By Franz Andres Morrissey

  1. Who Needs Visitors from Porlock is a poem about trying to write when you’ve got a family. The ‘visitor from Porlock’ was a character, probably invented, who called on Coleridge when he had composed Kubhla Khan in his head and was about to write it down. Because the guy rabitted on and on Coleridge claimed that he forgot everything but the lines that have survived in printed form.
  2. Yuletide Feasting is a short poem about Christmas and food
  3. This Time is a bit of a rant, originally written for performance
  4. Fasolada started as a writing exercise but almost nothing of the actual exercise survived. It is a poem about a wonderful Greek bean soup or stew and how sometimes cooking can make life easier.
  5. Truth Dawning is a dialogue between two people the morning after a party

Who Needs Visitors from Porlock…

This is the poem that didn’t work out.
I’d had this idea that it would be about
Dionysos, wine, bacchanalian chant,
Greek myth with a light, contemporary slant.

Nymphs cavorted in couplets, already well-versed,
But, somehow, it seems the whole thing was cursed:
I sat down to write while the inspiration was strong
and the house was still quiet. It wasn’t for long.

The youngest had something that broached no delay
And wouldn’t listen to reason till he’d had his say.
Then the postbox needed checking, did I have the key?
And the telephone rang; it wasn’t for me.

Then the dog went ballistic. Someone hoovered the floor.
A plug needed fixing. Someone at the door.
A CD not working; could I please clean it?
The sellotape missing; no, I hadn’t seen it.

The pile of old paper I promised to shift.
The lad wanting a snack, the girls wanting a lift
There was the search for the tortoise-shell kitten.
So that’s why this poem never got written.

[Audio, mp3 format, 0.6 MB]

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Yuletide Feasting

At Christmas time we like to eat
And it is a real treat
to have someone round for dinner.
It makes for a better party
And the feast is much more hearty
than if you’ve someone who is thinner.

[Audio, mp3 format, 0.2 MB]

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This Time

I’m your quintessential been-there-done-that kind of character
  and I’ve got the pile of T-shirts to prove it.
I’ve played the game so often
  the collection of worthless candles would last
  several Christmasses.
I’ve walked into it so many times with my eyes wide shut
  that I’ve been awarded the honorary white cane.
I’ve seen more doors closed in my face
  than a travelling salesman
  trying to flog solar-powered nightlights
And I could tell you more stories about the one that got away
  than any luckless angler
  trying to explain the success of
  another rainy Sunday afternoon outing
  to his spouse

this time it had better be different.
I want to feel the wind in my hair
  as we speed along the Strand or across the Golden Gate Bridge
  in an E-type Jag with the top down,
I want fireworks-illuminated gourmet dinners
  and rumpled-silksheet champagne breakfasts,
I want the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields
  to serenade us to sleep with Eine kleine Nachtmusik and
  Oasis, unplugged, to wake us with a medley from
  What’s the Story, Morning Glory the following noon,
I want bathtubs full of bubbly,
  endless backrubs and foot massages
  and then to be dressed in the finest of fineries
  from London Paris Tokio and New York
I want to lounge on lone beaches,
  my skin oiled by scantily clad locals,
  and watch sunsets that look like photographic wallpaper,
I want jugglers and lion tamers and stars of stage and screen
  to leap into action at the first twitch of boredom,
I want armadas of ships and boats firing 21-shot salutes
  giving it all they’ve got, from
  pop-guns to missile launchers,
I want the earth to move,
  tidal waves to engulf coast lines
  and the night to explode into a skyful of shooting stars

Or, perhaps,
you’ll let me buy you a burger,
vegetarian, if you like.

[Audio, mp3 format, 1.1 MB]

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The honey acidity of the onions,
the sea-salt tang of the celery,
the sweetnesses of the carrots and the tomatoes,
unfolding in olive oil,

softening with the soaked beans
then melding into the broth,
fill the place with a smell
that is so nearly like mother’s bean soup

that she cooked on damp winter evenings,
perhaps to rekindle summers
on sun-dried Peloponnesian hillsides
or her mother’s kitchen in the shade of Taygetos.

The draining, chopping, slicing, stirring
helps to forget for a time
that you will eat perhaps two mouthfuls
and, limbering up to the second one,

will have to rally your strength
never tiring of commending me
for making fasolada
just like mother’s.

[Audio, mp3 format, 0.5 MB]

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Truth Dawning

So was it –?
  A lot later than would have been wise.
How did I –?
  The cabbie wasn’t keen but the extra ten quid helped.
But I wasn’t –?
  Not until we got out, thank God,
  you’ll need to pay for the damage to the flowerbed, though.

So I must have been pretty –?
  That would not be overstating the case.
How did everybody –?
  They tried to ignore it as best they could but then…
I didn’t, did I –?
  All twenty verses with chorus
  and, where inappropriate, the actions as well.

And was –?
  Obviously as you’d urged her to come.
  She didn’t seem to enjoy it very much.
So you reckon I needn’t –?
  Not for the next couple of decades, I don’t think.
Oh God, what can I –?
  How about exploring
  job openings in the Outer Hebrides?

[Audio, mp3 format, 1.5 MB]

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