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Poetry Magnum Opus

On Being a Poet


dedalus

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For no good reason, tell people you are a poet,

look jaded and French, no need to speak the language,

wear pebble sunglasses, a wraparound scarf,

feign wordly pain, cultivate your facial twitches:

 

by God, that will attract the bitches … of both sexes!

Then learn to speak from your solar plexus

as you stab the air with a cigarette, swirling a glass of wine,

modulating your accents: RP, Essex, Cockney, Strine.

 

First things first, get the image right.

People are too dumb or indifferent to doubt you,

they'll become your claque; they'll tout you

long long before you begin to write.

 

But you'll have to write something.

Pick up a newspaper. Read it.

 

Oh, War, oh War …

I don't know what we're fighting for!

We sink into a bog!

I used to have an Afghan friend,

he was my neighbour's dog.

 

Good start, everyone likes a pet …

but you haven't really got going yet.

People is where it's at.

People want to hear about people,

famous people, and not

just any old homeless twat.

Also, they have this fascination,

this adoration of motor cars.

 

Even on faraway Mars

there arose a solemn klaxon

at the death of Michael Jackson!

Tears did fall, they fell,

Oh My God, it was such a terrible knell!

And they did drive around in their GUTs,

7-stroke, 11-cylinder, 6100 ccs,

not quite the same as our SUVs,

but who can say, Yea! Oh, who can tell,

what serious vexing thoughts did trouble them

about the Bee Em Dubyam

that bashed into the pillar, and did spill her

rich royal blood. None of us think it ever should

have hit that column and so we think it was solemn.

Anyway, I'm afraid she died. I cried. So did you.

We felt it awfully through and through,

and I hear that even the population of Guiana

wept bitter tears at the death of Princess Diana.

 

Well, that was the poem that made you famous,

a rival to that navvy Seamus!

It was so tender, so beautiful,

so … Candle in the Wind!

Elton went into Rehab after that one.

 

Keep coming up with these darts

that quiver in the people's hearts,

and just like that, that slithery rat,

Dylan, I hear he was a Milwaukee Jew,

(hardly one of us despite the fuss)

will turn his face, sink without trace,

God knows, he's nothing on you!

 

You shall have no archival rival

from Shakespeare to Lovelace or Milton,

and I will bet you a wheel of Stilton

followed up by a case of champagne,

that nothing, nothing will appear again

in this green and ever-pleasant land

quite so soothing, quite so bland.

 

There is nothing, nothing in the least to fear,

nada nada ... not as far as I can see.

But, tell me, who's this Morrissey?

 

------------------------------------------------------

Just to sidetrack obvious questions:

 

1. There are several factual mistakes in the text and I give you joy in finding them! The narrator, an overbearing twit, is responsible. Not me.

2. RP is "received pronunciation" the standard British 'class' accent enforced by Public (i.e private) Schools and once the only acceptable speech of BBC announcers.

3. Essex (or "Estuary") English is the fashionable slurry mix of RP with downmarket, primarily London, accents. It's supposedly very chic and endemic among models, hip journalists, rock musicians and tabloid celebrities. Frank can tell you more ... after all, he lives in Ealing.

4. Strine is Oss-Strine: kangaroo English.

5. Morrissey is Morrissey (formerly of The Smiths), who currently lives in LA.

Edited by dedalus

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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Let no error deter

the eager amateur

for about his tower

at this fine hour

 

truly wonderful advice was given

quite mad, I was smitten

by a verbose barrage

that made me want to charge

over the ocean to my friend Bren

but was stopped, by the lack of large galoshes

and I don't have a car

and I'm not a star

 

but this made me laugh

and darn good for 'im

 

;-)

 

DC

Gate(less.thumb.png.dc23b19d2478d37a9f6fcdc563973026.pnghttps://conjurd.substack.com/welcome Come on over and check out my poetry substack y'all;-)

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Oh, War, oh War …

I don't know what we're fighting for!

We sink into a bog!

I used to have an Afghan friend,

he was my neighbour's dog.

 

 

Topical reference to the quagmire in Afghanistan.

 

Eloquent and infinitely persuasive write!

 

 

I enjoyed this.

 

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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Frank E Gibbard

I will applaud the satire Bren, not that I have gone to a reading the type is depicted so I can imagine. My mention in your footnote surprised me I am a Londoner I guess but no arbiter of speech fashions. A poem emerged. Frank

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Very interesting poem.

The start is fabulous -

 

For no good reason, tell people you are a poet,

look jaded and French, no need to speak the language,

wear pebble sunglasses, a wraparound scarf,

feign wordly pain, cultivate your facial twitches:

 

I like the language in this poem.

 

The irony is obvious everywhere in your poem and here too:

 

Oh, War, oh War …

I don't know what we're fighting for!

We sink into a bog!

I used to have an Afghan friend,

he was my neighbour's dog.

 

Glad to find to read this Bren.

 

Aleksandra

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's always a pleasure to read you, dedalus. Your language is so lively, content so true. I read from this poem that you urge people (I'll not use "poet" here) to write, wrtie whatever they experience, see, hear, sense, feel, think etc. Just "get the __ out of you", that's what a reader once commented on one of my poems. :blush:

 

I also would love to hear you read it with all the accents you mentioned in the poem. That'll be great fun.

 

Many thanks!

 

Lake

Edited by Lake
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