It's a high old time for a sly young rhyme

'Poets never make a savings plan. Except perhaps John Betjeman'
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The Independent Online

What is National Poetry Day?

What is National Poetry Day?

Well, it's a fairly crafty way

Of getting poetry to sell

So those who write it can live well.

Is there a National Poetry Night?

Oh, yes, when poets all get tight

Drinking away the profits they

Have made on National Poetry Day.

Don't poets scrimp and save as well?

Of this they are incapable.

A poet has no earthly intention

Of saving for an old age pension.

He'd rather go out to the bar

And spend it on another jar.

But what is National Poetry Day for ?

Who thought of it? And was he sure

That anyone would willingly

Rally round for poetry?

If it's National Poetry Day

Why don't people block our way

Shaking tins and begging alms

Saying: "Give freely for poetry's charms!"

Why not have a proper day,

With flags and stickers given away

To put upon our outer clothes

Saying: "Poetry - not Prose!"?

Well, poets do not work like that.

They're always thin and never fat.

They never make a savings plan,

Except perhaps John Betjeman,

And if they get a Nobel Prize

Just see the horror in their eyes.

Poets never plan ahead.

Sometimes they don't get out of bed.

But why a day for Poetry?

Why not for Biography?

Why not a national day for novels,

When novelists creep from out their hovels

And crave a general benediction

On the art of writing fiction?

Because, my child, a novelist knows

That maturity comes with writing prose

But poets are wet behind the ears

And young at heart, if not in years.

If a poet reached maturity

He wouldn't be writing poetry...

And so he likes the jollity

Of having a day for poetry.

It's party time for poets, you see -

Balloons on the gate and jelly for tea!

But what is Poetry anyway?

Well, poetry is a special way

Of saying very special thoughts,

Of love and death, and other sorts,

Which writers often like to use

When prose is not quite right to choose.

They like to wrap their thoughts in verse

To make them snug and tight and terse.

And if they write their poetry well

Their little booklets start to sell,

And then it's poetry recitals -

Where they can sell their latest titles -

Because doing poetry on the stage

Pays more than on the printed page.

They then turn into household names

Like Cope, McGough and P D James...

Does P D James write poetry?

No, but at least she rhymes, you see.

Does poetry always have to rhyme?

Not always, but there comes a time

When they are tired of liberty

And they would really like to see

If they can still do rhyming stuff...

OK, OK. That's quite enough.

So now it's National Poetry Day,

How can I help in my own way?

Shall I go out and write some verse?

Dear God! No, that would make things worse.

There's far too much of the stuff around,

Even stuck up in the Underground.

For Poetry Day I want you to say:

"I won't write any poetry today..."