AUGUSTUS YOUNG        light verse, poetry and prose

  a regular webzine of new and unpublished work


A Single Skuller

Living Skin

The Final Whistle


The Island

from Rosemaries



My Dominant Characteristic

Life as a Serious Person

The Little Talker



The man who makes others smile,
and never smiles himself, has lead
a life no doubt that’s worthwhile.
Who’ll smile for him when he’s dead?
He who thinks that the world smiles
out of his arse, doesn’t give
a damn, except for the piles
he suffers. Others must live
to service his self regard
or suffer a life made hard
putting up with amour propre.
Much easier to be a prop.

Summer in Winter

I need an outlet, being a pressure cooker.
This summer in winter continues as though
the cycle of things has been suspended.
I’m either over or under the weather.
I feel tropical without the exotic
blood warming. I sweat with fear and loathing.
Then take a long cool drink and say to the world
‘Thanks for putting up with me’. ‘It’s nothing’,
replies the mystical body of others.
Here where the wine is cheaper than the water
every day somebody you know drops dead.  

The Maternity Scene in Bras de Vendres 

In order to attract a full-time man,
go out in black leather boots, and short skirts.
But it is de rigeur to push a pram.
Readymade sprogs are your dot or dowery.
Two are better than one. State payments
are exponential. Twins are the most prized. 
Your rear view will be particularly noted.
So long hair musn’t hang below the waist.
Remember fecund buttocks move the earth.

 Amongst Uncommon Riches
Venice March 2007

The past has been colonised,
but not by tourists. We are
the paying slaves. The tyrants
service us. They know their job;
dispatch it efficiently
without triumphalism. 

Although they make you pay for
the musak in the cafés,  
we experience no worse than
discomfort. The wages
of passing pleasures are
a return to where one belongs.

Like Ulysses, I come home
from a good trip enriched
in spirit and impoverished
in pocket. I am content.
Though my body is crumbling,
my head is above water. 

Bol d’air 

Stepping out my garden gate
I look down the boulevard:
a boy comes out of a house
and bounces a tennis ball
against the wall. It’s a scene
from everybody’s childhood.
As I pass, he nips back in. 

On the Waterfront

It is too late now to be
a promising single sculler.
I must accept I am me.
A crab-catching bow.

pour mieux sauter’, the devil prods.
‘Then jump in at the deep end.’
‘Don’t listen’, thunder the gods.
‘You're all washed up.’

                               I extend
myself towards the heavens,
and bounce the diving board.
Sky at sixes and sevens,
I walk the plank, backwards. 

Woody’s Wind Instrument 

When Woody Allen plays his clarinet
it’s like Benny Goodman after his death
blowing a blade of grass from the tomb. 

But the wind in the reed cannot exhume
more than the spittle of a hermit clam.
Woody mimes to the backing. He’s their jam.

These bread and butter sidemen may be stale
and rancid, but they can’t afford to fail
in delivering the Barney Bigards   

when their master solos his silent farts.