"Totally Predictable Teleprinter"
or Two May Twinge


Five Days Early
φ Onyu

  1. Exactly who knew her, or thought it was true
  2. From divers Welsh poets, from volumes of song,
  3. Banquet's Ghost is here tonight
  4. Pyrex is a periphrastic P.
  5. The monkey turned the greasy handle

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Exactly who knew her, or thought it was true
Was not in the lore of the land.
Precisely whose mother had started the rumour
That Edward the 8th resembled a tumour
Was unknown to the soldiers of far Samarkand.

Entirely uncertain, her words were reported.
Methinks their veracity is not at all
Doubtable; who can redeem or redress her?
What fool, after all, would want to possess her?
None of the sailors from distant Nepal.

Quite what she intended was never that clear
(I hope you will never forget
That life-like potato I fashioned from wax).
The secret is succoured in dark cul-de-sacs
Unknown to the spurgeon of Outer Tibet.

She finished it off with a turn of the screw.
She couldn't bear it any longer.
She screwed in her turn the apricot jam
And stuffed her great grandmother's gullet with ham
Procured from Epping, or Ongar.
(He's frightened to use the word "Tonga")
(Even though it's not very much wronger)
(Or longer).

There once was an ocean-bound isle
With diameter less than a mile.
Its name was taboo.
Its natives eschew
The arrogant few,
The celibate crew
That help with the stew
In the bogs of Peru.
The celibate who?
The ill-drained two!
(O vile kinkajou)
Who came in lieu
Of those ones who
Upset our Sue
Who grievous grew.
Cry View-Halloo!
The island knew
No kangaroo
With less than a luminous smile.

From divers Welsh poets, from volumes of song,
Came the worst of the words the emperor disowned,
And the things that Big Bernard has never atoned
Were the songs that the emperor knew all along.

With sundry propellants our rockets are fuelled.
To Venus we go, then to Saturn anon,
But when all the food and the oxygen's gone,
We've nothing but sulphur and nitrogen gruel.

The verminous vacuum of far outer space,
Beloved of the coalmen in dangerous pits
Who live on plum brandy, or Slivovits,
Imported by Pirates from arable Thrace.

But space is hopelessness, emptiness now,
For the town in the sky was unspeakably grand.
The Welsh are a nation whose poems are scanned
No better than those of this present writer now.

The phoneme is a sorry mouse.
It helps to stew,
It helps to broil
For me, for you.
(Forgo no toil!)
I run the doings in this house.

The glottal stop the glowworm shuns.
Instead it seeks
On Alpine slopes
Expiring leeks
Who know the ropes
And disinherit half their sons
By ones,
And twos.
No buns,
No shoes.
I thought they were the ones.

The silent 'h' it is a beast apart.
It helps to fry
Young Malachi
That wants to cry
No lullaby.
For such is not his art
Of part
And parcel,
Of cart
And castle.
Colwyn Keep the Welsh at bay.

Banquet's Ghost is here tonight
And who will wash the dishes?
Who's the host? Announce a toast!
Where the fairy with her wishes?

The spurgeon's spook is at the door.
I trust he shan't gain entry.
For if he do my life is lost --
This much is elementary.

The intellect that fails to grasp
The oracles of Cum‘
Is scarcely likelier to know
Why sepulchres are tomby.

What further truths beyond our Ken-
Tish Weald are to be fathomed.
Talk of Wealds; remember Welders,
Who, lisping, surely has 'em. D-


Pyrex is a periphrastic P.
The ocean is an inconclusive C.
(My middle name begins with D).
But what of that?

The bus-stop was the tail of a Q
And I was always after U.
Yet somehow you were 2
Obese, or fat.

I feel that I could eat a π.
There is a small one 'fore my eye,
A-floating in the starry sχ,
Unearthly zone.

Here's the π and there's the η.
Here's the whisk and there's the β
(He lisped who owned the new 4 θ
Talking on the phone).

I C that U R A B.
I am 1 2 par D!
But don't Bb, C# today!
Or else despair.

The μ-cow came tonight for T.
I'll ! if she's as2 as me.
(Or else it were a crowd of 3,
Or twice a pair.)

The alphabet's a grotsome place.
I'll have it woven twice, in lace
And wash therewith my vacant face,
So lately stained with tears.
The treble clef is key for three,
To one who _ed the apple tree
That grows at home in my countree
And disdains the use of ears.
To symbolists I show my thumbs,
Ensmeared with recent toasted crumbs
As large as buttons on fat men's tums
Whose food is in arrears.
O terrible years!

The monkey turned the greasy handle
And screamed in several languages at once,
Causing such an awesome scandal
That the ageing greasy candle
Hermes carried in his sandal --
He'll wait until the burgeoned band'll
Use it for their stunts.

Organ-grinders' weekly payment
Scarce suffices to sustain their wives
In multi-coloured woolly raiment
(Evil stuff -- a fearful shame on't!)
Those women that I once to lay meant
(A crippled bee or else a lame ant
Succoured in the hives).

Midnight struck and laid me lower.
Scarecrows fill my mother's cupboard
And nibbled off her seventh toe, her
Favourite grown on Krakatoa
By an old potato-grower
(An expert magic javelin thrower)
Steering the ship starboard.

O, tell me do,
You Kinkajou!
O Slender Loris,
Tell me true, what deeds does Batman do?
Or Boris?
In forests
At Waterloo.
What deeds, what murky deeds does Boris Batman do?
(He, too?)
I think I'll nip it in the mud,
I think I'll soak it in blood.
I'll stem the winter flood
That rises from the glaciers in Koldest Katmandu.
O, rue!
Lest toast-eating poets examine the drains
We must watch the decaying of porcupine's brains.

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