Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011

Nein Lives

by Simon Finnerty

In number 12, bestiality pines
Lived a strange boy, a German named nein
His father a man, his mother a cat
Well you just couldn’t get any stranger than that!
Where his fingers should be, instead there were paws
And going to school he went on all fours.
“Black cat, stay away!” That’s what the neighbours would say
They treated him no better than any old stray.
“My only friend (sods law) is allergic to me
And he was made up hypothetically!
Should I turn to God? Or even to rum?
Should I just cut my losses and go on the run?”
So he ran to the shore, hid his head in the sand
But the sand kicked him out thought itself was too grand.
So he climbed for refuge in a coconut tree
But it sprouted two legs, turned its back and did flee.
Feeling rejected and feeling despair
Unwilling in life and saying his prayers.
So he jumped from a building, to seal his fate
But glumly found his lives numbered eight.
Drowning himself and hoping for heaven
Unfortunately found he still numbered seven.
Throwing himself onto pokers and sticks
Soon got the point his lives were at six.
Or stabbing himself, with Pat Butchers knives
Let’s cut to the chase of course he was five.
Or bashing his head, ever hard on the floor
Only could ever bring him closer to four.
Starving himself melancholy
Had time to reflect his lives were at three.
Out of a cannon, he shot and he flew
Nearly the one but landed at two.
A falling piano weighing a tonne
Was just the key that would bring him to one.
Now at one and changing his mind
Thinking he might give life a try
Crossing the road whilst pondering it
Did not see the car until he was hit.

Added: 20.04.2011

Judges' comments on this poem


Reminiscent of W.S. Gilbert or Ogden Nash. Great fun!


Feels like two different poems - develop the idea into something more contained; this runs all over the place right now.




Bizarrely brilliant?... Maybe make it longer though, it would make a good short story...