Satirical verse: A recommendation

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My book of jocular verse (sprinkled with comic-prose pieces) is now well and truly finished, and I have embarked on a hunt for an agent (and, ultimately, publisher). I fear, however, that the endeavour might prove somewhat frustrating: certain agents, it would appear, expect clients to be recommended by somebody. In other words, publishers want writers to be recommended by agents, and agents want writers to be recommended by … somebody. Does this somebody expect writers to be recommended by somebody else? Hence the satire below.

 

Copyright © Anna Nolan, 2020

 

All of them are godlike creatures

Seeking quite ground-breaking features –

All those folk who publish books:

It’s much harder than it looks,

 

So for impact one must brace,

And one’s book must be plain ace;

One thus polishes and tinkers,

Trying hard to shed one’s blinkers,

 

Then, at long last, the book’s ready:

It’s a feeling that is heady,

But one must, and without fail,

Go pursue the holy grail:

 

Oh, to see the book in print

And, perhaps, to make a mint!

Now, what do those Masters want?

First of all,  it’s Arial font,

 

Fifty pages. Spacing? Double,

A synopsis – that’s no trouble,

But make sure it’s just one page;

Otherwise, they’ll disengage.

 

Now, the letter, and that’s it:

You are ready to submit!

Then you notice (you’ve been slow):

“Agents only” – what a blow!

 

Agents are deities, too:

They’ll be wanting something new;

What is it that they demand?

Times New Roman will be grand,

 

Spacing? One line and a half,

Then they want a paragraph

Which is paramount and which

Is your elevator pitch.

 

A synopsis has to be

Rather longer; your CV

Must, of course, be tailor-made,

Or you’ll never make the grade.

 

It’s three chapters they are after;

Though you a good re-drafter,

You express yourself in verse –

It has gone from bad to worse.

 

Then you see (to top it all)

A decree that makes you bawl:

“We’ll consider your creation –

After a recommendation.”

 

But who from? To whom to turn?

You can’t hide your great concern.

It transpires they prefer

Someone who’s a connoisseur,

 

But you work in solitude:

You feel well and truly s…..d,

Mercifully, you then find

Someone who’s a mastermind

 

In your local pub-quiz team;

They might help you with your scheme.

You enquire, your heart racing,

“Are you happy with my spacing?”

 

“Spacing? Why? It’s all the same;

What’s at stake is my good name.”

“But I cannot understand:

I just want a helping hand.”

 

“This is what they all would say,

But I might just rue the day;

Now, imagine this scenario:

Not unlike an impresario,

 

“I do offer you my backing,

But the Agent finds you lacking!

It would not be very nice;

Listen to this sound advice:

 

“You must find a man who would

Come to me and vouch you’re good.”

You’re distraught but say, “I see,

“So who might this person be?”

 

“I would like a weighty beast:

A policeman or a priest.”

“I know neither but could nab

Garry from the taxicab …”

 

And so, on and on it goes,

Which, quite evidently, shows

How this, most amazing, nation

Values a recommendation.

 

Humorous verse: Valentine’s Day

Copyright © Anna Nolan, 2020

 

Unless you are in a pair,

It’s a rather sad affair:

All these hearts and fluffy stuff

Make today’s occasion tough;

 

It’s a fest of coupledom,

Glorified on Love.com;

But reflect on it a tad,

It is really not that bad;

 

First, there is a perk of note:

A control of one’s remote,

Which is sole and absolute;

You may wish to switch to mute,

 

You may channel-surf at will,

You may gorge on sport and chill,

Watch a thriller or a weepie

Or delight in something creepy.

 

You may also, on a whim,

Fly to Tonga for a swim,

Go skydiving in Dubai

With no need for a goodbye,

 

Or hang gliding in Japan

Without flouting any ban;

You may even, if you wish,

Dedicate yourself to fish.

 

You could dye your hair bright-red

Or play solitaire in bed,

Relocate to the Bahamas

Or – just veg in your pyjamas.

 

Trust me, you will do just fine

Sans a special Valentine,

And, besides, there’s every chance

Of tomorrow’s hot romance.

