Belshazzar's Snack
or Watch this Space

  1. The follies of the Argonauts are terrible to tell.
  2. I tried to count the Pharaohs at the bottom of my garden,

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The follies of the Argonauts are terrible to tell.
The arguments of Falstaff, they were pretty dire as well.
But all are over now.
Yes all are dead and gone,
And dead birds smell.
The Duke of Gloucester's "John"
And petty actors look to him as to a sacred cow,

An operatic cow that used to low and grin,
And wring the neck whose knee belongs to Jason's kith and kin.
Do I light all the hods?
Yes, the hods should all be lit.
Let the holocaust begin,
(For the tunnel is ill-lit)
And the Miners are non-plussed; they beseech their bovine gods,

"Jove, I now beseech you, say the word that fires the bolt,
That upsets the stable dawn, calls the sunrise to a halt."
Thus called the coal-black crew,
Poisoned pigeons in their hands
From far Hainault
Or other tainted lands,
Where birds are bait for businessmen and buxom barmaids too.

The Follies of the Shepherdess, or BergŠre to the French,
Were always re-enacted in a Caledonian trench,
Far beneath the Highland Block,
Far beyond the island realm
Where dead birds smell
In Iolanthe's helm.
For here, as everywhere in fact, corruption is no shock.

I tried to count the Pharaohs at the bottom of my garden,
Where roses grow and, fading fast, the snow begins to harden.
But my eyes had scarcely focussed when they lit upon a locust.
The locust flew away and cried, "Oh dear, I beg your pardon."
The Pharaohs and the roaming cats in deadlock fought no more
(As Roman wedlock was a match that knew no three or four),
Yet for polyg mous sphinxes or per¡patetic lynxes
Such interrupted combat was a part of ancient lore.
And the law of ancient parts disclaimed the Pharaoh and his tribe.
"Try below the labyrinth," they cried, "for liquor to imbibe."
We pursued a beery runnel down a lengthy ill-lit tunnel
And soon we met a helplessly inebriated scribe.
"Where's the locust, where's the locust?" cried he, clutching at the air,
With hyacinths and daffodils embroidered in his hair.
But he might have been an Asian, or of other odd persuasion,
Had the Welder's second cousin not been swindled at the fair,
Where the roses harden softly in their concrete-hard retreat,
And the amaranthine lilies bloom along the shores of Crete.
And the sickly lady Pharaohs munch their Picnics and their ’ros
And the psychopathic jester serenades a parakeet.
Seven ages lives the swan, for swan ages pass away.
Seven swans saw the sage at the breaking of the day.
It was well and truly broken, and the splinters, ash or oaken,
Were burnt to make the sunset; the dusk was ashy grey.
O the Jester and the Pharaoh and the Welder and the Sphinx,
And the Welder's second cousin (O miserable minx!),
With this greeting I shall greet 'em: "Quit you now my Arboretum!
When I'm roused I'm more ferocious than anybody thinks"

©1973, 1999 The Rat Fathom Poets
Edited by Peter Christian
May 31 2023.