The Spoonbill Generator

Under the auspices of the Mesopotamian tube-station in Epping

In a distant land called Pernia there ruled a mighty Peach [Apsley]

Endlessly frustrating were his whims [Surlaw]

And thusly were the edicts that he forced on all and each: [Apsley]

Every man must practise what his neighbour fails to preach [Surlaw]

And thus, from son to daughter, spread the message of those climes [Apsley]

In lambent rhymes [Surlaw]

There then arose a hero, whose name will soon be learnt [Apsley]

Idly unappealing were his ways [Surlaw]

And in like manner were the profits that he made or earnt: [Apsley]

Knowing how to salvage what his neighbour thought he'd burnt [Surlaw]

He fabricated effigies of sundry waifs and strays [Apsley]

Grotesque displays [Surlaw]

He called himself Rude Henrik, though his name was Stanley Brown, [Apsley]

Somewhat other-worldly was his mien [Surlaw]

And in proportion to the nous that he used was his crown [Apsley]

Balanced on his ankles when his head was pointing down [Roland]

And in this way he sought to shun the lien [Apsley]

Of brilliantine [Surlaw]

His antics were heroic as befits one of his kind [Apsley]

Seldom underhand, nor marred by sppite [Surlaw]

And to the letter of the law confined [Apsley]

By some innate despair at what is right [Surlaw]

Such were his ways as at his travails [Apsley]

He shuddered each night 'twixt the sheets [Surlaw]

And drank quite down some sundry ales [Apsley]

And blocked up his throat with boiled sweets [Surlaw]

Yet these were but exterior to his profound within [Apsley]

Endlessly seductive were his wiles [Surlaw]

And his grasp of semiconductors thin [Apsley]

& though he saw the skull beneath the skin [Surlaw]

But yet, to be brief, his mind was vast [Apsley]

And shewn on sundry maps [Surlaw]

That, when the first have turned to last, [Apsley]

Shall crumple in our laps [Surlaw]

And thus, from ages past, his fame [Apsley]

Grown dim, now gutters quite [Surlaw]

And rallies yet, unlike the lame [Apsley]

Contingent on respite [Surlaw]

And hoping for a helping hand [Apsley]

Embittered but beguiled [Surlaw]

He sailed into his native land [Apsley]

With gestures rank and wild [Surlaw]

He hauled aloft a rancid flag [Apsley]

Abhorrent of motif [Surlaw]

And thus he clept the horrid dag [Apsley]

The author of his grief [Surlaw]

And woes too few to reckon [Apsley]

Despite his cadent tears [Surlaw]

Which over swept the years [Apsley]

And now the aeons beckon [Surlaw]

His artistry was matchless [Apsley]

His garters both sublime [Surlaw]

His carapace was thatchless [Apsley]

& ravaged quite by time [Surlaw]

And in his fashion hasty [Apsley]

He swung from spick to span [Surlaw]

As being far more tasty [Apsley]

Than Colonel Caliban. [Surlaw]

He climbed into the turret high [Apsley]

Above the leaking vat [Surlaw]

To polish up his paper-knife [Apsley]

And marinade his hat [Surlaw]

And in this way to deify the lady of the lake [Apsley]

Who made her way through Pernia astride a bloated hake [Surlaw]

Cursing all the peasants who bedecked her way with blooms [Apsley]

Rankly aromatic, as the dead [Surlaw]

Bemoaned by prophets and the men who handle brooms [Apsley]

Tangled in cobwebs that bedeck our heroes' tombs [Surlaw]

With spices romantic, as we said [Apsley]

At Beachy Head [Surlaw]

The populace of Pernia was angry to a man [Apsley]

Angry to a woman too, I deem [Surlaw]

And thus it was the trouble started and, perforce, began [Apsley]

When everyone forgot the fact that, once, there'd been a plan [Surlaw]

Of devious bent to thwart the mind of Man [Apsley]

And of co-ed [Surlaw]

The war-like chant did rent the air [Apsley]

The air did rend the clouds [Surlaw]

The clouds did sink in deep despair [Apsley]

Just like a weasel's shrouds [Roland]

And, for a moment, as a swan [Apsley]

Might pulverise some ancient scone [Surlaw]

Whose remnants could not be looked upon, [Apsley]

By anyone so woebegone [Surlaw]

Or choked with grief at life's hard woes, [Apsley]

Or quarried from the stone of crows [Surlaw, the he]

Then spoke a seraph with a limp [Apsley]

And, in each ear, a poisoned shrimp [Mme Surlaw]

Did hurl abuse at all around; [Apsley]

And yet, for all its bile and spite [Surlaw]

That grew into a not small mound, [Apsley]

That overcame its person quite [Surlaw]

And made its innards most unsound, [Apsley]

& undermined its plight [Surlaw]

Yet did it hold a sceptred pose [Apsley]

In colonnades of ash [Surlaw]

And held one small bedraggled rose [Apsley]

Entwined in its moustache [Surlaw]

And in this way it cast a glow [Apsley]

On Shadrach and Abednigo [Surlaw]

(Those saints from dusty yesteryear) [Apsley]

(Those fiery dribblers) [Surlaw]

Neither mouse nor man would grow [Apsley]

Asunder from such nibblers [Surlaw]

Except into a plank of wood [Apsley]


Contributors: Apsley, Surlaw, Roland, the he, Mme Surlaw, Anon..
Poem finished: 30th November 1999.