A junk-fest behind the library!
Cassettes, clothes, curtains, huddle in trays.
Wasps buzz bananas, the air drizzles.
A dosser dies, a girl aged fifteen.
in the Morning, v.1
Born as a refugee
from fire and bayonet,
my mouth a cellar of smoke,
my father’s worst fear yet,
the land, reclaimed, a telescope
makes out, this side, sheep.
Across the river
no common magnifying picks a shape
of any creature, although one gathers
there must be shifts, and crews inside those ships.
I’ll not forget
you two hours old,
all of us quitting the birth ward.
the night-wide corridor,
of us lumbered.
I’ll not forget
your smell of now,
our promise bundle.
we were disobeying the rules!
Smell of Now, vv.1,2,6,8
are the girls of yesteryear
Who rang me round from ear to ear?
Where Moll Flanders, the clever dear,
where Griselda’s uninjured air,
where Florence (her swabs were regular),
Nell Gwyn, soft-centred Marjorie,
M. Curie and Eva Braun, oh where?
You rode the footlights, caused a stir.
What happens to electricity?
Stunned by his own created world,
the babe’s surprise is justified;
and so (her arm about him curled)
is her unfazed, seraphic pride.
and Child, v.3
years will change, new colours will seep in:
the earth look
dull as grout.
The sun will seem to smoke like paraffin.
Umpires will jerk
The roof will creak, no one know what we’ve been;
and soon we’re
sun-moon reflection is
a solid column, a pine log.
the totem of this high-class household
of incoherent anguish.
knowledge is carnal, no cause lasts
sixty years, a sealed wine dries.
they say your beauty is in my mind.
Come the next City they will dispense
with us entirely, both.
Age Turns, ll.5–9
half-lights may soon be over
the sky is at last allowing its purple
to glare on the horizon
sails go by
lick the wind make smacking noises
an earth-light howls in the grass
there have been many victims
a dinghy chained by its nets
the town in the marshes is fading into itself
nobody is there any more
in the far sky a yellow bird
is freeing its cry
the boats are all heading that way
The Blood Rules––Light,
One admires a fable, like ‘He rose again on the third
day’, but not a Divine Chemist who’s out of his skull.
If the world is not intelligible in principle, what
else but Nature’s ‘insanity’ is responsible?
All right, equating the incomprehensible with insanity
is wrong, a category error, but you might get my drift anyway.
‘The one which would efface the many’: there is an
ancient and unresolved problem as to whether ultimately
everything is a One or a Many.
The matter is to be pursued by looking into what has
been written about monism and pluralism. To William James, who
inclined towards the importance of multiplicity, the puzzle
about whether everything is ultimately a One or a Many was
‘the most central of all philosophical problems’, holding
that our view on this subject determines our thinking about
many other philosophical problems.
I’m inclined to believe, without sufficient argument,
I might add, that in a Zen-like way Nature is both.
In this poem I see the One-aspect as crushingly
inimical towards the Many-aspect, and more especially towards
the many tiny spurts of insignificant selfness, i.e.
Spirit of the Air.
This followed the hurricane of 1987 which most people
thought unprecedented, then weather experts informed us that
winds on this scale struck about every three hundred years.
Nothing to do with global warming.
The tone, rhythm and rhyming are all jocular, of
course, though the theme of us against Nature isn’t.
nearest I’ve since come to spiritual ecstasy, the time I
remember most, was this very physical occasion, beer in my
belly and my young family at my side, as I stood on
holiday one evening in the many-peopled street of little Port
Isaac in Cornwall. It
was as I describe it. There
was a Salvation Army band playing outside and between two
opposing pubs. On
one side of the road was the slipway and mud, you could hardly
call it a harbour, on which dinghies lay half on their sides.