The Valentine Virus

Lovesick by Keight MacLean


The Valentine Virus

February – season of mists
And sniffles and sneezes and snorts.
The lurgy is lurking, the palsy persists,
That no patent tonic or tincture can thwart.
My fluid-filled senses are under attack so,
And nothing can soothe me by Pfizer or Glaxo.
Instead I must mop them with Cussons and Lever –
The sweats and the shakes and the chills and the fever.

Is it just because my hands are swollen
That my nat’ral poise is stolen ?
Clumsy fingers uncontrolling,
Rolling like they’re locked in boxing gloves.
Is it just the syrup that I’m spooning
That sets my giddy head to swooning ?
Drifting in and out of tuning,
Mooning like I’m some young thing in love.
Either way, the outlook’s flaky –
Something’s come and left me shaky.
How am I to stem this phlegm cocooning me,
That’s strewn in tubes below and pipes above ?

Unless it is you who is making me bluesy,
Unless it is you who is laying me low,
Weary and woozy and bleary and boozy
I hate to be choosy, but say it ain’t so !
A cold front is passing, a hard sleet is falling –
I hope they will blow over once spring comes a-calling…
Yet if I’m infected by what I suspect –
Then there’s no cure can save me, and no ward protect.

Is it just because my eyes are streaming
That the world looks like I’m dreaming ?
Hazy psychedelic gleaming,
Seeming strangely vivid yet unreal.
Or is it my subconscious that I’m spying ?
All the drugs my brain’s supplying
Must have set my nerves to frying,
Flying off and sleeping at the wheel.
Either way, the outlook’s gloomy –
Something’s come and left me rheumy.
How can I declare my love undyingly,
When dying is precisely how I feel ?



A Litter of Angels

up pig


A Litter of Angels

And if I ask, she might commence
To stroll with me upon the croft,
And though I know she’s happy hence
To never cross our friendship’s fence,
I pray she’ll learn how much I wish I’d doffed
My shy concern, and share those eyes so soft –
And with this burn, I call on Providence
That we may chance discern
to glimpse that fabled herd aloft.

For surely must her ’mazement form
As pigs come gliding from the west,
And may she gape in wonder warm
As grunting gammons flock and swarm.
Atop the trees, the sows are in the nest.
Upon the breeze, the shoats are cherubs blest –
Such hogs she sees !  These razorbacks in storm
Shall rend her heart’s decrees
and forge sublime within her breast.

And ev’ry time their trotters pound
For ham-thrust launch, so ardour springs.
And ev’ry volant-piglet’s sound
Of flapping brings such sighs profound.
These airborne swine, these porkers shot from slings,
These boars divine, these swooping, free-range kings,
Such hope they mine when soaring heaven-bound –
These aeronauts porcine
shall speed her love on bacon wings.



To His Cold Mistress

Sophy Gray by John Millais


To His Cold Mistress

Shend me not, my mistress,
Send my not to Coventry,
Attend to kinder business, pray,
To mend and soften me.
Defriend-me-not, my darling,
Let me tender and atone.
Unbend a little, starling,
Ere we spend our years alone.
Shend me not, my mistress,
Send me not distressed and listless, pray –
O, end this plot, unblend us not,
Engender nor us misbegot:
For we have kenned such tenderness
And we have wended as we went –
We can re-friend such splendour, yes !
We can ascend and be unshent.

To shend is a wonderful if now archaic verb meaning ‘to put to shame’ or ‘to reproach and scold’.



Golden in the Fall

autumn autumn colours brown countryside
Photo by Pixabay on


Golden in the Fall

The leaves are falling down again,
They do so ev’ry year
It doesn’t mean a thing to you and I.
The days are full of wind and rain,
But we are not, my dear –
It is eternal Spring for you and I.

If trees have lost their beauty,
Then I guess they felt the need,
But we are still perennial and pure.
And even if we’re fruity,
Well, we sure ain’t gone to seed –
We’re nothing like Autumnal, that’s for sure !

