Augustus Young       light verse, poetry and prose
a webzine of new and unpublished work


from The Trivia Chronicle

Senile Growth
Some people grow vegetables when they retire. Others become them. 

A Devinette
I always find it surprising that the babies of older mothers are the same age as the babies of younger ones.

Beyond My Garden Gate
The car behind the first car is my accident waiting to happen. Noise drowns out  noise. A scream of brakes. The rest is silence and picking up the pieces.

Photography Is a Premeditated Act
Faces in the crowd have been replaced by cameras held up (I saw once but now I’m blind). The third eye describes the world for you. In retrospect. Events at one remove have no memory. But there’s evidence in the computer to find you guilty of being there. The thought is a fingerprint. It’s hardly a crime to record what’s happening so you’re missing it. Still it’s a pity to reduce the power of the immediate to an afterthought.

Sang et D’or Flagstones
The council workers water the ornamental rocks outside the Town Hall. The indigenous Catalans know something about squeezing blood and gold from stone.

The artist Gerald has decided that at sixty-two he is too old to wait for destiny, and resolves to kill his mother. As there is arsenic in his oil paint, he starts on her portrait. She sits with her back to him.

Shady Ruse in Death Valley
The foothills of the Pyrenees, the Albères, are favoured by English and German second homers. Half of them are now trying to sell their dream house. They didn’t reckon with the afternoons shadow when the west side hills block out the sun. The online pictures display the sunny side. Estate agents show their clients around in the morning, if possible in the summer when sunlight can last two hours.


You pay for your hope.


Crime of Passion

A farm worker (83) put on a balaclava, took down the hunting gun he used for shooting rabbits and went to the house next door. The owner, a distinguished doctor, was enjoying breakfast with his new wife on the patio. The old man shot him dead, eight bullets. Jean Bastouille’s daughter had been married to Dr Messimer (63), and the year after the divorce she died of an aneurysm. On his arrest Jean Bastouille refused to talk. When the gun was found in the hedge of Dr Messimer’s house, he told the gendarmes, ‘J’ai flingué ce rapace et monstre qui a tué ma fille’. I don’t think that needs to be translated. 


A growth industry. Or an opportunity for growth.

Rational Expectations
The minority in France in favour of longer working lives are mainly retired people. They were the cohort who voted in Sarkozy. Selfishness is only human. During the mad cow disease epidemic, despite the clear awareness that eating beef risked a fatal disease two decades later, older people had no hesitation of digging into a nice juicy steak. 

Tall Unpopular Women
The Mayor of Villeneuve-de-la-Raho, Jacqueline Irles, doubles as a Member of Parliament. She appears like clockwork at every local event, a lanky twin-suited woman of an uncertain age with a ceramic smile and an abstract presence. Appointed to a junior cabinet post, her blunt advice to President Sarkozy (‘You’d better do something about your unpopularity in the South’) was received with a villain smile. She is a lonely figure in a world of little men.   

An Exception

Adriano Karembeu, the blond beanstalk that fronts Red Cross advertisements, resembles Monica Vitti on stilts. Her pint-sized consort looks up to her, the average man cut short. They have been voted France’s favourite couple. Does exaggerating discrepancies between the sexes reconcile them? In a moment of amusement, perhaps. Their very public relationship promotes accidents waiting to happen.  



A grue is a crane on a building site, or a film set, or a woman who is no better than she ought. Madame Bruni-Sarkozy hoists Nicholas into bed every night, and goes off to star in Woody Allan’s next movie.

My Comforters

I don’t always know what people are saying, and when I do it’s more or less the same. Monsieur, vous avez raté le coche.’ And I’m still running. 

The Serpent’s Tongue
I’m tired of being mocked or spurned for my accent, and so I’ve signed on for a Course in English to learn how people here mispronounce it in order to mimic them in French.

Waiting for Godot is a Misprint
The title of Becket’s play was a coquille. Godet means a pot in French and going for a pot is a common expression for sharing a drink. I think Beckett had in mind, ‘Waiting for the pubs to open’. I regret he never wrote a sequel, Un godet de plus. ‘One for the road.’

A Précis of Herodotus
A captured king was forced to watch his family walk to their public execution, observing them without emotion until he saw an old servant amongst them.