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The Laureates are owned by Nahum Tate, appointed Poet Laureate of England in 1692 upon the death of Thomas Shadwell, the second Poet Laureate of England, who followed John Dryden. Tate, like Shadwell, wore one of those giant wigs. Henry Purcell used Tate’s play as the libretto for Dido and Aeneas.  Tate’s best-seller was his happy-ending version of King Lear. He was born into a Puritan family in Dublin, and after receiving a degree from Trinity College in Dublin he became a working writer in London.

Now the Laureate, with his Laureates, flies to Los Angeles, to play Merv Griffin’s Gamers, in the Gamers home opener.

The Laureates play in the not-so-Glorious League, with the controversial Pistols—associated with Eva Braun, featuring T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Ted Hughes; the pitching-rich Banners (Dante, Shelley, Virgil); and two solid, British-owned teams—Queen Victoria’s Carriages and Lord Russell’s The Sun.

The Gamers are in the People’s League, with the Cobras of Kolkata, the Mist of Tokyo, the Waves of Beijing, and another California team, television producer Dick Wolf’s the Laws.

Both teams feel they have a good chance of winning their respective divisions.

Merv Griffin has a loose and fun-loving team; Noel Coward leads off at shortstop, John Betjeman, Poet Laureate of England himself, from 1972 to 1984, plays center field and bats second; Billy Collins in left, Eugene Ionesco, the Absurdist playwright, bats cleanup and plays catcher; Thomas Hood, a mock-heroic ballad genius, at second, Tristan Tzara, first base, Ogden Nash in right, Joe Green, the third baseman, and pitching for the Gamers, Lewis Carroll.

Literature can be light, yet serious. This might describe the Gamers.

Or serious, yet light. Here is the starting lineup of the Laureates:

Sara Teasdale 2b; Oliver Goldsmith cf; Alexandre Dumas lf; Charles Dickens 1b; Aphra Behn rf; Mirza Ghalib 3b; Boris Pasternak c; JK Rowling ss, and pitching for the Laureates, Edmund Burke.

And finally, “light” can have a thousand meanings.

Edmund Burke, the Laureates starter, said he was confident he would be able to analyze the “lightness” of the Gamers lineup, and turn in a satisfactory performance.  ” I can’t be pedantic; I can’t leave the ball up in the strike zone. As long as I’m around the strike zone, and go right after these guys, and let my defense play behind me, I have no worries.”

The defense behind him isn’t bad.

Ghalib has some wit of his own at third; the women up the middle, Sara Teasdale and JK Rowling, and Dickens at first round out a solid infield. Meanwhile, Dumas, the mysterious Aphra Behn, and the popular and well-liked Goldsmith make for a speedy and daring outfield.

Lewis Carroll looked at the ground and whistled under his breath when asked how would do in the season opener for the Gamers.

The defense behind Carroll is adequate: Tzara at first, Hood at second, Coward at short, and Joe Green at third in the infield; in the outfield, Betjeman is in center, Billy Collins patrols left, and Ogden Nash holds down right field.

The Dublin Laureates are in green.  The LA Gamers are in blue.

And there’s a huge crowd.  This will definitely help the crowd-pleasing Gamers.  But as Marla Muse has pointed out, the Laureates also bring the entertainment.

Noel Coward homers in the bottom of the first off Edmund Burke’s first pitch.

It’s 1-0 Gamers!

Betjeman drills one up the middle. Runner on first. No outs. Burke keeps Betjeman close. Billy Collins flies out. Ionesco walks on four pitches.  Ronald Reagan, the manager, saunters out to the mound to calm Burke down. Thomas Hood batting. A one-hopper to short. Rowling to Teasdale. And back to first, Dickens digs out the low throw. Double play! And the Dublin Laureates are out of the inning.

Meanwhile Lewis Carroll sets down the first nine batters he sees. Change-ups keep the team from Dublin off-balance. He makes a few hitters look bad, especially with his knuckle-change.

Mirza Ghalib and JK Rowling finally break through for the Laureates, as they get a couple of runs in the fifth.

But it’s not Edmund Burke’s day. Lewis Carroll and Ogden Nash knock in runs; Ionesco homers.

After seven, the Gamers lead 7-2.  Dana Gioia is now pitching for the Laureates.

In the 8th, Mirza Ghalib takes Carroll deep to make it 7-3, but the Gamers come back in the bottom of the frame against Gioia—Lewis Carroll lifts a pop fly home run right down the line in left, and it’s 8-3 for Los Angeles.

