This Be the Word

The New York Times has a history of bowdlerizing Philip Larkin’s “This Be the Verse”. Here’s my response to that.

They change your words, the New York Times.
They may not need to, but they do.
They pluck what’s famous from your rhymes,
Replacing “fuck” with “mess” or “screw.”

But prudishness does not befit
Reporters who would plumb the muck
And call our leaders on their shit,
And try, a little, not to suck.

God gave profanity to man
To tell us, mock me how you may.
Some act as pious as they can,
But fuck those fucking fucks, I say.