I’ve Grown Accustomed…

A while back, I came upon a small book published in 1971, written by a Maurice Sagloff and entitled: Shrinklits: Seventy of the World’s Towering Classics Cut Down to Size. Much to my delight, I discovered a host of humourous entries based on classic works of literature, all honed down to their essence and in rhyme! This inspired me to try my hand at the form and I decided to write a piece on one of my favourite films based on a famous play (so I covered two art forms, I suppose). Now, may I present:

My Fair Lady

Henry Higgins, the phoneticist,
Meets a gal hawking “flars” in the mist
Of a cold London night,
Her speech such a fright,
That to teach her, he cannot resist.

Says he: “If you give me some time
I’ll make you a lady of prime
Education and grace
Take you out of this place,
Spruce you up and remove all the grime.”

Colonel Pick’ring is doubtful,at best,
Miss Doolittle can conquer this test,
So he posits a wager,
Higgins can fail to stage her
As a princess with jewels be-dressed.

Miss Doolittle’s cockney oul’ dad’s
Getting wed in the morning, but lads
Take him out to the pub
Have a few – there’s the rub!
Will he make it on time? Blame those cads!

Beginning with garbling her words,
Around marbles, it’s all for the birds.
The grand ball finds her fussing;
Ascot catches her cussing,
She fools all and gains fans by herds.

Then, along comes a possible match.
Eynsford-Hill is his name–plot to hatch–
Freddy’s fervour ignite,
Marry ‘im just to spite
‘Enry Higgins (of course, there’s a catch).

Never one of your bare, bodice-rippers;
Neither family-fare with some nippers.
Liza cracks his defenses
Henry comes to his senses;
We end with a nice pipe and slippers.

(Post Script)

Couldn’t top that old Harrison, Rex
Wins without being vulgar, or sex.
The accent’s divine,
His singing just fine,
Never once does he show off his “pecs”!

By Kathleen Mortensen © 2007


Back From Beyond

Recently, it was reported in my local newspaper that a cat named Jack was recovered after having spent a month in Pearson International Airport in Toronto. This was a story I could not ignore, so heeeere’s Jack:

High Jack

Jack is back, incredibly;
His absence was a mystery.
He flew back from the Orient–
Disappeared, before descent.

Mistress April, in despair,
Searched the halls for her Shorthair;
Wond’ring if her cat had died–
Maybe Airport staff had lied?

Still she traversed Pearson ‘port,
Hoping vainly for report
Of furry feline, was he sick?
What of Jack’s poor brother, Vic?

Neither Girl, nor cat-bro slept
Gone a month, and now it’s Sept.
But all’s not lost, for Saturday
The Airport called with news, to say:

Jack is back, he’s found and safe,
No more he’ll be the wand’ring waif.
He’s shed some pounds and lost a nail;
All in all, unscathed and hale.

One last prison-break he tries
As April to the airport flies –
He leaps to freedom at a height,
Then stows away in ceiling, tight.

Mistress comes for him she sought;
Escapee, Jack once more is caught,
Just in time for handing over–
Purrs ensue; he’s “in the clover”.

Jack, the prodigal’s returned.
There’s a lesson he’s just learned:
When you’re home from the “wormhole”,
Every hour they fill your bowl!

Kathleen Mortensen © 2007

Caught on Tape

I really had no intention of writing about the notorious Mr. Simpson. I had seen the pics, read some of the press and watched clips on t.v., but really wasn’t interested. My brain had other ideas — out of nowhere sprang this piece. My contact at The Gleaner picked it up and published it with an editorial cartoon. Now for your reading pleasure (or not, depending on your outlook), I give you:


They’re all gunning for you O.J.
This time they’ll make it stick.
No more “If I Did Its”;
You’re really in the thick.

Since you took off in that Bronco–
Led those cops a merry chase;
It’s been one thing and another,
And it’s not to do with race.

It was sad the day you got off.
Even worse, you had to gloat.
And the families are grieving,
Over details you rewrote.

So, with everything so kosher,
Why’d you go and blow the lot?
Did you think just cuz you’re famous
That the rest of us forgot?

We’re all watching as they cuff and
Drag you off in yet more shame.
You’re the “perp” detained inside;
No one cares about your name.

And the world is waiting once more;
Indeed, we hold a grudge.
Doesn’t matter, in the long run–
Worry ‘bout your final Judge.

Kathleen Mortensen © 2007

Loyal Friend

A lovely photo of my gentle feline, Gilbert, has prompted me to publish this poem I wrote a number of years ago. I hope you enjoy it.

Gilbert’s Song (With apologies to L.C.)

Who’s there when you call
Who is loyal and true?
Who sleeps at your feet
Who’s the closest to you?
Who, when you sniffle
Always talks back?
Who has the keenest
Of urinary tracts?
Who leaps to catch?
Then hunkers down?
Who jumps the post
And plays the clown?
Who pummels the cushion
To a misshapen mass?
Who snuggles with teddies
And peers in the glass?
Who stuffs his face?
And then wants more?
Who lives for kibble,
Canned galore?
Who runs when called?
And grunts reply?
Who howls in fear
When trouble’s nigh?
The answer of course
Is no surprise;
It’s Gilbert, the black
With the green, hooded eyes!

