Thursday, March 12

The Chairman and Tom




What the Chairman Told Tom

Poetry? It’s a hobby.
I run model trains.
Mr Shaw there breeds pigeons.

It’s not work. You don’t sweat.
Nobody pays you 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?
Men ten years 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,
my company.
What do you do?

Nasty little words, nasty long words,
It’s unhealthy.
I want to wash when I meet a poet.

They’re Reds, addicts,
all delinquents.
What you write is rot.
My Hines says so, and he’s a schoolteacher,
he ought to know.
Go and find work.


Basil Bunting (1900-1985)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm new around here, seems like a cool place though. I'll be around a bit, more of a lurker than a poster though :)
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