Sign in  |  Register

The New Criterion

The New Criterion is probably more consistently worth reading than any other magazine in English.
- The Times Literary Supplement

Poems

January 2013

Poor Collins

by George Green

Chichester Cathedral Cloisters, 1758

Poor Collins, near the end, a lunatic,
would claim he’d found the source of Shakespeare’s Tempest
in a Spanish novel called Aurelio,
but when the Wartons asked to see the book,

he drew a map that led into the trees.
Poor Collins seldom left his mottled couch,
where he would often rave and “make great moanings,”
dying from melancholia, which was terminal

back then, at least for fey types like poor Collins.
Poor Collins reimbursed his publisher
for his unsold (and only) book of verse.
Then, like an idle felon flipping cards

into a hat, he stacked his books and flung
the whole edition in the fire. Poor Collins.
His sister Anne averred, glumly, that drink
had wrecked his nerves, but what unhinged poor Collins

was a horror of perdition. Now his name,
he feared, was blotted from the book of life,
and now his couch was just a grimy drum,
a rank mephitic chute into the wide

and gaping brimstone pit of Hell. Poor Collins,
condemned eternally, but for what sin?
Condemned for midnight trysts at Vauxhall Gardens?
Condemned for kissing Mrs. Cibber’s hand?

Poor Collins, dosed with brandy by the spoon,
would even miss, at times, McDonald’s madhouse,
especially when the tower bells rang down
to wig poor Collins out and set him spinning,

as dizzy as a dervish on his couch.
The unsung Pindar of his age, poor Collins,
a turbot flung up gasping hard, poor Collins.
A burly footman held him down, poor Collins.

George Green is a poet whose writing has appeared in The Best American Poetry, Poetry 180 and 180 More Poems.


more from this author

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 31 January 2013, on page 47

Copyright © 2014 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com

http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Poor-Collins--7526

E-mail to friend

add a comment

Leave this field empty
Name:
Email:
Website:
Verification:

The New Criterion

By the author

You might also enjoy

Most popular

view more >

Subscribe to our newsletter!

* indicates required

Events

December 18 2014

Friends, young friends, and authors event: Holiday Party 2014


Webcasts

The Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity
On May 5, 2014, The New Criterion and PJ Media presented the second Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity. The award is given to highlight egregious examples of dishonest reporting. Also awarded this year was the Rather, a new award for lifetime achievement in mendacious journalism.
The Duranty Prize is named after Walter Duranty, the New York Times Moscow corresponded in the 1920s and 1930s who whitewashed Joseph Stalin’s forced starvation of the Ukrainians (the Holodomor) and many other aspects of Soviet oppression. Duranty was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his efforts. It has never been revoked.
Audio copyright Ed Driscoll, www.eddriscoll.com.


Introduction to The Kennedy Phenomenon
Roger Kimball introduces The Kennedy Phenomenon, a conference presented by The New Criterion on Tuesday, November 19.


The Kennedy Phenomenon: "Watching the Kennedy Train-Wreck"
Roger Kimball reads Peter Collier’s paper on oft-overlooked unsavory details of the Kennedys' lives. Much of the paper is drawn from Collier’s book, coauthored with David Horowitz, The Kennedys: An American Drama.