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a webzine of new and unpublished work


Stevie Smith Lives
I give Stevie Smith a twirl
with the poems forty years on.
Pleasure peppered with alarm.
Half little girl old woman.
Half old woman little girl.
She never was a certain
age, being badly made up, wan
with a garish streak, but charm
wins out. A matter of fact
despair, and mystic élan,
hard to pin down. I am loath
to turn the pages, forbod-
ing the next vanishing act,
like the dud men in her life.
O they were an uncut book
opened only with a knife.
Though she wouldn’t want to look. 
I saw her in the Lamb and Flag,
mocking the world that mistook
her chiffon for a red rag,
her felt hat for being forsook.
There she was, Queen of the Night.
telling off les ridicules.
Dawn came and she took flight
for Palmers Green. O the fools. 
After the Rain
IM Edwin Morgan
The smell of flowers. Puddles to walk on. The brightness of stars.
Take a last whiff. Splash the puddles. See yourself in the stars.
Blast that moon. Its stupid light blanks out the earth. Tomorrow sunshine. The puddles will dry up. The flowers wither. I can’t stand this, you said.  I’m off.  

Sun bodes no good.
       Dead flowers.
                             Dry puddles.

Moon blast. A waste of space.
All the good work undone.
But at least you left us an umbrella.
The rain will be back. 
Constance Mozart Shows an Ankle
I have a way with furbelows and flounces,
and give myself airs, flighty, but down to earth.
I’m a fantasy and fugue, which nicely bounces
along making waves on dry land, and well worth
every florin I can’t save, for he’s the one
with the pompadour, and expensive to run. 
I come free. My light soprano saves hiring
for the ‘Word Is Made Flesh’ some wailing siren
in his C Minor Mass. And now he’s jealous.
I need to dance, and he doesn’t. What’s the fuss?
Some idiot tosses me around in a rush
of passion, powder and perfume. God help us. 
I know he’s the money. I should be his mouse
but, between babies, I have to get out of the house.
Mrs Franz Schubert (née Mullerin)
He tries to impress me by imitating Beethoven,
and I say to him, just be yourself, Franz. You’re behoven
to keep up your strength with regular meals (you like your food),
and a Turkish bath once a week. It will help you smell good.
And so he becomes Joseph Haydn, orders me about
as though this life is a route march, and I begin to doubt
marriage suits him, let alone me. I threaten a divorce.
Since then he is my angel boy, still it needed brute force.
Now we share musical moments together. No kinder.
Ah, the sins of his youth. He’s free to compose his ‘Winter-
reise’ and ‘Erl King’ without dread of visiting the worst on
innocents. We live only for the beautiful, Die shone,
and will die young, carried away by a common complaint
(everybody has lice). And his music makes him a saint.   
Life is an Electric Picnic
Here’s to the bard Brian Lynch,
Who’s declaiming his poems
In the muddy fields of Laois
To young ravers who fidget
With twitters on mobile phones.
Sing along, sing along.
The sound system could be worse.
Also the attention span.
Like reading to rival poets
In a pub. Immortal verse
Is drowned out by the old goats.
Sing along, sing along.
Homer would give you the nod.
Unlike me. I, who am
Muttering in the desert
Mirages of analogies,
To myself. A hermit cod.
Sing along, sing along.
The oral tradition’s a cup
That drinks to everybody.
My ghost grove of palm trees
Won’t quench the vagrant thirst.
Down the hatch. Time’s up.
Sing along, sing along.
Here’s to the bard Brian Lynch
Who’s declaiming his poems
In the muddy fields of Laois
To young ravers who cherish
The open air and great unknowns.
Sing along, sing along.
Reading Rudolf
It is true you are probably my oldest friend.
But I’m not sure I know where you begin or end.
Having lived all your life within a radius
of three miles, your essential point should be obvious.
Something I tend to miss. My set-square must describe
a circle to encompass you and your lost tribe.
As my metaphysic maps are out of date,
I want to borrow yours in order to locate
your full scope: extremities, average mean,
capacity to objectivise yourself, your being
and nothingness, friendships in unlikely places.
It shouldn’t be difficult for you to chase up.
You know where everything is, except in your flat 
(at worst it will be with your key, under the mat).