Re-leafing myself in public

My entry into this week’s Terrible Poetry contest on the theme of spring or autumn, depending on your hemisphere.

(with apologies to His Bobness)


As the calendula ticks (not to be confused with cattle ticks)

over to the March of the sugar plum fairies

I vow to turn over a new leaf.

But I am de-feated

by the myriad discarded oak appendages

carpet-snaking to my door.

There must be some way out of here,

I thought in disbelief.

There’s too much confusion.

I can’t get on relief.

So I sprang forward through

a hole in the daylight-saving curtain

and found, to my re-leaf,

rabbits eating my lettuce seedlings.

Ern Malley Incarnate (Vegan Options Available)

‘Now is the winter of our wet cement’

quoth Lucy in her sty with diamonds in her silk-purse ears.

Meanwhile, in a battlefield far, far, away, Dicky Three hunched his back,

despairing at the sward strewn with sordid, sworded bodies in his path

and cried ‘A hearse, a hearse, my kingdom for a hearse’.

Hearing nothing but the sounds of silence he bellowed

‘Unleash the dogs of war. Out, damn-ed Spot and yes, you, Fido,

and you, frumious Bandersnatch.

And let no-one ask who let the dogs out.’

But alas, alack, the dud plan of attack now needed a patsy stone.

He roared so all could hear,

“Cry ‘Harry (and Meghan), England and Boy George’ ”

and hied himself to the tintantabulation of the belfry of Notre Dame.

Thus it was left to the immoral bard, TS (George) Eliot to record,

on a cold, bright day whan that Aprill with his shoures soote

and the clock was striking thirteen,

“This is the way the world ends,

not with a banger but a Wimpy burger.”

From bottom-burps to bogeys

This was written for the weekly Terrible Poetry challenge. The divine Ms. Chelsea says ‘the topic is the cute (or ‘cute’) things that kids say. I’ll admit I’m more inspired by the parenthetical version after our dinner conversations lately. What is it with young children (perhaps just with boys) and potty humor? Do they really think meals are the best place to discuss vomit?’

From bottom-burps to bogeys


The dinner table farce started

when the oldest one farted,

and the middle-un began piddlin’

and then the underling was chundering.

To No. 1, Mum said ‘Stop that at once!, young Beau’

And he said ‘Sure, Ma, which way did it go?’

To No. 2, ‘The table’s not the place for peeing you know’

He replied ‘But you always tell us to go with the flow’.

No. 3 didn’t speak but passed his plate full of sick

To the dog under the table, from whence came the sound of ‘lick, lick’.

Dad smiled at his wife and ‘Don’t be such an old fogey’,

as he extracted and ate a big bogey.


Translations for non-Australians:

Chundering = vomiting

Bogey = booger

Dear Miss Flanagan

This was written for this week’s Terrible Poetry Contest prompt. “I’d like every one of you to remember your First Love. What did he or she look like, smell like, eat his/her boogers like? MOST IMPORTANTLY: if you were to write that person a poem, in exactly the advanced writing abilities you had at the time, what would that poem look like? I want the younger version of you to read over your composition, sigh in romantic ecstasy, and imagine the love of your life rewarding your efforts with that elusive First Kiss.”


I love your sunburnt brown pretty freckles

And your shiny beautiful cute red hair

And your green eyes (sorry if their there not green)

You look just like that film star (can’t remember her name but she’s really pretty, like Doris Day but not her)

I know you catch me staring

And I can’t help going red

Please don’t marry drippy Mr. Smith

Wait for me to catch up.



You Know Who


PS – There really was a Miss Flanagan upon whom I had the biggest crush imaginable and, yes, she was always catching me staring and she really did marry drippy Mr. Smith and broke my heart. Of course I would never have delivered this fawning missive but I would have re-read and ‘edited’ it a lot and hoped she wouldn’t find it in the back of my exercise book.

A farnarkeling good adventure

This my response to this week’s Terrible Poetry challenge to create an epic poem about a great adventure.


Upon a nonce, amidst general farnarkerling,

a fair maiden did set her sights

on a handsome prince in tights

so she could wear his ring a’sparkling.


In her way, as was her feckless fancy,

she feigned to plight her troth

to a handsome Visigoth

known as Screaming Nancy.


The handsome prince, with heart full sick,

swore and swore and swore and swore

that up with this he would not forbore

and plotted war, down to the last tooth and pick.


He gathered full his skirtling Scots all skittish

and filled his lungs

and spoke in tongues

of once more defending the breeches of the British.


Come battle day, his fulsome steed he mounted

and waved his sword

around the sward

then charged the Nancy boys uncounted.


Full well sounded the irony ring of wrath

‘gainst shields both stout and flimsy

‘til the prince’s tilt proved but whimsy

and he was vanquish-ed by the Visigoth.


