Where Angles Hesitate

There are squirrels the size of similes. Rats pose as metaphors.
A gerbil is being a gerund. Slant rhymes recline in jars.
On the never edge of everywhere mute phonemes ply the trade
of participles who have got a royal flush in spades.

The sun comes up the way it must in legendary tales.
Storms blow away the wind itself and adverbs tally pails
of overindulgent modifiers Hemingway would hate.
The full stops start a race across where angles hesitate.

Ellipsisically in threes they trot. Alone they cannot fend
off question marks like this that marks what surely is the end?

Simpleton Similes

‘There were squirrels the size of squirrels, and a rock-like rock.
I ran through a glade in the forest
like someone running through a forest glade.
The sun shone through wintry leave-stripped branches
the way light shines through tree limbs that have lost their leaves.
On the leaf-choked forest floor a burrowing squirrel
burrowed like…’ Enough. I get the message.

Dynamics Imaged

O haggis, hunkered halfway up the hill,
uneven legs in fore-and-aft matched pairs,
each to the other skewed like stick in plaice
before the batter’s up in golden ducks,
attend right-thinking running, circle up
or down the slope until the golden mean
of altitude, corrected for spare crags,
prevails, and you proceed goat-like to graze
at ease and restfully, your haggis rules
OK, exemplifying strange attractors,
repelling border colleens, collies, kilts,
and robber burns on ceremonial night.
And, haggis, try to live as if you’ve got
the grit required to stomach Mandelbrot.

IF the weather is nice where you are, please by all means go out and play. But if, as here, the sea is too cold and petrol prices are STILL too high for happy Sunday motoring, perhaps you could help me with these footnotes.

FOOTNOTES (so far, so good, so what <s>):

1. ‘haggis’ — A delicate, delicious smallish creature hunted in the Highlands for its meet and for the hill of it. Pulled more successfully than birds by Dawkins shellfish jeans to the extent that its right legs (called Bermudas) are shorter than its left (called Levis).

2. ‘hunkered’ — Squatted down close to the ground, but not as in a squat. Unclear as to why this footnote is needed at all, except that one would have to renumber the rest (except one, ‘1’) were it taken out.

3. ‘skewed like stick in plaice’ — An impossible situation, like the impossible animal that exists (footnote 1), since a stick that is IN a plaice (large edible flat-bodied fish Pleuronectes platessa in European seas) can NOT be skewed (neither parallel nor intersecting) to said plaice. Cf. Macbeth: Act 1, Scene 7, Macbeth’s castle:
MACBETH: If we should fail?

LADY MACBETH: We fail!
But screw your courage to the
sticking-place,
And we’ll not fail.

4. ‘before the batter’s up in golden ducks’ — Before all the batter (for the plaice) has been used up playing with our food, making little golden-fried ducks. Alternatively, for those who find the first explanation not cricket, before the batsman’s or batswoman’s turn is up by being out with a nil score (from a ‘duck’s egg,’ shaped like a zero). There is of course a third and very important possibility relating back to the skew framework of the poet’s mind [sick? sic?] of batter as a transitive verb for building a wall or similar so as to form an upwardly receding slope ‘The Haggis Hunting Ground,’ but by now this footnote itself is getting battered beyond all redemption.

5. ‘attend right-thinking running’ — Admonishing the haggis to pay attention to conventional ideas of morality, propriety, and decorum whilst ALSO running to the right (otherwise it would turn its short legs to the downside of the hill and fall into the hunters’ sacks) and whilst ALSO concentrating to avoid coming too close to the perpendicular (and falling into the hunters’ sacks).

6. ‘circle up / or down the slope until the golden mean / of altitude’ —Advising the haggis (so that it may avoid falling into the hunters’ sacks) to find and keep to that aesthetically pleasing and just-right height (which the haggis computes on the trot, the ratio of the whole line to the larger part being exactly the same as the ratio of the larger part to the smaller part) where its leg-length challenge matches the mountain’s slope-flat challenge.

7. ‘haggis rules / OK’ — Reminiscent of the wonder which led one seeker of truth to The Linguist List, Eastern Michigan University dash Wayne State University to ask, on Saturday, 11 September at 09:22:06, ‘I’ve seen several British spray-painted slogans of the form “X rules OK” on walls and other outdoor surfaces. Can someone explain the syntax to me?’ He didn’t seem to get an answer.

8. ‘exemplifying strange attractors, / repelling’ — Attractors and repellers are, of course, WHAT THE WHOLE POEM IS ABOUT <s>

9. ‘border colleens, collies, kilts,’ — Since this is simply about complexity and chaos, it follows that we mix up the Borders — Scots going to Ireland, Irish girls coming back to Scotland, etc.

10. ‘robber burns on ceremonial night.’ — In Dutch ‘robber’ means ‘seal’ which is a red herring of another colour. The line itself should have Robert Burns whirling in Dumfries, which is only fair seeing how many poor little haggis have been hunted down over the years to accompany the mashed turnip, mashed potato, and mashed whisky at Burns Suppers. O, Immortal Memory.

11. ‘the grit required to stomach Mandelbrot’ — Somewhat at ‘out of the mouth (stoma) of Benoit’ but not very. More at ‘Fractal, fractal on the wall.’ I rest my case of Jacques Denials.

Teatime at Guinness Outpost

My spelling checker flips to Rorschach mode.
‘Cremates’ was its suggestion for ‘cream teas’
when I typed ‘creamteas’. The ill this flip must bode
is the basis for my trembling as I ease
a first Guinness from the sideboard, let it chill
down to the temperature of the room
I pretend is British but comes from the bill
for heating that I swept with a new broom
into the fireplace where I store the wood.
I could not pay. When I told that to the gas
man, he said, ‘I did not think you would’.
Read and tremble at what comes to pass
when poets stoop to identicals to rhyme
and chat with spelling checkers till drinks time.

Inn Fashions

The old man doffs his nightingale and whinnies.
Aware from stares that his garb is wrong, he waits
near the entrance, while his hostess sets him straight.
‘You’re adorned in bird, as we all are on Wednesdays

but it’s Tuesday! Tuesdays tout le monde wears cow
in pieces on our heads and hands and feet.
And we don’t speak horse on Tuesdays, we all tweet,’
she trills, thrilled seeing he remembers now.