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On A Prodigious Philanthropist’s Ghastly Second Death  
after Bernie Taupin

Goodbye your shiny tracksuits,
though I never saw one unzipped.
They had the grace to hide your bits;
while those around you fawned;
made you Knight Bachelor -
for charitable services. Then had
your granite headstone
goodness gracious dismantled
and sent to landfill
near Skipton.

And it seems to me you lived
your life as it happens
giving love to children,
you picked up in various hospitals,
in the back of your silver Rolls Royce.
Never knowing when Mary Whitehouse
might give you an award
for services to family friendly TV,
and you’d be forced
to wind the window down
to accept it. And I would
have liked to know you
but I was just a kid.
Your cigar burnt out long before
I ever got to smoke it.

Their jealousy towards you odious.
Not everyone can be a crony of
both Margaret Thatcher and
Cardinal Basil Hume.
The University of Leeds gave you
how’s about that, then an honorary
doctorate of law. And pain
was the price they paid.
Even when you died, pundits
whispered behind fists,
when the microphone was safely off,
that Jimmy was found now then, now then
with his mitts up a girl’s dress.

Goodbye England’s shiny tracksuit,
though I never got to look inside you,
from the boy watching
Top of The Pops, Christmas 1976,
who sees you as something more than sexual
more than just our Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile,
Order of the British Empire.

And it seems to me you lived
your life as it happens fixing children,
you got from various hospitals,
in the back of your silver Rolls.
Never knowing when Tony
Blair might invite you to dine at Chequers.
I would have liked to know
you but guys and gals I was just a kid.
And pain was the price they paid.


Kevin Higgins facilitates poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre and teaches creative writing at Galway Technical Institute. He is also Writer-in-Residence at Merlin Park Hospital and the poetry critic of the Galway Advertiser. His first collection of poems The Boy With No Face was published by Salmon in February 2005 and was short-listed for the 2006 Strong Award. His second collection, Time Gentlemen, Please, was published in March 2008 by Salmon.  The Ghost In The Lobby is Kevin’s fourth collection of poetry will be launched early Spring 2014.


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