Karl Parsons

Search on-line for ‘My bath has two silver taps’ and you will learn more that you will ever, ever need to know about silver taps, but you won’t be led to the poet who used it as a first line.

The Stained Glass Museum in Ely Cathedral has several windows by Karl Parsons for example, St Columba and Christ the Good Shepherd from the church of St Michael, Sulhamstead (1913). Parsons (1884 – 1934) worked in an Arts and Crafts style and is noted for his draughtsmanship and fine derailing, the richness of his colours and his ability to render on glass fabrics that look velvety to touch.  His art is little-known outside the stained class world and he is probably even less well-known anywhere as a poet.  In 1929 the Medici Society published a collection of his whimsical childrens’ poems under the title Ann’s Book, illustrated by his daughter Jacynth.

My Bath

My bath has two silver taps,

And a hole, and a silver chain,

And a toast-rack, for the soap and sponge

When you put them back again.

And a Gurgling Noise in the drain.

If you tread on the Gurgling Noise, your toe

Sticks so tight that you can’t let go.

Hammer and Tongs

O hark to the haut-boys, give ear to the gongs,

That sound for the Tourney of Hammer and Tongs

The clang-tankerous sound to which everyone throngs…

(From a comic poem by Parsons, possibly a parody of ‘I hear along our street’ (Dunster Carol))

A Pity

The birds are not friendly with Cat –

And it isn’t much wonder they aren’t!

I wish I could alter just that

Of the thousands of things that I can’t.

The birds are such darlings and Cat is so sweet,

But everything seems sort of made on a slant –

What about me liking chicken to eat?

Photos: 1. Ann’s Book; 2. Christ the Good Shepherd; 3. Hammer and Tongs; 4. St Columba

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