My Poetry

The Snow­bird & The Fox
(For L.)

“Hel­lo, Snow­bird,” said the Fox, “where have been, my dear?”
“I’ve been learn­ing mar­tial arts,” she smiled. “To tear you ear from ear.”
“But with­out my ears,” grinned Fox, “I can­not hear you, dar­ling thing!
And besides … I know you love that I adore to hear you sing.”

“Don’t push it,” Snow­bird snapped, “Or I will clear your gums of teeth,
And use your fur to stitch you up a dain­ty funer­al wreath!
Your organs I will send post-haste to save some hunter’s life,
And your blood­ied head I’ll mail to Anne, the taxidermist’s wife!”

“A charm­ing thought,” the Fox replied. “Who doesn’t like real fur?
And to have you at my funer­al will make death worth­while, I’m sure!
To save anoth­er life has been this Fox’s life­long dream,
And anoth­er one has been to make Bad Annie scream!”

“What’s that noise?” Fox cried. “Oh, don’t you pull that trick on me!
“No look!” Fox roared. “There’s some­one hid­ing just behind that tree!”
The Snow­bird gasped, behind the tree the Hunts­man and his hound,
“Well done, my girl!” the Hunts­man growled. “This is a catch you’ve found!”

Augus­ta barked, the Hunts­man aimed, his antique rifle clapped,
And Snow­bird screamed as Fox col­lapsed, his neck – it seems – had snapped,
“That Fox,” the Hunts­man cussed, “the darn­d­est thing I’ve seen or heard,
Unless my eyes deceive me, took a bul­let for that bird!”

The Snow­bird did not waste more time; she knew the thing to do;
And, bow­ing to the fall­en Fox, unleashed her new kung fu!
The Spin­ning Gold­en Drag­on-Kick, the Shang­hai Mur­der Fist,
Con­nect­ed with the Huntsman’s head, and nev­er Snow­bird missed,

Augus­ta, yelp­ing, ran away, the Huntsman’s fight was ended,
But the Snow­bird kept on kick­ing him, until he had surrendered!
“To have had you at my funer­al, would have made my death worthwhile,
But it’s when I’m still alive that I can most enjoy your smile…”

The Fox thus spoke, alive, but weak, the bul­let had been stuck,
Inside a box of choco­lates that in his coat was tucked,
“These were for you,” the Foxy sighed, “And yet, no more, it seems,
The Huntsman’s rifle dec­i­mat­ed all your Berry Creams…”

“Out­side and in a fox I am, and you the fairest bird,
But please, dear Snow­bird, don’t sus­pect my every look and word.”
The Snow­bird smil­ing, sweet­ly sung, then took his trem­bling hand,
And ever more dear friends they were, the dear­est in the land!

A Lone­ly Old Crus­tacean Finds a Friend

(An Aquat­ic Amore)

Read by Alexan­der Jonas

A her­mit crab saw no connection,
Between him­self and his reflection,
And so for days and months on end,
He stood a‑waving to his friend

Each night his dar­ling went away,
But with the sun returned each day,
His only friend, amour, and light,
Was sim­ply that: a trick of light

There even rang no men­tal bells,
When both togeth­er left their shells,
Nor when (by chance!) they both made plans,
To dwell inside red baked bean cans

When caught crab’s sum­mer days did stop,
Kept in a bag, sent to a shop,
His pin­cers quaked, he’d ne’er more see,
His friend of sev­en months and three

Yet crab faced not, as feared, the tomb,
Instead, a tank in Sarah’s room,
Her mir­rored cup­boards brought elation,
To that lone­ly old crustacean!

The her­mit crab saw no connection,
Between him­self and his reflection,
In Sarah’s room for years on end,
He waved to his beloved friend

The Prob­lem With That Ocelot

(A Recipe For Murder)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

The prob­lem with that ocelot,
Was that she always ate a lot,
Grace, charm, and man­ners had she not,
A glut­ton was that ocelot

When ocelot took to the town,
The ladies point­ed, wait­ers frowned,
As l’escargot and beans washed down,
With sauces red and gravies brown

From Jacques who was to kitchen born,
She earned a culi­nary scorn,
And so he baked a Tart of Prawn,
With hem­lock glaze and chloroform

As soon as Jacques had served the treat,
With no delay, the beast did eat!
(Despite her hun­gry canines sweet,
Dessert would now be obsolete…)

The crea­ture screamed and clutched her heart,
And sobbed: “Alas, I now depart!
But, by the gods, who baked that tart?
It was not food, but art!!!”

