The above is one of the poems I am minded to read at a poetry reading on Thursday 4 July. This will be a private event (unfortunately not open to the public), hence I wanted to share this poem here in order that it may be more widely enjoyed.
England is ticking grandfather clocks
And country cots,
Their doors still without locks.
It is a place of church choirs
And open pub fires,
Where dogs lie
While their owner’s sigh
Over an article in the Daily Telegraph.
England is young men full of testosterone
Who refuse to leave it alone,
And draw their knives,
With no concern for mothers or wives.
England is a tower block
Where people lock
Against thieves and hoares.
England is a place of country houses,
Sit at oak tables
Cherishing half fables
Of a past
That is vanishing fast
Some thought his poetry meant this
And still others that.
He wore a hat
And often (being lost in rhymes)
Went out with no raincoat.
He had no moat
And little private wealth.
The reader sighs
Trying to categorise
The poet’s view.
Some declare that he was a Tory of the deepest blue
(while others protest this was not true!).
A few saw a man of the left,
But found themselves bereft
On finding verse which (they say)
Romanticised the nobility of yesterday.
Perhaps the poet smiles somewhere
(or, perchance he doesn’t care),
For who knows
Where the rhymer goes
When his ink runs dry
And his words finally die.
In the flames of this fire,
Fanning my desire
For a past when the publican laid logs
And drinker’s faces
Gathered around the blaze as their dogs
Lazed beside the eternal flame.
It is not the same
Since the pub changed hands. The beer
Remains unchanged, yet I fear
The flame does not burn as bright
Of a winter’s night
And the grate is too often cold.