Go back to selected version, The Keyes Garden of Verses [with portrait of Scott Keyes and list of his poetry booklets]

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Go back to Ralph Keyes website

The Keyes Garden of Verses

[unabridged version]

Scott Keyes
Champaign, Ill.

Gentle Subversive

      Faster than a
            Ten second commercial
      Flashing past glazed
            Unresisting eyes
      Who is this pricking
            The social cerebrum ?
      Who but the one
            Subliminal Keyes !


      I can manage
            My money
      Down to the
            Last dime
      But oh ! how I wish
            I could
      Manage my

Big Busyness

      Whenever I think that
            I might like to snooze
      I'm stopped in my tracks by
            That list of to-do's


      Somehow my time
            Never quite suffices
      To use all my labor-
            Saving devices.

Two Loves

      I love to read till
            Late at night.
      I love to watch the
      But when I try them
            Both I find
      I spend the whole day

Pack Rat


      I never like to
            Throw away things
      Because I've learned
            To my sorrow
      That anything I
            Dispose of to-day
      I'm certain to want

Pack Rat


      What I'll toss when
            I run out of space
      I'm not quite sure
            That I see
      But if nothing else
            Is disposable
      I guess it will have
            To be me.

The Gardener

      I never like to
            Start from seeds
      Because I'm
      I find that I can
            Never thin
      Them out when they
            Have started.

It Isn't The Heat ...

      When the weather gets
            Hot and humid
      There are things that
            Make me unhappy.
      The crackers don't
            Seem to crack
      And the ginger snaps
            Aren't very snappy.

Hard To Please

      Two things really
            Have me beat.
      One is cold,
            The other, heat.

Morning Prayer

      Give me this day my
            Daily shower
      But even more so
            Give me the power
      Somehow to be
            Able to choose
      Among all those thousands
            Of shampoos.

Give Me A Hint


      I always know what
            I'd like to get
      Except when it comes
      But darn it — right at
            The crucial time
      I just can't seem to

Give Me A Hint


      Whenever you ask what
            I'd like for Christmas
      Why do I always find myself
            List - less ?


      In youth I tried
            With all my might
      To get the country
            Running right.

      In later years
            I've come to see
      The universe needs
            Help from me.

Golden Years

      It's so wonderful when
            You're in my arms
      And the tip of your cigarette's
      And gently you put your
            Lips on mine
      And between us the smoke is

      Soon we'll be on the
            Other side, and
      Just think — there we'll
            Be able
      To light up again in the
            Same old way
      And forget what it says on
            The label.

Puff, Puff, Puff
That Cigarette

      Ashes to ashes
            And dust to dust
      If the GASPers don't get you
            The Smoke Enders must.

Kitchen Drudge

      A man who retires
            Soon understands
      What his wife always meant by
            Dishpan hands.

Social Security

      I think that I shall
            Never see
      A number that looks
            Quite like me.

Big Is Beautiful

      Most people like
            King size these days
      And America sure
            Has 'em —
      The car, the jet,
            The cigarette
      And even the

Boxed Out

      I wonder if I'll
            Ever be able
      To see my kids at
            The breakfast table.

Double Whammy

      I love my neighbor's
            Well groomed lawn
      But not his
            Power mower.
      It's nice he has
            A stereo
      But I wish he'd play it


      What is a Fate that is
            Worse than Death ?
      What indeed but to
            Have Bad Breath !

Room Mate

      My daughter has
            Moved in with
      Someone to
      But since he's
            No in-law
      I feel rather

Fifty / Fifty

      I hope the day is not far off
            When women have an equal say
      In running the affairs of state
            It surely will be best that way.

      We need the type of
thought they bring —
            Sagacity and wit and charm.
      But should they pass
the half-way mark
            My hope could soon become alarm!

How's That Again ?

      The world is so full
            Of a number of things
      I'm sure we should all
            Be as nervous as kings.

Balancing Act

      Thank you, I'd rather
            Not trust my fate
      To a balance of power
            Worked out by the state.