A Terp­si­chore­an Tale

(Ded­i­cat­ed To Unknown Dancers)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

“Are aphids meant to dance?” inquired young Susan of her Dad,
“For on this prick­ly rose­bush here, they’re caught up in this fad,
First they tan­go to the left, then they Charleston to the right,
Until the hun­gry cater­pil­lars scam­per off in fright!

It’s true I go to school, oh Dad, to learn of rules and sense,
But it seems quite clear this insect dance is done in self-defence!”
“Non­sense!” scoffed her Father, at this tale of insect dance,
Until with his own eyes he saw how well they skipped and pranced

He cried: “Oh Susan, you were right, these bugs inside must stay,
Until a con­tract can be signed with agents from Broadway!”
Her Father kept the aphids in a box to let them train,
And played The Sound of Music, Fame, and Sin­gin’ In the Rain,

Those aphids mas­tered every dance; they trained to bit­ter end;
Kept in the dark with but the sound of Ham­mer­stein and friend,
Their debut night came round at last, but signs were hard­ly glad,
In neon lights — not insect name — but that of Susan’s Dad

As drums did roll, and spot­lights shone, to each patron was passed,
A tele­scope, binoc­u­lars, or mag­ni­fy­ing glass,
Yet as the cur­tain lift­ed high, the crowd shook angry head,
For the promised danc­ing insect folk had from the stage just fled,

Avoid­ing fly­ing fruit and stoves, shamed Father left the stage,
And cursed the named of Web­ber, in a Broad­way hat­ing rage!
Months lat­er play­ing in the gar­den, Susan saw by chance,
A leaf aquiver not with breeze, but beat of aphid dance…

Band of Blubbers

(A Mar­tial Missive)

Nine Jel­ly­fish fought in the war,
But washed up on a for­eign shore,
Faced exe­cu­tion by their enemies,
But fled dis­guised as sea anemones!

So if you serve in any wars,
And strand your­self on for­eign shores:
Remem­ber those Nine Fight­ing Jellies,
Who fought for you and all your rellies!

Where Goes the Fire?

(A Pyro­ma­ni­a­cal Lullaby)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

Where goes the fire when the fire goes out?
To the opera?
To the circus?
Or to have its front teeth out?

The Lady Who Drank From a Shoe & Final­ly Found Happiness
(A Podi­atric Paean)

Read by Susan Casanove

In Rome there lived a lady who,
Drank tea and cof­fee from a shoe,
Resolved she was to drink that way,
Her milky-sug­ar-boot Earl Grey,

A Sergeant warned that he would fine her,
Unless she drank her tea from china:
“In Roman law, we only settle,
For folk who favour cup and kettle!

And yet, my dear, you think it meet,
To fill your shoes with tea, not feet!”
The lady feared a life in gaol,
And so she o’er the ocean sailed,

She came at last to Lands of Sleet,
Ruled by the Kings-Of-But-One-Feet,
(These Unipods they had no care,
For shoes that must be bought in pairs!)

That lady spied the causal link,
Between spare boots, and evening drink,
So now she serves up shoes and tea,
For the Uni­pod King of the Landly-Lee…

Bess, The Tardy Cephalopod
(An Octope­dal Fable)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

To rise, I hope, you’d not be late,
If legs you had — not two — but eight,
Yet always late, though eight times shod,
Was Bess the tardy cephalopod

At noon she’d stir her inky head,
And yawn­ing rise from soft sea bed,
Then to the kitchen idly lumber,
To guz­zle tea and sea cucumber!

All after­noon, that lazy kraken,
On roe and kelp con­tin­ued snackin’!
Thus sis­ter Lou, girth also ample,
Was sel­dom set a good example

Yet truth be told, this ris­ing late,
Was known as quite a fam­i­ly trait,
Sir Samuel Squid, back spawn­ings four,
Slept in and missed the Lob­ster War!

