The Chelsea Flower Show Massacre

The butterflies get in for free,
like the Queen, ex officio.
For bankers it’s a hundred quid
per slick Savile Row carapace.
Same again for their plus guests,
cocooned in crushed silk Gucci,
thrilling to every sip of Moet
and the quadrille of canapés.

We follow a late Red Admiral
through the Fiorelli trelliswork,
over the Swarovski fountain
jetting Perrier and rose petals,
to the Fragonard tribute swing
that put the W in horticulture,
styled by the crimping, pimping
manicurists of Bulgari.

Circling the Prada ha-ha,
we alight in a cash-scented glade
cooing with fresh bonuses.
Here they will raffle gilded tickets
to paradise, Wagner and the moon.
A locker room of matey autographs
will be auctioned, faked by agents
in limos speeding between deals.

And it’s all for Race Horse Rehab.
Watch the Oligarchs take the lead,
past the Hedge Fund boys by a Rolex,
snapping up Lord Coe’s lucky shorts
and a small village near Cambridge,
before the pheasant shoot with U2
goes to the Emperor of Tat,
on whose sweatshops the sun never sets.

The air, swollen with generosity
now bursts in thundering ululation.
A Saxon thane shaking with battle-axe
stumbles from the shrubbery.
“Fukka!” he snarls, like he’s lost his keys
before hacking through the buddleia
to the juice bar where gap year waiters
smoke their final cigarettes.

Shortlisted in the 2014 Live Canon International Poetry Competition


    1. Chris, thank you so much for giving time to the collection and reviewing. You’ve eloquently identified better than I can what it is I was trying to do. From the author of The Fool and England Underwater – two of my favourite books from recent years and both from Templar – this endorsement means so much. With your permission, I will quote from it liberally!

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