The Barons of the Jungle

black cat walking on road
Photo by David Bartus on Pexels.com

 

The Barons of the Jungle

When humans send themselves extinct, then who will take their place ?
The chimpanzees ?  Or have they missed their chance at master-race ?
Parrots, crows, or even pigeons ?  But they lack the hands to build –
Dolphins hunter-gather while the oyster-beds remain untilled,
Yet octopuses have the arms, and boy, are those arms skilled !
But life for them is short and done – they’ll never make it number one.

But cats have cunning, cunning paws,
And curiosity to dare –
And even if the reaper calls,
Then cats have lives to spare.
So some are fat and some are cool,
And all, at night, are grey –
They walk this world, yet never rule,
And leave the mice to play.

Now mice and rats are shrewd, for sure, but hygiene lets them down:
Too many fleas, too many plagues, to ever wear the crown.
An elephant remembers, but they sometimes are mistaken,
While bears will sleep their lives away and never reawaken,
And pigs are pretty clever, though they still end up as bacon,
And bees will sting to save their hives, yet never learn it costs their lives.

But cats can look upon a king –
So could they wear the boots and chain ?
Alas, though ev’ry bell should ring,
They’ll never turn again.
It takes a team to build a throne,
Yet cats won’t pull together –
The cat who always walks alone
Must walk alone forever.

 

 

Fresh Pantoums, Only a Shilling !

market stall
A Market Stall by Candlelight by Petrus van Schendel

 

Fresh Pantoums, Three for a Shilling !

Oranges, lemons, and citrons and limes,
Cockles and mussels and oysters alive,
Tatler, Spectator, the Post and the Times,
Parsley and sage and sweet basil and chive !

Cockles and mussels and oysters alive,
Burgundy, claret, madeira and sack,
Parsley and sage and sweet basil and chive,
Cottons and calicos – red, white and black !

Burgundy, claret, madeira and sack,
Currants and raisins, sultanas and prunes,
Cottons and calicos, red, white and black,
Ballads and broadsides and tuppenny tunes !

Currants and raisins, sultanas and prunes,
Mercury powder to kill all your nits,
Ballads and broadsides and tuppenny tunes,
Coffee for merchants and lawyers and wits !

Mercury powder to kill all your nits,
Books for the scholar and books for the squire,
Coffee for merchants and lawyers and wits,
Labourers, porters and servants for hire !

Books for the scholar and books for the squire,
Scrag-end and brisket and trotters and bones,
Labourers, porters and servants for hire,
Heather for good-luck and Gypsy-charmed stones !

Scrag-end and brisket and trotters and bones,
News of the morning and news of the wars,
Heather for good-luck and Gypsy-charmed stones,
Come see my wares from the far-distant shores !

News of the morning and news of the wars,
Tatler, Spectator, the Post and the Times,
Come see my wares from the far-distant shores:
Oranges, lemons, and citrons and limes !

 

 

Urban Spiritual

telegraph pole
Wires by Tom Lantaff

 

Urban Spiritual

If the bells ring out from the crossing tower,
I’ll meet my love upon the hour;
I’ll meet my love, and we shall stroll
From the old gas works to the new may-pole.

If they call to prayer from the minaret,
I’ll meet my love on the High Street yet;
I’ll meet my love, and we shall wend
From the old canal to the new bridge-end.

If the trumpets bray the sabbath’s start,
I’ll meet my love in the Hounds & Hart;
I’ll meet my love and we shall roam
From the old duck pond to the new dogs’ home.

If chanting comes from the temple door,
I’ll meet my love by the superstore;
I’ll meet my love and we shall stray
From the old sheep track to the new free way.

 

 

The Rover

spring east
Spring East by Tony Lombardo

 

The Rover

If you find England is too small, my dear,
Then jump on my boat and I’ll sale you from here !
I’ll sail you to Russia, I’ll sail you to Spain,
I’ll sale you away from her beer and her rain.
But if in a day or a month or a year
You find that you’re missing her rain and her beer,
Well, I won’t be there, dear, to sail you back home –
For I’ll be in Oslo or Cairo or Rome.

