What is man, that thou art mindful of him
and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels
and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
Thou madest him to have domain over the works of thy hands;
thou hast put all things under his feet...(Psalm 8:4–6)
...for dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return.(Genesis 3:19)
Winkles from the wrinkled sea
Under nimbus–clouded skies
Looking down from Winchelsea.
Carnivorous whelks singsing bring
Tonic solfa diphthong song
Make the vaulted welkin ring
From Atlantic sundering sea,
From Al Hambra Moorish Spain
Join us at our jamboree
Volk’wanderung down Slugwash Lane*.
Spifflicate vain–glorious homo rapiens,
Numerous as dung–hill flies.
Circumvent their lions’ dens,
Their stagnant beer in sunken vats.
Tunnel under chimney–soot,
Or, as pogo–vorsprung acrobats,
Flip to a tender tendril shoot
Of red–bud bean or clematis –
Cosmic–slime by moonlight ooze,
Issue of sussurated bliss –
By pulsing emerald glow–worm’s glow
Elastoplastic muscled cruise
Nine bean rows. (Y9? Ask Mr. Yeats, he might know.)
Beware caltropic leaves of holly;
Egg–shells camouflaged loblolly;
Pellets, grape–shot on the soil,
You’d think they’d fallen off a lorry,
Enough to make your gonads boil.
Beware the wellingtonian stamp,
The weekend–caver’s Petzl light;
The hissing of a Tilly lamp;
The kiss of shears at dead of night.
The rachet click of forceps’ jaws
The rat–tat–tat on a rusty tin,
The mouldy mucous rimed within,
The sudden pin–drop, cross–hairs pause,
Drawn breath, lips Cameronian thin,
A snaffled dribble down the chin,
Portending ichor–draining death –
Tally tot–up under breath
Of dasypygal cullion mutt.
Gangoolians of the podghast night:
Gleet, gleam,guggle, gong, gormandise.
Put man’s Flower Show dreams to flight.
Marmalise their brassicas; rasp at ease
Their raspberries. Be predators on their taters.
Gnash those golden delicious of Hesperides.
As graters, macerators, breed alligators.
Beer–batter their hearts like bars of Mars.
Virus their blogs ‘gin slugs, E–mails ‘gin snails.
Be of Shiva the Destroyer multifarious avatars.
Hieronymus Bosch their nosh in cuckoo–spitten pails;
Go genital into that dark night in Wales.
Yea, most of all, appal Hugh Fearnley–Whittingstall
With wormwood and the gall, for getting his tith
Into our kin and kith, ill–willy him, yea, the reptile in us all
To deform and kill the things from which we suck the death.
Not for oozaceous mollusca, “To be, or not to be?”
Unshrived, denied abluvion’s eschatological fleme –
Rendered down to a ghee in a Chilean snailery
Encarnadined for human kind into namby pamby cream.
Apple snails Helicidae
Chassez down Les Champs Elysées;
Banshee La Marseillaise;
Liberté! Egalité! Fraternité!
Gastronomes they gorge on us.
Marinate them in a jacusi:
Mince Giselle, Jean–Jaque, juicy,
Vol–au–vent in puff–pastry.
Bloop them with a guzunderbuss –
To arms! Storm La Bastille!
Prick up your ears! All over France
Boiling conch–pots Le Creuset
Rockle in a cockle dance –
Our disgorging souciance;
Stuffed, sauced, baptised in vin brûlé.
(Jean Baptiste for Salomé.)
To arms helicids!
Sapiens think they’ve got it made.
Be as Rodrigo brave El Cids
Making human kind afraid.
(Anthem that anathema Rouget de Lisle.)
Circumcise the foreskins of Man’s Identity
Their stiff necks are an abomination unto me.
(Look it up in Deuteronomy)
Cockles gourgandine arise!
Oar your Botticelli shells:
Delphic cleft of Venus’ thighs,
Oyster–juiced engorging swells.
Sea–seize me in your columella,
Aeon–amoured whorls of bliss
Unceasing tantric tarantella,
Urania’s sea–foamed genesis.
500 million years you’ve been,
Before the Saps were ever seen:
Now the world reverberates
Sapped by high–muck–amuck vertebrates.
Hanging on a mucous–skein
Riding on a dew–train
Mollusca germinal germain
The old are young again
Getting it up in Slugwash Lane.
A bird has whispered, “Come again,
It’s iron–smelters Tubal–cain
Who gave the name to Slugwash Lane,
Founding canons for the Main
Plundering the ships of Spain.”
So, is my tale all in vain,
Kindled McGonagall murrain –
Think you, “Hieronymo’s mad againe?”
Gastropods predate King Iron’s reign:
In witness still their trails remain
Reflections of the Milky Way down Slugwash Lane.
*Slugwash Lane is authentic: it lies north off North Common Road at Wivelsfield Green, East Sussex.