When Aphorisms Go Bad: A Poem

When Aphorisms Go Bad

The tables are not turned
The belfry has no bats
The bridges are not burned
No dogs rain down nor cats

The wolf no sheep’s clothing wears
The cart is not before the horse
No lad is dry behind the ears
The berth cuts a narrow course

No one is left holding the bag
The bull has left the china shop
Nor is anyone chewing on the rag
No one grabs his horns on top

So far, no one has run amuck
Nothing has gone to pot
The buried hatchet ‘s been dug up
The water you’re in is not hot

The riot act has not been read
You will hear no hue or cry
No one’s teeth are on their edge
No one is eating humble pie

No cake has been taken
No feather nests have been built
No goose has been cooked
No beans have been spilt

No wild oats have been sowed
No hairs have been split
No guns have been jumped
No buckets have been kicked

The cat is safely in the bag
The cows came home by three
The monkeys are out of the barrel
The fly in the ointment is scot-free

It’s not all over but the shouting
Nothing has been brushed off you see
No one has been caught flatfooted
Nor barking up the wrong tree

He was not caught with his pants down
And she didn’t get cold feet
While he the music did not face
Nor she about the bush did beat

He did not go against the grain
She is not out on a limb in fact
No one’s neck has been stuck out
Nor the tar knocked out of him

Damocles’ sword has been sheathed
The Chinaman now has a chance
Things are no longer according to Hoyle
They have cancelled the song and the dance

No wool was pulled over his eyes
She was not sold down the river
No one left him in the lurch
The grapes are not that sour

P’s and Q’s now go unminded
The buck has not been passed around
The kit and caboodle has been abridged
This verse not run into the ground*


* I have not mentioned:
My breeches are not too big
There’s no feather in my cap
I’m not pleased as punch
But I think I will leave it at that!

Jerry Robbins
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