Vermification

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Vermification

Things keep turning into worms, it would seem,
And not just invertebrates
Exhibiting a certain trait
For straightness in the beam
And legless in the gait.

Things keep sausage-ing to worms, we observe –
The eel and caecilian
Are bound by their criterion
To maximise the curve,
Like the tongue of the chameleon.

Things keep slithering to worms, to and fro –
As through the soil they swim,
The burrowers who drop a limb.
The slowworm may be slow,
But he’s wonderfully slim.

Things keep developing newer way to squirm –
From the lowly and unsung
To the feared and cursed who creep among –
For snakes are just a worm
With a backbone and a tongue.

Incarcination

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Incarcination

Things just won’t stop turning into crabs,
From claw to carapace –
They look as if they’re engineered in labs
Or zapped from outer space.
Except…the fishes show no squat-wise tug,
Nor do the worms or squids –
It seems it’s just crustaceans have the bug
To spawn more-crabby kids.
But as for them, the more derived they get,
The more the format grabs –
Converging on a winning feature-set,
And sideways into crabs.

This meme relies on a fairly liberal definition of ‘crab’ – it seems to come down to three things – caws, an oval fused carapace, and an absent abdomen/tail (it’s actually tucked underneath). So hermit-crabs, for instance, certainly have the claws, but lack the other two (though when in a shell, they give the impression of them).

So, yes it happens, to the extent that the squat-lobster seems to be half-way through the process. But it’s also helped along by our wishful-thinking. Or, as I put is recently, plants won’t stop turning into trees.

Tellingly, other aquatic arthropods like dragonfly larvas and water spiders show no inclination to crab-up.

There Shall the Falcons also be Gathered, Each One with her Mate

Coming in to Land by Tom Lee

There Shall the Falcons also be Gathered, Each One with her Mate

Always it’s the peregrines that nest upon cathedrals,
Like wanderers and pilgrims, or like animated gargoyles.
The buzzards and the owls are a heather flock, it seems,
And the pigeons are unwelcome when they perch upon the beams,
And the crows about the graveyard are Satanic in their dress –
But the peregrines are cherished by the bishop and the press.

Strange, but back in the Middle Ages,
They were never seen about the towers –
Till they left the cliffs for the factories
And the belfries, once they ceased to toll hours.

Yet falcons are not very turn-the-other-cheek,
They’re far more Old Testament when preying on the weak,
They’re thoroughly un-kosher, yet fitting for an earl,
And un-patriarchal, where the stronger is the girl.
They’re sharp and unrepentant, defiantly un-bowed,
As they kill the dove of peace to the cheering of the crowd.

Perhaps they’re waiting for the day when the Lord
Says “Fowls in the midst of Heaven, arise !
Come gather yourselves for my supper on the flesh
Of the sinners in my temple, and peck out their eyes !”

According to this page on the Natural History Museum website, the first recorded instance of a peregrine falcon ‘using a building (for its nest ?) was at Salisbury Cathedral in 1864.

The title comes from the KJV, except it says ‘vultures’ instead. Many other translations say ‘falcons’, but there’s quite a spread – ‘
buzzards’ in the New Living, ‘hawks’ in the NASB, ‘kites’ in the Douay-Rheims…and bizarrely, the Brenton Septuagint has ‘deer’ !

First Fruits

Acorn by Bob

     First Fruits

Only July, and the first acorns down,
Here and there on the lawn.
Windfalls, surely, they don’t look mature –
Hard to imagine an oak will spawn
From these early-birds I found.
They look too lean, too small and green
To be a mighty giant’s dawn.
Only July, and the first acorns down,
The tree advances a pawn.

Though now I look upon around, I see
An oak with its first grey hairs –
Of little concern, but a leaf on the turn,
Like unattended Summer repairs
On an old and lazy tree.
And there on the lawn, the start of a yawn,
A warning from up-the-stairs –
Only July, but the prep-work is the key,
To start to order its affairs.

A Fingerful of Fool’s Gold

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A Fingerful of Fool’s Gold

They can’t tell, and I don’t tell ’em,
But my wedding ring is stainless steel.
Recycled from an old tin can –
It may be fake, but it’s just as real.
You see this diamond ?  That ain’t no diamond,
That’s a cubic or I’m a liar –
She does the job in her own sweet way,
What she lacks in sparkle, she makes in fire.

