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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

"Tidying Up"

Have you ever started tidying up
And kept on finding things
That needed a special place.
Ten years worth of eye-glasses
With matching tinted versions
That need their own box.

And bills and bank statements
That need checking for PPI payments.
And pencils worn too short to use
But still too good to throw away!
And a penknife with a thing to take
Boy Scouts out of horses hooves.

And foreign stamps that you’ve put aside
For someone, but you can’t remember
Which box they live in!
There’s boxes that wrist watches came in
And one full of foreign coins.
Rolls of double sided sticky tape
In case you ever get invited to appear
On Blue Peter.

Rolls of sticky address labels
For the last house not this one!

A Japanese Lacquer and Mother of Pearl box
With slips of paper with a Chinese God on them.
"Wei T’o, Protector of Books.
Insures against fire, destructive insects
Dishonest borrowers!"
Which I stick in the frontispiece
Of all my books.
Usually works!

A Monocular, in a belt pouch
That I’ve been looking for

Two boxes with sliding lids
Each containing two pairs
Of Chop sticks.
Very hard to open
No wonder the Chinese are all so thin.

A large wallet
Containing an out-of-date Passport
Discharge Papers from the Army
"Assessments of Military Conduct and Character"
I must have fooled somebody!
A very old Birth Certificate
Circa 1942
And my old medals!

Some Chinese Lucky Money Envelopes
And some Hell Banknotes!
Millions of Dollars
Of money for the Dead!

My "Funeral Plan"
A large envelope containing
All the details of my funeral
Already bought and paid for
To save others the expense!

"The Way of Life
According to
Lao Tzu"

By Witter Bynner.
My favourite translation

Of the "Tao Te Ching"
My constant companion
Since I was in my twenties.

And Gibran's "The Prophet"
Travelling with me
Almost as long!

Two peacock feathers
And a set of brass divining rods.
Two pairs of Chinese Exercise Balls
That ring like chimes.
No, there’s a third pair, smaller.
A nice little hexagonal bamboo box
With a wooden stash box inside.
But alas no stash!

Pencil boxes full of pencils
Worn too short to use
But still too good to throw away.
Now where did I put those other

There are no Gods or Goddesses here
I care for them better,
But there might be their footprints
In the dust.

An old Head-hunter's Mandu
Hanging by my chair
Still sharp enough to take a head
Or chop through thickest jungle.
A Gurkha Kukri
From my days with those
Gentle souls from the Mountains!

A carved box full of yet more pencils
Still haven’t found the first lot!
And two little plastic tick lifters
For getting ticks off dogs.

There’s a Chinese Water Pipe,
But without a tassel or the right tools.
People think they’re Opium Pipes,
But that’s just wishful thinking,
They’re one shot tobacco pipes!
I know what an Opium Pipe looks like!
But I don’t have one.

Here’s a Stanley knife,
Still sharp, because
I just cut my thumb on it!
I was looking for the bandage
I put on it, everywhere!
Finally I found it floating
In the loo. Guess I can’t
Use that one again!

And special cloths for cleaning
Your eye-glasses but
They’re never large enough!

A tube of glue, set so hard
I might use it for a wedge
To keep the back door open.

At this point I turn around
And find all my tidying
Has wrecked my room.
Destroyed it utterly!
It’s worse than when I started.

There are piles of papers
And boxes piled
All over the room!
Bags of shredded documents
And the shreds that escaped
On the Carpet!

And a foot has come off
My guillotine
And I just can’t abide
A wobbly guillotine!

And I can’t find my glasses!
They’re not on my nose
And they’re not on my forehead.
Where the f**k did I put
That cardboard box
Full of old eye-glasses?

I should have listened
To Dear Dorothy.
She says there’s always
Better things to do
Than to clean and tidy!
I just know she’s right!

Anybody want any
Very short pencils?

Copyright © Res JFB 1st August 2015