The leaves are falling down again,
The boughs bear only rooks,
Or else are torn and splintered by the storm.
The frost may star the windowpane,
The ice may sheet the brook,
But we’ll just snuggle closer, safe and warm

If days are getting shorter,
Then our nights are getting longer,
And the season’s chill is firmly kept outdoors.
I don’t see why we oughta
Be beholden – we are stronger
Than the puny pull of Autumn’s metaphores.



To Ev’ry Dream I Ever Dreamt

Sleeping Venus by Simon Vouet


To Ev’ry Dream I Ever Dreamt

Oh, what a night we spent together,
That night I spent in your arms !
That night I fell headlong for your charms,
That night we met in the dark.
Though my eyes were closed, I saw it all,
And yet, so little I recall…
And yet…I kind-of sense you’ve left your mark.
Oh, what a night we spent together,
It felt like the night would last forever –
Yet ev’ry night ends with the lark,
The radio’s bark across the hall,
The clanging bells that wrench me from the ball.

Oh, what a night when I slept with you !
For just one night, and never again –
Now ev’ry night I wait in vain,
Until another REM-ling takes your place.
We had a time, though, you and I,
Just wish I could have said goodbye –
But I was snatched from your embrace,
Or when I looked away, you fled –
Our words unsaid with the dawning sky,
One more lost thread, one more forgotten face.
We were, alas, a one-night lie,
And now I wake to an empty bed,

The Misanthrope’s Love Song

honest john
Honest John by Alan Coulson


The Misanthrope’s Love Song

Ah love, the reddest of congealings
Oozing out of ev’ry pore,
And pouring in from ev’ry spout,
And weeping from each sore –
This slushy syrup’s seeping out:
A haemorrhage of metaphor.
Flooded by this tide of treacle –
(Better, though, than sludge or faecal !)
If love must be this sickly sweet,
I guess I’ll have to grab my spoon and eat.

Ah love: the Romeo of feelings,
Acted out for evermore,
With nothing new worth saying,
And the sayers such a bore –
The role we’re always playing,
Like the millions who came before.
So how are we to find the heart
When offered such a clichéd part ?
But if we cannot be the first,
I guess at least this script is well rehearsed.

Ah love, the feeblest of concealings,
Giggling its guffaws galore –
The grinniest of poker faces,
Blurting out the score.
It favours twos to lonely aces,
Bids on hearts and bets the store.
You know, a sharp or cynic could
Defraud such love of all that’s good –
But maybe I’ll relent today,
And sigh, and shrug, and ante up to play…



The Romantic Imperative



The Romantic Imperative

It’s never the way that they claim it, this love,
In their stories and movies and songs –
It’s never so epic or urgent or raw,
It’s never so moving or brimming with awe.
It’s never the way that it should be, this love,
And we’re all of us doing it wrong –
They sold us the brand and we snapped up the dream,
We’re dazzled by hope when there’s barely a gleam.
And if we ain’t got it,
It’s too late to spot it,
Cos surely we should’ve exulted by now.
Whatever the weather,
To not be together
Is more than a lover could ever allow.
So still we keep wishing,
And still we keep sighing,
And still we keep fishing,
And swooning, and crying
And even the faithful still feel the desire –
We’re all of us waiting for Cupid to fire.

It’s never the way that we planned it, this love,
In our minds and our hearts and our schemes –
It’s never so civil or timely or neat,
It’s never so gentle or syrupy sweet.
It’s never the way that we practised, this love,
With our patter and perfumes and creams –
It comes on in shivers and rashes and bursts,
It comes on in hungers and gorges and thirsts.
And if we don’t get it,
They’ll make us regret it –
We’ve failed to be human and living our fill.
We’re solo and only –
The crime of the lonely,
That’s punished by keeping us lonelier still.
But on we keep hoping,
And on we keep dreaming,
And on we keep moping,
And recklessly teeming –
And even the loveless are likewise alike,
We’re all of us sure that the lightning will strike.