The maiden shed a seemly tear or two

then plighted her troth

to the Visigoth

known as Screaming Nancy.


Footnote: The couple died without issue and the kingdom came under the demesne of the Angle-grinders, followed by the Saxons (aka the Sax Collectors) and then the Holy Roman Umpire.

The Giant Mozzie of Kozzie

This piece was written for the weekly Terrible Poetry contest, using the theme ‘The Big Rock Candy Mountain’. Might I humbly suggest this will romp it in.

And in fact it did!

I went searchin’ for the treasure

The wealth beyond measure

That would bring me great pleasure

Up there in the blue azure.

Atop the mount called Kozzie

The dream of every Ozzie

Lay hidden in a secret pozzie

And guarded by a giant mozzie.



Nobody knows the trouble I have seein’

Since I’s bit on the eye

While reachin’ for the sky

By the mozzie of Kosciuszko.

God bleakly ignoring midwinter

Thanks to my UK blog pal Bryntin , I came across this delightful site, Terrible Poetry and have submitted this entry under the prompt ‘The Bleak Midwinter”.

The bleak midwinter arrived in

the middle of winter

and it was bleak.

Not moor bleak;

more bleak than that.

The wind was keen,

not in that American neat way

nor like mustard,

but sharp

and bleak

because it was midwinter.

I watched it being bleak midwinter

but I don’t think God did.


Discovery Bay

The signs don’t work ‘cos the vandals took the handles

but the dune charioteers look after their own.

(It seems obscurity is merely an absence

of old fruit boxes and black paint.)

Along a graded road as straight as

the line on the forestry map,

we inspect the commercial pines at parade attention,

shoulders branch length apart.

Behind the parade ground is the local Flanders Field,

vast rolling hills dotted with the grave-stumps

of the Unknown Pine Trees

like a crew-cut magnified X 1000.

As the roller-coaster road begins to seem pointless

if not endless

we consider turning back but morbid curiosity drives us on

to the final crest

which lifts the descending gloom as if accompanied

by the opening chords of ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’.

The hill top looks down in worship

on the virgin white altar of the tabernacle of the sea.

What first seems the surf-wash of a tidal wave

and then a snow-field surviving mid-summer

floats its nature slowly up the slopes, stating without arrogance, but,

in no uncertain terms,

‘These are the dunes of Discovery Bay

and they have more than your measure.’

The descent to the camp ground underlines the point.

Huddled in a three-tent enclave in a corner of the acre clearing,

their sand stallions muted and hobbled,

a group gathers in the late afternoon sun

to eat, drink and be unified and fortified

against the impending night.

A small hillock provides us with a measure of privacy and protection

from the insistent wind.

The tent pitched, a meal begun, a flagon opened.

A red-eyed knight in blue track-suit armour appears

to herald the despatching of two snakes in the vicinity.

His malevolence at our lack of vehicular sand-ripper is overcome

by the ethics of the Arthurian Card Table.

He exits, stage left, weaving,

as we blare the car radio

to scare away the mind snakes.


Bushwhacked poetry

Note: Aimed at an Australian audience, though I imagine similarly execrable hackneyed forms occur in other cultures and languages.


I love a well-worn cliché

Where the Snowy River reigns

We dont need no quiche, ay,

On the Oodnagalabi Plains.


Some doggerel out of Gundagai

Old regrets we used to know

And stone the crows that fill the sky

Along the Malonglo.


Our patron saint, The Banjo,

Of Waltzing Matilda fame

Makes our very hearts glow

With his verses, both halt and lame.


Close behind is Henry Lawson

With his tales of outback life

Though goodness knows what Freud wouldve made

Of the snake and The Drovers Wife.


The Bulletin let them have their say

And the bush bards told it true

Of characters met along the way

But no Afghan, black or Jew.


So Akubra on and pen in hand

Churn out some turgid lines

About some Never-Never land

And make sure the bastard rhymes.

Now that you are gone

For the late Barb Fitzgerald


Now that you are gone

the cruelty is ended.

You, the speaker of many truths,

are no longer taunted

by a tongue in twisted battle

with a mind no less sharp

and arms no less caring

that could not be raised in love.


Now that you are gone,

I’ll have you near me always;

Close to mind and heart,

a constant in my chaos.

But in my selfish grief,

I want you here, and now,

so that I can understand

the true order of things.


Now that you are gone,

I will cling to calls in the night

and recall your thoughts

in my struggle for the truth.

But I would rather have the magic

to conjure you at will

so that we could save our worlds together,

even worlds apart.


Now that you are gone,

You’ll never wipe away my tears

and laugh rudely with me again,

in this world that travels on.

I must learn to live,

With not one more single hour

when you soothe my soul

and make all things possible, again.