Friday, 7 March 2008

My Town

Every Poet Laureate must pen at least one civic poem as part of the job. Here's mine, but in the spirit of civic shareware, I decree this poem to be copyright-free, so you may adapt for your own town or city, or perhaps do a cover version if you're a musician.

Save Changes

Customise your town. Edit urban decay
Knit your own community, have your say
It's Oxford ‘Talk To Your Neighbours Day’
United, we stand for a better (not third) way
Let’s clean up this town, sprinkle green onto brown
Polish the jewel of Oxfordshire’s crown
Build better density housing that won’t offend the tourists
Keep the conurbation special, serve cake (with icing) to the purists
Tell the druggies and alcies, it’s time to pull their socks up
Or next time they pass Bonn Square, there might just be some stocks up!
Let's revert the prison from posh hotel to its proper use
And never refuse to collect refuse.
Then there's doubling up the lonely
To be greener and more friendly.
We could reclaim the streets and alleys
From the crims, scammers, scallies
Treasure our noble architecture
Design out corporate, brave or car-chitecture
And merge town and gown
Into a social model of world renown.
Why wait or emigrate for Paradise?
We could all make this place nice.

LS King 2008

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Rol said...

Great. I especially liked the couplet:

Then there's doubling up the lonely
To be greener and more friendly.

Not only a great use of words, but a nice concept too.

h said...

Truly excellent poem. I didn't know the UK had a University Town called Oxford. They must have stolen the idea from Mississippi.

Here is a poem that the natives there shout at unsuspecting visitors:


At UF we retaliate (and show off our spelling skills) by having 90,000 people link arms and sway back and forth while singing:

Where the Girls are the fairest,
and the boys are the squarest,

Copious amounts of booze must be consumed before either poem is recited, yelled or sung.

Anonymous said...

I did wonder about doing a poem for the piece I had to write about where I lived - but I am at crap at poems.

The only thing anyone ever chants about this place is "nickers off ready when I come home" which is stupid cos it's knickers isn't it?

Super duper poem. I wish I could think poem - I try to sometimes but I just sit there and nothing comes out. I need the equivalent of an enema really but for words.

Steve said...

RB, I always preferred Eddie Hitler's version (from Bottom) Nellies Out Ready When I Come Home... ;-)

Love the idea of adapting the poem, Laura. Took a trip to Coventry this week and would love to re-appropriate and adapt one of your lines: "Polish the turd of Coventry's crown..."!

moi said...

"Customize your town. Edit urban decay." – brilliant!

Congrats on your Poet Laureate designation. More rhymes for everyone, then, I assume?

Mrs. G. said...

I loved this!

The Sagittarian said...

Those dazzling PJs and crown have definitely gone to the WRITE person! Great poem. Our city is the equivalent of a lot of early English towns mixed with that "urban decay" you mention. The latest thing to moan about is the tagging that kids do, but it would be good to hear more moaning about the City in general.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Thanks Rol - they used to say of New York - 'Where 2 million people live together - alone'

Troll - yes we're just a young upstart University dating from 872 - a cheek I know! Yes we've got several branches of Ye Merrie Binge & Vomit where our drunken students can be heard chanting much the same but employing more expletives!

RB, poetry's easier than writing - 'you start at 9, finish at half past, and have the rest of the day to yourself' as a line from one of my favourite poets Paul Birtill's 'Work Shy Writer' goes.

Don't talk to me about Coventry Steve, few cities do GRIM quite like Coventry!

Thank you Moi & Mrs G.

Tagging Sagittarian? I'm intrigued. Do tell more. Do the kids tag each other rather than the Police?

The Sagittarian said...

Tagging is what we call Graffitti down here. The guy across the road from us has his white block fence tagged as soon as he paints over the last lot. The kids try to call it art, some of it is but mostly its a mash of scribbled initials apparently meant to "mark" their territory. Like dogs peeing on a post really, same result I reckon.