News from the BBC today of a competition in the U.K. to find poetry to be displayed in the public toilets of Shetland. The competition is to be called "Bards of the Bog."
A local librarian said, "It should brighten up folk's day, and maybe they'll be inspired to pop into the library and borrow more poetry."
Hopefully after they wash their hands ...
Toilets are perhaps the last place in the world where poetry may find a captive audience (though I wouldn't put it past people to be on their Blackberries while on the loo). Still, I wonder if any contemporary poet can top the classic stall verse that begins, "Here I sit/broken-hearted." Perhaps it could be expanded from a quatrain into a full sonnet.
Or they could just turn to Donald Justice's New and Selected for a poem that adds a painfully existential angle to a simple trip to take a leak.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX lines written in an Omaha bus station
Seeing them, I recognize the contempt
Some men have for themselves.
This man, for instance, zipping quickly up, head turned,
Like a bystander innocent of his own piss.
And here comes one to repair himself at the mirror,
Patting down damp, sparse hairs, suspiciously still black,
Poor bantam cock of a man, jaunty at one a.m., perfumed,
O the saintly forbearance of these mirrors!
The acceptingness of the washbowls, in which we absolve ourselves!