Bernard Saint

Marcus Aurelius on the Poetry Reading

Whenever I hear the word 'poetry'
I fear I shall soon lose money
Call me a miser if you wish

This dread is based on raw experience
To which I would subscribe
In preference to your curious magazine

In my time a poet was paid outright -
Infrequently he might receive
Requests to read without a fee

Now this measure is taken as read
Soon he will pay admission
To his very own poetry reading

Such a disadvantaged state deserves
Your callous blackleg egoists
Who seeking urgent audience take all

By dint of doing everything for free -
They rob the wine and meat of those
Who lack their private income and tax haven

Do they feel they have something to say
That will not wait -
As schoolboys who rush home to blurt their news?

And that is why today
All poetry counts for nothing
Too many clever simpletons ignore the common good

A Piercing

Silvio that ring through your nose
Just call it 'modern poet'
You simple beast it means
Anyone can lead you anywhere
By promising 'a reading'
Or a pamphlet publication without payment

Bernard Saint © 2019

Horace Ode Xxv Flip-Gendered

He is old
And wanting to be wanted
He drinks too much then forces conversation
Earnestly on office girls
Who hide their unkind smiles Behind cupped hands

He thinks that Cupid needs another cocktail
But the song he stands to sing
Nobody knows -

If love might stumble in its flight
Resting on a blasted oak
Or tender olive branch
It cares as little for its perch
As any crumpled rummy in a bar

And with his teeth unnaturally white
Sparse hair enhanced by silver from a sachet
Nothing can restore years cast away
In shepherding his wrinkled sheaf of verses

But time that stored all memory within them
Now makes its vicious audit

Marcus Aurelius in Luton Airport Meditates

They fail to inform you when you are born
Everything is matter most impermanent

The push-chair where you rule as potentate
Assured a maharaja's sweets and lollies

Swivels in reality
Into an airport trolley

You are a luggage that your parents push
Toward the certainty of their Departure

Your teenage years you lurk and sulk between the shops
But there is nothing offered Duty Free

The airborne world is solid hurt
A Boarding Card will put you on

A Budget Flight - on top of that
Your food and drink are not part of the Package

You forage a depleted Iceland shelf
For prawns on brown with mayo -

Emerging from that hieroglyphic cave
An ancient urban man who must consult his new papyrus -

You Google in a pre-dawn hour your flight
Into that night of nights from which you came

Bernard Saint © 2019