      If you want to know
            What makes me queasy
      Do you find balancing
            Your checkbook easy ?

Peace Is Our business

      Twinkle, twinkle little star
            How I wonder if you are
      Loaded up with weaponry
            To protect the likes of me.

On a Certain bomber

      I never saw
            A purple cow
      I never hope to
            See one.
      But I'll tell you
            This much anyhow —
      Rather that than
            B - 1.

Those Reports on
Arms Control and Disarmament

      They say the road to hell
            Is paved with excellent
            But statistics also should
      Be given honorable

Fellow Traveller

      I shudder whenever
            I open the door
      And see you scuttle
            Across the floor.

      Yet really I think that
            I should ask why
      Since you've been around
            Much longer than I.

      You've seen species come
            And you've seen them go
      And I'm sure in that stubby
            Black body you know

      That you will reflect
            On the human condition
      Long after we've blown
            Ourselves to perdition.

Shopping Spree

      To market
            To market
      To get
            One small item
      Bot oh ! how
            My buying
      Goes ad-

The Shopper

      Rings on her fingers
            And bells on her toes
      She shall have Muzak
            Wherever she goes.

New, Bigger, Better

      When the package practically
            Reaches out
      To grab me as I
            Go by
      To tell me how much
            Improved it is
      I begin to ask myself
            "Why... ?".

Now They Tell Me

      New, bigger, better —
            Have I been had ?
      Was last year's product
            All that bad ?

Big Sale

      It's a curious thing
            I can't quite comprehend
      When they tell me I'll save more
            The more that I spend.

Survival Skill

      Of all the skills you
            Need to have
      To me there's nothing
            Plainer —
      Somehow you've simply
            Got to learn
      To open a

Wrapped in Cellophane

      When you mention
      My reaction is

Don't Litter

      The bottles and cans
            That are non-
            Have messages that
      Are unctuous and

The Eyes Have It

      A Congressional Medal
            Of Honor should go
      To the greatest benefactor
            I know —
      The person who was
            The first one to see
      That he could make
            Frozen chopped onions for me.

Basket Case

      I'm not afraid of
            Anything major
      But when a slightly crazed
            Housewife goes
      Careening by with
            All of those groceries
      I'm scared to death for
            My ankles and toes.

Born Loser

      In guessing which
            Check-out line
      Will move
            Tells me I'm
      Not a good

Drug Store

      This must be the place —
            It fits the description.
      Do you think they can really
            Fill a prescription ?

Beauty Salon

      I heard that the Russians
            Have recently learned
      How to keep people
            From growing old.

      It just goes to show
            How backward they are —
      It's done all the time
            In our country, I'm told.

Short Weekend

      For six days God labored
            Then made a decision
      To knock off the next day
            And watch television.

The Mob

      If procrastination's the
            Thief of time
      Then video must be
            Organized crime.

Information Overload

      So many media
            So much news
      My poor head's going to
            Blow a fuse.

What Did He Say ?

      When my mind starts
            To wander
      At the end
            Of the day
      I wish Cronkite
            Could give me
      An instant

Contact Lenses

      From Walter on down
            You can have them all.
      Just give me back
            My Leslie Stahl !

Strange Interlude

      Peculiar things happen
            to water consumption
      Between "Now this message ..."
            And program resumption.

Give Me Liberty

      My newspaper has
            An advantage
      Which is nice but
            Hardly surprising.
      How many options
            Are open
      When I get to the
            Advertising !

Laxative Commercial

      I never would have
            Suspected it —
      So many people
            So full of shit.

Situation Comedy

      I seldom laugh
            At the programs
      I'm afraid more often
            I frown
      Since I always feel
            So sorry
      For the one they're
            Putting down.


      Whenever I don't have
            The energy
      To get up and
            Turn off the set
      Once the show that
            I wanted has ended
      I guess I deserve
            What I get.

Bon Appetit

      The menu is so
            Big and exciting —
      Do you think that the food will be
            Just as inviting ?

