INTERVAL TWO: Twelve Fours

  Poor Wonan IN Shie nursery rhyme illustration

Tony Inchley: Step Up

There was an old woman who lived in a sandal.
She complained the draught was a downright scandal.
She let the world know via her blog,
And the Council rehoused her in quite a nice clog.

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Martin Parker: To My Publisher

The launch was great, so was the wine,
The chat, the nibbles and admiring looks.
But after two weeks on the shelves
Has anybody bought the actual books?

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Jerome Betts: In The Bookshop

Can I credit the dust-wrapper blurber
With his 'writer as witty as Thurber’?
Will I feel, after forking out money,
Deeply satisfied, or, ‘I’ve been done’-y?

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Robin Helweg-Larsen: Jam Jar

In the night’s jam jar of my memory
My long-dead parents live as fireflies.
My thoughts of them worn by time’s emery,
Their faint light still suggests where my path lies.

(First published Amsterdam Quarterly, 2018)

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Geoffrey A. Landis: Laugh Lines

They laugh the best who laugh the last;
this wisdom we have heard and known.
But such a saying I disown –
Who laughs the last will laugh alone.

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Jerome Betts: Lines With A Whiff Of Woodbines

'In this series . . . The Rhymes of G. A.
Studdert Kennedy.’ – Dust-wrapper of
a collection of Kipling’s poems, 1939.

For two long gone, the great and lesser K.,
Winds of world change, wail mournful threnodies,
And drown what Kipling’s Muse might have to say
On sharing bills with Studdert Kennedy's.

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Martin McGovern: Technological Progress

NASA spent billions so Neil Armstrong’s heels
Could impress the lunar anorthosite
Before Victorinox, Delsey or Samsonite
Thought to equip suitcases with wheels.

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Terese Coe: Retirement

Believe if you must that abrupt demission
is a hop skip and jump before the mortician.
But reconsidering, not to die is stranger
than any other conceivable danger.

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Rumi Morkin: R.I.P.

I never was, in all my years,
but now, before life disappears
I can with safety intimate
that after death I will be late.

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Pat D’Amico: The Keys To The Kingdom

Numbers and letters in large and small case
Are always confined to a very safe place.
Lord only knows how I’d fall out of grace
If all of my passwords, I chance to erase.

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L. A. Mereoie: The Labrador Keeper

His dog’s jet-black, no muzzle-grey,
An expert swimmer nicknamed ‘Tarka’,
Who guards the house and grounds all week
By acting as a nosy barker.

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Will Ingrams: Purple Toothwort

Not xerophytic,
plain parasitic
willow-sap thief.
Flowers, no leaf.

Purple Toothwort flowers