Seven Seven

The Lord Fulfilleth All his Works by Clark Price

Seven Seven

The ant, the sloth, the kangaroo,
They came to Noah two-by-two,
Except the clean ones, those were more,
But just how many ?- he’s not sure.

You see, the perfect word from Heaven
Told him to load ‘seven seven’
Of the creatures that are ‘clean’ –
But what on Earth does than all mean ?

Which are clean and which are tosh ?,
When all these beast could use a wash.
Perhaps he’ll know the spotless souls
Because they’ll come in multiples.

So is it seven beasts, all told,
That he must harbour in his hold ?
The Lord has reasons, without doubt,
But still – which sex is odd-one out ?

Or is it really seven pairs
That he must cram below the stairs ?
Well – “seven seven”, that’s the line –
But damn, that could be forty-nine !

How is he meant to feed all those ?
Will they be small, do you suppose,
Like tortoises – who barely browse ?
Of course not !  It’s the bloody cows !


Mentmore Towers by R~P~M (with help from Joseph Paxton & George Stokes who designed the house in the first place).

Mentmore Towers, a tower of a Rothschild –
Safeguarding the badlands of the Buckinghamshire wild.
You’ve never heard his name, but his face may look familiar –
A character performer and Hollywood’s new star –
Standing in for Chequers, Gotham City, or a pleasure dome.
He’s classical of ornament, though Gothic more than Rome,
His facade looking perfectly at home, as you do,
And always coming to a screen near you.
With O’s within his pediments we know we’ve seen before,
Yet we’re facing the unknown when we knock upon his door –
Butlers or rock stars or new-money wealth ?
He’s a Chilterns Vancouver, who plays ev’rybody but himself.


Photo by Byron Sullivan on


Iron burns so blurry,
Oxidises at the rate of years –
Rust is in no hurry,
As it slowly eats away the gears.

But sparks are over in a flash –
A firework fountain, arcing, dying,
Leaving just a ruddy ash
And the metal tang of iron-frying.

We think of rust as cold and dark,
And yet this self-same light appears –
It’s just it takes that second’s spark
And stretches it to last for years.



I never understood loopholes,
I mean understood it as an actual thing –
I get that they’re escapes from laws –
But are we then fenced-in by string ?
They might have referred to arrow-slits,
But they only fit an arrow’s stem.
They might be thinking of knotholes,
But only secrets can pass through them.
The breach in the wall of the castle of law
Would have to be a backdoor, or overhanging beams.
So I never understood why ‘loopholes’ –
Their meaning escapes my logic, it seems.

Compass – Needle-Norths

Some examples of mosaic compass roses from Paverart


Compasses never point to the Pole,
Not quite,
They have their own North Star –
It’s close enough to true, on the whole,
Despite it also being quite far,
Wandering through Canadian isles
To sway
The needles off the mark.
But then, True North can sometimes be miles away
From where the gridlines hark.

I recently came across an interesting theory put forward by Lance Weaver that true polar wandering had occurred during the last ice age, putting the top of the world firmly within Greenland. I have no idea if it’s correct, and would welcome a chance to read soem acounter-arguments, but everyone seems to be ignoring it.

Tick – Homonym

Tick by Ryszard


A tick is a bug that sucks up meaning,
A tiny check-mark on the skin
That no amount of language-cleaning
Will ever dislodge now it’s sunk its snout in.
A facial tic on our pristine tongue
Of too many meanings from a single noun –
Oh for a language that’s regular and young
Before the parasites invaded the town.
We use words on tick, to be paid for later,
Like the stuffing in a tick-case that is already frayed,
Or the ticks on a rule till the namesakes are greater
And we’ve spewed-out enough for a tickertape parade.
It ticks us off that such gaudy schlocks lurk,
But they’ve plagued us forever, siphoning their fraction –
Older than moments, older than clockwork,
The tick is as ancient as Anglo-Saxon.

‘Tick’ is also a Middle English word for goat (whose latter name is even older), and though thoroughly out-of-use can still be found in placenames such as Tickenhurst.

Incidentally, what does a twitcher call the first whinchat of the year ?  A tick tick.


Photo by Jeffrey Czum on


Flat roofs belong to the Mediterranean,
Roofs for sun-decks, cheap to build,
For drying the laundry and gazing at stars,
Where the gutters have never spilled.
But Northern nations need their pitches,
Steep and tall and highly skilled.

Forget the tar, that won’t keep rain out,
That takes slate and tile and lead –
And don’t let snow accumulate,
It must be sheer enough to shed.
Maybe some dormers, maybe a Mansard,
Maybe even thatch instead.

But these days, and since the Georgians,
Fashions favour flat and low,
Yet walls get wet when eaves are dropped,
And the drainpipes overflow.
So ev’ry Winter spring the leaks
From rain with nowhere to go.

Raven – Northlingars

Photo by Skitterphoto on


Ravens are birds of the North –
From Greenland to Mexico,
Skye to Morocco,
In India, China, and Asia Minor –
Above the equator, but never below.
Bird of the forest and bird of the desert,
Of mountains and towers, Kamchatka to Fargo –
Bird of mythology, bird of the present,
From Draco to Leo, but not on the Argo.
Perhaps, like the sailors of old,
They fly by the Pole Star, second-to-none –
Or maybe they just like the cold,
Their feathers too black for the tropical Sun.


Chimera by Todd Davis


Take the ends and pass them
Left over right,
Then under, round, and through,
And pull it tight,
And friction does the rest
Between the coils, between the strands,
And even between the fibres –
Like a thousand tiny hands
That hold us back
And stop the world from unravelling.
Sometimes it feels like we’re held in place
By nothing but well-bound string.


A selection from Pluto’s Jewelry


Her ring finger bore a feldspar,
And her next a polished flint,
Her index bore the starry glint
Of mica or calcite – whichever is bright.
Her other hand was nothing but quartz –
Citrine, rose and amethyst.
While silicon zircons circled her wrist.
She said she liked them because they were like her,
Mirroring their wearer,
Displaying her worth –
Common, yet polished into something rarer,
As cheap as dirt, yet the salt of the Earth.

A zircon is not the same as a cubic zirconium – the latter is zirconium dioxide, whereas the indestructible mineral is zirconium silicate.