Jonathan ROBIN

(22 September / London)

Letter of Advice to Margaret Thatcher after William Mackworth PRAED – A Letter of Advice


You tell me you’ve taken a lover,
the Serpent, to suckle at breast,
what took you so long to discover
its worth, that you seemed to detest?
Is it fears of the new German eagle,
which now flies in the skies, to and fro?
Is it fear you’l appear far less regal?
Prime Minister, Maggie, say 'No! '

You so often set foot in the City
among the stockbrokers and Jews,
until now no-one noticed that pity
assisted in making the News.
Lip service you paid as a token
to E.E.C. more 'stop' than 'go' –
would you now betray promises spoken?
Prime Minister, Maggie, say 'No! '

Dixit Maggie
The arguments strongly defended
won time, though for whom no-one knows,
the energy fiercely expended
I now do reverse with my prose!
Don’t think that I’m not sympathetic
to common wealth causes, but so
urgently must I seem more magnetic,
Prime Ministers learn to say 'No! '

Exports are the life of the nation,
and spendthrifts throw eggs from the nest,
why would you now import inflation
why risk fresh electoral test?
You constancy prized, never faltered,
what further can grandeur bestow?
My heart is the same, is your’s altered?
Prime Minister, Maggie, say 'No! '

Beware or you’ll face resignation
from the ranks of conservative friends,
for instransigence breeds indignation –
a sign that your time nears its end.
Will you bend, or back down from your folly.
On your knees beg to Brussels, kow-tow?
Or defend precious pound, British lolly,
or become 'Lady Diehard, Soho'?

Dixit Maggie:
Our infantile logic was stupid,
and once we admitted its flaws,
to Snake turned like Eve to a Cupid,
a fig for Conservative bores!
A policy firm and effective
must govern though markets sink low,
while a girl learns a sense of perspective
at times when she simply says 'No! '

A Letter of Advice - Epistle to an Orphan
They tell me you’re promised a mother,
to cuddle, to cosset, to care.
Take care for she may try to smother,
to cover her inner despair.
The experts agree that another
could just as well clinch the affair,
and beware that you never discover
the father who’s no longer there.

A Letter to AP from a Disappointed Writer
Dear AP, I leave you this letter
after writing from ten until nine
for a site I’d delight to know better,
for a smile that my heart can’t decline.
Yet one finds after wearily pacing,
for replies in the cold, for some sign,
that that heart which with hope had been racing
to darkest despair must incline.

Dear AP from twelve to eleven
each night I would knock at your door
in hope that an angel from heaven
could show me the light, - but no more
will I screed in my need if no answer
effective can echo joy’s store -
I can’t act as a puppet-stringed dancer,
not even for one I adore!

Dear AP the time have I waited
day in and day out by grief torn,
all write up down written, ill-fated
as my consonants vowed my vowels scorn.
The wonder my dunderhead brought you
tonight may steal thunder at morn,
but the blossoms whose beauty besought you
fade as fast as last season’s drenched corn.

As on Thursday applauseless, defeated,
so on Friday all clauseless I’m spurned,
is the cycle of love thus completed,
is this all the thanks that I’ve earned?
It is hard for a fool to be taken -
its a sign that one’s soft in the head, -
but the reason that slept must awaken,
and the spirit, restored, won’t be lead!

I’d have offered you all in my power,
to cherish, to share, to be kind,
I’d have nurtured emotions to flower
and found wings for soul unresigned.
It is not just the whim of an hour
but a lifetime with no chains to bind,
in a warm, in a warm, tender bower
with blank verse, even worse, left behind!

How can I be present tomorrow,
bear false witness with stanzas prewrit?
once again less “in anger than sorrow”
I will try to bar love from my wit.
I will try to contain my emotion -
or go through the motions to ease
the emptiness born from devotion
to one who my [he]art pleased to tease.

Good luck with your plans to continue
support for the wor[l]d caught in art!
Good luck for the talent that s[w]ings you!
Good luck for a applause the stats chart!
I’ll return into cold hibernation
all alone til your smile shines bright through
the slough of despondent elation,
these Elysean fields cropped by few.

