Elephantitis

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Elephantitis

Let’s face the facts – we need a bigger room.
The elephants have formed into a herd.
Should they stampede then it would spell our doom.
Let’s face the facts – we need a bigger room.
This meagre space must not become our tomb!
(Though elephants are neither seen nor heard.)
Let’s face the facts – we need a bigger room.
The elephants have formed into a herd.

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Dead Politicians

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Dead Politicians

{“𝘚𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘩, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘵, 𝘥𝘪𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘥𝘢𝘺, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘰𝘵 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘩𝘪𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘯𝘦𝘹𝘵. 𝘕𝘰𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘢 𝘱𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘯 𝘪𝘴 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘢𝘧𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘪𝘦𝘴, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘚𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘢 𝘣𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘥, 𝘣𝘪𝘨𝘰𝘵𝘦𝘥, 𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘛𝘰𝘳𝘺, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘥𝘦𝘢𝘥. 𝘗𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘴𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘥𝘦𝘢𝘥, 𝘴𝘰 𝘧𝘢𝘳 𝘢𝘴 𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘺 𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘳𝘯𝘦𝘥 …” Steele Rudd (Arthur Hoey Davis)}

Now dead, the politician’s a great guy;
Although he was a cretin when alive.
To be transformed the real man had to die.
Now dead, the politician’s a great guy.
He was a saint, he never told a lie;
And that’s the legacy that will survive.
Now dead, the politician’s a great guy;
Although he was a cretin when alive.

– D.N. O’Brien

The Boat

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The Boat

I saw an ad – “A boat for sale.
Is neither powered by steam nor sail.
In size – four fifty feet in length,
Beam, three score and fifteen – its strength
Is in its mighty ribs and keel.
Its rudder and its steering wheel,
Original – just like the rest.
One voyage put it to the test,
But since then it’s been high and dry.
The first to see this boat will buy.”

I went around to see the boat.
The owner, quite a strange old goat,
Dressed all in robes, and with a beard,
Informed me in an accent weird
That he had built and sailed the thing
Some time ago – he couldn’t bring
Himself to sell it – but he said
(With just a tinge, I thought, of dread)
That he was now too tired and old
To stock and tend a floating fold.

I puzzled over what he meant.
The ancient sailor wizened, bent,
Then showed me all about the boat.
I said: “It’s sold!” a cheque I wrote.
He said: “One thing before you buy:
Should you find anything awry
In time, a broken beam, some rot,
A hole where once there was a knot.
If then repairs you make, you should
Use nothing else but gopher wood.”

The Meadow of Asphodel (extended version)

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The Meadow of Asphodel (extended version)

I

Said Circe of the lovely hair,
The goddess with the tresses fair:
“Odysseus, go and set sail,
For in your quest you must not fail.

I will provide a strong north breeze
That will propel you o’er the seas
To where a land is bathed in mist;
That Dawn’s soft rays have never kissed;

Where dreadful Night has spread her cloak.
Cimmerians, unhappy folk,
Live there, close to the gates of Hell.
A meadow clothed in asphodel,

A grove of slender poplar trees,
(They are august Persephone’s)
Two rivers mingle in a gyre –
The Lamentation, Flaming Fire.

The first has waters of the Styx.
Around a towering rock they mix,
And with a thundering are gone –
They pour into the Acheron.

So when this mournful land you reach,
And on its shore your boat you beach,
Then dig a trench a cubit broad,
A cubit long, with your fine sword.

Around the trench pour offerings,
To all the dead, to slaves and kings,
Then barley, white, all over spread,
And say your prayers to the dead:

At Ithaca, when you return,
A heifer you will kill and burn,
And treasure heap upon the pyre,
So all will be consumed by fire.

And to Teiresias the seer,
The blind, the ghost who dwells quite near,
You’ll sacrifice the finest sheep,
So that the sage in peace may sleep.

When prayers are done, call to your crew
That they must bring a ram and ewe,
Jet-black, no others will suffice –
Two victims for the sacrifice.

To Erebus then turn each head,
But look away till they are bled.
And when the trench is filled with blood;
When death has staunched the surging flood,

From Erebus there’ll come a swarm
Of all the souls in ghostly form;
But take your sword, and let none pass
Till you speak with Teiresias.”

II

All then went as Circe had said.
From Erebus the swarms of dead
Approached Odysseus the Lord,
Who held them back with his bare sword,

And said: “Until the Prince of seers,
His prophesy brings to my ears,
No soul but he this blood will taste.
I beg Teiresias – make haste.”

And then the Theban seer came up:
“Odysseus, now let me sup
The dark blood; nimble-witted Lord,
In silver scabbard sheathe your sword.”

Odysseus did then obey
The ghostly sage, and backed away.
Teiresias, the blood consumed,
Then spoke: “You and your men are doomed

If the Earth Shaker has his way.
He still broods on that fateful day
When with your crudely crafted spear
You blinded Polyphemus – dear

To him – his son; he’ll send you down
To Ocean’s bottom – watch you drown.
But should he fail, then mark my words:
There is an island blessed with herds

Of cattle, flocks of sheep; the Sun,
He keeps them – watches every one.
Trinacria this isle is named,
And for these kine and sheep is famed.