His eyes drawn to these sis­ters large,
A Great-White Shark pre­pared to charge,
“Lou, pass the cake,” the last remark,
Of Bess inside that hun­gry shark!

Remem­ber this, or be as bait,
A shark adores a squid up late,
Each morn­ing then, oh chil­dren try,
To be not like such octopi…

The Android & The Flowergirl
(With Nei­ther Rhyme)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

An android fell in love with Fleur,
She was the Flowergirl,
Out­side his cas­tle she sold dandelions.

In his lab he grew a string of pearls,
To give to her,
They were as love­ly as her eyes.

Hip­poly­ta the Hip­py Hippo
(War is over!)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

Hip­poly­ta the Hip­py Hip­po hula-hooped to stop the war,
The Wal­rus War helped rich get rich, as oth­er beasts grew poor,
A duck had killed the wal­rus king, and nei­ther side would yield,
So the Hip­py Hip­po took to danc­ing on the battlefield,
As she hula-hooped all were amazed, the guns on both sides ceased,
With hula-hoops — not war — her craze, she forged a last­ing peace.

What Is A Poem For?
(A Ques­tion)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

“What is a poem for?” asked the kit­ten of the cat,
“Does it mat­ter if the poem rhymes? Or is it more than that?
Are poems sim­ply pri­vate songs of unre­quit­ed love?
Is a poem for the poet? — Or for every star above?
Are all the poets real­ly dead? Or are there some alive?
Can words be used as kiss­es? Or are they always knives?
Are poets sim­ply dream­ers? Or do they real­ly see?
And tell me, cat, when will a poet write a poem for me?”
The cat she purred, “Oh dear­est heart, my sweet beloved kitten,
When­ev­er you ask ques­tions thus, a poem you have written,
The answers to your ques­tions lie with­in your words, you see,
And that, dear child, the secret is, of all good poetry…”

The Ant and the Aardvark

(For Great & Small Creatures)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

In the City of the Sun there lived an Ant who for a lark,
Took to danc­ing lessons with a wily old Aardvark,
As they tan­goed, cried the Ant: “You know, Aardy, I have found,
With you danc­ing in the Moon­light quite beats liv­ing underground!”

For a Bumblebee
(A Love Sto­ry With No Hap­py End)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

A lob­ster loved a bumblebee,
A love no one could save,
Her house, a hive, up in a tree,
But his beneath a wave

No fair­er love had lob­ster seen,
For her he prayed and wished,
The bum­ble­bee she died as Queen,
But he on bak­ing dish…

(A Lunar Flight)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

A year ago this first of June,
A duck flew right up to the moon,
Her duck­lings born in out­er space,
In nests upon the lunar face!

Soon fol­lowed raven, wren, and swallow,
To roost on moon where once Apollo,
Made NASA proud (small step for man),
And now a leap for avian!

(Some Mis­takes)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

Peter Piper picked a peck of pick­led peppers,
Ate them, choked, and died,
His broth­er mourned for sev­er­al days,
Then made off with his bride

Row, row, row your boat,
Gen­tly down the stream,
For if you try to a row a goat,
The goat will sure­ly scream

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pock­et full of rye,
I’m told that folk with any sense,
Will live until they die

Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub,
Don’t both­er to scream when in space,
If a horse can­ters into your favourite pub,
Don’t ask him about his long face…

The Wom­bat & The Emu
(An Ornitho­log­i­cal Romance Doesn’t Take Place)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

A wom­bat found an emu, at the back of Wyn­yard station,
And two weeks lat­er said: “hel­lo!” (the length of thought’s gestation),
Yet the emu is a fast beast, and by now had run to Perth,
So the lone­ly wom­bat ambled home, to sleep beneath the earth.

A Limerick

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

An old man was dressed to the nines,
In a suit sewn from fif­teen canines,
Each night at the station,
His hat, an Alsatian,
Would bark at the ladies in line.

