Coup Plotter’s Elegy for Self: to be read in the voice of Owen Smith MP

Coup Plotter’s Elegy for Self: to be read in the voice of Owen Smith MP

after Chidiock Tichborne [i]


I offered them free ice cream

but they would not eat.

I kept pulling the trigger,

but the gun kept jamming and he would not die.

My voice is lost, and I have repeatedly

said nothing in interviews I’ll spend

the rest of my days paying people to forget. .


My prime of career was but a rickety bicycle

with two punctures and no saddle.

My victory feast was but a prehistoric sponge cake

and a plastic cup of lemonade gone flat

during the Labour government before last.

My bunch of grapes, fresh from the vine,

was but a bowl of diahorhea.


My left wing rhetoric was but an ill-fitting codpiece.

This disco’s over and I have not scored.

My leadership prospects are but a lock-up garage full of

unsaleable t-shirts and ventriloquist’s dummies

that look like more authentic versions of me.

I’ve tried sleep but the dream’s always

I’ve mislaid my boxer shorts

and my tie’s on fire.




[i] Chidiock Tichborne joined the conspiracy known as the Babington Plot, which aimed to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I, and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots. The plot was foiled, and Tichborne arrested. His poem ‘Tychbornes Elegie, written with his owne hand in the Tower before his execution’ was enclosed with a letter to his wife Agnes, despatched from the Tower of London on the eve of his execution for treason.


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