Weekly Muse

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The Independent Culture
BY MARTIN NEWELL

A poet mounts the Brighton stage,

Reciting stanzas loud and clear.

A reading at the TUC

From Tony Blair? What's happening

here?

D'you keep a dog and bark yourself?

The answer's yes, we must suppose,

Since laureates cannot blast away

The blackspot on the Labour rose

And poets don't have unions,

As such. My God, though, if we did,

Such workmanship as Tuesday's ode

Consigns you to the blacklist, kid.

And poetry's unstable stuff...

The verses? Temperamental, those,

Though rhymes themselves are safe

enough

When handled by us hardened pros,

But in the hands of amateurs

With no internal metronome

The scansion tends to be all

Over the shop.

So, kids: don't try this stuff at home.

"Millennium wheel may not be able

To stand upright on New Year's Eve":

A headline in The Independent,

Something I can quite believe.

The plans for Y2K have proved

A bit of a disaster zone.

But what I know of New Year's Eve,

The Wheel may not be on its own.

As Floyd the fearless hurricane

Brings chaos to the States again,

The only things which visit us

Are Light Breeze Reg and Constance

Rain.

So far, at least, we're let off light,

The summer wet, the winter warm,

The odd tornado in a town,

But nothing like the kind of storm

Which other countries suffer from

Increasingly, to illustrate

That global warming's underway

Officially - we learn of late.

Now when I look up in the sky,

Which as a poet I have to do,

And see so many planes at night,

I think about that CO2,

Recalling stuff my grandad said

Long years ago, regarding air

And weather in pre-Greenhouse days:

"It's all that muck they sling up there.

It can't be good, though, can it, boy?"

This homespun wisdom given free -

Though thirty years and lots of cash

It took to make the world agree.

Aw... Morse is dead, the papers said,

And things can never be the same.

In tearful pubs they'll ask tonight:

"But what was Morse's christian name?"

To pub-quiz nerds who know big words

The answer is: "Endeavour".

But I'll reply, "Inspector,"

Cos I'm not very clever.

"Lewis?

LOOO-WISSS!"

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