Jerome Betts


Fowl And Consonants

“. . . Roy H. Dennis of the Fair Isle
Bird Observatory flushed . . . a bird
which he almost immediately took
to be a Cretzschmar’s Bunting . . .”
— Daily Telegraph

Oh for a name spread wider,
Printed for world perusal,
Through spotting Mangl’s Eider
Or maybe Wrzl’s Ouzel,
As when, from Voe to Venice,
And Rotterdam to Russia,
They drank to “Roy H. Dennis!
The Fair Isle bunting-flusher!”

Salute that sharp-eyed searcher
Who found the U.K. boasting,
No common wind-blown percher,
Instead, a bird worth toasting,
While wonder still increases
Not just that he could tell it
From all the other species
But even dared to spell it!

Verses From A Wandering Voice

O Wordsworth, really, no soft soap,
Your PR piece—great verse!
You called me “blessed,” “darling,” “hope,”
Not “parasite,” or worse.

That other William—Stratford pest!—
Lent no such well-tuned ear;
My name—an all-too-facile jest—
He labelled “word of fear.”

Whose fault I suffer such a term
And don’t stuff grubs down gapes?
It’s genes—like those your lines confirm
Make poets more than apes.

So, glad you thought my voice a hit
In what you kindly wrote,
But, these days, far too few emit
That plangent double note.

I’m sure, dear William, deeply stirred,
You’d put Time in the dock
To know your cuckoo’s now most heard
As part of some daft clock.

Jerome Betts lives in Devon, England. His verse has appeared in a wide variety of British magazines and anthologies as well as UK, European, and North American web venues such as Amsterdam Quarterly, Angle, Light, The Asses of Parnassus, The New Verse News, Per Contra, The Rotary Dial, and Snakeskin. He now edits the quarterly Lighten Up Online in succession to Martin Parker, its founder.