Thursday, 6th May 2021

A gammon's guide to poetry

AS A Wetherspoons daytimer and West Ham fan, you can trust me when I tell you poetry isn’t just for girls and Scots anymore. But before you write your Ode to Brexit, there’s a few things you should know: 

They should always rhyme

A poem isn’t a poem unless it rhymes. Ideally the first line with the second line, third with the fourth and so on, but if you can get every line to rhyme you’re really proving your skill. For example ‘shepherd’s pie’, could rhyme with ‘days gone by’ or ‘my granddad shot a Kraut in the eye’.

The best poems are about war and England

Women like poems about love, but they’re boring. The best ones are about universal subjects like the glory of dying in a war and how f**king great England is. The leftie BBC always has Wilfred Owen, who wasn’t even hard enough to survive the war, at Remembrance Day so I recite my own about happy trench life and the nobility of firing squads for deserters.

‘If’ is a great poem about not being a snowflake

Before Rudyard Kipling went off the rails by writing about foreigners in jungles, he came up with a cracking ditty about not being a smoothie-guzzling millennial. The basic premise is that ‘if’ you stop being a bleeding heart communist you might do our country proud. I’ve forwarded it to my unemployed nephew but haven’t had a reply yet.

Facebook is a treasure trove

Mainstream media won’t talk about it, but some of the great bards of our time are on social media, sharing their work in groups like ‘Remembering England as it used to be’ and ‘Rotherham High School 1967-68’. My mate Neil wrote one comparing migrants on dinghies to Nazi U-boats, but the local newspaper wouldn’t publish it because they hate free speech.

Address your heroes by name

The best poems are ones that could be recited directly to their subject. Add a line to your sonnet about taking Nigel out for a pint of bitter, or how you’d love to cook Boris a roast dinner with extra Yorkshire puds. I’m banned from sending my tribute poems to Priti Patel, presumably because they would have had to start paying me, but I’m confident there’s a Poet Laureate position coming my way.