The rime of the unwanted wedding guest

With apologies to Coleridge and de la Mere

‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Bailiff,
Knocking on the vestry door;
His super turbo 4×4
In sympathetic roar.
And an owl flew out of the belfry,
And a distant hawk did cry,
And a black cat hissed at the Bailiff,
And some travellers passed by.

But the wedding party was long gone
The bride and groom had kissed.
And all had gone to the Rose and Swan
Where most were fairly pissed.
And no one saw the Bailiff
Who came to church that day,
Walk back to car with writ unserved,
Rev up, and drive away.

Reflections

Another poem salvaged from my school days. This has long been tucked inside my Wordsworth book, along with the Lucy poems – it’s about as derivative as it is possible to get, possibly to the point of litigation. Typical sixth-form clichéd approach too. By the date I can see that I had recently taken A-levels, Wordsworth being on the syllabus. But its one of the few connections I have with myself at that time.

Antique-Ebony-Hand-Mirror-M103

Reflections

This was the glass she used; her eyes
Once lay where mine gaze back at me.
Her gentle fingers once caressed
This very same carved ebony.

She sat upon this very seat
Where even now in sad despair
I weep to think of those soft eyes
I knew so well; I’d learned to care.

What means it now to her? She lies
With all the world her winding sheet.
And leaves her glass to me, a friend
Until in death again we meet

Málaga, 10 November 1966

Requiem for a King

I wrote this poem when I was twelve years old and just rediscovered it today. I’m posting this unchanged, as a tribute to my twelve-year-old former self. Terribly clichéd (it seems I was reading Mallory at the time), but there is something about it that lets me connect to the time I wrote it and what I was thinking and reading at the time. So no apologies, what it is, it is.

morte

Requiem for a King

In the year of eight o’ three
A noble king did cease to be
In England’s pastures green.
He had lived a noble life
Full of turmoil, full of strife
But now was mourned by just his wife
The noble King Arthur.

A score of years before, or more,
He had started England’s war
In England’s pastures green.
But now he lies upon the sward
With his hand clenched round his sword
The sweat and blood from off him poured
The noble King Arthur.

Several months before, that year,
He had married Guinevere
In England’s pastures green.
But now the girl beside him lay
At the ending of the day
As death did take his breath away
The noble King Arthur.

The very last words that he spake
Were ‘throw my sword into the lake’
In England’s pastures green.
Excalibur flashed through the air
It’s mighty blade dull, hard and bare
A hand shot up and caught it there
For noble King Arthur.

Then, as the night was drawing on
And moonlight on the water shone
In England’s pastures green.
A barge across the water flew
With Queen’s inside, the noble few,
And up to Arthur’s bed they drew
The noble King Arthur.

And as the shades of evening fell
‘Twas heard the tolling of the bell
In England’s pastures green.
The barge across the lake sped on
With its helm of black-necked swan
And then for ever he was gone
The noble King Arthur.

Written at Oakham, 1960

Task Force

Written during BRAZTESOL Conference, Goâiña, Brazil, 1996

Comment, order, modify,
Classify and justify,
Infer, predict, identify …
All day long the teacher’s cry . . .

Off we go then, up the stairs.
Move the chairs and get in pairs,
Stand up, sit down,
Hands on heads, now turn around,
Head and shoulders, arms and knees,
Delete, complete, continue please,
What to do with kids like these …?

Alter, argue, group discuss,
Left your homework on the bus?
Here’s the question, where’s the answer,
Silent reading, info transfer,
First, last, compare, contrast,
Future, perfect, present, past,
Correct, deduce, select, produce,
Read the bit on language use

Find, fill.. replace, remove,
Make an effort, must improve,
True, false, right, wrong, no and yes,
Guess, success, don’t make a mess
Describe, expand, insert, corrupt,
Explain again, don’t interrupt,
Read the fable, make a label,
Leave your homework on the table,
Write a story, if you’re able

Transform, translate,
Commentate and demonstrate,
Wait, narrate and don’t be late,
Recall, remove, rank, match, tell,
Wait for the bell, Oh, very well …

Task Force

Comment, order, modify,
Classify and justify,
Infer, predict, identify
All day long the teachers cry

Off we go then, up the stairs.
Move the chairs and get in pairs,
Stand up, wait, now turn around,
Hands on heads, and now sit down.

Head and shoulders, arms and knees,
Delete, complete, continue please,
Alter, argue, group discuss,
Left your homework on the bus ?

Here’s the question, where’s the answer?
Silent reading, info transfer,
First, last, compare, contrast,
Future, perfect, present, past,
Correct, deduce, select, produce,
Read the bit on language use.

Find, fill, replace, remove,
Make an effort, must improve,
True, false, right, wrong, no and yes,
Guess, success, don’t make a mess.

Describe, expand, insert, corrupt,
Explain again, don’t interrupt,
Read the fable, make a label,
Leave your homework on the table,
Write a story if you’re able.

Transform, translate,
Commentate and demonstrate,
Wait, narrate and don’t be late,
Recall, remove, rank, match, tell,
Wait for the bell, Oh, very well …

Goâiña, Brazil, 1996