Cheddar sharp enough to bite
my tongue off helps me in the night.
When the bitter wears off and the hours
awake alone take on such power,
I give up sleep, get out of bed
imagining if my devil’s fed
a sandwich he will let me sleep
(or take my soul he wants to keep).
I stumble down the servant stairs.
Once in the kitchen, my knife pares
the cheddar’s rind. It slices toast
before I toast it from the most
mould-free bread I can unearth.
A steady cutting hand is worth
two fingers easy in the dark.
(Ave, a V then, midnight lark.)
Saluting, I turn the oven on,
admiring how the bread gets drawn
up at the corners by the weight
of centred cheddar slices laid
thick to make my devil fat
and draw his claws in like a cat
I watch cheese slide
around in the oven. I make fried
eggs and eat them with grilled cheese.
I drink pints of milk, hope they appease
the wake-up devil till he dreams
and lets me too, or so it seems.
A hot big-bang describes the start
of this our universe.
Does that explain why teeth feel pain
or why this tale’s in verse?
To say birds fly because they fly
is talking through my hat.
It isn’t wrong but unlike song
it’s both too sharp and flat.
If you were dumber I’d seem smart
but that is not the case.
I see you want to find out Why.
Why don’t we have a race?
Let’s start off slowly: physics first
then chemistry and math.
Their dinky hurdles are not tall
enough to block our path.
We’ll run by frozen accidents
that pave the way to life
and run uphill while force cements
complexity that’s rife
with run-on sentences that stop
most runners in their tracks.
They won’t stop us; we’ll set up shop
in logic and brass tacks
and when we tire of calculus
of how if ‘p’ then ‘q’
we’ll race to board an omnibus
to view the primal stew.
Description’s easy (well, it’s not
but I’ll let you explain)
so I’ll describe and you’ll tell why
and that way we’ll both gain.
This race might take all afternoon
so bring along your mind
to exercise it as we run
from Darwin to the kind
of husky question I can see
there cooking in your brain.
Let’s run uphill until we’re tired
then run back down again.