Bottom of the Barrel

organ grinder
The Organ Grinder by Vasily Perov

 

Bottom of the Barrel

I saw an organ grinder and his capuchin the other day –
He made an awful racket, and the monkey didn’t want to play,
And no surprise !, the poor bedraggled creature looked a broken thing,
Half-starved and half-exhausted, on a short and fraying string.
The organist was little better – no musician with a skill –
He simply turned the handle to produce the loud and flat and shrill.

I ought to add, this wasn’t in a smart and swanky part of town,
Because the rich have constables to move them on and shut them down.
Instead, they haunt the humble in the poorest, foulest thoroughfare,
In begging half a penny from the folks who haven’t one to spare.
But still I stopped, and watched that doleful monkey, as his master hawked,
And wondered what he might have dreamt of, if he only could have talked…

“I’d rather be a monkey than an organ grinder, any day –
We monkeys gets to leap and dance, and gen’rally to have our way,
And sport a hand-made uniform, and all the grapes that we can eat,
And always plays to cheering crowds from Berkeley Square to Gower Street.
And yet the world is quick to view me as a lackey or buffoon –
But grinders only get to grind, and grind, and grind all afternoon.”

I saw an organ grinder and his capuchin the other day –
And shared a knowing look, we three, of how they’d soon be swept away.

 

 

Sashes & Splashes

window

 

Sashes & Splashes

I love to hear the raindrops from the dry-side of the window,
As they pitter-patter on the misty glass, kept well at bay –
The panes become my armour from the showers and the wind,
So I can watch the running rivulets, a quarter-inch away.

 

 

Tuneless

recorder

 

Tuneless

When the words won’t come
And the rhymes run dry,
When the tunes won’t hum
And the airs won’t fly,

When the metres break
And the scans won’t flow,
When the beat won’t take
And the one won’t go,

When all the lyrics stutter,
And when all the choirs mutter,
And when all rhythms splutter,
Sing along, sing along !

We cannot all be nightingales
With perfect breath to fill our sails,
Or even decent banshee wails –
We were not built for song.

We have no need to score each stress
To make ourselves be heard –
If tending slightly to a drone or whine.

But if you’re rendered music-less,
Well, take our flat and spoken word
That life goes on in monotone just fine.

 

 

Mongeese

africa animal british close up
Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

 

Mongeese

I’m far too much busy just watching these wonderful creatures
To care for your grammar.
They’re so like the ferrets and martens in habit and features –
They drown out your clamour.
They aren’t, though, that closely related (they’re closer to panthers),
They just look the same –
For evolution converges on similar answers,
And so does their name.

 

 

Smiths & Joneses

bowlers

 

Smiths & Joneses

Once there was a time when a man was his surname –
The only name they ever used at school, or in the Guards.
A gentleman at club would be hailed as little better
Than the sappers in the trenches or the inmates in the yards.
Forenames were for sissies and for ladies – or your relatives,
And only then because they else would all be called the same.
Soon as breeched and blazered, they were down to the initial –
All that mattered was the fam’ly silver and the fam’ly name,
But one or two more wily gents had first-names not to be ignored –
Jerome K Jerome and Ford Madox Ford…

 

 

Gods’ Breath

wind god

 

Gods’ Breath

Cry out your name to the wind,
As it gathers and flies,
Let it carry your name on its wing
To the edge of the skies.
Cry out your name to the wind,
And the wind replies –
“I am Aneurin, I am Belinda,
The unseen and wise.
Now I am Cormac, blowing, blowing,
Davina rising, Ezra free –
Soon to be Fortune, waiting, growing –
Filling the sails at mill and sea.
I am the storm and the maelstrom twinned,
The harbinger-bringer, the hurricane eyes !”

So cry out your name to the wind,
And your name shall rise.

 

 

The Memory of Woods

tree with brunch and green leaves during sunset
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

The Memory of Woods

Ashes to ashes
And ashes to beeches,
Ashes wherever
The passing breeze reaches,
To scatter and nourish
The bluebells and oaks,
Whose branches are neighbours
And flowers are folks.

Ashes have grown
And ashes have fallen,
But not before raising
Their saplings from pollen –
We sleep with the ivy
And grow with the lime,
Whose roots are in mem’ry,
And crowns are in time.