light relief

Just for the sake of it, on a busy day:

 

The Poet’s Song
(tune: ‘The Lord Chancellor’s Song’ from Iolanthe)

When I started to write, as a very young man
(Said I to myself — said I),
I’ll always produce the best work that I can
(Said I to myself — said I).
I’ve devoted myself to the life of the mind
And I shan’t drop my standards at all, should I find
That my mortgage repayments have fallen behind
(Said I to myself — said I).

If I get a call from the BBC
(Said I to myself — said I),
I’ll be pithy and terse and to hell with the fee
(Said I to myself — said I).
They pay by the minutes. It wouldn’t be hard
To run the stuff off by the foot or the yard
And forget it tomorrow, I’ll be on my guard,
(Said I to myself — said I).

I shan’t include stanzas I’m iffy about
(Said I to myself — said I),
Or use a refrain just to pad the thing out
(Said I to myself — said I).
If it’s metrically wonky, I shan’t send it in
And hope that the Muse will forgive me my sin
And that the producer has ears made of tin,
(Said I to myself — said I).

It’s better to be conscientious and poor
(Said I to myself — said I),
All poets abide by this maxim, I’m sure
(Said I to myself — said I),
And that’s why you never hear second-rate stuff,
A trifle long-winded or boring or duff
And scream at your radio set, ‘That’s enough!’
(Said I to myself — said I).

 

–Wendy Cope

 

This was written in response to a request from BBC Radio
for a new poem. It has not been broadcast.

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