Hello all. Just thought I’d share one of my early works with you. It’s the greatest poem ever written. It was written by me and Sugar Daddy (but mostly by me because I’m the clever, sensitive one). Sorry if this spoils all other poetry for you. Once you’ve read this, you needn’t bother with anything else. If you struggle intellectually, you might not get the full richness of the work, so I’ve included some annotations at the end. It’s rather long, so have a quick trip to the toilet first. Do as much as you can. Then maybe get a cup of tea and a biscuit to sustain you. Try to enjoy it. Do you best.
My Day in the Park
I arrive shortly before dawn,
Disturbing a ragged tramp.
He shuffles off,
Cursing me in a language of his own invention.
The sun rises idly in the sky,
Waking up the birds,
Glinting off a multitude of shiny objects
And warming the sour postal worker.
I walk to some interesting looking trees,
Which I quickly lose interest in.
A patch of bright crocuses makes me smile
And I venture over to a bench,
Where I eat my breakfast
(A slightly stale Danish pastry,
Made by a woman named Janet).
In the relatively near distance,
Some Church bells are ringing,
Calling the faithful to prayer
And irritating the Godless.
A persistent pigeon bullies me into sharing my sweetmeat,
An action which unfortunately attracts a horde.
After sharing my breakfast they leave,
(The fickle beauties),
To wash themselves in the ornamental fountain.
A pompous cock pigeon,
Full of vigour,
Attempts to sate his grim lust.
He is rebuffed soundly.
I smile once more.
An elderly couple,
Near to death’s stygian wink,
Comment noisily on my dishevelled, purple hat band.
“Quite ecclesiastical,” I ejaculate,
To their feigned amusement.
The old lady strokes her rat faced dog
And they continue on their way to the veterinarian.
A stick thin pervert,
Sidling in the opposite direction,
Catches my lazy stare.
“Morning, Vicar” I bark, mischievously.
The pervert takes umbrage
And hurries off towards the public conveniences.
To amuse myself I swear quietly,
In a juvenile attempt to offend the pigeons.
They take it in good heart.
I drink a little tea from my flask.
It tastes of sorrow
Or possibly of oxtail soup.
It is hard to tell without a second opinion.
A sexually repressed librarian,
Terrified of my obscenely polished shoes,
Like an evil tempered squall.
She is trying to forget the memory of Barry Caress,
Her sometime lover
And breeder of maggots for anglers.
His vile saliva is cooling on her ankles.
The image of his tremendous forehead,
With its sickly sheen,
Is imprinted, indelibly, on her fragile mind.
With one more glance at my horrific brogues,
She scurries off to her library mouse hole.
Later in the day she will read Dickens
And fantasize of violent passion
With Edwardian gentlemen.
I meet a fish faced child
Whose cold sores alarm me.
I buy myself an ice cream
From a tattooed criminal called Linda.
The child whines until I relinquish the delicacy.
To revenge myself I tell the child a tale.
It is not a pleasant one.
The child is unnerved and leaves.
A twinge of guilt spurs me into action
And I go for a walk in the Victorian conservatory.
As I enter I hear the child shout,
“It’s all lies! All of it!”
I agree, with a sense of hope.
I catch the scent of roasting flesh,
The Sunday ritual is begun.
I visit the public conveniences.
Still ensconced in his turgid dreams,
I quell his anger with a swift glare.
He slinks off
And catches a bus to Rotherham.
By the side of the pond,
I eat my lunch,
Cheese and elderly ham,
Rejuvenated by an arrogant mustard.
There is also an apple
Which has minutely damaged my biscuit).
The awe-inspiring ducks
And angular swans,
Accompanied by a brace of Canada Geese,
Extort more morsels of my repast than I had intended.
The vicious moorhens look on,
Their eyes jealous.
I pretend that the fowl are my congregation
But they heckle me into submission.
I pay another trip to the public conveniences.
A young man mistakes me for a pervert
And takes umbrage.
I remove my hat
But to no avail.
After my extended stay in the conveniences,
I stroll nonchalantly over
To the bandstand.
A string quartet is playing a string of popular melodies.
I pretend to be an expert
And tell the cellist she is out of tune.
She smiles wanly
And imagines the pleasure of her lover,
A sour faced postal worker,
Appreciating her as I do.
I fall in love with her.
When she leaves I am heart broken,
For a little over half an hour.
I return to the conveniences.
A jaundiced woman cries “It’s good to be alive”.
“Aye” I respond
But she shoots me a baleful scowl.
She explains that she is being followed
By the Royal Family.
She says she has stolen the Crown Jewels.
A dawn of realisation crosses my face
As I come to the conclusion that she is insane.
I sneak quietly away
And hide in the undergrowth.
