The New Classics

In response to an astonishingly retro email announcement.
(apologies to Philip Larkin’s Vers de Société)

Now that vile socialism is no more
Rejoice for beauty enters in your door.
We classicists reclaim the field
. Like hell.
Stereotypes, pig swill.
Diebenkorn, Hecht and Larkin glow and sing.
And so reactionaries--here’s the thing.

You lump good, bad and wonderful in one
Uncomprehending list. The names recited
With malice and stupidity. Provoked
By years of empty fashion you replace
Indoctrination with bad taste.
Years of post-modern levelling made worse.

Your bland and vapid images now bring
The images of Adolf and Stalin
To mind, with post Pre-Raphaelite sweet
-ness for Fourth Reich girls and boys.
Manure that you fling
At Schoenberg puts you right with Spring-

Time for Hitler.
How I thank Mel Brooks.
By lampooning the past he made us see
The future and I’m damned if I will be
Approved of or included in their group
Because I rhyme. It looks
As if I want what they do, and I don’t.

A rhyme can be subversive, and please lord,
May I subvert their homogenised pap.
Music that stirs and hunts for lost discord
And words that disturb and stun a little rudely,
Making the rising sap rise?
Drawing-room niceness. Horrid stuff. Oh crap.

Must I pretend these wolves hidden in sheep’s fleeces
Represent anything but what they seem?
Artists in the USSR were their mirror likeness,
Blandly triumphant in their triteness.
Wrapped in the flag of “niceness” they invade.
We would be foolish not to feel afraid.

 E-mail Janet