Now writers like pop stars sell themselves and pose
slick models in the market-place of fame,
and pigeon-minded tv hosts spew inspissated prose
and literature’s a petty, catwalk game,
the not-so-great-and-good assemble every year
among the hills and books of little Hay,
to talk of Akhmatova, Charlotte Bronte and Top Gear
and who might Mariella get to lay;
a fine event for business, for the cameras, for the rich
who eat posh nosh and swill expensive reds,
but those who understand the truth’s persistent, nagging itch
stay desk-bound or sit sharpening their leads;
a president or two, a glib-tongued, car-mad nerd
today can the take the place of Proust or Crabbe,
for who would read, alone, when all the passing herd
assemble here to own what they can grab?