(On reading an anthology)
Dead poets’ digits total eight;
Alive, aged ninety to eleven,
Four plus a gap’s the going rate –
Tom Turnip (1957 - )
As though, one day, the reader, fame,
Or memoirs, making it loom bigger,
Can add, confronted by the name,
The fatal to the natal figure.
Tom Turnip gets, at first, a thrill –
Three pages! Margins! Best of jackets! –
But then a sudden spinal chill –
How long to double-dated brackets?
Soon, at the library, worse befalls,
That feels half ludicrous, half eerie,
As in the space some browser scrawls
A helpful 1990 ?
If you have any comments on this poem, Jerome Betts would
be pleased to hear them.