Whilst reading this article in which Poet Laureate Andrew Motion says that writing verse for the Royal Family is a “thankless” task, I found myself wondering how I would deal with such a bizarre appointment (not that I expect to be offered anything of the kind any time soon!)
I’m not nor have I ever really been a poet. Granted, I can knock one out when I have to, but it isn’t something that I especially enjoy or feel that I have to do. Prose is and I suspect will always be my form choice. But it certainly isn’t difficult for me, by substituting prose for verse, to imagine what it must be like — and how difficult I would find it.
The very notion of being “commissioned” to write a piece in this way, it strikes me, is bound to cause difficulties — especially when the family you are writing for is as anal and, well, as odd as the Royal Family! I mean, can you imagine what it must be like to have to write something for the Duke of Edinburgh?
“The bloody thing doesn’t rhyme! You call that a poem?”
He might not say it (the Queen doesn’t offer an opinion; I’m not sure about Prince Philip), but you just know he’ll be thinking it.
Some no doubt consider it the greatest honour. “Oh, the Queen wants me to write a poem for her! Isn’t that wonderful?” Anyone who values his or her literary ability, however, would be well advised in my opinion to politely tell them to stuff it. Mr Motion now no doubt wishes he had.
A poet laureate called motion,
Sat by the edge of the ocean,
Writing a sonnet
About the Queen’s bonnet;
He gave up and rubbed on more lotion.
Okay, I’ll stick to prose. Preferably not by royal appointment.
© 2008 Gary William Murning