Shape Ships To Seek by Vladislav Khodasevich

Shape ships to seek some shining shore,

or, if you choose, chirp chants in churches.

But seize your chance – shout one shy cheer,

and shoot up starwards, sharp and sheer…

I shift the chairs – a cheerless chore…

What tosh you chunter in these searches

for shoes and spectacles, to be sure!

 

by Владислав Фелицианович Ходасевич (Vladislav Felitsianovich Khodasevich)

(1922)

translated by Michael Frayn

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Let Me Die A Youngman’s Death by Roger McGough

Let me die a youngman’s death
not a clean and inbetween
the sheets holywater death
not a famous-last-words
peaceful out of breath death

When I’m 73
and in constant good tumour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car
on my way home
from an allnight party

Or when I’m 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber’s chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
and give me a short back and insides

Or when I’m 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece but one

Let me die a youngman’s death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax and waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
‘what a nice way to go’ death

 

by Roger McGough

A Tree Toad Loved A She-Toad by Anon

A tree toad loved a she-toad

That lived up in a tree.

She was a three-toed tree toad

But a two-toed toad was he.

The two-toed toad tried to win

The she-toad’s friendly nod,

For the two-toed toad loved the ground

On which the three-toed toad trod.

But no matter how the two-toed tree toad tried,

He could not please her whim.

In her tree toad bower

With her three-toed power,

The she toad vetoed him.

 

– by Anon.

On Mules We Find Two Legs Behind by Anon

On mules we find two legs behind

And two we find before.

We stand behind before we find

What those behind be for.

We find before the two before

Just what they, too, be for.

so stand before the two behind

and behind the two before.

 

by Anon

Alf Abets by Rony Robinson

Eighteen apples

Be like me

See if you can

Deep blue sea.

Easy does it

Every time

Jeannie likes me

Ain’t you mine.

I eyed Ivor

Jays can fly

Kay’s a singer

Elephants cry.

Emma’s empty

Anyway

Owners only

Peas, please pay

Queue less quickly

Aren’t you nice

Especially Sarah

Teach her twice.

You’ll know better

VIPs

What a whopper

Ex-wife sees.

 

 

Ain’t you coming

Beans for tea

Seems quite pleasant

Dean can’t see.

Emus rattle

If they die

Jeans are shrinking

Hate your tie.

I’m an eyeful

Jacob’s knot.

Cake’s for eating

Elton’s hot.

Empty bottles

Any time

Opening over

Peace in our time.

Cumin powder

Artist’s nose

Esther argues

Tease her toes.

Universal

Veal ham pie

Double youth club

Extra wise.

 

by Rony Robinson