The Herring School
Colonel Parker roused his students from sleep
and led them out for a final gamboling lesson in the deep.
There after spinning wheels to form a tight bait-ball
he said to his giddy charges “What ya gonna do, y’all?”
Little Schmaltz shouted “Gonna get so high
doing country with Uncle Willie and his outlaw boys.
They’re gonna learn me to play the reefer riff
singing “nothin’ but blue skies” if’n ya catch ma drift”.
Missy Mae Rollmop said, “Enough of this idle chatter.
When I’m good I’m very good, but when I’m bad I’m better.
Sure, I look tawdry at times but I’m a classy girl.
In Hollywood my risqué wit will bamboozle the world”.
Heir Bloater shouted, “nicht mit mir, Baby, not me.
How many can singen “Blue Suede Shoes” unter der sea?
I’ll schütteln like Elvis, sprechen Deutsche, Jodler und tun tricks.”
Then he did a Franzl Lang imitation with karate kicks.
”Lo red herrings”, said another with a grunt
“When I become a (s)kipper, I will learn to sail a punt.
One day I’ll be more famous than Tupac or Jay Z.
I’ll be flying like a Schmetterling und Steichen like a bee”.
So round they went spinning their tall Casino tales
about outdodging dolphins and outwitting whales
as their silvery scales reflected excitedly their dreams
in the undulant green water and their round eyes gleamed.
Sadly no one noticed that a present danger loomed.
Giant shapes below were making bubble net balloons.
Suddenly the jaws of several humpbacks erupted gaping wide
and the herring school all disappeared inside.
My Good Horse “Neighs”
A sober saddle for travel,
and a kilim cushion stuffed
with folded gauze for dressing a wound
and a rabbit’s foot for the rough.
A floating water lily leaf
for a journal with one edge bound.
I’ll jot on it when I am moved
to put my burthen down
in a special place, a holy place.
Please pray I get there well
galumphing, Hardee hat to the wind,
chased by the hounds of Hell.
And there I’ll find salvation
where every word speaks grace.
Some fill their speeches with idle words,
I’ll bet on Neighs to win the race.
I shall not profane my hands
scouring pots, scraping pans
or with other mundane chora.
It’s my duty to ignora.
I need time for talking Torah.
Tell me not how much I’m owing;
that the lawn’s in need of mowing.
I’d rather swim to Bora Bora
or, Yahweh forbid it, go to wara
then stop talking Torah, Torah.
Get a job and pay my taxes?
Take the kids to hockey practice?
I will do all that tomorra
I only want to talk the Torah.
Talk the Torah day and night
with my bald spot out of sight
beneath the kippah I must wear
talking Torah or in prayer.
Don’t care when the world will end.
Don’t care if the sky falls in
like with Sodom and Gomorrah
or for any other horra.
I am safe when talking Torah.
Plato matzah balls with Hegel,
Marx with lox schmeared on a bagel –
I don’t eat them any mora
They make my mogn very sora.
Wisdom comes from talking Torah.
Obedience is in the talking
so my jaws do all the walking.
Never need for any action
when my tongue gets such good traction.
Talking Torah every day
with the Rabbis come what may
Moses’ mitzvah, laws Levitical
arguing every jot and tittle
until I’m drowning in my spittle.
How can I then do any wrong
with the Talmud all day long?
If it’s help that you implora
please knock on some other doora.
I’m too busy, busy, busy talking Torah.
Rod Stone’s artistic statement: I want to thank the members of the Brooklin Poetry Society for helping me improve my craft. Reading widely in the poetic canon has also helped me develop a sense of taste in poetry. Some of my favourites are the French Symbolists, W.B. Yeats and great modern poets like Philip Larkin and Elizabeth Bishop. Reading and writing poetry has been one of the joys of my life because as Mallarmé said “beauty has only one perfect expression, Poetry”. You can visit me at www.rodspoetryblog.wordpress.com.