What a great day for Lewis Carroll! Merv Griffin has to be happy with the Gamers’ opening day performance.

Charles Bernstein takes over for Lewis Carroll in the top of the ninth. Rod McKuen replaces Billy Collins in left.

JK Rowling reaches. Verdi, pinch hitting, strikes out. Teasdale singles, Oliver Goldsmith hits a pitch out of the strike zone and singles in Rowling, it’s 8-4. Dumas hits a perfect double-play ball to Noel Coward at short.  He bobbles it!  Everybody’s safe. Dickens singles, and it’s 8-5. Menander relieves Bernstein. Aphra Behn batting. She’s 0 for 3 today.

The bases are loaded.  No one is leaving Merv Griffin Park. The Gamers fans are holding their breath.

Aphra Behn swings.

There’s a fly ball, hit pretty deep….

McKuen is looking up…

Home run!

The Laureates have gone ahead 9-8!

We go to the bottom of the ninth, Livy pitching for the Laureates.

Betjeman grounds out. Rod McKuen grounds out. Ionesco doubles. Thomas Hood up.

Livy deals 2-2, Hood swings…there’s a fly to right…

Aphra Behn goes back…back…

And takes it at the warning track!

The Laureates win.

Los Angeles groans.

Merv Griffin kicks something.

Noel Coward is not laughing.

Third baseman Joe Green puts his arm around Menander.

Trailing 8-3 going to the ninth, the Laureates have defeated the Gamers by a run, on a grand slam by Aphra Behn.

After showering, and throwing on a dress, she tells Marla Muse how it feels.

This is Scarriet Poetry News.



Lord Byron In Albanian Dress - 1813 Painting by War Is Hell Store

George Byron in a pensive mood, before taking part in the opening day Scarriet baseball ceremonies.

Happy Easter!

Scarriet has expanded and restructured its baseball league!!

Gone the 2 leagues of 20 teams led by 20 American poets—Eliot, Pound, Frost, Poe, Williams, Stevens, Moore, Dickinson, Millay, Jorie Graham, Ginsberg, Ransom, Cummings, Whittier, Whitman, Bryant, Longfellow, James Lowell, Ashbery, and Emerson.

Now poets like Emerson, Eliot and Poe can be player/managers—to contribute to their teams both at the plate and in the field.

The field is more international—Scarriet Poetry Baseball is now 25 historical teams from all over the world.


The gods and muses must be pleased with our ten years of Poetry March Madness and our first Poetry Baseball season, where poetry is worshiped through time and space in a manner which no one has ever seen.

Fortunately one of the Muses has always been here to help us, Marla Muse.

Marla Muse: They are indeed pleased, Tom!

You have spoken to the other muses who live in other realms, in those shadowy timeless realms where time is one and poetry lights up suns distantly—

Marla Muse: Yes, and they approve! The stars in the heavens love you more than you know… I would rather die than see poetry die.

This baseball season is different. Mysterious and wealthy owners throughout time and space are bidding, some in secret, for players to fill their rosters.

In the Great Emperor League, we have the Broadcasters. Their motto is “Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name” and they feature Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, Gregory Corso, Anne Sexton, Bobby Burns, Omar Khayyam, Rilke, Coleridge, Leopardi, Anacreon, Sappho, and Ingrid Jonker.  They are rumored to be owned and funded by a business group led by Federico Fellini, and their ballpark is in Rimini, Italy.

These ballclubs are timeless, in every sense of the word (these teams compete, with actual statistics, where chance unfolds out of space, out of time) but real money, blood money, purchases these players.  We know JP Morgan, for instance, wanted Shakespeare and bid heavily to get him.

The Pistols, who play in Berlin, are said to be associated with Eva Braun, but this cannot be confirmed; one older muse claims to have overheard Eva say, “I take care of this. Adolf is too busy talking to bankers and architects. He doesn’t have time for poetry.” But honestly we cannot say who owns the Pistols.

Nahum Tate, owner of the Laureates, for those who do not know, re-wrote a popular King Lear with a happy ending (after Shakespeare’s death when, for a long period, the Bard was out of fashion,) and was chosen as Poet Laureate of England in 1692. 

Dick Wolf produces Law & Order on television, and appears to have a controlling interest in the Laws, playing out of Santa Barbara.  He’s got Aristotle, Lord Bacon, and Horace.

