Designed and built one Saturday,
when I was very bored,
I made a brand new instrument
It was The Turpsichord.
Church organ-like, and very tall,
with keys and stops and throttles,
it made a sound by blowing air
through different turps-filled bottles.
It made a lovely warbling sound
that drew the sharpest breath
rendered all more poignant by
the player’s possible death.
I gathered friends to hear me play.
They coughed and choked and gagged.
I castigated one of them
who nearly lit a fag.*
And soon recitals were performed
to many gathered throngs
to hear selected medleys of
White Spiritual songs.
Performing indoor concert halls
became a thrill again
until The Turpsichord was banned
by Health & Safety men.
I suffered much for all this art.
I played when I was bladdered.
The drinking took my mind off it
this massive fire hazard.
I planned a last performance then,
a swan-song, if you will.
The weight of suffering for my art
had made me very ill.
It had to be an outdoor gig
with careful preparation
to find a way to get around
the government legislation.
And so I played it one last time
the people came from far.
I poured my soul into the songs
then lit a big cigar.
That’s how you end an arty life –
you go out with a bang.
I left the earth for worms to eat
but with a turps-ish tang.
*For the benefit of our American cousins – “fag” is English slang for cigarette. I do NOT set fire to homosexuals.