Perhaps The Laundress Laments
Lake Garda, 16th Sept 73
While I was recalling my youth by the sea
I was forcibly struck by this incident
Concerning the catching of kitty-cats three
And the loathsome procedure concomitant.
The traps had been set for the lobster, whose kin
Were nearly deceived by the bait laid within,
The fisherman's notion
To encircle the ocean.
The omnibus claim
A cabin for cats for the crewmen to maim
A crab in four minds for the monkeys and crow.
A fisher stands by, and, proclaiming my name,
Dispatches the family and sends me below.
From down in the dungeon the pavement may belch
And loudly deride you in Anglicised Welsh,
A coachload from Bedford may grace the Eistedfodd
The cockroach, my mother, the man from the waterboard,
Anyone else the skindivers deplored
Cry "Ave Maria", cry "Save us, Our Lord,"
And save us, P. Wig
Spare W. Pig,
The stout and the big
The girls who hailed in the streets
Who soiled the pristine sheets
Whom the priest repeats
After me. You laughed a' me?
I have no time for Lamartine
Nor he for me, I woot,
Yet if he do, I'll know what I've been.
And through the night they sang this song...
This melismatic strain
With a ponderous refrain
And still they sing it, loud and long.
The melody's strong, the harmony also...
The chorus intones,
In alto et basso et falso.
"Strike up a chord, take up your places
Turn to the altar your pinterish faces,
Defend your religion with fearsome grimaces.
In postures athletic deliver our races,
Clamouring loudly, you're bold and audacious,
Your worth is a cactus, your head potted snipe."
To encourage the masses this dirge is intoned
While heros are slain and messiahs are stoned.
The theme is familiar, the money we're loaned
Will not be repaid till the smuggler returns.
The rights on the song will never be spent,
The Wurlitzer stands out of use in my tent.
Its stops are all rusty, diapasons both bent
While Sorrel cries Sorry! and raisins relent.
Yet Stendhal remains, the resolute one,
Decrier of Kafka, the king of the sun,
Weaned on his mother's milk, conceived of a bun,
Ruined by rabbits, their run overrun.
The followers of Balzac and Flaubert knew they'd won.
The miniaturist plies his gleeful trade,
And dips his wares in potent lemonade,
Withal a fluid most properly made
In towers which grow by the sea.
The medical men are remarkably staid.
It's not for their bodies the prelate has frayed
It's the ethos, morality and spired colonnade,
The miniature sledge and the ski.
The city besieged and ambushes laid,
The wattle bedaubed and the pigeon-holes clayed,
Striking the drums and the pale renegade,
The potentate envies the three.
The potentate potions that potentates hate
Are sold by the glass, irrespective of weight.
When drunk they repine, the pupils dilate,
And antidotes ape the bargee.
With ruinath imminent and conquering armies rarely late,
The general led his forces out the `tradesmen only' gate,
But a loud and sturdy voice bid him take the other route,
To load the guns and on the cry of 'tradesmen only' shoot!
This plan, though feebly planned, was speedily adopted,
There was no other option so no option soon got opted.
The incorruptible corrupt and the corrupt corrupt anyway,
Delilah dallied desprately and didn't dare delay.
Spend a spent match, match a spendthrift if it's spent,
But keep that mindless medicine-man forever from my tent.
Irregular verse for a bevy of wasps
"Oaf," I spake and "Pork," he replied, with
Never a thought for my old, fragile snorkel.
If I talk he'll...
Tell me twice that Tolkien's dead
Send for armies sent ahead
Call back Olivier, Ganelon bold
Brave the elements, uncamisoled,
Bustle about in your old cotton socks
Scuttle about, quite unalloyed,
Slip us a couple of pills from the box
Make us a beverage fit to be destroyed
Call back Marsila and Charlemagne tall
That both in our forces be wisely employed,
That extra potatoes be furthered to all
That meat and cauliflower be cooked,
For Vinaver so hungry looked.
To sate his thirst was Zeus!s task,
He drank Hephaestus from a flask,
The dregs he quaffed from a hefty cask,
What more need we ask?
I'm teaching my brother to moo like a cat