My purple hat band is snagged by an impetuous bramble.
A hedgehog notices my plight
But offers no sympathy.
He devours a gentle slug
And trundles away to fornicate.
In a moment of weakness
I fall asleep in the cricket pavilion,
Where I dream of unbridled passion with Edwardian librarians.
In my dream I search haphazardly
But my cellist is nowhere…
Or perhaps she is in the conveniences.
I am awoken by a puzzled wicket keeper.
“You’re a little eager, old chap,”
Raising a cackle from his gargantuan wife.
I watch the cricket match
And devise imaginary punishments for him
And his alarming spouse.
The players are suitably Corinthian
And an adolescent daughter offers me a cream tea.
I accept gratefully.
An absent-minded Colonel,
Riddled with gout
Mistakes my cup for his own.
He cruelly drains my tea.
The adolescent girl,
Filled with forbidden ardour,
Leads me behind the war memorial.
I kiss her neck
And surreptitiously lick a smear of jam from it.
Eventually she breaks our embrace,
Mechanically she arches her back.
She removes my hat
And playfully runs back to the pavilion.
I have no passion for her.
I must retrieve my hat.
Worriedly I stalk her.
When she is busy making sandwiches,
I steal back my precious head gear.
I never see her again.
Like a weighty pendulum,
I sit on a swing.
It is mildly uncomfortable.
I eat my dinner,
(A pasty pastry pasty,
Containing potatoes and meat).
A winsome dog,
Suffering with mange
And kennel cough,
Attracts my attention.
My spirit breaks and I share my food.
The animal’s owner appears over a grassy knoll.
I feel cheated.
The Corinthian cricketers have all departed,
Leaving a residue of loathing.
I am unaware of the score.
Twilight is approaching,
Like a syphilitic headmaster,
Dragging its tattered clouds
And coughing spasmodically.
A frenzied thought,
Dampened by memory of my misdemeanours,
Slinks through my mind,
Rabid with intent.
However, the return of the ragged tramp,
Resplendent in his wayfarer’s garb,
Dashes it from me.
The ne’erdowell regards me with hatred.
Or possibly fear.
I move on, nonchalantly,
Covering my distaste by adjusting my hat.
A rowdy rabble of cackling youths,
Filled with the glee of the Sabbath,
Has entered my domain.
One of the youths,
(A sour faced girl with the eyes of a pervert),
Points in my direction.
There is archaic,
I feign sleep.
I awake to discover that my sleep was not feigned.
Quenching my thirst
And my embarrassment,
I drink tea from my flask.
To my alarm a voice requests,
To share my tepid beverage.
The voice belongs to,
And emanates from,
The sour faced girl,
Whose perverse eyes torment me.
I offer her the flask.
She drains its contents with a frightening rage.
That my oxtail soup tastes of tea.
I smile enigmatically,
The higher ground is mine.
She moves closer.
“My friend, my friend, my friend,”
Ejaculates the ragged tramp.
To my annoyance.
The sour faced girl finds my anger erotic,
It conjures up images,
Of chimeras being vanquished by lusty postal workers.
The tramp attempts to sit down
And I am forced horrifically close to the girl.
She leans against me,
Insinuating herself into my warmth,
Like a devilish eel.
The tramp tells a story.
He speaks of a circus
In which he was a ragged clown.
The tale moves me
To a vaster loathing of the tramp.
In an effort to be free of him,
(The sickly old leper)
I make advances on the girl.
She asks me to join her
Behind the war memorial
(I am torn in twixt by disgust,
But my prayers to the departed cellist,
I go with her.
The tramp continues with his story,
Behind the war memorial.
The weight of the night,
Twitching like a fornicating hedgehog,
Onto my right shoulder blade.
The girl attempts to ensnare me,
Her arms like fiendish, sticky ropes.
Then I recognize her:
She is the adolescent daughter of a cricketer,
Transformed by the night,
Into a stark harpy.
I can resist no longer
And I fall victim
To her obscure longing.
She runs her hungry claws over my shivering frame
But my lank response displeases her.
She grunts with displeasure,
“I hate you.
And I hate your hat.”
I am saved.
She stalks off like a mangy hound.
I praise my hat
And promise to reward it.
The ducks are sleeping now,
As are the swans
And the brace of Canada geese.
I watch the silent waters,
After a short eternity,
Two cats wander by.
They consummate their incestuous love
Behind the war memorial.
After their exertions,
They wander by again,
In the opposite direction.
I am in love with them
And contemplate being feline.
However, they sneer at me,
Knowing my predicament.
I give a haughty wink
“I am a man of many faces.”
They are abashed
And saunter away.
I go to the conveniences
But find them locked.
A youth stands in the doorway,
Of endless depravity.
