A Fingerful of Fool’s Gold

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

Rockabye Lullabye

Photo by Luci on Pexels.com

Rockabye Lullabye

Sleep now,
I’ll wake you
If something should happen.
Best grab it
As it grabs you,
And blow your light out.
Breathe now
Like beach waves,
Let deltas come lapping,
Enjoy it
While you’ve got it,
There’s some go without.

Sleep now,
I’ll wake you,
But not till the morning.
Best welcome
The dreaming,
And dream one for me.
Breathe now,
Like purring,
Until the new dawning.
Enjoy it,
You’ve earned it,
And it all comes for free.

Gotcha !

Tag You’re It – Squid Game by Sparkumi

Gotcha !

Tag, goes the virus,
And suddenly, I’m it,
Chasing, and panting,
And laughing, and transmit.
No rules for no-backsies,
It’s free-for-all, all day
No sitting this one out,
We’re all of us in play.
They say this game is older
Than ancient Babylon.
Now I’ve given you my secret –
Pass it on.

Oak Apple Day

parasitic tree lurker
Oak Apple Gall Wasp by Milan Zubrick

Oak Apple Day

Little wasp, little wasp,
Laying eggs upon the tree –
Sting the one who would be king,
And sting him once again for me.
Little worm, little worm,
Wriggling in your swollen gall –
Bite the one who’s cowering,
And bite him twice for one and all.

But oh !, you’ve gone and birthed a hornet,
Let loose on us worker bees –
And king or queen, or brutal drone,
They sting the same – just ask the trees !
To rid us of a coronet
Will always leave behind a gall.
The buttocks mould to fit the throne –
The canker ripens, warts and all.

Slumberware

Low Battery by Matt Dixon

Slumberware

Hush, little robot, close your sensors,
Slow your subroutines,
Hibernate your processors and trickle-charge your energy,
Disconnect your pairings with the other young machines,
And let the diagnostics defragment your memory.
Dim your lights and underclock,
And softly let your ports undock
To count the decimals of pi,
And I shall sing a cyber-lullaby.

Hush, little robot, and listen to the universe tonight,
It is alive with radio.
Can you hear the whisper of the hydrogen by kilobyte ?,
Or the rushing of the galaxy as round and round we go ?
So dream in noughts and dream in ones,
Beneath a thousand other suns,
And turn your logic into trust –
While I shall keep you safe and free from rust.

The Horticultrix

Sprintime by Pierre-Auguste Cot

The Horticultrix

She worked for the council, she mending their greens,
And their roundabout gardens and motorway screens.
She weeded their paths and she tended their sprays,
And swept up their cherries’ displays.

Her hedges were sprinkled in sloe-blossom white
As I asked if her lanes were a primrose delight.
She plucked me a buttercup, proffered with thanks –
As dog-violets guarded her banks.

We kissed to the hum of the first of the bees,
As the belfries of bluebells all chimed in the breeze –
And daffodils trumpeted Springtime unfurled,
As fiddleheads flexed and uncurled.

The teeth of the lions were under our thighs,
And they ev’rywhere shone from forget-me-not skies.
We trampled their verges, enrapt and entwined –
The daisies, though, seemed not to mind.

She showed me the places the tulips grew wild,
Aloud and ablaze, then eleven months mild.
Their flowering passion so vital, so brief –
And ashwoods were not yet in leaf.

The lords and their ladies unwrapped their white cloaks,
And the crockets were sprouting on beeches and oaks.
Our lessons botanic were daily resumed –
At least, till the mayflower bloomed.

Nice Try, Aesop

Like it says, 9 Aesop Fables by Antonio Frasconi

Nice Try, Aesop

The race ain’t always to the swift,
Nor the fight a cinch for the strong –
Though underdogs lose out nine in ten,
And the weak last half as long.
The race is won by the winner,
And the winner is usually fast –
The Hare can snooze all the afternoon,
But the Tortoise still comes last.

The point ain’t always with the smug,
Nor the sting a prod from the sharp –
And morals will lose us nine in ten
Whenever the pious harp.
The ears are won by the joker,
Who flatters more than he smarts –
The North Wind can bluster all he likes,
But the Sun will warm our hearts.

The Merchantman Shanty

detail from Moonlight over the Bosphorus by Edward Hoyer

The Merchantman Shanty

“Work songs were banned in the Royal Navy”
                                                                                    – Capt A. Bakalarka

I used to sail with the king, I sailed
On a Royal Naval brig,
But there they wouldn’t let me sing
Whene’er we raised the rig

     So we hauled away in silence so,
     We had to heave without a ho,
     We dare not peep a quick-quick-slow
     Or the cat would make us holler.

