Sympathy For Sir Mick

Michael Peach


Now you’re allowed to introduce yourself
As a man – nay, shining knight – of wealth and taste,
The question’s whether all that fame and pelf
Has laid your heart and precious soul to waste.
If not, is it due to well-learned politesse,
Or to some secret, bourgeois self-restraint;
Or is your shadow (the trait you most repress)
A sou-less troubadour, indeed a saint?
And when, as a bold Trickster, you seem to laugh
So nonchalantly in the Devil’s face –
While never lifting your own on his behalf
Or anyone’s – is this persona or grace?
++I’m pleased to greet you; glad you’ve made a name.
++Profound, Sir Mick, is the nature of your game.



It’s not your art that causes me to pry
Into your private, spiritual state:
To sing about the Devil’s a far cry
From sealing one’s own, or any other’s, fate.
Except at Altamont (when Sam engaged
Naively those Hell’s Angel bodyguards,
Who killed a man, uprooted “flowers”, and raged
Against “these faggy, mock-satanic bards”),
By acting out on stage our own dark side –
The fact of whose existence many fight
Or else attempt from other souls to hide –
You have but helped to keep us in the light.
++I’m pleased to greet you; glad you are a Sir.
++How puzzling the details of your jigsaw were!



I have no doubt that art lets heads be tails,
Sheep wolves, cops criminals, and sinners saints,
Without society going off the rails
Or introducing violent constraints.
Just as Lucifer (when shadow) can bring light,
So can the little red rooster calm the geese;
A monkey man make philistines polite;
A strutting, rutting, rancid goat cause peace.
My query, though, is: How are you at home,
Offstage, with children or your loving spouse;
Like the midnight rambler would you rather roam,
Or do you snuggle up in your own house?
++I’m pleased to greet you; glad you are a thane.
++But, tell me: Is it the knight that drives your plane?



Unlike those Peter Pans, you wisely sell
More than one image to the pagan crowd;
You’re bound to neither Never Land nor Hell,
You can look gentle, tough, humble and proud.
Not only does this entertain, it gives
You room to grow into the state that’s due:
Mellow, autumnal ripeness, where peace lives –
Don’t let the surgeons your chiselled face renew!
Meanwhile one image with your life has merged,
Namely the skinny fat-cat, flying high;
Do you assist the underdog that’s scourged
Or wash your hands, like Pilate, and deny?
++I’m pleased to greet you; hope you feel some shame.
++If not, Sir Mick, you’ll never fit this name.



Some say you changed from rebel youth to boss
Because of Altamont, where chaos reigned:
You needed shelter from the sharks and dross
Who stalked the real-life world you entertained.
If it was ever only rock and roll
Or art for art’s sake, in the dark that day
Your negative capability missed the goal
And Death was indeed just a shot away.
Ensuing shows you managed with great skill,
And in financial matters you were shrewd;
The U.S.A. became an easy kill:
You were the shark, and its rich burghers food.
++I’m pleased to greet you; hope I’m not too stark,
++But would you let your daughter marry a shark?



Indeed you can look pure, and who denies
That in the early Sixties you often did?:
Your natural grace and beauty stole our eyes,
Amazed our souls – the goat was once a kid.
In fact, one could describe the Rolling Stones
Of those first years as new romantic bards:
Keats Richards, Shelley Watts and Byron Jones,
Like you, provoked both love and snide canards.
But when you donned the togs of a Yankee jock,
And in some songs inclined the weak to slam,
The role you took was a man of steel or rock –
It seemed you had been bought by Uncle Sam.
++I’m pleased to greet you; glad that you were dubbed
++By one who by the mean is always snubbed.



I feel it’s not the masks but simply you
That have so many bigwigs mesmerized:
A royal flush, they say, you often drew;
And presidents and fantasized
In Petersburg or Prague of being thrall
To you, the master-mistress of their passion –
White blackman-panther, with a Cockney drawl,
Who’s set for forty years, at least, the fashion.
But time which waits for no one’s getting short
(You’re in your early sixties, as you know);
The colours of chameleons can’t be bought,
Your riches won’t come with you when you go.
++I’m pleased to greet you; glad you are a knight.
++Time to dispel the view that you’re too tight.



To do you justice I’ll in truth assert
That, hand in hand with your hard-hearted pose,
You’ve written telling songs about the hurt,
Or wounded-hearted, lover and the throes
Of passion which can wreck a general’s plan,
Can blind a Samson, and a king dethrone;
In short about the anima in man,
Or image of the Eve that can atone
For all his macho pride, if given voice,
But will unman, if given leave to snipe
At reason and the exercise of choice –
Saw you the gentle face of this archetype?
++I’m pleased to greet you; hope you’re reading this.
++For maybe it will point you to your bliss.



That you have known the tender Eve is clear,
For certain songs describe a loving she:
An angel in your heart, you plain revere
And try to win again with humble plea.
And since one’s anima is not contrived
But, ere projection, comes from deep within,
Your famed androgyny may be derived
From a profound connection with this twin.
Which means potential empathy is great,
Providing ego can be well controlled
And the ringmaster we have seen of late
Allowed to show his burnished heart of gold.
++I’m pleased to greet you; hope you’ll drop the mask
++And face your soul, which knows your highest task.



