Poetry at Sangam



The Fugger of Wonderful Black Words by Robert Sheppard

This poem is so bad I’m talking over it, so that
its feathery undersong can tickle me to laughter.
I can just catch its little breath in my throat
speaking a vapour that is odourless and democratic.
All poems are about poetry, even love sonnets in Italian.
His name is Johannes Miltoni and he loves poesy as much as you.
His lady’s dark eyes flash like dancing rhymes down the page,
his metre a rumbling lower house welcoming the technocrat PM.

Berlusconi mounts his last bunga bunga. The girls are fresh,
winking their gussets; their crooning host is old. The poem is too,
but it heals itself like a simile that wasn’t there in the original.
Did I mention that I was sitting in the toilet? I thought not.
I rise to wipe and turn to flush white noise over all of this. Don’t
take me seriously. Rome burns with overdubs all the time.

(Milton: Italian Sonnets II-VI)

(for Tom Atkins)