The Virtual Stoa Salutes The Bard Of Finisterre

Actually, I think the position of Poet Laureate is a silly one, and I hope Carol Ann Duffy doesn’t start writing dreadful poems about the royal family. (She may not, in fact, given her opinion that “No self-respecting poet should have to” write poems about Edward and Sophie of Wessex.) But her appointment is a permanent rebuke to those who struck Finisterre out of the Shipping Forecast seven years ago, and that’s a very good thing.

7 thoughts on “The Virtual Stoa Salutes The Bard Of Finisterre”

  1. Well, you can’t write poems about the Earl and Countess of Wessex – nothing rhymes with them. It’s hard enough to come up with a clerihew.

    The Countess of Wessex
    Sovint menja préssecs.
    She does so en català,
    Because peaches sound too plebean by far.

  2. She has a tough act to follow:

    Lines on the Queen’s 60th Birthday
    by Ted Hughes
    (as published in Private Eye)

    Wolf headed magpie
    Stalks black white
    Black over
    Flint cracked mangle
    Frost-shredded
    Field.

    Stoat watches.

    Bloodred nettle
    Sprouts acid
    Frond.

    Old Stoatie.

    Peewit shrieking
    Buzzard grey
    Feather drooping
    Death call

    Old Stoatie listens.

    Swollen river
    Rushes down Blood
    Gorge torrent filled
    Roar of white-flecked
    Molten snow

    Old Stoatie falls in.

    Rotting stoat
    Body carcass
    Gleaming fish nibbled
    Carrion of death
    Sodden fur bulging
    Eyes

    Old Stoatie’s
    Rather had it.

    Happy Birthday
    Your Majesty

  3. That is the funniest parody of Hughes I have ever read…all that’s need is areferece is the Goddess of Complerte Being in her guise of a life giving sow.
    Just think of what you folks missed out on..Larkin turned the job down.
    incidentally, is their a reason Auden, Eliot and Hill never got the job..too smart?

  4. Every time Hughes published an “official” royal poem, Private Eye responded with a vastly superior one of their own, of which this is just one of many, many examples. It was one of the magazine’s funniest running jokes, but for understandable reasons it sadly died with Hughes.

    I don’t think they’ve done much about Motion (or at least nothing remotely as memorable), but Duffy has distinct potential – lesbian love poetry about the Queen, for instance.

  5. fascinating…lesbian Love poems addressed to Elizabeth R. Ms.Ryan got the job of poet laureate here, under a conservative Republican administration, maybe because the best conservative Republican poet in the country (There are a few of them,and they all write for the New Criterion nad First Things.), Dana Goia, liked the way she wrote. Besides, he already had the job of National Endowment For The Arts boss, where he was once of the handful of Bush appointees who actually did their job well.

  6. Only just catching up with these comments: can we just all pause for a moment to congratulate Chris Y on what is almost certainly the best poem that anyone will ever write about the Countess of Wessex?

    (The competition is here.)

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