|Outside a bar in the City, London|
Joie de Vivre
after Paul Verlaine
Now you suckers and saps might fall for nature
but that confidence trickster doesn’t fool me.
All those touched-up pastorals of half-arsed
emotion are the last thing I want to see.
Art’s a fucking joke, and we’re no better –
I laugh at verse, the churches’ fawning spires,
and worse, Canary Wharf’s effervescence,
that Midas touch turning the whole lot to shit.
Assholes and good guys are one of a kind.
I’ve left behind faith, daydreams, and as for
love – please. Let’s wave all that goodbye.
Like a useless toy boat that’s miles offshore –
too tired to go on, but who can’t pack it in –
I’ll wait on the shipwreck still gunning for me.
poem by Ben Wilkinson
first published in The Poetry Review, 102:03
This poem is part of an ongoing portraiture project, in which I have drawn, haphazardly, on the works of Paul Verlaine (1844-1896) to produce new poems of my own. It is also an attempt, in some small way, to honour and revivify interest in a great French poet whose work deserves to be held in higher regard. Poems from this project have appeared in Poetry Review ('Joie de Vivre'; 'October'), the Times Literary Supplement ('The Nightingale'; 'The Young Fools'), and Poem ('Once'; 'Marine').