Muslin-swathed dismembered corpses,
Hang from hooks in freezing rooms.
Fluorescent lights, their tubes aglow,
Dispel the pervading gloom.
Coppery smells of blood and gore,
Infect the midnight air.
A city of death, without a crime.
And sellers with bodies to spare.
Barkers begin their beguiling spiel,
‘Finest liver, a tenner a tin.’
‘Best End of Neck, Scrag-end and Chump.
‘Offal a fiver, all in.’
They draw in the punters and sell their wares.
Cheap cuts for the low-end café.
Lean chops, prime ribs, fillet steaks and the rest,
For those who are willing to pay.
The trolleys roll into the busy night,
Piled high with sides of beef,
Pork bellies and backs, and legs of lamb.
Whilst around them the city sleeps.
Washing the trolleys; the final task,
To scrub them clean and bright,
To remove all trace of carnage past,
For the loads tomorrow night.
At shift end they retreat to pubs,
With open doors throughout,
For breakfast, (or is it the evening meal?)
Washed down with glasses of stout.
As dawn breaks then it’s home to bed
Their working day complete,
The city at night, an industrious time,
For those who sell us meat.
Sylvester was a lonely stray.
He was always on his own.
His fur was very threadbare.
It was hanging on his bones.
Underneath the privet hedge
He’d hide himself away,
With a covering of autumn leaves
He’d lie there all the day.
But once he’d been a wealthy cat
Dined at all the poshest places
The Ritz, Savoy and Dorchester.
With all the airs and graces.
But then he took to gambling
And it wasn’t very long
Before he found he couldn’t stop himself,
And with nearly all his money gone,
He gambled on a mouse race
On a piebald mouse called Bert.
But Bert was slow and came in last
Sylvester lost his shirt.
So now he sits there all alone
And hopes that no one sees,
That this once immensely wealthy cat
Is just a home for fleas.
Big Tab was a happy cat
With three quite different homes,
With Mr and Mrs Williams
Mrs Smith and Mr Jones.
He’d eat three quite different breakfasts,
Three dinners and three teas,
His favourite meal was shepherds pie,
With chocolate cake and cheese.
The result of this fine living
Was very plain to see,
For Big Tab was a tubby cat
Weighing more that you and me.
And then one day in August
When he was very, very stout,
He got stuck in Jones’s cat flat,
Neither in and neither out.
The Williams’ both were frantic,
Mrs Smith was heard to cry,
“If we don’t get Big Tab out of there,
Then he will surely die.”
But Mr Jones was very calm
And in a voice so very quiet
Said, “If Big Tab wants his freedom
Then he really has to diet.”
Garfy was a lazy cat
Who liked to sleep all day,
Curled up on the kitchen step
Or lying in the hay.
He never made a move at all
When lying in his place,
And when a slimy slug passed by
It crawled across his face.
But Garfy wasn’t bothered
Didn’t even lift a paw,
To bat the slippery thing away
And knock it to the floor.
He felt it crawl across his nose
Where it left a silver trail.
It crawled along his body
Until it reached his tail.
And then he turned to look at it
Through a solitary eye,
Then flicked his tail and sent the slug
A,spinning through the sky.
Before he settled down again
He found a piece of cloth
And made a sign to cover him
That simply read, “KEEP OFF.”
Mavis is a grumpy cat
Who likes to hiss and spit
At anyone who gets too close
To where she likes to sit.
For Mavis has a special dream
And she’s had it for an age.
She’d love to be a dancer
Upon the London stage.
Appearing in the ballet,
Dressed in finest lace.
Dancing solo in Swan Lake,
Would put a smile upon her face.
Or dancing tap in cabaret,
Performing at the Ritz.
Dancing with her partner,
A tabby known as Fritz.
In fact she can do none of these,
Just sits there in a mood,
Snapping at the other cats
When they come near her food.
The reason she is grumpy
And acts just like a pig
Is that she cannot dance at all you see.
Her feet are much too big.
* thanks to Karen Dockery for the cat drawings