Whenever we meet I am civil and charming
and he is the same and I find that disarming.
I praise his damned poetry; he praises mine
and we chat about Heaney and sip our white wine.
But though I am smiling I find my skin crawling –
won’t anyone tell him his verse is appalling?
He’s crass, unoriginal, highly pretentious,
clunky and vulgar and often licentious.
But worse than all this, as I’m sure you’ll agree,
this second rate poet sells more books than me.