The Rime of the Housemate

· 583 Words

This was a facebook comment that got out of hand. If this isn’t the kind of pointless string of words that belongs in a blog, I don’t know what is. The first part follows the Rime of the Ancient Mariner reasonably closely. The rest correlates with the worst excesses of Roald Dahl at his most metrically depraved.

It is an ancient housemate,

And he washeth one of three.

‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye

Why leave it all to me?’

The washing machine is open wide,

And I am next in line.

Please finish off the job so that,

I also may wash mine.

He holds him with a skinny hand,

‘There was a wash’, quoth he.

‘Hold off! I little care for tales

Make sure it’s clear by three.

Frustrated by the pace, the other

gazed upon the load,

And wishing to go out tonight

With cleanish underclothes.

He holds him with his glistening glove,

The housemate then stood still.

And listens like a fresher would.

Fresh faced and new from school.

‘The load was in, the powder too,

The lock clicked on the door.

The drum did spin, and very soon,

The foaming soap I saw.’

‘The cycle was selected and,

the pre-wash did begin’

The housemate here did beat his breast,

For he left his door keys in!

‘The machine has entered prewash, lo!

The clothes are now well soaked.

Just half an hour until the door,

Then will become unlocked.

‘But then a power cut came, and it was

sudden very dark!

And dogs around the neighbourhood,

Began to wail and bark.

‘And with a slow and grinding noise,

The drum stopped with a croak.

The contents of that dread machine,

Were no more being soaped.

‘But soon enough the power came,

And lights began to hum.

But grinding noises then began,

To issue from the drum.

‘All through the day that dread machine,

Some frightful noise produced.

And issued from its growling bowels,

A sound to scare the deuce.’

‘God save thee, ancient housemate,

From the trouble on your mein,

Why look’st thou so?'-  ‘With my spare keys.

I broke the damn machine.’


‘And then, I turned my hand to cups,

(All mine I must confess),

and dishes too, they’re piling up

(as you have oft professed)

‘So next I donned the marigolds,

I found a pair that fit.

Both hung up by the toilet bowl,

I thought that you’d permit.

‘Returnèd I back to the sink,

To do the washing up.

But in the dark confusion,

I’d somehow smashed a cup.

‘You will recall I have a way

of never wearing shoes.

I find Buddhism provides for me

A good enough excuse.

‘And so around the kitchen

when I pace the tiles at night

I always make a habit of

Ensuring there is light.

‘The sudden loss of power, well

it really quite surprisèd me

There was no time to find my torch

I walked around by memory.

But I was then quite unprepared,

To step upon that broken mug.

And with the unexpected pain,

I also smashed a jug.’

‘And so, you see’, he shed a tear,

‘Regard my feet, regard the smear,

of blood across the tiled floor,

Don’t make me suffer any more!’

So once again, just one last time,

The washing stays upon the side.

The laundry never made the line,

The washer door hangs open wide,

The cups are broke, the washer too,

The marigolds back by the loo.


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