Versificator Regis

laurel wreath


Versificator Regis

Oh Carol-Ann, what’s the plan,
Why did you do it ?
Why wallow in the treacle,
And swallow back the bile ?
Poor Carol-Ann, scrape the pan
Of stodge and suet.
First among the equals,
Or stuck in rank and file ?
Oh Carol-Ann, it seems these days your worth
Is turning out for weddings and for funerals and births.
Oh Carol-Ann, do the bay leaves hide the stink ?
Or does your pseudo-crown somehow affect the way you think ?

Oh Carol-Ann, make it scan,
Don’t make it tricksy:
Your patrons are old fashioned
By sev’ral hundred years.
Come Carol-Ann, praise the clan,
Each fop and pixie,
And keep your passion rationed
As you swap your pals for peers.
Oh Carol-Ann, just a lackey of the old elite
Praising little princelings, and sucking on the teat;
Oh Carol-Ann, all that bowing sure puts up your back –
I hope you do not choke on your precious butt of sack.


The Practical Gardener

gray shed on white and green field near trees during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on


The Practical Gardener

My garden is a rabble
Of the pushiest of weeds;
I wander through the scrabble
Of these self-selecting seeds.
I really should uproot them,
But in truth, I’m loath to scoot them,
When they bring the place alive, alive,
Where lesser blooms won’t thrive.

I love the weeds for their weediness,
For their entrepreneurial greediness,
With none of your hot-housey neediness.
Keep all your grasses and sedges and reeds,
Just give me a garden of nothing but weeds.

My rose-bush is no stunner,
And my aster’s called it quits.
My beans have done a runner,
And my melon’s gone up-tits.
But see my clamb’ring bramble,
And my bindweed web and ramble,
And my nettles stretching high, so high:
At least they’re never shy.

I love the weeds for their weediness,
For their never gone-to-seediness,
With none of your quaint little tweediness.
Keep all your caulis and marrows and swedes,
Just give me a garden of nothing but weeds.–

With maggots on the rise,
And with aphids by the score,
I hope to soon see butterflies,
And ladybirds galore.
So when the slugs come feeding,
They just help me with the weeding.
Those bugs may all belong, belong,
But so does blackbird song.

I love the weeds for their weediness,
For their naught-to-invasive speediness,
With none of your lack-of-succeediness.
Keep all your cultivars, hybrids and breeds,
Just give me a garden of nothing but weeds.



Pond Life

Hydra (Hydridae)
Hydra Producing a Bud by Jan Hamrsky


Pond Life

One day in our science class, we trooped out to the pond
And trawled our nets to haul a hoard from out the wet beyond.
We jamjarred up our specimens, our trove from out the deep,
And took our volunteers back to have a proper peep.
The swimmers and the sediments were busy in their dance,
Or squished between the slides beneath our microscopic glance.
        Tadpoles and waterfleas, fresh-water shrimps,
        Algae and flatworms and dragonfly nymphs,
        Rotifers, water bears, snails by the score,
        Whilygigs, boatmen and duckweed galore.
But best of all, the hydra: the monster in our lake –
One day, or so the rumour went, it turns into a snake !

Hydra, hydra,
Now that I’ve spied ya,
I can’t decide what I love about you more:
Your proof there’s a Zeus, or
Your looks of Medusa ?
Not hard to deduce you’re a snake down to your core.

Just think – an anaconda with a plethora of heads
To slither round the playing field and stalk the cycle sheds !
But Mrs Patrick told us no, the two did not equate,
For hydras were cnidarians, and snakes were vertabrates.
The former lacked a brain as such, and var’ous other parts –
(Though snakes, our teacher told us, were likewise not so smart,
And multi-headed mutants would attack their conjoined brothers)
But hydra bred asexually to be both spawn and mothers !
And better yet, they’d learned a trick for ageing without ageing
By morphing from their adult selves back to their childhood gauging –
So, rather like The Doctor, but with tentacles and stem.
I’d like to see old Herc attempt to kill off one of them !

They say you have a silent c
Well, not with me !
Cknidarians, cknidarians,
Aquatic antiquarians:
Preserving ancient shapes and genes,
Behold the mighty cknidarenes !
If only Greeks had known of you,
Just think the myths that would ensue !
Instead, your polyps are maligned –
Medusae, sure, but not the Grecian kind.
Cknidarians, cknidarians,
These water fairies dance about my mind.



