Per Contra Spring 2009 Light Verse Supplement


Back to Archives


Jim Hayes



There’s nothing in this form that makes you think
or adds a contribution to the art,
it’s but a game of passing interest
emerging from the head and not the heart.
An opportunity for some to doodle,
the sort of thing you tire of once you start.

You pick some words at random when you start,
the simpler ones are best, no need to think,
you blank your mind and tune it in to ‘doodle’.
No point in great conceits-- there’s little art
in this for poets trying to reach the heart
composing lines of minor interest.

At first, I felt, my wife showed interest,
but then it struck me, gave me quite a start,
as a pointless exercise, with heavy heart
I took to drink--I couldn’t write, nor think,
but booze made it an interesting art-
enough to start the heart and think to doodle!

I danced; I started SINGING Yankee Doodle,
a cop began to look with interest;
“Yeh, buddy, tell the judge that this is art!”
I couldn’t stop, where once I couldn’t start
to put six words together-- now, just think,
a coupla beers and once more I had heart!

Hey, try and tell a judge without a heart
that you’re a poet and Polly wolly doodle
all the day-- well, did I really think,
that hideous corpus quorum inter est,
somehow I’d get an opening to start
to walk a sonnet line-- a better art?

I’ve lost my wife, my love, oh this black art!
So bless me Father, hear me, hand-on-heart,
if I could start again I wouldn’t start.
They handed down six months, with interest.
It’s poems like this can drive you cock-a-doodle,
and now the thing is over-- I can’t think.

What kind of art ensures your heart will sink,
that when you doodle you must start to drink
or lose all interest and the knack to think?

For Spite it Seemed

For spite it seemed, where Mary went
her lamb went-- not with good intent.
              Although its fleece was white as snow
              it was a cloak put on for show,
the lamb was not so innocent.

For all its charm, its time was spent
             in salacious merriment--
it made sheep’s eyes at Mary’s beau--
             for spite it seemed!

And then, when it would not relent,
              Mary brooked no argument
from such a little brazen ewe.

               She braised a l’ail jarrets d’agneau
and sipped a rare Moulin-a-vent.
                For spite it seemed.

God’s Secretary

Her duties mainly are to balance out
His acts of wrath with His benevolences;
to send the reverend nuns a twinge of doubt.
(A perk allowed to His amanuensis.)
She buries in a file ‘Ridiculous’
all overtures from popes and presidents.
(He’s far too busy being ubiquitous,
and after all--He claims omniscience).
She’s bothered minor sins work up a lather
although he seems to suffer Holy Joes,
the bigot, hypocrite and preying Father,
but shrugs her shoulders--well, He only knows.
Her greatest pleasure is a job well done
and letting Him think He’s the Only One.


Alfred’s daddy, silly fella,
thinks that he’s a large umbrella
and makes puddles in the hallway by the hatstand as he drains.
And though Al thinks he’s a nutter
Dad’s encouraged by Al’s mother
who maintains that, though most odd,
he comes in useful when it rains.

The Will of the Bon -Vivant

I’d leave all to my dear wife Insatia,
(who knows why I lie on this bed),
to share with my daughter Ingratia--
or even my mistress Salacia,
but I spent what I had on a geisha
and so they’ll get nothing instead.
I’d leave all to my dear wife Insatia--
who knows that I lie-- on this bed.



Jim Hayes: Traveller, fisherman, inventor and writer, Jim Hayes has travelled the world from Tullaroan to Tahiti and most places in between. He has fished the rivers of his native Ireland, the Baltic inlets of Scandinavia and the trout streams of the American West.

He holds patents from backpacks to muck spreaders and is an award-winning poet with numerous prizes to his credit including the prestigious Espy Award for Light Verse in 2004.

He was Featured Poet in Light Quarterly, Chicago in 2005 and his poetry has appeared in many other print and online journals.

His first collection The Bad Habits of Little Boys has just been published.


© 2005-2009 Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas