What The Chairman Told Tom (1967)
Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Links Off
Poetry? It’s a hobby.
I run model trains.
Mr Shaw there breeds pigeons.
It’s not work. You don’t sweat.
Nobody pays for it.
You could advertise soap.
Art, that’s opera; or repertory —
The Desert Song.
Nancy was in the chorus.
But to ask for twelve pounds a week —
married, aren’t you? —
you’ve got a nerve.
How could I look a bus conductor
in the face
if I paid you twelve pounds?
Who says it’s poetry, anyhow?
My ten year old
can do it and rhyme.
I get three thousand and expenses,
a car, vouchers,
but I’m an accountant.
They do what I tell them,
What do you do?
Nasty little words, nasty long words,
I want to wash when I meet a poet.
They’re Reds, addicts,
What you write is rot.
Mr Hines says so, and he’s a schoolteacher,
he ought to know.
Go and find work.
Poem © Basil Bunting, Complete Poems, ed. Richard Caddel (Bloodaxe Books, 2000)