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Poetry Magnum Opus

Changing Courses


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It’s not a thing you think much about

unless your pride, for some reason,

is affronted: somebody pushes you

in a cinema queue, your girlfriend dumps you

and this unreasoning rage overwhelms you

and you want to kill. You are quite capable of killing.

This is what governments depend upon

in times of war. It is so easy to get young men

to kill one another with bombs and bayonets.


DNA, nurture, toilet training.

Most of all schooling, I think.

We bash one another on the rugby pitch

with sheer delight in bone-crushing tackles,

smashing into people we were talking to

yesterday evening over tea and biscuits

in a genuine effort to break bones or cause

permanent disabilities: my dear chap, so sorry.

It’s just the sort of thing one does, you see.


The weak go under and the strong survive,

trailing their knuckles along the ground

along the raked driveways of carefully assorted pebbles.

The worst of them go into the Army or Navy

and the rest of us open discos or restaurants.

I jest. We go into Law or the City or Business

or become one-hit super rock musicians

to die then wretchedly of an overdose in Battersea

or some other such unspeakable place.


One should actually live in the river, not to be north or south of it.


The Irish, I have been reliably told, make jokes about us,

far more clever (damn them!) than the witless Scots,

and as for the Welsh, I rather shudder to mention them:

they live off there in the West, muttering among themselves

in some unintelligible jargon, shooting dark looks here and there,

and pretending to be rather clever, if you please.

I don’t know what this country is coming to, I must say

it has changed a great deal since I was a British Bulldog,

huffing, puffing and running about, doing rather senseless things


Which is the essence of being English. These bloody Celts!

I wish they had packed up and departed when we arrived,

But oh, no! Oh no no. Insisted on outlasting their welcome.

Dagger in the back as soon as you look at them, the knaves!

Rather fetching women (rather!) some catchy little tunes,

but no sense of propriety, none, no savoir de faire.

They insisted on all those idiotic battles with their antique weapons

along with the howling of their bagpipes like quarreling cats.

My dear, the noise, the noise! There were times one could feel quite unwell.


My ancestor’s advice was to murder the lot of them, man woman and child.

Sound, solid reasoning. It would have become a green and pleasant land

full of happy cheerful Englishmen with all the local vermin removed:

alas, this was not to be. This poxy island will sit next to us forever

with its breezy informality, its diddly-ai silly music, its disrespect,

its archaic alternative view of history.

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

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I won't even pretend to begin to understand the complex history and present day situation, but I do love to learn. Gleaning insightful information from a well-arranged work of art is always a pleasure.



Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Larsen M. Callirhoe

this wallops a punch with a spicy bark also. all the elements of what makes a awesome poem is captured here. the essences of poetic verse is why most of us here on this forum write poetry. and i whole-heartedly enjoyed this. some of the lines in this is so true, well written, and well placed. i for one get this completely, but then again some of the stuff you wrote about here i have experienced personally myself. you certainly pulled out all the stunts and all i can say is wow. thank you.




Larsen M. Callirhoe

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