She’ll last twenty, might last thirty,
Before she’s looking as cloudy as me.
They say she has no resale value,
But which of us has, once we’ve lost the key ?
On-sale and off-brand – he knows me well,
As a contra-flow goat among the sheep –
To win some brides will cost you the Earth,
But I came so gloriously cheap.

Fit as a Fiddle

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Fit as a Fiddle

Violins are slim and light
To perch upon the shoulder so –
They mustn’t pile on extra wood,
Or lose their cinched-in waist for good.
For no-one wants to see the sight
Of a bloated bridge beneath the bow –
Don’t let the fretboard become baggy,
Stop the strings from slouching saggy.
Play less heavy, play more bright,
And never let the tension go –
Work those quavers through their paces,
Else they’ll end up double-basses.

Deckle Edge

Deckle Edge

My shelves are full of books for lending,
Books I love, and need to share –
Their spines are useless when not bending,
Spreading words to ev’rywhere.
I long to be what lib’ries were for me,
A haven and a runway –
Take these beauties down and set them free,
And bring them back, well, some day.
Pay them forward, share the thrill,
And validate my soul, my love…
And yet…I know you never will –
You need to want, I can’t just shove.
Ah well, there’s no sense my pretending –
Who am I to hook and sway ?
My shelves are full of books for lending –
There they sit, and there they’ll stay.

Crisp Pages

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Crisp Pages

I borrowed the book from the library, years ago,
From a casual glance.
I fell in love with her title, I had to know
What on Earth she meant.
She promised me adventure, she promised me grit,
And an epic romance.
And over a sleepless week I devoured her wit
Till my lust was spent.

I stroked her crackled spine and embossing,
And tried to read her all again,
But couldn’t concentrate my brain –
Until my mum returned her, unawares.
In later months, whenever I was browsing,
I hoped to chance upon her between the heavyweights,
And see how many readers had stamped her with their dates,
But someone had purloined her, made her theirs.

I sought a copy later, long out of print,
For a foolhardy sum –
She sits on my bookcase still, and perfectly mint,
If gone a little brown.
But it’s good to know that she’s always there, close by,
For a time yet to come.
Though to tell the truth, I’m terrified to try –
For what if she lets me down ?

Is she quite as good as I remember ?
I just recall her basic plot,
And ev’ry year there’s more forgot –
But that, I always say, just makes her better…
Can she be as thrilling and as tender ?
Can all of her details make a striking whole ?
For that’s where the Devil lurks, and so does her soul.
I think I’d rather lose her all than regret her…

The Modernist Manifesto

Matisse’s Niece by Cesar Santos

The Modernist Manifesto

Painting’s hard, with all those tiny strokes,
And poem are endless rhymes,
And anyway, they’re the preserve of snooty folks
And so behind the times.
And architecture’s super-hard to build
With all that carving and stuff
I mean, who’s got the time to be that skilled ?
Let’s keep it brutally rough.
And music’s hard, not worth the perk
To learn an instrument –
Just sample other people’s work,
And pay them not a cent

Creating beauty’s hard, we can’t be arsed,
We’re far too lazy –
But critics dig our arsey arts,
And worship us like crazy.
Make it ugly, hard to parse,
This public-funded junk –
The future finds it vain and sparse,
Agog at how we’ve shrunk.
We’re sinkholes in the bedrock karst,
And ev’ryone knows we’re farces.
Amazing how we can’t be arsed,
And yet we’re up-our-own-arses.

Font-Fodder

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Font-Fodder

My parents named me wrong, of course,
But ev’ry parent does, no doubt –
They have no way of knowing
How their offspring will turn out.
That balance between the int’resting and sensible
Can be so thin –
There’s something to be said, while growing-up,
For blending-in.
But when we come-of-age, we need our names
To do a diff’rent job –
So Sallys sometimes change to Sarahs,
Bobbys change to Robs.
But some will chafe at their very stems,
Their unloved exonyms won’t do –
They think they need to shed their skins,
And make themselves anew.

So why do we eye these braver ones
Who take control of their brand, as fake ?
Why must they always bear their parents’
Well-meaning mistake ?
Like letting their mums still buy their clothes,
And letting their dads still pick their roles –
They must grow up and find their style
With which to dress their souls.
But I did the same with my own kids,
I made a guess and made a hope –
And got it wrong, of course I did,
But still, they seem to cope.
Because, we have to name the tykes,
And yes, project ourselves a bit –
But let’s not take offense if they
Have found a better fit.