(after Horace Ode 1.31 Quid dedicatum)
So what should poets ask of academia
once erudite façades have all been built?
What honours do they seek, what aspiration
ferments their thought until new words pour out?
Not the flowery praise of scholar-poets;
not fruits of southern fame meant as a lure
to so-called fertile ground where poetry houses
are slowly starved of funding, that’s for sure!
Let those with sponsors labour on their epics,
let them trim verse back not let it roll.
Let them toast their dry nouveau-success
gained from emptying hearts and baring souls.
I’ve no desire to ride their trendy wagon,
go celestial, have strange places for my head.
I’d rather have a cocoa then rest easy
in my loosely-sprung, uncontroversial bed.
So let me keep my common-grounded lyrics,
my colloquial tone, my gritty northern voice.
Let me prize these gifts in ripe old age.
Simple talent; good reason to rejoice.