Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Them and [uz]
(for Professors Richard Hoggart and Leon Cortez)
αίαι, ay, ay! … stutterer Demosthenes
gob full of pebbles outshouting seas –
4 words only of mi ‘art aches and … ‘Mine’s broken,
you barbarian, T.W.!’ He was nicely spoken.
‘Can’t have our glorious heritage done to death!’
I played the Drunken Porter in Macbeth.
‘Poetry’s the speech of kings. You’re one of those
Shakespeare gives the comic bits to: prose!
All poetry (even Cockney Keats?) you see
‘s been dubbed [Λs] into RP,
Received Pronunciation, please believe [Λs]
Your speech is in the hands of the Receivers.’
‘We say [Λs] not [uz], T.W.!’ That shut my trap.
I doffed my flat a’s (as in ‘flat cap’)
my mouth all stuffed with glottals, great
lumps to hawk up and spit out… E-nun-ci-ate!
So right, ye buggers, then! We’ll occupy
your lousy leasehold Poetry.
I chewed up Littererchewer and spat the bones
into the lap of dozing Daniel Jones,
dropped the initials I’d been harried as
and used my name and own voice: [uz] [uz] [uz],
ended sentences with by, with, from,
and spoke the language that I spoke at home.
RIP, RP, RIP T.W.
I’m Tony Harrison no longer you!
You can tell the Receivers where to go
(and not aspirate it) once you know
Wordsworth’s matter/water are full rhyme,
[uz] can be loving as well as funny.
My first mention in the Times
automatically made Tony Anthony!