Poetry No Thanks

BBC Microphone by Matt Brown

Poetry No Thanks

Once you had the finest actors
Reading the finest verse.
These days, all you have are poets –
Humourless, or ever worse…-
Picking po-faced prosy poems
With not a single rhyme,
So self-important now,
And yet won’t stand the test of time.

What happened to the punk sensibility
Of doing-it-yourself, and damn the rules ?
Now it’s a lit-fest for middle-class luvvies
With their tortured trochees taught in schools.
Your audience is tiny and shrinking,
With afternoon Sundays such a bore –
But you tick the boxes and fill the quotas,
And isn’t that what poetry’s for ?

Once you had the finest actors
Reading the finest verse,
But now your budget is slashed,
And your ambition must fit your purse.
They read them out in lilting whinges,
Full of I Me Mine –
Come on, Roger, cheer us up,
With a quick and witty line !

Ivory Garrets

Photo by Nguyen Nguyen on Pexels.com

Ivory Garrets

Is anyone more self-obsessed than a poet ?
Raging and swooning and preaching out loud –
These lilting doom-mongers and told-you-so know-it-alls,
Playing their ev’ry stray thought to the crowd.

Smugger than columnists, vainer than vloggers,
Oblivious pedants and bleeding-heart pseuds –
Even the Northerns are middle-class floggers
Who castigate readers for wrong attitudes.

With relevance dwindled and audience bored,
With their meanings obscured and their verbiage enlarged,
They choose to ignore how the world has ignored them –
They’re people like me, infact – guilty as charged.

Nashtiche

Not only can I not find out who drew this caricature, but I’m not even sure that it is of Ogden.

Nashtiche

Ogden Nash, a curious beast,
A sentiment-famine and sarcasm-feast,
A mem’rable name from another age,
A cynical-eyed bespectacled sage.
A clutter of couplets, a strenuous rhyme,
A rapid-fire rhythm in Brooklyn time.
And puns by the plenty, both groaners and snorters –
Whicj when we try to quote, we forget three-quarters.

Oh yeah, fourteen…

Oh yeah, fourteen…

What’s that ?  This is a sonnet, you say ?
Are you sure ?  It seems all at sevens-and-nines…
A sonnet, I thought, is an interplay,
And not just four quatrains missing two lines ?
And honestly, this is a mess, all the way,
With less imag’ry and more warning signs –
It just about holds to its rhythm okay,
Though that cannot be said of its half-arsed rhymes.
Regarding its volta…I guess that it has one,
Though hardly a good one, it’s barely defined –
And when it resolves, well, at least there’s no pun !
So, C+ for effort…and that’s being kind…!
If this is a sonnet, there’s loads for the taking…
Then…oh no !…is that all the point that it’s making…?

Confidentity

Crown by Ben Ashton

Confidentity

I know I’m good,
But I’m all alone in knowing,
And there’s no-one shares my faith –
I know I’m good,
But my telephone ain’t blowing,
And there’s no-one cares one-eighth.
I never meant to be misunderstood,
But I can’t make them see it in my neighbourhood –
And even a tree has less dead wood than me,
I’m just a nobody who knows he’s good,
But the world will not agree.
I know, I know, I could be mad,
A self-deluding lad
Who wants to crow –
I guess I’ll never let it go…

I know I’m good,
But I’m all Jack Jones to know it,
And I’m very out of style –
I know I’m good,
But my funny bones don’t show it,
When they just can’t raise a smile.
I don’t understand why I’m misunderstood,
Like it’s all been planned thus for my victimhood –
From Sunderland to Hollywood, I’m panned
I’m just a jobbing hand who knows he’s good,
But the world is old and bland.
I know, I know, I could be wrong,
Deluded all along –
But I don’t think so.
I’ll guess I’ll give it one more go…

The Last Poem I’ll Ever Write

Echoes by Jesse Lane

The Last Poem I’ll Ever Write

To write a poem was the task
I set out to achieve.
Surely that’s not much to ask,
An easy art in which to bask –
With so few words upon the page,
I’ll strut upon their verbal stage
With fiery passion, gothic rage,
And earn myself a healthy wage.

