A voice from a bin

A voice from a bin

after Lloyd James

I heard a voice from a bin
Saying something about this
Epoch I’m living in.

I couldn’t make out the tense –
Or the gist of its list of
Unproven arguments –

But it kept up its complaint;
Its tone was no less vexing
For being so frail and faint.

I started digging around
Among plastic skeletons
In that burial mound;

Therein I found a sealed box
From which my ear detected
Arrhythmical soft knocks.

I took it to experts, but
None could unlock it. I knocked
Back, yet it remained shut.

I smashed it with a hammer,
And among its smithereens
Found but gilt and glamour.

I felt a lump in my throat
As I tried to swallow all
The sentiments I wrote;

For I hoped my lilting lies
Might someday swallow the facts,
Like lizards swallow flies.

I impressed my signet seal
On a contract comprising
A real property deal,

And I built my castle there:
Its foundations in quicksand;
Its turrets in the air.

And I commanded great wealth;
I taxed my vassals by force,
And slew my foes by stealth.

I whored and gorged and purged; while
The finest booze flowed, my arse
Oozed blood, phlegm, sweat and bile.

Even the fattest grow thin:
I threw my voice once too far;
Now I speak from that bin.


Appears in:
Rhymes for all times [2015]

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