Gruyere-Some Squeals Are Heard, I Hope

Here is a chant royal written a while back (1997) in homage to a super poet, Neil Harding, creator, when he was not pursuing Eastern modes such as sushi and rings a crumpet, of many a character trumping Punch’s Bargepole, some mentioned in the scree below in answer to his Anon a mouse series of cult fame.

When summer peaks and days start turning short
and wainscots creak and the blooming mouse does that,
comes blooming out as I take my first snort
of the morning, cor, I’m off to buy a cat.
A great large cat with eyes like rancid peas
and whiskers curling up so he must sneeze.
He’ll grab that mouse and gobble him with haste
while his brows recede at the truly horrid taste
of the tail and toes and bit that was the brain.
He’ll chew and smack till nought’s left but some paste
and seaside sparrows shiver in the rain.

When Ma Mouse whelps, it’s too late to abort
and her litter lands with giggles, squeals, and splat
and I drop the book where I’m reading of young Wort
and the dog gives chase and Ma runs out the flat.
But a nonagon staircase catches her lice and fleas
that flee as she runs, and cold flue makes them freeze
and Anon’s won’t grow up if he dares to waste
his chance to steal and grows up a pantywaist
who won’t gnaw cheese while the cat’s deaf from the train
that rumbles by while the polled fleas fall unplaced
and seaside sparrows shiver in the rain.

Now a mouse or twenty scarcely make a quart
but unlike gerbils you can’t keep them in your hat
because housebroken’s not what they’ve been taught
and they’re naught but midget mirrors of the rat.
As a midget rat with a squeal and rickety knees
who weasels on debts and often cops his pleas,
Anon’s not cute and it’s high fun to lambaste
his hide and catch him hopping, hot, shamefaced,
with his rat snout shining through the window pane
where clouds reflect how hares are oft more chaste
and seaside sparrows shiver in the rain

Old Anon’s author is a poet who can’t be bought
or I’d offer him a drop and invite him in to chat
of the cricket and whether he thought Botham ought
to have gone to Cape Town and taken his turn at bat,
not that I care about old histories
but he might forget to write mice, and I’d tease
for a flatman story, or a barge pole to impaste
that bleeding mouse with. No, I’m not two-faced
and I want my satire dark and that he’ll abstain
from mousing while the heavy stuff’s disgraced
and seaside sparrows shiver in the rain

A burger-queen kit-kat mouse house can’t be fraught
with rooms where royal chants can get to bat,
so rodent cultures are what we must thwart
to make our Weaver write a requiescat
or other work to take in hand our kidneys
or make sly fun of what’s begun (bard, please!).
I dream a dream, with cats, of how a whey-faced
mouse of some repute is banished, Samothraced
not to return because out there there’s ratsbane
and whips ensuring mice get steeplechased
and seaside sparrows shiver in the rain

O Weaver! Weavers! Help Anon get aced
so Wimbledon and cricket can regain
our oh-so-small attention spans. Let pain
pan-fry the mouse until at last he’s plaiced
and seaside sparrows shiver in the rain.

Reelecting the Villains

Poeticising. Dreaming in the Word Mill.
Kaleidoscope-colliding observations.
Scenes sharply seen seem seamed with those imagined.
More esses than a snake can shake a stick at
go moseying along so slickly, that could Moses
see them shifting shape, he’s think his own trick poor.
To trick the poor into voting for reelection
of the villains who impoverished them last time
and other subjects mastermind the poem
that won’t get written. I’m poeticising.

Catherine Darc

She is waiting for the death bug unaware
that she is waiting for the death bug. She is bored.
Her life remains a trick she’ll double dare,
like life did her, presenting her the gourd
of plenty when she asked it for a sword.
She had wanted war, a war to make things right.
War came and went and though her throat felt tight
she can’t remember details like who won.
She is waiting. Will the death bug come tonight?
She does not know what they’ve agreed upon.

