How to Get a Gibbet Through the Small Hole

It ain’t going sideways that’s for sure. And truth be told, it probably ain’t going lengthways either unless you really know what you’re doing; plus if someone’s hanging from the rope then you’ve got to factor that into your calculations before you even embark on the manoeuvre. The first thing to say is there’s no point in working the gibbet itself through the aperture and then finding that the fragile cadaver firmly noosed on this end of the rope won’t go through. In fact you’d be in real difficulties then as you won’t extract the gibbet back out once you’ve got it through, because it’ll just be hanging there any-old-how on the other side and you’ll never get it properly aligned to come back again, so you’ll have a stiff on this side of the hole, and a gibbet on the other side with the rope connecting them. What are you going to do then? Look round over your shoulder with a ‘can anyone help’ raised eyebrows expression on your face? I think not. And I imagine, if you’re honest, you probably think not too. No, I’d actually recommend starting with the corpse itself. Feed the body slowly through the hole, feet first obviously, and both feet mind – don’t try getting one foot and leg through and then starting on the other one or you’ll get in a frightful salmagundi and possibly break something. Then once you’ve given the dead patsy’s head a last gentle push, and he’s popped through and is safely dangling in the other bailiwick, out of harm’s way, you can start on the gibbet itself, which is less susceptible to damage, so you can fiddle about with it with carefree abandon, and conceivably even begin to derive some modicum of pleasure out of the whole enterprise.






The Dragonfly and Berries

Perhaps, like me, you live in a house with two
staircases. Well good for you if you do because they’re
almost always the larger types of property, and so
living in one suggests you are probably fairly affluent.

Another reason it’s propitious to live in habitations
with two staircases is the opportunities they provide
for the occupants to surprise each other.
For example, one person might wander off in front

of another, and then appear suddenly behind them
like an apparition and cause them to shriek
and throw the laundry all over the wolfhound,
or throw the dachshund all over the secretary.

One other good reason to live in a house with
two staircases is that you can spend time lying
in bed of a morning wondering which might be
the shortest route to go down to the dining room

for the kippers, and perhaps you’ll measure
the two options by pacing them out in fairy steps,
or if you’re like me you might ask one of the interns
to do so on your behalf. But the best thing of all

is only to wait until people are out on errands or
holidays or visiting the neurologist, and then to run
round and round the house, up the backstairs,
across the landing with the faded fauteuil,

past the doors to the bedrooms, then down the front
stairs to the hallway, and through to the kitchen with
the half-plucked woodcock, and back up the backstairs,
across the landing with the faded fauteuil and the books

on the table, past the bedrooms, down the front stairs
to the hallway, and then through to the kitchen with
the half-plucked woodcock on the long pine table,
and back up the panelled backstairs,

across the landing with the faded fauteuil
and the books on the table and the Alcaraz rug,
past the doors to the bedrooms and down the front
stairs with the painting of the dragonfly and berries

to the hallway. And that’s where you’d find me
talking to the aerial photograph interpreter,
except that it’s me who’s running, just look
at me go, how marvellously happy I am!






Trees, Breeze and Rabbits

Trees are made out of wood in
a deplorable waste

of a scarce resource that could have
been used to fashion cots for orphans,

or wooden legs for victims
of industrial accidents.

Just look at those nasty trees flaunt
their leaves, each one a tra-la-la.

‘Suck it up!’ say the trees,
and the giggling breeze wantons

in their leaves.
What a horrid nincompoop,

what a waste of space the breeze
is, with its heartlessness

and its insubstantiality!
And the rabbits, each, in itself,

just a small portion of meat,
but add them all up, add up all

the world’s rabbits, and then
they’re one enormous bunny.

A behemothic rodent which could
mindlessly hop on top of my house

and crush my wife and children
as well as myself as I attempt

to rescue them. I hate you all,
trees, breeze, and most of all, rabbits. 






As Though Begat, but Not

My you-train

all stocked
in her station

What am I like
State – state-away peppercorn

I’m mostly ears
a sudden god gone happy

This life of ours
it’s grinding out poor dear old train

It’s grinding out poor






Mark Waldron Sweet Like Rinky Dink
These poems are taken from Mark Waldron’s collection Sweet, like Rinky-Dink, published by Bloodaxe Books.

Photograph © curiously_unique

How I Write My Books
Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness