Middle Class Decline

people in train
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Middle Class Decline

The world goes by on its way to work,
Quite happy – well happy enough, anyway –
Where poetry books are barely a quirk,
So little do they enter the fray
Of the working world in its working week
To render it a freak to thus
See one being read on the bus.
With sales so low and style so high,
They see no need to try to fathom out
Just what some faff-about is trying to say.
Those pseudy slims are best ignored
By the sensibly-shod of the hurrying horde
On a busy and bullshit-less day.

What they need is football, and punk rock, and thrillers,
And X-Box, and coffee, and soaps, and painkillers
And roses, and downloads, and sheds full of spanners,
And gardens with blue tits, and holiday planners,
And magazine fashions and diet’ry trends
And so many relatives, hook-ups and friends,
So is it a wonder they haven’t the time
For the nuance of slam or the absence of rhyme ?
And the world goes by on its way back home,
Too busy for chapbooks of monochrome.



Lost Couplets from The Auguries of Innocence

William Blake by Thomas Phillips


Lost Couplets from The Auguries of Innocence

A louse plucked from a child’s hair
Shall cause this world to grow less fair.

A guinea worm dug from an eye
Shall leave behind a greater stye.

A flea disturbed before she dines
Is desecration of the shrines.

For veins of blood washed free of flukes
Shall topple kings and pillage dukes.

Each tapeworm flushed from out the gut
Shall see our stenchful filth in glut.

And tortures wait in Hell for he
Who cures amoebic dysent’ry.







I can’t be bothered to rhyme,
Though I probably will…

They sneak upon me, hidden from ear,
Slotting-in at the end of lines,

My tell-tale style,
As it were…

If I try to keep them out
The lines sound bare,

Or false and strained, somehow…
I know there’s some about,

But I can’t tell where…
Oh…yeah…I see them now…



Robinless Rounds

christmas present
The Ghost of Christmas Present by John Leech


Robinless Rounds

Pass another mince pie, then,
And oh, another tot ?  Why not !
Now don’t hold back, I’ll tell you ‘when’,
Is this the only one we’ve got ?
We’ve plenty others, I could swear,
At least a dozen…Gone, you say ?
Ah well, I’m sure I had my share
When you came round the other day
But no, of late I haven’t written much,
Who wants that slog ?
I’m not concerned I’ve lost my touch –
They’ll flow again, just like this grog…
I say, this is a cosy time,
A cosy time, I always say,
Who cares about the bloody rhyme ?
I’ll write some verse another day.
Def’nitely, though, come next year,
Give or take a month or two,
But well before the Spring is here
I’ll knuckle down to something new:
Sonnets, ballads, villanelles
I’ll drink to that !  Hang on, I’m dry –
Here, fill me up, a double Bells,
And ooh, is that a mincemeat pie…?



Fractured Metre

Evgeny Chirikov by Ivan Kulikov


Fractured Metre

There comes a time in ev’ry poet’s jotter-book,
A time when odes and ballads must be set aside,
Where clever wordplay fails to catch the sombre mood,
And pleasing couplets suffer from a glut of rhyme.
And so the chastened poet takes a modern look,
Discarding all the baggage that had been their guide –
All that regularity – predictable and crude –
And even rhythms jangle with their tyranny of time.
That stuff works for jokey stuff
For dum-de-dum and call-my-bluff
But how can Terror, how can Truth
Be captured in the games of youth ?

And so there comes a time when ev’ry poet
Makes the same mistake they always make –
They try to turn their free-verse loose, because
They think that’s how such verse must be –
Instead, they force unforcèd-ness, and blow it !
Instead, their archful art is bland and fake.
And finally, they see what skilful rhyming does:
It emphasises by its very unreality.
The Light Brigade, Decorum est,
They fuck you up, Before I rest
A decent couplet tells us what
A thousand noble words cannot.



Overwrought & Underage

close up of heart shape
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Overwrought & Underage

“All teenagers write poetry, alas.” – Ricky Rawlings

Verses for the writing-of than reading-out –
Verses, it is often said,
The better to be left unread
Than wallow in the gloomy, doomy Plath-itudes they spout.
Breaking rules because they’re rules,
And rhyming words that barely rhyme:
They have the will, they have the tools,
Yet cannot make their couplets chime.

So unpolished, and yet so smooth of face,
Just wide-eyed cynics unaware of what they can’t achieve –
So desperately earnest and so hopelessly naïve,
(With both the dots obsessively in place.)
Derivative and doctrinaire,
Just swotty, spotty pedants with delusions of a cosmic truth.
But honestly, we’ve all been there –
For ev’ry famous poet was an adolescent in their youth:

Torrid teenage Tennyson,
And Dylan-esque and Lennon-ish,
And shilly-shally Percy Bysshe
And happy Hardy, anyone ?
It’s true – I may not be as great
As any muse you care to rate,
But oh, when I was but a lad
I drivelled ev’ry bit as bad !

So sport your hearts out, mopey mop-heads-
And set our world to right by writing,
Set our toothless prose to biting –
Wither with your punks and drop-deads.
Be yourselves and be your worst,
And wring out ev’ry beat and letter –
Never stop your foolish verse
Until your verse is better.