Some parodies

an anthology

Home page

About this site


Beerbohm caricatures

Andrew Motion

How boileth ye pot?

A new 'civic liturgy' on the theme of St George

Hark how this patented late-Romanticism of mine, with its dying falls - ah, that torrent of melting silver,
the rain on the forest floor, the clouds carved in the shape of the bear's
dread paw - and its undemanding half-rhymes, so zealously persists. Yet for a man in my position - the Laureateship
gone, the Guardian not what it was - such prestige commissions
are hard to resist. But that reminds me. The poem. What should it
say? Who is this fellow, a pilgrim, that symbol of spirit and nation,
who swerves off alone from the far-flung field of folk? Whence came their
desperate alliteration? What better way to greet the Shakespeare Institute's
kind suggestion than a host of unanswerable
questions? But that reminds me again. Well no, it doesn't remind
me at all - this is a poetic device - yet what, I ask of you,
is this country summoned to be and to become?
And what is he called, this
elemental wanderer, who forsakes the forest for the city, where
the runcible spoons of state have beaten his eggs into new
omelettes? One thing you will notice about these poems of
mine, for better or worse, is that as they continue they stop being what most people would regard as poetry and turn
into prose, neatly chopped up into lines of irregular blank
verse. And here is our pilgrim, on the world's latest threshold,
bright axe newly-minted. The greatest mystery facing us now
is how to keep faith - that, and how on earth this kind of thing
still gets printed. Let me say it again. How to keep going? How to press on?
Here in the field where sinuous rills unwind, tenebrous yet time-bright,
and clouds that are forged in the shape of something or other announce
another most heartening return to the limelight.

D J Taylor

Site by Geoff Wilkins