And So To Bed
PublishedJuly 16, 2012 CategoryBertie’s Book of Improbable Sheep

And So To Bed

When children cannot get to sleep

I’m told they take to counting sheep;

And even grown-up Dads and Mothers

Fall asleep, like many others,

By the curious device

Of seeing sheep before their eyes.


But when a lamb is sent to bed,

And cannot get to sleep, instead,

How – does anyone suppose –

Can he bring himself to doze?

The answer is – as any sheep’ll

Tell you – it’s by counting people!


For sheep consider people are

The oddest animals by far;

With only half as many feet

As any others that they meet;

And heads so high up in the air

That one can hardly see they’re there! Continue Reading »

Homer’s Oddity

You’ll know the story, I suppose,

Of how Odysseus and his men,

Vanquishing their Trojan foes,

Hit problems getting home again;

With loyal Penelope beginning

Those formidable feats of spinning.



The way old Homer hypes the story 

 Wily Odysseus in the running

   For the epic heights of glory,

  And unprecedented cunning –

Belies what all the facts suggest.

This hero was a fool, at best!



His saga is an endless list

Of stumbling blindly into scrapes;

Depending, as is blithely missed,

On gods or sheep for his escapes. Continue Reading »

The Birth of a Nation

In 1492, they say,
Columbus sailed towards Cathay,
But being somewhat soft of head
He found America instead,
A land – I’d like to make explicit –
Too big for even Chris to miss it,
And cause of some relief despite
His turning left instead of right.

So, anchoring beside the shore,
Columbus went off to explore,
No doubt thinking – I would fancy –
That he was somewhere up the Yangtse.

But back on board the boat, I’m told,
Were left in the deserted hold
A cow, a chicken and a sheep,
Which Ancient Mariners would keep
To supplement their meager ration,
Before the deep-freeze came in fashion. Continue Reading »

The Great Day Dawns

                                   This is the day when Charlie marries Di,

                                  And all roads lead to London and St Pauls,

                                  Through miles of salmon sandwiches and pies,

                                  And sticky fingered kids in village halls;

                                  Adding their raucous voices to the cheers

                                  Through raspberry blancmange and ginger beers.


                                  When Sunday-suited pensioners, impatient,

                                  Chafe at the festive tables for their teas,

                                  With talk of Jubilees and Coronations,

                                  Before the rheumatism got their knees;

                                  Hoping the endless pictures on the telly

                                  Will soon give way to sausage  rolls and jelly. Continue Reading »

Among Their Souvenirs

Sweat-shirts and tea-cloths, egg-timers and toasters,
Trash-cans and letter-heads, tissues and posters;
Elegant china for under the bed,
Are part of the homage when Princes are wed.
His and Her images loom through our litter,
Stare from our tankards of half-finished bitter;
Lurk in the dregs of our coffee and tea,
Hide behind every fish-finger and pea.
She in her diapers and perambulator,
He on balloons with an auto-inflator;
Charmingly smiling, they paper our walls,
Peep from the intimate depths of our smalls. Continue Reading »

To The Manor Born

Elspeth- Elizabeth Tinkabel Smythe
Is the cutest, most innocent lambkin alive.
She comes of the purest of pedigree stock,
From the upper-class end of the wealthiest flock.

Elspeth-Elizabeth’s blue-blooded Pa
Was appropriate match for her regal Mama,
He from the line of Great Rameses VII,
She from the Twistleton-Tuppes of Dunleven .

Elspeth-Elizabeth’s grooming and poise
Marked her apart from the girls and the boys;
Showed in the tone of her elegant baa
From the Debutantes’ Lambery, Cheltenham Spa.

Elspeth-Elizabeth’s mother’s desire,
After bringing her out at the Trials in the Shire
Was to get her to move in desirable quarters
And mix in a suitable circle of daughters. Continue Reading »

Poet Oveate

I doubt you’ll need me to narrate
The duties of the Oveate –
By which, as Poet to the Queen,
I adumbrate the regal scene,
And celebrate in verse and stanzas,
The more outlandish Royal Bonanzas.

For which, by centuries-old Decree,
I munch her far-flung pastures free,
Delighting in the ageless status
Of Keeper of the Monarch’s Gaiters.

So, fresh from having penned another
Paean for some Queenly Mother,
I must, before the ink is dry,
Start again for Charles and Di,
Assured by Laureate, Sir John,
He feels in no way put-upon,
He’ll no doubt spin the needful rhyme
For what’s to come in nine-months’ time. Continue Reading »

Birth of the Muse
PublishedJuly 15, 2012 CategoryBertie’s Book of Improbable Sheep

Birth of the Muse

I don’t suppose that girls and boys,
When made to learn their verses,
Are much inclined to turn their mind,
Between their moans and curses,
To how their rhymes, in ancient times,
Were first of all invented –
To while away the shepherds’ day
Keeping lambs contented!

It was from us Theocritus
Learned his choriambics;
And we could scan, before a man,
Trochaics and iambics.
The dithyramb is to us lambs,
What fishes are to water;
And to the ewe, a clerihue’s
Just what her mother taught her. Continue Reading »

Tongue Tied

The human is inclined to preach
The merits of his mode of speech
Over those of us who choose
The languages of baas and moos;
And, ipso facto, is inclined
To think his quality of mind
Outshines all animals and birds,
By virtue of this use of words.

Yet, in so doing, he ignores
The message of his metaphors;
Which, you may notice, seldom find
Much inspiration from mankind.
Their writers, for the most part, feast
On nature, botany and beast,
Of which their literature is full,
Not people – infinitely dull. Continue Reading »

A Ram Too Far

Robbie MacGrimes was a sheep of his times,
Full of entrepreneurial bonhomie;
Gave up at two what most other rams do
For a hoof in the market economy.

A yuppie at three, a financial degree,
And an M.B.A. summa cum laude;
Owned a tanker or two, and unregistered crew,
With a wily old camel from Saudi.

Made a fortune at four with a kangaroo boar
Into lager and brewing down under;
Put it all into junk, bought a sizeable chunk
Of Manhattan with part of the plunder. Continue Reading »