(after Horace Ode 1:19 Mater saeva cupidinum)
Of late, I seem driven by Cupid.
Feelings that had died have struck like lightning,
ignited, perhaps, by a nightly tipple,
and the idea of having rubbed shoulders
with the T.S. Eliot list.
Such notions set me on a slippery slope.
There’s not a hope that Carol Ann or Sheenagh
would see anything in me.
And yet I find I have to toy with them;
swirl them around for flavour as you do
a delicious mouthful of red.
Desire has taken over: when at last
my sturdy pen is ready to perform,
idle thoughts are curdling the ink.
Folk keep telling me to act my age. OK!
I’ll sacrifice my wilder plans, but please
give me a poet to embrace.
The T.S. Eliot Prize shortlist for 2005 was Polly Clark, Carol Ann Duffy, Helen Farish, David Harsent, Sinead Morrissey, Alice Oswald, Pascale Petiit, Sheenagh Pugh,
John Stammers and Gerard Woodward.