The Mermaid in the Zodiac

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(Antipodean Version)

‘I shall be among the English poets, I think,
After my death,’ wrote Keats. He had in mind
A chair beside Chaucer, a seat by Spenser, a drink
With Dryden—poets of that kind.

I wonder among what poets I shall be found,
Shall I be sorted with the goats or with the sheep?
Among our fractious factions underground
What company shall I keep?

I will have no truck with the scribblers of my time
Who try to pass off their chopped-up prose as verse.
To be numbered with those who repudiate metre and rhyme,
Could anything be worse?

Shall I join the ocker Australians then? But in whose
Camp? Banjo’s mob or Dennis’s push?
I have never celebrated the Larrikin Muse
Nor the Barmaid of the Bush.

I expect I shall stand, looking rather out of place,
Between the mouth-organs and the didgeridoos;
Not a sheep in sight, but a goat with a puzzled face
Among all those Kangaroos.

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