Words, Words, Words

      If all of the french fries
            Were golden and crispy
      And all of the whipped potatoes
            Were fluffy
      I think I could really enjoy
            Eating out
      And not walk away from a place
            Feeling huffy.


      When I see those
            Help Wanted ads that say
      "Cook — No Experience Needed"
            I remember the
      Restaurant meals I've tried
            To eat and haven't succeeded.

Fast Food

      It's all right with me
            If you want that franchise
      But I can't eat another
            Burger and fries !

Advice to Holiday Inn

      I would like
            A surprise —
      No French
            Fries !

Faithful Driver

      When fifty-five is
            What they say
      How can I ever keep
            Out of the way ?

Easy rider

      It may be smart
            To be a
                  Fast driver
      But I think I'd
            Rather be


      So many reporters and
      With all of their
            different views
      Coming at me from
            All directions
      And hounding me with the news...

      Books, newspapers and
      And radio
            And TV...
      How can I possibly find out
            What's going on —
      will somebody please
            Tell me ?


      In olden times a mounted knight
            Might have to drop his visor
      To say something, but now-a-days
            We feel that we are wiser.

      Our armor is much roomier
            And we can get there quicker
      While anything we have to say
            Goes on a bumper sticker.


      A hair shirt has
            A message to tell
      But I find a T-shirt
            Does just as well.

Dry Cereal

      That out-size box
            With the send-for-me label
      Inhibits the talk at
            Our breakfast table.

Coming of Age

      A savage may
            Achieve manhood
      By putting a ring
            Through his nose.
      But the intellectual
            Does it
      By grinding out
            Scholarly prose.

A Thing of Beauty Is
A Joy Most of the Time

      The postoffice uses such
            Good taste — what joy
                  A postage stamp brings !
      I wish I had equally
            Good taste after
                  Licking the doggone things.

The Big Picture

      I'm puzzled how any
            Collection of facts
      Can be said to resemble
            A big ball of wax.

Keep it clean

      Has anybody
            Around here seen
      A used car dealer whose
            Cars aren't clean ?


      I used to like the
            Simple words, but
                  Now-a-days, my gracious
      I've had to shift to
            Sprightly, animated or


      I wish they hadn't
            Stolen away
      That word which means
            You're happy — gay.

More Robbery

      And another word they've
            Stolen away —
      Just look what "Explicit..."
            Means to-day.

X - Rated

      Most adults soon learn
            As they go about town
      How different an adjective is
            From a noun.


      Now that I'm grown up
            I hope my activities
      Aren't limited to movies
            With certain proclivities.


      I don't have
            Much time
      For poems that
            Don't rhyme.


      Whenever they tell you
            The verse is free
      Prepare yourself for some


      I wonder if I'll
            Ever see
      A poet familiar with

Lines Dedicated to
Representative Helen Satterthwaite

      She who works
            And stops to play
      May live to work
            Another day.

Lines Dedicated to
Francis Francois

      I hope the folks in Illinois
            Appreciate the name Francois.
      We never call it Illi-nwah
            So why should he be Frank Fran-swah ?

Ode to
Dr. Alex Comfort

      How do I love thee ?
            Let me count the ways...

Praise the Lord

      I don't fear God
            Since I know what
                  He's made of.
      It's all of those
            Helpers down here
                  I'm afraid of.

It Takes two

      I've always heard
            To the contrary
      But nevertheless
            I believe
      Though the blessed
            May be the givers
      It's a harder job
            To receive.


      Some things are quite
            Beyond my ken .
      My ignorance is
            Abysmal .
      Like why, when we have
            A bumper crop
      Is the outlook all that

Triple Threat

      Parkinson's Law and the
            Peter Principle
      Appear to make Murphy's Law
            Almost invincible.


      When a man's wife is happy
            And greatly desired
      He may find that her housekeeping
            Isn't inspired.

Go back to selected version, The Keyes Garden of Verses [with portrait of Scott Keyes and list of his poetry booklets]

Go back to Gene Keyes website

Go back to Ralph Keyes website