RAGE, RAGE AGAINST THE BABY BALLADEER
We, as poetic pensioners,
Wish it to be known
That we’re not stepping aside for youth
Now that we’re fully grown.
What about prizes for wrinklies,
Awards for the long in the tooth,
A Gregory for geriatrics
As opposed to callow youth?
A pox on the pink-cheeked. Give us
Poets stricken in years.
We want a laid-back laureate
Without fluff between its ears.
Away with the purveyors
Of newfangled nursery rhymes.
Bring us a bard who has seen some life
And remembers the good old times.
AFTER WE’RE GONE
Someone is going to kill me. I don’t know who.
I see this in the eyes of those who pity me,
yet there is nothing either they or I can do.
Those who might help are frightened that complicity
in an escape will see them charged with treachery
by the usurpers who are poised to drag me down,
wipe me from the face of the earth and claim my crown.
Someone, but who? The range of possibilities
is vast. Uncle Richard, my supposed protector.
The Earl of Richmond, now in exile overseas.
Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. Many more,
ambitious for a throne. One thing’s for sure.
Nobles will always dodge dirty work, if they can.
They’ll send a common soldier, or some serving man.
My brother thinks that being in the Tower’s a game.
He’s only nine. I’m twelve, and yet I do not dare
to tell the poor boy that his fate will be the same
as mine. I hope our bodies aren’t dumped anywhere,
down in the dungeons, or beneath a stair.
I pray to God to guide my killers. There is room
to bury us at Windsor, in my father’s tomb.
AN OLFACTORY SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE
A silent recital of scents
extrudes from the perfumer’s organ,
slow-sinking to stipple
the nebulous forms of the faithful
at prayer in a temple to fragrance,
furnished in sandalwood, lit by white dittany.
A phantasmal fellowship,
chemists from China, Assyrian kings,
courtesans from a century of centuries,
myrrh tinted cheek by rose watered jowl
next to Charles of the Ritz and the founders
of Fragonard, Coty, Elizabeth Arden.
Incense alone is inadequate
for such adherents, led by the nose, willingly,
through long hallowed rites, age old attraction
of oakmoss, angelica, love-in-a-mist
luring the wraiths of the beau and the belle from their tombs,
nostrils a-flare like ethereal wine tasters.
Illyria. The very utterance
evokes a misty, half-forgotten past
of effervescent Balkans brilliance,
another mini-realm doomed not to last
amidst the perpetual rise and fall
of localised kingdoms, down centuries.
William Shakespeare rediscovered the small
relic, borrowed its royalty to please
demanding theatre audiences,
but that’s not necessarily the thing
which quickens the auditory senses.
Pronunciation gifts the word its ring.
Listen. ILLYRIA. The long lost sound
chorused by forebears from beneath the ground.
Peter Wyton is a page and performance poet who has presented his work at Festivals, Arts Centres and countless smaller venues from Penzance to the Kingdom of Fife and from Aldeburgh to the Glens of Antrim. He has eight published collections to his name, two of which are still in print. The most recent ‘Not All Men Are From Mars’, has raised over £2000 for the charity ‘Womens Aid.’
Anthologies in which he has featured are numerous, the pick of them being the 1997 Forward Book Of Poetry, in which he has the back page all to himself. Presumably Benjamin Zephaniah must have been having an off year that year! Also the New Oxford Book Of War Poetry in which the editor, John Stallworthy, paid tribute to his poem in the Introduction.
He has so far won 28 1st Prizes in written competition and 20 in performance poem Slams. He was Gloucestershire Millennium Poet in the year 2000 and is currently Poet Laureate to the Towton Battlefield Association in Yorkshire. His work has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. He broadcasts regularly on B.B.C. Radio Gloucestershire, as Breakfast Bard on the Mark Cummings Show and his work has also featured on B.B.C. Radio 2 ‘s ‘Poetry Please’ and ‘Something Understood.’
He regularly addresses branches of the W.I., Probus and similar organisations at their monthly meetings He can be contacted at email@example.com or on 01452-532081