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.

 

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).

 

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: Vinnie’s new shed

So as to enhance his street cred,
My Vin got himself a new shed:
Defence shutting out the world’s strife,
Life’s irritations – and the wife …
He beamed with elation and glee,
Then grabbed his transistor*, made tea
And, with the cry: “The match is on,
The Spurs are playing!”, he was gone.
And then for hours, from within,
There issued most enormous din
As Vinnie whooped and wailed and yelped,
Oh how I wished I could have helped
But did not enter (not that brave):
The sign that guards the shed? Man Cave!

*Radio

Humorous verse: An alien’s lament

British passport – what a prize!
It’s your birthright, lucky guys,
But, to aliens such as me,
It’s as precious as can be,
So I greatly cherish mine,
Which does make me feel so fine
(More so as I am quite skittish),
I’m thus loving being British;
This is why I, with great pride,
Share my status far and wide
Half-expecting a huge cheer;
Enter Ian*, who’d appear
On my walks from time to time
Undertaking the odd climb
(You remember? He’s the guy
Who has rubbished my mince pie);
Ian, hearing me thus boast,
Looked as if he’d seen a ghost:
“British passport? You?? How come???”
What a bummer – and then some:
His demeanour was so shocked
That my world just shook and rocked;
How much more of toil, sweat, grit
Till they see me as a Brit????

 

*I am very fond of Ian, by the way. He has a fabulous sense of humour and is great fun to be around. Although we tease each other, it’s all done in a friendly and playful manner. I’m saying this because he thought he had offended me by his incredulity; in fact, I found his reaction absolutely hilarious. No hard feelings, Ian, I hope.

Humorous verse: Anna’s mishap

A keen fellwalker having the good fortune to be surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful mountains, I lead a fabulous walking group called the Roamers. Well, at least I try to lead them – but sometimes I do manage to lose some of them. As on that infamous occasion at Easter when traffic was heavy, our parking spot had been unexpectedly blocked and my mobile decided to die on me. Unable to communicate with the drivers of several other cars in our group, I contrived to lose one vehicle with its precious cargo of four Roamers. So much for my being a leader …

 

If you heard my moans and groans,

They were all about the cones,

Traffic cones – I kid you not –

Blocking our parking spot;

With no parking to be found,

We drove round and round and round,

All five cars – and all spread out –

Nightmare, without any doubt;

With my mobile on the blink,

I was flustered, couldn’t think

(You go into panic mode

When you’re missing a car-load);

We then started our hike

Without John, Rose, Pam and Mike;

You could not – not if you tried –

Find a soul as mortified

As I was, but I must say

It was John who saved the day!

Sage and with a brilliant mind,

Our John’s one of a kind:

On his gizmo, also smart,

Our route he did – yes! – chart

And, with deftness and no fuss,

Led his party straight to us!

Dearest John, believe you me:

In your debt I’ll always be;

Your computing expertise

Has now put my mind at ease

‘Cos I know that, with your aid,

Roamers cannot get mislaid!

 

 

Satirical verse: UKIP Brexit if you want to

As my Brexit-inspired satire continues, here is my mini-glossary for those reading this post outside Great Britain.

UKIP stands for the UK Independence Party, which is a Eurosceptic and right-wing populist political party in Great Britain. The party strongly opposes immigration, pledging to reduce it to zero within five years. Incidentally, the wife (alluded to below) of the party’s former leader (who is a great fan of President Trump) is German.

Brexit refers to the British exit from the European Union, narrowly voted for in the 2016 EU membership referendum. Brexit has bitterly divided the country, and even the government cannot seem to agree what sort of Brexit it wants. Needless to say, Europe is baffled …  

 

We don’t want no immigration

To pollute this brilliant nation;

We were once the purest race

Which this Mother Earth did grace

(Sorry, there is one correction:

German wives are an exception),

 

But the EU plots and schemes

To extinguish our dreams

About being alien-free

In this land of ours – see?

Our challenge is immense –

We must mount a bold defence.

 

When we seal our porous border

We’ll restore all law and order,

And, to pick our fruit and veg,

We will summon good old Reg

(He is 80 – did we mention? –

This will help him boost his pension).

 

We will stop most foreign aid

And engage in global trade

Beyond EU neighbourhood

(North Korea would be good),

Plus, in line with our agendum,

We will rule by referendum.

 

Also (you’ll be filled with glee),

We will let you park for free*

When you do your weekly shop

(We don’t reckon it’s a sop:

As an ordinary Brit,

You’ll be rather badly hit**).

 

Even if our gut gets busted,

We want to be done and dusted

By the end of next year – max;

See how neatly all this stacks?

(We can – by all indicators –

Trust our clever negotiators.)

 

To take charge of our laws,

We must rally to the cause

With a zealous incantation:

“We are here to save our nation,

And, in Donald’s dazzling vein,

We’ll make Britain great again!”

 

*For at least 30 minutes

**In your pocket

 

PS

 

Wanna know – that’s by the way –

What folk Googled the next day***?

“What’s this construct called EU?”

You are laughing? It is true;

Still, we say: “You know the score,

That’s**** what you have voted for.”

 

***After the 2016 referendum on Britain’s EU membership

****Whatever that is; if the government still (at the beginning of 2018) can’t agree about what sort of Brexit it wants (hard, soft or anything in-between), you can jolly well make up your own wish list and announce that this is exactly what you have voted for – hey ho!

 

Satirical verse: The globe-trotting Brexiteer

Readers from countries other than Great Britain may wish to note that this satirical verse is about the current British Foreign Secretary, who is an ardent Brexiteer (a person who is in favour of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union).

 

I am a one-nation Tory

Who cares not a jot for glory,

Am your quintessential Brit

Appreciated for my wit

And a slightly raffish look;

I know how to write a book

And draw lots of nice red lines,

Am a connoisseur of wines,

And I never, ever never tire

When suspended from zip wire.

When our greatness is at stake,

I will (always) have my cake

And will eat it – hence my girth

(Please contain unseemly mirth);

Round the world I widely roam

(Though, sometimes, without a comb),

And I think you ought to ditch

Your displeasure with the rich;

In a nutshell, that is that;

Let me tell you where we’re at.

(I mean our negotiation

Re the freedom of our nation.)

I’d had not a drop of Marnier*,

When I told this old chap Barnier

He could go and jolly whistle;

Fair enough: he didn’t bristle

But came out with poppycock

About loudly ticking clock;

We are not, so as you know,

Giving Barnier any dough;

Of this there can be no doubt:

After all, we’re getting out,

So you can now go and chill;

What? We’re paying 20 bill.???

Nah, not on your blinking nelly!

(I’ll repeat this on the telly),

Not if I can … wait a sec,

PM’s waving a fat cheque …

It says 40 – but that’s double!!!

Grrrr, we really are in trouble:

That’s the dosh, I acquiesce,

Promised to the NHS;

Payout wasn’t in our plan –

Things are going down the pan;

But fear not (I’m being frank):

With a tiger in my tank,

I will cut us such a deal

That you’ll think it is a steal;

I’ll outshine the other stars

And put Elvis – yep – on Mars**!

 

*Grand

**An expression Boris Johnson used to describe the likelihood of his becoming Prime Minister