Satirical verse: A recommendation

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My book of jocular verse (sprinkled with comic-prose pieces) is now well and truly finished, and I have embarked on a hunt for an agent (and, ultimately, publisher). I fear, however, that the endeavour might prove somewhat frustrating: certain agents, it would appear, expect clients to be recommended by somebody. In other words, publishers want writers to be recommended by agents, and agents want writers to be recommended by … somebody. Does this somebody expect writers to be recommended by somebody else? Hence the satire below.

 

Copyright © Anna Nolan, 2020

 

All of them are godlike creatures

Seeking quite ground-breaking features –

All those folk who publish books:

It’s much harder than it looks,

 

So for impact one must brace,

And one’s book must be plain ace;

One thus polishes and tinkers,

Trying hard to shed one’s blinkers,

 

Then, at long last, the book’s ready:

It’s a feeling that is heady,

But one must, and without fail,

Go pursue the holy grail:

 

Oh, to see the book in print

And, perhaps, to make a mint!

Now, what do those Masters want?

First of all,  it’s Arial font,

 

Fifty pages. Spacing? Double,

A synopsis – that’s no trouble,

But make sure it’s just one page;

Otherwise, they’ll disengage.

 

Now, the letter, and that’s it:

You are ready to submit!

Then you notice (you’ve been slow):

“Agents only” – what a blow!

 

Agents are deities, too:

They’ll be wanting something new;

What is it that they demand?

Times New Roman will be grand,

 

Spacing? One line and a half,

Then they want a paragraph

Which is paramount and which

Is your elevator pitch.

 

A synopsis has to be

Rather longer; your CV

Must, of course, be tailor-made,

Or you’ll never make the grade.

 

It’s three chapters they are after;

Though you a good re-drafter,

You express yourself in verse –

It has gone from bad to worse.

 

Then you see (to top it all)

A decree that makes you bawl:

“We’ll consider your creation –

After a recommendation.”

 

But who from? To whom to turn?

You can’t hide your great concern.

It transpires they prefer

Someone who’s a connoisseur,

 

But you work in solitude:

You feel well and truly s…..d,

Mercifully, you then find

Someone who’s a mastermind

 

In your local pub-quiz team;

They might help you with your scheme.

You enquire, your heart racing,

“Are you happy with my spacing?”

 

“Spacing? Why? It’s all the same;

What’s at stake is my good name.”

“But I cannot understand:

I just want a helping hand.”

 

“This is what they all would say,

But I might just rue the day;

Now, imagine this scenario:

Not unlike an impresario,

 

“I do offer you my backing,

But the Agent finds you lacking!

It would not be very nice;

Listen to this sound advice:

 

“You must find a man who would

Come to me and vouch you’re good.”

You’re distraught but say, “I see,

“So who might this person be?”

 

“I would like a weighty beast:

A policeman or a priest.”

“I know neither but could nab

Garry from the taxicab …”

 

And so, on and on it goes,

Which, quite evidently, shows

How this, most amazing, nation

Values a recommendation.

 

Verse: Tenth anniversary of my mountain rescue

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January, ten years back*:

I received a lot of flak

When I blundered – went astray –

On a cold and dismal day.

Gale was howling, snow was deep,

Skiddaw’s** slopes rose white and steep,

With its summit in the cloud,

But I planned my climb, unbowed,

Pining for the lofty top

With no image of a flop.

I was soon, despite the freeze,

Crawling on my hands and knees

Yet still sinking in the snow,

With my progress very slow;

But, regardless, on I pressed,

Which (in case you haven’t guessed)

Was a reckless thing to do

Given that nobody knew

Where I was on this vast slope;

Yep, I acted like a dope:

Upwards, higher, then – a fright:

The world went completely white!

There was nothing I could see:

Clouds, the ground, my boots, my knee …

Nothing, so I grabbed my phone

And, in panic-stricken tone,

Called the mountain rescue, who

Mobilised our Keswick crew;

Cockermouth went out as well,

And they got me off the fell,

Now, in darkness – ‘t was pitch-black***,

With no trace of any track.

I was, clearly, in those days

Still in my immortal phase;

Now, with whiteout on the tops,

I stay low and hit the shops!

 

*To be precise, on 29th January 2009

**Skiddaw is a mountain of over 3,000 feet which towers over my small town of Keswick

***I called the mountain rescue at about 3.30pm, and the Cockermouth team reached me at roughly 7pm, albeit in complete darkness because I had found myself on the eastern flank of Skiddaw and thus away from Keswick’s lights. My having ended up there was lucky because, if I had strayed onto its precipitous western slopes, I might not be here now. The rescuers managed to locate me because I was shining two torches (head and hand). Needless to say, I didn’t see anybody else on the fell that day – not that I could see much …