Finding Orpheus/ Nightingale’s Code

The Classic poets
Found him too Romantic
The Romantic poets
Far too Classical –
For subsequent ‘schools’
His name became a Myth
If not Anathema

The detached melodic style
Quarter-tones coolly ironic
Belonged to an antique century
Surely you’ll agree?

‘The New York Review
Of Each Other’s Books’
With ‘The London Review
Of Each Other’s Books’
Concurred decidedly

But the Muses and the Graces
For whom no time is ever quite propitious
Applauded otherwise
His small assertive show of dignity

As century on century they saw
Generations twist their necks
To bite the predecessors who first fed them




From sawbones to shrinks
Soothsayers to stoics –
Who can divine the source of your distress?
Your mystery illness sister?

To me it is quite plain –
You were born to be a poet
Yet resist it understandably
In these uncertain times
The gods have set aside

Where poetry and poets are despised


Bernard Saint
Illustration: Claire Palmer

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