(in response to Don McLean’s Vincent)
You often speak of they and them,
So, so shall I.
You see, I’m firmly one of them
Whom you decry as sheep or swine
Who are too careless with their gaze.
But Don, I also use that phrase,
I also have my thems and theys –
And you are one of mine.
For you, like they, have ordered me
To venerate their saints:
Picasso, Rothko and Matisse –
Apostles in their paints.
Never must my adulation cease
Upon your feted clutch –
But who’s the Zeus of all these gods ?
Of course, your martyred Dutch !
I know, I know, it’s treason,
But I still think that depression,
Though it’s pretty good a-reason
Is a really bad excuse
For his whingey self-obsession,
And his self-harming abuse,
And for his total lack of wit,
And being such an all-round shit.
But what’s the use ? You won’t agree.
And truth to tell, that was obtuse of me –
Both me and him are far more complicated
Than we either you or I have stated.
And anyway, let’s judge the work and not the man –
Who cares if he’s a relic or a brash young Turk ?
Except you’re doing all you can
To make the man the work.
So here I stand – a heretic –
A unbowed Philistine and hick.
For Don, though I can listen fine,
I’ll never like the tune he played.
Ironic’ly, I quite like yours –
A modern hymn to hector and persuade.
I guess that Vincent makes you happy,
And for that, I’m happy too.
Just never try to set me free.
With love, from one of them, to you.