Ode to Stephen

(after Horace Ode 1:20 Vile potabis)

Don’t just pore over my meagre emailed words,
come up and get ratted on my hard lines
knocked back with Newcastle Brown
in proper bottles I bought from Yarm offy
especially for you Stephen,
distinguished, kindly scholar,

while you’re applauded by ranks of students
            on the banks of the Isis;
and lecture theatres, shaken by your knowledge,
echo your professorship.

You can savour vintage Latin poems
and enjoy classics from the Italian grape,
but no Sicilian vines, Roman hills or conjugations
will flatten  my Northern beer
or soften  my rough voice.

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