I do not wish to nose out reckless facts
You may have perpetrated as a boy,
Nor, I repeat, do I condemn your acts
On stage, which are inspired and give us joy.
You aren’t a soulless robot in a skin;
Computers couldn’t make your songs, for sure,
Including one in which you fail to win
A goddess standing sadly at the door.
Your smile was never Californian,
But that of Joker, Jester, Jack, or Knave;
And far from abusing your great power when
You stun a crowd, its souls you help to save.
++I’m pleased to greet you; hope you get my gist:
++Your own sweet soul is waiting to be kissed.



Over four decades you have been on top,
A lonely star, like future men on Mars;
You have endured the probes of many a cop
And animus projections in dark bars.
But faith and trust are keys to psychic growth,
Starting with the goddess standing for your soul:
Since she’ll reveal the shadow you are loth
To integrate, but which can make you whole.
You wrote God gave you everything. It’s true –
You only need to find it, then to share
It with humanity, as one like you
Can really make a difference if you care.
++I’m pleased to greet you; hope the Self you’ll know.
++For then you’ll add the leaven to the dough..



I feel I have to say that, if you fail
To see the light and thus your knighthood use
As a poetic license to prevail
Against reform, you will us Brits abuse –
Unless, of course, we’re too far gone and like
Dark knights (which tells we’re by our shade possessed
And Satan’s waiting patiently to strike,
While the god we made fills up his treasure chest).
If so, more cause to break the spell and prove
You’re neither lord nor slave of the collective,
But a free spirit, with the power to move
The Devil with benevolent invective.
++I’m pleased to greet you; hope to God I’m right
++You want no more to harbour our black light.



Let individuation be your goal,
The reason why you’ve laboured hard and long;
That state in which potentially one’s whole:
The writer and the singer and the song.
But first your shadow you must integrate,
Which, if I’m right, is generous and good:
Have you seen your mother standing there of late?
Would you like to be more like her if you could?
By doing this, you’ll help us to withdraw
Our own projections and, instead of black,
To see in you a rainbow and, what’s more,
To face the darkness we ourselves don’t lack.
++I’m pleased to greet you; hope you’ll pay the price,
++And consummate this vision of paradise.



O hear the voice of conscience linked to God,
And let the inner figures play their part:
In time you’ll find the path you’ve bravely trod
Will lead you to the matrix of your heart.
You’ve known Mark Antony and Romeo,
Green-eyed Othello and hen-pecked Macbeth;
You’re due, I hope, to meet with Prospero,
Who’ll show you how to greet with grac your death.
But till the day you are released from bands
You’ll spend, I’m sure, your twilight evenings dancing;
And helped by many good and willing hands,
You’ll, as Sir Mick but not Jack Flash, keep prancing.
++I’m pleased to greet you; glad I can you tell
++That like old Shakespeare you could prosper well.



Lest our true project (soul salvation) fail,
We need to look beyond the private realm
To Mother Earth herself, whose tragic tale
Should every proper conscience overwhelm.
The hated truth, as the Green Prince well knows,
Is that human greed has made her very ill;
Yet are you, there in Richmond, one of those
Who cannot see why man must pay the bill?
Enough! To lecture you hereon would mar
The optimistic note I’ve duly struck:
Your salad days are over but you are
Entitled to dessert, with any luck.
++I’m pleased to greet you; hope you’ll cease to roam.
++Your knighthood means you have a place called home.



Please be a bridge from Babylon (the States)
To Camelot, in Albion, and show
Our “blairy”-eyed P.M. posterity hates
Those great powers that justice overthrow.
O prodigal son and bright celebrity,
Enjoy the satisfaction of the fact
That humility brings generosity:
Be a soul survivor – let your light attract.
Thus, with your positive capability,
Soul City with rainbow colours you will paint;
With your brand new rules and civility,
You’ll watch with glee as men and women faint.
++I’m pleased to greet you; hope you’ll get a kick.
++I’d hate it if you couldn’t take the mick!



Just as a “cheatah” is no “jagguar” brave
And a raging bully never truly strong,
A knight should be a wit but not a knave,
Lest Satan laugh the loudest and too long.
This said, you do not need to be a saint
When you have owned your shadow – simply keep
Its power in mind; and we don’t have to paint
Ourselves as goats, to prove we aren’t but sheep.
Just grow old gracefully, and be aware
Some jigger-joggers find it hard to see
That wise and shining souls with graying hair
Look silver, in the eyes of courtesy.
++I’m pleased to greet you; glad I’m almost done.
++Together, Mick, we’ll see the race is won.



Since I’ve rolled over all but a sole stone
(Though two, on technical grounds, are undercover),
I should recall, indeed, the one less known:
Mick Coleridge Taylor, lyrical blues lover.
I played truant at his début in Hyde Park,
When Charlie looked in fact like the real Keats,
When the Hell’s Angels left behind the dark,
When you quoted Shelley on Death’s vain defeats.
Now I see you, armourless, in winter sharp,
Wrapped in a cloak; your aura brighter and larger;
You’re carrying a lantern, blowing a harp:
It’s your sweeping exit on a wild, Arab charger.
++I’m pleased to greet you; pain to life is wed.
++But love is not in vain, save in one’s head.


23 January 2004

Latest Poems