A Place in the Hierarchy

Anybody can easily see
that Auden is cleverer than me,
and likewise Professor Dodds
or even Joseph Brods-

And the talents that the Fates
once handed out to Yeats
must make me seem a wimp
and very lowgrade simp-

High Art is not quite my scene,
I am more a might-have-been,
a sow’s ear, not a silk,
and far below great Rilk-

I’m flatter, some think, than a quiche
but still I have my own small niche;
and, with luck, I can bend
your ear like Stephen Spend-

The Function of Pets

In many households the pets
are the only things they talk about,
holding the family together
so that the husband doesn’t go walkabout ...

or the wife admit some spurious boy.
Pets are the loved ones, the centre
of family attention, always on stage,
with no Exit or Enter.

Cats are catalysts, and dogs
give rise to dogma. They’re the only
focal point for both adults and children.
The members of the family would feel lonely

if it weren’t for this common cause,
like a political alignment.
Each one of them becomes like a journalist
with one permanent assignment,

to report on the behaviour of cats, dogs, birds,
whose well-being mustn’t be tampered
with. They are the health of the family –
and that’s why they’re so pampered.

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