Rob Stuart: The Second Hand Poetry Salesman

The Second-Hand Poetry Salesman


Beauty, ain’t she? The sonnet. Miltonic, that one.
Doesn’t have the sharp break between the octave
And the sestet what you get in the Italian models.

Well, I hardly have to tell you that do I, John?
Moment you walked in I thought to meself, oi-oi,
Here’s a geezer what knows his verse. Only five

Iambs on the meter, believe it or not. ’Course, it’d
Break me heart in two to sell her, but if I knew she
Was going to a good library… Bit old-fashioned?

Yeah. Not really you, is it? Look, I’ll tell you what.
I’ll say one word to you, right? Haiku. Japanese.
Now these are timeless… Well, they are compact,

True. They’re good at that sort of thing in the Land
Of the Rising Currant Bun. Per’aps a tanka then.
That’s got a whole ‘nother fourteen syllables, see?

Listen old son, you want European, I got European;
Sestinas, odes, rondeaux… Or were you looking more
For a family poem? Could do worse than a limerick.   

I got clerihews coming out me shell-likes. Cheapest
Pseudo-biographical quatrains in town… Ah,
You’ve spotted the villanelle. Wondered how long

It’d take you. Just have a butcher’s at them refrains,
Eh? Only one previous reader. Straight up. Old lady.  
Never hardly even took it off the bookshelf,

Apparently. Scans like a dream. I got to tell you,
This bloke put in a very generous offer first thing
But I’d rather see her going home with you, chief.

You want to take her for a read-through?

Rob Stuart