Tag Archives: light verse

Stick Insect

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            Stick Insect

Stick insect makes itself resemble stick,
earns its name, stick insect,
phasmatodea, to speak Greek,
more commonly, phasmid,
to lift the lid.
Lives in glassy tank,
lit by green bulb, yellow bulb,
silver bulb, red bulb, blue bulb,
to create exotic, tropic,
jungle light effect,
look inside, stick insect,
hard to detect.
Owned by Hugh Minn,
happy home comes he from bank,
humdrum office tedium,
in sweat wet shirt, askew tie,
to stick insect,
for it respect,
never would eject,
liked it, alien, strange,
not like moth or fly.
To his smart, shiny flat,
friends drop by,
at first, puzzled,
glass tank wonder at,
bright bulb lit,
vacant, empty, seems to be,
apart from twist of twig and leaf,
shallow silver water tray,
little bit of grit.
Some too polite to ask,
retain civil mask,
till he points to stick insect.
Oh, yes, there it is, they say,
with relief. Well, I may.
So like the stick it sits on,
the pattern, colour of that leaf.
What a camouflage, clever chap,
hard for lizard, grasshopper, spider
to detect and trap.
Often with a smile, such words they say,
thankful for view through
Hugh’s magnifying glass,
a rare moment new
they do not will to pass.
Always think stick insect looks nice.
And when Hugh Minn
brought home Laura Leaf,
her hair long, bright with henna,
from theatre date and dinner,
was stick insect that broke the ice,
made her smile, warmed her heart,
more than Hugh did,
grateful was he to stick insect,
his pet phasmid.
Told bachelor pals,
not eagle on arm,
panther on lawn,
but stick insect
would impress and charm,
a pet passion in woman
would wake, inject.
They smiled, shiny eyed,
at his regard for stick insect,
why for it he had respect.
Told them Laura Leaf
first warmed to it, then him,
would be wedding soon,
after, Hawaiian honeymoon,
so was pleased to lay and fill its water tray,
add fresh leaves, give its twigs a trim.

Ankles and Ants

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                   Ankles and Ants

Sir Edward Burne-Jones
was, no doubt, like you,
impressed by his own name,
pleased that by his art,
he had attained his fair modicum of fame.
Before his easel, in his studio,
he lounged back, reclined,
to view his latest, unfinished canvas,
after he had long and suitably dined.
The door opened, and his young son, Philip,
quite casually, stepped in,
to present to him a piece of paper,
without expression, no frown or grin,
which had a rough drawing on it,
bare as a fish without a fin.
“And what is this?” Sir Edward asked,
raising his right eyebrow.
He could see what it was,
but he wanted his young son
to tell him, anyhow.
“It’s a quick sketch of my ankles and ants,”
his young son replied.
“As you can see, I wrote ankles and ants
at the bottom of my sketch,
to give it a name.”
His father looked at him quite wild,
when usually Victorian and tame.
“I am pleased that your drawing
is coming on by leaps and bounds,
but do you understand,
what you have said and written sounds?
Surely you mean your uncles and aunts?”
he mildly fumed, as if the proverbial spider
was crawling up his pants.
“Thought that is what I just said,”
his son replied, as if he were a kite, untied.
“My word. Blunderbuss and croaky crows.
Ants, my dear boy, are insects,
as well you should know.
Spring comes and over the floor, they flow,
and on the window sill, they go,
while ankles are part of the structure of one’s feet,
to make, as it were, the legs complete.
God forbid that I have birthed a boy
who cannot spell or pronounce his words, correctly,
even if, when you grow up, you show signs
that you can draw quite well.
Ankles and ants, uncles and aunts,
may sound the same,
but they relate to different things altogether,”
explained Sir Edward, like an owl,
who had lost a feather.
His young son shrugged his shoulders,
shook his head,
left his father in his studio.
His footsteps to his mother led.
She was fussing with the flowers,
as she often did.
He showed to her his sketch.
She looked at it as if it were
a rag he had found down a grid.
He was relieved to find
she knew who his ankles and ants were.
When he told her his father seemed confused,
and did not seem to know,
she told him that all creative persons
can sometimes be quite slow.
He shrugged his shoulders once again,
stumped up the stairs, to his room,
lay his sketch upon his pillow,
and wove wild dreams upon his loom.

The Lay of Lord Florg Fletchley Belch

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     The Lay of Lord Florg Fletchley Belch

( Being a poem composed by a frog, translated into human. )

First, an example of the original poem, written in frog, followed by the human translation for your scribal scrutiny and writty critty:

Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit, croak, gulp, ribbit, belch,
gulp, ribbit, ribbit, ribbit, burp, belch, ribbit, ribbit, ribbit.
Crawk, crawk, gumph, ribbit, ribbit, umph, crawk,
glug, morg, crawk, ribbit, ribbit, ribbit.

