A dubious character once haunted the streets of London. Wearing a trilby with the brim turned down, a pencil thin moustache and a long camel hair overcoat he would lurk in shop doorways and hiss at passers-by. Having attracted some attention he would then open his coat to display rows of the latest ball-pens, American cigarettes, small bottles of French perfume and the latest nylon stockings.
The fellow in this piece however, is rather unusual in that he is flogging poetry.
Want to buy a poem?
Well-hung lines of sumptuous words
Each worth its weight in gold or pearls.
Fine examples here abound
Of mystic landscapes
O’erhung with moonful skies
Or windswept heaths
Where hardy thorns lean
To winds from the seas of the world.
Want to buy a poem?
Wherein lush and perfect fruits abound
To juice each line
And irrigate the arid mind
All going for a song
Going, going, going…
Fire-throated lizards from the land of myth
To haunt the skies and dwell in caverns hollowed from the cliff
For here be dragons guarding hordes of fabled gems
Emeralds, rubies, sapphires
Heaped within the palm to o’erspill and grace the earth around.
How much is bid for this ode to raging winds
That fling great sea-green waves
To dash themselves against the black escarp of a rocky and desolate shore?
Or with a zephyr breeze to gently sway the grasslands of a southern clime
Where sweet high song of lark and solemn hoot of owl
Echo through the lines of words
Invoking from within a stream of visions
Such as cannot be purchased
At the local cinematograph
Or purveyed from the tv screen.
Want to buy a poem
Where blue descends to touch each river, lake and pond.
Where green predominates among the myriad leaves of countless trees
And spends itself among the grassy reaches of the field?
And here a sudden poppy, rose or berry coloured red
And there a peeping eye of primrose rears its yellow head
Free gold for the listening
In blossom wreathed lines
Woven from the finest words
By the song of a pen
For the last time
Going, going, going,
Pic: Nick Victor