John Rockefeller opened his purse to get Walt Whitman, and he thinks that will be enough to win a championship.  We don’t know.  We do know baseball is all about pitching.  All you need is a few good arms which dominate, defense behind them, and some clubhouse chemistry, and not too many injuries. It’s a crap shoot, in many ways, and this is why Rockefeller grumbled he wasn’t going to waste money on superstars who hit home runs and have a high batting average. He’s probably right.  A team that wins 2-1 is better than a team that wins 7-4, by pure mathematics, even though the former score wins by 1 and the latter by 3 runs. It’s the ratio that counts.  2-1 = 2. 7-4 = 1.7  This simple reason is why defense wins in every sport. Rockefeller is using this formula, and the oil baron was also advised that you can’t buy a pennant—throwing money at sluggers doesn’t do any good; it’s 90% pitching and luck. Just put a a poet with critical depth on the hill and three good versifiers in the infield and sit back.

Some of the rosters might have some question marks, but that’s what happens in a free market.  It’s an historical fact that Longfellow did meet Queen Victoria in person. But no one expected him to play for her!

And W.H. Auden just “wanted to play for Napoleon, I don’t why.”

Marla Muse: I can’t wait for the season to begin!  Spring is in the air! Around Rome, and in those still fairer isles… Let’s forget about plagues and the starvation for awhile. Songs are going to sing.

Here then, are the Teams, their Mottoes, and the preliminary rosters—they are always changing (there’s a big minor leagues!)



Federico Fellini, Rimini  The Broadcasters [Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name]
-Mick Jagger, Sappho, Gregory Corso, Charles Bukowski, Paul Valery, Anne Sexton, Omar Khayyam, Robert Burns, Ben Jonson, Coleridge, Jim Morrison, Edmund Waller, Nabokov, Rilke, Giacomo Leopardi, Anacreon, Ingrid Jonker, Swinburne

Napoleon, Corsica The Codes [Let the more loving one be me]
-W.H. Auden, Homer, Hesiod, Racine, John Peale Bishop, Edmund Wilson, Mina Loy, William Logan, Irving Layton, Villon, Jean-Baptiste Tati-Loutard, Wole Soyinka, Jules Laforgue, Derek Walcott, Callimachus, Cicero, Marcus Aurelius

King Philip II, Madrid The Crusaders [If in my thought I have magnified the Father above the Son, let Him have no mercy on me]
-Saint Ephrem, G.K. Chesterton, Tolkien, Thomas Aquinas, Hilaire Beloc, John Paul II, Saint Theresa of Lisieux, Joyce Kilmer, Saint John of the Cross, Mary Angela Douglas, Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, Countee Cullen, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Aeschulus

Charles X, Paris  The Goths [Every great enterprise takes its first step in faith]
-A.W. Schlegel, Baudelaire, Goethe, Oscar Wilde, Walter Pater, Madame de Stael, Chateaubriand, Sophocles, George Herbert, Heinrich Heine, Robert Herrick, Clement Marot, Ronsard, Saint-Beuve, Catulus, Thomas Gray, John Clare, Thomas Lovell Beddoes, Theophile Gautier

Pope Julius II, Rome  The Ceilings [They also serve who only stand and wait]
-Milton, Michelangelo, William Blake, Robert Lowell, Petrarch, G.E. Lessing, John Dryden, Klopstock, GE Horne, Ferdowsi, Ariosto, Luis de Camoens, Swift, Tulsidas, Edmund Spenser, Kwesi Brew, Pindar, Euripides



Eva Braun, Berlin The Pistols [A life subdued to its instrument]
-Ted Hughes, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, W.B. Yeats, Ford Madox Ford, James Joyce, Hugh Kenner, Wyndham Lewis, DH Lawrence, Alistair Crowley, George Santayana, F.T. Marinetti, Giacomo Balla, Richard Wagner, Jung

Queen Victoria, London The Carriages [Theirs but to do and die]
-Lord Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett, Robert Browning, Longfellow, Philip Larkin, Sylvia Plath, Hazlitt, Paul McCartney, Geoffrey Hill, Henry James, Andrew Marvel, John Suckling, Virginia Woolf, Theocritus

Lorenzo de’ Medici, Florence The Banners [The One remains, the many change and pass]
-Percy Shelley, Dante, William Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, DG Rossetti, John Keats, Marlowe, Guido Cavalcanti, Glyn Maxwell, Ben Mazer, Friedrich Schiller, Thomas Moore, Philodemus, Virgil, Stefan George, Boccaccio, Leonardo da Vinci

