Fat Man in the ParkTHE bees inspect him, but prefer the flowers.
He has been lying on the grass for hours,
A fat man in a light-grey suit.
Is he alive or dead?
The point is verging on the moot,
As Wodehouse wonderfully said.

He lies below the sympathetic trees,
A newspaper spread out across his knees.
It may be that he sleeps,
Under the cool, sardonic sky;
It may be that his widow weeps
For him, in Wandsworth or in Peckham Rye.

Aha, he lives! He waves the flies away.
He is a thing of beauty, I should say;
Not by the formal laws
Of art, and all that kind of guff-
Beautiful, though. To anyone who draws
The bound of beauty wide enough.

– R. P. Lister

Punch, May 17, 1961


2 thoughts on “Fat Man in the Park

  1. Yes, but complete change of rhythm on first line of second stanza throws me off –but not sure I know traditional formal devices well enough. Love the idea of the poem, though –adn
    who draws/the bound of beauty wide enough.’ is wonderful.

    This poem should be taught in all our schools to oppose body fascism.
    Lovely man, this poet.


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