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webzine of new and unpublished work

Poems for M

Sunday Afternoon By the Sea in Argeles

Sitting on her wingchair
between the laurel rose bush
and the pompoms of pampas grass,
facing the bay between her and home,
what’s behind her dark glasses is reflected
in the passing fair, the carnival of a Sunday.
The power walkers with their eyes deadset
by the imperatives of the promenade,
work up an appetite, while flaneurs
look ahead, dreaming of the salmon mousse
they have eaten. The men wear white suits,
the women flowery frocks. All wear straw hats.
The family caravans roll on regardless, afuss
with their dogs and baby-carts, followed by
wheelchairs, scooters, skateboards, tandems
for laughing geriatrics fronted by sporting types.
The world is going everywhere and nowhere
And nobody will ever come back the same way.
As the afternoon advances those left behind appear,
shyly watching each other as though the right to be
here is a privilege that is going to be withdrawn
any minute. But, reassured by smiles and bonjours,
these stragglers, step by step, gain the confidence
to stop and sit on a bench looking at the sea.
She, who has been observing
this passing fair of humankind
without being observed, sitting
between the laurel rose bush
and the pompoms of pampas grass,
spreads her wingchair and flies home.


A Deed-Poll of So-and-Sos 

I met with a man called Boniface
Bon bon bon bon
I know about his fall from grace
Bon bon bon
Though it  doesn’t show in his face
Bon bon
But his name is onto the case
I met with a man called Malaparte
Mal mal mal mal
who is well known for his warm heart
Mal mal mal
Virtue for him’s its own reward
Mal mal
But his name puts you on your guard
I met with a man called Ian Bland
Bland bland bland bland
He holds no bars when in a rant
Bland bland bland
Violence is what he understands
Bland bland
But on paper he is nice and
I met with a woman called Emma Blue
Blue blue blue blue
Rosy cheeks was her normal hue
Blue blue blue
As loud a laugh I never knew
Blue blue
Only her name causes her ennui
I met with a man called Uknowwho
Uknow uknow uknow uknow
I said to him how do you do
Uknow uknow uknow
Very well indeed and who’re you
Uknow uknow
You ought to know but here’s a clue
I met with a woman called Marga-gret
Gret gret gret gret
Nothing in life did she regret
Gret gret gret
Except her name. She thought it béte
Gret gret
What’s in a name. It’s what you get.


In pink tutu
hop on one leg
(hide number two). 
Ready, get set,
flap slap your wings,
away you go,
whiter than white.
You’re taking flight
for higher things.
Your absence brings
the still regret
of an egret
standing mid-stream.
Seagulls fly low,
and cry, contrite
at having no-
thing to excite
a human being.
Back, none need know
where you have been.
Your feather-head
in the dying light
is a halo,
touched with day-glow.
So drop down low
to your salt bed,
and welcome night.


The Trap

The black cat has quit the house.
On the lookout for a mouse
my eye catches a black rat.
It turns its sleek back. Eclat!
tail swallowed by the skirtings.
I set a trap. But the springs
snapshut on me, in a dream:
Nosferatu. Silver screen.
Black and white. A dash of red.
Vampire rats roll over dead.
A plague be on you. Nightmare.
Holes blacken in the Gruyére.
I wake up as a clatter
serves me Baby Jane’s platter.
A black rat that’s cut in half.
The black cat has the last laugh.


Turning La Plage in Argeles

Everybody connects on this beach.
There is scarcely room to eat a peach.
The juice spills over a neighbour’s tan.
It is a melting pot of human
flesh sacrificing itself: bare bod-
ies offered up to the sungod.
Beachcombers comb the bleach white sand
for treasure. Children, out of hand,
outscream the seagulls for ice-creams.
Fat swimmers bask in weightless dreams,
and tilt the Med so it has tides.
It’s far too hot for donkey rides...
Breasting the waves, waving their breasts,
mermaids trumpet cardiac arrests.
The end of season siren sings.
There is an end to all good things,
Beach cafes disappear into dunes.
The sungod’s sated with some ruins.
Holiday makers come and go,
The wrack left behind’s not eco.
But it serves as a corrective
to school parties who collect it:
one must show respect to the sea.
The winter is for you and me.


Spring in October

After the autumn rains
crocuses and lillies
springing up.
Everything is so green.
Nature flying its flag,
a tricolour.
There’s spring in the wind too.
Although it’s coming from
Dissident swallows
loop the loop
like a rainbow.
All this is
nature’s freak-show.
Enjoy it.


Admitting a Dream

The door opens as I fall asleep.
Enter the wind carrying a dream
that can’t wait. But my slam makes it leap
into the air and fade to nothing,
and I’ll be awake all the night, thinking
what was so eager to disturb me,
like a dead bird that the cat brings in,
or the runaway knock of a flea.
Dreams are to minds as ghosts to bodies,
haunting without leaving a snail-track,
stray perceptions that do as they please
and, once entertained, cannot come back.
Vagrant dream that came out of the blue,
and caught me unawares, be my guest
tomorrow night. I will welcome you
with open arms and put you to rest.