Jerome Betts: Stanzas With A Pinch Of Salts

Stanzas with a Pinch of Salts

Item 847 in the Cowper-Newton Museum
Olney, Bucks:- ‘Cowper’s Aperient Salts.
(presented by John Betjeman)'


Why so supine, you poor pallid poet,
Like something half-dead in damp vaults?
Fame’s row may be hard, but you’ll hoe it
Thanks to Cowper's Aperient Salts.

Inspiration at ‘Check battery status’?
No fine frenzy that thrills and exalts?
Let’s repeat: ‘To recall lost afflatus
Insert Cowper’s Aperient Salts.’

Verbal costiveness - strained slow expression -
Dams your long fluent lines à la Walt’s?
Block’s away! (End of opening session
With Cowper’s Aperient Salts.)

What attacks chronic cases of burn-out
Far faster than Scotch single malts?
Take a swig and - My God! What you churn out
After Cowper’s Aperient Salts!

Yes, the Muse's most lowly mechanic,
Whose verse coughs and splutters, then halts -
Finds it dashing and deft, Betjemanic,
Dosed with Cowper’s Aperient Salts.

So here’s to a speedy amending
Of recalcitrant metrical faults
And a Pegasus ever-ascending
On Cowper’s Aperient Salts!


Jerome Betts