Andrew Motion: In Quiet Confidence

The telephone rings. It is the palace
- no, the prime minister, his voice bright
as an old spark. And I must confess
I have been half-expecting him to write,

and I know, and he knows, and Ladbroke's knows
what line is being quietly plied.
I think he is inviting me to choose
to step in those open brogues. On parade.

So I answer, half-scrambling my words,
in a jittery sequence, a series of whispers
which sound like time-clocks or goat's beard
in a light breeze just before vespers -

so I tell him, which I will, you know,
what my decision is. Yes, that's correct.
I know exactly what I have to do,
and he explains what titles to expect.

I've been the odds-on-favourite,
and will not blench at it, nor take offence,
when offered, though I may say Shit.
Is that all right? I'll have to do it once.

From Send-Up