Monday, August 13, 2007

The Ballad of Jelly Man

In response to the poem below, a listener to the Creedon Show sent me a packet of luminous green greengage jelly...

It started as a simple yen,
An itch that needed feed’n’,
That prompted me to sadly pen
A letter to John Creedon.

Greengage jam, when I was young,
Was succulent and plummy.
I’d hold a spoonful on my tongue
And let the taste o’ercome me.

‘Twas always in the corner shop,
Sat on the shelf discreetly,
Then suddenly this marv’lous crop
Just disappeared completely.

Where did it go? I loudly wailed.
Was greengage now no longer?
Although the mem’ry may have paled,
The yen grew even stronger.

Well John read out my stilted verse
About this jam we’d guzzled.
Replies were long, replies were terse,
But most, like me, were puzzled.

And then one day the postman came
With bills for gas and telly
And also, to our loud acclaim,
A pack of Greengage Jelly!

A list’ner, travelling to the Cape,
Had come across this item.
And all that we could do was gape
And point, ad infinitum.

Eventually my wife said “Right!
Enough of all your messing.
We’ll have it for our tea tonight,
Now go and finish dressing.”

She poured the sachet in the bowl
And added boiling water.
“The colour of it’s awful droll,”
Remarked my teenage daughter.

Indeed, it was a Hi-Vis green,
A Sellafield creation,
As if this strange dessert had been
Infused by radiation.

I checked the fridge throughout the day
To shake the jelly lightly,
And yes, it set as hard as clay,
And sat there, glowing brightly.

The dinner ate, the bowl appeared,
Along with four small dishes.
And though my soon just sat and sneered,
I thought it looked delicious.

I held the spoon beneath my nose
To sample the bouquet,
But though I sniffed, no smell arose,
Recalling yesterday.

I placed a spoonful on my tongue,
And let it lie for ages,
But mem’ry bells, alas, weren’t rung
For long-forgot greengages.

Somehow it felt a little lame,
No memories to savour,
For jelly always tastes the same
With no distinctive flavour.

Then suddenly I clutched my throat
And fell down on the lino,
Baying like a wounded goat
And threshing like a rhino.

My family looked down at me
And pushed their bowls away.
“I’ll only have a cup of tea,”
I heard my daughter say.

Slowly I rose to my feet,
Unsteady and voluminous,
My face as pallid as a sheet
(Well, one that’s green and luminous.)

“Oh my God, it’s Jelly Man!”
My son yelled out dramatically.
My wife looked at my verdant tan
And nodded automatically.

For many years, my outsized girth
Had threatened to consume her,
I wobbled round this cruel earth
The butt of people’s humour.

But now I suffer no abuse,
The startled villain cowers.
I’m putting my great fat to use
With superhuman powers.

For Jelly Man now stalks the land
O’er hill and dale and hummock.
I just hold out a flabby hand
And trap crooks with my stomach.

The children point, where’er I’m seen,
And marvel at my belly,
A superhero, fat and green,
All thanks to Greengage Jelly!

No comments: