Glossy News Satire has plenty of funny poems from our talented satirists and comedians, but we also welcome the odd serious poem, even if it’s not exactly our staple content. Here are a few examples of the very best poetry from my Patreon…
1. THE WEASEL AND THE SERPENT
A long-unpublished poem.
Inspired by Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and by those who read it well.
I saw the sly serpent,
WIth his uncoiling.
A squeak of rage!
Weasel chased the serpent.
Over time, the weasel, he drew closer.
Then the weasel slowed down, panted, exhausted.
With a naughty glint in his eye, the serpent slithered over and bit the weasel on the neck. The poisoned weasel started trembling and crying. The Judas Kiss had done for him, in the end…
THE WEASEL AND THE SERPENT
How great the love seducers harbor slyly
How wily is the loving of the snake
The hissing of the modest, crawling serpent
How this hath set the towers of truth aquake!
The serpent’s kingdom is all artifice and folly
He makes black white, and white to black again
Yet once discerned, the serpent’s power is vanquished
For he’s not the vilest liar among men
How slithering, cold of blood is this seducer
The first and greatest father of confusion
Yet once his aged skin is shrewd espied
How easy to evade his hissing wiles!
But the creature that is viler than the serpent
Is not the one who slumbers in the grass
Our naughty friend, the cheeky little serpent
Is wicked, but far greater is the wrath
Of a stricken conscience seduced not by a reptile
But by a creature of warm blood like yours and mine
Our friend the weasel has no malice in him
His fur is civilised, his gentle eyes do brightly shine
The weasel means no harm to his beloved
He makes grand promises, and he breaks every one
Like him, the serpent also is a liar
Like him, he lies from dawn to setting sun
There is but one difference between these vicious creatures
There is but one inconsequential feature
That sets a single scale of virtue and of vice
Betwixt the twain. O fouler far than rats and mice!
The judgment here is this:
Weasel believes his lies, while snake dissimulates.
The weasel weeps and mourns, heart fit to perish
The serpent smugly hisses, midnight gloats with relish
Now which unhappy creature is the most pernicious?
Some rush to answer, Mr Snake is clearly vicious!
But as you headlong plunge into such certitude
The wise deplore your foolish attitude
The Serpent is a creature from hellfire
Nothing good may ever come of his desire
But the weasel? He was once a lad of virtue
With some beauty, some goodness and some truth to
Chase away the devils of temptation
That virtuous love would share his coronation
Instead he fell from Paradise to Hellfire
Now, tell me, candid friend: is he not the greater liar!
Fools Rush In Where True Love’s Slow to Tread
All earthy loves to us are patterns sent
The robe is One, though t’ threads be sadly rent
We murmur, mutter, heedless we rush on
Deaf to the wisdom two thousand years agone
That those who cast away their precious patience, heedless
Are pierced with countless sorrows, O vain and needless
Is the pain of he who cannot wait for love!
Of she who doth surrender to the tide above
Of surging passion’s torrent, tempestuous, sans restraint
Both surely shall be carried off, unless the great
Resplendent mercy of their continence shall shield them from the storm
And keep each precious soul and body free from harm.
The only fortress grand that saves from danger
Is the humble, strong simplicity of the manger
Where strength through weakness, lion’s heart in wool
Reproached the blustering arrogance of the fool
Who says ‘If not now, then never!’
When he ought to say ‘O tender patience, be thou mine forever!’
The one who shines his wisdom to the world
Shall be kept safe, undrowned, unstarved, unburned,
No beloved one he ever shall reject
He has for them two precious, painful words:
Not yet, ah me! The sorrow of the solitary
And yet, it is the seed from which all charity
Shall grow and grow, as fear and hate grow sweet,
And self-sacrificial love, kenosis, puts out her tender shoots
And as our faces begin to shine His radiance,
The greatest of all Loves is mirrored here below:
Be it loyal husband, generous wife,
Or brave audacious comrades of the soul!
THE DREAM OF PLATO (ALSO PUBLISHED IN CENTRIFUGUE, SAD PRESS)
Come frail, come fallen!
Come boisterous, come sullen!
I summon here all God’s plenty
Now hearken to my weeping
And your joy!
There are 250 billion galaxies
Under the most towering, thrillmost canopy
Of our heaven.
But this is the one where we chose to be born.
Because we did not wish to be alone.
We could have been the angel of an entire galaxy,
The sovereign God Almighty of ten thousand times ten thousand clusters,
The unchallenged lords and masters of all the eye surveys
Across the unboundable reaches of the Kosmos.
But we chose, instead, to shrink our bodies
Even if our souls are great as ever
And we ever exceed the weightiness of our silver yokes.
We could have been the glorious emperors of our eternal leisure
But we chosen instead the path of humility, and of diligence, and of pain
For we said in our hearts:
“It is not good for the individual to be alone.”
We chose to weep, to bleed,
E’en presently to die.
Worst of all, we chose discord and disharmony and enmity
And the most painful of all of these is misapprehension
The stab of stabs
The bleeding of bleedings
The wounds we were given in the house of our friends.
