There isn’t enough to do today,
There isn’t enough to do.
It isn’t as though I enjoy what I do,
The tiresome woe they employ me to do;
But wouldn’t you know, but my tedium grew
As soon as work withered away.
I’ve finished the paper, the internet’s gone,
I have to pretend that I’ve got something on,
I’m barely awake and I’m boozy-lunch tight,
I’m sharpening pencils with nothing to write.
An angel came into my room
One night, and hovered by my bed,
With subtle beats of golden wings,
And gentle light about his head.
And while my shock about my guest
Continued, so he spoke to me:
“Why, pray, shall you so hate God
When all He shows is love for thee ?”
“The Lord…?” I stammered once or twice,
Then found some voice from who knows where
To make reply “I hate him not,
The truth is that I do not care.”
“Now come,” the angel mocked with jest,
“For all your claims of disbelief,
Why would you spend so much strong speech
On what should matter slight and brief ?
If you upon such proof insist
As only science can provide,
Then, please, we wish you go in peace,
And as you go, let us abide.”
And as his light began to fade
And too his form began to fly,
I softly said, perhaps too late:
“So I shall you. Shall you so I ?”
Here comes the good bit, so as we rehearsed:
Now form-up the stance and keep that head bowed
With your instrument horizontal at first,
And once or twice peek through your hair at the crowd.
Now throw your head back as you work with that plec,
Then lean to your right as you let your left rise;
Now slide it on down that invisible neck,
Saluting your fans as you open your eyes.
Centipedes, ah centipedes, with more legs than blood veins,
Not like the millipedes – they’re rounder, you’re flatter.
Among the weeds are centipedes: articulated trains –
So how can you walk without causing a clatter ?
You gain two more segments each time that you shed:
That’s four legs per moulting, with more moults ahead.
So I don’t know, centipedes, quite how you succeed
When the insects can make do with six feet per tread.
Is it to lengthen your gut, or to strengthen
Your grasp on the earth, causing limbs to accrue ?
And if so, you sly lot, I’m wondering why not
Have billipedes, or trillipedes, or squillipedes too ?
Nat’ral selection, of course, has you firm in her grip:
It’s legs verses food, and at some point your fortunes must slip –
Though how many legs does it take for the balance to tip ?
Centipedes, ah plentipedes, with more legs than brains,
Though more brains than millipedes, if far fewer pins:
Bullet-headed batter-rams who plough through remains,
They’re moving slow by gearing low, to help sync their shins.
Silly slow millipedes, high in torque and low in speed –
Faster though than rotting leaves, upon which they feed.
You race them and beat them, you chase them and eat them –
But how many, Centipede, of legs do you ready need ?
Perhaps it’s your body that’s less planned than shoddy,
And just goes on growing till one day you pop.
You keep budding segments and each comes with legments,
All far too far back-there behind you to stop.
Centipedes, ah centipedes, you’re runners and dancers,
You’re bolted together, you’re slaloming chancers:
So rich in appendages, always – but so poor in answers.
If you ever stumble on pronouncing a tricky word,
Or if you’ve often seen it written, but it’s one you’ve never heard,
Or if you find this language arbitrarily absurd,
Well, that’s because it really rather is.
The thing about this English, and the reason why it’s so,
Is just to show who’s truly in the know, oh doncha know,
And that’s why there’s still esses in debris and apropos,
It’s often less a language, more a quiz.
The spellings show the origin – the past, not present tense.
And even if the origin is wrong, that’s no defence –
For if we change the spelling, they will hate our common sense –
We’re punished with the snigger and the snub.
Well, pedants gotta pedant, and scolds gotta scold,
They make up all the rules, and the rules they then withhold,
And if we have to ask them, well, it’s too late to be told –
They’ll never let us join their little club.
Sir John St John the Sixth esquire,
Is strictly iambic and strictly a Saint.
He won’t stand for slurring his old money surname:
His Saint-hood is sacred – so ‘Sinjun’ he ain’t !
Sìr Jòhn Sàìnt Jòhn (to use sprung rhythm)
Was knighthed for service to country and queen.
It isn’t a parvenu baronet title
That’s passed-down with silver and eyes of grey-green.
Sir John St John is a John at the double,
Whose handle is firing both barrels to boot.
The hyphen’s still present, though these days it’s silent –
The fam’ly tree’s old, but it’s still bearing fruit.
Sir John St John is a doctor, also:
Dr Sir John the surgeon, no less.
He once sojourned on a journeyman’s journal
In old St John’s, with its permanent ’s.
Sir John St John has a inborn condition
That makes him assume that we jolly well care.
His symptoms assisted his self-diagnosis:
The syndrome of Sinjun Sinclair.
Sir John St John, (like his father, Sir John),
Insists as the firstborn, his name gets full worth:
He claims both his Johns by the right of tradition,
And claims he’s a Saint by the right of his birth.