AUGUSTUS YOUNG        light verse, poetry and prose

  a regular webzine of new and unpublished work
‘There’s no such thing as a poet. Only people who write poems.’

Smith's Family Fortunes


Dr Marcos

Moge and Bols

Dan the Dog

P'tit Frère

Saint-Hilaire and Cuvier

The White Twins


Fancy Footing

Nature Morte

Sleeping Dogs

Verse Journal


A Stop Off in the Gaelteacht

The smell of tar before the gravel is laid.
Mine was the first car in the village, he said.
I'd to be patient with the fairday cattle.
Father Rourke spoke from the altar. 'The devil
is back from England and opened a dance hall
in Inch. Coming back late you could hit a wall.'
Sure enough it happened, but after the time
I met herself. In broad daylight, my combine
came out blind and the youngsters hadn't a chance.
Out all night, 'twas said, in the Ballroom of Romance.
So much for young love, the prospect of weddings.
The girls all left. But why dwell on the old things.
The young are back and here is my wife, Jasmine,
still flowering in my heart. Our marriage has been
a scented garden by the road to nowhere,
without issue other than gray in her hair.
And now she takes the wheel in spite of her age
since I killed the dog backing out of the garage.
Her pills are working better than mine, for sure.
In our old age nobody round here seems poor.
Or speaks the language, but who is complaining.
The one thing that hasn't changed, it's still raining.

Infant Tomb in Kensal Rise

London cemeteries are made for cycling.
I ride round the paths. My bell goes bling bling 
to warn the bereaved with their watering cans.
I'm training for the Dolomites. No hands!
I don't think the dead have any objection
and that's what matters. My cadenced spin
is respectful to the cycle of life.
Around and around the dodos go. I've
stops for water, and read the odd gravestone,
and suppose we'll all one day die alone. 
At the tomb of an infant I specially like
to pause for a thought, leaning on my bike.
It always has fresh flowers. One day I met
the gran who told me, 'Baby found her death
on the Finchley Road. Got out of her pram,
and ran into a bloody cyclist'.

Kim. 1951. Not forgotten.

No number could be
more complete than one.
But who is counting?

Too young for terror
at what's coming at her,
mounting the pavement,

she stands on her own
for a short moment,
trusting the unknown.

The wheels of a bike
will spin forever.
Any age you like.


I didn't sleep last night
worrying about my
gray matter.

Gray matter?
Shouldn't it be white?

I awoke
thinking of nothing.

The sun got up
and vomited.

I cut myself shaving.
Blood is red.

The blossom on the trees
is now on the ground.

Towards Inscriptions

As I didn't welcome you, I won't be saying farewell.
I found myself in your gift.
Taken for granted it's true, like happiness, you have lived
without being any trouble

in the orchard of belief where seed, blossom and fruit runs
in cycles, as it should be.

'I'll take my leave when it comes without ceremony. A leaf
falling in season. That's me.'

And so you have the last laugh, a yellow one. The harvest
garners the fullness of time,

and the emptiness of waste. I'm left with an epitaph,
'Too late now'. And it is mine.

Burnt Earth

In Limoges the farms are isolated.
The labourers live in their commune,
the proprietors in Carcasonne.
But the grass and the livestock don't grouse.
Overnight there is not much to do.
A mother and son get drunk together
on the anniversary of a hated
father. 'Forty, the same age as you.
You are not half the man he was, son.' 
'That's your fault', he said, holding the flame
of a lighter too close to her coiffure.
It caught fire and her clothes and the house.
He jumped back into the smoking ruin.
The firemen found him clinging to her.  

The Key to Life

You don't have to keep it on a ring
since there isn't any chance of losing it.
The key to life is leaving the door open.
It's not when the latch bolt is broken,
or the mortice detaches the lock,
but simply a matter of choosing
to leave ajar. Whatever it will bring -
a passing stranger, a random knock,
the creaking of a hinge, or token
coleporter - holds no fears. Life's spoken
for as an end in itself. Something
awaited, not like a cuckoo clock
with its boring pop out and in,
but as it comes. Life is amusing
itself. And you can get on with your lot.