LONDON (Reuters) - Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy on Saturday celebrated the way in which Britons had embraced the Olympic Games, eulogised their gold medalists and attacked bankers for "filching our gold, our silver".
Duffy's poem, "Translating the British, 2012", appeared on the front page of the Guardian newspaper, next to a photograph of Somali-born British 10,000 metre champion Mo Farah.
Named Britain's official poet in 2009, Duffy referred to cheering crowds at the opening ceremony where Queen Elizabeth played a cameo role and how the famously unpredictable weather behaved to add to the feelgood factor generated by the Olympics.
She also alluded to the sense of pride which some, though not all, Britons have felt as the world's attention turned to the tournament which ends on Sunday.
"We say we want to be who we truly are,/now, we roar it. Welcome to us," she wrote.
Duffy referred to a series of banking scandals that have rocked London in recent years, leading to resentment among the broader British public over costly bail-outs and bonuses.
"We've had our pockets picked,/the soft, white hands of bankers,/bold as brass, filching our gold, our silver;/we want it back."
She went through some of Britain's gold medal winners like cyclist Bradley Wiggins and athlete Jessica Ennis who have helped fuel interest in the Games. The host nation has won 26 golds so far, surpassing the 19 of Beijing and the highest tally for more than 100 years.
"WE SENSE NEW WEATHER"
The title of Poet Laureate comes from the ancient Greeks who crowned their celebrated poets with laurels.
Originally the British role involved writing court odes but now the poet marks royal and national events for which they receive a barrel of sherry.
In 1668, King Charles II gave John Dryden the official title of Poet Laureate, and others have included William Wordsworth, Alfred Tennyson, Ted Hughes and Andrew Motion.
Recent Laureates have championed the reading and writing of poetry as well as addressing public issues that are important to them, not simply royal events.
Duffy also called for school sports facilities to be improved to ensure a lasting legacy from the success of London 2012 and returned in a coda to what the Games might mean for Britain in the longer term.
"We sense new weather./We are on our marks. We are all in this together."
(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Mark Meadows)
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