Basil Bunting - 1900-1985
What the Chairman Told Tom
Poetry? It's a hobby. I run model trains. Mr. Shaw there breeds pigeons. It's not work. You dont sweat. Nobody pays for it. You could advertise soap. Art, that's opera; or repertory-- The Desert Song. Nancy was in the chorus. But to ask for twelve pounds a week-- married, aren't you?-- you've got a nerve. How could I look a bus conductor in the face if I paid you twelve pounds? Who says it's poetry, anyhow? My ten year old can do it and rhyme. I get three thousand and expenses, a car, vouchers, but I'm an accountant. They do what I tell them, my company. What do you do? Nasty little words, nasty long words, it's unhealthy. I want to wash when I meet a poet. They're Reds, addicts, all delinquents. What you write is rot. Mr. Hines says so, and he's a schoolteacher, he ought to know. Go and find work.