(by an emerging poet)
The poet’s grandes oeuvres, like an Agincourt salvo,
sail harmlessly skywards and out of his ken,
till one random opus ensures that he shall know
that brief adulation he has yearned for till then.
The editor, working to self-imposed deadlines,
permits the young upstart to take his position
in a small publication that has never made headlines,
thus fulfilling our Scriblerite’s vaulting ambition.
One day he’s a bard working out of nonentity,
then intensely pseudonymous, a latter day Sapphic,
gender neutral or woke or some other identity
to shock or surprise or be suitably graphic.
Poems about death, mental health, menstruation,
inequality, poverty, social upheaval,
the erosion of freedom, the death of a nation,
the rape of the planet and capitalist evil...
The editors’ dustbins are full of such dirges:
their cursory glance is the swift guillotine
for the hopes and the dreams of each poet whose urge is
a moment of fame in that small magazine.
But this one is different: it arrests your attention
through its bold use of metaphor. It suits your house style.
There’s a hint of fresh veins, and some flights of invention.
“This poet has promise,” you say with a smile.
Most submissions are failures, though full of sincerity:
nowhere weird enough, and with no punch readers prize,
lacking the structure, the rhythm, the severity
to make an impression through the ears and the eyes.
But this is the trademark of burgeoning talent,
for the title is longer than the poem, for sure;
and everything written by this erudite gallant
is sparse, scatological and completely obscure.
So let this new voice, with his clever admirers,
have his day in the spotlight, stand proud in his pomp:
but unless he can speak from the heart, or inspire us,
send this Grendel, this shyster, straight back to the swamp.