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Feathered philosopher

Image credit: Tristan Ferne

Philosophising woodpigeon
poses existential questions
each and every morning, without … fail:

Who do-you think you-are?
Who do-you think you-are?
Who do-you think you-are? Who?

My very sense of selfhood’s
undercut repeatedly,
I really doubt I ever … knew.

Before I make my own quietus
feathered Plato shifts next door,
interrogates our neighbours … who

will too, in their turn, have
identities belittled by
his nauseating bill and … coo:

Who do-you think you-are?
Who do-you think you-are?
Who do-you think you-are? Who?


Coronaverse alphabet

Less shit. Image credit: unknown.

March has seen a series of alphabetical posts on Zenrinji on a coronaverse theme, many focused on inadequate responses from government and certain members of the populace to the pandemic.

Forms including acrostic, limerick, nonet, senryu, sestain, sonnet, tanka and triolet have featured alliteration, rhyming couplets, doggerel, humour, parody, and satire.

You may recognise some of the moods — anger, anxiety, bemusement, despair, disdain, disbelief, sadness — these verses are intended to convey.

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Contagion rules

Image: WordPress Free Photo Library

Contagion! Is it coronavirus? Contact-tracing in place?

So stay indoors, self-isolate, staycation.

Couvre-feu, “cover the fire”. Curfew.

Coronaverse: an alphabet of terms related to Covid-19. Tomorrow brings us the letter D.


They say, don’t they,
it’s love making
the world go round,
beneath our feet
spinning ground,
that our joy, our hurt,
our fears, our mirth
come from the linear
orbital velocity
of the Earth.

So trite, yet somehow true:
beings soaring into the blue,
hearts as one.
Above is love.

An old joke dusted off and refurbished


Édouard Manet, Gare Saint-Lazare (detail)

Oh, Look at all the steam and smoke, Sophie, isn’t it all so exciting? Oh, and listen to that noise, Sophie, the big machines all shiny and black, I can feel them through my feet when they rumble past. And look at all those men, they’re so dirty, however can they keep those machines so clean and shiny! Oh, thank you, Sophie, for bringing me down here again. I would so, sooo like to ride on one of them, soon please? Please?

* * * * *

Mais, regardez-moi, Sophie, tout ce vapeur, toute cette fumée, c’est très, très excitant! Et, écoutez ce bruit-là, Sophie, les grandes machines, ells sont brillantes et si noires, je peux les sentir par les pieds quand ells dépassent en grondant! Et regardez-moi tous ces types, ils sont si sales, comment peuvent-ils rendre ces machines si propres et si brillantes? Eh bien, merci, Sophie, pour m’apporter ici encore une fois, je voudrais bien voyager en train, bientôt, s’il vous plaît?

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The Hole Truth

There’s a man on the roof.
He’s supposed to be there!
He is fixing two holes
Using skill and much flair.

But he’s put in a third hole
Which the light can come through.
He has put in a third hole
And he’s looking at YOU!

A Twitter challenge to complete a found poem: we were given just the first three lines and this was my offering.

Web chat

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Said the fly, “As would-be boarder,
If I could fly I’d quickly flee,
I’d rather not sit in your larder
Enquiring what’s the time for tea.”

“I’ll sit beside yer,” said Madam Spider,
(for know ye that they’re mostly ‘she’)
“It’s simply ages since I’d tried a…”
“Sorry, now I need a pee.”

“Please stick around,” said Madam Spider,
“For I’d welcome your advice
On web-design, a little programme
That I’ve long time kept on ice.”

“Sorry, really need the toilet,
Can you kindly point the way?
I truly wouldn’t want to spoil it
— what you’ve done — excuse me, pray.”

Sadly, here the conversation stopped
For that was all the fly could say,
As onto both Miss Moffat dropped
Which really spoiled for them their day.

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Summer chills

I reached for a thriller
as holiday beach reading,
my spine a whole lot chiller
while corpses lay a-bleeding:
What evil under the sun?
I confess to no remorse:
‘And Then There Were None’
by grande dame Christie, of course!

A response to a fine tweet by Neil Philip, folklorist:

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When a spell goes wrong

Shapeshifter, Scryer, Spellcaster, Seer,
Wartcharmer, Water diviner and Wizard,
Prophetess, Sorcerer, Conjurer, Soothsayer,
Magician, Astrologer, Cunning-man, Witch:

Let us all call upon them to save us from goblins
And spirits departed who aren’t yet at rest,
Protect us from curses and corpses from hearses
Which haunt us severely because they’re unblessed.

We’ll cross palms with silver and pray them deliver
Us mortals from devil, from demon and djinn.
For now is the hour, and theirs is the power:
We fear we shall suffer what follows our sin!

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