A Call to Arms

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

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.