 

Then you’ll really have a blast,

But, when several years have passed,

Some of you may feel undone,

Musing, freedom was quite fun!

Satirical verse: Christmas 2019

Copyright © Anna Nolan, 2019

 

Christmas is approaching, so

Our mode is go, go, go!

We must buy a lot of stuff

To ensure we have enough

 

Of the lovely festive fare

That imbues our feast with flair.

First, we have to make a list

To make sure that nothing’s missed.

 

Nothing must be left to chance,

So we’re in a Yuletide trance

Mobilising our grey matter:

Number one is shellfish platter,

 

Then comes lobster (must be dressed) –

Thermidor’s by far the best –

We will serve it with cheese crust

(Adding brandy is a must).

 

Crab and avocado spheres

Always raise the wildest cheers,

And we will, without a fluster,

Purchase salmon with gold lustre;

 

As for tasty Christmas snacks,

You can’t beat ricotta stacks,

Chocolate bark, pork sausage rolls,

Christmas crack and brandy balls.

 

Now come mains: we’ll get the bird –

Fifty-pounder is preferred;

If we source a smaller one,

We will still not be outdone

 

‘Cos we’ll also buy a goose

(Serving it with pumpkin mousse);

Better still: a three-bird roast

Will upstage (yay!) every host,

 

Which is why we’ll source a duck,

Common Pochard (with some luck);

We might also get a grouse:

There’s no scrimping in our house!

 

Then there’s meats: a wild boar joint

Always, always makes a point,

Venison does go down well

With our type of clientele,

 

So does veal and British beef

(Roast the latter with bay leaf);

For our Fred, it’s Herdwick lamb;

We must also get some ham.

 

So as not to face rebuffing,

We’ll make sage & onion stuffing

And avoid a frightful tarnish

Having twenty types of garnish.

 

Now come sweets: our Christmas pud

Always puts us in the mood,

So does panna cotta jelly

(It was even on the telly).

 

Our festive stollen slices

Will be filled with various spices,

While our passion fruit dessert

Won’t have equals, we assert.

 

As for Christmas Rainbow Cake,

It’s not all that hard to make,

Nor are port-and-rum mice pies:

Baking ninety would be wise.

 

One would have to be a nutter

Not to relish brandy butter:

Extra-thick, it’s always yummy,

Satisfying every tummy,

 

Whereas brandy pouring cream

Is a treat that is supreme;

Twenty pints might just suffice:

To run out would not be nice.

 

It is more than just a hunch:

We’ll require Christmas punch,

Eggnog, sangria, party fizz

(They help oil our Christmas quiz);

 

Krug champagne is always cool:

We must source it for this Yule,

Also gin, port, rum and whisky

(Though they make our Fred quite frisky).

 

It is hoped that, come what may,

This will last till Boxing Day.

What is more, we’ve had a ball

With a treat to top them all,

 

Which did whet our appetite.

What was it? A plebiscite!

Yes, we’ve had, dear girls and boys,

An election – joy of joys!

 

Satirical verse: Honourable

This verse satirises the recent car-crash interview given by Prince Andrew, in which he attempted to justify his friendship with a convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein. The interview attracted widespread incredulity and ridicule – and with good reason.

Copyright © Anna Nolan, 2019

 

Cripes, what an imponderable

That one oh-so honourable

Should be subject of such panning;

This is not what one’d been planning.

 

One is simply flabbergasted

To have been put down, lambasted;

Where’s the nation’s gratitude

For one’s famous aptitude?

 

You must feel, deep down within:

One can’t stay at Premier Inn –

A mansion is what one does need

(One must be mindful of one’s breed).

 

It may be full of household staff,

But one would never make a gaffe

Of giving them a fleeting glance;

They were all naked? Quite by chance!

 

Maybe Jeff was “unbecoming”,

But one never saw it coming;

To one, he was just a chum,

And one never has been dumb,

 

Neither has one been a drip,

Always showing leadership:

One is, clearly, quite aware

How to ditch a billionaire.

 

One’s weekends are spent a-shooting,

Why should this now need refuting?

