Sunday, 16 September 2012


I remember lots of happy local locusts. 
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks
And two short planks.

But happy certainly.  Eating their greens,
Enjoying each others’ company. 
So happy they didn’t know they were happy.

One holy day we watched them swarm,
Shove off, scarper, push off, hop it, skedaddle,
Buzz off southwards.

The locusts were leaving the locality.
When they swarmed they ate the sun,
Made a someone-scored-for-England noise.

One moved they all moved
No locust any otherwards.

Which had me thinking deep and clever thoughts,
You, let’s face it, Piggles, could not share them,
About the unfailing logic of the earth.

You sat on your question-mark tail, waiting for supper,
Thick as a dozy locust but less happy,
What were you good for?  I asked myself.



When was the next time you were pathetic?
That picnic at Karnak with the girls?
You and me (or I, -  a saint may choose,)
With the hamper
On our defective tilting humper?
Four legs being better than three, Piggles,
Especially with camels.

You were pretty dizzy.
It was just too big to put in a poke,  that temple,
Just too grand for a nauseated pigling.
It was just too much.
We squinted up at the inadequate ceiling,
Miles above my tonsura
Miles above little Laura with the aura,
Miles above the glowing nimbi of the holy bimbi,
Miles above your quivering pink snout,
(Well, maybe not miles!)
And you were literally
sickened again.

I know the guide we settled for didn’t help
Startling teeth,  princess shoulders,
Bottom of an Irish cook and the smell of Nubia.
She reminded you of your mum,
Gave us some Theban tedium,
Not one joke!
You, nip-conscious,
Kept out of her way.

For me the highlight was the belly-dance.
Saint Fatima,  bless her, big and beautiful,
Thighs like a glass of Guinness,
Livening up the picnic
With two tassels, a fig-leaf
And that fat scarab in her bouncing navel.
You weren’t too impressed. (Surprise, surprise!)
Dare say you don’t remember much,
Being these days very
But I have only to close my eyes:


Saturday, 11 February 2012


We counted frogs
Like they were hopping out of fashion,.
I manned the abaci, you just strung along.
Your basic skills weren’t up to much.
You ate a few , though,
Those plaguey frogs got everywhere.
The desert rocked.
The Nile turned green.
The Sphinx thought..
But who can know what the Sphinx thinks?
I thought she thought:
Holy Moses! There’s a whole lot of jumping going on.
Everywhere frogs were jumping
On saints and saints were jumping on frogs.

Mimi of the petticoats, bless her,
Stacked away skyhigh frog thighs
In the convent freezer.
Affaires sont les affaires, Toni!
The other girls just hopped about
Looking pretty.

Did we sleep?
Not a lot with all that hopping.
You lay there throbbing,
More pathetic than usual,
The frogs hurtling to and fro
Inside your belly and hurtling up and down
All over Egypt.
I did not understand
That the frogs had to alight somewhere
And again alight somewhere, and had to be kept moving,
And had to be rested
Temporarily somewhere.
Well, actually, Piggles,
I still don’t altogether

Sunday, 1 January 2012


You and me and some other felucca,
Floating, grammatically precariously, down the Nile,
Me taking holy day snaps,
You, a pink rosebud, curled and naked,
Peeping with piggy eyes at the sun’s dazzle.
Were you for once maybe nearly happy,
Almost not too desperately pathetic,
Perhaps even smug?
I was snap happy,
Catching the sisters, Mimi, Fifi, Fatima and little Lolita
Suzie Wong and Laura with the aura,
Hopping about the deck
In their pretty black and white bikinis,
All saints bless them!,
When some crafty thieving Theban fishing from a bridge,
Managed to hook your other pink pig’s ear,
The ear your mother had not nipped.
Suddenly you were an angler’s dangler.
You were the squealing fish that no one expected to catch.
Was there nun to help you?
Only bouncing bikini clad Saint Mimi, bless her,
Captain of the netball team,
Leaping for your rubber bum, saving your bacon.
From its ascension into oven.
How we saints all laughed!
But you were pained.
You were terribly, terribly hurt.
You were no longer nearly so nearly happy.

Believe me Piggles,
When, in the course of time,
I found myself looking down on your very
Tears fell upon those ugly
In your dead, deaf pig’s