P.M. Lord John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, Devon The Sun [A good indignation brings out all one’s powers]
-Emerson, Horace Walpole, Thomas Carlyle, Thoreau, Wordsworth, Rudyard Kipling, Aldous Huxley, Matthew Arnold, Sir John Davies, Margaret Fuller, Robert Southey, Marilyn Chin, Joy Harjo, Basil Bunting, Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye

Nahum Tate, Dublin  The Laureates [Luck is bestowed even on those who don’t have hands]
-Ghalib, Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens, Peacock, Leigh Hunt, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Sara Teasdale, Pasternak, Louis Simpson, Dana Gioia, Oliver Goldsmith, Edmund Burke, Aphra Behn, Rod McKuen, JK Rowling



Harvey Weinstein, Westport CT The Actors [I am no hackney for your rod]
-John Skelton, Langston Hughes, Henry Ward Beecher, Chaucer, Amiri Baraka, Lord Byron, Hafiz, Thomas Nashe, Marilyn Hacker, Petronius, Gwendolyn Brooks, Jim Carroll, Lucille Clifton, Etheridge Knight, Audre Lorde, Jimmy Page, Andre Gide

David Lynch, Alexandria VA  The Strangers [So still is day, it seems like night profound]
-Jones Very, Alexander Pope, William Burroughs, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Robert Graves, Laura Riding, Weldon Kees, Berryman, Mary Shelley, Rabelais, Charles Simic, Eric Satie, Labid, Roethke, Camille Paglia, HP Lovecraft, Nietzsche, Samuel Beckett

P.T. Barnum, Fairfield CT  The Animals [Majesty and love are incompatible]
-Ovid, Gerald Stern, Robinson Jeffers, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Seamus Heaney, Jack Spicer, Kay Ryan, Leslie Scalapino, Mary Oliver, W S Merwin, Melville, Camille Saint Saens, Edward Lear, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, Gerard de Nerval, Robert Bly

J.P. Morgan, Madison Avenue  The War [The fire-eyed maid of smoky war all hot and bleeding will we offer them]
-Shakespeare, Louis Untermeyer, Apollinaire, T.E. Hulme, Richard Aldington, Rupert Brooke, Sir Walter Scott, Philip Sidney, James Dickey, Harry Crosby, Keith Douglas, Wilfred Owen, Howard Nemerov, Stephen Crane, Erich Remarque, Alan Seeger

Ben Franklin  Philadelphia  The Secrets [We come in the age’s most uncertain hour and sing an American tune]
-Paul Simon, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Edgar Poe, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, F. Scott Key, Cole Porter, Plato, Hawthorne, Pushkin, Walter Raleigh, Moliere, William Cullen Bryant, Amy Lowell, Emma Lazarus, Carl Sandburg, Pete Seeger, Natasha Trethewey, Amelia Welby, Woody Guthrie, JD Salinger, John Prine, Kanye West, Stephen Cole, Bob Tonucci



Sajyajit Ray, Calcutta The Cobras [Is it true that your love traveled alone through ages and worlds in search of me?]
-Tagore, Allen Ginsberg, Jeet Thayil, Rupi Kaur, Anand Thakore, Dhoomil, G.M. Muktibodh, Rumi, A.K. Ramanujan, Samar Sen, Daipayan Nair, R. Meenakshi, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Hermann Hesse, Persius, George Harrison, Adil Jussawalla, Tishani Doshi, Sushmita Gupta, Vikram Seth

Kurosawa,  Tokyo  The Mist [In Kyoto, hearing the cuckoo, I long for Kyoto]
-Basho, Hilda Doolittle, Robert Duncan, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, D.T. Suzuki, Yone Noguchi, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Kobayashi Issa, Lady Izumi Shikibu, Cid Corman, Sadakichi Hartmann, Heraclitus, Richard Brautigan

Chairman Mao, Beijing  The Waves [Death gives separation repose. Without death, grief only sharpens]
-Tu Fu, Lucretius, Karl Marx, Voltaire, Rousseau, Guy Burgess, Amiri Baraka, Brecht, Neruda, Li Po, Li He, Bai Juyi, Lu Xun, Guo Moruo, Ho Chi-Fang, Yen Chen, Billie Holiday, Khomieni, Lu Ji , Wang Wei, Lao Tzu, Gary B. Fitzgerald, Wendell Berry

