RAINFORESTHenri Rousseau: The Dream 

MY OLD STRAW HAT (a fiction)

a simmering island mass

an entity where moral codes

of both the uncaged, untamed

vertebrates and spineless wild things

long since have fallen foul of tepid

fate’s unearthly indifference


cloaked saturated evergreen

perspiring rooted miscreation’s

of a godforsaken helter-skelter

intemperate jungle uglifying

the less than razzle dazzling

temperate landmass harshly

empty of natural sweet reason

under a prudish expanded canopy’s

demented shadow-dance oblivion


a cacophony of agonizing


dawn to dust

                             dusk to dawn

as feathered and crocodilian

battle and openly procreate

under the ever-watchful eye

of wee creepy-crawly beings

liable to both promenade

and scoff the edible remains

of the eternally sickly sticky

dripping days and raw nights


for the main part

well-hidden inland

polished terra-cotta

indigenous tribes of

alleged connoisseurs’

a taste for feeding upon

unseasoned human flesh

whereas at coastal skirts, a

master caste of Godfearing

shotgun touting, monogamy

favouring sun-scorched white

interlopers holding sway

to a man and woman

all ‘grin and bear it’

contradictory followers


The Good Book

of authentic absolute tedium


less than instructive farcical myth


small surprise mosquito nets


ugly meshed curtaining

trump the elegance and flair of

hanging hand woven tapestry


a shiny booted and Saville Row

suited heathen’s worst nightmare


I was that artless heathen

a single shipwreck survivor

marooned in the wretched place

of ceaseless all-knowing perma-smiles

remorseful prayer to a glaring

grooming invention

where the practically constant

chant of spurious hallelujahs

blighted my every waking moment


I would trade such threadbare ritual

for a vision of a purple hummingbird

and the stark fear of a Black Widow

on heat, to talk with the bees of

births, deaths and marriages

at the drop of my old straw hat

Should it be of any interest, links to my books in paperback or as Kindle appear to the right of this page.

34 thoughts on “MY OLD STRAW HAT

  1. “a master caste of Godfearing shotgun touting, monogamy favoring sun-scorched white interlopers holding sway”
    — Kentucky’s State motto (a non-fiction).

    “wretched place of ceaseless all-knowing perma-smiles”
    — an inscription to replace the outdated Emma Lazarus’ poetry on the Statute of Liberty (renamed)

    Thank you, kind Sir, for the evocative work.

    1. Cheers, Bill. We live in a world where others would seek to change our satisfactory minds to match their own, whereas I can never be arsed to attempt to change theirs. They knock upon my door; confront me in the street with those smiles of omniscience in the belief that a pamphlet (and a few extra space invading smiles) will isolate one who might just donate to their dubious cause. Slim pickings when they cross me. Regards, Mike

  2. Dear Mike, this is sublime! Thank you for the smile. And for those of ‘the grin and bear it’ camp and persuasion, one might think (just saying) it’s only fair and right they continue to ‘grin and bear it’ while sporting perma-smiles!

    1. My thanks, young Mia. ‘Smiles’ of the inane ‘all-knowing’ kind irk. Most young male Mormons who journey from there to here each summer, dressed in bowties and carrying glossy pamphlets have that smile. To me the smile of either a pervert or an idiot, to them the smile that their invisible God sits upon their shoulder engrossed in The Times crossword puzzle. Why? For what realizable purpose? I often despair of the lot of them. There you have it. The musings of The Old Fool.

      1. You’re most welcome, Mike. If I’m in a mood for engagement, (I mean after all I’ve been searching for all the answers) my question to the white short sleeve button down black bow-tie wearing bicycle riding young men… ‘where did Cain’s wife come from?’ Conversation over!

        Wow, I just read this! Some speculate there was a race of Pre-Adamic humans! Ah-ha, imagine that!

      2. Indeed, a fine question to lob in their direction, young Mia. Far more eloquent than my usual four letter riposte. ‘In the beginning’ never happened. If it had then ‘what before?’ begs a similar answer to the question you put forward. The concept of infinity is perhaps a hard thing for many to appreciate in the light of the various states of human consciousness. I rather like to think Cain’s missus was a Neanderthal called Lowerwatha on the basis she was most likely challenged on the vertical front. DNA testing has long since established cross-breeding with Neanderthals…our window cleaner is living verification of that. I feel sure that Lowerwatha may have had less than golden locks yet did have a heart of gold. In my Cain skits his bride was the Whore of Babylon, a charming gal with a sense of humour. Regards, The Old Fool

    1. My thanks. A pity that Facebook found Rousseau’s painting obscene and denied this piece of its link to their wretched domain! A strange world is social media.

  3. Love the use of compound words here, esp the “godforsaken helter-skelter.” Such a powerful compliment to the “worst nightmare” that this land is to civilization. 😉 Brilliant as ever, Master Steeden xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    1. I am most relieved that you liked this. I worry over such things. Plainly you noted that I opened up with the phrase ‘a fiction’. The source of the piece was the seemingly constant…albeit that is in part an exaggeration…of that small quota of extreme believers who knock on my door both day and night attempting to convert me to their cause. It feels as if I am lost in a jungle sometimes, hence I wrote of a jungle and its potential self-interested missionary interlopers. My personal take on belief and life in general is a simple one…‘each to their own’. It is thus that I have friends on either side of the fence of decision. My sincere thanks, young Ms Lee. Regards, The Old Fool

      1. But of course! Faith shouldn’t be shoved into another’s face a la Stooges and cream pies. It’s messy, and only ends with lots of nose-pinching and wrenches to the head.
        But I’ll still wish you a Happy Easter, because I’m me, Master Steeden. 🙂 xxxxxxx

  4. Love the way you ‘read’ the painting, Mike. My dream would be to live in the young world before the ‘uncaged’ and ‘untamed’ creatures started to get extinct 🙂

      1. Thank you kindly. I’m told it’s a Gaelic name. My ancestors came to the USA from Scotland in the 1690s. One of my aunts did the research in the days before Internet.

    1. My thanks. I believe Ms Temple carried it off better than I did. The painting is beautiful, I agree. The strangest thing though. I had it shared on that awful thing called Facebook where it was thrashed for being ‘offensive’. I despair of social media when free thinking and pure art is seen as pornography.

      1. Hahaha. Ms. Temple is hard to beat. And yes, acceptable channels of what to think are getting much narrower very quickly lately. Some of my younger friends believe that anything that happened before they were born is de facto offensive and the only valuable skill set is figuring out how.

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