Decimated Coinage

Father Wind
The well-cooked Dane
Colin Ear
Mother Fat-Hat

  1. Explorers we, marooned beside the plunging waters' brink.
  2. Oh pull up your braces and pluck up your teeth
  3. I haven't seen my uncle now for forty thousand years,
  4. "...And go make Orpheus your king -
  5. The lady of the mountaintops, red roses in her hair,
  6. Ban the pubs! close down the stills!

Explorers we, marooned beside the plunging waters' brink.
We could not stop to argue, for we must have time to think.
The world has edges, just like us, and we must neither cringe nor cuss,
So long as yellow loves not pink.

Our ship astride a sandbank overgrown with columbine.
We could not cease our drinking, for the water tastes like beer
And we, as mixed as tense, abjure - for we are neither safe nor sure
That wisdom spoils the drink.

Our boat in shards, our golden oars are but a sorry shore,
Our minds a sullen rift of sands, the relics of a war
Are bodies broken like a glass, and we must bed ourselves in grass
And watch the bosun sink.

Magellan come!
And heal my thumb,
But not with tears
For mountaineers
A salty dog
Is better than a sleeping log.

Begone MacDufff,
You're big enough
To haunt my nights
Or wear my tights
Quite rightly so
If only that you didn't know.

Remain Sir Drake
To sail the lake
In wooden boats
(Tugged by toads)
All this and more
Defends our treasured shore.

We beg you, sirs,
Give up your purrs,
And she will hers.


Oh pull up your braces and pluck up your teeth
Teeth that I covet so bad.
Let the garlic be bought, and the parsley be plucked,
Let the damsels be raped and the maidens all sad,
Let wimples be wombled and chickens be chucked
And the carpenters prisoned in Mayo or Meath.

Now strengthen your trousers, connect up your ears
(Ears I attempted to forge),
Let brackets be scorned (and the contents therein)
By the maniac burblings of George.
The gravel he auctioned was stolen from Bath
By a secondhand daughter of Lear's.

Now bracelets are pulleys, and cogs have no gums
And winches been made from my limbs.
I watched while we worried the negligent prawn
And circumscribed all of his whims.
The brain of the barley was found in the awn
By the rhapsody - worm (which hums).

The humming-bird bumbles, the bumble-bee stings
But marmosets carry the prize.
We all watched with scorn when the gramophone wept,
We fell on the floor at the microscope's cries,
We lay there supine as upon us it leapt
And smothered us with its wings.


I haven't seen my uncle now for forty thousand years,
Columbus was his captain and his king.
He breakfasted with Hammurabi, dined with sundry seers
And always sought the Orbit of the Ring.

The Ring was in the country-house, a-coming through the rye,
Bald sailors swabbed the deck with erstwhile wigs,
While hooded vultures soared on leaden wings throughout the sky
Counting water droplets on the twigs.

And much bedabbled now the web suspended from a tree,
The spider had espied a tiny mote,
Too big to be a bedbug, much too small to be a bee
Yet on the sodden brambles doth he dote.

My rhyzome's gone all gory at the humming of the lawn,
The cormorant is lighter than the wasp.'
The weeping willow drowns in tears an unrefracting dawn
And soon espies the golden, hazy hosp

It all comes down to symmetry, where symmetry is nigh,
The Delta wings its way to foreign climes
And teeters on the brink so deep, the waters-out so high,
Weeping sadly for his love (betimes).

It all boils down to the grist from the mile
Where Grob has mobed his mob of grobes in bogs
And drably dribbled over Bradley's bile
And God in bed can beg a bomb from dogs.

"Good gracious," cried the parson, shaking out his lousy hose,
"A mote, a midge, a bumble-bee, how richly it all grows!"
He glanced around him furtively and quickly touched his toes
And bang! - hey presto!one, two, three - he vanished up his nose
Painfully slowly.


"...And go make Orpheus your king -
And do not flee his lyric lair -
In orange groves and there beneath the rock
Where lemon trees are sheltered from the gale
And thistles grow, and dock,
Prepare.

Prepare your spondees now and sing,
Make light your heavy rhythmic toil
In silent woods, wherein the crowbar bells,
And women wait with oven-hot repasts
While every man dispels
Or casts.

And make Columbus now your queen
And do not fly on wings that melt
For love is hardest when the sun
Like butter on a hot-cross bun
Preserves the rhododendral sheen,
Its pelt.

And you, my love, shall be the prince!
The charming prince whose beauty sleeps
Between Columbus' twofold keel
Beyond the murmuring of deeps
Where terns and petrels wheel...'1

He spoke no more.

ENVOI

And you, my prince, shall be my mole!
He spoke a further word:
Columbus is the maker of my soul
In him interred.


The lady of the mountaintops, red roses in her hair,
Was frightened by a thorny limb, her red hair rose awry,
Her fruit by chance protected, by castles in the air
The which from every cloudlet I espy.

The children of the valley, white daisies in their ears,
Were enlightened by a morning hymn which echoed in their minds,
Their limbs by age enfeebled betrayed the march of years
Which no man, be he good or no, endures,
Procures,
Or finds.

The vultures of the airways, in vole-ways underground,
Will burrow through the clinging mud which caffles up their beaks
And listen though they might they hear no atmospheric sound
The which from merbanks every wombat seeks.

The fathers of the waterways (with concubines in tow)
Alleviate my happiness, incarnadine my rose -
I could of course be happy (at least they tell me so)
Transcribing all of Tennyson to prose.

The poets of the oceans (with paeans on their throats)
Ride home by sundry routes, and flay their shirts.
They strip and lying naked in the sun upon their boats
Their sons are so ungrateful, yea their attitude is hateful,
Transvestites' trousers now are changed to skirts.

ENVOI

All men of everywhere are held within my walls,
The wall has ears but never hears when anybody calls,
And I shall wait until this building falls


Ban the pubs! close down the stills!
Prate on and on and on
And on until your sleeping pills
Are woken by old John.

Chemist quit! Let printing cease
Close down and down and down
Submerged re-sign the arid lease,
Don Dr Fosters crown.

Light no teas! Destroy the vats
And burn the brewer's book
And book the man who hates all cats
And castigates the rook!

Publish the banns! We're still too close
To harbour an ominous grudge.
The lawyer's art is too verbose
(Give the judge a nudge!)

The lawyer is grandiloquent,
The judge is far too short,
The jury is ventriloquent,
This trial's a fake: Abort!

Ions, I'm told, are ethically wrong,
Gifts one never should accept,
But days are short and nights are long
For those who are inept.

Quit not the play! A vaster scene
Is sighted from the ship.
The night is long, the moon serene,
Fit ending for our trip.