"Seven bums and fourteen legs,
a brazen ecstasy which begs
the question some of us are asking -
is Peter Goulding multi-tasking?"

Martin Parker, Editor, Lighten Up Online

Monday, March 1, 2010

Magpie Tales Prompt # 3

Write something about the above picture, says Willow
To be honest, I found this one incredibly difficult. Ended up with three versions, none of which I'm particularly satisfied with.

(i) A tad unfortunate

It was a tad unfortunate, the inquest later heard,
The pigeon should alight on the veranda.
Miranda slid the door and tried to grab hold of the bird,
Leaving in her wake her furry panda.
Mrs. Byrne was baking, when the incident occurred,
And rushed out to restrain the bold Miranda.

It was a tad unfortunate, the inquest was advised,
She didn’t leave behind the kilo weight.
She nearly reached Miranda but was violently surprised
When the furry panda stopped her headlong gait.
And, as she crashed down to the floor, too late, she realised
The kilo weight was in a mobile state.

It was a tad unfortunate, the inquest heard, the pass-
-Ing lorry should be just beneath the flat,
When the accidental missile came careering though the glass
And put a dent into the driver’s hat,
And in a reflex action, his left foot then hit the gas,
And the lorry took off like a scalded cat.

It was a tad unfortunate, the coroner reported,
That, at the time the lorry lost control,
A tanker of plutonium (sent off to be exported)
Was trundling slowly past a grassy knoll.
And all the driver’s efforts to escape the crash were thwarted
As the inevitable collision took its toll.

It was a tad unfortunate, the coroner decided,
The Pentagon came to the wrong conclusion.
Someone pressed the button and the warheads then were guided
To wreak the greatest havoc and confusion.
Of course, the nuclear pounding did not long remain one-sided
And soon the earth was only an illusion.

It was a tad unfortunate, the coroner declared
And all the other angels nodded sadly.

(ii) Somewhere over the rainbow

“Tell me where you’re going,” he pleaded gently.
“Where have you decided you must go?”
She looked down at the kilo weight intently
And decided that, okay, he ought to know.

“I’m going o’er the rainbow,” she said simply.
“There’s a pie and I am heading off to weigh it.”
He stared at her, his face confused and pimply,
Struggling for the pc way to say it.

But no words came. He stood there, great hands wringing,
Not sure if he should laugh out loud or cry.
“Oh come,” she said. “Last night I heard you singing,
‘Somewhere over the rainbow, weigh a pie.’”

(iii) A kilo weight

One kilogram.
Hard to believe it now but that was all she weighed, six weeks premature on a greasy Pancake Tuesday. The same as one of those old kilogram weights that my wife still uses on her mother’s scales to measure flour, butter and other ingredients that comprise her calorie-packed cakes.
How small she seemed, how vulnerable, as we watched her through the glass, tiny fingers flexing a weak wave.
Now, twenty years on, it would take several hundred kilogram weights and a giant-sized set of scales to lift her up off the sofa and out of the television’s eye-line. My wife rushes in with floured hands and slices of cake and pudding to feed this gargantuan eating machine, while I work day and night to bring home enough bacon to satiate her.
Where did we go wrong? my wife asks, as the timer goes on the oven.
On balance, maybe we should have reared the kilogram weight instead.


  1. If I had to choose, I would vote for number one, which I think is absolutely delightful. Danny Kaye must play the lorry driver. (I like how you even included a grassy knoll!)

  2. Peter, Where do I start?

    First off, I must say that my favourite is the second one, for you know I can't resist a good pun and this is terrific! (I've grown tired of that song in recent years and you have just jump-started it for me.)

    The first one is a wild ride. I was a bit confused by the furry panda at first - thought maybe Miranda was a dog and the panda was her toy, but I got there eventually.
    I quite liked the escalation of events and as Willow says, the grassy knoll was a clever touch. I like the interweaving of themes in this one. (Funny, here we say, "scalded dog".)

    The last one is quite charming, and then descends into black humour which is one of your great talents. I was surprised and delighted.

    A hat-trick! Bravo!

  3. Eschewed on these three tasty offerings on the kilo theme. Love your poetry but think you have the kilos to go for the fictional writer par excellence. Throughly enjoyable and menacing!

  4. the firs one was my fav...a series of unfortunate events brings the world to an end...there is sweet irony in that. smiles. great magpie!

  5. all three were quite brilliant but I am going to go with number 1. wonderful posts!

  6. i love number 2.
    for it took me on a roller coaster ride.


