You mightn’t associate Bock with poetry, and frankly, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised by that. After all, you’ve had to put up with drunkenness, profanity and endless rugby here over the last couple of years. Not to mention disrespect towards organised religion, maligning of saints and kicking of cripples.

This is not a nice site. I am not a nice man.

And yet, I have to confess that I have always loved poetry, when done well. That isn’t to say that I love poets. I don’t. In my opinion, anyone who calls themselves a poet is a complete twat, deserving of dismal groin-crushing in a dismal groin-crushing machine. Gobshites.

Look! There’s Desmond MacFinger, the poet.

Fuck off, you pretentious arsehole.

The fucking poet.

Did you ever notice that? The pejorative use of the indefinite article? You see it in the “quality” papers all the time.

Tarquin Knob, the artist.

Festy McMonocle, the potter.

Pigprick Arsehole-Bile-Syphilis, the well-known semen painter.

What the fuck?


I hate that The. I really do. It says, I’m a smug, untalented fucker, but I’m part of the circle, and guess what?? You never heard of this other talentless fucker and I did and what’s more I write for the fucking Guardian!! So there.

Who decided what jobs deserve a The, and which ones are only an A?

Joe Mac, the plumber? I don’t think so, and yet, why is a plumber somehow less talented than a fucking potter? Does anyone say, Look!, there’s Luc Defarge, the well-known wallpaperer? No. Of course they don’t, unless he’s hanging William Morris wallpaper, for fucksake, and then, all of a sudden, he’s awarded a fucking THE.

Kelmscott Press? Well why didn’t you fucking say so?

I hate this shit, but it wasn’t what I started out to say. What I started out to say was that I hate self-described poets but I love some poetry. Not the shite kind, but the good kind, by which I mean the kind that is good.

I’ve even written posts about poets here, though you might have missed them. For example, you might have read this, about TS Eliot, or this, about Gerard Manley Hopkins, a post that managed to combine poetry with rugby. But I don’t really know the difference between poetry and prose. I really don’t, except that a lot of people involved in poetry wear very silly scarves and talk in very silly voices.

Isn’t Raymond Carver a poet? Or Salman Rushdie? Isn’t Annie Prouolx a poet for describing a river an inch deep, a mile wide and flows uphill from Texas? I think so. Just as I think that Mervyn Peake was a poet for giving us the Gormenghast trilogy. Who’d say Leonard Cohen is just a singer?

There you go. It’s just my opinion, but that’s ok. That’s the reason I started Bock in the first place: to talk shit, and you’re used to me by now. I mentioned Carver, because I love his work for its compression, without a single word out of place or unnecessary. That’s the mark of a great piece of writing.

There’s a song by James McMurtry called Too Long in the Wasteland, that’s often played by friends of mine, and it contains a line that I could die happy if I’d written:

I didn’t mean to say it, but I meant what I said.

Good God. Wish I wrote that.

I came across an example of such compression recently, a lovely three-line poem written by the immortal Anon:

There are times, like now,

When I would really like to talk to you

About nothing.

See, I wouldn’t have what it takes to write something like that. It’s too good, and too soulful, and I stand back in admiration, as I do for Carver and for Proulx.

Having said that, I did write a haiku, didn’t I? For Cathal Ó Searcaigh.

God, I’m a bad man and I’m going to Hell.

10 thoughts on “Poetry

  1. i think good poetry is dying
    there are no good poets today mainly because there are so many crap ones (friggin emo kids, anyone?)

  2. Go on outa that you big fucking softy Bock. Like poetry myself, can never remember it and hate (read envy) fuckers who can quote from fucking memory. And what about that immortal band “The The”? I think they shared your lack of sentiment.

  3. Bill: I think there were always loads of crap poets.

    Galwaywegian: Good man. A blow for the working classes!

    Sniffle: Yeah. The great Matt Johnson. I used to love the Infected album, but I only have it on vinyl now.

    Conan the Librarian?

  4. I don’t like ‘poets’. The way they swan around smugly, wearing scarfs colouredy things and almost always headgear they obtained on a visit to Schawanziland. I don’t like the way they insinuate to us plebs that they have access to the ether of life and are able to untangle the coagulation of our eclectic identitities hidden under the discourse of dishrivelled meanings, while complaining that they can’t obtain a good Cheau de Oblong 1932 in this country.

    They almost always drink wine as it attunes them to the higher senses if you will, occasionally indulging in a beer so as to understand us, the audience to their unmetered unrhymed derivative dross. Mostly they don’t talk to us as we are probably wearing the wrong clothes or they know that we suspect that their work is shit. Which is why, I reckon, the poets of today accompany their work with explanations as readable as dense as a computer software manual.

    Sorry for the rant.

    Yobbah the Temporary Factory Production Associate.

  5. Ah Bock..stop trying to get us to believe you’re a total arse. Don’t ever change..

  6. Graffiti on a wall in Dublin a number of years ago.

    All ye who live within the bin

    Beneath the lid that keeps you in

    Beware! The man is coming.


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