There are five poets in my garden

— and they think that they are bulbs.
But the first one smells carcinogenic,
and he is clothed in ancient brown,
as if he stole the mud-flecked jumper
from the very body of a bog-man.
The second is talking about
the fervid dangers of Pokémon,
and how in her day, they looked
for birds, and birds were quite enough.
She has a collection of empty eggs,
pilfered in her day, which lie
in an ancient purloined nest —
a weird eunuch’s severed balls,
placed in a stolen cup of misery.
Number three is being thoughtful.
He never utters a sentence without
a French theorist’s name —
like a pigeon (of stolen eggs) he says
Bourdieu, Bourdieu, and oui, he bores me.
Number four is addicted to rhyme.
He knows he is somewhat out of time,
but like a tune you know too well,
he is married to the villanelle.
And the fifth? She plants sarcasm
in a weedy succulent garden,
where such thin green tongues
poke like wee prickly dragons.
She’s fully awesome, and awfully sweet.

P.S. Cottier


I’ve been thinking too much this week about how any field of endeavour contains exactly the same percentage of unpleasant people as all the others.  Whether it be poetry or painting, rugby or beekeeping, there will be the same proportion of selfish people and the likeable. Perhaps politics is a genuine exception, and contains more of the unlikeable, but generally speaking, anywhere there are people there will be all the character types, regardless of whether it is a profession where a certain amount of empathy might be expected.

Indeed, the type of poet who bangs on about his sensitivity to nature (in the sense of a convenient green strip outside his window, sans history) often seems to lean towards the arsehole side of the equation.  If equations really have sides.  Or arseholes.