Poems of the Week

Literary Figures

by Steven Urquhart Bell

“No one told me that reading would be a casualty of ageing”
The i

I want to read the works of Scott, and Charles Dickens too;
Their novels total forty-two, but worse,
There’s nearly forty Shakespeare plays to somehow be got through,
Plus sonnets and assorted other verse.

Now, of my three-score years and ten, there’s five-and-fifty flown;
The fifteen left is fewer than I’d need;
That’s even if I hid away and just ignored the phone,
And plied myself with caffeine pills and speed.

I need a writer I can read in whole before I’m toast,
Whose muse was more capricious and unruly,
Whose work appeared in bookshops once a decade at the most—
In point of fact, one not unlike yours truly.