Percy the Pianist: Canto 1, stanzas 51-


   To its own substance; woven tracery ran
Of light firm texture, ribbed and branching, o’er
   The solid rind, like a leaf’s veined fan—
Of which Love scooped this boat—and with soft motion
Piloted it round the circumfluous Ocean.
      –Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Witch of Atlas, XXXIII, 308

The bath continued… The river Lethe flowed
From a faucet which he controlled with
His left foot. On floor thirty-four he rowed
Like an animal oarsman holding fifth
In a race involving sixteen faye blythe
Spirits, darting downstream, their leafy
Canoes buffeted between the giant’s stiff
Causeway and Leviathan, recently
Emerged from Fingal’s cavern, a hairy

Pair of rocks wobbling in the warm shadow
Cast from an overhanging stomach. Jonas
Could not take flight from this actor. Mad! “Ow,”
He wailed, “I stubbed my toe, not a heinous
Injury I know, a model succubus
Could heal me, and without a second thoughty
He realised the tub would run a course
Of water to the floor. Naughty naughty
Boy should he be so careless and haughty.

The main problem(s) with Percy’s bath was that
It was lukewarm, which is fine for most chill
Dudes, but our pianist was uncool. A hat
Didn’t help, quite simply, he was a dill,
Not worth his salt in word salad. Yet still
He tried to please. He splashed vainly about,
Clancy of the undertow – he’d never fill
The tub beyond halfway, because the stout
Duck of rubber would then wail and – lout!

Thus he self-amused. His duck, unforgivable –
How time flies – it would complain the choc
Brownie was too hard for its mandible,
Or two (if they had two shutter-stock
Photos. Did that give the true picture? Shock
Horror could it be? He dozed – a snooze
Would do him a world of good – too much mock
Heroic – like trying to contain a flock

Of llamas, it’s too hard, nay formidable,
But that’s a horse! Horses for courses? How now brown
Cow, chewing the cud, admirable
Pastime for retired Generals! He dreamed.) A frown
Crossed his tired mug (not glass (that’s blown
And for latte sippers.) Porcelain’s a Ming thing,
Give the Wedgewood’s some credit, the whole town
Is full of them! Past or present, the clown

Will always pass the fool and growl disdain
As a lion in the tiger’s jaws tries to
Free it-self from the wild skulker – not slain
Yet the orange-striped cat! The human zoo
Is full of genii, but there are too few
Homo sapiens intelligentsia,
Neanderthals rule the roost – achoo!
A sneeze is someone’s dream to clear
A blocked nose. Plot a fresh course: dessert? Dear!

He sneezed as if Fortuna’s plentiful
Horn had been pilfered by Aeolus, or one
Of his awesome foursome sons. Bountiful
Blessings for the rowers (and their cox!) Fun
Times. But Percival’s arse, the round sun
Doth setteth. Out! Out of thy foamy tub,
Dry the crannies. Get out! The clock doth run,
Your spindly legs are clean [scrub-a-dub-dub
Nine men in a tub.] Thank ye gods for the rub.

His leg twitched, his left eyelid fluttered as
If a firefly, softly seeking, had marked
A river for Debussy’s blurry day,
While Rachmaninov’s fluorescent car parked
In a ‘No fly’ zone. A Medean tear sparked
A weep – they were like smelling salts fracking
Poesie – all there is is silence. George baulked!
He’d yet to get or hear fateful clacking
From his Duck – Zzen is the sound of quacking!

The bathtub was full like a fine Sydney
Congregation where the preacher, silent
As snow on a Sunday, has to defray
The gathering. Why? Because it was Lent.
The worshippers slunk, the incense then sent
Some of them to sleep, like a modern clock
Made in China with a snoz button meant
To lull the listener into a block
Head. The house, door and pane. Did you not lock?

A bubble or two (or three (or four (five))
Rose, like a ghost at a banquet where
The histrionic wife believes that Tyre
Is near Turkey! Is Kneehongo near there?
That’s a langage! You can sit anywhere
You like — (chicken tonight?) — Soy leg
Or breast haunted the –


Oblivion’s pond beckoned, reflecting
The light. It flickered. If winked OFF.
One eye opened, brown eye closed. Texting
Was not advised, bc he was a toff
And had left his soul by the sink. “Cough cough.”
“Who’s there?” “What’s the time?” said the speech bubble,
Hesitating before a low eddy. Ouff, oeuf,
Sinking below the flotsam of stubble.
That was his gf’s beard — heinous trouble!

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