(after Horace Ode 1.14 O navis, referent)
You call yourself a Flagship! a literary liner
for such as me to cruise away their days.
Don’t make me laugh, you’re listing on new waves.
You make me sick.
Your passengers have stripped you bare. It seems
a re-fit’s what you need, and while you’re here
best drop the erotic colours from your flagpole;
they’ve led you astray!
Crippled by a cargo of translation
that drags you down below the water line
you creak and whine and make your invocation,
to the god Obscure.
Iced quatrains and measured Canberra couplets
help me ride the storm, but even so
concrete fore and aft is not enough
I’m tossed like a cork,
and bounced about by sexy stanza makers
with ropey rhymes that skim along your decks.
Unrated prats like me with no commission –
We keep you afloat.
Plot a middle course between the rocks
of old volcanic form and swirling spume.
I’m sick to death of sailing round in circles.
Cut me some slack.