Note: Catherine Darc, whose initials became in the late 20th Century synonymous with electronically stored music, was in her lifetime (early 15th Century) a non-celebrity.

Here I am imagining for her that she lived a long, peaceful life while hankering for the passion, armed conflict and bright, gaudy fame that was the lot of her sister Jehanne (Joan of Arc).

Being Alive at Ninety-One Rue de Sabrosa

A bit of ‘wild mind’* writing for a friend

There are squirrels in the fall-fashion colour called ‘mauve iridescent’
and a jackdaw as witness or he would be were he not sleeping.
The frail-seeming Goddess turns over and aeons collide
as she sleeps in the forest in a bag of impervious silk.

The prices one pays for being alive at Ninety-One
Rue de Sabrosa! ‘What’s a Sabrosa?’ asks a Jung gull,
collective memory awry at Avian Heights.
‘It’s a street name,’ answers uselessly a management consultant
who is also an owl who also may moonlight as mouser.

My world is a far better place with you in it.

The silk bag hovers nefariously (‘Precariously?’
asks the Jung gull) in spite of supporting the goddess
and serving as the perch of the great horned owl.
‘Horn-rimmed,’ suggests the Jung gull. ‘Stop that. Owl!’

We wished for rain and got some, built an ark,
ensured it All-Risk. When it washed away
we were in clover until the sky went dark,
the stars going out. We miss the milky way
that horizons used to glimmer. The sky’s gone sour
and bobs your uncle along with green crab apples.

‘More drink?’ the dormouse offers. It won’t help.

Wild mind – what else? Tame kidneys? Placid lungs?
Mythology is a giggle when compared
to this Jacob’s ladder with its missing rungs
sawed off – I’ll bet – by the goddess who repaired –
she says – the galaxy that we turned into plastic.

A multiple-choice quiz defeats the purpose
if there was one of a proper education.

She is not hungry so she eats a second breakfast
to kickstart resurrection but that fails.

‘Wild mind, why not? I’ll tell you,’ says the editor.
‘Writing on is a plague like overpopulation
and,’ he adds theatrically, ‘pervasive plastic.’

The lame life story lies down with short lines
that consume it but by gods not soon enough.
Vinegar recesses – wine, grapes, vines –
to primeval algae, dustbowl. Quantum stuff.

We watch creation wind up, stop, rewind.
A thousand thoughts escape and wave goodbye.
Good riddance too. We think they are unkind
and they say we are dull. Okay, goodbye.

The plethora of totality are one.

  • A footnote about where ‘wild mind’ came from. As I scribbled along I remembered ‘wild mind’ from a book I read in August 1999, Wild Mind, Living the Writer’s Life, Natalie Goldberg, 1990. Quoting her in part: ‘… I want you to look up at the sky. Do you see it? It is a big sky … So our job as writers is not to diddle around our whole lives in the dot but to take one big step out of it and sink into the big sky and write from there. Let everything run through us and grab as much as we can of it with a pen and paper. Let yourself live in something that is already rightfully yours … your own wild mind…’


She was lonely as stink so she ordered some stuff
in hopes that she’d see the human

who would deliver it driving a UPS
or DHL conveyance.

The doorbell would ring and she would sing
‘hello’ and the messenger would smile

and all would be the way it ought
for a lovely though small while.

Deliveries are ‘same day’ these days —
she tracks hers by phone.

She flings the door wide when her package arrives
delivered by a drone.

Song of Echoes

It was somewhere far away, another time.
Humans still joined together for peaceful purpose
not to feed on and off each other’s fears
and take their homes and children, kill them dead.

We listened to the healing music reggae.
We waved to people who were friends
we were sure sometime we’d learn their names
and invite each other to make love

not war. This was long so longingly ago
before the hate that used to simmer off of stage
was freed by despots to destroy all
we had won when we tried to be our best.

Listen hear the music’s echo calling
from the bomb-cracked wall more used to wailing
than to notes and rhythms of the spirits godly
in the times we had and hope to see again.