And one’s vivid recollection

Is of showing no affection.

 

Woking does a decent pizza,

But it’s not exactly Ritz – a?

And so one remembers well

All the details – can’t you tell?

 

One had let one’s side, um, down,

But they really went to town –

British media (damn the lot):

They are like a juggernaut.

 

It’s a most horrific whammy,

But a ride with one’s own mammy

Might just soften them a tad,

After all, one’s not a cad:

 

Au contraire: one’s virtue – pure;

And to think one must endure

Such appalling balderdash

And give up a birthday bash!

 

How did it all go so awry?

One has to face the FBI;

It is as bad as it can get,

And one can’t even break a sweat!

 

 

 

Satirical verse: Eco warrior

Copyright © Anna Nolan, 2019

 

Most important of your missions?

Cutting CO2 emissions;

Your ideals are exalted:

Global warming must be halted.

 

Therefore, in your eco war,

You will fly to Singapore

For a summit aiming to

Figure out just what to do.

 

Boeing really is the best:

It has wings and all the rest

And will, in no time at all,

Fly you anywhere long haul.

 

(Intercontinental jaunts

Are not what, quite frankly, daunts

Eco warriors of your kind,

With grave matters on their mind.)

 

On return (you’ve just touched down),

There are rallies round your town,

So you jump into your car;

Walk a mile? That’s way too far!

 

Then there’s* sit-ins, so that you

Can affix yourself with glue

To the pavement – with the call:

“Save the Planet, one and all!”

 

Thus you toil, without a break,

So you do deserve a steak,

Thick and juicy – just the thing:

All this iron boosts your zing.

 

You do feel some guilt (a smidge)

Looking at your walk-in fridge;

You would ditch it if you could,

But it serves a greater good.

 

As for your wood-burner – it

Looks so cosy when it’s lit,

So you settle with your plate,

Quite contented, feeling great,

 

For, with pride within your heart,

You believe you’ve played a part

In (though this might seem quite strange)

Just averting climate change.

 

*Well, it should be there are, of course, but if the lovely natives freely indulge in the likes of there’s us, so can an alien – particularly on the grounds of poetic scanning (though poetic may be stretching it a tad in verses such as this).

 

Verse: Flowers

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Copyright © Anna Nolan, 2019

 

Snowdrops, delicate and pale,

Carpet the entire vale

As the winter, now apace,

Loosens its robust embrace.

 

Milder weather drawing near,

Crocuses will soon appear –

Purple, lilac, orange, white,

They are an enchanting sight;

 

And when daffs erupt, we’ll all

Watch their gleeful dance – in thrall;

May means bluebells, and their hue,

Often called electric blue,

 

Will entrance you, make you swoon

As they drape their fine festoon

Right across sun-dappled glades,

Where they vie with verdant blades.

 

Later, summer blooms galore

Will delight you even more,

Their sweet scent (beyond compare)

Wafting gently in the air.

 

All this riot, day by day,

Simply takes one’s breath away;

It’s a wildly joyous fest:

Mother Nature at her best!

 

Verse: Tenth anniversary of my mountain rescue

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January, ten years back*:

I received a lot of flak

When I blundered – went astray –

On a cold and dismal day.

Gale was howling, snow was deep,

Skiddaw’s** slopes rose white and steep,

With its summit in the cloud,

But I planned my climb, unbowed,

Pining for the lofty top

With no image of a flop.

I was soon, despite the freeze,

Crawling on my hands and knees

Yet still sinking in the snow,

With my progress very slow;

But, regardless, on I pressed,

Which (in case you haven’t guessed)

Was a reckless thing to do

Given that nobody knew

Where I was on this vast slope;

Yep, I acted like a dope:

Upwards, higher, then – a fright:

The world went completely white!

There was nothing I could see:

Clouds, the ground, my boots, my knee …

Nothing, so I grabbed my phone

And, in panic-stricken tone,

Called the mountain rescue, who

Mobilised our Keswick crew;

Cockermouth went out as well,

And they got me off the fell,

Now, in darkness – ‘t was pitch-black***,

With no trace of any track.

