Anorak | Ode To A Mistress

Ode To A Mistress

by | 8th, April 2005

‘SHALL poet laureate Andrew Motion compare Camilla Parker Bowles to a summer’s day? Well, a typical British summer is overcast, grey and miserable…so why not?

The wedding bells…the bells

But as the Poet Laureate works hard for his paltry salary of £500, and seeks a word that rhymes with Camilla in the bottom of his stipend of 500 bottles of sherry, we feel for him.

And I’m not alone. Republican punk poet Attila the Stockbroker, has recognized Motion’s unenviable task in penning Ode To A Mistress, and come up with a poem entitled In Sympathy with the Poet Laureate.

”It really doesn’t matter who is sitting on the throne/They are all as dull as dishwater and should be left alone,” writes he.

Arguably the UK’s most famous poet, Pam Ayres, has her own views on the matter and offers: “My mother said ‘Say nothing if you can’t say something nice’/So from my poem you can see I’m taking her advice.”

It’s pretty clear that if Motion, who describes himself as a reforming royalist, was ever going to pen a decent line let alone an entire stanza of the blankest verse, he’d need to draw on all his talent.

And he can’t just join in the general chorus and take the piss. Motion has said that one subject will always be out of bounds: “That is poems which mock, deride or criticize the royal family. It would be a very difficult job to do if you weren’t a royalist.”

So he put pen to paper. And in the spirit of brotherhood, I did the same. Motion will not be Poet Laureate for ever, and with 500 bottles of sherry up for grabs, it has to be worth giving the poetry game a shot.

But before I began, some research was necessary, so I turned to Epithalamium, Motion’s first work as Laureate, written for the wedding of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys Jones.

If Motion could make The Weed In Tweed, his frumpy fiance and their dull romance into a poem, then surely Camilla, with her equine looks and cheating heart, would be a doddle.

Or not. Described as “safe” and “traditional” in the Independent, novelist J.G. Ballard told the Times how the poem “proves that it’s time to discontinue the office of Poet Laureate in the hope that the Royal Family will follow soon after”.

But it hasn’t yet happened, and until the revolution, Motion, like us, is forced to struggle on in the unpromising face of, well, Camilla’s unpromising face.

How can we turn this ambulatory roll of waxed jacket and jodhpur wrapped in the whiff of dead fox into a poem that will touch the essence of what she is and trigger within us all a sense of Camilla being a kindred spit?

Should we focus on her looks? Perhaps best not to. Or should we go deeper and imagine what it is Charles sees in her.

Since there is nothing obviously tempting in her physical appearance, we can only suppose that the lure is sexual. What does Camilla do for Charles that Diana would or could not?

Charles, you will remember, is a man who likes to have his toothpaste squeezed good and hard of a morning while the late Diana claimed the heir to the throne had an “unhealthy relationship”

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Posted: 8th, April 2005 | In: News Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink