Recto Verso

The UK’s Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, has written a poem to commemorate the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing.

The Prince famously loathed sycophants, which must have been a hefty burden in itself given his position in the crosshairs of the nation’s most devoted bottom-feeders.

Accordingly, the poet compensated for this with wide spadefuls of pretension:

Last of the great avuncular magicians
they kept their best tricks for the grand finale: Disproving Immortality and Disappearing Entirely.

Holy cow, what a monstrosity.

He would have been better advised to have just issued a short statement offering his condolences.

I guess that stating the bleeding obvious is deemed worthy of approbation in this day and age, but every man, woman, and child disproves immortality during their lifetime. Most are cremated too, but as we know, matter is neither created nor destroyed.

So, blathering senselessness on both counts, and that’s before we even start to pick through the whole swirl of crapola that these stanzas represent.

And if the seemingly random capitalisation is a device to make those particular words stand out, he’s over-egging it: it all stands out anyway as a monumental pile of turd.

The essential rub with poets is that they define themselves as these burningly intense prophets who bring us powerful truths via their pithy, evocative words, and they’re predominantly away with the fairies.

Finagled and hachured won’t be conjuring up rich imagery for most of the UK population any time soon, so you have to wonder what the barmy bard was scraping to communicate.

Possibly that he is an erudite chap who knows words like finagled and hachured.

Blimey, we’ve only just got over that Amanda Gorman guff that Dignitas really ought to use with a montage of terminally ill people in order to drum up trade.

So deluded are poetry pettifoggers that she is being touted as a future US President, even if there is now an unfeasibly low bar. At least with our guy, he just pops up every few years, presents his piffle, and then buggers off back to total obscurity.

He would have unlocked more cerebral potential, had he caned a crate of Bishops Finger before stumbling for his Papermate.

Poets Laureate are traditionally presented with a butt or sack of sherry, which is in effect a barrel. Philip ought to reach out from the ether and snatch back that barrel of sherry and replace it with a barrel of laughs because it is all so monumentally risible. Or perhaps a sack of shit in a straight swap.

The poem refers to both sides of the Duke’s life — both personal and work — and so the term recto verso springs to mind.

And there’s a clue in there about where this verse ought to be stuck.

Sideways, and preferably on fire.


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