Too Fussy

Poetry by Rhys Hughes


It’s hell
to be a fussy
William Tell.
He refuses to aim
his crossbow
at the apple
unless it’s peeled.
   But how does one
       peel a crossbow?


Robin Hood
has a slightly strange quirk.
He could rob a bank
instead of travellers
if he chose to
and many would thank
him for that.
Yet banks didn’t exist
back then:
he would have to
establish one himself
in order to raid it
but he’s afraid of paperwork.


His tailor was a failure
and it drove Sinbad mad
that the colourful robes
he ordered to be made
tended to fade when exposed
to just a little salt spray.
“How can I have adventures
in pastel clothes? I want
to wear bolder shades
when I go looking for gold
and gems!” he muttered.
His tailor only smiled in reply
but when Sinbad’s back
was turned, he returned to his
original shape. He was a
gigantic genial green genie.


Suits of armour
rather do chafe
but they keep you safe
from the bullets
of the Law. If you are poor
and truly believe you need
to rob banks to feed
yourself then taking precautions
is a lot less awful than
being shot into small portions.


Daniel Boone needed more room
so he went westward
until he came to Kentucky
where he was lucky
to survive all the various dangers.
Easily bored and
a man of few words
he rarely spoke to his friends
but often said howdy to strangers.


He had magic powers
but no pockets on his trousers
So he kept his keys
strapped to his knees with a bowstring.
That was a clever thing
to do because if he was attacked
he simply bent a leg
and shot one of those iron objects
with serrated teeth
into the locks of their shocked looks.
Sometimes a key
ended up in an assassin’s mouth
and unfastened his tongue
and it wasn’t much fun
for that very bad man.


On the pampas
he was hampered
by fate when
he filled a hamper
with picnic foods
but forgot to bring a knife
to cut the bread
and cheese. Sitting
down with a deep frown
and trying to tease
meaning from political
debates while chewing
vast sandwiches
with the local cowboys.
   Gaucho Marx!


He was a bushwhacker
in his youth and the bushes
plotted to whack him back
eventually. And they did
but not with a literal club
when he hid in thorny scrub
one prickly dangerous day.


His beard is a goatee.
His horse is a bag of bones.
He has no home.
His servant, Sancho Panza,
acts like a panda,
slow and plodding, chewing
often. While he,
chivalrous in a haphazard
frivolous manner,
never clamours for dinner
but only demands
noble and gallant repartee.


A cunning thief and trickster
he once took a leaf
out of his own book and refused
to give it back. Into a sack
of looted treasure it went
while he went into hiding
in the hills near Rhandirmwyn.
Those cursed heights!
Whether or not he read
the words on that stolen page
or not matters not a jot.
Our concise advice is the worst.


Why is that pirate yawning?
Doesn’t he know
that the golden age
of salty rogues is dawning?
He will do well
come hell or high water
and never give quarter
if he wakes up
in parallel with the zeitgeist,
ropes all spliced
so his sails won’t fail
but billow large and not nice
like a poltergeist
wrapped in the sheets
of a foamy sea. Wait and see!


I don’t want these cakes!
I don’t want this wine!
You might say I’m fussy
but I know my own mind.
I won’t dispute in this room
that Rasputin is doomed
but right now I feel fine.
It’s not time to become
just a footnote of mystery
in the annals of history.
No cakes, no wine for me!


The highwayman is hurting
because of a pin
that was concealed within
the bag of coins
offered to him by the hand
of his victim
through the curtain
of a stagecoach window. His
thumb is bleeding
and the carriage is receding
down the rutted road.
He is annoyed
and will take no joy
from the successful robbery
because he is fussy
about injuries at work
and only respects big ones.
That’s his rule
        of ruddy thumb.


It’s time to retire
from revolutionary thrills
and live in the hills
in a cottage or bungalow.
But just in case
you don’t know
fussy Pancho declines
to dwell in any abode
less swell than a villa
in classical mode
well-stocked with wines.


Geronimo is learning
to parachute
from one of the newly
invented aircraft
on the off chance
it will help his cause.
will surely be effective
in future wars.
That’s what he thinks.
But he refuses to jump
out of the plane
unless he is given
a memorable name
to shout as he does so.
Twm Siôn Cati was the equivalent of Robin Hood in Welsh Folklore. Courtesy: Creative Commons

Rhys Hughes has lived in many countries. He graduated as an engineer but currently works as a tutor of mathematics. Since his first book was published in 1995 he has had fifty other books published and his work has been translated into ten languages.



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