By Dominic O’Sullivan
The Crime of the Absent Mariner
This is the year of not.
The Puritan year.
This is the year the pub went quiet,
The theatre dark.
Outside the actress weeps.
This is the year they shot the Albatross,
Only no one owned up.
It’s uncool to do so.
So full steam ahead!
In the year of the nots;
Batten down the hatches!
No one knows where we’re going.
Dearly beloved brothers and sisters,
Imbibers of the nation.
We shall soon be re-acquainting ourselves
With a much loved deli product.
I refer, of course, to the renaissance of the Scotch Egg,
(The Oeuf Ecossais)
It fits the description of a substantial meal,
Confirmed by the Minister to the Cabinet Office.
(Un vrai écossais aussi, and also tiny)
Pasties are outraged.
Cornish and otherwise.
They’ve been waiting quietly in the wings,
Feeling better equipped to answer the call
And accompany a lonely pint.
Concern, however, has been raised,
Over the consumption of eggs and excess protein.
According to the late Birdman of Oxford Street
And Founder of the Protein Wisdom Group,
A surfeit of protein will produce a surge of sexual awakening,
A loosening of libido.
The Oeuf Ecossais may leave a legacy,
Outdo even the baby boom near Boston Stump.
But, whatever the outcome,
Rest assured. It is substantial.
Various Signs of Love
Your mouth goes dry like a morning hangover.
You have a sudden desire to speak French.
You sit through Eastenders without complaining, wonder
Why everyone’s so fucking miserable.
You offer up your last Rolo, although Nestle has already nicked it.
You find words desert you like plums falling from a tree.
You leave the toilet seat down – a friend tells you it’ll bring you money.
When they open a can of lager, hear the irritating phut, you fail to wince.
A part of your anatomy has turned into a telegraph pole.
You sing ditties for no apparent reason;
You are Julie Andrews running down a Tirolean slope.
You grow cabbages on your allotment, hold them up like an Olympic prize.
You smooth the pillows down, put on Book at Bedtime.
And finally…you tell them.
Dominic: I’m a writer of short stories, plays and poems. Some of my plays and monologues have been performed in Cambridge, Ely, London and Norwich.
My brother read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Coleridge to me when I was a kid. I liked it. The poem I wrote is playing around with Coleridge’s title. The theme is the same, the violation of nature but, unlike Coleridge’s poem the topic of guilt is not yet addressed. I gardened on the allotment for much of lockdown, admired the buzzards and kites that flew by, enjoyed the increased volume of birdsong.