  7. They all so very different. I tend to prefer the second on because of the literary pun, but it's a hard call.

  8. The literary pun is fun, but I'm more inclined to an absurdist mind so numero uno is more my cup of tea.

  9. Can't decide the best between the 2nd and the 3rd. Glad you posted all 3 of them.

  10. I like the second one - that's a corny but funny last line, and it would make a good reading poem - you'll get a good laugh for it, which is something a lot of readers forget to do for their audience ;)

  11. Number one and number two get my vote. Both made me laugh.

  12. Hi Pete, I am so glad to meet you. I think this is the first time I have visited. Your post is a showcase of your writing talent. I like number one also. My ancestors are Irish and last week,s Maggie featured my 3 greatgrands and a true incident from my own life. I love to write but tend to always go the same direction. That is why I appreciated your three examples. I can learn so much from this. Come visit sometime. Blessings

  13. You were just overflowing with inspiration! (Weigh a pie -- oh, groan!)

    I was struck by the third -- makes me think of birds trying to raise a cuckoo's hatchling. Dark, very dark!

  14. All three brilliant and very creatively thought out. Well done. Is there a prize for the best one?
    Blessings Star

  15. Hi Pete

    All three are literary giants of great skill, but I liked the second best although the tumbling of events in the first one was very clever and I too liked the grassy knoll inference!
    Then #3. Poor little 'missy'to start off such a light weight to end up as she did. I could almost imagine the sofa cushions squashed under her weight!

  16. The second is my favorite. Hilarious!

  17. Another terrific magpie week Pete. I'm not voting. I enjoyed them all, and marvelled that you were able to come up with THREE poetic stories in three styles. But I love the "weigh up high" - not sure if it's a pun or you lifting from some childhood understanding of how the song really went!


  18. Sorry to everyone its taken so long to answer. We spent the whole day yesterday showing visitors from Iowa around. Funny how the place looks so much better when you're promoting it!
    Willow - that was a very tragic occurrence. Danny Kaye??
    Kat - scalded dog? Never knew that. Isn't language bizarre sometimes?
    Chiccoreal - thanks for that. I must admit I concentrate on poetry but sometimes you just can't be bothered rhyming!
    Brian - yes, I was nearly finished and then suddenly wondered how to end it seeing I would be dead!
    CM - many thanks for the encouragement
    The Muse - I'll be along shortly! Thanks
    Spacedlaw - I'm a sucker for a bad pun too, I'm afraid
    LH - Glad you said that - it took me the most time!
    Hi Geetly - glad you liked them!
    Barbara - you're right of course, but often things I think are funny, other people don't!
    Stevie - best compliment! Thanks!
    QMM - thanks for that. I'll be over tonight (I'm just snatching a quick ten minutes here while my wife is upstairs putting on her face!)
    Vickie - dark / sick. Is there a difference?
    Star - there's a recession on! Sorry!
    Hi Christine - thanks for that. I'm going to find time tonight to visit everybody's, so I'll see you then!
    Mama Z - glad you liked it!
    Jennifer - yes, bit of a misheard lyric, as I remember, but better than the original!

  19. 1 and 2, can't decide between solving another grassy knoll or weigh a pie, best pun of the day!!...Think we deserve Dr. Strangelove's solution, no doubt..God bless the punsters!!
    #3..Poor gal, all her problems can be blamed on her parents, of course..

  20. All three, delightful in their own right, I refuse to choose, but rather will enjoy the trio separately as i would a cup of coffee, a pint of beer and a glass of wine.

  21. I refuse/to choose/amongst the use/ of such inventive ruse-play/else I'll rue//that ever I did choose/and thus/invite the blues......
    oh well,
    I've had to choose among too many poems over the past few years (this contest, that contest). As you can see from the above, I've been driven crazy by it.....so no, Peter and Magpie. I'll take all three!

  22. Hi Lyn - Of course the parents are to blame - for everything!
    Thanks rel - that's a nice analogy
    Kathryn - Thanks for stopping by! From such a talent, I'm well chuffed

  23. Peter....funny funny! I liked them all but have to go with number 3 as my favorite.

    I can just see it... kind of a short clip from Tales From the Crypt or something like that. Mad TV, maybe!

    Thanks for visiting my site...


  24. ho ha. Well, the first one is like a butterfly flapping its wings in Asia...funny. For something so difficult, you turned the corner very well. gonna link.

  25. All of these are so good I can't really single out one as being better than the other. That said, I am partial to 'A Tad Unfortunate' because it appeals to my dark sense of humour. Absolutely fab!

  26. HAHAHAH! I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of A-B scheme, but these were great. If I had to pick a favorite, it'd be tight race between the first two.

  27. So much creativity here--I honestly don't know how you came up with it all! Bravo!

  28. Bang, that is the end of the world, only the coroner and the angels are left:/ I enjoyed your first poem the most.