from the Fatrasies d’Arras



A cheese wheel of wool
hauled seven days
to Saint Remy fair
& a jousting dummy
sailed over the Seine
on a fart & a half
Our worlds are so divided
A bloodsucking parasite
said to them: By my soul
I rammed a hogshead of oats
into the ass of an ant


Deep down in a cunt
there lived a badger
weaving gold brocades
& a monk’s cowl
pursued Vermandois
all through Mont Laon
I asked them in Scottish
Could we fatten our peas
with a butterfly’s balls
make castles & belfries
from the penis of a snail?


I saw a tower
with one nimble spin
flung up to the clouds
I watched a noon hour
follow four herons
into an oven
If not for two gnarled sticks
shot from an arbalest
who knocked up two nuns
four unbuttoned tunics
would be incurably dead


A stillborn geezer
with a short sneezer
hefted a windmill
A capsized outhouse
was all fitted out
with two linen sheets
They were all quite astonished
by a small pot of suet
at the gate of a garden
when a rat spread before them
the farts of an old Tartar


Aioli of hay
a cheese made of bread
& beans made of peas
& pebbles of grain
& stones made from lees
& one Gallic Scot
A cat speaking Greekish
took Lord Allan hostage
which became too much trouble
when two high-born monkeys
mounted & rode Vermandois


A wool taffeta
was taking great pains
to fuck a pea pod
To have her veins bled
Great Babylon came
for lessons in French
Vermandois came to fight
& he silently brayed
on a steed of gold braid
Fourteen months fled away
one non-calendrical day


A duckling mustard
dragged Lower Egypt
behind the West Wind
A stiff carriage shaft
battered the cervix
of a basket of air
A cat hawking the moon
took by ambush a tergo
ten ants in a convent
whereupon Paris fled back
from Tyre to the Occident

translated from the Old French by Donato Mancini and Ted Byrne