EXCERPTS

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A Bit of Bad Beef
Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol told again in verse

And as he approaches his own barren door

He wonders what Christmas is really meant for:

A frivolous nuisance, a costly event

Where good money's wasted, impractically spent.

So, donning his nightcap, he lies down to sleep

First musing of riches and contracts to keep

Then drifting still deeper, his last conscious thought:

How sweet it would be if Christmas were not!

But soon he's awakened: a harsh, grating sound...

He opens his eyes and he peers all around

Down at his feet, a strange form has unfurled!

A visage immortal, not part of this world!

And yet it resembles someone from his past

To the atrophied features, an intimate cast

The tormented profile is one he should know

For it's that of his partner who died long ago!

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The Tainted Limb

Thomas Hardy's The Withered Arm after Tennyson's Mariana

She'd heard tell of a Conjuror

Who lived within the neighbourhood;

Magic might he have for her

To coax the evil back to good;

And so, she made her way to him

And stood upon his darkened stair...

Showed him what she could not bear

And wept about her prospects grim:

                           "Take this blemish from my life

                                        A jinx is mine!" she cried

                            "I am not fit to be his wife!

                                        This limb he can't abide!"

Thus diagnosed the magic man:

"Free you'll be of devil's clutch

If, to a strangled neck, you can

Your sorely vexed appendage touch"

So that same night, she stole away

To where her sick heart might behold

A gallows set to take its toll

Before the dawning of the day

                           "What price is this for me to pay?

                                        Horror, mine!" she cried

                            "I would there were aught else to do

                                        To see this ill subside!"

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Penny Wise, Pumpkin Foolish
A Ballad Based on a Canadian Folk Tale
To clear his lot of stump and stone
He'd need some bestial force
The only way to get it done
Would be to buy a horse;
But when it came to equinese
He didn't have a clue --
Inquire of his fellow man
Was what he had to do.
The first from whom he sought advice
Adhered to one firm rule:
"Any brute whose ears are long
Is balky as a mule"
A second neighbour cautioned him:
"Beware the beastie's bite...
And if its teeth are long and sharp
Don't let it from your sight!"
"Find a nag of stately gait!"
Was what a third one said
"For if she drags her hindmost parts
She'll boot ye' in the head!"
On one precautionary point
They all seemed to agree:
He must avoid a renegade --
The kind inclined to flee.