Did you ever fantasise about joining the Twenty-Seven Club?

Sure, which serious wannabe poet hasn’t? I mean,
that Keatsian/Chattertonian quit-while-you’re-ahead
vibe is a persistent buzz and trope — think Dean,
Hendrix, Joplin or Jim — but let’s face it, once dead

that’s that, it won’t matter how perfect a cadaver
you bequeath to the world since worms and fire
are immune to beauty so, these days, no, I’d rather
be a grump pushing my mortal span to the wire

and look forward to eighty and a sympathetic nurse
who will listen to my drivel as she wipes my arse
than fall prey to that adolescent narcissistic curse
promoting a life and oeuvre so limited and sparse.

Whilst the benefits of middle age may be obscure
it’s an extension at least, no doubt about that
so Shelley and Rimbaud can sod off early and pure —
I’ll plod on and persist, unworshipped and fat.