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It is a noble life we lead, going down to the cellar for pink marshmallows,

slipping into the park to encounter the moon, all the jellies wobbling in our orbit.

The great lost whales of Doggerland have found their way home by the national grid.

The orchards are thick with Newberry fruits. The pitchers brim with blackcurrant cordial.

Wolfgang, saint of wood and apoplexy, has built a wardrobe and all is well,

but this is the North Sea Empire, Thorkell, and you can’t wear trousers like that in public.

We can ill afford the luxury of despair, landlocked amongst the crazy paving, 

utterly vanquished by our next-door neighbours, they of the airhorn and harpsichord.

In and out of the estuary, you may tell it twice to the fiddler crabs.

Nature is not saddened. Take refuge in Flanders. Save a parsnip for the milkman’s horse. 




Some questions are vexed, like spinach cannelloni, how they get it into the tubes.

Supercomputers deep in the Alps contemplate this for seven winters.

The girls play all weathers on the all-weather courts, a cigarette behind each ear.

Today, I dismantled the cafetière then reassembled it with the help of a colleague.


Famous actors visit on horseback and ask what kind of place this is.  

It’s the kind of place where time is real and everybody is beautiful. 

You can rest, eat, learn jujitsu and get vaccinated.

You can write a novel, describing the glorious tragedy that is the human condition.



I mount the stepladder in the gloaming and gaze across the hazy acres,

the pop-up gazebo of Xavier de Maistre on his uppers in World of Leather.

I briefly list my ennoblements, gently stung from here to Worcester.

I am Viscount Humphrey, urban fox, kitchen fitter, gentleman pheasant.


I dismantle the horse and leave it on the lawn, then paint another horse in passing.

I place a jar upon the hill and in it are my tiny pilchards.

I got these bugs, I got this blight, am ravaged in my walnut interior.

It is the summer of ’76. One foot is on fire, the other is ice cream.

TOM JENKS’ latest book is A Long and Hard Night Troubled by Visions (if p then q, 2018). Recent work has appeared in Perverse, Litter, Queen Mob’s Teahouse and The Penguin Book of Oulipo. He edits zimzalla, a small press specialising in literary objects.

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