A Ticket to Timbuktoo


A Ticket to Timbuktoo

To Timbuk-where ?
You know, down there.
I’m sorry, sir,
That does not stir
A memory –
It’s Greek to me.
You want a cot
For Timbuk-shot ?

No no, my man,
It’s on your plan.
That could be true.
I thought you knew ?
I’ve not a clue.
Well, check it, do !
I’m sure you crew
To Timbuktoo.

I’m sorry, sir
I shall concur
With your request
For Bucharest.
That’s wrong, I say !
Then fine, your way:
I’ll book you in
For Timbuk-skin.

No no, my man,
Not Kazakhstan.
I do not yearn
For Bannockburn.
It’s not Bordeaux
I wish to go,
But passage through
To Timbuktoo !

I’m sorry, sir,
Though some prefer
To take a tour
To Singapore.
But if you wish
For something swish,
I’ll book your booth
For Timbuk-tooth.

No no, my man,
It’s not Japan.
I never planned
For Samarkand.
It’s not Bombay,
Or Mandalay:
I’m telling you,
It’s Timbuktoo !

I’m sorry, sir,
I’ll just transfer
Your ticket out
Aboard the
With cabin suite
To sunny Crete,
For steerage class
To Timbuk-pass.

No no, my man,
I do not tan:
I shall not brown
In Kingston Town,
Nor burn my flesh
In Marrakesh,
But drink the dew
In Timbuktoo.

I’m sorry, sir
Now, as we were:
We’re looking for
Some distant shore –
A pleasure cruise
To stem the blues,
And catch some sun
In Timbuk-one

No no, my man,
I know you can
Quite recommend
I try Ostend.
But truth to tell
I’d rather Hell
Than see Peru,
Not Timbuktoo.

I’m sorry, sir
It’s all a blur
You want a berth
To catch some surf
And land a-port
For g’day sport
And Bonza-brew
In Timbuk-roo ?

No no, my man,
It’s not Milan.
I do not care
For Delaware.
I shall not sail
For Ebbw Vale.
I long to view
Old Timbuktoo.

I’m sorry, sir,
I must demur:
We have no ship
To make that trip.
That city stands
On desert sands,
With no deep blue
At Timbuktoo.

Actually, The River Niger flows quite close to Timbuktu, though it’s unlikely you’ll get an ocean liner up there – but maybe you could paddle a canoe to Timbuktu.  But then, that has nothing to do with Timbuktoo, which is a mythical city of the imagination, twinned with El Dorado.

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