Tuesday, 16 April 2013

My message to Carol Ann Duffy's agent Peter Straus urging the Poet Lauarete to do the Thatcher funeral justice even though she is a Scottie and must hate her

"Please would you pass on to the Poet Laureate the message that she should not let her political views get in the way of doing the Thatcher funeral justice.   Perhaps it is on an occasion like this that it will be found by the nation that her lightweight style might not be quite the thing for being a Poet Laureate.

I really do hope that her effort will not be inappropriately fey, slight, light-hearted, girly and lefty.   An attempt will be made on my part that will be the opposite of this.

What would be quite unacceptable and an affront to the monarch and the nation would be anything resembling what follows:

I followed you in,
under the sighing, restless trees and my
whole life vanished.
The moon tossed down its shimmering
cloth. We undressed,
then dressed again in the gowns of the
moon. We knelt in the leaves,
kissed, kissed; new words rustled
nearby and we swooned.


A breakdance to amuse your mates,
give them a laugh,
a rock’n’roll mime, Elvis time,
pretending the rifle’s
just a guitar?
Worse by far.


We are Mo Farah lifting the 10,000
metres gold.
We want new running-tracks in his
For Jessica Ennis, the same; for the
Brownlee brothers,
Rutherford, Ohuruogu, Whitlock,
for every medal earned,
we want school playing-fields returned.

Something in the manner of Tennyson would be just the thing.   If that is too much for her can she do something in iambic pentameters?  Something stately, solemn and profound, with a hint of a portent would do very nicely."

Any lesbianic overtones would just be the icing on the cake.

Readers are very welcome to submit their own Thatcher Funeral poems, with or without lesbianic overtones.

Here is mine, with no lesbianic overtones:

The world stood still, for an hour or two,
to stand and stare,
at the funeral procession of a little old lady.
The bells of Big Ben went quiet for her, and
There was talk of silencing the Munchkins' song. 

The Chief Rabbi compared her to the prophet Moses,*
who inflicted condign punishment and took no prisoners.
"The Iron Lady" was played by Merryl Streep, the greatest living
Hollywood actress of our times:
A funeral to die for, then, was hers.

The current Prime Minister has a harder job,
with everything at sixes, sevens, fudged and mudged,
The interviewer interviewing ventured to suggest.
He asked if it was easier for Maggie T.

It must have been since she understood principle -
the principle of speaking what you believe to be the truth,
not shrinking from calling a spade a spade
and doing the things you said you would,
because we must do the things we should,
and avoid ever beating about the bush.

A gathering there was of the great and good,
not only of Britain but of the world,
Of long-lived mediocre politicians being there,
In St Paul's Cathedral, that wedding cake.

The Chancellor wiped away a tear,
The Bishop of London described at length
the civic virtue she once embodied,
all too easily eroded, he also warned. 

Her grand-daughter read to us Ephesian warnings
against spiritual wickedness in high places,
at this ceremonial funeral with military honours,
previously reserved only for male war heroes:
Nelson, Wellington, Churchill, and now Lady Thatcher:
a funeral to die for, then, was hers.

We start from the end, the Bishop said,
and the end is also the beginning, he also said.
We reckon the final total reached at death,
The double entry book-keeping of vice and virtue.

The woman who methodically practised what she believed,
Who practised the virtues her father taught,
proceeds now into another dimension -
in a majestic solemn processive gait
assured of her place in the history books.



Anonymous said...

You ask "...can she do something in iambic pentameters? Something stately, solemn and profound..."

You noticeably can't.

Claire Khaw said...

I never claimed to be a professional poet.