Spir­i­tus est?
(An Ecu­meni­cal Paradigm)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

I knew a priest who sat a few,
Small ducks in every sin­gle pew,
So pious folk in every nation,
Might think he had a congregation,
To me it seemed quite hard­ly fair,
That he used ducks for Morn­ing Prayer!
The moral? Next time use some geese.

Some­thing New
(Fea­tur­ing Some Tra­di­tion­al Wisdom)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

One night an angel fell asleep,
Quite far away from home,
She woke next day upon the street,
Flew off, but dropped her comb,

An old man liv­ing on the road,
Of hard­ships had his share,
Whilst wan­der­ing found that angel comb,
And placed it in his hair,

At once the old man leaped up high,
He cheered as his clothes changed,
From dirty rags to rai­ment bright,
On head a crown arranged,

The world around him shift­ed too,
All grim­ness turned to gold,
Not folk who stared, but sub­jects bowed,
This King now did behold,

His sack of junk had turned to coins,
A park to Roy­al City,
Its doors were opened not to rich,
But folk who need­ed pity,

Yet jew­els and gems they took their toll,
This vagrant was quite changed,
Soon ‘twixt the King and Bombay’s Queen,
A mar­riage was arranged,

On wedding’s eve, Queen Ulma cried,
Moaned, whined, and raised a shout,
At her behest the King gave in,
And threw the street-folk out,

Again aban­doned, on their way,
The sick, aged, and infirm,
Knew well the fate that faced the King,
The les­son he would learn,

On wed­ding day great trum­pets blew,
Glad hymns were sung with might,
When in the sky a star appeared,
As bright as any light,

Con­vinced this light meant fireworks,
A gift from for­eign kings,
The Queen ignored it as it grew,
And kissed her dia­mond rings,

The King how­ev­er knew full well,
The light was more than show,
No less the own­er of the comb,
That made this pious glow,

Ashamed that he had changed so much,
The King removed the comb,
And ‘fore the gasp­ing dumb-struck crowd,
His palace turned to foam,

As angry courtiers ran about,
The rich were in despair,
And howl­ing in a foamy pile,
The Queen tore out her hair,

But fixed in place the old man stood,
His eyes trained on the sky,
Although the angel nev­er came,
A comet soon flew by,

A less­er man would sure­ly cry,
At what did just unfold,
But this old man he sim­ply smiled,
Alone, as it grew cold,

When sun­rise came, he still stood there,
As true old friends came back,
And togeth­er laugh­ing they returned,
To life upon the track,

Although the angel nev­er came,
To claim her comb that night,
In lat­er years the old man claimed,
“True mag­ic hides from sight…”

A moral true I could unfold,
Of greater things than wealth,
But lessons best are most­ly learned,
Through time, and love … and stealth!

Fan­tas­tic Was Her Light
(For J.A.)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

A tiny mouse was cry­ing, stand­ing on the burn­ing sand,
For Pete had lost the com­fort of his mother’s hand,
The joy he’d known when swim­ming, or build­ing on the beach,
Now made his sor­row all the more, with moth­er out of reach

An hour ago Pete ran from her, to watch a clown perform,
(The posters claimed that Jug­gling Jane was to the cir­cus born!)
But when Jane’s tricks were over, Pete he wept (the sor­ry fella’),
To see the beach all red with twen­ty thou­sand like umbrellas

Pete shook and sobbed and stomped, as many mice just passed on by,
(It seemed so strange, on such a summer’s day, to see him cry),
By now the rodent crowd had swelled to ten times ten times ten,
As Ta Da! the favourite walked on stage: The Amaz­ing Danc­ing Jen!!!

So bright a star was Danc­ing Jen (the world’s most famous mouse),
That known and loved she was by mice in town and coun­try house,
Her fusion style thrilled crit­ics, and her grace and skill were rare,
She was the only mouse known to have danced with Fred Astaire!

