Adventures in Phantom Time



Adventures in Phantom Time

Charlemagne, Charlemagne, where did you go ?
Where is your kingdom and afterglow ?
Where is the Bede now, or Alfred the Great ?
Wherefore the burgeoning Byzantine state ?
What of iconoclasts spoiling the feast ?
What of the Slavs who are ruling the East ?
What of the Vikings’ unstoppable force ?
Just when will Lindisfarne fall to the Norse ?

Three hundred years, and none of it happened.
Three hundred years, and all lived in one day.
All of that history, artwork and trappings
Are nothing but forgeries, fooling away.
Nothing but myths and mistakes in the dating,
With stories conflating,
And years gone astray.

Charlemagne, Charlemagne, where is your reign ?
Where are the Arabs all storming through Spain ?
Where are the monks and the plainchants they sing ?
When will they bury the Sutton Hoo king ?
Where are the famines and smallpox and worse ?
Where are they writing their epics and verse ?
Where are they building their towers of bells ?
Where are they gilding the Vellum of Kells ?

Three hundred years, and none are correct –
Just three hundred years in the stroke of a pen.
All of that history – tattered and wrecked;
It’s either invented or happened elsewhen.
Nothing but legends and lack of hard data,
To make us all later, millennial men.

But three hundred years…
How many lives in those three hundred years ?
How many folks with their hopes and their fears ?
How many lovers, and soldiers, and seers ?
We shouldn’t ignore them, we shouldn’t mistreat them,
Or else we’ll be doomed to forever repeat them.



The Phantom Time Hypothesis is a conspiracy theory that purports that the period of history in Europe between AD 614–911 did not actually exist.



Posy Prosy

girl reading
A Girl Reading by Charles Perugini


Posy Prosy

There’s no shame in prose,
In stories and sayings,
In thoughts and bon-mots,
And pledges and prayings.
But let’s not pretend
They are what they are not:
It’s prose that we’ve penned,
It ain’t poems one jot !
Be proud of our prose
For the prose that it is,
Cos ev’ryone knows
That good prose can still fizz !
And sure, we know sometimes
That prose is poetic,
But without the rhymes
Then our poems won’t click;
And ev’ryone knows
When there’s prose at the roots,
For poetic prose
Is still prose to its boots.
A verse without rhyme
Is a song without music;
But keeps its own time,
Which will helps, if we choose it –
For a song without music
Can still be quite stellar:
The beat lets us use it
To sing a capella;
The song is still driven
On metrical feet.
But a verse without rhythm’s
A song with no beat.
Yet a verse without rhythm
Can still be good prose,
And still can be striven for
When we compose.
So stop all this posing
Of poetic throes;
There’s no shame in prosing,
So let prose be prose !







Is your backyard unkempt and scarred ?
Then call us to the scene !
Is your bare patch not up to scratch ?
We’ll turn your brown dirt green.
We’ve got the roots and seeds and shoots
And foliage to go.
We’ve got the blooms and shrubs and ’shrooms
To make your garden grow.
No need to dig to get ’em big,
No need to rake or delve.
With zero care, they’re ev’rywhere:
These plants just grow themselves !
We’ve dodder vines and thistle spines
And stickybuds galore;
To justify the docks nearby,
We’ve nettles by the score !
What’s cuddlier than buddleia,
And dandelion heads,
Or hairy sheathes of borage leaves
To feather-nest your beds ?
Our ivy cloaks, our bindweed chokes,
Our narcissus is black.
Forget-me-nots won’t be forgot,
They’ll keep on coming back.
So if your lawn is neat and shorn,
Too manicured and styled,
Then call the chums with seasick thumbs –
We’ll get it running wild !
If all that toil in clay-packed soil
Has left you lacking zest,
Then let us sow our vibrant show
Of nature at her best !




strike a pose
photo by jacey666



I saw a raven at a crossroads, perched
Atop a rustic fingerpost.
Now there, I thought, as she crowed and lurched,
Is a raven being raven-most.
With pretty hamlets beneath her claws
And shepherd’s skies behind her jet,
She guarded the lanes with portent caws
Where the paths of chance and folklore met.



How to Make Love with an Alien

Octopus by Hajime Sorayama


How to Make Love with an Alien

A siren may serenade – softly she sings,
A banshee may let-out a climactic wail,
An angel may hug with her feathery wings,
A mermaid may wrap with her muscular tail,
A harpy may shriek with her passionate lungs,
A centaur may whinny her amorous cry,
A gorgon may kiss with her two-dozen tongues,
A faun-maid may stroke with her flocculent thigh.

But humans, ah, humans, the uppermost rungs,
The strangest of lovers of all you could try.



…but then again, too few to mention…

Embarkation of St Ursula by Claude Gellée

…but then again, too few to mention…

I wonder how we might have met,
If I were not so shy and wet –
We may indeed have had a blast !
Ah well, the moment passed.
I was so young, I was so green,
I didn’t dwell on might-have-been –
The moment came, but then was gone,
And I was moving on.

I wonder what we might have thought,
If I had not adventure sought –
But on came life, so bright and fast,
And so the moment passed.
I was so young, so seventeen,
I had no time for might-have-been –
The cygnet must become the swan,
And soon be flying on.

I wonder if we might have laughed,
If I were not so brash and daft –
I set my lot before the mast,
And thus the moment passed.
I was so young, I was so lean,
I longed for now, not might-have-been –
My time had come to take the conn,
And I was sailing on.

I wonder if we might have sighed,
If only I were not a-stride –
But all the world was deep and vast,
And so the moment passed.
I was so young, I was so keen,
With time enough for might-have-been –
I searched for Zeus and Prester John,
Forever moving on.

I wonder what we might have found,
If I were not so onward-bound –
But dice were thrown and dye was cast,
And so the moment passed.
I was so young and so serene,
And put off thought of might-have-been –
So many sights to gaze upon
Meant I was moving on.

I wonder what we might have said,
If only I had stayed instead ?
We may have loved as beau and lass,
Or let the moment pass.
We were so young, my almost-queen,
So nearly and so might-have-been –
The chances danced, the summer shone,
But life was moving on.

Con Occhi Aperti

crimson king
In the Court of the Crimson King by Barry Godber – the subject of which is clearly just having a singalong.


Con Occhi Aperti

If I don’t close my eyes when I sing,
Don’t think that it means that I don’t mean a thing,
When all that it means is I don’t close my eyes.

It don’t mean I don’t know the words,
Or when comes the moment to harmonize thirds,
It don’t mean I’m frightened of botching the song,
By notching too low for the highs.
I’m just like the whole throng of songbirds,
Whose eyelid ain’t tightened and eyeballs are watching,
Whenever they sweet vocalize.
If I don’t close my eyes up to sing
It just means I don’t close my eyes.

If I don’t move my lips when I pray,
Then don’t get to saying I still must be praying –
I could just be thinking away.
If I don’t snap my fingers in time with the beat,
If I don’t nod my head and I don’t tap my feet,
Don’t think I don’t got it,
Or done gone and shot it,
If I keep my feelings discreet.

I don’t need to wring out no tears to sing out,
Cos weeping – that just ain’t my thing.
It just means, besides, that I don’t close my eyes,
When I don’t close my eyes when I sing.