Augustus Young       light verse, poetry and prose
a webzine of new and unpublished work
A Second Communion (1996)
Distrust all enterprises that require new clothes’, Thoreau
Each step you take is measured by previous steps
mapped in the brain.
Leap down the stairs, negotiating the sharp turns of the
banisters without a thought.
Twenty-odd years of similar descents determine
the obstacle-free trajectory.
This is being at home in the house where you were born
and grew up in three decades ago.
You sleep in the guestroom as you were allowed
on the night before your first communion:
that special night in which you prepared for a life
of dreams and disasters - some which came true.
You hang up a new suit tonight for the Conference
on Displaced Peoples. Tomorrow you speak.
The suit you hung up forty-four years ago was new too,
though shorter, both gray. Thoreau was right.
You recall the entry into your mouth of the Body
of Christ - a wafer on the tip of the tongue:
and the wind in the trees outside constricting your soul
with insistent whispers of unworthiness.
Nothing has changed: the pillow of clutched fears
is indelibly stained.
Isolated in the guestroom you were the small party
gripped in the fear of the unknown.
Tonight, you fear the known: the wisdom of exceptions, the
Mystical Body of Science, in which you are a small voice,
knowing too much and too little, happy to humble yourself
before a foregone conclusion.
This is growing up and old. Lost tribes adapt to new worlds
and become inhabitants of a New Order.
Forty years ago, there was only the silence, and the wind
in the trees, and the loneliness of the soul.
What appears corrupt is the pure form of the culture, revived
by new ideas from another world.
Tomorrow you will masticate the worldly wafer,
and spit out the bolus for the delegates.
In the dream tonight you swallow everything, even
the broken bits of teeth, and their gold.
There are no answers in dreams, only forensic details of
torture victims and lost souls.


Poemlets (2020 – 21)
Dog Love
Madame Bertha Balou,
and the little Balous,
dote on their dog Louba.
But, falling on hard times,
when the family dines
on Louba in a stew,
they love him even more.
Cock of the Talk
Madame Coq
cannot walk
without her stick.
But moves quick.
Tic toc, tic toc,
tic toc, tic toc tic.
And talks the talk
at a wicked lick.
‘Coq a doodle doo
to you, too’.
Madame Clementine Ripoll
And all the little Ripolls
liven the surface of the pool
that we are all drowning in.
They live on water lilies
and ride the back of goldfish.
But if you are nice to them
you can be saved, so it’s said.
‘Nice’ is not a cry for help.
A little wave is enough
if accompanied with a
smile, and a light remark:
a Ripoll in time saves nine
lives and one of them is mine.
I never wanted to be Mister Big
I was born to be Mister average mean
Being larger than life is infra dig.
You can be yourself when you are not seen.
When I dance my reel’s a jig.
I don’t know the difference between
a healthy baby and a pig.
Except one of them is clean.
Nursery Rime
Little Miss Muffet
I'm afraid snuffed it
the curds and whey
went down the wrong way.
And Jack Horner
didn't warn her.

For Maggie, Five Years
There was a child who lived in a shoe
And hopped around, till discovering two
could be worn together without falling down.
So, with one on each foot, she walked into town

Venus’s Halo
When the Sahara sirocco 
blows force eight, and the hot sand,
carried across the ocean,
meets the snow on Mount Canigo,
then with the arial commotion
the day light turns to orange, and
our town is bathed in its glow.
Heat Wave 2003
Puffing my pipe on a heather hill
I hear a woman cry, ‘fire’.
A man is running towards me waving his fist,
‘Put that in your pipe and smoke it’.
Tapping out the dottle on a drystone wall,
I was gone before he could.
In my cloud of nicotine
sparks fly that were caught in time.
I won’t be returning to the scene
of my inadvertent crime…
When I’m Brecht
I offer a window
of opportunity
He asks me to clean it.
It’s not for me to do,
I say. So, he breaks it.

The Good Loser
When everything fails
recycle your fingernails.

