And Be Damned

by Bill Greenwell

I hate the whole race of poets. There  is no believing what they say… I have  the worst opinion of them.
—The Duke  of Wellington.

Nobody wants to be blown apart,
Or reduced to a barbie selection of bits,
To gristle or muscle, a doner (or donor) heart,
In a marinade, glazed, at the end of one’s wits:
Especially Napoleon Bonaparte
(Who wasn’t so small—he took refuge in pits).

No-one desires to hold a bridge
Under fire, the better that battle be carried,
Bloodied and blotched by a bullet’s unholy midge,
Or by clouds of them, dazed, dancing and harried:
Especially Wordsworth and Coleridge
(Who were posing as pals. In fact, they were married).

Nobody offers to Death a list
Of damnations, of tortures, of how he may slaughter you:
You don’t want a promise of hell-fire, whether pissed
Or otherwise fazed—say, perched on a portaloo.
Even Wesley (called Wellesley, no Methodist)
Feared hell when, as Wellington, he lost Waterloo.