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Jonathan ROBIN

(22 September / London)

Those Daily Bills - 0466 - Current Version of Daily Couplets


Monday Morning, full of dread, we pray
the postman few new bills will bring our way:
on wishing well of wishful thinking play
bust more than boom spells doom that's here to stay

Tuesday brings some more scored, still we wait
while writing verses making light of weight:
yet La Fontaine in fable mocks the gait
of dancing cricket's woe, repayments late.

Wednesday wears on, wilts, no more to bloom,
while wor[l]ds spin out till they themselves entomb.
From baillifs at the door naught can restore
the poor to former glories of full store.

Thursday's thunder mocks the toiling throng,
its passing joys are sold short for a song:
Slight thanks from banks for custom past and long
when, overdrawn, wrung hands land warning strong.

Friday freedom offers brief relief
with weekend worry, working week sums grief:
no fish, no dish, no pendants signed Van Cleef,
but fly-by-night departure like a thief.

Saturday dream theme sings of sweet reward
from toil and trouble free, spare cash to hoard:
life's lottery no gains shows on record,
when all is said and done, no bed and board.

Sunday is a pillow-time between
the bills to come and those, unpaid, that lien
let doomed foreclosure hang upon the scene:
'forgiveness is divine'? - no pardon's seen!

Frustration, stress, in context self-destruct,
leave life as from which no thorns are plucked.

Submitted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Edited: Monday, March 25, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

For previous version entitled Daily Couplets see below.

Monday Morning, full of dread, we pray
the postman no new bills will bring our way.

Tuesday brings no more, and still we wait
while writing verses making light of weight.

Wednesday wears on, wilts, no more to bloom,
while wor[l]ds spin out till they themselves entomb.

Thursday's thunder mocks the toiling throng,
its joys as passing as its hours are long.

Friday freedom offers those who, tired,
for weekends long when, working week expired,

they taste on Saturday the just reward
of toil and trouble, free from all discord.

Sunday is a pillow-time between
the week to come and that which has just been.

(26 October 1991)


Daily Couplets was revised 18 March 2013 entitled Those Daily Bills. Although the first version was in fact written 26 October 1991 it might appear in hindsight to be a parody of Mark Twain whose poem was Those Annual Bills fortuitously discovered on 27 July 2008 on reading Leo Long's take which follows

These annual bills! these annual bills!
How many a song their discord trills
Of 'truck' consumed, enjoyed, forgot,
Since I was skinned by last year's lot!

Those joyous beans are passed away;
Those onions blithe, O where are they?
Once loved, lost, mourned—now vexing ills.
Your shades troop back in annual bills!

And so 'twill be when I'm aground
These yearly duns will still go round,
While other bards, with frantic quills,
Shall damn and damn these annual bills!
Mark Twain

Those Monthly Bills

Those monthly bills, oh how they irk
but they're the cause of why I work
To taste the sweet so dearly earned
is but to greet one lesson learned

Of cash consumed and ledger books
and old receipts in cardboard nooks
I struggle sure to tie loose ends
but find myself in debt again

A slave I am to mortal needs
and all those things on which they feed
I'll work ‘til death if that's my fate
and then decide which bills can wait

This castle mine is but a home
and reign I will if left alone
To work like mad from dusk to dawn
All mighty king, you're but a pawn!
Leo Long

As a general rule, the number in the title refers to the chronological order of the first version unless the poem was omitted from the original list and rediscovered. Revised versions retain the initial number. Kindly request permission before posting elsewhere.

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