When I am Rilke
My hair stands up,
my moustache is silky,
my complexion is mauve.
I’m perched on the edge
of the settee. My silence
is not just polite:
you can hear a pin drop
and bounce so the flower
in your hand opens.   
A Little Need
I came to France,
not for romance,
but to piss in
the open air.
I take my chance.
Unzip my pants.
And I’m faced by
a tourist’s stare.
Humouring Fate
On dry earth
    set yourself on fire,
       and leap through the air
to land in water,
       merging all four in one 
elemental plunge.  
Scared Stiff
      Cold feet are creeping up on me.
      I’ll soon be frozen on the spot.
      A living statue made of ice.
      A little sunshine would be nice
      to melt me back into what
      I’m ninety percent, H20.
      And so, I can go with the flow.
Food Ball and Chain
My fat neighbours are on a diet.
      Every night at three o'clock the gipsy
      comes home from his bistro kitchen job
      and cooks a monster fry-up with scraps.
      The stench wafts from his basement, and stirs
      wild dreams in them. Their bodies sweat fats.
      Thus, weight is lost without losing sleep.   
Degenerate creature show respect.
Stop pecking at my heels. I’m not grain,
or even edible when uncooked.
Cannibals know this. You lack the pure
savagery that’s your heritage.
Flatfoot off. (Still, I leave out a bowl
of water when there’s a canicule).
Olympic Justice
In the snakes and ladders of real life
 junkies end up on the bottom rung.
In sport it's the other way around.
The athletes who, medically prepare,
 climb on the podium, and walk on air. 
When I was young
words came easy.
Language was fun.
Meaning breezy.  
Age catching up with me,
words are hard-won.
My tongue is less free.
Ideas won’t come.
And so, I must sing
what’s readily at hand.
Is it the real thing?
Or mere contraband?
But who is to tell,
what words are to come,
save I cannot spell
my best hope, wisdom?
Sur Le Tard
When I swim
I feel the sting. 
I’m a dish
for jellyfish.
Thus ambition
In this town I’m on my own.
But accepted with good grace
for no one sees I’m out of place.
And if they did, I’d be at home.
Unborn Poem
I am drawn to the blank page.
I write in invisible ink.
It glows a white only seen
when the sun begins to sink.
Night is white in the poet’s dream.
Wake up at dawn on the brink
of a true new-born image
and it is a miscarriage. 
Hell is Indifference
Beyond despair
is ‘I don’t care’,
the only sin
not forgiven
by those that do.
Like me and you.

The Book Tyrant
Books are bad for the eyes.
Books attract worms, mice.
Books are a source of vice.
Books take up too much space.
Books aren’t eco, a waste
of oxygen. Efface.  
Ere comes the ambulance h  Parannoyed
I fear
and dogs
                What I don’t
fear doesn’t exist. 
Lit Players
When a bumptious scribe
comes rushing to greet you with
an extravagant, Hallo,
look behind you. There is bound
to be someone important
pushing you out of the way.
I make myself all small …
Life doesn’t slow down. It stops.
And when it arrives
You won’t realize
whose closing your eyes.
That my friend is how one dies.
The thought will be the death of me.    
Lunchtime in Bras de Venus
stomach trouble.
Become obese.
stomach trouble.
Call SAMU, disease.
The world once flat
now gone to fat.
The Kneeling Woman
A Pre-Raphaelite Romance
No longer his ideal of female beauty,
he kept me on as his slave to duty.
I’m content as I suppose I love him
like everyone. I’m his unholy nun. 
Road rage
Without a velo
I’m a miserable fellow.
Alas the voiture
is hardly a cure:
I shout at the types
that are riding bikes.
A Magnificat
by an agnostic
would be in B Flat
without words. Just scat.
Virgin Mary is off sick.

 I don’t give a hoot
about the planet.
Petrol? Who’d ban it?
Still save the beetroot.

I venture ‘’Bon soir’’
(whoever you are).
And I get a retort,
‘’Et alors, tu as tort.
Le nuit broyée du noir.
Je suis Madame La Mort’’.  
Corona all on your own-a
Everyone sorely needs a hug.
But, alas, it can mean a bug.
 Long Life
Putting off our dust to dust,
It’s the hands and feet go first.
Wool socks and gloves are a must.

I was never good at exams.
My approach was to miss classes,
and leave the results in God’s hands,
but since everybody passes
the last one, I am confident
of being successful in the end.  
Money is the root of all strife
and religion the flower, my mother said.
That is not to say the tree of life
oughtn’t to be surely grounded,
and grow to fruition as nature intended.
But the laws of evil are up-ended.
The flower once at war with the roots
is now withering in deadwood.
Britannia Rules
The cutter breaks the waves with its prow,
and each slice is an illegal fish

The Cry of the Crumb

The cry of the crumb under the table:
‘Sweep me up.
No need for spectacles.
Just a broad brush and pan will do.
I’m tired of being trampled on. 
If you like you can throw me to the birds.’


Tailback in Le Perthus

The superstores vomit out
carrier bags of fags and booze.
Look down from Fort Bellegarde.
Sun-blinks leap from car to car.
The stunned serpent of traffic
is static. Hannibal’s    
elephants once crossed this pass,
in Indian file, diadems winking.
Light Relief
Lightning in the eyelid
in the bowels.
Beastly Redemption
Love of animals other than man
was Hitler’s virtue. You can
dominate them to whet
your appetite or as a pet 
July Garden (Hendon 1997)
A purple dragonfly
resembling a Russian
pole-vaulter in action
lands on my elbow.
I ask myself am I
the bar about to fall,
the crowd holding its breath,
or the sandpit.