The Ballad of Shylock (Part One)
My name is Shylock Jones. I speak in undertones.
And dabble at forensic arts and the phrenology of bones.
My work's not widely known and so in secret can be honed
To a unique, commercial asset, that I possess alone.
My name is Shylock Jones. A confidant to thrones;
The circles that I move in are usually crowned.
The fate of minor nations? Secret Service machinations?
Mere trifles to a polymath unbound!
Now Papworth guessed his fate, but I arrived too late.
He hired me to prevent the crime, I now investigate.
I saw his violent death, an awful smiling death.
I heard the rattle in his lung beat out his foaming breath.
The poison did it's work.
He died a grinning Turk.
The action of it's lethal mix;
His swollen tongue and mouth transfixed.
With the constriction of his throat and lips,
His accumulating facial tics,
Gave way with antic speed to fits,
And that characteristic artifact or quirk.
The strangely sanguine dying man's smirk!
But repute is all I owns. I must be Shylock Jones.
A death like this could damage my career.
So at an instant I resolved to see the problem solved;
The villain of the piece would have no prayer.
From the school of Christian Hope,
There's venerable Miss Anne Thrope.
Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew A. Coward (ret.)
Sits with Miss Bea Haven amid the party
Of Miss Ogden-Nest and Professor Arte.
Next is Miss Belle Lief, a lady, who is desired
As the future spouse of the honorable,
Arthur Sleep, MP, who with Mr. I B Croupe
Completes the company.
Now, at last, this vast repast, is thus arranged,
With the full dissembling cast, the past unchanged
As the present that resembles it behind.
I seek a strange deranged and subtle mind.
And so, with the exception of the deceased,
We'll recreate that fatal feast;
Your actions and positions will be defined.
And like Chesterton's dour priest,
I'll unmask the malignant beast.
I'll raise the dead, and heal the sick and blind!
My name is Shylock Jones. Like a whirlwind or cyclone,
I wreck the plans and schemes of evil men.
My name is Shylock Jones. And like a Daniel in his zone,
I'll drive the savage lion from it's den.
And thus begins this real treat.
So pray dig in, indulge and eat.
The marvelous meat and melon lay supine.
A guilty heart might choose to waste,
This truffle mousse and budgie brace.
The craven soul may stew in juice,
To sauté hate and cook it's goose;
The glaze a paste of lemon sauce and lime.
And too much sprung in mintage,
The wine's a dangerous vintage;
It loosens tongues resourced by secret crime.
So if you listen very close, with your senses uppermost,
And your mind, clear and open, as the oceans off the coast.
I'll tell you without boast when I spied the sprawling host,
Sinking to his knees with the excess of the toast.
I saw the game afoot and where foul murder put
Each of you, the suspects, as only genius could.
I winkled out the clues, the greatest skill I used,
Was to listen to the stories you told to be excused.
But let's not neglect our meal, lest it spoil and congeal.
The evil now concealed has no resource.
The shame that I've uncovered, the secrets I've discovered,
Must wait to be revealed, next course!
Dave SmithWhite's Other Poems
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