Goff Morgan - Adventures In Hack Poetry

A repository for the poetry of Goff Morgan, the one and only Newport Town Poet. Goff was the only official town poet in Wales from 1997 to 2000, and since then has continued in an informal capacity to write commissioned verse for BBC Radio Wales, and others.

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Location: Newport, Gwent, United Kingdom

I trained as an actor in the early eighties, and performed my own one-man shows until 2000. I was made Newport Town Poet in 1997, and have broadcast on BBC Radio Wales since 1991. My first solo programme for Radio Wales was "Goff At The Pictures", and I've recently completed a two parter called "Goff's Guiding Principles".

Thursday, January 12, 2006

In An Oxford Museum

Written to celebrate the 2004 National Museum and Galleries Month, and performed at Llantarnam Grange Art Centre on 30/4/04.

In An Oxford Museum

In an Oxford museum,
(Where even Ruskin's architecture
Is stripped to the bone)
The skeleton of the Dodo
Resides improbably.
This unlikely bird,
The gull of a cruel and humorous evolution,
Stands, like a reconstructed Christmas carcass,
Legs gnawed spotless,
Breast picked clean,
And wishbone pulled,
And lest we look upon this
Scoured, ivory outline of a bird
And fail to see the shadow of the defunct meat,
Portraits of this luckless fowl
Flank it's glass tomb
To flesh out the long vanished flesh.
One is Lewis Carroll's Dodo,
Heavy beaked, startled eyed, and comical,
The same grey, ungainly, waddling heap of fat and fluffy feather,
That presented the thimble to Alice,
And swam in her tears.
However, this is not the real Dodo,
Not the Dodo as it lived (and died) in the wilds of Mauritius.
No, Carroll's was a middle-aged bird,
That had run to fat through poor diet,
And never got enough exercise.
Beside it stands another portrait,
The Modern Dodo,
The Dodo as it should have been,
Sleeker, nippier and altogether younger,
A creature in it's imagined prime,
That would have given any hungry sailor
A damn good run for his money.
It almost swaggers in its reinterpreted splendour.

One day the University Museum,
Four hundred years hence,
May get its hands on my fleshless bones,
And when they're scrubbed and gleaming,
Either side of my vertical, transparent sarcophagus
They'll place two portraits;
One a representation
Of a sorry specimen seen in middle-age,
And the other an imagined reconstruction
As I most likely would have been
When I was young
And in the wild.

(With thanks to Dominic Watkins for researching the Dodo!)


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