I was on a tube train to South Wimbledon not so long ago and found myself preoccupied for some time by the view opposite, as pictured above. Not so much by the tube map as by the notice printed next to it, which I initially thought was one of those wonderful poems on the underground but which quickly transpired to be an advert for a book of poems by a man called Felix Dennis which, if the example printed is anything to go by, I won’t be forking out for this Christmas.
The journey to South Wimbledon was plenty long enough to draft a response to Mr Dennis’ questions.
Viz. your poem about the tree:
First of all, it’s fucking twee –
So unsubtle that you could
Have written ‘humans bad, trees good’.
Do you honestly believe
Any judgement so naïve?
‘Nature’s bane’??! Why can’t you see the
Answer to your question’s ‘neither’!
It’s no stretch to hope God can
Delight in trees as well as man.
(While I’m at it, you’ve no right
To hint that I’m a parasite.)
Next time, spare the trees it took
To make the paper for your book.
Place a poem by a map;
Tell me – do they print this crap?
A footnote: I can understand Sir Paul McCartney getting all moist about this poetry, since as a wordsmith he still aspires to such sophistication, and Stephen Fry can’t help but be nice about everyone (though I wish he’d restrained himself on this occasion). But what to say of this?
Really, Tom Wolfe? I mean – really??? Is this statement doing either Kipling or the 21st Century any favours at all?