Thursday, 6 January 2011


I've never envied those who are expected to follow in family footsteps. Often there's a choice to be made. In the following poem I try to imagine the torment of the son of a wealthy businessman faced with such a dilemma.


From the chaise longue the young man frowns
at the full-length portrait
of Archibald Corner riding to hounds

This founder of the Corner Estates
whose textiles bought him whole towns
is stiff and strict beyond measure.

The young man holds a locket he treasures
a picture of a woman he knows
their love has a worth beyond measure.

Today the heirlooms are lying askew
the gold plated ink stand tipped over
and the grandfather clock whose pendulum ticks

Down the minutes to go
increases the weight of the mix
of the drinks in their hands.

Age Quod Agis (engraved)

On the hunter now handed down
and chained to the side of his heart,
handed to him with the family's renown.

The print in the locket stays locked.
Age Quod Agis - attend to what you are about
image: Wikipedia


  1. A orequel to "Richard Corey" perhaps?

  2. Thank you Susan, I just found Edward Arlington Robinson's poem Richard Cory from 1897, so I'll put it up later. Much obliged.


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