change lobsters

just watch those lobsters jive

cavorting up on deck

bopping a danse macabre

in their potted discotheque

 

as we caper in our kitchens

they’ll go waltzing while we whisk

our friends the kind crustaceans

will salute us as we frisk

we’ll clap their claws

in loud applause

as they boogie twist and tango

but the greatest thrill

is the lobster quadrille

finished

with a slice of mango

 

dancing on the boiling sand

dining deep beneath the sea

with claw in claw and hand in

hand with some for you and

more for me

 

take your places

form a line

the music’s about to

start throw your partners

into the brine

and tear their limbs apart

 

up the cry goes

change lobsters

and run

for nobody knows

when the dancing is done

and nobody knows

if it’s even begun

 

so pass the spoon me

hearties pass the spoon

to me

it’s far too late for supper

but it’s not quite

time for tea

 

the table’s set most

prettily with

trumpets toads and

pedants

while fainting waiters

discourse wittily of

deaf and dainty pheasants

 

be sure to take a

turn or two

with each bumbler at the ball

and just before those sleepy curtains

fall SCREAM lobsters

my lobsters

I love you one

and all

 

I kiss your frilly tails

now rolled up in your

mouths I

marinate your hearts

with a splash of

dry vermouth

 

avec sauce asks

the gryphon

a tad

disconsolate

 

just a little

the mock-turtle says

and weeps

into his plate

lobster-quadrille

whose side are you on

for Jonathan Jones

 

whose side are you on

that question again

wont leave me alone

even in the national gallery

 

seriously

anything but labour

me

alone

im looking at tit

ian      a socialist in the museum

look

 

presumably      retiring

totally fruitless

stoppages      all out

 

immediately break

jeremy corbyn

all my adult life      in the past

a cynical      muscle

accuses

 

the case      has been made

 

desire      closing

worse disruption to come

nonsense      art      people

kids in the summer holidays

visitors who come      all over

a lot of ordinary people

great art

 

the management

savage neoliberal ideologues

i       love      its hard

grind

down     the workers

 

possibly      retiring

writes      speaks

 

face      soft      old

oil      strike many

a long tradition

inclined      unthinkingly

rooms and rooms

great

might

harder

 

the most extreme provocation

public service      i cant help

much easier

government

 

i dont think

i think

throw its weight about

i didnt think

seriously      put      out

much of my lifetime

 

whose side am i on

a tory      i am

crying

hard

turn

me

one

A Forward-Looking Vision for a Brighter Tomorrow

p02px49n

 

Good evening. It’s an honour to be here.
People of Britain: I salute you all,
And assure you that you’ve nothing to fear.
The government has its eye on the ball.
The opposition may bluster and smear,
But my Cabinet colleagues can stand tall.
The crisis is over, good times are near.
In every village, there’ll soon be a mall.

The promises we make are ones we’ll keep.
This much I pledge: our targets will be met.
Banished forever is all cause to weep
Because anything you want, you will get.
You’ll have perfect teeth and a good night’s sleep.
Your kids will receive a free fluffy pet.
Though mountains be high and valleys be deep,
I guarantee water will remain wet.

Compassion’s our watchword. Make no mistake:
We value the old, the poor and the sick.
Because that’s why we’re advising that cake
Is a good alternative to bread. Kick
A beggar, by all means, and make him ache,
But carrot should be used as well as stick.
In exchange for a picture of a steak,
Homeless riff-raff will give your boots a lick.

Now is the time for action. What I’m told
By the normal, everyday folk I meet
Is that they expect our plans to be bold.
This much I promise: cookies will be sweet.
Never again will hot chocolate be cold.
Warm ice-cream is something no-one should eat.
Plus doctors will be sacked, hospitals sold:
For details, refer to my latest tweet.

This wonderful nation truly is blessed.
Proud is our destiny, happy our fate;
Let nobody tell you we’re not the best.
The future is coming; not long to wait.
Proles in factories, working without rest;
Slave labour for all children under eight;
Life in jail if you fail you’re grammer test.
We’re in this together. Make Britain great!

 

Fair Youth Who Sports Disrobed In Snow

Fair youth who sports disrobed in snow:
Prithee, what’s thy madness? Dost know
That Winter wreaks its mischief cold
On caitiffs young alike as old?
Thy tender years shall spare thee not
Its fell regard. Art thou a sot?
By thy antics, I see that ale
Or wine hast thou imbibed; though pale
Thy body is, thy cheeks are red,
Thy lips as plump as one well-fed,
Thy nose a glaring shade of pink:
‘Tis clear thy senses, drowned with drink,
Betray thee to thy doom. Reason
Hast thou none, bold swain; the season
Grips with bleakness chill, and our days
Its wrath doth ravage. Only gaze
With eyes dismay’d betwixt thy legs:
What once was proud, now plaintive, begs
For warmth and succour. Oh, ’tis sad
To see it suffer, for ’tis clad
In nought but frost-worn woe, its hue
A healthless, weak and wilting blue.
Think, what’s more, on its fellows: those
Soft jolly orbs thy leman knows
So well―see how they are dwindled!
Can frozen joys be rekindled?
This brumal brunt they bravely bear,
But shrivelled thus beyond repair,
They’re of no use, and are defunct.
Desirest thou to be de-spunked?
Desist thy pranks; thy clothes put on,
Else, naked still, ensure th’art gone
To some more temp’rate spot and mild
Where free may’st frolic as a child.
Hie thee hence to less hiemal climes:
Away with thee; I’ve no more rhymes.

Does Love’s Sweet Passage Have an End?

In nets of doubt my limbs are caught
As I my lover seek to please.
My mind’s gripped by a fearful thought
That casts out every hope of ease.
My breath quickens, my skin goes pale.
Even now, as I lewdly flail
And shudder as my bedsmate brays,
With mournful notes the music plays
While I my passion’s store expend.
There’s nothing time cannot erase –
Does love’s sweet passage have an end?

 

Has lusty verve no high-walled fort
Secured against time’s harsh decrees?
Shall stout defences come to naught,
Their ramparts routed by the breeze?
No castle can protect its grail;
The king shall weaken, though he rail.
From crag to sand each rock decays;
This transition ought not amaze.
The painful truth we must perpend:
If nothing lingers, nothing stays,
Then love’s sweet passage has an end.

 

Life is long, but youth’s voyage short,
For degrades each ship by degrees.
The worn-out vessel’s held in port,
Too old to brave the thrilling seas;
Its frames, once mighty, now are frail –
Yet still the seaman longs to sail!
The ropes loosen; the canvas frays;
The decrepit mast limply sways.
The captain stirs to patch and mend;
He craves those salty ocean sprays.
But love’s sweet passage has an end.

 

Bewail this wrong before the court,
You’ll have poor answer to your pleas.
There’s no redressing Nature’s tort
When all your wealth its bailiffs seize.
No sly parliament can prevail:
Each politician’s bound to fail.
No knotted legislative maze
With perplexing turns meant to faze
Shall timeless laws a jot amend.
These bills’ defeat the house dismays,
Yet love’s sweet passage has an end.

 

Let this lesson be soundly taught:
Those merry Metaphysic fleas
Who with our mingled blood disport
Must succumb to the wry disease
That leaves no creature brisk and hale.
Ardent verses are no avail;
Delude yourself that lines of praise
In honour of your lover’s ways
Shall the unerring clock suspend,
When all’s told, the same question weighs:
Does love’s sweet passage have an end?

 

ENVOI

Aged and feeble in far-off days,
I’ll turn to see with squinting gaze
Time’s dark backward abysm extend,
Beclouded by memory’s haze;
For love’s sweet passage has an end.