in feathers shakes his spear
at the diggers founding Tesco
in a corner of Co. Sligo
Innisfree a little longer
but under attack like J. Kerouac
eating chocolates with his mother
in some clapper board shack
in some broken Adirondack
chair or other.
In the Leaves of Grass
the Lady of the Lake
meets Childe Harold. He makes a pass
while Alice smashes plexiglass
for Fuck’s sake
into Gunter Grass and Ginsberg’s petty
squabble over Frank O’Hara’s
lunch table. Mines a Ferlinghetti
bolognaise. Dante Gabriel Rosetti
sings a sea shanty and drinks amara
on a mat on a pier
in the withering sedge of the lake
in a Turkish hat. The time is near
for mirth and song and beer.
Amnesia to William Blake!
Rake out your poems’ lurking prions!
In Ted Hughes’ shoes, a Martian ices
buns with spoons of Muldoon’s zwitterions.
This jar of candied peel was Sean O’Brien’s!
Here’s Marvell milk for Colette Bryce’s custard slices…
Sobering up on a way through a wood
I come across Robert Frost
and ask which of the paths I should
take to find a real good
way of getting lost
(since Dryden is riding behind us,
Gray stands stuck in the graveside earth,
and Lord Byron fires blanks to remind us
to pay a groat to the organ grinders
who struggle to give birth –
though they never will –
to the golden daffodil).
Frost asks if I might raise the fee
to pay for such advice,
until he thus confronted me
I’d though he was quite nice.
Thus, from fear of mental congestion
I tend now to avoid the question…
although Edgar Poe should know,
as Sylvia Plath gets out the bath,
how Donne ‘scaped sun to oblivion.
Praise to these holiest in the height
for all is chaos in their light…
darkness comes when falls the night…
It’s like they left their dirty underwear
all over my floor
and I picked it up and wore it.
Artwork by Sophie Douglas.