“PHANTASMAGORA” by Jan Darling




A Cat who writes rhymes has some terrible times

Bowing three times ev’ry time the clock chimes

It’s a dreadful affliction – and this is no fiction

(Cat uses a mirror to practise his diction)

But who can speak clearly when facing the floor

You’re bowing so low you can’t see the door!


People can enter and give you a fright

Closing the door and dowsing the light

Now a Cat like me who’s brimful of glee

Who knows his numbers and his ABC.

Is understood often by only a few

Like Snakes and Reindeer and Penguins called Hugh.


May we speak of the Penguin in suit so formal?

Worn nine to five? now that’s not normal!

The Penguin I speak of had moved from the Zoo

Reinvented himself and now is called Hugh

His beak is real shiny, his feathers so neat

His suit’s always pressed – right down to his feet.


It started to rain Hugh needed a brolly

You’d think that a Penguin would find that a folly!

But Hugh likes to be dry, as well as unique

So I found him a brolly to hold by the beak.

(My friend the Eagle, inventor of things,

Gave Hugh his beak and spread his wings.)


Hugh was delighted and thrilled with the choice

Only one problem – he had no voice.

He flapped his wings and created a breeze

Hugh answered this by tight’ning his squeeze

‘You’re strangling me, Hugh, please loosen your grip

Or when I am free I’ll nip on your lip.’


Out came the Sun, just in time for that bird

Who now to anger had felt himself stirred

He pecked at poor Hugh with fearsome pleasure

And ruffled his feathers for really good measure.

Do that once more and I’ll call the Cat

And he will transform you into a bat!’


Phantasmagora, the rhyming Cat’s name,

(For that silly label his aunt got the blame)

Had silenced the clocks all over the house,

So instead of bowing, he listened to Strauss.

From bowing so often he had a sore back

The ducktor did nothing – he was only a quack.


But Phantasmagora had magical powers

Like changing the weather and bringing on showers.

It was he who’d helped Hugh to escape from the Zoo,

He’d looked for a Penguin, a shrew or gnu,

Someone useful to him who’d keep the place nice

Free of termites and fleas and camels and mice.


His choice of Hugh had turned out quite well

The house was clean, with a pleasant smell

And Hugh lived on a diet of laughter and fishes

Which perfectly matched his employer’s wishes

He liked to be flattered, that Phantasmagora

So Hugh had to say ev’ry day ‘I adore ya’ .


The moral of this, it must be said

Is never eat rice or porridge in bed

Rice has hard grains

That just give you pains

And porridge is horrid

When it lands on your head.


2 thoughts on ““PHANTASMAGORA” by Jan Darling

  1. What wonderful fun! I shall share this with Serenity my oldest granddaughter (unfortunately the only one of three resident in Australia) when I see her in a few days.
    Thank you for sharing this with me.
    With best wishes

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