"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

Friday, April 16, 2010

Magpie prompt # 10

Write a piece of creative fiction, says Willow, using the picture above as a prompt. Poem, nanofiction, novel, novella, memoir - its up to you. This is quite long, so I know some people will get bored halfway through...

A Timely Warning

Oh gather round and heed my tale,
Translate it into French and Braille,
And spread the word around the globe
About this chronomentrophobe.
To some I’m really just a melon,
Others see me as a felon,
A curse on our society
To show such impropriety.
But listen good and listen true
Lest my sad fate should come to you,
And learn from how I fell from grace
And ended in this wretched place.

One Sunday morn, as I recall,
When March’s roar began to pall,
‘Twas in the small hours of the night,
I saw a blue and flashing light.
And then began the klaxon’s wail,
Like some demented nightingale.
Now when the moon and stars come creeping
I have little trouble sleeping,
Because my conscience is as clear
As unpolluted atmosphere,
But if a dog, a mile away,
Should break wind in a violent way,
I wake up in a merry sweat
And need to light a cigarette.
So, wide awake within a second,
Fun and games from outside beckoned.
Throwing back the crocheted spread,
I clambered quickly from my bed,
And to the curtained window flew
To get a better, grandstand view,
For crime, thank God, is very rare
Along our quiet thoroughfare.
I watched the squad car turn the bend
And make its way toward our end.
I squinted round the curtain’s drop
To see exactly where he’d stop.
Perhaps those lads at fifty four
Were on the wrong side of the law?
Or maybe him at sixty one
Was really someone on the run?
Had those Swedes down at the corner
Got permission for that sauna?
But holy moley, saints alive!
The squad car turned into my drive!

I put on socks and dressing gown
And very sharply hurried down
To answer their insistent knock
At very nearly two o’clock.
The neighbours would be wide awake,
Not knowing this was some mistake.
They must have seen the squad car come
And heard the pandemonium,
And now my name was likely mud
Throughout this genteel neighbourhood.

I pulled the bolt and turned the key
And opened up the door to see
Two burly cops, grim-faced and armed,
Which made me very much alarmed.
One yelled my name, and I said, “Yes?”
And in my state of half-undress,
They pushed me down upon the floor,
As shock ran through my every pore.
I felt as though I might be sick,
On hearing those strong handcuffs click.
There and then I made my mind up
One could see this was no wind-up
(Thoughts which, reader, you will see
Were laced with bitter irony)
They flicked the lights to lift the gloom
In kitchen and in sitting room
And then these swarthy time-police
Took photos of my mantelpiece.
They photographed my microwave
And clock above the architrave,
And laid my wristwatch in full view
And took some pictures of it too.
They read my rights, and when complete,
They hauled me brusquely to my feet
And bundled me into the car,
As neighbours gawped from near and far.

I sit here in my prison cell,
A malcontented ne’er-do-well,
And wonder what ungodly fate
Awaits this surly reprobate.
At first, I’d claimed my innocence,
But knew full well I’d no defence.
The clocks they brought into the court
Exposed my guilt in words and thought.
There really was no need to show
That they were all an hour slow.
And sweet Anne Doyle, from RTE,
Stood on the stand unflinchingly
And told the jury to peruse
The transcripts of the evening news,
In which she’d stated to her flock
That clocks went on at one o’clock

Yes, I’d been warned and paid no heed,
A criminal in thought and deed.
The clocks were changed at one o’clock,
And I admitted from the dock
That though the hour had come and gone,
Oh shame! I’d never wound them on.
So listen ye, who hitherto
Have left the clocks till morning’s dew,
When told to add an hour more,
‘Tis not “advice” – it is the law.
And woe betide the eager loon
Who winds his clocks an hour too soon,
For he may face a fate like me
Within the penitentiary.
I face a future breaking rocks
For daring to ignore those clocks.
Ironic though, that this foul crime
Will mean I end up doing time.


  1. love the tongue-in-cheek-ness of that last line :)

  2. Well you managed to do it a long twist and turn this way and that winding up with a truly terrific poem. No rejection here Peter I believe Rhythm Poetry Magazine is going to be retracting that letter.

    Kudos on a Magpie well done, I was like a Cheshire cat while reading this piece.

  3. Funny, funny, and cleverly written. Quite impressed with your vocabuluary! :)

  4. The prompt lent itself quite well to your whimsical and engaging interpretation. I can only take, and personally only write endless rhyme sparingly -- but this made me smile and was well written Peter...
    Image & Verse

  5. Dear Peter: Brilliant! Most superlatively fine Mr. G. Chronomontrophobe standing in the architrave! Bravo and much bravura! Excellent verse, you're the First! (You're Number One!)I've got to try this!Scotland Yard will certainly insist: What were you doing at the dock, hmmm? Nothing? Why were your clocks not put one hour ahead, hmmm? Reprobate! Never wound your clock an hour ahead! Hard Labour! Love the part with the farting dog and Swedes in the Sauna. Very visually humorous and fitfully funny!

  6. Giggle! And your poem even began with an hourglass shape.

  7. This one is definitely not too long, Peter. The ultimate line about doing time was great!

  8. a fun romp for your magpie...love the twistiness of it and you bring it to such a fine point...

  9. Delightful, as always, Pete! I especially like how you sum it up with

    "I face a future breaking rocks
    For daring to ignore those clocks."

  10. Your Magpie Tale is AWESOME!
    I truly enjoyed it. thank you.
    mine is here
    this is my first magpie tale.
    have you a great week.

  11. Marvellous and fun as always, you chronomentrophobe you.

  12. But if a dog, a mile away,
    Should break wind in a violent way...

    The best lines! Great poem; the rhyme made the length just melt away...and hilarious as well. You have to feel bad for him...the neighbourhood will be positively scandalised...haha

  13. You've a fine sense of humor Pete. This piece was thoroughly enjoyable from fart to time.

  14. Got me wound up, Peter! A very fun read!

  15. Bloody brilliant Peter. You would win prizes in australia for your "traditional verse". Perhaps your forebears were Irish felons orwandering poets such as our renowned Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson. I also enjoyed you in your other mode writing about the Iclandic alien conspiracy.

  16. Take it from someone who can barely do it....I'm in awe of your rhyming ability. Did you have the last line in mind when you began this nefarious tale of crime and punishment?

  17. This was most enjoyable. Your rhyming is phenomenal as is your storytelling. I like the ending especially. Fun!