Peace Nicked

“Have you been following events in The Ukraine?”

“John, we no longer call it that.”

“No longer call what what?”

“We no longer call it The Ukraine.”

“What are you talking about?”

“We just say Ukraine now; they’ve dropped the The,” Laverne gave me the lowdown.

“Who did?”

“The Ukrainians.”

“Don’t you mean Ukrainians?”

“That’s what I said.”

“No, you said The Ukrainians.”

“Oh, for God’s sake…”

“Why is it I’m only hearing about this now?”

“Try spending less time on TikTok.”

“I enjoy watching eco-tourists run for their lives.”

“Fair enough,” Laverne shrugged.

“So, when did they ditch the The?”

“I believe it was around the same time Kentucky Fried Chicken rebranded as KFC.”

“Do you think their KFCs serve Chicken Kiev?”

“We don’t say that either.”

“What? Chicken?”

“No, Kiev.”

“You’re kidding.”

“We now pronounce it Kyiv, like Steve.”

“Who the hell cares how he says it?”

“Who?”

“Steve Downey.”

“Please tell me you didn’t just say that.”

“And how would the Downeys know Ukrainian anyway? They’re a bunch of redheads.”  

“Sweetie, I want you to stop talking,” Laverne took my hand. “This is all the result of transliteration.”

“I thought their flag was pink, blue and white.”

“In the past we had a habit of anglicising names which proved tricky to pronounce and no one really questioned it. Now there’s a bit of a reset happening, that’s all.”

“My stress levels go through the roof every time I have to say anemone.”

“When did you last need to say anemone?”

“Two and a half hours ago.”

“I’m talking about foreign names.”

“Brunhilde.”

“Place names.”

“Melbourne.”

“More foreign than that.”

“Machu Picchu.”

“It’s Bombay becoming Mumbai and Calcutta becoming Kolkata, that sort of thing,” Laverne clarified.

“We weren’t that far off on those two,” I felt I ought to give credit where credit was due.

“My issue isn’t with the consonants so much, as the bloody diphthongs.”

“Your Vietnamese neighbours? What have they done now?”

“Stop it,” Laverne giggled. “Hey, did you know that Kanye’s changed his name as well? Apparently he now goes by Ye. My son told me.”

Ye?”

“Yup.”

“Maybe it’s short for Yeuch.”

“Or Yikes.”

“I still fail to see the significance.”

“Well, according to Ye himself, ye is the most common word in The Bible.”

“Blessed be the fruit.”

“Oh, there’s more… Ye then enlightened us further by explaining that ye can sometimes mean thee.”

“Which Ukrainians have dropped like a hot potato,” I reminded my friend.

“They dropped a The, not a thee.”

“Be that as it may, I think Ye will find that the most common word in The Bible is, in fact, the.”

“So we’ve circled back on ourselves,” Laverne groaned. “How do we bring this to an end?

“Here’s a crazy idea: add a The.”

The End

No Fly Zone

Where do storks nest during a war
As spires tumble and towns are no more?
What will deer eat when tanks advance
Over sweet meadows of young, tender plants?
What drives a cub out of the den
Crying alone for its mother again?
Gone is the gold
Dark is the dawn
Ghostly and cold
Best to fly on

Glamour Puss

The platypus unsettles those

Who organise their socks in rows

Who’d never sport a check with stripes

The this-goes-better-with-that types.

Is it both mammal and a bird?

The mere suggestion is absurd

A beaver that can lay an egg?

Now try and pull the other leg…

Although it doesn’t quack or cluck

At first glance, it might be a duck

But if so, what’s with all the fur?

And is that venom in its spur?

This oddity that broke the mold

Still has the boffins in its hold

Yet, as we mock the platypus

One wonders what it thinks of us

Heart Failure

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My valentine suggested wine

I bought the best champagne

Then after making love we dined

On Chocolate Frangipane.

Why don’t we do this every night?

She cooed after our frolics

So, now we do and that is why

We’re toothless alcoholics.

Best Before Date

January’s no one’s friend

A month that lingers without end

No end to winter’s deepest chill

Which steals the breath and makes us ill

No end to counting every dime

From letting go at Christmastime

To resolutions boldly made

Then just as quietly betrayed

No reason to buy a bouquet

No fireworks

No Mother’s Day

At New Year’s we all raise a glass

Bemused by how the months soon pass

Then wake the next day full of dread

In fear of that which lay ahead

Knight Shift

silhouette photography of person

Take me to that fabled time

When destiny was more sublime

When noble quests were blessed by God Himself

Where crones intoned prophetic rhymes

While wizards read the stars for signs

And deep within each hollow hid an elf.

Take me to a time before

When magic could unlock a door

And conjurers cried out Abracadabra!

Where every frog tried to convince

Young maidens he might be a prince

And sonnets were composed by candelabra.

To play a brazen game with Death

One leap beyond the dragon’s breath

Dispatching ogres twice the height of men

And then, to lay beneath a tree

While my sweet Lady sings to me

For as she does, my soul’s restored again.

Take me to that fabled time

The course now clear

No more to roam

Astraeus, chart the stars for home