Jonathan Burke McHugo Comes to Town

He sailed up the Tamar, a potentate
lolling on a settee on the poop deck.
Ever since the Indian sun had spiced
his brains too richly he'd had such fits,
believing himself royal. His crew
would humour him, make due obeisance.

The whole of Launceston turned out to watch
mad Jonathan disembark. It was a year
for madness, 1811: King George,
this "Count and Prince of the Blood", and Gordon,
sad crazy Gordon whose pate, too, had been
curried for the Empire and who'd ended up
Commandant of its foulest colony,

                                   Gordon greeted Jonathan
who handed out madeira and advice
royally, explained his mission to reclaim
the island for the Crown (i.e. himself),
persuaded Gordon that he was to blame
for all the troubles of the settlement,
deserved jail. Gordon agreed. Power passed
from madman to madman. Diessent was drowned
in sweet wine or darkened by the shadow
of the gallows. For a week Jonathan ruled.

Lieutenant Lyttleton, young, passionate,
loyal and sane, freed a protesting Gordon,
manhandled Jonathan back to his brig,
tied him down and sailed him through the heads.
Launceston, some say, recovered.

Poems from 'The Unspeak Poems and other verses

Pentecostal Chillout
Advice to an Emerging Poet
Clancy of the Cultural Studies Department

Other poems by Tim Thorne

Bronte Country
When in California

An interview with Tim Thorne

A conversation with Tim Thorne (2007)

Reviews of Tim Thorne's poetry

Taking Queen Victoria to Inveresk (1997)
Best Bitter (2003)
I Con (2009)

Book launch by Tim Thorne

TULLY, John: Robbed of Every Blessing

Reviews by Tim Thorne

ALVAREZ, Ivy (edited): A Slice of Cherry Pie
ALVAREZ, Ivy (edited): We Don't Stop Here
BENNETT, Stefanie: Symphony for Heart and Stone
KNIGHT, Karen, MATHISON, Robyn, KNIGHT, Norma, REEVES, Lyn, WINFIELD, Liz: Republican Dreaming
LOMER, Kathryn. Extraction of Arrows
LUCAS, John. The Long and the Short of it
MANSELL, Chris: Mortification & Lies
MINTER, Peter: Blue Grass
RIETH, Homer: The Dinng Car Scene
SIMPSON, Matt: In Deep
WEARNE, Alan: Kicking in Danger