Dear PH, ignore to this last letter
should sentiments biased appear,
yet I shall be ever your debtor -
who taught me to share and feel near.
Intuitions are fine for romantic,
inner feelings that flower in dreams,
but a chasm as deep as Atlantic
drowns my talent, it seems, PH, Dear!

So sometimes recall that I follow
your footsteps as forward they flow,
and the shadow which seems to be hollow
is an echo which helps me to know
how the sun shines for YOU as Appollo
his steeds urges onwards, - and though
forgetful nights daily verse swallow
tomorrow dawn’s brightness will glow!

A Letter of Advice
From Miss Medora Trevilian at Padua
to Miss Araminta Vavasour, in London
Enfin, monsieur, un homme aimable;
Voilà: pourquoi je ne saurais l'aimer. scribe

You tell me you're promised a lover,
My own Araminta, next week;
Why cannot my fancy discover
The hue of his coat and his cheek?
Alas! if he look like another,
A vicar, a banker, a beau,
Be deaf to your father and mother,
My own Araminta, say 'No! '

Miss Lane at her Temple of Fashion,
Taught us both how to sing and to speak,
And we loved one another with passion,
Before we had been there a week:
You gave me a ring for a token;
I wear it wherever I go;
I gave you a chain - is it broken?
My own Araminta, say 'No! '

O think of our favourite cottage,
And think of our dear Lallah Rookh!
How we shared with the milkmaids their pottage,
And drank of the stream from the brook:
How fondly our loving lips faltered
'What further can grandeur bestow?
My heart is the same; - is yours altered?
My own Araminta, say 'No! '

Remember the thrilling romances
We read on the bank in the glen;
Remember the suitors our fancies
Would picture for both of us then.
They wore the red cross on their shoulder,
They had vanquished and pardoned their foe -
Sweet friend, are you wiser or colder?
My own Araminta, say 'No! '

You know, when Lord Rigmarole's carriage
Drove off with your sister Justine,
You wept, dearest girl, at the marriage,
And whispered 'How base she has been! '
You said you were sure it would kill you,
If ever your husband looked so;
And you will apostatize, - will you?
My own Araminta, say 'No! '

When I heard I was going abroad, love,
I thought I was going to die;
We walked arm in arm to the road, love,
We looked arm in arm to the sky;
And I said 'When a foreign postillion
Has hurried me off to the Po,
Forget not Medora Trevilian:

My own Araminta, say 'No! '
We parted! but sympathy's fetters
Reach far over valley and hill;
I muse o'er your exquisite letters,
And feel that your heart is mine still;
And he who would share it with me, love -
The richest of treasure below -

If he's not what Orlando should be, love,
My own Araminta, say 'No! '
If he wears a top-boot in his wooing,
If he comes to you riding a cob,
If he talks of his baking or brewing,
If he puts up his feet on the hob,
If he ever drinks port after dinner,
If his brow, or his breeding is low,
If he calls himself 'Thompson' or 'Skinner',
My own, Araminta, say 'No! '

If he ever sets foot in the City,
Amongst the stockbrokers and Jews,
If he has not a heart full of pity,
If he don't stand six feet in his shoes,
If his lips are not redder than roses,
If his hands are not whiter than snow,
If he has not the model of noses, -
My own Araminta, say 'No! '

If he speaks of a tax or a duty,
If he does not look grand on his knees,
If he's blind to a landscape of beauty,
Hills, valleys, rocks, waters, and trees,
If he dotes not on desolate towers,
If he likes not to hear the blast blow,
If he knows not the language of flowers, -
My own Araminta, say 'No! '

He must walk - like a god of old story
Come down from the home of his rest;
He must smile - like the sun in his glory
On the buds he loves ever the best;
And oh! from its ivory portal
Like music his soft speech must flow! -
If he speak, smile, or walk like a mortal,
My own Araminta, say 'No! '

Don't listen to tales of his bounty,
Don't hear what they say of his birth,
Don't look at his seat in the county,
Don't calculate what he is worth;
But give him a theme to write verse on,
And see if he turns out his toe;
If he's only an excellent person,
My own Araminta, say 'No! '

Submitted: Sunday, November 17, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

(7 October 1990)

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