Type
Article

by royal request

The new poet laureate Carol Duffy has published her first poem since landing the new gig. One might wonder why she accepted the job, given that it implicates her in the undemocratic and increasingly bizarre institution of royalty, and has widely been seen as the ruination of the previous poets who took it on. Plus it gets paid in sherry, of all things (does anyone actually drink sherry?). Anyway, props to her for incorporating the word ‘piss’ into an official royal poem, which appears below.

POLITICS

How it makes of your face a stone
that aches to weep, of your heart a fist,
clenched or thumping, sweating blood, of your tongue
an iron latch with no door. How it makes of your right hand
a gauntlet, a glove-puppet of the left, of your laugh
a dry leaf blowing in the wind, of your desert island discs
hiss hiss hiss, makes of the words on your lips dice
that can throw no six. How it takes the breath
away, the piss, makes of your kiss a dropped pound coin,
makes of your promises latin, gibberish, feedback, static,
of your hair a wig, of your gait a plankwalk. How it says this –
politics – to your education education education; shouts this –
Politics! – to your health and wealth; how it roars, to your
conscience moral compass truth, POLITICS POLITICS POLITICS.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

Subscribe | Renew | Donate November 9–16 to support progressive literary culture for another year – and for the chance to win magnificent prizes!

Jeff Sparrow is the former editor of Overland. He is the co-author (with Jill Sparrow) of Radical Melbourne: A Secret History and Radical Melbourne 2: The Enemy Within, the editor (with Antony Loewenstein) of Left Turn: Essays for the New Left and the author of Communism: a love story, Killing: Misadventures in violence, and Money Shot: A Journey into Censorship and Porn.  On Twitter, he's @Jeff_Sparrow.

More by

Comments

  1. What's the historical basis for poet laureates? Does it go back to art as patronage? I actually quite liked her poem!

  2. She is a bit of Bolshie, I think: both the first female laureate and the first openly gay one. According to Wiki, James I essentially created the position as it is known today for Ben Jonson in 1617.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>