Saturday, January 29, 2022

'The Shepherd's Brow' (the final poem of British Standards (probably)) appears on International Times

The final poem, an 'Afterword' even, of British Standards – maybe – has been published on International Times (as have quite a few of my shorter poems from ‘the English Strain’ project). Thanks to poetry editor, Rupert Loydell, once again. 

(Police seen here investigating goings on in Number Ten.) 

I say ‘maybe’, not because I think I might write another book, the fourth, but because I wonder if our political moment will drag just one more poem about the body politic (or the Bo Politic) from me. That depends on the Sue Gray report, of course. Until then, this is the last. (See these posts for the ruminations on the fourth book or not: Pages: Should I write a fourth ‘book’ of The English Strain project? ( and Pages: No need for a fourth book of The English Strain, I've decided (

 My poem, ‘The Shepherd’s Brow’, may be read here:

 I read it (with one stumble) on video here:


This poem, a version of a Gerard Manley Hopkins sonnet, which does actually mention having a dump, might have been the first poem of that attempted fourth book, but is currently the last one of the project. I write about it here (and offer Hopkins’ original text): Pages: No need for a fourth book of The English Strain, I've decided (

I like these poems appearing in IT because they often add fine illustrations, as they have today.  

One of my previous appearances in IT was a poem I had transposed from the Earl of Surrey, now part of the Shearsman volume, The English Strain. The transposition is again a political one; this time it was a poem about Trump. The Surrey poem is displayed next to the Sheppard version: Direct Rule: In Peace with Foul Desire | IT (

From HAP: Understudies of Thomas Wyatt’s Petrarch | IT ( will take you to versions of Thomas Wyatt! (Just for balance). 

A number of  sonnets from Bad Idea were published in International Times. Here's a couple: Idea | IT ( And more: Sonnets from Bad Idea | IT ( next ones are described as ‘Overdubs of Michael Drayton in the Voice of Idea, his Muse’, but are in fact the last three poems in the sequence, ‘Idea’s Mirror’ my supplement to ‘Bad Idea’. Together, the two sequences form the manuscript of ‘Bad Idea’, the second ‘book’ of ‘The English Strain’ project.


This showing of just pre- and just post- 2019 Election poems is accompanied by Patricia Farrell’s fine illustration of a Techno-Dogging Site. I write about those three poems here:

I write about ‘Idea’s Mirror’, the whole sequence, here:

 Read about the first two books (now both available) online.  

The English Strain here, which features sonnets from Petrarch (via the Symbolists) to EBB, and whose cover presents a composite image of the transposed poets (see cover above):  :

and Bad Idea which features only versions of the sonnets of Michael Drayton, here:

and about the unpublished third book, British Standards, which features Romantic Era sonnets only: here:

 The POETICS of the sequence, may be accessed here: Shifting an Imaginary: Poetics in Anticipation – New Defences of Poetry ( This piece is currently planned for inclusion in British Standards. 


Boozy Bo

Here’s another piece from British Standards on IT. As I said, it’s sometimes a good thing to be able to demonstrate the intuitive way in which the ‘original’ poems are transposed (I have long given up describing the process as ‘translation’), which can only be done by providing, in this case, the Shelley sonnet, and my ‘version’. Here it is: Lift Not the Painted Veil | IT ( I'll read it to you as well, although this is a reading of a slightly earlier version of the poem (recorded the day I wrote it).

There's yet another 'final' poem to the sequence featured here: Pages: Another 'final' poem of the English Strain sonnet project: looking eastwards and to the Ukraine (