(after Horace Ode 1:22 Integer vitae)
We genuine poets don’t have to take the flack
that other writers take from jealous peers.
We’re never crushed by critic profiteers
who just can’t wait to stab us in the back
and even when we stray beyond our limits
into topics never visited before,
our talent is described as fresh and raw
we’re not dismissed as just a bunch of dim-wits.
In fact when I express myself from Teesside
and leave my comfort zone to head down south,
the famous fear what might come out my mouth:
they grit their teeth while swallowing their pride.
And yet that Hughes’ wild dog creeps in and howls.
With ears pricked and razor teeth he blocks
my mind and keeps it blank before he locks
ideas down to consonants and vowels.
Put me with those certain, sexy women,
your Shapcotts and your Duffys and your Olds.
Though what I have to say won’t be as bold
I’ll use the little gift that I’ve been given,
to crack this nut and make my writing ring.
I want to get my feet under the table:
dear tutor, tease my words then I’ll be able
to love my poems at last and make them sing.