Poems by R. A. Maitre
R. A. Maitre was born in fleet, Hants, in 1944, of French and English parents. Until 1984, he taught Philosophy at Middlesex Polytechnic before becoming a freelance writer and translator. His poem ‘The Combines’ won a £100 prize in the 1982 National Poetry Competition, and ‘The light-houses’ second prize in the Greenwich Festival Poetry Competition. He was also one of six first prize winners in the 1982 Sunday Times Clerihew competition, and has six clerihews in Other People’s Clerihews, ed. Gavin Ewart, (OUP, 1983). A selection of his poems (not included in the present volume) appeared in Poetry Introduction 6 (Faber and Faber, 1985), but Blue Barometers is R. A. Maitre’s first full collection. Divided into six sections, the volume includes poems of both country life and academic life, two series of ‘postcard’ poems, and an affectionate and funny poem in memoriam Philip Larkin.
Dodging The Toad
In Memoriam Philip Larkin
I dodge the toad whenever I can,
being one of those men
who live on their wits:
chatshow folk, touts,
It wouldn’t suit me, being a clerk,
getting up in the wintry dark
in a Hepworths suit,
up and down those lines to the city,
five days a week to infinity . . .
each day the same,
tripping points through Clapham,
rubbing shoulders with brokers
and rubber-eyed bridge fours;
bum to bum,
in the underground scrum,
with Woman’s Own secretaries,
Not for me, the swift half and pork pie,
the roving eye
clocking pantyhose on bar stools,
stocking-tops under tables;
the executive case, its memos,
its bulge of Playboys . . .
Think of being them!
Ruled by the alarm,
the in-tray and telephone call,
the typist’s unmentionables . . .
Think of being them, sad cameos
on yellow train-windows
when the lights come on at four
at the end of another year.
No, give me your arm, old toad;
I’d break it if I could!
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: by Barry Camp
Publication: AUTUMN 1986 (64 pages laminated paperback)