The Weekly Muse

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The wood's a steamy jungle

In the stormy light of June

From the tiger stripe of morning

To the leopard afternoon

Where the blossom-heavy elder

Nods a needle-shower of rain

To the wind, her drunken lover,

With a breath of rough champagne.

Arthritic on the ferry deck,

He blinks away the tears

And as he gazes out to France

The wind pares back the years...

Dunkirk. Only the name remains

Occasionally applied

At times of great adversity

To stand us side-by-side.

Their membership cut down by time,

With sixty years gone past

The veterans return next June

And that will be the last.

An older man I worked with once

Was wounded on that beach

An army pressing in on them

And rescue out of reach.

"What was it really like?" I asked

But all that he would say was

(His look far weightier than his words),

"Chaos... It were chaos."

Ye see yon Scottish Parliament,

July the First an' a' that?

They'll open with a Burns lament,

Ye ken the one, an' a' that?

But Tory Scots an' a' that,

For a' that an' a' that,

Wha dinnae think the choice is right,

Are up in arms an' a' that.

Cuifs, fearfu' that it slights the Royals,

Shake glaikit heesd at a' that

Wha didnae reap electoral spoils -

Surprise-surprise an' a' that.

For a' that an' a' that

Their highland seats an' a' that

Aiblins, if Rab cuid hear them now,

He'd sit and laugth at a' that.

"Dear Margaret Cook..." It's worth a try.

I think I'll get in touch today.

"...I have this very stressful job

Involving constant trips away.

My former wife, who blights my life,

Won't let old disagreements lie.

She's still there in the public eye.

What should I do? Yours, Robin C."

"Dear Robin C, I wouldn't fret.

It may not be as bad as looks.

If bitterness is lurking there,

Suggest she takes up writing books.

You may well find, as time goes by,

She'll meet a brand-new partner too,

Who's handsome and considerate

And better in the sack than you."

Of all the short-cuts known to man

To beat the sword back into plough,

He takes the slowest way he can.

Please, sir, can we stop bombing now?