Jerome Betts


Goodbye Palumbus

Oak branch—grey shape—squeeze trigger—Shot!
Another pest to fill the pot?

Woodpigeons always use that tree,
The ring-dove, or Columba p.

This can be known as “cushie doo”
Where locals knock back Irn-Bru.*

Off west, toward Wales, it’s called a “quist.”
So, put it down as . . . Damn it! Missed!

*As sampled by AOC at COP26 in Glasgow 2021.

Rendezvous With Death

His tweeds were trim and tasteful,
His dog was quiet and quick;
He stood, all poise and polish,
Where birds come fast and thick.

They heard the beaters tapping,
And then a sudden whirr.
Yes, there it was, his target,
A small black distant blur!

He raised his speckless Purdey,
His timing was A1;
His lead and swing and footwork
Could hardly be outdone.

The shot was tough and sporting
By any creed or code . . .
The pheasant flew to safety—
The fool forgot to load!


Jerome Betts lives in Devon, England, where he edits the verse quarterly Lighten Up Online. His work has appeared in a variety of British magazines, anthologies such as Extreme Sonnets and Extreme Formal Poems, and UK, European, and North American web publications, including Amsterdam Quarterly, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Better Than Starbucks, Light, The Asses of Parnassus, The Hypertexts, The New Verse News, and Snakeskin.