I’m not a poet, and I’m aware of the fact

by Stephen Tall on November 7, 2005

I promise: I won’t make a habit of this… below is a pome what I have writ. I wish to make abundantly clear what will, in any case, become crystal clear. I am not a poet: my best scansion is done by computer, and my meter can be measured in yards. But, once a year*, I indulge my Muse.

An Ode-ious Canvasser


He dusted off the clip-board,
Pinned on his rosette,
And rehearsed his patter word-for-word.
(Until the mirror crack’d.)


He strode up to the first door,
Ready to demand
To know: “Who are you voting for?”
(Answer came there none.)


At the fifteenth house he finally found
Someone who was in:
“You’ll vote for me, I’ll be bound!”
(Alas, his luck was out.)


An hour gone, he paused for breath,
And counted both his pledges:
“That’s not so bad, I must keep the faith.”
(Though God had given him up.)


The rain set in, and darkness fell:
An obvious metaphor.
“My luck is turning, I can tell”
(It wasn’t, and he couldn’t.)


At last, the night was over:
Time to reflect, perchance?
“It’ll be a landslide, no doubts whatsoever.”
(He told his broken mirror.)


On election day, he toured the town
Shouting his instructions.
“Vote for me, you ignorami, not that other clown.”
(Their faces said it all.)


The result, of course, was on the cards,
And, to nobody’s surprise:
“The people have spoken. The bastards!”
(It’s all over ‘til next year.)

* The excuse is the annual Headington Poetry Competition, which raises the profile of the Christmas Fun Day (4th Dec), and raises money to support the town’s Christmas lights.