Sunday, December 31, 2006

Autumn's Tale: A Load of Cobblers

I ate a load of cobblers, pear and peach,
The giblets from two gobblers, one small yam,
And pie. The mermaids, singing each to each,
They said they knew exactly who I am.
It's early autumn, and we love the fall:
The dead birds fell, we caught 'em, and the dogs
Raised hell, since they had answered a late call,
But all of us went home and slept like logs.
The colder nights embolden me to try,
Beneath the golden leaves, an old device:
Three ballads, two short poems, one deep sigh,
And quiet glances, will they melt the ice?
I ask you: do you love my gentle wit?
This was a load of cobblers, wasn't it?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Besides Our Dignity

I suffer from an excess of restraint,
My access to vituperation lags,
Dissension, always much too mild, now sags
Beneath the weight of gentleness, a taint
It won't recover from. Am I a saint?
Do I go rambling around in rags,
Or carry my whole life in shopping bags?
O, argument has left me feeling faint.

If I should falter, think no less of me.
When quiet contemplation, all I crave
Between this day and when I dig my grave
(I purchased a used shovel recently),
Deserts us, like a ship's rat, suddenly,
Besides our dignity, what will we save?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Ready to Run

You don't remember them the way I do:
Distastefully attired, ready to run
In sweat clothes, not the colour of the sun
But brighter, shinier, not even new,
Their faces covered with an orange stew
Of perspiration, bits of hot cross bun,
And perfume hiding odours that would stun
A buffalo and turn a scared skunk blue.

I loved the way they were oblivious
To almost everything put in their path,
The way they said they'd maybe take a bath
When people stopped making such a damn fuss
About their track suits; how they smiled at us
While running swiftly towards the Day of Wrath.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


I felt a buzzing in my inner ear
And, throwing me off balance, you slipped by,
My seeing you with just my inner eye
One symptom of the buzz. When were you near?
There was a whisper I thought I could hear,
But I discovered it was just a lie
Spoken too softly. I'd have asked you why,
Except that's when you chose to disappear.

I never felt quite certain about you,
Although you certainly gave me a buzz.
If I said, "Evil is as evil does,"
What did that mean? Not actually true,
It's what I thought, not quite thinking things through.
Unerring instinct, I believe it was.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


It may be possible to hit your groove
With everyone around you making noise,
But if you get distracted by your toys
And how they whirled swiftly whenever you've
Earned time to waffle, how can you improve
Your febrile concentration and your poise?
You'd rather be out drinking with the boys
Than keeping watch, and practising your move.

The spinning figures and the top that whirls
Aren't keeping you from managing your best,
And life is more than nothing but a test.
Yes, it's a test, but so are Maggie's curls.
Did all those tender feelings for the girls
Knock you off balance? Was this ill-expressed?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Prince Bob

Make way for the illustrious Prince Bob,
The enemy of sloth, unreason's foe,
A hero to those of his friends who know
His rich experiences with the mob.
He put the kettle gently on the hob,
Thus representing his hot temper: slow
But steaming at the end; it doesn't show
Unless his mother serves corn on the cob.

He's not a snob: he'll eat a hearty plate
Of frankfurters and beans without a smirk,
Then hit the gym. He hates the guys who lurk
By the free weights. They think they look so great,
Preening and posing. Bob is full of hate
For corn, large guys, and pianos that don't work.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Clock

Investigate the truth of what you say
Before you say it. Be prepared to find
New information lurking just behind
What you believed until you saw, today,
Death proudly standing up and holding sway
Over the clock. You wanted to unwind,
But now your heart beats fast, your face is lined,
Your expectations are in disarray.

Get ready for the new warfare to start,
Expect the worst: expect your friends to cry,
And watch for dark signs in an unlit sky,
Stark omens for your incandescent heart.
Prepare for everything to fall apart.
Prepare to be amazed. Prepare to die.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Prejudice, No Pride

I wish I had some money to invest.
I'd put it into snowshoes, milk, and pens,
Because I love to shuffle through the fens
In winter, with a cold drink at my chest,
Writing about which writer is the best.
Jane Austen is my favourite. The hens
Have claimed her, but she offers a sharp lens
On human beings. Yes, life is a test.

And Austen knew this, knew that everything
Is all about the money, haves, have-nots,
Some people without cares, some without pots,
And some without the wherewithal to sing,
Since singing is a lot like havering:
You need time. Time is money. I have thoughts.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

December Poem

"It's orange duck for supper!" cried the chef,
"And then we'll watch some hockey!" He was glad
When no one challenged him: the goose was bad,
The Christmas music book in the wrong clef –
In any case, the carollers were deaf –
And he was sick of cooking Russian shad.
He didn't know how much sturgeon he had,
And, as he said, "My cousin is the ref!"

We sucked on bones, and grimly watched the game
Until he finally made us some cake,
If only just to prove that he could bake
Without those deep sighs, or attaching blame
To Russian coaches. Coaches are the same
In every country now, for heaven's sake.