from “Bad Idea”

Brexit overdubs of Michael Drayton’s 1611 sonnet sequence Idea, by Robert Sheppard


He can’t take it with him when he’s gone

but the funeral bill will make it look

that way. The leavers are leaving life:

the remainers must pick up the tab.

Through the loophole of language and down

the lift shaft of poetry, my old brain

drops two flights a second. My prostate

only leaves time for writing sonnets.

You’re scouring your cheeks, scrubbing your chin.

‘Stockpile pile ointment!’ Brexiteers chant.

Stop! If carpe diem is warning

for the young, it’s more so for the old:

            Trump must twitch his stormy Twitter thumbs.

            I must leave you these wordy remains.


6th September 2018

Oval 1, by Patricia Farrell


IX Bo at the Oval


Not like other men, Bo muses giddy

metaphors of suicide pads and box,

as he strides to wicket to bat with wit

Eurocrats, remainers, PM (and wife).

The proles boo Bo, cry, ‘He’s a lunatic!’

They don’t mean he has ‘mental issues’; he’s

a fat phallocrat with bulging ego,

entitled to titles, powered by lust.

Who can bring him back to our senses? (Wife?)

He rises – laurels wrap his troubled brain –

wills us to hate him, like Tiberius.

Cook’s victory is read as Roman omen;

he leaves the crease. Leaves Bo to fill the void

Oval with his effortless afflatus.


13th September 2018

Oval 2, by Patricia Farrell




Shall I compare thee to a Polish fitter,

sending our sterling home to his wife, who,

feeling frenzied hatred from our racists,

packs up his tools and moves to France? No.

That buggers up Drayton’s sonnet with its

rich son losing his inheritance on

floozies. Perhaps I’m writing a pint-sized

Pound-Shop Post-Brexit Poly-Olbion!

Pull the other one! Every gift they’ll waste,

fields of strawberries rotting on the stem.

They hate you, hate each other, and only

love the country as a false abstraction.

Drayton loved a girl who didn’t exist;

she seemed like a good idea at the time.


20th September 2018

Emeritus Professor Robert Sheppard is a British poet and critic. He is at the forefront of the movement sometimes called “linguistically innovative poetry”.

Dr. Patricia Farrell is a poet and visual artist. He collection, The Zechstein Sea, was published by Shearsman Books in 2013.