The Columnist
  National Poetry Day
Motorway Ballad
  La Monolog Victorienne
  Marmaduke, the White Knight
  Elegie Composee dans un Rural Churchyard
Clive James
  A Salute to Rabbie Burns
  Oedipus & his mum
  The Ballad of the Middle Laner
  Railway Ballad
  Roman Road
  Ballad of Belmarsh Gaol
  The Bishop of Bath & Wells






The Irresistible Rise of Clive James towards the Nobel Prize


Two hundred years of schools and syllabi
Had done their best to make verse-writing die,
Till, when at last it seemed no more alive,
There came in glory, from down under – Clive!
CLIVE JEANS, who outwrites Alexander Pope,
That is, when not reviewing things like "Soap"
In the "Observer" (Sunday's other rag,
Which people buy for Jeans, not for the mag),
Going on telly, writing heavy crits,
Keeping all your fellow wits in fits,
Attending parties, maybe Marc's or Tina's,
And taking poor Prince Charlie to the cleaners.
Great Clive! Can there be others of your kidney
From Aussie-land, thou Leonardo da Sydney?
(I cannot make that line scan as it should,
It bothers me to know that Clean Jeans could.)
Of course, your name's not really Jeans but James,
I merely imitate the silly names
That dot your crystal verse like bits of soot
Dropp'd in a glass of sparkling champagne (Brut)
And yet, Clone James, O mighty bard of Melbourne,
We love the way you castigate the well-born,
Or (if perchance you come from Adelaide)
The way you trounce the trendy royal parade,
All pseuds and lefties, snobs or Centre party –
Your aim is spot on with the twitterati,
Why then, beneath it all, do I still find
You do not try to kill, but to be kind?
As if one day – can this be true? – you mean
To hear the longed for greeting from the Queen:
'Arise, Sir Clive: we like your flaming aureate
Verse – We designate you Poet Laureate!'


END - back to top