Holding with shaking hands a letter from some
Official – high up he says in the Ministry,
I note that I am invited to Birmingham,
There pedagogues to address for a decent fee.
'We like to meet,' he goes on, 'men eminent
In the field of letters each year,' and that's well put,
Though I find his words not wholly relevant
To this red-eyed fellow whose mouth tastes rank as soot.
No doubt what he's thinking of is poetry
When 'Thomas Blackburn' he writes, and not the fuss
A life makes when it has no symmetry,
Though the term 'a poet' being mainly posthumous,
Since I'm no stiff, is inappropriate.
What I can confirm is the struggle that never lets up
Between the horses of Plato beneath my yoke,
One after Light, and for Hell not giving a rap,
The other only keen on infernal smoke.
And poems...? From time to time they commemorate
Some particularly dirty battle between these two;
I put the letter down – what's the right note?
'Dear Sir,' I type, 'how nice to speak to you!'