But as I try to flow my words
I suddenly recall
That prior to my boast absurd,
’Twas but with prose my voice was heard.
So now I’m fighting to define
A rhythm with no sense of time.
I jar the meter, strain the rhyme,
And hammer into place the line.

With plaintext, now, there is no squeeze,
Just liberty unbound –
No form to keep, or rhyme appease,
I use what words I bloody please.
And yet for all it has to tell
Such prose so slowly works its spell –
But poems rouse and poems quell
So swift, so much, and so damned well.

And so shall I, if my lines loose
Can all join up in rhyme –
Too oft, alas, I’m chasing goose
When searching for a couplet’s deuce.
Some perfect words, oh yes !  Oh no !
The rhymes are close, they almost go –
If we can just pronounce them so ?
They almost work, will have to do.

In fact, I see I’m not alone,
For even pros get stumped.
For even poets have been known
To clank a line they cannot hone.
No more these pointless rhymes unwise !
No more these hamstrung verbal ties !
For when it works, it sings and flies,
And when it stalls, it chokes and dies.

Of course, I need not rhyme my song,
’Tis only one approach.
But to me it seems quite wrong
Rejecting this tradition long
While this art’s held in modish grip
Abhorring letting couplets slip.
I want a rhyme that darts and skips,
Not prose that’s hacked-up into strips.

And even then, I’ve had to cheat,
My second lines hang loose.
My own command I cannot meet,
Such irony is harsh defeat.
I pad-out lines with rhymes so fake
And tenuous for rhyming’s sake,
While half the points I try to make
Won’t fit this rigid frame,
and break.

So this quaint need I hold so dear
For ‘proper’ poetry
Will thwart me now from making clear
That which I wish the world to hear –
My feeble efforts howl with pain,
My content swamped in verbal strain,
My labours wasted, all in vain !

I shan’t be trying this again.

Less Bohemian, More Czech

Less Bohemian, More Czech

All great Artists have a vice,
But I’m a tepid type –
I try to keep my manners nice
And give no cause for hype.
I’ll never be a rabble-rousing rebel,
Nor a cad,
Just knocking back the trebles
On my way to going mad,
With my pockets full of pebbles
And a need for worship bad
I’m much more pipe-and-slippers (less the pipe).
I guess I am a Larkin or an Eliot at heart
Than a Dylan or a Kingsley with a passion full of art –
I mean, I have a mongrel and a mortgage for a start !
And I always found Romantics over-ripe.
I guess I’m not an Artist-capital-A,
But that’s okay.
(And it really ain’t my mode, that way.)
I’m hardly a conspiracist, eccentric and uncouth,
I’m not a Goth or horny toad, or tender, tortured youth,
Or rainbow-dressed consumptive who is dying for some Truth –
That’s just a load of self-obsessing tripe !

Unfinished

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

Unfinished

Must not lie back on the poems I’ve written,
Those sonnets and couplets are all in the past –
Thoughts from a week ago, month ago, years,
Thoughts of their moment, but never my last.
Haven’t I changed since, even a little bit ?
Diff’rently conscious, evolving, hard-won.
Got to keep writing, keep feeling, keep living,
For what good’s a poet who thinks their work done ?

Catalyst

Morphogénèse 3 by Marina Dieul

Catalyst

Cats crop up in poetry
Like they do in neighbours’ kitchens,
But when it’s time for serious,
They’re nowhere near to pitch in.
They haven’t time for heavy metaphor
Or mopey musing –
And earnest stream-of-consciousness
Will send them straight to snoozing.
But crack a smile and shake some wit,
Or balladeer some derring-do,
And lapping up the limericks,
Here comes the kitty-crew:
Pepperpot and Sootikin,
The tyger tyger in the hat,
Macavity and Pangur Ban,
The owl-loving pussycat,
In nurseries and nightclubs,
In the scary and absurd,
We’re sure to stumble over them
Wherever words are purred.

The Poets’ Almagnac

The Poets’ Almagnac

One more tot and then I’ll start –
My pen’s uncapped and primed,
Indeed it’s been that way all afternoon.
I know my almanac by heart,
With beats precisely timed
And metric feet to dance to ev’ry tune.
It lays it out by grid and chart
Of syllables that chime,
By trochees by the phases of the Moon.
But writing’s such a thirsty art,
Especially when it’s rhymed –
But one more tot and I’ll be starting soon.