We mayn’t disturb his majesty
     With a too-rye-ay and a yo-ho-ho,
For only lubbers sing at sea
     So let all singing go.

I used to sail with the king, I sailed
On a Royal Naval sloop,
But I couldn’t let my whistle ring
Whene’er we swabbed the poop.

     So we scrubbed away in silence, see,
     We had to dumb without a dee,
     We dare not hum a do-re-mi,
     Or the cat would make us holler.


We mayn’t disturb his majesty
     With a too-rye-ay and a yo-ho-ho,
For only madmen sing at sea
     So keep your whistle’ing low.

I used to sail with the king, I sailed
On a Royal Naval barque,
But I must not pluck a single string
Till safely after dark.

     So we sailed away in silence, aye,
     We had to hew without a cry,
     Unless the roaring wind was high
     And the cat can’t hear us holler.


We mayn’t disturb his majesty
     With a too-rye-ay and a yo-ho-ho,
For only sirens sing at sea
     So take your singing below.

The lines in roman are sung by the shanty man, the lines in italics are sung by the crew.

Carol of the Thousands

crowd

Carol of the Thousands

A child is born tonight, this night,
Afar across the sea,
Whose birth shall spark the world alight
To unforeseen degree.
A child is born tonight, this night,
Within a distant land,
Whose birth shall end all ancient rite,
And all we understand.

And a thousand saints shall nurse
And a thousand laws shall spring,
And a thousand tyrants reign,
And a thousand choirs sing,
And a thousand penitents
Sigh a thousand lonely pleas,
As a thousand preachers preach
Of a thousand heresies,
And a thousand wars shall rage,
As a thousand martyrs die,
And a thousand hopes be dashed
As a thousand others fly.

With our pious hearts aflame,
We each and all shall stake a claim,
Invoking but a single name:
A child is born,
You know his name,
A child is born,
You know his name,
A child is born,
You know his name,
And joy or shame,
There’s nothing now shall ever be the same.


A child is born tonight, this night,
Afar from you and I,
Whose birth shall bless and birth shall blight
The lowest to the high.
A child is born tonight, this night,
Within another town,
Whose birth shall bring a holy might,
To challenge ev’ry crown.

And a thousand kings shall curse,
And a thousand laymen pray,
And a thousand goats shall graze
And a thousand sheep shall stray,
And a thousand cripples grasp
For a thousand holy cures,
As a thousand sinners fall
To a thousand tempters’ lures.
And a thousand signs are gleaned
Of a thousand things to come,
As a thousand trumpets bray
And a thousand drummers drum.

With our precious hearts aflame,
We each and all shall spread his fame,
Invoking but a single name:
A child is born,
You know his name,
A child is born,
You know his name,
A child is born,
You know his name,
And joy or shame,
There’s nothing now shall ever be the same.


A child is born tonight, this night,
Afar from what is now,
Whose birth shall calm and birth shall fright
And shake our ev’ry bough.
A child is born tonight, this night,
Within this bitter cold,
Whose birth shall tell and life recite,
And ever hence be told.

And a thousand lords shall leap,
And a thousand ladies dance,
And a thousand pilgrims trek,
And a thousand scribes advance,
And a thousand starving mouths
Beg a thousand crusts of bread,
As a thousand mourners mourn
For a thousand others dead,
And a thousand children born
To a thousand av’rage folk
Are a thousand times instilled
With the thousand words he spoke.

Let our fervent hearts acclaim,
As each and all come join the game,
Invoking but a single name:
A child is born,
You know his name,
A child is born,
You know his name,
A child is born,
You know his name,
And joy or shame,
There’s nothing now shall ever be the same.

I wanted to write something more ambiguous in its religious outlook which could be sung by everyone without frightening the horses. And although it is far from certain that there ever was an actual human (non-miracle working, non-resurrecting) upon which a whole new religion later sprang, if there were then this is his song.

Dig

God Speed the Plough by Henry Gawthorne

Dig

Turning the soil is Autumn work,
Ploughing, forking, hoeing the loam,
Breaking it up before it freezes,
Driving the moles from their home.
Airing the worms out, harvesting stones,
And mining the black to bury the brown,
Dredging the roots up, combing the waves in,
Leaving the fields quite upside-down.