So if by chance you reach this isle,
Do not these flocks and herds defile;
Don’t hurt the cattle or the sheep,
Or Sun will send you to the deep;

For wrecked will be your ship – your crew
Will perish, but perchance should you
Survive – should you avoid this fate,
To Ithaca you’ll come home late,

And in a ship from foreign soil,
All laden rich with gifts and spoil.
But trouble in your house you’ll find,
Where are the Suitors fed and wined,

And to your royal and faithful wife
Make love. By stratagem or strife,
By plan or sword, clear them away.
In Ithaca you cannot stay;

For you must bear a shapely oar
And travel far away once more
Until you meet the men who know
Not sea – who salted food forgo.

Where red-cheeked ships are unknown things,
As are their oars – their well-cut wings.
A sign I’ll send – will say a man:
“Upon your shoulder there’s a fan

For winnowing.” Then plant the oar
Into the earth. A breeding-boar,
A bull, a ram, then sacrifice
To Lord Poseidon. Sage advice

To you Odysseus I give,
Though I am dead and you still live:
Return then home – to gods, in turn,
The hecatombs on pyres burn.

As for your end – Death from the sea
Will gently come – prosperity
Will mark your days – you will grow old.
Teiresias, the truth has told.”

– D.N. O’Brien

The Meadow of Asphodel

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The Meadow of Asphodel

Said Circe of the lovely hair,
The goddess with the tresses fair:
“Odysseus, go and set sail,
For in your quest you must not fail.

I will provide a strong north breeze
That will propel you o’er the seas
To where a land is bathed in mist;
That Dawn’s soft rays have never kissed;

Where dreadful Night has spread her cloak.
Cimmerians, unhappy folk,
Live there, close to the gates of Hell.
A meadow clothed in asphodel,

A grove of slender poplar trees,
(They are august Persephone’s)
Two rivers mingle in a gyre –
The Lamentation, Flaming Fire.

The first has waters of the Styx.
Around a towering rock they mix,
And with a thundering are gone –
They pour into the Acheron.

So when this mournful land you reach,
And on its shore your boat you beach,
Then dig a trench a cubit broad,
A cubit long, with your fine sword.

Around the trench pour offerings,
To all the dead, to slaves and kings,
Then barley, white, all over spread,
And say your prayers to the dead:

At Ithaca, when you return,
A heifer you will kill and burn,
And treasure heap upon the pyre,
So all will be consumed by fire.

And to Teiresias the seer,
The blind, the ghost who dwells quite near,
You’ll sacrifice the finest sheep,
So that the sage in peace may sleep.

When prayers are done, call to your crew
That they must bring a ram and ewe,
Jet-black, no others will suffice –
Two victims for the sacrifice.

To Erebus then turn each head,
But look away till they are bled.
And when the trench is filled with blood;
When death has staunched the surging flood,

From Erebus there’ll come a swarm
Of all the souls in ghostly form;
But take your sword, and let none pass
Till you speak with Teiresias.”

Doctor Death’s World Tour

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Doctor Death’s World Tour

I hear each story – sometimes shed a tear;
But wield my weapons for the woman’s sake.
I make the little devils disappear.
They can’t fight back, so it’s a piece of cake.
It’s sad I know, but with the cash I make,
It’s on a worldwide cruise I soon will go.
Old Europe, and the Med, Geneva’s lake,
And India, the tropics where winds blow
So warm, and too, the land of ice and snow –
Siberia – the steppes so vast and wide.
I’ll see the deserts, and the great Nile flow
In Egypt – on a camel I will ride
To see the sphinx – I’ll climb the pyramids.
I need a break from daily killing kids.

Bill’s Boats

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Bill’s Boats

With Bill in charge the boats will soon be back.
Wrecks once again will sail the briny seas.
Of “refugees” there will not be a lack,
As Labor and the Greens rush to appease
The U.N. – they will fall upon their knees
And beg forgiveness for sins of the past:
The mercilessness of their enemies –
The Liberal scum who on a far isle cast
The people of the boats – soon at half-mast
They’ll fly the flag, and mourn all those returned
To their homelands – state: “They will be the last!
Let no more boats be sunk! Let none be burned!”
Flotillas gather on those distant shores.
The going price to smuggle people soars.

Under Labor illegal boat arrivals will resume

Hand Grenade Instructors

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Hand Grenade Instructors

It’s not a job most people would desire;
The guys who do it always seem so tense.
They count each day until they can retire.
Their extra pay is little recompense
For teaching those without an ounce of sense,
And petrified with fear, just how to throw
Grenades – the strain I guess must be immense.
Some fool beside you with a bomb – you know
That he may drop the bloody thing and blow
You both to Hell: “Don’t panic – pull the pin.
You see those dummies lined up in a row?
Now throw!” – the trainee’s face twists in a grin.
The primed grenade drops as his body shakes;
And in a cold sweat the instructor wakes.

10 Grenade fails

Commuzombies

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Commuzombies

We killed off communism once again;
But then we turned around and it was back.
And so we fought it, knocked it down, and then,
We killed off communism once again.
But soon the fiend came crawling from its den;
And so we bashed its skull, and heard it crack.
We killed off communism once again;
But then we turned around and it was back.

That Lazy N

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That Lazy N

It stood for Noel, that lazy N.
He passed it on to me back when
He had no cattle left to brand.
He said: “It’s yours”, and shook my hand.

I used it then for many years.
It branded cows, it branded steers.
In glowing coals was often fired;
But now the old iron is retired.

No longer will its letters sear
The heifer’s hide – the wild-eyed steer
Won’t bellow as with fire and spark
The red-hot metal makes its mark.

Now painted green, the brand is cold.
The last to use it hot grows old.
It rests there on its wooden stand.
There are no cattle left to brand.

{photo – D.N. O’Brien}