Brian Allgar


Going, going …

The days go by, the days go by.
Of course, I know I’ll never die,
But even so, what if? What if?
Have I still time to build a skiff,
Or train a dolphin, plant a tree
And see it reach maturity?
I’d rather like to learn Chinese,
And keep a hive of honeybees.
Then, what about my symphony?
One movement—but the other three?
How long to grow a rakish quiff,
Or learn to hang-glide from a cliff?

Of course, I don’t intend to die,
And yet the years go by, go by.



Of all the fishes in the sea,
You are the greatest mystery;
I crave elucidation.
There’s small fish, big fish—you’ll agree,
From tiddler to monstrosity
All brilliant at natation.

But you’re a sort of piscine klutz;
Your circular design is nuts.
Perhaps I’m being dim,
Yet, coiled so everything abuts,
A wooden skewer through your guts,
How can a rollmop swim?


Brian Allgar, although immutably English, has lived in Paris since 1982. He started entering Spectator and New Statesman competitions in 1967, but took a 35-year break, finally re-emerging in 2011 as a kind of Rip Van Winkle of the literary competition world. He also drinks malt whisky and writes music, which may explain his fondness for Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony.