Distantly

Deborah, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire,
Doesn’t dwell, and never did, in Devon
But Derbyshire, while the Duke of Gloucester lives
In Kensington and seldom sees the Severn.
Edinburgh, as we know, was based in Buckingham
Palace, and, from my limited line of knowledge, there
The Duke of Norfolk has lived for several centuries
In Arundel, West Sussex, rather than Norwich.
Which probably goes to show a lot of things
About the nature of the English toff,
But mainly, when you think you’ve got them placed,
You’re actually a very long way off.

The London Pigeon

I am the London Pigeon
And I know what to do.
I catch the train at Richmond
But then get out at Kew.

Sometimes there’s a cuckoo,
Sometimes there’s a crow,
Sometimes shifty-lookers
Whom I cannot claim to know.

The air of the south-west quarters
Is commendably sweet and mild,
With suburban parks and water
To keep it undefiled

Unlike the wan commuter
Who soils his freshness daily
With going so greyly suited
To boardroom, Bank or Bailey.

Why labour in such a fashion
As visibly depletes them
When I have free admission
To the world’s top arboretum
With its realm of bright exotica,
Botanically topical,
Its glass palatial hothouses
Both temperate and tropical?

Pity the preening pouter
Who throngs to Trafalgar Square
And feeds false thought about us
By playing the scrounger there.

I am the London Pigeon
And what I’m saying is true;
I board the train at Richmond
And then get off at Kew.
‘I am the London pigeon and I know what to do…’