The Ant-Days of Summer

flying ant


The Ant-Days of Summer

I think it must have been a day
When ants were flying
In July.
A long and hot and wingèd day
When ants were flying
By and by.
And that was when we chanced to meet,
With grounded ants about our feet.

Those virgin queens and horny males,
On scorching days
In late July.
The queens fly fast to test the males
On scorching days
When ants must fly.
The lads were swarming when we met –
But then, one shot is all they get.

The lucky males take turns to mate
With picky queens
In late July.
Upon the wing, the ants shall mate –
As jacks and queens
Shall fill the sky.
And I met you beneath their flights,
With royal weddings in our sights.

The girls bite off their wings to reign
As wingless queens
In late July
These girls will never fly again –
But hey, the queens
At least don’t die !
And you and I were changing lives,
As queens got down to digging hives.



We Choose to Go to the Moon and Do the Other Things

sky space moon astronomy
Photo by Pixabay on


We Choose to Go to the Moon and Do the Other Things

We went to the moon and we wondered in awe:
For now there was nothing, but nothing beyond us –
If we could go there and could see what we saw,
Then how could we come back to famine and war ?
Just think of the challenges still to explore,
The missions to finally bond us.
We stood on the moon and we finally shone,
We tested our nerve and we found we were equal –
Now climate and poverty prove a tough sequel.
But conquer we shall !, to learn from discoverings.
We went to the moon, now it’s time to move on –
It’s time to be doing the Other Things.



lighted burning match
Photo by Public Domain Pictures on



Sometimes, we feel,
That we’ve given quite enough,
And we’ve nothing more to spare,
And we haven’t got the energy.
And sometimes we feel
That we’re running out of love,
And we’re running out of care,
And we’re running out of memory.

But those are just the times
When the going’s getting steeper,
That we need to dig the deeper,
That we need to cheat the Reaper one more time.
We haven’t got much left,
But we need to heft together
Or we’ll never get a better score –
Unless we sweat from ev’ry pore,
We’ll only ever be okay.
And that’s okay, I guess,
Though it feels a little less,
Like we sorta oughta try for something more.

Are we what we thought we’d be ?
And are we disappointed
That we’re only as expected ?
Or are we double-jointed,
Reconnected, K-selected, fancy-free ?
Or merely realistic
At the narcissistic nature of each wannabe ?

It feels like half-time, two-nil down
To Nowhere Town,
Yet still we’re strangely optimistic –
We’re not yet out the Cup,
We’re warming up,
We’re either brave or masochistic…
But this ain’t all that we can get,
And we ain’t even finished yet !

Now to rise to the occasion,
Now to mount a pitch invasion –
Now to be less realistic,
Now to spit at caution and regret.
Time to muster all persuasion,
Time to equal the equation –
Time to be more Hellenistic,
Time to make the inner Spartan sweat.
Till, one day, they write our names in Trajan
In a Roman alphabet.

Let’s take another go.
Maybe this time, I don’t know,
We’ll catch a wave or hit our stride –
At least we’ll get to say we tried.
And maybe we can jump a little higher
And can burn a little hotter than before –
I guess we’ve gotta stoke the fire,
Raise the steam and prime the core,
And hustle ev’ry muscle
Till they scream with something more !



Hat Plus One



Hat Plus One

The football books all said it,
And they wouldn’t make it up –
The more-than-hat-trick scorers
In the world of the World Cup

Ten were these men of honour,
From ’38 to ’94,
Though mostly pre-the 60s,
In the goalless-less of yore.

Leônidas, Wilimowski,
Wetterström, it said,
Schiaffino, Ademir,
and Kocsis, so it read –

And Just Fontaine was next,
And then Eusébio was last –
And nothing more for twenty years –
Those stars were in the past.

But then, from out of nowhere,
Butragueño made his 4,
And then Oleg Salenko
Made it 5 to up the score.

And this was universal,
It was there in ev’ry book –
But then the list got shaky
When they took another look.

Match reports from early days,
Were sloppy things back then –
No cameras to play it back,
Just notebook and a pen.

So hard luck Leônidas,
You were scored a goal for free,
And likewise poor old Wetterström,
Your storm was only three.

And Schiaffino, even worse,
Was left with just a brace –
And on those all-time scorer lists,
These three leave not a trace.