The Witch's frolic

[Scene, the 'Snuggery' at Tappington.-- Grandpapa in a high-backed cane-bottomed elbow-chair of carved walnut-tree, dozing; his nose at an angle of forty-five degrees,--his thumbs slowly perform the rotatory motion described by lexicographers as 'twiddling.'--The 'Hope of the family' astride on a walking-stick, with burnt-cork mustachios, and a pheasant's tail pinned in his cap, solaceth himself with martial music.-- Roused by a strain of surpassing dissonance, Grandpapa Loquitur. ]

Come hither, come hither, my little boy Ned!
Come hither unto my knee--


The Whole of it came not at once

762

The Whole of it came not at once—
'Twas Murder by degrees—
A Thrust—and then for Life a chance—
The Bliss to cauterize—

The Cat reprieves the Mouse
She eases from her teeth
Just long enough for Hope to tease—
Then mashes it to death—

'Tis Life's award—to die—
Contenteder if once—
Than dying half—then rallying
For consciouser Eclipse—


The Visitor

it came today to visit
and moved into the house
it was smaller than an elephant
but larger than a mouse

first it slapped my sister
then it kicked my dad
then it pushed my mother
oh! that really made me mad

it went and tickled rover
and terrified the cat
it sliced apart my necktie
and rudely crushed my hat

it smeared my head with honey
and filled the tub with rocks
and when i yelled in anger
it stole my shoes and socks

that's just the way it happened


The Vicar Of Bray

In good King Charles's golden days,
When loyalty no harm meant;
A furious High-Church man I was,
And so I gain'd preferment.
Unto my flock I daily preach'd,
Kings are by God appointed,
And damn'd are those who dare resist,
Or touch the Lord's anointed.
And this is law, I will maintain
Unto my dying day, sir,
That whatsoever king shall reign,
I will be Vicar of Bray, sir!

When Royal James possess'd the crown,
And popery grew in fashion;


The Vicar

SOME years ago, ere time and taste
Had turn’d our parish topsy-turvy,
When Darnel Park was Darnel Waste,
And roads as little known as scurvy,
The man who lost his way between
St. Mary’s Hill and Sandy Thicket
Was always shown across the green,
And guided to the parson’s wicket.

Back flew the bolt of lissom lath;
Fair Margaret, in her tidy kirtle,
Led the lorn traveller up the path
Through clean-clipp’d rows of box and myrtle;
And Don and Sancho, Tramp and Tray,


The Very Image - To Rene Magritte

An image of my grandmother
her head appearing upside-down upon a cloud
the cloud transfixed on the steeple
of a deserted railway-station
far away

An image of an aqueduct
with a dead crow hanging from the first arch
a modern-style chair from the second
a fir-tree lodged in the third
and the whole scene sprinkled with snow

An image of a piano-tuner
with a basket of prawns on his shoulder
and a firescreen under his arm
his moustache made of clay-clotted twigs
and his cheeks daubed with wine


The Tyre

Just how it came to rest where it rested,
miles out, miles from the last farmhouse even,
was a fair question. Dropped by hurricane
or aeroplane perhaps for some reason,
put down as a cairn or marker, then lost.
Tractor-size, six or seven feet across,
it was sloughed, unconscious, warm to the touch,
its gashed, rhinoceros, sea-lion skin
nursing a gallon of rain in its gut.
Lashed to the planet with grasses and roots,
it had to be cut. Stood up it was drunk
or slugged, wanted nothing more than to slump,


The Tunning of Elenor Rumming

Tell you I chyll,
If that ye wyll
A whyle be styll,
Of a comely gyll
That dwelt on a hyll:
But she is not gryll,
For she is somwhat sage
And well worne in age;
For her vysage
It would aswage
A mannes courage.

Her lothely lere
Is nothynge clere,
But ugly of chere,
Droupy and drowsy,
Scurvy and lowsy;
Her face all bowsy,
Comely crynkled,
Woundersly wrynkled,
Lyke a rost pygges eare,
Brystled wyth here.

Her lewde lyppes twayne,


The Tree in Pamela's Garden

Pamela was too gentle to deceive
Her roses. “Let the men stay where they are,”
She said, “and if Apollo’s avatar
Be one of them, I shall not have to grieve.”
And so she made all Tilbury Town believe
She sighed a little more for the North Star
Than over men, and only in so far
As she was in a garden was like Eve.

Her neighbors—doing all that neighbors can
To make romance of reticence meanwhile—
Seeing that she had never loved a man,
Wished Pamela had a cat, or a small bird,


the times

it is hard to remain human on a day
when birds perch weeping
in the trees and the squirrel eyes
do not look away but the dog ones do
in pity.
another child has killed a child
and i catch myself relieved that they are
white and i might understand except
that i am tired of understanding.
if this
alphabet could speak its own tongue
it would be all symbol surely;
the cat would hunch across the long table
and that would mean time is catching up,
and the spindle fish would run to ground


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