 

 

The Boston Stomp

stump
Boston Stump by Boston Photos

 

The Boston Stomp

“Boston in Lincolnshire is noted for having a high percentage of EU immigrants.”
– Evening Daily, 2012

Now clear the floor and start the band,
And take your partners by the hand –
So step on up and get on down,
Just like us folks in Boston Town.
Now dance ’em round and dance ’em square,
There’s dancers here from ev’rywhere !
From Norse and Hansa, French and Yanks –
Come join the dance and swell the ranks.

And one-two-three-four,
Best start again – here come some more.

For centuries we’ve put to sea
And brought the world into our quay:
Willem, Hodel, Rémi, Morta –
Boston sons and Boston daughters.
See the out-of-towners clump
Upon the Wash, beneath the Stump,
Enough to fill the Gliderdrome –
So welcome, strangers, welcome home !

And four-three-two-one,
But don’t stop now, the dance ain’t done !

There’s no need to be lonely ones,
For we are all Bostonians !
Szymon, Crina, Miloš, Maja,
Suppers ready by the fire.
Come on in and catch the rhythm,
Up the Haven, down the Witham.
Latvia to Greece to Spain,
From Liquorponds to Dolphin Lane.

And one-two-three-four,
We’ve danced a thousand years or more.

Now take your partners by the hand,
And welcome to the Promised Land –
Petru, Zosia, Wojciech, Rūta:
Bear the Pilgrims of the future.
Stepping strange, but no concern,
It’s nothing that we can’t soon learn –
The dance is long and folks must flow,
As dancers come and dancers go.

And four-three-two-one,
A thousand more this dance will run.

 

 

…but then again, too few to mention…

embarkation
Embarkation of St Ursula by Claude Gellée

…but then again, too few to mention…

I wonder how we might have met,
If I were not so shy and wet –
We may indeed have had a blast !
Ah well, the moment passed.
I was so young, I was so green,
I didn’t dwell on might-have-been –
The moment came, but then was gone,
And I was moving on.

I wonder what we might have thought,
If I had not adventure sought –
But on came life, so bright and fast,
And so the moment passed.
I was so young, so seventeen,
I had no time for might-have-been –
The cygnet must become the swan,
And soon be flying on.

I wonder if we might have laughed,
If I were not so brash and daft –
I set my lot before the mast,
And thus the moment passed.
I was so young, I was so lean,
I longed for now, not might-have-been –
My time had come to take the conn,
And I was sailing on.

I wonder if we might have sighed,
If only I were not a-stride –
But all the world was deep and vast,
And so the moment passed.
I was so young, I was so keen,
With time enough for might-have-been –
I searched for Zeus and Prester John,
Forever moving on.

I wonder what we might have found,
If I were not so onward-bound –
But dice were thrown and dye was cast,
And so the moment passed.
I was so young and so serene,
And put off thought of might-have-been –
So many sights to gaze upon
Meant I was moving on.

I wonder what we might have said,
If only I had stayed instead ?
We may have loved as beau and lass,
Or let the moment pass.
We were so young, my almost-queen,
So nearly and so might-have-been –
The chances danced, the summer shone,
But life was moving on.

Lullaby

nemo
Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay

 

Lullaby

Sleep,
Nemo, sleep,
Long and deep,
Soft and tall.

Sleep,
Slow and steep,
Nemo, sleep –
Shadows call…

Dream,
Of clowns and kings,
And lurking things
Behind the wall.

Dreams –
What brings them here ?
It’s you, my dear –
You dream them all !

Fake !
You make them up !
Let’s shake them up
And have a ball !

Quake,
And dreams will break up.
Time to wake up –
Let them fall…

Wake,
Nemo Dreamo,
Now they seem so
Strange and small.