I was, clearly, in those days

Still in my immortal phase;

Now, with whiteout on the tops,

I stay low and hit the shops!

 

*To be precise, on 29th January 2009

**Skiddaw is a mountain of over 3,000 feet which towers over my small town of Keswick

***I called the mountain rescue at about 3.30pm, and the Cockermouth team reached me at roughly 7pm, albeit in complete darkness because I had found myself on the eastern flank of Skiddaw and thus away from Keswick’s lights. My having ended up there was lucky because, if I had strayed onto its precipitous western slopes, I might not be here now. The rescuers managed to locate me because I was shining two torches (head and hand). Needless to say, I didn’t see anybody else on the fell that day – not that I could see much …

Humorous verse: Confessions of a walk leader

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With the time just whizzing past,

What I’ve had was – yes – a blast,

Clocking (fancy!) fifty walks

With my team, which simply rocks.

 

Roamers they are called, and they

Are first-class in every way:

They’re intrepid, brave and bold

Yet, with that, as good as gold.

 

We have rambled far and wide,

With me acting as a guide,

So it’s truly on my head

If the group’s not safely led.

 

But it was, I fear, a dud

When I dragged them through the mud,

Made them brave almighty gales,

Led them down precarious trails

 

And up rocks all glazed by frost,

Covered up when we got lost

(Aiming east but heading west,

Feigning nonchalance and zest) …

 

That, and stuff along those lines,

Fails to meet with gripes or whines;

As I’ve said, they are top drawer:

They keep coming back for more!

 

Humorous verse: Twenty one years in Keswick!

Years ago, we settled down

In this lovely little town,

Which, and that’s beyond dispute,

Is as pretty as it’s cute.

 

There is something here for all:

Lots of shops, both big and small,

Nice old church and (yes, you’ve guessed)

Pubs for that deserved, hmmm … rest.

 

What is more, in all those places

We see lots of friendly faces,

So we think – and think we do

It’s a real dream-come-true.

 

And our eyes can feast and binge

On the fells that Keswick* fringe –

Sparkling jewels in the crown

Of this lovely little town.

 

*At the heart of England’s beautiful Lake District, which is now a World Heritage Site2014 - ESK PIKE AND BOWFELL WITH BOBBY 034.JPG

Humorous verse: Our Christmas

‘Tis a magic time of year,

Time of gladness, joy and cheer,

When folk love to have a fete,

Eat and drink and celebrate.

 

In our house, we too, as one,

Had a most tremendous fun,

Though there was, I do declare,

The odd hiccup here and there,

 

Such as all the rigmarole

With the toad in his wee hole*;

Turkey? Raw inside (oh, drat!),

So we gave it to the cat;

 

Roast potatoes, I must say,

Went a rather different way:

Badly burnt and hard as rock

(Not that we would ever squawk);

 

Veggies having turned to slime,

Guests jumped up: “Is this the time!?!”

“Nonsense!” we’d then gaily shout,

“Won’t you have another sprout?”

 

Christmas pud would have been handy,

But we’d guzzled all the brandy**;

As for pies – this makes me wince –

Uncle’d eaten all the mince.

 

Radio playing Silent Night,

Both grandfathers had a fight,

Kids got into awful scraps

Tearing off their present wraps,

 

And our dearest auntie Lyn

Sat there swigging rum and gin

With a rather mournful gaze:

“It was different in them days”;

 

Our granny, though, was merry,

Having finished all the sherry,

Then she swayed and, with a slouch,

Was now snoring on the couch.

 

All in all, as you can guess,

Christmas was a great success,

Though the fairy on the top

Shut her eyes and shouted “Stop!”

 

But the day, this much is clear,

Is the highlight of our year,

So we cry, with joyous glow,

“Only fifty*** weeks to go!”

 

*How the lovely natives manage to squeeze the animal into a small hole is beyond me: my repeated attempts ended in abject failure, though, mercifully, the creature survived …

**Way back in July, when we started our Christmas preparations in earnest

***Well, maybe fifty two, but who is counting after all this prosecco – pardon me, champagne