The poet drinks, he stinks, he pees in sinks.
The audience, superior as shrinks,
Appraise a life amusingly in tatters.
How they appreciate a play that flatters
Their minds with chat about artistic matters!
And how much more they savour nods and winks
And saucy homosexual high-jinks!
They go home thinking:
‘Poets? Mad as hatters!
They drink, you know! They stink! They pee in sinks!’
George Simmers writes: “Alan Bennett’s 2009 play The Habit of Art deals with the later life of W.H. Auden, and deals frankly with Auden’s sexual and hygenic peculiarities, as well as giving a sense of the poet’s talent. Looking back on his poem, written soon after seeing a performance at the National Theatre, I was more annoyed by the sniggering audience of London sophisticates than by Bennett’s play, which has interesting things to say about the relationship between poetry and the fallible humans who create it.”
George Simmers used to be a teacher; now he spends much of his time researching literature written during and after the First World War. He has edited Snakeskin since 1995. It is probably the oldest-established poetry zine on the Internet. His work appears in several Potcake Chapbooks. ‘Trigger Warning’ is from his ‘Old and Bookish‘ collection of poems.
“The Habit of Art by Alan Bennett, National Theatre, London” by chrisjohnbeckett is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.