The Nose Library
or Halley's Vomet
The penants of the rival cause which flutters in the dale
Are variously coloured in darker hues and pale
And designs of beasts and birdlings - embroidered thereupon -
Embody all the vacillations common to the scale.
The flashing of the hostile sword, the whisp'ring of the wind
The sun on pagan tentpoles, the foemen newly skinn'd
The screams of dying armies, the soft refreshing rain,
Repel the general's jester; no calf was left unshinned.
Before the battle, in the vale, a beggar lost his way
Which fluttered through the wildermist before him like a crow.
The armies met - each soldier stoutly mounted on a rhino,
Whose soapy hooves unstably galloped through the forest lino
(You may forget the things unsaid that scarcely even I know)
And go not there!
The rivals of the pedant's cause, in deltas, in a fluff,
Were warned of the disaster by a counterspying chough
Impaled on Bubbin's baster, his beak in peril's pram
And his talons clenched around a Norfolk ham.
The by-election isn't half the governmental poise
The high erection topples to the ground
And politics embezzles us like theatre in the round
And statesmen's vows are nought but random ploys.
The plutocratic parliament is seldom ill at ease
The root of static action unbegun
And economic academics frolick in the trees
And uniforms bedevil every one.
The decisions of the Union, each one poorer than the next,
Condemn the writing of unnumbered verse
And vendors of plutonium, bebothered and perplexed,
Decipher the unlettered doctor's curse.
This oath, in fifteen stanzas, writ in lard,
Has lost its clarity because the heat
Of flaming impetigo, scorned and charred,
Has made the envoi sadly incomplete.
Which onion, which impediment, has made our princess cry?
Which carrot changed the parrot to an owl?
And the gannet to a planet, and the winkle to a fly?
What philosophic elf is on the prowl?
Whose caution spells surcease to victory's aim
Whose residue is worthwhile but to sense
Whose skill is minimal, whose smell the same
Whose passion has pervaded my pretence?
The noble art of bloodshed is not lost,
Nor lost the cask of tears so newly won.
The one in bloody scruples is embossed
While basks the other proudly in the sun
While bronzer chiefs may hanker for the cold
Which, though unkind, invigorates the bold.
The nobles use the woodshed for their trysts
Ejecting first the niggers dwelling there
In violent manner (as the king insists),
The royal dartboard carved with little care
(So little that the 8 has been omitted)
By hosts of blunted missiles has been pitted.
And fascists hold the fashion to their tracts,
Their fingerpoints didactically wagged,
Ignoring twenty centuries of pacts
Ignoring pundits, oxfordly bebagged.
The tomatoes are nourished on blood.
The gardener has sunk in the mud.
Mediaeval moats are too wide for men of stone
Brazen the colossus which bestrides
The harbour and the sound - scarce louder than a moan
Scarce softer than the sloshing of the tides
Upon my throne.'
In dudgeon in the dungeon for my luncheon I was locked
(Possibly a fate which I deserved)
While the inundated villagers were nothing less than shocked
And a few were, sadly, totally unnerved
And sadly swerved.
Keep me to my word, for with grammar-poisoned clause
My temper frays as I await the sentence,
And pilfer my confessions, as I have pilfered yours
Polluting each despicable repentance
"Il pollo verde non e mica morto"
Though Giacomo has poisoned every pope.
The three-toed sloth has now become a four-toe
And the slender loris stouter far than Hope.
Although my head is clay
I rue the passing day.