And yet, we chose to honor our sacrifice of love
And swore to triumph over every pang
So that as the heavens are glorious above
So also would the beauty of our deeds and of our hearts
Adorn this emerald meadow here below.
That we would shine and weep glad tidings as the stars of the sea
And blaze like the sun of mercy,
The moon of sweet, sad consolation
And that as the eternal Law above us runs with vigor and with majesty
So also we would have the chance
Once fallen, stricken, wounded and amazed
To be as one
As the weeping bride of Love joins hands
With palms of righteous Mercy
And every child of Heaven shouts for joy
As the mighty wheel of Time doth yawn and crack asunder
In our headlong middle-flight beyond the stars
And all earth’s green creation
And solitude’s pain and sorrow
Bursts out and flowers scarlet
In the all-embracing rage and giddy glory
Of the victory of compassion’s noontide waves
And the never-ending pilgrimage of catastrophe
And the sullen, shadow’s birth
Of a Bethlehem beyond the railings
A sweet, sweet smoking chugging
Into a vast red sunset, athwart endless hills of memory
There is room aplenty for one, and two
What lies beyond this
Only the deepest treasuries of the heart
Dare dream disclosure?
Confucius frowned, his eyebrow’s furrows jagged
We his students gaped, the brightest? Aye. And laggards!
“The Heavens do not speak,” he said
See me and Yan dismayed!
For Yan, the gentle dreamer, was a precious soul
But like our beloved master, he knew the whole
Of what was lovingly and fearfully instilled within
And thus he died, so young, yet free of swagger’s sin.
Oh solemn Yan! We used to mock and tease him!
Especially when some solemn vision seized him.
But his wondrous daydreams, had we eyes to see
Could have brought great light to you and me…
And you, O aged Master! The wise one of all ages.
Although you shuffled, shameful at all sycophantic quatsch of ‘Sages’
You emptied out your pride and gave us freedom
You prized our tribute ounce, as though t’were jade from Heaven
But many there were who saw you as a pedant
The workmen scoffed.
No less did lily-trousered pheasants!
Peacock and peasant, farmer and princeling were your foes
But such also were your friends, as served your virtuous ends
As alway your solemn brow, a steady prow
Outrose fell, rank corruption’s haughty nose
And one sad evening, we heard your staff once more.
‘Master!’ I wailed, as you gently rapped the door.
‘Where have you been? Did you see him once again?’
You frowned and stony-lipped did warn:
‘Good order please, young man.’
I wept because I’d spoken out of sorrow.
Good manners, yes. But can’t we wait until the morrow?
Seeing my tears, you also wept a while
Then you explained your joke; bestowed an echo for my smile.
‘The Old Master, Lao Zi, is a curious man,’ you muttered.
Normally your voice was bright and clear.
But you were weary, like a great four oceans’ sailor
This one sad evening, there would be no joyful singing here.
Zigong was rowdy, ever true to form.
‘Surely not! We ought to have been warned!’
Just this once, his liberty was met with laughter.
And strange to say, our fellow comrade gay,
Would make no more such naughty jests thereafter.
Just this once, silent Yan piped up, to break his musing.
Like a ringing temple bell, sans bewilderment’s confusion
He said ‘The Old Master must surely be a learned man,’
And then the Beloved Master grimaced.
Silence, as the autumn’s gutters ran.
I would like to tell you all the Master told us
For in his heart he had ever sworn to hold us
As he pruned our spirits, watered intellects
But to tell a peck of rice would truly vex us
How much more so the treasure houses he erected?
But if there is one truth that I could tell
Our Master wielded for us,
Fending off rank presumption’s wheedling hell
Perhaps this one grain I can spare for you
So you and yours shall thereby be nourished too
This law is firm as the rules of eight and seven:
Look to yourself alone; the rest must rest with Heaven.
THE RUNES OF LOVE
Thine azure orbs flash fury
Yet thy single eye is fear
Ears pierced by naught but thunder
Deaf to the pleadings dear
I quiver, at thy lightning
Knowing not a summer’s breeze
Trembles ‘neath the gallows fit for
Love’s dread lost ten thousand years
I divine thou art perplexed
Mine heart pierceth rage of red
But far from me the knowledge
Of th’ enwoven tendering threads
If my choler make thee tremble
Must needs be nor for hurt nor woe
Why incarnate such madness
Unless I loved you so?
But love is blind, and blinder still
The lover in a slough
The one who careless reads the runes
Hard-necked, shall be cut off
A NEW POEM, OLD AS MOUNTAINS (To appear in forthcoming book, ‘Morsels of Mercy’)
Mighty of fate,
Whose homeland was among us,
Weak of breath and heartbeat,
Whose courage did redeem us,
O thou great unmanifest mystery of time!
Be with us still, e’en as the sun declines…
Bless us, that we may bless thee,
Comfort us, we thy healers
We soar, thou fallest, and yet thou hast risen again
Dwell among us til the day of doom,
Until the dayspring strums our famished hearts again!