Winter kip over,
sniff lily, lick clover,
I splutter and squelch,
and this is the lay
of Lord Florg Fletchley Belch,
that being me,
now lightly and springy,
still yet no buzz
from the bright stingy bee.
I am big frog and old,
far older and bigger
than amphibian relation,
for your explanation, the toad.
In back garden pond I dwell,
not reedy river, swamp splodge or well.
Leap on the pad of fair lily,
sniff fronds, slimy and frilly,
smell on the grass, new mown,
belch over petals,
slime over seeds, fresh sown.
Cat, owl and magpie
annually try
to gobble me whole
on the grassy grass,
under the bird twittery sky,
but for them, with hold back and caution,
I am too fast,
and slippery, too.
With a leap and a croak,
I am back in my pond,
submerge my head with good soak,
danger is past.
Ah, I remember the tiddler time,
when I was a wee tadpole,
to be big frog, my only goal.
Now I croak and belch that I am,
muchly to my amphibian mirth,
my belly weight and girth.
Happy am I as toothy beaver,
new builder of twiggy dam.
Many a frog is a poet,
not even a newt may know it.
There was Willy Shakeleaf
and Jonny Millconic,
who wrote epic frog verse,
super and sonic.
Far more worthy are frog folk
of sonnet, lyric or ode
than wriggly grass snake,
slow worm or toad.
We can write witty critty,
get down to the nitty,
slurp sure in our muddy abode.
From serious squirm,
from one higher than worm,
light relief,
from an old croaky frog on a leaf.

The Rime of the Ancient Astronaut

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                     The Rime of the Ancient Astronaut

It was an ancient astronaut,
he stepped lightly from a tree,
to ask an earthly scientist,
who had lately had his tea,
to help fix his astral engine,
for he had forgot its key.
“Why ask me? Are you some kind of loon?”
said the earthly scientist.
“No, but unless I find my key,
I will never play my tune,”
replied the ancient astronaut,
his face white, cratered, like the moon.
“Tell me, ancient astronaut,
what’s it like, out there, in space?”
asked the earthly scientist,
lines of interest on his face.
“Space is very vast and empty,
and no solid shapes are seen,
but there is lots of air out there,
and all of it is clean,”
answered the ancient astronaut,
who beamed, like a sun lit bean.
“Why do you travel on so far,
in so much void and distant stone,
seemingly so solitary,
and so obviously alone?”
asked the earthly scientist,
his skin thin upon the bone.
“I map the cosmic pyramid
from its root to its cone,”
answered the ancient astronaut,
in a stern but solar tone.
“Why have you come and landed here?
It now dawns how strange we meet.
You are an ancient astronaut,
not a stranger on the street.
If I informed the newspapers,
they’d pay money to my bank.
I’d be rich enough to retire,
and I’d have you to thank,”
said the earthly scientist,
who was otherwise quite blank.
“I came to mend my astral wheel,
but I’ve lost my first light key,”
said the ancient astronaut,
as politely as could be.
Then in the pattern of his palm,
saw the imprint of his key.
Laughter relief after alarm,
flittered in him, like a bee.
“So sorry for disturbing you,
seems I had it all the time.
I must fly off and go away,
in lemon hues and lime,”
said the ancient astronaut,
and stepped back behind the tree,
leaving the earthly scientist,
to wonder what next would be.

After Reading Metamorphosis

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                      After Reading Metamorphosis

After reading Metamorphosis,
he woke a giant spider,
crawled out of bed,
how many legs he had,
eight or twelve,
was beyond him as decider.
Lay sprawled on grubby carpet.
For this, he thought,
I’ve Franz Kafka to thank,
now I’ll never be a
bowler hatted businessman,
civil servant at the bank.
Found he had retained
his human appetite,
sniffed the carpet fibres,
for food trodden by his slippers,
he ached to smell a frying pan
sizzling tomatoes, eggs and kippers,
even licked the legs of chairs,
soon gave up, never ate in his room,
only in the communal kitchen,
down a narrow flight of steep
descending stairs.
Started butting the door
with the furry, black soot bag
that functioned as his head,
wished he was not a live arachnid,
still glad he was not dead.
Landlady creaked up the stairs,
each step made a dent,
thumped the door with her fist:
“Are you in there? It’s Mrs Hock.
I’m here for the rent,”
she bellowed, like a gorgon in the mist,
and that is all she said.
His stomach made a growly noise,
wanted to make a human excuse,
that his spare money had been spent.
Then came the nightmare true.
Landlady turned the key.
He legged it up the wall,
and to the ceiling clung.
She bulldozed in the room,
looked up at him, as if she had been stung.
Wanted her to go away,
now she saw him as he was,
he was certain she would come at him
with a hammer and a can of fly spray.
And to think he had planned
to read The Castle and The Trial,
no more books by Franz Kafka,
even if he did write well, made him think,
and oddly made him smile.
Was then he woke,
human, pale, cold and dry.
Won’t read a book like that again,
he vowed, no more transformation dramas,
glad to see his window framed
the grey early morning sky.
Creaky boned, he fumbled out of bed,
drew his yellow mothy curtains,
and looked through his smudged glass window,
felt thin and hollow in his rumpled
dark moss green pyjamas.
What an existential nightmare, he thought,
as he planned his summer visit to Peru,
to see the Andes, Inca ruins,
and to ride about on llamas.

Chadwick the Courageous Carp

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                             Chadwick the Courageous Carp

Now hear me as I hymn and harp
of Chadwick the courageous carp.
By my newspaper, I was told,
he is two foot long, ten years old.
A chagoi koi carp, his full name,
so from Japan his kind first came.
In an aquatic centre lived he,
in Hampshire, happy as a bee.
Then came the floods, after the rain,
caused by global warming, some explain,
and he was swept from his still lake
with whatever else the floods would take.
His friend, Steve the sturgeon by his side,
he was taken on a tumbling ride,
over roads, industrial estates,
he was hurried with twigs and crates,
till driven in the River Test,
longing for the lake he loved best.
Now seven miles away it lay,
a dog walker saw him at play.
So from the river, he was saved,
his gills and fins he gladly waved.
His keeper came and took him home,
now no more will he need to roam.