Kathleen Mortensen © 2003

Midnight Madness

The story of a farmer out in B.C. who shot and killed a bear that was raiding his beehives created wild imaginings in my mind. I decided to write a piece from the perspective of the bears – with a bit of a nod to Robert Service and The Cremation of Sam McGee.

Buckwheat’s Last Grab

Strange things happen in the dark of night,

While you’re bundled up in bed.

Keep away from the honey-hive at the height

Of the moon, or you’ll end up dead!

Tall tales told by the campfirelight,

Old grizzlies love to share.

Cubs, wide-eyed shrunk up with fright,

Heed not the chill night air.

One story is their favourite,

Sends shivers up small spines,

‘Bout a Kamloops bear gone missing

Who couldn’t read the signs.

“Stay out!” “Keep off!” The billboards read,

And, “Enter if you dare!”,

“No tresspassing!”,”Beware of Dog!”

Buckwheat could only stare.

The printed word dumbfounded him,

For book-learnin’ he’d spurned.

He might have been more careful,

If reading he had learned.

So on he went into the yard,

Just followin’ his nose,

To that sweet smell of honey,

When up behind him rose…

A figure of great height and bulk,

Wielding a big long stick.

He drew a bead on “Bucky”,

Who thought it was a trick…

Until he saw the gun go off

And he knew he was done.

Then Bucky crumpled in a heap

For he weighed near a ton.

And farmer Orwall rolled his sleeves;

He had some work to do.

The massive bear he had to hide,

‘Else, this dark night he’d rue.

Long gone midnight, moon was high

And Orwall dug down deep,

And rolling the old bear inside

Poor Bucky went to sleep

Forever with the angels,

In paradise for bears;

Where honey flows from faucets,

Rolls down the marble stairs—

At least that’s what they tell the cubs,

Especially when there’s tears–

Young bears need reassuring;

The big bears calm their fears.

Now farmer Orwall’s up in court,

With charges to be laid.

The law still frowns on shootin’ bears

To stop a midnight raid.

So let that be a lesson

To bears who leave their cave:

Stay in school and learn to read

‘Cause signs your life could save.

Strange things happen in the dark of night,

While you’re bundled up in bed.

Keep away from the honey-hive at the height

Of the moon, or you’ll end up dead!

Kathleen Mortensen © 2007

Illegal Alien Surfaces

Some time ago, I wrote a piece in response to the odd tale of the appearance of an alligator in a California park lake. Apparently, the gator had been spotted on and off over the course of 18 months. Many attempts to capture the intrepid reptile failed. Eventually, however, he was caught and taken to the local zoo. Here, for your enjoyment, is the story retold in my fashion.

Reggie Redux

In Harbor Park, a stranger rose
From ‘neath Machado’s water
And those who caught its beady eye
Determined it no otter
And thus ensued an effort
To capture and release
But after 18 months or so
Th’endeavours yet to cease.

For just last week we have report
Of yet another sighting
The reptile’s once more on the go
Again, which proves exciting
So, let’s back up this story
In order to regale
With strange and wondrous oddities
Of gator, Reggie’s tale.

An ex-policeman, don’t you know?
With pot-head ‘complice, Brewer
Decided “Reg” was far too big
To keep or dump in sewer
And off they went, presumably
By cloak of night, to hump,
In nearby lake, their caiman–
Park rangers sure to stump.

Next comes a trail of “experts”
Complete with bag of tricks;
Scarred “Jay” of Colorado
With “net”-work fails to fix
The problem, nor do wranglers
From Gatorland who claim
To be the best with reptiles —
“Reggie” puts them all to shame.

Survivor of Katrina,
“Swamp-rat”, says he’ll throw in
With his gator-snaring prowess;
No pontoon for him — he’s rowin’.
Paddlin’ flat boat on the surface,
He will “get to know him” better.
Trouble is, our man’s arrested —
Passing phonies; he’s a debtor.

And it’s back to square one, really
No more “heroes” in their midst.
Winter’s just on the horizon;
How will Reggie-boy exist?
So they bring in some star-power,
From Down Under, Irwin flies,
And the problem would be solved,
But for untimely demise.

It’s now near 2 years later
And Spring has brought a guest.
The caiman’s back, and bigger;
“Reginald”, he’s now addressed.
Irwin’s team is on the case again
And though they’ll sure be thorough,
I’d have called Jeff Corwin first off
Or even Attenborough!

Kathleen Mortensen © 2007


Bad Dawg, #7

Michael Vick, he makes me sick,
If he were on my shoe, I’d flick
Him off with a chewed, fetching stick.
Yes! That would surely do the trick.

Michael Vick’s a football pro,
Lines Falcons up, all in a row;
Rarely sacked, puts on a show–
Too bad off-field he’s a wacko.

Michael Vick, may soon be jailed;
His canine fights have been curtailed,
For cruel maltreatment he’s been nailed–
Let’s hope his job has been derailed.

Michael Vick often flogs
His beasts at posts; and still he slogs,
Then, back out on the field he jogs–
His big career’s “gone to the dogs.”

Michael Vick what’s up today?
The NFL won’t let you play.
Your cards are selling on e-bay–
So sad those puppies gnawed away.

Michael Vick you think you’re “dope”
But really, it’s a slippery slope.
The “joint”, holds no dog-men, I hope–
Be careful when you go for soap.

Kathleen Mortensen © 2007