Poem, by Robert Garnham

Poem

At what point does a mess become a muddle?
At what point does day become the night?
At what point does a spillage become a puddle?
At what point does a shudder become a fright?

At what point does a brag become a boast?
At what point does a mess become a fuss?
At what point does bread become toast?
At what point does a train become a rail replacement bus?

At what point do we become middle aged?
And do we only know we are middle aged when we’ve lived
Our whole lives?
Is it only then that we can look back and say, oh yes,
That’s when I was middle aged, that’s when I had a
Midlife crisis,
The day I went out and bought a jet Ski?

At what point does a crowd become a throng?
At what point do pants become a thong?
At what point does a dirge become a song?
At what point does a whiff become a pong?

At what point does a settee become a sofa?
At what point does a look become a demeanour?
At what point does a pamphlet become a brochure?
At what point does a verbal warning become a grievance procedure?

At what point did I decide that maybe you weren’t the one for me?
Was if at the opera, or was it in the supermarket?
Or was it that time I came home and found you in bed
With a stamp collector from Barnstaple?

At what point does a trumpet become a bugle?
At what point does an imposition become an impertinence?
At what point does prudent become frugal?
At what point does a TV advert become a nuisance?

At what point does pruned become sheared?
At what point does uncanny become weird?
At what point does stubble become a beard?
At what point does a poem not have to rhyme?

At what point do we lose ourselves to the delirium of the
Beauty of the world of the planet of the people of the creatures
Of the moon of the tides of the sea of the land of the cities of the
Absolute if the spiritual of the technological or the brave of the bountiful
Of the beautiful, possibly at two PM on a Thursday afternoon.

At what point does it all become meaningless?

 

The Thirty Second Mariner by Cherry Potts

(with apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

It was the ancient mariner
Who stoppeth one in three
‘I killed a bird’ He cried
‘The ship becalmed
A flat salt sea
All my shipmates died of thirst
save me’

‘Forget the bird!’
the wedding guest replied
‘Let me sneak you right inside
I’ll get you a drink
(Here, let’s avoid that dope-head Taylor
He’d talk the hind-leg off a sailor)
You’ll not be wanting water I should think…
Come and meet the bride.’

Cherry Potts normally writes short fiction, but has recently published a vast novel. She publishes other people’s stories and poems at Arachne Press. ‘The Thirty Second Mariner’ was written in response to a newspaper column which complained about the length of the ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner.’

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