a fragment

  1. "If you see a dustbin, paint it black,
  2. The Plumber tuned his instrument:

Listen to reading

"If you see a dustbin, paint it black,
For blue is not their colour, not their style;
It would not suit this dreary cul-de-sac
In backwood, downtown East Argyll."
Thus spoke the sullen knight-at-arms;
He was, as you will see, a man of many charms.

He road at night through silent, gloomy woods
And brewed strong pots of tea is silent dells.
He drank them with emetic treacle puds
And played sweet tunes on tiny bells.
He bought them from a charlatan who sold illicit goods.

After many days he found the Toads
And bargained with them for a bloated bat
Who sat upon a pumpkin, writing odes
Of Noah and his ship on Ararat;
Eventually his sultry feet
Were like an undecided painting by Magritte.

With new-won bat he rode upon his way
Through viscous mire and unrelenting marsh,
And shot the peasants swimming in the Tay,
The peasants whose brass bands were much too harsh:
They never practised more than twenty times a day.

The Plumber tuned his instrument:
It made a pretty sound
And split the sundry airs around
(The airs are what I thought you meant)
Until the jellied cat was drowned
(The cat that was so corpulent
It did the village folk astound).

He dug deep-freezes from the soil
And later, by and by,
He wooed a phantom butterfly
And wrapped it up in silver foil;
He sent it to his mistress shy,
Who tortured it in boiling oil.
(Its feelers went awry).

But gashes wept upon the floor
And drowned the Plumber's feet,
And spoilt the plates of fetid meat
With streams of undigested gore,
Corpuscles dancing to the beat
Of musselman and matador
Whom panthers never eat.

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