Marcus Aurelius at the Poetry Reading/A Piercing


When 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 their curious magazines

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

Now that measure is taken as read   –  
Soon he will pay admission
To his very own Poetry Reading

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

By dint of doing everything for free!   –
They rob the wine and bread of those
Who lack their private income or 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 disdain the common good




Silvio   –   that ring through your nose
Just call it modern poet
You silly beast it means
Any fool may lead you anywhere
On the promise of a Reading or
A Pamphlet Publication without payment




Bernard Saint
Illustration: Claire Palmer



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