(Cut to a poetry reading. Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats and
Tennyson are present. Chris stands quietly in the comer hoping not
to be noticed.)
Old Lady: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, it's so
nice to see such a large turnout this afternoon. And I'd like to
start off by welcoming our guest speakers for this afternoon,... Mr.
Old Lady: Sorry, Wordsworth... Mr. John Koots, and Percy
Old Lady: Just a little one, medium dry, (a dwarf
assistant pours her a sherry) and Alfred Lorde.
Old Lady: Tennis ball.
Tennyson: Son, son.
Old Lady: Sorry - Alfred Lord, who is evidently Lord
Tennisball's son. And to start off I'm going to ask Mr. Wadsworth to
read his latest offering, a little pram entitled 'I wandered lonely
as a crab' and it's all about ants.
(Murmur of exalted anticipation. Wordsworth rises rather
- I wandered lonely as a cloud
- That floats on high over vales and hills
- When all at once I saw a crowd
- A host of golden worker ants.
(Ripples of applause.)
Old Lady: Thank you, thank you, Mr. Bradlaugh. Now, 'Mr.
Old Lady: Oh... (the dwarf refills her glass)... is
going to read one of his latest psalms, entitled 'Ode to a crab'.
Shelley: (rising: and taking his place quietly)
Well, it's not about crabs actually, it's called 'Ozymandias'. It's
not an ode.
- I met a traveler from an antique land
- Who said 'Six vast and trunkless legs of stone
- Stand in the desert
- And on the pedestal these words appear
- My name is Ozymandias, King of Ants
- (oohs from his audience)
- Look on my feelers, termites, and despair
- I am the biggest ant you'll ever see
- The ants of old weren't half as bold and big
- And fierce as me'.
Old Lady: Thank you Mr. Amontillado. I'd like to ask one
or two of you at the back not to soil the carpet, there is a
restroom upstairs if you find the poems too exciting (she falls
over) Good afternoon, next, Mr. Dennis Keat will recite his
latest problem 'Ode to a glass of sherry'. (she falls off the
- My heart aches and a drowsy numbness pains
- My senses, as though an anteater I'd seen
- (panic spreads and the audience half rise)
- A nasty long-nosed brute
- (screams from the audience)
- With furry legs and sticky darting tongue
- I seem to feel its cruel jaws
- Crunch crunch there go my legs
- Snap snap my thorax too
- (various screaming women faint)
- My head's in a twain, there goes my brain
- Swallow, swallow, swallow, slurp
(he loses control)
Old Lady: Mr. Keats, Mr. Keats, please leave immediately.
Keats: It's true. Don't you see. It's true. It happens.
Old Lady: (she bustles him out) Ladies and
gentlemen, I do apologize for that last... well I hesitate to call
it a pram ... but I had no idea ... and talking of filth... I have
asked you once about the carpet ... Now, I do appreciate that last
poem was very frightening... but please! Now before we move on to
tea and pramwiches, I would like to ask Arthur Lord Tenniscourt to
give us his latest little plum entitled 'The Charge of the Ant
Tennyson: Half an inch, half an inch...
(Enter Queen Victoria with a fanfare, followed by Albert's
All: The Queen, the Queen. (they all bow and scrape)
Queen Victoria: My loyal subjects, we are here today on a
matter of national import. My late husband and we are increasingly
concerned by recent developments in literary style (developing a
German accent) that have taken place here in Germany ... er
England. There seems to be an increasing tendency for ze ent... the
ent... the ant... to become the dominant ... was is der dentaches
Queen Victoria: Theme ... of modern poetry here in
Germany. We are not ... amusiert? (an attendant whispers)
Entertained. From now on, ants is verboten. Instead it's skylarks,
daffodils, nightingales, light brigades and ... was ist das
schreckliche Gepong ... es schmecke wie ein Scheisshaus... und so
weiter. Well, we must away now or we shall be late for the races.
God bless you alles.
(Chris leaves. We cut to him outside a door with a sign saying
'Electric Kettles '.)
Voice: Psst! Electric kettles over here, Sir.
(A hand holding a sign saying 'Toupees' beckons him. He goes
over to door and is ushered through. There are pictures of famous
bald world figures with toupees on the walls... Continued...)