The Spoonbill Generator

Implausible Emptiness in Andromeda Parkway

Without denying anything much [Surlaw]

Save that you and I are Dutch [Apsley]

My gambit I'll commence [Surlaw]

And banish fifty pence [Apsley]

In order to confirm [Surlaw]

That fish do swiftly squirm [Apsley]

Whenas the Polders freeze [Surlaw]

And Germans bite their knees [Apsley]

To circumvent tuition fees [Shipp]

And all the lies that men do tell [Apsley]

From here to Nether Hell [Surlaw]

Will in time be ravelled up [Apsley]

And we will quaff the final cup [Shipp]

Before the Baltic boils [Surlaw]

And spills anent all mortal toils [Apsley]

Of crouching peasants, towering royals [Surlaw]

And men whose heads are large as leeks [Apsley]

Whose vital organs are antiques [Surlaw]

Found in stately country homes [Apsley]

And indexed in the calf-bound tomes [P]

That float on Caspian tides [Surlaw]

Into Thracian bays where Marmaduke resides [Apsley]

We strive to stem the turning of the tides. [Surlaw]

And, repeating rhymes lest men should fear, [Apsley]

And specious hake imbibe with cheer [Sigg]

The words that merry men do rant [Apsley]

Infest our minds with carping cant [surlaw]

When as the Grecians in their mirth [Apsley]

Pollute the well-springs of the earth [Surlaw]

And, like the Thebans in their pride, [Apsley]

Ingest the tears that others cried [Surlaw]

Into a cup of stoutest bronze [Apsley]

Bedecked with images of dons [Surlaw]

In poses lifelike yet unreal [Apsley]

Their apathy be-tinged with zeal [Surlaw]

And visages bedecked with spores [Apsley]

(A fashion from the Punic Wars) [Surlaw]

And all the hake that Man can eat [Apsley]

While baying like a parakeet [Surlaw]

And grunting fish-like in a cup [Apsley]

And drowning in the washing-up [Surlaw]

And yet, at last, the sentence ends. [Apsley]

A gloom upon the pate descends. [Surlaw]

The weight of words has done its worst: [Apsley]

And all one's mental pipes have burst [Surlaw]

Unleashing lashings of thick goo [Apsley]

Engulfing coot and kinkajou [Surlaw]

And starlings, thrushes and great grebes [Apsley]


The like of which still graces Thebes [Apsley]

Disgracing fruit and fish [Surlaw]

And necromancing seeds [Apsley]

That poison every dish [Surlaw]

Except the first, a great repast [Apsley]

As tooooxic as the last [Surlaw]

But not the he with magic skills [Apsley]

Adopted by the daffodils [Surlaw]

And other plants of subtle hue [Apsley]

The cormorant and kangaroo [Surlaw]

Did nest and make their homes abune [Apsley]

The compound fractures of the moon [Surlaw]

The twlight times that men endure [Apsley]

Between San Remo and the Ruhr [Surlaw]

Bring to mind the gates of Troy [Apsley]

Where I was fostered as a boy [Surlaw]

And was whipped from pillar to post [Apsley]

And hounded down from coast to coast [Surlaw]

For thus it was I learnt my trade, [Apsley]

And thus compiled this serenade [Surlaw]

Which into Latin will not go [Apsley]

Nor Hottentot, nor Esquimau [Surlaw]

Or any language known to Man [Apsley]

Save Congolese and Catalan [Surlaw]

(The which, indeed, they do not speak [Apsley]

Unless in metaphors oblique [Surlaw]

Inclined to angles all obtuse [Apsley]

And twists tangential to a truce) [Surlaw]

Yet, to be brief, one's best repose [Apsley]

Is abject silence, if not prose [Surlaw]

That twists the very heart of man [Apsley]

Between Jamaica and Japan [Surlaw]

And furthest parts of Kathmandu [Apsley]

That furnish my three-legged zoo [Surlaw]

Of arthropods and carnivores [Apsley]

Of artichokes and hellebores [Surlaw]

And all that crawls upon all fours [Apsley]


Whenas intruders are on board [Apsley]

The wisest halfwit shan't applaud [Surlaw]

The stoutest hoat shall down a jar [Apsley]

Before we fathom where we are [Surlaw]

The universe shall turn around [Apsley]

And wither in a trice [Surlaw]

And then the camels will all bound [Apsley]

In packs across the ice [Surlaw]

To imitate the leopard in his rather spotty coat [Apsley]

The action of the tiger and the torpor of the stoat [Surlaw]

The cosmos dim shall do a dance [Apsley]

Beneath our cobwebbed cape [Surlaw]

Whenas the penguin from Penzance [Apsley]

Shall couple with the ape [Surlaw]

For in this fashion fauna sport and each to like imbues [Apsley]

His curlicues! [Roland]

The galaxy shall caper nimbly [The Agent Apsley]

Up and down the out-house steps [Surlaw]

And then sweep out a lesser chimney [Apsley]

(Deafened by the Bells of Rhymney) [Surlaw]

While the surgeon fries his crÍpes [Apsley]

And marinades his bootleg tapes [Surlaw]

(The ones of gurgling outraged apes) [Apsley]

Thus the mildewed kine resound [Surlaw]

When the ball is out of bounds [Apsley]

And browse their putrid kelp [Surlaw]

In search of potent help; [Apsley]

While I ... I dare to falter ... [Surlaw]

Whilst standing at the altar: [Apsley]

A-clutching on my psalter [Surlaw]

My neck thrust through a halter [Apsley]

Contributors: Surlaw, Apsley, Shipp, P, Sigg, surlaw, Anon., Roland, The Agent Apsley.
Poem finished: 3rd November 1999.