Guarded by the un-oiled door,
She etched her art
On leaves of Ivory, which still today
Can pierce the heart.

Her life was brief:
Her books will never die.
Her legacy to us
Is a Standard flying high.

Jousting with human virtues,
Human vice,
Her conquests make it
Easier to be nice.

Her gentle humour,
Irony and wit
Enshrined unselfishness,
True love – and grit.

In Winchester she mined
Her ore’s most tragic lode
And metamorphosed wounded glances,
Whispered names and sighs
Into ‘Persuasion’s’ magic remorse code…


Nessum Dorma

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, Herr Director announces him with pride:
“From the World of World Cup Football – From the World of Turandot…”
Then Derek’s Swanee whistle blows – Offside!

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, young ladies faint, revive then throw him flowers.
He pauses, pouts and puts them down his trousers – then puckers up and blows for hours and hours.

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, it takes men back in time to Rome.
They recall the tenor trio singing in the Roman baths – Pavarotti and the Spaniard and that other tubby gnome.

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the comet, the clarinets all chew and suck their reeds. Trombonists slide about and the tenor saxes doubt whether anyone has stolen all their leads.

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, the flutes praise God he’s standing out the front They join in the loud applause from Nigel’s Renta-Crowd of course.
When he resumes his seat they merely grunt.

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, the charms of fluting get a mite diluted
Paralysis commences; bar lines blur like broken fences and they tend to play again what they’ve just fluted.

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, flutes all jettison their earplugs with relief
When he’s not behind their ears they’ve no worries, they’ve no fears – but when Nigel’s just behind they come to grief.

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, the Conductor tries to help him all he can.
With his electronic tuner he proves flutes have made a bloomer – so they push and pull – (to where they first began).

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, our ‘Cherubino’ fills Mozart with glee; But ‘Fiddling on the Roof’ often earns us a reproof, as that cornet causes flutes to play off-key.

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, he attacks with ‘Wellingtons’ our tender ears; His notes ‘Bust’ more ‘Dams’ as he marches, bombs and whams: when he plays ‘Red Square’ we just busk ‘Gondoliers’.

When Nigel does his ‘Nessum’ on the cornet, the woodwind has a chance to concentrate –
On revenge; it has its start in this week’s ‘Exchange & Mart’ – we’re learning bagpipes to retaliate!

Life by Dozens

A dozen years of education; potty training, GSEs
Fleeting friendships; boring lessons; tiny world of Bs and Ds.
Clock-ruled, regular and guided – living like a train or tram –
Advised, directed, punished – fated – concealing what I really am.

A second dozen; freedom; power; jingling pockets; love on wheels.
Choosing, losing; seeing clearer visions of Time that quickly steals
This age of innocence awakening; age of finding where it’s at;
Age of exploration – ferries, planes and planning; finding a flat.

Then the dreaded noughty landmarks – placards haunt each kind roadside –
“Bill is 30″ – “Carol’s Forty!” Un-friends will not let facts hide.
Jobs, careers or simply work; partner problems; children; money
Mortgages and dull insurance… Middle-age is quite unfunny.

Another dozen sees you orphaned – maybe richer, maybe not;
Reaching for your pinnacles or vainly trying to hide your pot!
Jogging, eating less and buying wines to savour and enjoy.
(Gone the lager years and fags). Dreams of when you were a boy…

Saga years of leisured time – library-browsing – flights abroad;
Seeing corners left unseen before St Gabriel sounds your chord.
Concert-going; old friends’ funerals; intimations of life’s end
Fast and ever faster coming; (not my turn yet – fates forfend.)

The Final Dozens interspersed with dozes by the fire
Or forty winks on sofas while trying to hear a choir.
Preoccupied with grandchildren and ailments that keep nagging;
Right-wing views on everything – What, him? The man needs gagging!
I’ll string ’em all up. Send them home. It’s not like that today.
These Euro-Common-computer-bombs! In my time they weren’t Gay!”

Thus Shakespeare’s slippered pantaloon enjoys Life’s final age.
Are we all just mice on a treadmill? Well, who’s got the key to the cage?