2010 Poetry Challenge

National Poetry Month

Peter Willowdown

An Antarctic Romance........Duet with Maryse Achong

The Smile of Faun sucked on his pipe and nearly choked.
Overnight a very small phoenix had curled up on its embers
to keep warm - which was all very well but a phoenix is a ticklish beast
and once it had got past his larynx it was virtually out of reach
and no amount of hawking or coughing could dislodge it.
In the end he had had to go to Chairon the Centaur and get him to remove it,
which he did by means of two short straws, a hoof on the back and a band of elastic.
The Smile of Faun was limping for days and the little phoenix chick was quite stunned.
It wandered around the Tangled Forest for almost a week whistling 'Purple Haze'
before its mother (a future version of itself) came and collected it
and enrolled it in a daycare centre for confused mythological creatures
where its teachers, an elderly Pelican with a keen sense of smell
and a Water Buffalo with a degree in Entomology thought it was an overweight sand-hopper
and immediately sent it on a two months holiday to Antarctica
to lose weight and study the local biology.
Whilst there Flagion met a pretty little arctic ant named Alicia
and they struck up an immediate friendship despite the clouds of steam
that accompanied the young phoenix everywhere, ice and fire
being intrinsically antipathetical but, thankfully, non-electrical
or that would have been the end of their relationship.

Now hot , now cold, the romance thrived between this mismatched pair,
And Flagion and Alicia thought ‘twas time to move from there.
They fled freezing Antarctic climes and holidayed in Greece,
They hitchhiked throughout Europe and set up a home in Nice.
Their story spread throughout the land in places high and low,
And before long the lovers had a reality show.
They even got the Smile of Faun to be a special guest
And he told how Flagion once had built himself a nest
Inside his pipe just to keep warm; it caused folks to rave and rant,
Now soon their book will be released … The Phoenix and The Ant.

It promises to be a fascinating read, especially the episode
where they meet Campbell, the cross-legged counterfeiter from Cannes
(who imagined he was a tin of soup)
and his crafty German side-kick Gustav 'Careless' Hans
(who thought he was Andy Warhol's deranged cross-dressing caretaker).
A special 'restricted' edition will be available for the under fourteens,
guaranteed quite free from smug condescension or rambling fable
and virtually no references to rheumatism, Pension plans or water retention.
The Smile of Faun calls it 'the best read since Socrates'
Nine and a Half Nights in Athens'
whilst the Elysium Literary Supplement opines
'never have two quite different creatures had so much
to say about so little... '

It’s going to be a bestseller the experts all predict,
And even more it is rumoured that it has been handpicked
By a big movie maker with blockbusters to his name,
Who guarantees that they will have money along with fame;
But Alicia and Flagion really could not care less
They’re happy and such promises simply do not impress.
Them. They call them the hottest couple in the news today,
Step aside Brangelina for these two are here to stay;
And when their baby Phant is born no doubt that it will be
The most photographed little one in all of history.

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