Our revels now are ended: Poetry at the Olympics 
Sunday, August 12, 2012, 08:45 PM
Posted by Administrator
You don’t have to be particularly left wing to feel offended by some responses to the Olympics Opening Ceremony. By contrast, Carol Ann Duffy’s offering brought out my inner Tory, and galvanised Twitter into action. I particularly enjoyed:

Jessica Ennis is very pretty/something something, Occupy the City

London is full of Olympic Cheer/ Insert trite left wing platitude here

I hope my poem will bring back Labour/ And another book deal from Faber & Faber

Britain wins a bronze in kayak/Lack of growth discredits Hayek

Off Twitter, I was struck by two witty responses. Here is ‘Flaming Fairy’ in the style of John Betjeman.

Oh sturdy girls in straining shorts
From distant, sunny parts,
Engaging in Olympic sports
Bring cheer to old men’s hearts.

Their lithe and lissome loveliness
Makes dull eyes shine. The thrill
Of strenuously-earned success
Rolls back the years until

You find, once more, you’re twenty one
And sipping gin and lime
Post-tennis with Miss Hunter Dunne
Some far-off summer time.

And here’s that stiff-posed photograph
Us, by the spindle tree
Off to the dance, to drink and laugh
In nine o’clock Camberley

The Hillman Imp is long gone now
And Joan too, truth be told.
Some clean-cuffed sales exec from Slough
Snatched her like Mo took gold

And so, I sit, the telly’s on,
With taut young flesh aglow.
Although my youth and snap are gone
I’m still alive, you know!

And here is ‘Lamia’, with an imitation of Philip Larkin.

Prize-giving MMXII

by Philip Larkin

With a stern blazered smile the judge draws near,
Headmasterly, to where I loiter, bald
Bowing my head, and blinking behind my specs.
And then a velvet fumbling, a falling into place
As something heavy slithers round my neck
To hang in awkward gaudiness. A cheer,
And then the National Anthem strikes up gold.

Gold? Or something else? Stepping down slowly
from the podium to piss, I wonder
What it was all for. ‘Run for Team GB’
They said. But where does one run from here?
The crowds will quietly drift away,
The stadiums will crumble into pieces.
The asphalt lanes will gather weed and leaf.
This cycling Kraut, that weightlifting Bolivian,
That crew of sailing Japs, each year will sink
A little further into blank oblivion.

And poised between my thumb and finger
This cold token of autumnal grief.
In a bare wintry drawer it will linger,
for a while, gathering dust, unsold,
Among dead stamps and a leaflet about wine.
An old wives' charm to ward away new failure.
Something to please the nephews and the nieces.
Something to taunt those pricks in Australia.

In the Olympic bar I stand a drink
For a Danish woman and some ass from Spain.
The hot triumphant evening turns to thunder,
And somewhere out beyond the finish line
the first small medals of rain. Strange to think
We will never be so happy again.




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