She used it totally out of place
but natural as calling an infant ‘Babes!’
The poet’s moithered by all that pollution
like herself annoyed at my constant questions.
The word was her, chewing-gum twirler
giving so much lip and jip,
a desk-scribbler stirrer
using her tongue as a whip.
It was perfect for flustered:
I could imagine the artist
as all the complex phrases whirred
and churned, his hair in a twist.
No examiner could possibly weight it,
no educationalist glue and frame it:
it leapt out like her laughter
and my red mark was the real error.
by Mike Jenkins
from Red Landscapes
O make me a mask and a wall to shut from your spies
Of the sharp, enamelled eyes and the spectacled claws
Rape and rebellion in the nurseries of the face,
Gag of a dumbstruck tree to block from bare enemies
The bayonet tongue in this undefended prayerpiece,
The present mouth, and the sweetly blown trumpet of lies,
Shaped in old armour and oak the counternance of a dunce
To shield the glistening brain and blunt the examiners,
And a tear-stained widower grief drooped from the lashes
To veil belladonna and let the dry eyes perceive
Others betray the lamenting lies of their losses
By the curve of the nude mouth or the laugh up the sleeve.
by Dylan Thomas
(Notebook version March 1933; rephrased and severely shortened November 1937)
He seeks to defend his inner privacy against the sharp examination of strangers and critics.