He is the son of the pervert.
Tomorrow he will sit in the school room,
Probing his horrid teeth
With his bulbous tongue,
Dreaming of elegance and poise
That he will never,
He looks at me,
Insulting me with his hot eyes.
I pity him,
Almost as much as I pity myself.
Internally I grieve
For the loss of the conveniences.
I suffer the indignity,
Of relieving myself behind a tree.
I am paralysed by the fear of being disturbed
But only a disgruntled duck,
Pompous and a little lonely,
For no discernible reason
I approach the bandstand.
The arrogant emptiness of the structure,
Become desirable to me.
I enter its welcoming environs
And settle down,
Like a moth,
On its wooden floor.
Sleep comes to me like a silently delivered letter.
I am awoken much later
By the arrival of Edgar Joyce,
A man with a squint,
A crisp shirt,
And a sordid past.
Many years ago,
Edgar killed a fellow sailor,
During a row about the ownership of a hat.
He asks me to sing him a song.
I am too startled to refuse
And sing an old sea shanty
In a voice of alarming beauty
Which I do not recognize.
I pretend to be unaware of Edgar’s tears.
He walks away,
“Such a fine hat band,
Such a lonely band stand,”
Speaking of the past,
I return to my slumber.
I awake with a painful spasm.
There is some confusion.
It is impossible to ascertain,
To be sure,
Whether Edgar was truly here or no.
I search the floor of the band stand
And pretend to find a tear drop
Because it pleases me to do so.
The dawn is approaching.
I stand upon a knoll,
Its shape reminiscent of
(Or do I dream it?)
The breast of my cellist.
I await the sun.
After some time,
Some considerable time,
It becomes uncomfortable to stand so still
Like a gaudy bauble
In the hand of God’s daughter,
The sun penetrates the sky line.
I experience an epiphany,
I am robbed of it.
Or perhaps it never was.
I begin my journey home,
In the sound knowledge
That there will always be hope
And that soon
The conveniences will be reopened.
My day in the park is over.
Epilogue: “And so, Sebastian, the gyroscope never tumbles… but the lady wishes to talk of other things.”
The Annotated Version
It has been brought to the authors’ attention that the readership of the poem has encountered certain difficulties in extracting a meaning from said work. While endeavouring to keep the poem firmly in the interpretative domain of the reader, we feel it would be elucidatory to explicate some of the more obscure passages, to whit: this annotated version. However, one must recall the words of Mr Eliot (allegedly a sickening anti-Semite but an astute poet) on his poem Ash Wednesday “It means what it says, you silly sod”.
1.The Title: The title of the poem derives from a painting by E.W Cumberbatch (active 1876-1929) called My Day at the Botanical Gardens. This painting foregrounds a mysterious figure sporting a daunting hat with a purple band. Currently the painting is on display at the Zapatika Gallery in Athens. Any reader visiting the gallery is advised to pay close attention to the clear lack of ability on the part of Mister Cumberbatch in painting hands, feet and faces (which are all obscured by unlikely vegetation).
2.”language of his own invention”: Namely Thessarasian, created by Arnold Thessarat (1876-1929). Thessarat spent his early years working in a circus where he devised this language before plummeting from a trapeze into abject poverty. Almost all traces of Thessarasian were lost in a fire at the Museum of Artificial Linguistics (Basingstoke, 1934). One word remains “Clemitudinous” (plural “Mooting”) meaning “Bollard” (plural “Bollards”).
2a. “sour postal worker”: Patrick Thoushaltnotkill Presbyter (1876-1929), infamous for being the most inaccurate postal worker ever to have lived, only correctly delivering 13 letters in his entire career due to the fact that he was profoundly deaf and stupid. Was awarded an Honorary degree in Numismatics from Balliol College Oxford for no discernible reason. Gave rise to the saying “As daft as a Presbyter Parcel”.
3. “interesting looking trees”: Obvious c.f. note 1.
4. “pastry… Janet”: Janet Thornidike (1876-1929) was a popular pastry chef and raconteur. Winston Churchill said of her Eccles cakes “These are shitting good cakes. Lumme!”.
5. “Church bells”: The particular sound we had in mind was that of the bells of Saint Perpetua.
6. “pompous cock pigeon”: Based on one of the authors’ morbid fear of pigeons. This fear stems from an encounter with an enraged bird during his formative years. The author in question prefers to remain anonymous. Also a pun on “pidgin”: language being a key theme of the poem.
7. “purple hat band”: See note 1. N.B despite the reference to ecclesiastical purple neither author is intimately connected with bishops.
8. “stick thin pervert”: Reverend C.J Grice (1876-1929). Rev. Grice was charged but never convicted on numerous occasions. He had a club foot and almost fatally weak bladder.
