Henry's Lay


J. S. Bath
Ludwig van Washbasin

  1. Sir, I bear a rhyme excelling
  2. The ship aflame
  3. Variety may be the spice of life

Sir, I bear a rhyme excelling
Those of sonnet, dirge or hymn,
Strange in sound and awkward spelling,
Undramatic, uncompelling,
Subdued in tone but never grim.

Hear who will my mulberry tale,
Shun the epic, prose or ode,
Words from gardens blown with braille,
Blind rememb'rance of the Grail,
The end of that uncovered road.

The road to rhyme is paved with bronze
And spondees are the way to Mons
(The second fiend was George, of Fons -
Rough gravel filled his face,
His place).
And scansion's towers o'erlook the fields of sense
And pounds rule over pence
Which pound the wheaten corn

Sirs, I rear a bear bewildered
By the subtle ways of art.
Shall I name her Jane or Mildred
As the Keeper of the mill did
Ere he 'gan to start?

See, then, Meredith, the maid,
She of smock, of clog, sombrero,
See the joyous cavalcade,
Serpent silken, donkey braid,
Emperor, king and pharaoh.

The ship aflame
We pirates leapt
Our soles alight
On virtues home
"O Meredith, my soul is running out,
The myth so dear to mortals is a lie
Which, told but once, atones the sauerkraut
Whose coming is as coinage to the eye
and to the pie."

Beside the line which wanders through the brook
There grows a herb of magic seldom told
And Azimuth has quoted from a book
A tale of woe whose path is paved with gold
and mandibled.

"O Meredith, my soul is running in,
The oil of subtle reason has improved
The working of the wilderness of Zin
Mysterious the ways where Bubbin moved,
and grooved."
Was not destroyed
Our souls deride
The shepherdess,
So sweet.

Variety may be the spice of life
And plenitude the seasoning of years
But who prefers a wombat to a wife
May live to see variety's careers
Down Asia's hills to crime's reward below:
Who fears the fife is foe.

And in the jail where bigamists await,
Twice loving, living twice within the span,
There is a beggar sitting by the gate
Destroying with his knife each passing van
Through vales of alms to any future goal:
The man will mate the mole.

And mating with a jailer or a judge
Is sin enough for him who longs to know

But who prefers a towing to a trudge
Will suffer much come rain or hail or snow
In delta floods or criminal monsoons:
The foe will fudge buffoons.

This foe who never varies - is he kin
To her who coincides, each part alike
To scrutiny? Whose probers, peering in
Her eyes, see devils; in the dyke
Past drainage's dry culverts, to disguise
The bike whose bin one buys.


Past drainage's dry culverts to disguise
The antelope, we walk in wild surmise.