Message Board

Want to share your favorite R. P. Lister poem? Ask a question? Share a story? Well, we aren’t fancy enough to have a forum, so please feel free to share your thoughts below!


12 thoughts on “Message Board

  1. I’ve just stumbled across RP Lister rather serendipitously because of his use of the word defenestration. (The poem of the same name.) Looking further I found many other gems, but apropos of politics here in the US I particularly loved this poem.

    The Revolutionaries.

    O tremble all you earthly Princes,
    Bow down the crowned and chrism’d nob;
    Wise is the Potentate that winces
    At the just clamour of the mob.

    Shiver, ye bishops, doff your mitres,
    Huddle between your empty pews
    Here comes a horde of left- wing writers
    Brandishing salmon-pink reviews.

    Comes the New Age, Your outworn faces
    Vanish at our enlightened curse,
    While we erect in your old places
    Something considerably worse.


  2. Joel, a minor bit of Lister trivia. I gave my first poetry reading last night as part of “Poetry and Punchlines,” a light verse event at Catholic University in Washington, DC, which was headlined by Melissa Balmain. It happened I was last in the lineup — never the head, always the rump, you know — so the last poem read for the evening was Lister’s “Darling Death,” which, of course, I know pretty much by heart. The last line (“O the brave music of a distant drum!”) was a fine grace note, I thought. I brought a copy of “The Idle Demon” along and waved it around a bit, including at the podium. If I ever do another reading, which isn’t all that likely, I plan to do something like that again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Ed,

    I’m glad you found the site!

    I remember not long after Richard passed away I found your comments of you “missing a man you never met” on the able must board and relayed them to Jill and the rest of the family. They were very moved and humbled that Richard had such an effect of people who never even met him.

    I must admit I’ve been slack in posting lately. But keep your eyes peeled ill hopefully post some more stuff soon.



  4. I’m delighted to find this site, to see the art and read these poems. I’ve owned three copies of “The Idle Demon,” but have given two away. I learned about R.P. Lister through Steve Bucknell, and was and remain grateful for the introduction to this buoyant, erudite, very funny poet. I find myself missing a man I never met.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. An insightful response as always from our resident historian 🙂 thanks Nigel.

    (You can actually reply to each poem on that particular post if you want. Most pages on the site allow comments at the bottom.)


  6. Re. “LONDON” What an amazingly timed poem. Written the day after the Coronation amidst all the “new Elizabethan Age” hype and the freshly contrived pageantry for 3 million spectators on the streets of the capital, yet RPL remains reflective, quizzical and un-phased, his tone as recognisable as any signature. Would anyone else have caught so deftly the strange mixture of London’s event-inflated inhabitants, its bright new clamour and its continuing underside? Any comparison with the other writing which the event produced will show the gulf. As so often, it’s what I would call the ‘integrity of difference’ at the end of the poem which bears the hall-mark of his gently testing humanity. Remarkable.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s the eleventh poem in The Idle Demon, p.25 and faces one of my other favourites, The Old Peasant. That, very much in contrast with The Owlet, always struck me as written with a fiery critical ‘bite’ unlike most of RPL’s tone. When I met him, I read it to him and asked if that fierce, social ‘edge’ was truly intended. He gave me a big, gentle smile and said, “Oh, yes.” He could ‘do’ that too – but mostly preferred the glancing blow and often that was right.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have so many of RPL’s poems that I treasure I cannot pick just one as my favourite but in tribute to him and to my brilliant, long departed, friend John (Richard) Clarke who introduced me to all these delights, I’ll record here the first of the poems to which he introduced me.

    The Owlet and the Gamekeeper

    A little fluffy owlet, short and fat,
    Upon the topknot of a fir-tree sat;
    He thought of baby rabbits and of mice,
    He thought of human beings once or twice.
    It can be said and said without demur,
    He was a most profound philosopher.

    A keeper passed, a sturdy realist;
    He raised his gun and aimed; and fired; and missed.

    And so, my dearest pillicocks, we see
    Two kinds of creatures on this earth there be;
    One thinks and dreams and idles in the sun,
    The other Works and Acts and Gets Things Done.

    Without the Keeper we’d be in a mess,
    We should not miss the owl; yet none the less
    The keeper missed him. Oftener than not
    The man of action’s such a rotten shot.

    It’s got so much of RPL’s genius in it – the lightness of touch, the wit and that humane openness that values both potential and frailty.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi! Joel here. I thought i’d kick off this message board with a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who has shown so much interest in Richard and this site in the few short weeks it has been online. The response has really been overwhelming. I’ve got heaps of stuff to upload, its just a matter of finding time; I thank you all in advance for your patience.


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