● Lady Percy moves me - might she move you? CLICK TO FIND OUT
● Plus my novels, stories, verse, vulgar interests, apologies, and singing.
● Most posts are 300 words. I respond to all comments/re-comments.
● See Tone Deaf in New blogger.

Saturday 1 August 2015


Jacques 2015
A threnody

.................................Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything. 

                                           As You Like It

Sans teeth? Up front I have a tiger’s grin
Warning the world of catlike treachery.
My molars absent or a trifle thin,
At teatime I'm reduced to flummery.

The eyes are new, thanks to the NHS,
Distant horizons resting on my nose.
Enjoying this new state of forwardness
The future I ignore as otiose.

As long as I can note the gamay grape,
And thus avoid the crus of Beaujolais,
I’d say my taste buds were in perfect shape
While others slurp in vinous disarrary.

But sans the rest of it? An awful rub.
Lacking the rhyme to charm a feminist,
To sing in tune, to dominate a pub,
To run, to bike, to ski, to kiss/be kissed.

Lacking much more: to master langue francaise,
To be admir’d for having slender gams.
Devoid of power to readily amaze
The split infinitive comedians.

To grab all Tories by their smooth lapels
And teach them kindness, if I must by rote,
To tap their tops and generate hells bells,
To fill a bath and see if they may float.

So much to do that never will be done,
Teeth, eyes and taste are really not enough.
I’m overtaken by oblivion
I wish I had been made of sterner stuff.

The end’s the end, we cannot but accept
Our failings and our hasty negligence.
The times we laughed but truly should have wept,
For Jacques was right, and life’s a pestilence.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Row,row,row your boat
    Gently down the stream
    Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
    Life is but a dream.

  3. My father (whom I suspect to be a genius) has recently come out of retirement to take on a project that has world-changing implications, but which he freely acknowledges he won't have time to finish in his lifetime. I admire his attitude.

    I am really enjoying your poem - but maybe need to go and see "As You Like It." Did you think of 'nose' or 'otiose' first?

  4. The shy author: I have of course seen the comment. A shame it has been deleted. It shows me in a bad light but what the heck - a comment's a comment.

    MikeM: Two out of ten for this. But I stick by my guns: a comment's a comment.

    Blonde Two: Schubert didn't complete his eighth symphony and Mozart's Requiem Mass in D minor was finished by a man unromantically called Süssmayr. In both cases death intervened. But I'm not looking for that kind of reputation. My genius must be recognised while there's still time to win the Nobel I so richly deserve.

    No need to waste such a huge chunk of your active life. The lines are the conclusion to Jacques' Seven Ages Of Man, a mere dozen and a half lines or so.

    Nose/otiose. Nose came first but then you'd expect me to say that wouldn't you? I have a rich store of difficult words.

  5. Two's more than I deserve. I might have recommended "The Case for God" by Karen Armstrong. A brilliant history of Man's endeavors to console himself. Probably stuff you know, but your writing is pretty biographical, and can be worrisome when it gets dark. I settled on the round, and particularly the repetition of "merrily". I liked "gently" too. Two days of silence after "Glum" was too much for this adoring fan.

  6. MikeM; The quatrain you cite has American echoes for me. My elder daughter picked it up from Captain Kangaroo or Sesame Street while we lived in Pittsburgh and insisted on mis-pronouncing the third line as: "Zallically, Zallically, Zalically," This sort of thing can present a dilemma for parents: one feels the need to correct, but the error has a charm of its own. Both VR and I just let it be. To see it in your comment - arriving as if having been bounced off South Georgia Island or even Uranus (ie, by an incredibly indirect but in the end logical route) - left me temporarily wordless. In scoring you for evocation alone I would have been more generous.

    As to dark tendencies these exist. I was away from home for a while experiencing both dark and light, hence the gap. I will post about this shortly.

  7. My (deleted) comment was meant to be a compliment. I liked the sonnet, the smooth transitions, the mellowing effect the poem had on me, how easily I could relate to what you'd written about aging.

    I deleted my comment because I thought the last sentence was rather cheeky on my part.

  8. Crow: Cheekiness is encouraged on Tone Deaf. Only inertia is condemned.