Saturday, 4 June 2016

An Excerpt from the Montpeliad, a Work-in-Progress

Excerpt from the Montpeliad.

The Montpeliad is my first proper attempt at writing in heroic couplets - rhyming pairs of iambic pentameters. The heyday of this verse form was in the late 17th and 18th centuries, the era straddled by the satirists and serial Homer-translators, Dryden and Pope. The South African poet Roy Campbell single-handedly revived the form between the World Wars. However, it has very much fallen back out of favour since his passing, which is a pity, I think, because it lends itself very nicely to the mock epic to which I'm extremely partial.

In The Montpeliad, he unnamed narrator roams Bristol, where a sort of Olympic Games for twats is being held, and discourses on the mindless folly which is the presiding spirit of that town. The Montpeliad is modelled on Pope's Dunciad, which is itself a satire of the follies of Pope's literary contemporaries.

The following excerpt is very obviously a satire of Bristol's recent mayoral elections.


You wondered how the officers could cope
with all that cash stuffed in brown envelopes.
Suffice to say, as soon as they were paid, 465
the new Porsche showroom did a roaring trade.
At length, the chief returning officer,
all Rolex watch, gold teeth, opossum fur,
snorting the purest powder to be found
between Montpelier and High Kingsdown, 470
looked up from guzzling overflowing trough
invited silence with a hacking cough.
Thy will be done, electorate,” he said,
although adjusted as determinéd
by such emoluments lately bestowed, 475
of gold, of silver, and of cash a load.
He wiped the gravy dripping from his lip,
from crystal flute of Cliquot slurped a sip,
and with majestic dignity announced,
the easy winner, who by far has trounced 480
his rivals in this cheapening charade,
this whited sepulchre, this cracked façade,
is neither clown nor smirking architect;
the pawn instead of narrow Marxist sect,
the slaves of dogma which can only yield 485
the false utopia and killing field,
In short, good people, Marvin Reece has won.
Now liquidate the kulaks, rape the nuns,
sign with the Nazis non-aggression pacts,
erase the hist’ry and re-write the facts.” 490

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