Dick Wolf, Santa Barbara  The Laws [In poetry everything is clear and definite]
-Ajip Rosidi, Aristotle, John Donne, Donald Hall, Jane Kenyon, Donald Justice, Anna Akhmatova, Thomas Hardy, Thomas Campion, Frederick Seidel, Antonio Machado, Mark Van Doren, David Lehman, Lord Bacon, Martial, ML Rosenthal, Horace, Gottfried Burger, Yvor Winters

Merv Griffin, Los Angeles  The Gamers  [He thought he saw an elephant that practiced on a fife]
-Lewis Carroll, James Tate, E.E. Cummings, Tony Hoagland, Ogden Nash, Billy Collins, Eugene Field, W.S. Gilbert, Thomas Hood, Noel Coward, X.J. Kennedy, John Betjeman, Wendy Cope, Tristan Tzara, Heather McHugh, Charles Bernstein, Jack Spicer, James Whitcomb Riley, Joe Green, Menander, Morgenstern



Pamela Harriman, Arden NY The Dreamers [not the earth, the sea, none of it was enough for her, without me]
-Sharon Olds, Edna Millay, George Dillon, Floyd Dell, Dorothy Parker, Stanley Burnshaw, Richard Lovelace, Stevie Smith, Louis MacNeice, Louise Bogan, Louise Gluck, Jack Gilbert, Marge Piercy, Carolyn Forche, Muriel Rukeyser, Jean Valentine, May Swenson, Propertius, Anais Nin, Simone de Beauvoir

Andy Warhol, East 47th St The Printers [the eye, seeking to sink, is rebuffed by a much-worked dullness, the patina of a rag, that oily Vulcan uses, wiping up.]
-John Updike, Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, James Schuyler, James Merrill, Hart Crane, Lorca, Thom Gunn, Stephen Burt, Frank Bidart, Mark Rothko, Marjorie Perloff, John Quinn, Duchamp, Aristophanes, Christopher Isherwood, Andre Breton, Lou Reed, John Cage

John D. Rockefeller, Chicago The Buyers [Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion?]
-Walt Whitman, Alcaeus, Edgar Lee Masters, Kenneth Rexroth, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Helen Vendler, Jorie Graham, Franz Wright, Mark Twain, Robert Penn Warren, Paul Engle, William Alexander Percy, Richard Hugo, Carl Philips, Harriet Monroe, Duke Ellington, Dylan Thomas, Jack Kerouac, Sigmund Freud

A. C. Barnes, Philadelphia  The Crash [But for some futile things unsaid I should say all is done for us]
-Allen Tate, John Gould Fletcher, John Crowe Ransom, John Dewey, Cleanth Brooks, Donald Davidson, Merrill Moore, Walter Pater, Wittgenstein, Andrew Nelson Lytle, Archilochus, Anne Waldman, Stanley Kunitz, Jackson Pollock, WC Williams, Luigi Russolo, Stephen Spender, Richard Howard

Steven Spielberg, Phoenix AZ  The Universe [I know why the caged bird sings]
-Maya Angelou, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Bob Dylan, Margaret Atwood, Paul Celan, Czeslaw Milosz, Delmore Schwartz, Randall Jarrell, Anthony Hecht, Galway Kinnell, Philip Levine, Larry Levis, Claudia Rankine, Harold Bloom, Alice Walker, James Wright, Juvenal, Chuck Berry, Stephen King


Ballpark Road Trips in Review: 2018 - Ben's Biz Blog




A great matchup in the South: the  English 20th century formalist, neo-romantic poet John Betjeman (seeded 6th) against Elizabeth Barrett, (seeded 11th) and her exciting poem about the god Pan!

We call this one the Tennis Racket v. the Flute.

A big crowd for this one!  They all want to get a glimpse of the “Shall I Count The Ways?”  poet, who escaped from her father to run away with Robert Browning.

First, some commentary, as the fans push in…

The use of rhyme in poems has many arguments pro and con, but I wonder if anyone has speculated that rhyme makes poets (good or bad, funny or serious) talk about what’s unconsciously most important to the poet.

We recently wrote on rhyme here.

But here’s our theory for today as the game gets ready to start:  Rhyme forces the poet to talk about who she is and what she most cares about in a kind of magical way.

This is counter-intuitive, of course, because ordinarily we think that poets hide behind their rhyme, distract a reader with rhyme.

But what if the act of rhyming works like hypnosis, and distracts the poet, not the reader, and mesmerizes the poet into articulating his innermost thoughts and desires, as in a kind of trance?

The act of rhyming, an extra burden on the poet, fosters a more direct line of expressing those easeful and truthful thoughts which, more easily repressed by the prose mind, tumble out in the rhyming ‘state.’

