Friday Poem

Advice to a Poet

Be a chauffeur, my father said
And never mind the poetry.
That’s all very well for the rich
They can afford it.
What you need is money in your belt
Free uniform and plenty of travel.
Besides that, there’s nothing in verse.
And all poets are raging homosexuals.

I’d still like to be a poet

Another thing: don’t ever marry
And if you do, then marry for cash.
Love, after all, is easily come by
And any old whore will dance for a pound.
Take my advice and be a chauffeur
The uniform will suit you a treat
Marriage and poems will blind you surely
And poets and lovers are doomed to hell.

I’d still like to be a poet

But where’s the sense in writing poetry?
Did any poet ever make good?
I never met one who wasn’t a pauper
A prey to bailiffs, lawyers and priests.
Take my advice and be a chauffeur
With your appearance you’re bound to do well
You might even meet some rich old widow
Who’ll leave you a fortune the moment she dies.

I’d still like to be a poet

Well, blast you then, your days are darkened
Poverty, misery, carnage and sin.
The poems you’ll write won’t be worth a penny.
And the women you marry will bleed you to death.
Take my advice and buy a revolver
Shoot yourself now in the back of the head.
The Government then might raise a subscription
To keep your poor father from breeding again.

by Patrick Galvin
from New and Selected Poems
Cork University Press, Cork, 1996
© 1979