9. “tea… oxtail soup”: One of the only intentionally humorous references in the poem.
10. “librarian… Barry Caress”: The librarian is arbitrary. Barry Caress (1876-1929) was a maggot breeder and murderer, famed for his fondness for ankles. He was the last man in England to be executed by gouging.
11. “Linda”: Linda Purves (1876-1929) the infamous “Mephistopheles Confectioner of Haberdasher Street”. See J.P Stilgoe’s “Sugar and Spice and Murderous Tarts” (1974).
12. : “the pervert… Rotherham”: Rev. Grice never visited Rotherham but not for want of trying.
13. “awe inspiring ducks… moorhens”: Inspired by K.H.Y.F.P.S.D Olympus’s influential “British Birds and their Uses” (1974).
14. “I remove my hat”: To disarm potentially embarrassing misattributions of perversion Victorian gentlemen would remove their hats with a peculiar shaking flourish. See A.S Windibanks’ “The Importance of Headgear” (1974).
15. “popular melodies”: Inspired by the album “Parsimonious Love-Hatch” by Crispian StPeters (1974).
15a. “cellist”: Antonia Du Bedubedu (1876-1929) was of Franco-African parentage and the first mixed race woman in England to climb Big Ben without anything traditionally recognized as equipment (she did, however, take a sick weasel named “Alfred” who was her constant companion until his death at the hands of her lover, Patrick Presbyter, in 1900, in celebration of the new year). A gramophone recording of Du Bedubedu playing her cello while Presbyter yells Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade” is still kept in the vaults of the British Museum. Unfortunately it can only be listened to on entering into Holy Orders (due to a obscure clause in Presbyter’s will).
16. “jaundiced woman”: Mary Jane Pendularia (1876-1929). Mary attempted to steal the Crown Jewels on no less than four hundred and thirty seven occasions. She was thwarted by her insistent belief that they resided in Saffron Walden, in a small, dilapidated Wig Shop. She was canonized by the Catholic Church due to a bureaucratic error which has never been corrected. She is patron Saint of Hat Stands (Feast Day: The second Sunday after St Swithin’s).
17. “puzzled wicket keeper… gargantuan wife”: E.E Dunwoodie and Mrs E.E Dunwoodie were a minor music hall act (active 1890-1900). Their act involved Mrs Dunwoodie hurling huge, often extremely dangerous objects at her timid husband. Sadly all specific details of their act are lost.
18. “adolescent daughter”: An ancient Greek archetype commonly found in the plays of Gerotoceles (1929-1876 B.C). Gerotoceles and his work are studied in R.Q Fennysnake’s “Kings and Vagabonds: Gerotoceles and his Awful Works” (1974).
19. “absent minded Colonel”: Col. Huw Hywel Dafydd Ivarrson (1876-Missing 1929). Colonel “Thumper” Ivarrson was a well known but greatly despised explorer. He went missing during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe in a huge steel ball of his own design and construction. He was last seen rolling under the waves of the North Sea off the cost of Cairnmorag, Scotland.
20. “syphilitic headmaster”: Doctor Tobias Banderton-Saltmarsh (1876-1929). The syphilitic headmaster of Chenderly School for Wicked Children and Ne’erdowells, Surrey (1900-1929). Famed for his experiments into infectious diseases and prestidigitation. He was arrested 24 times for dropping rare birds eggs from bridges onto passing Hansom Cabs. He was fined a total of twelve pence which was used to start the Banderton-Saltmarsh fund for Kindness to Rare Birds and Syphilitic Children.
21. “a youth”: Nebuchadnezzar Grice (1905-1929) achieved nothing in his life. His death was the only notable event in his sorry existence. He died at precisely the same moment as his father, through being run down by a Hackney Carriage, the driver’s view being obscured by a Banded-Bartailed Godwit’s egg. Father and son’s deaths were unrelated, except by time.
22. “Edgar Joyce”: Edgar Rimbaud Joyce (1876-1929) was the subject of a once popular sea shanty almost all of which is forgotten except for the chorus which ran “Heave them and wind them; heave them and wind them; heave them and bind them; for old Edgar’s hat” (the tune of this ballad can be heard on a rare gramophone recording of Antonia Du Bedubedu, available at the British Museum to those willing to take Holy Orders). The lyric is used by Crispian StPeters in his song “Keep it Heaving (Sailor Boy)” from the album “Parsimonious Love-Hatch” (1974). The exact details of his life are resolutely enigmatic.
23. “God’s daughter”: Love, Mercy, Justice or Truth. The reader must decide which is most apposite, there is nothing we can do for you now.
24. “Epilogue”: Taken from “The Three Sisters or The Tragedy of the Chemise” by Godwin Tattlebaum (1676-1729).