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
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
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.