Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Poet Geoffrey Hill and the Poet Jeremy Prynne

In a city - let's say Cambridge; in fact, let's pick somewhere more neutral, Coventry for example - the supporters of the poet J.H. Prynne decided to erect a giant statue of their hero, a statue that would dwarf the city's cathedral, a bronze statue with a high forehead and an unfathomably muscular torso. Of course, when the supporters of the poet Geoffrey Hill heard about this they decided to erect a similar statue, also in Coventry, to match the gigantic statue of the poet J.H. Prynne. The tall statues faced each other over this cowering city that had been destroyed and rebuilt comparatively recently. The opposing factions were proud of their statues, but they were also envious of each other. Of course, arguments broke out, then the odd limp-wristed skirmish, and after a while, without knowing how it had happened, the two groups of poetry-lovers discovered that they were officially at war. Nothing happened for a while, but what could have happened was this: a renowned wise man - the type that still existed in the Midlands at the turn of the century - came to the city and called a meeting between the leaders of the two groups. In his wisdom he told them to give up on their bitterness and envy and learn to like, or at least to appreciate, or at the very least to respect, the poetry of the opposition. Of course, the berserk captains of the factions fell upon him and destroyed him as he attempted to leave the cathedral. Their bloodlust was sated; they forgot their poetry and went back to teaching creative writing classes. But that didn't happen. The war is still going on, though no-one has yet died. On the upturned palm of the poet Geoffrey Hill sits a sniper, his rifle trained through a crack in the poet Geoffrey Hill's fingers onto a spot somewhere on the poet J.H. Prynne's groin, where it is believed there is a secret door, behind which the supporters of the poet J.H. Prynne are said to be hatching a plot, although no-one knows what this plot might be.

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