(after Horace Ode 1:17 Velox amoenum)
Denise, you gave up England’s northern coast
to go down under where the surfers play.
Your Grove Hill voice has moved in as my muse –
her mithering fills the block at Clockhouse Wood.
Beyond these iron gates there’s no false coupling.
Our verse will trickle, free; it won’t be damned.
Our wet-behind-the-ears-kid poems will ripple
the sluggish surface of that speechless Tees.
Remember how you nudged my writer’s arm?
I’m glad to say it goes from strength to strength.
So come back home and share in my contentment.
Come on, Denise; we’ve suffered for our art.
Be molly-coddled in my wood, it’s safe.
I’ll keep the poet dog-eat-dogs at bay.
Complete your script and toast your oeuvre with Asti:
We’ll not make cock-brained, piss-heads welcome here,
or ratbag critics to crush your confidence
with bad reviews. You’ve no need to be scared
of back-biters who’d sink their poison in –
there’s no one here to dress you down to size.