Neu!Boots DAY ELEVEN – Tony Williams

I’ve twenty-seven sisters beyond the sea

(After Sloan MS 2593)

I’ve twenty-seven sisters beyond the sea,
          Perrie, Merrie, Dixie, Dominie.
And they sent six presents to say goodbye to me,
          Pertrum, Partrum, Paradisi, Temporie,
          Perrie, Merrie, Dixie, Dominie.

They sent me a sea which bore no herring shoals,
          Viking, Forties, Dogger, German Bight.
They sent me a road which led nowhere at all,
          Boston, Blackpool, half of England, bearing right,
          Wisbech, Broadland, Clacton, Isle of Wight.

They sent a wedding present on the day of my divorce,
          Merkie, Junckie, Tuskie, Martin Schulz.
They sent me a key that could not open doors,
          Borrie, Farrie, Michael Govie, IDS,
          Grayling, Leaden, Redwood, Murdoch’s press.

They sent a bunch of flowers without any blooms,
          Orban, Petry, Wildersbeest, Le Pen.
They sent a country house with Fascists in the rooms,
          Adolf, Bennie, Frankie, here we go again,
          Rothermere and Dacre, now and then.

What could be the sea that bears no herring shoals?
          Tories at the helm, Austeritie.
What is the road which leads nowhere at all?
          Auto Nasal Surgeon, Facial Spite o’Me,
          Turkie, Christus Natus, Voterie.

Who would send a present on the day of a divorce?
          Rollie, Clockie, Backie, ‘73.
What is the key that cannot open doors?
          Splendid Isolation, Article Fiftie,
          Running guns to Saud, TTIP.

What bunch of flowers has not any blooms?
          Migrant, Orphan, Border, Refugee.
Where is the country house with Fascists in the rooms?
          Swarmus, Widow, Rapist’s Victim, Amputee,
          Stave off, Drownum, Mediterranie.

When weeping makes a sea, it bears no herring shoals,
          Borrie, Gove, Departus, lack of plan.
The road leads nowhere that takes us straight to hell,
          Mosul, Aleppo, Sinjar, Raqqa, Kurdistan,
          Jersey, Bermuda, Bahamas, Isle of Man.

A bitter spouse would send a present to dismay,
          Scornum, Johnson, Foreign Secretary.
The key of Olde England locks every door today,
          Anglo Forum Anglo, not where I want to be,
          Mala Fides, Mala Company.

Flora Britannica has not any blooms,
          errie, Merrie, Brexie, Dominie.
The houses of this country have Fascists in the rooms,
          Pertrum, Partrum, Paradisi, Temporie,
          Perrie, Merrie, Brexie, Dominie.




Tony Williams’s most recent collection is The Midlands (Nine Arches Press, 2014). His graphic sonnet sequence All the Rooms of Uncles Head (Nine Arches Press, 2012) was a PBS pamphlet choice. He lives in Northumberland, where he is senior lecturer in creative writing at Northumbria University.

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