When a story starts up like this one did this morning I have to puzzle it out to see how it ends… and to give it a ‘working’ title.

‘One can pull a rabbit from a hat,’ the jackdaw said.
‘I wish,’ the fox replied.
The encapsulated bunny shivered.
I took its cage inside.

‘I set my cap at Mr. Hare,’
the hungry vixen growled.
The jackdaw said, ‘The man’s at fault.
He took the cage inside.’

The bunny quivered, ‘I’m not here.’
‘Nor hare,’ he quickly added.
The jackdaw said, ‘This caps it all.’
She eyed a cat who prowled

around the end of the last line
and lay down in the weeds.
The mortarboard that adorned its crown
had cutouts for its ears.

‘I think,’ the bird said sharply, ‘that
it’s catnip this cat needs.’
The fox responded, ‘Let me fix that!’
The weedy cat recedes.

We’ve had peak oil and deforestation
and now we’ve pandemonium.
The bunny dons an all-over cap
and transmutes into plutonium.

How Pleasant to Know Mr. Reynolds

by Alan Reynolds, with apologies to Edward Lear

How pleasant to know Mr. Reynolds
who has concreted reams of hot air
into harmless most times ornamentals
that he flogs for two cents at the Fair.

His mind is a sieve: he remembers
distortions of all that he hears.
He envisions an Earth burned to cinders
that he saves when he wiggles his ears.

For a human he’s an adept at flying,
say the jackdaws. They mean that he can’t.
He eschews every chance to die trying
and devotes his time trying to chant.

He basks by the sea when they let him,
not the jackdaws, the daemons of news.
He resolves every New Year to get trim
but that idea’s the first one he’ll lose.

His many friends number some humans,
several dogs, Evil Sam – that’s a cat,
and in Spain a matched span of ichneumons
he calls ‘mongeese’ and he chortles at that.

When he walks on the water it’s frozen.
When Earth welcomes in Springtime he sinks.
He’s averse to all lines that let prose in
and drifts off in those moments he thinks.

He thinks he would weep should the world stop,
he knows he will should it continue
to be wrung out by men like a whirled mop.
He imagines your gods are within you.

He reads, but he cannot speak, Spanish;
he mumbles hoping his listeners blame dentals
that he doesn’t need yet. Vowels vanish.
How pleasant to know Mr. Reynolds.