The crowd it whooped and screamed to see the rodent Mata Hari,
But gasped as Jen she stopped mid-dance (her face all seized with worry),
Their shock soon turned to anger; the Mouse ran off the stage;
(Cat Paul, the show’s direc­tor, swore he’d drown her in a cage),

But Jen, she reap­peared quite soon, and walked among the crowd,
Her fans realised they loved her still, and cheered her extra loud,
As chil­dren swirled around her, par­ents begged for autographs,
But Jen approached the one soul there, who had no smiles or laughs

Jen greet­ed Pete with hugs and smiles, and intro­duced herself,
As a friend and fel­low Mouse (not some celebri­ty with wealth),
That day for kiss­es from their idol, fans could not compete,
Jen’s heart was won not by applause, but tears from lit­tle Pete

Pete’s hand in hers, they climbed on stage, the music played again,
And the crowd exclaimed: “Fan­tas­tic!” as he tripped the light with Jen,
They box-stepped, tan­goed, hula-hooped, and turned a do-si-do,
(Although Paul was sur­prised at first, it proved a daz­zling show)

Like all good things their show did end, to cheers each mouse did bow,
Then took some time to chat with fans (young Pete was famous now),
Pete signed his name so many times his hand grew rather numb,
But for his great­est fan he signed: “I love you most, dear mum!”

The Butch­er and the Singing Chin
(An Operetta)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

In Wersey Park there lived a man, inside a garbage bin,
He was a music lover with the most dis­tin­guished chin,
This chin, a beardy cres­cent, through which you may have heard,
The sound of opera favourites from a nest of singing birds,

A butch­er strolling through the park, in hand a pig­gied knife,
Had sel­dom heard Puc­ci­ni sung so well in all his life,
This greedy brute, more beast than man, was tak­en by a vision,
Of wealth beyond his wildest dreams (he need­ed one incision),

From bin he lured the man to doom with sausages and ham,
And only as the knife fell did he com­pre­hend the scam,
The old man screamed, the chin fell off, with glee the butch­er cried,
The chin sung Madame But­ter­fly; the old man slow­ly died,

That killer led the chin to fame; to glo­ry they did shoot,
The chin per­formed at Albert Hall in Mozart’s Mag­ic Flute!
But as the lights they dimmed each night, this taunt came from the chin:
O, cru­el and hat­ed butch­er, you will suf­fer for your sin…

Despite this threat the butch­er cheered when in the mail he saw,
An invi­ta­tion from the Queen to sing at roy­al Windsor,
The scoundrel bowed before the Queen, he placed the chin on stage,
But the chin sung not of lovers, but that killer’s cru­el outrage:

It sung:

“In Wersey Park once lived a man, inside a garbage bin,
He was a music lover with the most dis­tin­guished chin,
This chin, a beardy cres­cent, through which you would have heard,
The sound of opera favourites from a nest of singing birds…”

As sung the chin its final verse, Queen Beth shed regal tears,
For such a tale of woe she’d nev­er heard in all her years,
His num­ber up, the butch­er fled, that vil­lain all in shock,
The chin was made Queen’s favourite … but he sent to the block.

Who Would Have Thought?
(A Philo­soph­i­cal Quagmire)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

Isn’t it fun­ny how bees make honey,
Yet zebras sel­dom do?
And cir­cus clowns draw laughs and cheers,
Yet fun­ny vets are few?

The Vampire

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

“I vant to suck your blood,” said the Vam­pire to the priest,
Whose car had bro­ken down out­side his castle,
But the priest he laughed and said: “You don’t fright­en me the least,
I have gar­lic bread wrapped up inside this parcel!”

The Dragonfly
(For B.W.)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

Upon a sum­mer dream she took to wing, a dragonfly,
And dipped about the mead­ow where the hap­py lovers lie,
Upon her hand she land­ed, there her fin­gers light­ly kissed,
Then took to wing for oth­er dreams and lovers she had missed.

