Are you goin' to read my poem?

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Today is National Poetry Day

So why not put your prose away

And spend a little bit of time

Trying to communicate in rhyme!

For instance, at the breakfast table,

Avoid, as far as you are able,

Your unthinking repertoire of prose

Like, "No more coffee, I suppose?"

"What's the forecast say today?"

"They think that rain is on the way",

"Anything for me in the post?"

Or "Do us another bit of toast."

Don't be so predictable!

Don't rise from bed with mind like wool,

And sit there in a soggy daze.

Come in brightly! Sparkle! Amaze!

Tap dance a little! Wave your hands!

Utter stuff that rhymes and scans!

Say: "Time to break our fast together!

Time to hear the news and weather!

"Goodbye to sleepy bed and pillow -

Let's brace ourselves for Mr Portillo,

As he abandons common sense

And hijacks the Tory conference!

"Or why not turn the radio on

And - avoiding Radios 2 & 1

- Go straight for dear old Radio 3

And solve the weekly mystery:

Who's composer of the week?

Is it some modern Finn or Greek,

Whose cacophonic sounds are summoned

For the ears alone of Sir John Drummond?

Or is it Grieg or Arthur Bliss

Or someone safer still than this?"

You see? It's not so very hard

To spout crude doggerel by the yard.

(It's even easier to speak in verse

If you are willing to rehearse.

In Shakespeare they do it all the time

Even if blank verse doesn't rhyme.)

It lifts the spirit, cheers you up.

"Yes, please, could you pour a cup

Of fresh ground coffee, not too strong?

After that, I must get along ..."

Ah, it's nearly time for work

So, as you drive through fog and murk

Towards your workplace (if you're employed)

Don't let your mind become a void!

Prepare the odd resounding line!

Open the shutters of your mind!

(Yes, I know that "mind" and "line"

Don't really rhyme, but now that's fine.

Rhymes that used to be out of court

Are now "half-rhymes", eagerly sought.

It's all because of WH Auden,

The arbiter of all things modern.

"Auden" and "modern"! Another rhyme

Considered dreadful in its time ...)

When at your workplace you arrive,

Cry: "Gosh it's good to be alive!

Hot doggity, yes sirree!

Mens sana in sano corpore!"

(Of course, it should be "corpore sano"

But nothing rhymes, except for guano.)

And so, through National Poetry Day,

Never lose a chance to say

The first thing that comes into your mind

As long as the second is nearly rhymed!

Normally our speech is so empirical;

Leap at the chance to make it lyrical!

Wax euphoric! Go poetic!

Not to try would be pathetic!

And when Friday comes and Thursday goes

You can gratefully revert to prose.

For help with this poem, financial aid,

And future subsidy promises made

We'd like to thank the Lottery,

The Arts Council and the Treasury.

We'd really like to, but we can't.

None of the buggers would give us a grant.

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