Dint In The Flint
O ye bins and badges, herons and badgers,
ye throstle throated thistle thorn tub tenders,
ye clapped cloud cymbal tinkle tappers,
hear ye of the knight in the green shadowed wood,
at rest from the quest of the quibbler,
his head on a mound asleep to trickling water sound,
sheltered by his first star of summer shield.
Ye blue sky wind blown wing flyers,
awaken and wash my youth eye in my wise age,
let me follow a leaf through legend’s rural page
to embark on a rowan stage.
And ye that walk but cannot be heard,
talk on a higher pitch than bird,
let me sense you are there in some far off dell,
let me sway secure inside your chrome city bell.
O ye wind jammers on the wet pyjama seas,
O ye pelican bills on the pecked pirate parrot trees,
let me fetch berry baskets back
from the last black berry picking outing
when there was pleasure in the smile,
joy in the shouting.
O ye sparrows and finches
that chirp in the backyard near
take me back to then to be clearly here.
O ye attic bards, basement bards,
O ye walrus whiskered wine merchant
watching Wagon Train on Wednesday
when the weather forecast is due.
Better wrap it up while the vintage
tastes fine as any antique brew.
Ye that are finished with perfection
detect a dint in the flint that no one knew.
The birds have gone from my garden
as if vacuumed from the air.
I pledge my heart will not harden,
still a child bare foot on the stair.
After the Asteroid Accident
After the asteroid accident,
the dinosaurs were no more.
It happened sixty five million years ago,
the scientists are sure.
Dinosaurs live on in Hollywood,
animated on the screen.
Museums display their skeletons,
picture how their age had been.
Schoolboys play with their dinosaur toys.
They know the names of each kind.
By freak fault and cataclysmic chance
evolved our finite human mind.
That was some accident,
sixty five million years ago,
when an asteroid hit planet Earth,
off the coast of Mexico.
To live on Earth is strange.
It really is quite queer.
Don’t lose your sense of wonder.
Be happy that you’re here.
Twine With No Twist
A masked ball in Venice.
No, I don’t want to go.
I don’t like bewilderment, deception,
the idea that life’s a carnival show.
A travelling circus.
No, not with lions and elephants
wheeled in cages from rough town to rough town.
It would make me sadder than a droop mouthed clown.
But why name the places I don’t want to be,
the sights I don’t want to see?
If you cannot resist you can make your own list.
I walked by a garden and saw a stout tree.
No storm wind could blow it down.
If I were an owl I’d hoot in its branches,
my feathers black speckled brown.
A natural stone bridge spans a gorge.
Far below it flows a river.
I could be brave and live up there in a cave,
but even in my white wool coat in winter
I fear I’d still shiver.
If I name the places where I want to be,
the sights that I’d like to see,
it would be a long list notched on twine with no twist.
Roy Rogers was a clean cowboy,
he made his silver six shooters shine
before he walked into the saloon
to stand at the bar
to the sound of a honky-tonk piano tune.
Every grubby cow poke
could see he was no joke
but the man who put the robbers in jail.
Behind his white tooth smile,
he had a brain that no one could figure,
but the sheriff was glad when he rode into town
with his guitar and his faithful horse Trigger.
That last verse may have surprised you,
don’t let us pretend.
It was summoned by a memory
I came to tag on the end.
If you’re a duck you’re out of luck,
you’re never going to be famous,
unless you’re Donald Duck,
but he’s not real,
he’s just the creation of an artist
who worked for the Walt Disney company
in the early twentieth century,
but why would you want to be,
when you have a pond or even a lake,
a canal or a river to swim around in?
To understand the purity of your pleasure
we humans cannot begin.
We can only watch you waddle through the reeds,
rest your webbed feet in the shade
with everything to have and nothing to lack.
I have no time for envy
but I would not mind being an anonymous duck,
to startle the air with the occasional quack.
Today is very May.
England wakes as a green island,
celebrates itself and its very own merry month of May.
Trees lift their leaves on their branches to the sun,
waken from winter to strengthen in its light and warmth.
And I’d like to be, no, not a platypus,
but an anonymous duck,
better than being a pilot or the driver of a truck.
A duck is never short of friends.
They waddle about in company,
not like the lone heron or the stork,
and they have a gift for cartoon comedy
when humans make them talk.
O, God, it was cold in the winter,
but now it is warm in May,
a bird’s chirp seems to say.
Today Is Tomorrow’s Yesterday
Today is tomorrow’s yesterday.
A rook does not look at a book
to learn to fly.
A cook in a nook cuts a carrot
with a wish for a fish to fry.
A pig does not care a fig
if a judge wears a wig.
A cat on a mat
dreams not of a frog in a log
but a bird on a twig.
Yesterday was tomorrow the day before.
Chalk it out on a blackboard
if the knell of a bell
maroons you on the shore.
Jeremiah Odd Lobster and the Politics of Prawns
Jeremiah Odd Lobster
had one too many legs,
handy for a human
with a pile of washing
and a bag of pegs.
How often would he wonder,
as he stumbled on the shore,
what the extra ones were for.
Secretly, though he thought him drab,
he somewhat envied
Cedric Caesar Crab,
who always seemed quite pleasant,
and had no sting or stab.
Oliver Octavian Octopus
told him not to make a fuss.
How many legs he had
was not a subject to discuss,
for the more you look into it,
the more the ocean yawns,
might as well try to meddle with
the politics of prawns.
“Down here, things are simple,”
was his bubble born remark.
“We know who the enemy is,
and that is certainly the shark.
Avoid him, like a star fish,
and life’s a sea horse and a lark.”
“Yes, but O why is the Right Wing always wrong,
the Left Wing always right?”
truth attained was his desire.
“And why do both sides seem so smug?
Why is the rope strained too tight
whichever way you tug?”
“Mess with politics and you will fail,”
warned Wilfred Wilhelm Whale.
“Do not fear your intuition
when you refuse to sign
the latest Left Wing petition.
Unlike a human son or daughter,
we cast no net or vote,
we who live beneath the water.”
Still the mind of Jeremiah
desired the ice of fear and doubt
to burn with liquid molten fire.
Stone Age Sonnet
My heart stampedes,
like a herd of mammoths,
when I think of your dark eyes.
With them in mind,
I fear not the chattering baboon
or the sabre toothed tiger
in the darksome night
when no light stones shine in the skies.
You give me strength to brush away
a mammoth like a moth,
and you nourish my innards more than a
bowl of brontosaurus broth.
To be brass bold, bee hive brave,
I wish to share with you my cave.
Meanwhile, more mammoths thump the ground,
not as hard as the beats of my heart,
when I think of the depth of your smile,
the way you lift your eye lash with no sound.
Accept my Stone Age sonnet,
even though it obeys no rules.
It may sound pre-historic,
I did my best with basic tools.