Sunday, 29 March 2015

The Doomsday Book

The Angles and the Saxons cursed,
expletives by the score.
When Ethelfrith declined a war,
Foeman Fraser said, We're doomed!

Oh God! The Danes, thought Ethelred
as ships drew near the shore.
As many spears as oars, before
Spearman Fraser sighed, We're doomed!

The Viking hordes took Lindisfarne
apart in search of gold,
while Athelstan in hiding told
cloistered Fraser, Scribe, 'We're doomed!'

The Normans landed in such haste
that one remembered year,
when Haradwine was shocked to hear
Fletcher Fraser cry, He's doomed!

When Rob de Brus said, Up yours, Ed!
it made Ed's stomach churn,
and later on at Bannockburn,
rampant Fraser taunted, Doomed!

The Flo'ers o' the Forest died,
because of Stewart's pledge,
and at the foot o' Branxton Edge,
Pikeman Fraser pined, We're doomed!

Armada sent from Spain was cursed
when storms rent sails right through
and Catholic ears heard, Aye, it's true!
Reverend Fraser prayed, They're doomed!

Old Ironsides made his reign last
a decade, pretty near,
then like the Laughing Cavalier,
loyal Fraser grinned, He's doomed!

When Orange Wullie came to sit
upon the Kingdom's throne,
the Stuart line was heard to groan.
Exiled Fraser wept, It's doomed!

When Bonnie Charlie landed here,
he thought the French would too,
but Auld Alliance wasn't true.
Clansman Fraser moaned, We're doomed!

Your country needs your sacrifice,
said Kitchener back then.
It's war across the Channel, men!
'listed Fraser groaned, We're doomed!

They sent the Stukas with their bombs
and cities suffered Blitz,
but nonetheless, we kept our wits.
Wingtip Fraser's quip; They're doomed!

And there in Walmington-on-sea
the Home Guard stood its guard,
while Mr. Hitler thought he heard
Private Fraser say, You're doomed!

The Captain said, Don't tell 'em Pike
your name or who you are
'tho we all know who was the star
who kidded Hitler, who was doomed.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Carpe stultum

It happened on the 15th of March, in 44 BC, and you can read about it in Wikipedia, if you wish to find out more.

...and here's the plan my friends, your ears
are lent so listen up. You'll hear
the signal given, have no fear.
We must act fast
as now the Ides of March are near
the die is cast.

We'll render unto him what's due
(A quote ahead of time). Us few
will tax his very life and hew
out Julia's spawn.
Go on, don't wait to form a queue.
By Rubicon!

The Consul here is off-the-page
so we'll ensure he earns that wage;
a sinner's death on Pompey's stage.
We took a vow,
there's no return, we must engage.
Let's do it now!

They fell on him and such their wrath
he stumbled on the steps. The math:
take forty men, get one bloodbath.
In Rome that day
the Liberators had a laugh;
Stab! Stab! Touché!

The die was cast and so they struck.
Poor Caesar just ran out of luck.
With final words of, What the phuq!
Et tu, Brute?

he vanished underneath a ruck;
a last cliché.

Monday, 2 March 2015

The history of the clothes line in medieval Europe

Image © Brian Duncan
This is one of the very few poems (less than a handful) I have written practically 'straight off' i.e., with little editing more than correcting a couple of typos and adding some punctuation. It was written on a smart-phone notepad app in the early hours of a June morning in 2012 and was considered good enough to appear in The Poetic Bond III, published in September 2013. You can still purchase a paperback copy of that anthology on Amazon Books (see the link).

At first, the line was stretched out taut,
across the yard, between the posts,
but over years, it lost its snap
as ballast turned and poles relaxed
to sag and droop, and bow the wire,
no longer tight, but still a cord
on which were strung the clothes that hung
from peddler’s hooks, the pants and socks
and vests and drawers, like bunting flags
for Jubilee or twenty-first,
excepting that they looked so drab,
instead of red and blue and white,
but still they flew, if lacking hue,
upon the breeze, a wave, forlorn,
and who were they, who wore those rags?
The underclass in smocks and clogs,
the peasants whelped like rabid dogs,
with weary wives, from hardship wracked
and wrapped in shawls, pathetic farce,
who knew no silk against their arse,
just coarse, the hand that felt their twat,
and lips that bruised as pressing needs
of men on heat demanded that
their penance lasts as long as lust,
and heralds birth, yet more wee brats,
those bairns they'd spawn and call their own,
to carry on the line, their clothes,
their smalls, their grey and coarse haired shirts.