At each opportunity,
You become lost in your own plain thought and fantasies;
Either listening to the melting rain outside
Or mildly planning your next murder.
You find you have to,
Before slipping back into your school-self once more,
To face the soul-destroying challenge
THERE WAS HARDLY A MOMENT OF PEACE LEFT
There was hardly a moment of peace left.
The clocks on the wall were desperately
Trying to keep time with God`s madness,
Whilst the sun was falling about the sky
And the rain kept on laughing and singing
In the streets.
The world was the shade of poppies
And we were all a little hysterical
As we saw our heads, turn into peanuts
And harps, wings and halos flying from the sky;
Until we agreed unanimously, that the world had
come to an end.
Although, in a way, it was just another beginning.
10 March 1967
AFTER THE STYLE OF A PSALM
My friend is a familiar room
I have lain in her every corner –
I know where each crack wanders
And have traced it with my hand.
My friend is an old
and empty room
where I go to think of other things
and to weep in the joys of her white washed walls.
AFTER THE STYLE OF A JAPANESE POEM
A white face
And grey hands;
In Autumn drains.
I long to sigh in counterpoint
With a voice controlled and intent
Which quivers the quavers of sorrow and sin
In harmonious discontent.
To be like the flags that hang in the church
And proclaim God for their side;
To see hedgehogs splattered across the road
And commemorate the moment they died.
For success is to make the Woman`s Weekly weep
And orchestrate your own despair
Or prepare your cross in a public place
And emulate Jesus there.
Something I have not realised:
I could not say when “all things possible”
Deflected into “past unfulfilled”.
It was like rounding a mainland
When new bearings are suddenly imposed on your mind
And what was a familiar sight before you
Diminishes, unrealised, behind.
WONDERING IN THE STREET
All there is between us now
Is the rain,
Dancing a quick two-step on the pavements
And road, before bouncing back into heaven
While I am left wondering what hit me.
YOU ARE ENOUGH
You are enough to make God say “I am, I am..”
At least I thought I was.
You are enough to make Ruth kick Naomi out
Of the house and dig her own grave.
You are not enough to make me stop biting
You enough to make De Gaulle die laughing,
You are enough to me
I could maim you for some of the things
You say and do,
All of them on purpose. However, I won`t do yet,
As you have started to smile.
And soon you will be laughing.
If you quietly passing out with thirst,
Until the sun is just a
Spinning, reeling, ball of blood
On a large, filthy, yellowing, bandage of sky;
And until the sound of a dripping tap
Is like footsteps coming to the rescue,
Your greatest ambition is to drown.
All his despairs and hopes, dreams and cares,
Were reduced to sections of shattered skull –
When the stone landed.
I could hear nothing –
But the not blinking of the incredulous sun;
And from the trees
The intake of startled breath
As though through clenched leaves.
Neither was it so much the blood –
Swamping his body in a warm flood –
As those hands
Frozen in stark white gestures
That distinguished him from the surrounding green wetness.
–When at last I looked up –
The evening sky was splashed a feverish animal red;
And cold clouds
Edged towards the sun
Like trapped hands to a bleeding head.
Stroking in the sky with the tips of its wings –
Moving through the still air – around the sun, above the trees –
Almost as though it were flying,
Sings a song for Friday/
Or for fireworks/ or for thieves.
A LATE SUMMER ROSE
Smelly, smelly rose,
Drooping in the garden,
Gazing at the shadows on the crazed-paving path.
Petals peeling backwards
For the gently throbbing sun,
Melting on the leaves, in the ooze of purple-black.
Droopy, droopy rose,
That smells of summers past,
Waiting for October and the dead, blackened trees.
Dying for this timely death,
And glad that nothing lasts,
As long as do the rain and the wind, the clouds, the sun and seas.
NEXTDOOR AS I KNEW THEM
Do you remember the handstands
We did on the lawn in the summer,
The tennis we played on hot Autumn days,
—When we sang `Bless this House` for your mother?
The egg boiled each morning for breakfast
While I waited to be taken to school;
The blistering paint on your garage;
Your pink dress I wore till I grew?
Does the red honey flower still bloom by the fir tree
Now the broom and laburnum are gone?
–And is your father still heavy on the seat in the garden?
–Does your mother still sleep in the sun?
I wish I were compelled to sleep
Too tired for rage: too dull for tears.
Someone waits who knows and sees
The restless yearnings of my years.
CUANDO MUERO YO –
RESPONSO AL SENOR GARCIA LORCA
When I die
Bury me with the rain —
Let the sunshine try to root me out of my cool black tomb –
Or bring a blush to my stony face.
When I die
Bury me in black
Like the trees.
And then October leaves will lift and fall in heaps over my head
And bury me away – deeper.
A GRAMMAR OF LOVE
You are my Gerundive Attraction
And my Causal Qui;
You`ll drive me Semi-Deponent
If you transfer your Epithets from me.
I inflect and Decline
At your Indirect Commands:
I begin to feel like an Ablative –
Absolutely in your hands.
ON THE ICKNIELD WAY
…And I remember one window
Where I was afraid we would show,
voices working in the courtyard
the ceiling pressing low;
the ceiling, darling, frogs are kissing,
their noise is in the air;
I see the dust, the trees, the sun,
and one dark window there.
Look at the graveboards
Piled like trestles for a fete,
And the gaunt black evergreens
Watching the mindless dead.
Cloak their wings
Over starved and haggard breasts:
Darkness drops, like a seal
Upon these abruptly ragged deaths.
Kiss the joy as it flies…
And there upon the asphalt lies
The man from the fifth-floor window.
I`ve seen this kind of thing before;
When someone says they want to end it all,
It`s you they pin there onto the ledge,
In stricken contemplation of the edge
And went to the bathhouse for a shave.
THE REFLECTIONS OF A TRAVELLER, ON THE EVE OF DAWN
He turned his slow eyes sadly to the hills
and watched the falling moon sink softly past.
Dark heaved away, with the coming of the sun,
With the humming of the wind,
He heard birds.
Many of them.
After he had waited for it,
SUPERMAN AND THE LAST GREAT DOUBT
When we have all finally overcome ourselves
[ Changed into Supermen, and cast aside half truths]
The mad hermit will still be heard shouting
In the market place:
“God is Dead!”
And we still won`t know
If he is right.
Like cloth flung far inland
The rumpled sand in the bay;
Silver veins of waterthread
Through hard brown folds,
Which the creeping sea unravels.