The Groaning Trencher

from a listing on AliExpress

The Groaning Trencher

Sometimes, Burns Night falls on the second New Moon,
And that marks a brand New Year –
So the neeps and the cock-a-leekie share the serving spoon
As the beansprouts and riceballs appear.
From the docks of Kowloon to the mists of Brigadoon,
It all goes in the haggis, and the bamboo pipes the tune –
As we all sup together, from Scotland Yard to Scone,
In a typhoon of tartan cheer.
Now me, I am just a Sassenach poltroon
From the billabongs of Perth to the snows of Saskatoon –
But a shortbread in my green tea on a global afternoon,
And the paddy-fields of glens are very near.

Can I just say what a wonderfully weird experience it is to hear someone read Address to the Haggis in an unapologetically RP accent ?

Brass Neck

An amended image from the original computer modelling by Darren Naish & Donald Henderson.

Brass Neck

All mammals can swim,
Or least, can float,
Just paddle each limb
And be the boat.
It may be slow,
And lacking grace,
But it lets them row
To a dryer place.

Even the elephant,
Hedgehog, or bat,
Even the fattest
Or scardiest cat,
Even the kangaroo,
Aardvaark, or aye-aye –
You know why it’s true ?
Cos they’re mammals, that’s why !

All, that is, except for one –
The landlubber giraffe.
Once evolution had its fun,
They’re not safe in the bath.
It’s strange the way that they capsize,
You’d think they’d learn to cope
When possessed of long and mighty thighs,
And a built-in periscope.

But on the land
They look such gentry,
Tall and grand
When standing sentry.
They are the backlash
To the trout,
Who make a splash
By standing out.

Technovine

Do Androiods Dream of Electric Sheep by Cooper Hill

Technovine

When I first heard of what made androids dream,
I wanted to know much more –
Like where are the hordes of electric sheep
All under the crook of a cyber-Beau Peep ?
Yet ev’ry pasture dotted with white may teem
With robotic ewes by the score,
And so well made are these flocks of steel,
They bleat and follow just like real…
Do their eyeball glow with a laser beam
That the ravens quake before ?
Are their horns antennas, warning of fox ?
Does their wool discharge with electric shocks ?
I swear these sheep aren’t all they seem,
It’s folly to just ignore…
For the folds are filling with a new kind of lamb,
A bellwether seeking to upgrade their ram.

Carapace Steeplechase

Carapace Steeplechase

The pangolin and the armadillo
Are worthy mounts for a knight,
Though they only ever battle ants,
And their snouts are lacking a bite.

With a pingo-pongo-pangolino,
Clanking, swanking, tank–bambino –
Overcoat from head to toe –
Hi-ho for a skin of nails !

They’re faster than the tortoises,
And faster than the snails –
With scutes from shoulder-blades to boots,
In a bodysuit of scales.

But the armadillo and the pangolin
Are secret devils for a thrill –
They curl-up in their tightest balls
And roll full-tilt downhill.

With an armadilla-dilla-dilly-day-oh,
With a three-band-six-band-nine-band-go,
In a concertina rodeo –
Hi-ho for the bonded mail !

They’re tougher than the rhino,
And they’re tougher than the whale –
With clout – from a stainless-steel snout
To a tinplate-tempered tail.

Pangolin by Adam Tusk

Fit as a Fiddle

Photo by Zeyneb Alishova on Pexels.com

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.

Shipshape

Photo by Adi Perets on Pexels.com

Shipshape

Stage right is my right,
But my right ain’t your right,
So my right is your wrong,
And your long is my height.
But ships have got it sorted out,
No matter which way turned about.

I’m upstage left of down,
I’m out-bound and in-town,
So my step is your kerb,
And your verb is my noun.
But ships have got it followed-through,
Where starboards start and end on cue.

Stage right is my right
To see things through my sight,
So my late is your soon,
With high noon at midnight.
But ships have got it fair and square,
Where port is port, and over there.

Black Fives

Time Transfixed by Uli Mayer, after René Magritte

Black Fives

Puffing into Rugby,
But this loco’s not a pipe,
Shunting on to Inverness,
With giant apples, ripe.
Rolling out of Derby
When the trees are like a fern,
Let’s open up the fire-box,
And watch the tubas burn.
Pulling into Euston,
Where the bowler-hatted rain –
Then chuffing-up at Templecombe,
A spiral-peel of train.
She’s right on time, in ivory black,
But never bright cerise –
The workhorse of the LMS,
From Crewe to mantlepiece.

Mockingbirds

Mockingbirds

OO is for Curloo,
U is for Duv,
O is for Swollo and Swon, my love.
M is for Emerald –
Pretty enough.
F is for Fessant and also for Chuff.
N is for Natcatcher,
K is for Kwail,
J is for Pijjon who’s bringing the mail.
I is for Ider,
R is for Ren,
T is for Tarmigan – ta-ta, my hen.

Sons of Milka

The First Discord by De Scott Evans – I’m showing Cain & Abel here because Uz & Buz are inexplicably much overlooked by painters

Sons of Milka

Uz and Buz were brothers,
Way back in the Bible-time,
Who rightly cursed their mother
For her blatant naming-crime.

Uz was older, but Buz was bigger –
“The whole of you is held in me,
Yet I am more than your slight figure,
For you shall never be my B.”

“Not so !” said Uz, “For in the lore
Of old King James, I’ve letters three –
I have an H that stands before,
So they dub me Huz in the KJV !”

So, Uzz and Buzz, or Ooze and Booze ?
Or maybe one of each, who knows ?
And in the end, they got to choose,
But never told us what they chose.

Portals

Some example wares of the London Door Company.

Portals

I’ve seen too many doors,
And they’re nothing much, just doors –
Just as expected.
I open them, I close them,
Or I pass them by unnoticed,
Disconnected.
I’ve turned too many knobs
And I’ve knocked too many knockers
In the gloom,
Yet never thought about them
Till I find I need a way
To leave the room.

I’ve seen too many doors,
Be they oaken, deal, or plywood,
Or cold steel.
I push them and I pull them,
Or I sometimes have to slide them
With a squeal.
I’ve crossed so many thresholds
And I’ve stepped on many stoops,
Both front and aft,
Yet never thought about them
Till I find I need a way
To stop the draught.