's ghost.
The candles are lit, the board is prepared
A-waiting in silence the Horrible Laird
Enshrined his grandfather within a cassette.
His body is rotting there yet.
I'll sell it for nothing if any will buy
For Agatha's my alibi.
She slept half the night in the verminous font
And wrote graffiti on't.
The font was defiled but the altar was clean
Until the wee small hours, I mean
When Aggie awoke with a visible cry
And altered the altar all terribly wry.
"A change is as good as Arrest!" shrieked the police
(They'd just arrived from Greece)
As they battered my grandfather's house to the ground
With a humbling decibel sound
Enshrined for all time in the growth of the wheat
For the epileptic cheat
Enshrined for half time in the worth of a groat
(Six o'clock in the rowing boat)
Enshrined for a tick in a buffalo's hide
(Six o'clock is the mystical ride)
Enshrined for enchantment for never, for night
(Six o'clock is worth half an ape)
For the grandfather clock that was battered: its plight
Was rather dire. A squalid grape
Is not the nicest of things to fight.
It spoils enchantment in the night.

The keystone stood aloof beside the sea.
It was the best of friends with Nosnibor and me.
I see the loofah stood beside the quay.
I see it well.
I feel its smell.

The buzzard soared aloft above the Po.
No softer lord was known, or now or long ago
To dominate the dwarf, incognito.
His name is not
I have forgot

The sofa floated 'twixt the twiny trees
Its backside roughly level with the sergeant-major's knees.
The sergeant-major's backside, rough as gravel, fails to please
The roughest wench
To say (in French)
"On brise!"

A gravestone is the mattress of my bed.
'Tis but a feeble paltry substitute for bread
To serve at bridal breakfasts for those about to wed
About to knot
(Believe it not!)

Enchant me with your whining repartee
Till screams should reach their apogee
And, falling, splash into the sea.
Ask Nadia
For Bacardi or

See the polecat dance the polka
Before night falls;
On me, on thee
And on the stoker
In this night of rare enchantment
Which your aunt meant
To cook, for tea.

See the walrus waltz by day
To an eerie reel
At dawn, forlorn
And far away.
In this day which you enlighten
Or else frighten
Those still unborn.

See the vixen, watch her trot,
Or else, if not
(Unholy grot!)
The Irate Scot
Shall cram your mouth with oats
And rubber stoats.
(Out, out, damn spot!)

See the albatross apply
The potent oil.
The Sheik prefers
A blackened eye.
Sheik may safely graze
Up on plains of supple jelly:
Like all am I!

Beside me now you are, beside myself I am.
My second friend was not a furtive clam.

©1973, 1999 The Rat Fathom Poets
Edited by Peter Christian
May 31 2023.