Saturday, 28 May 2011

once bitten, twice bitten

Yo Sushis. I've posted some Simon Raven here and there. In the comments a couple of times back, Sarang alerted me to the poem 'The World of Simon Raven' by Peter Porter, which opens thus (thank you Sarang):

Rooks are raging where great elms were felled,
Family silver's been lent for the Fete,
Nanny's facing Nigel with stained sheets,
Telegrams announce James is expelled,
Mrs. Diamond from Sea View Estate
Tempts a team in training with boiled sweets.

Meanwhile sturgeon from Odessa packed
For Black's and Tan's, renowned St. James's Clubs,
Laced with Spanish fly, cause randy scenes
At Ascot, a Bishop's face is smacked;
Debs and guardsmen break up Chelsea pubs,
Blackmailers send snaps to dons at Queen's.

Makes the books sound great, which they are. But who is this Peter Porter?

I'm glad you asked, if you did ask. Maybe you went, 'Who the hell doesn't know who Peter Porter is?' For the rest of us: he's an Australian poet and 'formidable drinker' who I clearly should have heard of. He went to Toowamba Grammar School, his book titles include Once Bitten, Twice Bitten, and he wrote poems called 'John Marston Advises Anger', 'Death in the Pergola Tea-Rooms', and 'Madame de Merteuil on The Loss of an Eye'. He liked aphorisms and apothegms. Here's one of his ones of the latter:

A million girls
Look for Mr Right: the one who
Finds him is Miss Wrong.

He died last year, at the age of 81. Jamie Grant concluded his obituary in The Australian by saying: 'Liver cancer has removed Porter from among us, though some may wonder how his liver managed to last long enough for cancer to catch up with it.'

1 comment:

Sarang said...

more porter-related content incl. the Marston poem at Clive James's website, http://www.clivejames.com/guest-poets/peter-porter/john-marston

(I'm not surprised that no one reads Porter, most of his poems just kind of sit there on the page. But he had a way w/ titles and first lines.)