The Spu­ri­ous Cat

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

Augus­tu­lus Mio, the spu­ri­ous cat, toyed with a cot­ton wool ball,
Yet the length of her beak, and the webs of her feet, were not very feline at all,
Still she duti­ful­ly purred, as the fire gen­tly burned, and she sat on old Mrs. Hobbs’ lap,
But when the clock chimed at the hour of nine, and her mis­tress slipped into a nap,
Augus­tu­lus hopped down the stairs, ran the bath, and strapped on a red bathing hat,
And pad­dling in water with three rub­ber ducks, “Quack! Quack!” went the spu­ri­ous cat,
Augus­tu­lus Mio, for Iris went meow, and toyed with a cot­ton­wool ball,
Yet the length of her beak, and the webs of her feet, were not very feline at all…

Polar Opposites

(An Arc­tic Article)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

A Ben­gal tiger in the street,
Shiv­ered in the Arc­tic sleet,
Its own­er moaned and cried and wept:
“If only a polar bear I’d kept!”

Mil­li­pede or Centipede?
(An Ento­mo­log­i­cal Dilemma)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

A Cen­tipede at brunch one day,
Put down her toast and stood to say:
“You must concede,
When shoes you need,
You’d rather be a centipede!”

But Mil­li­pede leapt up and said:
“What fool­ish talk! You’re off your head!
When flee­ing preda­to­ry birds,
One hun­dred shoes are quite absurd!
A thou­sand feet will run much faster,
Divide by ten and court disaster!”

The Cen­tipede let out a cry,
Threw toast, and egg, and cus­tard pie,
The Mil­li­pede tripped on her dress,
And hit the floor with all the mess

May­or Roach took Cen­tipede aside,
And bit­ter­ly he whipped her hide,
“The Law,” he warned, “is sel­dom sweet,
Con­cern­ing quar­rels of the feet.”

The con­flict nev­er was resolved,
Of feet, and shoes, and birds most bold,
So to this day the feud goes on,
One hun­dred feet, or else a tonne?
The ques­tion this, would you first be
A mil­li or a centipede?

(A Mid­night Melody)

Read by Christo­pher Richardson

As Night falls gen­tly on the town, the lanterns all go out,
And tired old Sun he snores, as Mrs. Moon shines light about,
The chil­dren tucked in bed asleep; the moth­ers kneel to pray,
As Fay Folk, one by one, emerge to toil the night away,

In dervish dance, the Fairy Queen, from sky to mor­tal ground,
Leads dryads, naiads, sprites and nymphs, as pipes the insect sound,
Soon oth­ers who by day had slept in tree-stump, swamp, or ceiling,
From slum­ber rise to play whilst Night’s celes­tial bells are peeling,

As rose-cheeked Ser­aphs on the wing build dreams from smoke and clay,
Around the sta­bles Cen­taurs feast on bread and wine and hay,
The work-elves nim­bly mend worn boots in Uncle Percy’s house,
Whilst Gob­lin King exchanges jokes with Owl and Rat and Mouse,

That rustling in the trees makes Ruth too scared to even peek,
From not the wind, as Father says, but Imps at hide-and-seek,
And oh! the grim-faced Ghouls who whis­per spells in children’s ears,
Their thoughts now dwell on dark­ling night­mares and old fears,

Those tweets and clucks upon the roof are not the cries of birds,
But the screech­ing of young drag­ons as they learn to hunt in herds,
And that howl­ing from next-door from not such dogs as you can shoo,
But the blood-soaked maws of Gal­lic beasts, the ancient loup-garou,

At Strike of Twelve do hark the cry of babes on moth­ers’ knees,
To swell in bit­ter sym­pho­ny the wail-song of banshees,
As nit­ter-nat­ter from down­stairs hails from a lone­ly ghost,
Who in the kitchen feeds his face with hand­fuls of burnt toast,

Yet soon enough the Moon her­self begins to yawn and say:
“It’s time, my friends, to wel­come sleep and heed the call of day!”
The King and Queen stand hand-in-hand; call sub­jects to their side;
And prais­ing them for works achieved, they mount their winged-horse ride!

As Sun­rise looms the Roy­al Pair return to spheres above,
Their denizens descend to sleep (for day they have no love),
In toil and play, the Fay Folk shape our world at Night for Day,
You wake and find you’ve lost your glass­es, friends, or place to stay,

You blame your­self, and not an elf, for strange sights you have seen,
Yet now I know we mor­tals live at the whim of the Fairy Queen!
For human eyes these things are not, say prayers and go to bed,
If you do peek, they’ll come, and into Dark­ness you’ll be led!