SHAGSPURT (a whodunnit)

(for the Anti-Shakespeare Industry)

I thought that if I stuck my oar in for Francis
We would sip like bees at the loin
And that I also – in aprons – might see the view
From the tip of the intellectual pyramid:
The sands of Francis, the sun of Francis,
The scarab of Francis with its ball of dung.
I did not imagine myself, as I now am,
Between the sheets with a frozen chicken
Wondering how to tease out the giblets
And insert the truest part of myself.

I thought that if I put in a good word for Edward
It would open doors for too long closed
And I would stand unafraid with the unafraid
To be included in the naked rites
Of those who do everything ‘behind the arras’.
Imagining my royal mother perched on the bed
And my father’s ghost spying though a keyhole,
I jumped into the country from whence I came
Crying: ‘For Edward! I’m a very Oxfordian!’
As I splashed onto the lake of burning worms.

I thought that if I gave the nod to Christopher
The cold mutton would jaywalk right upto us
And we’d pretend to beat it off valiantly
As the cold sherry dried our salivations.
But the charismatic boy began to roar
About his ‘Lawd’, the sweaty whoremonger,
And his ‘Quean’ who kept her hymen intact
By taking it up the tradesman’s entrance;
So it was definitely one in the eye for Kit
When I fought him off with bare-faced cheeks.


But in the end it was all merely Onan,
Though in my rosy, shop-bought, regalia
None knew the pointed difference between it
And the Caducean rod of statecraft.
I was bullied by policemen into believing
We could write the works of Shagspurt
As a think tank, a focus group, a quango
Had erected the Millennium Dome,
Trading a false and tawdry freedom
To behold the wonders, the chinlessness.

Niall McDevitt


About Niall McDevitt

Niall McDevitt > poet > author of b/w (Waterloo Press, 2010) and Porterloo (International Times, 2012) > urban explorer > radical pedestrian who leads Shakespeare/Blake/Rimbaud /Yeats walks, among others.
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