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A CALL TO ARMS by Barry Tebb
It was like chucking-out time

In a rough Victorian pub

Cherubic Dylan was first to go

Lachrymose but with a show

Of strength, yelling "Buggerall,

Buggerall, this is my boat-house

In Laugherne, these are my books,

My prizes, I ride every wave-crest,

My loves are legion. What’s this

You’re saying about fashion?

Others follow where I lead,

Schoolchildren copy my verse,

No anthology omits me

Put me down! Put me down!

George Barker was too far gone

To take them on

And moaned about a list

In a crystal cave of making beneath

The basement of the Regent Street


Edith Sitwell was rigid in a carved

High-backed chair, regally aloof,

Her ringed fingers gripping the arms,

Her eyes flashing diamonds of contempt.

"A la lampe! A la lampe!"

A serious fight broke out in the saloon bar

When they tried to turf Redgrove out:

His image of the poet as violent man

Broke loose and in his turtle-necked

Seaman’s jersey he shouted,

"Man the barricades!"

A tirade of nature-paths and voters

For a poetry of love mixed it with

The chuckers-out; Kennedy, Morley

And Hulse suffered a sharp repulse.

Heath-Stubbs was making death stabs

With his blindman’s stick at the ankles

Of detractors from his position under

The high table of chivalry, intoning

A prayer to raise the spirit

Of Sidney Keyes.

Geoffrey Hill had Merlin and Arthur

Beside him and was whirling an axe

To great effect, headless New Gen poets

Running amok.

Andrew Crozier was leading a counter-attack

With Caddy and Hinton neck and neck

And Silkin was quietly garrotting

While he kept on smiling.

Price Turner was so happy at the slaughter

He hanged himself in a corner

And Hughes brought the Great White Boar

To wallow in all the gore

While I rode centaur

Charles Tomlinson had sent for.
View Barry Tebb:  Poems | Biography | Books

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