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The Poetry of Nicholas Hancock
The Poet of Despair
Published by The British Hancock Society
with the permission of the author.


Here in this dark pit beneath the castle wall a whistling turd goes pat into the slurry's well.

I wait for the last bit, turn to the boy Tom Tall. 'Go bang it with your bat: the shitless hour tell.'

The gong he starts to hit: they hear it in the hall. I don my stinking hat, sink boots in faecal hell.

Right fast I scoop the shit which might your soul appal; Tom Short hauls up what's shat and what the bowels dispel.

I feel, in fumes unfit for humans, something fall from heaven, something fat upon my back. What fell?

Despite the gong, the slit above expels a squall of faeces from the slot: my tongue I fain must quell.

Here in this dark pit beneath the castle wall a whistling turd goes pat upon my hat as well.

* Servant employed by the castle to clean out the sewage pits below the battlements.

Nicholas Hancock is one of those few writers who is so uncannily in tune with the reader (any reader) that one has the uneasy feeling that Hancock is not the real author at all - but you are. It is as if by some mysterious metaphysical alchemy the author of Metafizzical Essays and Others* has ransacked your brain of its ideative content, then flown off to his Liverpool roost to commit it to paper.

Nicholas Hancock was born in Sussex in 1933 but spent most of his youth in a Dickensian school owned by his mother in rural Wiltshire. From his 17th to 19th year he was a peón or gaucho in Uruguay. After his National Service, he worked, among other things, on a farm, in a shoulder pad factory and on a seiner on the North Sea before studying at the Sorbonne in 1954-55. In 1989 his novel La Béatification was published in French Canada. In 1990-91 Nicholas cycled extensively in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, being in Petra for the outbreak of the Gulf War and meeting his future wife in a Prague pastry shop. In 1998 Phénix published his French poetry in the collection Choses tristes while in the following year the National Poetry Foundation published some of his English poems in Window for a Monad. His most commercially successful novel: Daniel and Miriam was recently published by Acorn Publications and is available from most bookshops.

*Metafizzical Essays and Others: Available in paperback from Amazon price: £14.50

The Poet of Despair - The Works of Nicholas Hancock