Under The Cork-Tree

Whenever I could I went lo bull-fights, wrestling
or boxing matches & enjoyed nothing better
than bloodily mixing it with bovver boys
at soccer battles.

My great-great grandfather was stuck
(according to grandma) like a prime fat pig
at Agincourt.
My whole family has proudly carried
(they say) pikes, halberds, shillelaghs & various
steel or iron bludgeons at every (you name it)

But now ( black sheep bitterly disgracing
the clan. - exchanging birthright for pottage I’ve
torn my card & sit friendless -. sniffing & planning
a kind of pastoral Nirvana: an erewhon of flowers
& suchlike
- of the sort the idiot bull Ferdinand
under his cork-tree looked for.

The extinction of desire & passion. But perhaps
Cockaigne would be better. ‘An imaginary country,
the abode of luxury & idleness.’

A simpleton. Incapable of ordinary reasoning.
One who refuses to take orders.


The reader will remember that the bull Ferdinand*, sitting under his cork-tree, succeeded in avoiding the perpetual struggle which was supposed to be his natural heritage.

The author of this piece gets nothing but contempt for daring to believe in a plan for a similar way-out happiness.

(*Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf.)