Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Sauce | Poetry | The Condemnment

It is often my great pleasure to sprinkle this fine website of ours with what I'm sure my myriad biographers will refer to as 'occasional light verse'. This time round, in aid of 'Sauce' week, I thought I'd answer the age old question - 'what sort of thing would Robert W. Service have written, had he spent most of his life working in a condiment-sachet packing factory?' I would like to think that such a shift in the Canadian balladeer's life and times might have had the subtle effect of him reaching for the sort of imagery demonstrated in today's poem...


The Condemnment

“His wit’s as thick as Tewkesbury Mustard”
- Falstaff, Henry IV Part II

The cornell red of ketchup on a carpet 
was his swansong human stain
his skin was a mayonnaise isabelline 
when the hot-plate went out in his brain

and the auburn of his short curly hair, 
in death took a gravy hue
and the eyes that once glowed ultramarine 
went HP-label blue.

The cranberry carnelian overpriced wine 
had set the night on its course
then the whiskies came and left their tempers
hotter than horseradish sauce.

They finally went for each other's throats 
with Tabasco-like ferocity
a rabid froth crept from their maniac mouths 
with a mustardy viscosity.

With his soy-salty sweat you could sense John’s regret 
as he stood, the reluctant winner,
The deceased at his feet, heap of puree and meat, 
face down in his unfinished dinner.

He turned himself in with a béarnaise yellow grin, 
regret giving way to resolve
His laughter as piquant as neat Worcestershire sauce, 
in the cell where his madness evolved.

He didn’t flinch for the tiniest peppercorn second
when signing his lucid confession
The madcap monster’s remorseless face 
was pink as thousand island-dressing

but when faced with the judge, he turned soft as fudge, 
and with the few words that he said,
his voice had taken a softness 
and his eyes went pesto red.

Phil Brown
Poetry Editor

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