The Spoonbill Generator

Evensong, worn thin through scraping

'Nautilus shall be my theme', [Apsley]

Declared the naughty lass [Surlaw]

As she pranced upon the spume [Apsley]

Behind the looking-glass [Surlaw]

For, peradventure, she descried [Apsley]

In dim, refracted haze [Surlaw]

The ordinance that was decreed [Apsley]

In less pernicious days [Surlaw]

Its lusty tenor was the stuff [Apsley]

That drove the Kraken mad [Surlaw]

And made him chew upon the chaff [Apsley]

That beggared Galahad [Surlaw]

Our heroine made out the words: [Apsley]

The Kraken wrote the bill; [Surlaw]

He scrawled on sundry dusty shards [Apsley]

With walrus-feather quill [Surlaw]

His manners were atrocious, [Apsley]

His quiff both suave and droll [Surlaw]

If, to some tastes, obnoxious [Apsley]

And caustic to the soul [Surlaw]

The law set out, in letters stiff, [Apsley]

What naughty lasses dread [Surlaw]

To wit that they shall inhale snuff [Apsley]

Long after they be dead [Surlaw]

For snuff, in life, is bad enough, [Apsley]

In purgatory too; [Surlaw]

But, when it's heaped up in a trough, [Apsley]

There's nothing one can do [Surlaw]

Save, perhaps, insert the snout, [Apsley]

While clenching tight the eyes [Surlaw]

For, in this fashion, I was taught [Apsley]

To mitigate my sighs [Surlaw]

The naughty lass was troubled now, [Apsley]

The Kraken was on top [Surlaw]

And all that she could rightly do [Apsley]

Was bring it to a stop [Surlaw]

'Oh, Nautilus! Come be my muse!' [Apsley]

The Kraken yelled, in vain [Surlaw]

"Come don your silken dancing shoes!" [shipp]

"Anęsthetise my brain!" [Surlaw]

Its rabid use of punctuation [Apsley]

Stilled the roaring deep [Surlaw]

And reversed the incantation [Apsley]

While the snuff was going cheap [Surlaw]

The naughty lass was not amused, [Apsley]

Behind the cellar door [Surlaw]

Where those of lender wisdom gazed, [Apsley]

On what had gone before [Surlaw]

And commas stood for who knew what [Apsley]

And periods, unplanned, [Surlaw]

Would interrupt the waking state [Apsley]

From Spain to Samarkand [Surlaw]

Of those who knew the price of ale, [Apsley]

And valued it as little [Surlaw]

As I some chicken in a sauce withal [Apsley]

Of cinnamon and spittle [Surlaw]

She stamped her feet a dozen times [Apsley]

Her knees, a dozen more [Surlaw]

As if to be beat out lusty themes [Apsley]

Unmapped on any score [Surlaw]

And then, at once, she roared this threat: [Apsley]

"Anęsthetise your dream! [Surlaw]

No move else shall spare the beat [Apsley]

Nor tape-record your scream ..." [Surlaw]

At this the Kraken, wide asleep, [Apsley]

Dismissed the raging tide [Surlaw]

And lit himself a soothing pipe [Apsley]

Of neat formaldehyde [Surlaw]

No whit appeased, the lusty maid [Apsley]

OD'd on anaesthetic [Surlaw]

And on a leafy bank was laid [Apsley]

In attitude pathetic [Surlaw]

Thus the moral of this tale [Apsley]

Is masked by clumsy writing [Surlaw]

(Not my own, which should prevail) [Apsley]

With verbs and pronouns fighting [Surlaw]

Over hill, but yet not dale, [Apsley]

Through bracken, yet nor briar [Surlaw]

That clings till shaken off with ale, [Apsley]

Or purged in cleansing fire [Surlaw]

Thus, thus again, I rightly say [Apsley]

The moral of this fable [Surlaw]

Is that the man who will eat hay [Apsley]

Must some day eat the table [Surlaw]

He who poet most would be [Apsley]

Shall spurn nor pen nor pencil [Surlaw]

And eat muffins cold for tea [Apsley]

With nary an utensil [Surlaw]

For upright folk, the steeper path, [Apsley]

Grown steeper by the hour [Surlaw]

We spent whilst in the bath, [Apsley]

Awaiting solar power [Surlaw]

Is to perform anatomy [Apsley]

Upon a half-dead shrike [Surlaw]

That had an apendectomy [Apsley]

While gorging on a pike [Surlaw]

The suregon's hand must be quite still, [Apsley]

His pelvis quite at ease [Surlaw]

Inside his trousers made of twill, [Apsley]

By various degrees [Surlaw]

For, in this likeness of the truth, [Apsley]

He'll act his former age [Surlaw]

And proposition frosty Ruth [Apsley]

Spreadeagled in her cage [Surlaw]

She will rebuff him, with a stare, [Apsley]

All boiling on the brim [Surlaw]

Of a straw boater, o so rare, [Apsley]

A gondolier so slim ... [Surlaw]

And so, from this, the lesson's clear - [Apsley]

Or so I 'd like to think - [Shipp]

Sense is undervalued here [Surlaw]

Where all dress up in mink [Apsley]

Contributors: Apsley, Surlaw, shipp, Shipp.
Poem finished: 3rd October 2002.