When Mister Nifty Plays the Bones

by Ann Drysdale

With things like tongs in the palm of his hand
Tongue-depressors or langues-de-chat
He tappets the rhythm of his one-man-band
As he struts in the gutter with a tra-la-la.

He twinkles his fingers and he flicks his wrist
Hey-diddle-diddle and fiddle-de-dee
And his two tame twiddlesticks jump and twist
With a click-click-clackety, one-two-three

For Nifty’s bones are made of wood
And they click like sticks with a dry dead clatter
His brass as he passes is loud and good
But his rattling bones are a different matter

His drum tum-tums and his trombone groans
And his hi-hat cymbal softly sighs
But all I can hear is the bones, bones, bones
That sing out the song in his small sad eyes

He dances a foxtrot, quick-quick-slow
And the hi-hat hisses with a whispered yes
But the bones, bones, bones with their no-no-no
Tick-tock to the tune of uselessness

When Mister Nifty dances by
His fingers flicker and his brass bells shine
But a part of my heart feels cold and dry
As his lonely bones cry out to mine.


Much of Ann Drysdale’s writing can be obtained by contacting the author via http://www.poetrypf.co.uk/anndrysdalepage.html.
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