Poem - The Elect



one of those with quiet, naturally restrained, insistently monotoned voices


with that little selfcontained smile, always going on about Respect for History and the

Abiding Sense of the Traditional


who want all poets to have a sense of “basic form” and who are always quoting Yeats’s

“Under Ben Bulben” about poets having to Learn Their Trade and not be All Out of

Shape from Toe to Top


who think this has nothing to do with Yeats’s views on eugenics—"the better stocks have

not been replacing their numbers”—“The results are already visible in the degeneration

of literature”—


who complain of people with voices yclept loud, varied, opinionated, up and down,

showy, the insufferably “engaged”, the political johnnies, the performance crowd, the

“disastrous influence of the sixties”


who hate poets who carry electrical appliances and who cling fast to Aristotle’s dictum

that a poet is a poet insofar as they have a command of metaphor


who do not want to know all this stuff about “the page as a field of semantic tension” or

blethers about “the connection between lower case and democracy” or pontificatory

nonsense about “the punctuation of spacing” and “the reader being present at the shared

point of articulation”


one of them leant over and said to me quietly


do you know if the 44 bus still goes to Knightswood

You are here: Home six glasgow poems Poem - The Elect