We find ourselves thinking this when we read certain powerfully rhymed efforts: the poet is under hypnosis, and saying what he had to say but would never have said without the rhyme.

This poem by John Betjeman may be one of those examples—or not.

Is the following poem a poet playing, or saying what matters most to him?

Or is it mysteriously both at the same time?

And is that the thrill we get from his rhyme?

Is this poem true, or is the poem wishing it were true?  And which is more important, and which does the rhyme aid more?

(We tremble with delight at such contemplation)


Miss J. Hunter Dunn, Miss J. Hunter Dunn,
Furnish’d and burnish’d by Aldershot sun,
What strenuous singles we played after tea,
We in the tournament – you against me!

Love-thirty, love-forty, oh! weakness of joy,
The speed of a swallow, the grace of a boy,
With carefullest carelessness, gaily you won,
I am weak from your loveliness, Joan Hunter Dunn.

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,
How mad I am, sad I am, glad that you won,
The warm-handled racket is back in its press,
But my shock-headed victor, she loves me no less.

Her father’s euonymus shines as we walk,
And swing past the summer-house, buried in talk,
And cool the verandah that welcomes us in
To the six-o’clock news and a lime-juice and gin.

The scent of the conifers, sound of the bath,
The view from my bedroom of moss-dappled path,
As I struggle with double-end evening tie,
For we dance at the Golf Club, my victor and I.

On the floor of her bedroom lie blazer and shorts,
And the cream-coloured walls are be-trophied with sports,
And westering, questioning settles the sun,
On your low-leaded window, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.

The Hillman is waiting, the light’s in the hall,
The pictures of Egypt are bright on the wall,
My sweet, I am standing beside the oak stair
And there on the landing’s the light on your hair.

By roads “not adopted”, by woodlanded ways,
She drove to the club in the late summer haze,
Into nine-o’clock Camberley, heavy with bells
And mushroomy, pine-woody, evergreen smells.

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,
I can hear from the car park the dance has begun,
Oh! Surrey twilight! importunate band!
Oh! strongly adorable tennis-girl’s hand!

Around us are Rovers and Austins afar,
Above us the intimate roof of the car,
And here on my right is the girl of my choice,
With the tilt of her nose and the chime of her voice.

And the scent of her wrap, and the words never said,
And the ominous, ominous dancing ahead.
We sat in the car park till twenty to one
And now I’m engaged to Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.

Well played, Mr. Betjeman!

And now let us take a look at the Elizabeth Barrett, the invalid poet who secretly eloped to Italy:

WHAT was he doing, the great god Pan,
    Down in the reeds by the river ?
Spreading ruin and scattering ban,
Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat,
And breaking the golden lilies afloat
    With the dragon-fly on the river.

He tore out a reed, the great god Pan,
    From the deep cool bed of the river :
The limpid water turbidly ran,
And the broken lilies a-dying lay,
And the dragon-fly had fled away,
    Ere he brought it out of the river.

High on the shore sate the great god Pan,
    While turbidly flowed the river ;
And hacked and hewed as a great god can,
With his hard bleak steel at the patient reed,
Till there was not a sign of a leaf indeed
    To prove it fresh from the river.

He cut it short, did the great god Pan,
    (How tall it stood in the river !)
Then drew the pith, like the heart of a man,
Steadily from the outside ring,
And notched the poor dry empty thing
    In holes, as he sate by the river.

‘This is the way,’ laughed the great god Pan,
    (Laughed while he sate by the river),
‘The only way, since gods began
To make sweet music, they could succeed.’
Then, dropping his mouth to a hole in the reed,
    He blew in power by the river.

Sweet, sweet, sweet, O Pan !
    Piercing sweet by the river !
Blinding sweet, O great god Pan !
The sun on the hill forgot to die,
And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly
    Came back to dream on the river.

Yet half a beast is the great god Pan,
    To laugh as he sits by the river,
Making a poet out of a man :
The true gods sigh for the cost and pain, —
For the reed which grows nevermore again
    As a reed with the reeds in the river.

The limpid water turbidly ran” is one of those lines that marks the sign of a poet.

Also Ms. Barrett gives us this exquisite:

The sun on the hill forgot to die,
And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly
    Came back to dream on the river.

The combination of tragedy and insouciance in Barrett’s poem is lovely.
Both of these poems are beautiful!
But Barrett edges out Bejetman, 82-80!
What a game!
Elizabeth Barrett advances!!

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