Archive | Poetry RSS feed for this section


12 Jun

The gift of speech is a very terrible thing O Man
Keep watch over thy tongue lest it betray thee
Try how thou wilt
Thou canst not hide thyself
No word of thine but reveals some corner of thy heart
No phrase but lays bare some secret place.

Keep watch
Thou dost not know thy power
Though thou hadst never imagined it
It may be that someone hangs upon thy slightest word
Once chance word and the whole course of his life

is made beautiful
Another, and all the devils of hell enter into his soul.

Keep watch
Make thyself clean and true
That as thou goes through life
Tired men may hear thy words and find strength in them
And though they knew it not
They shall bless thee in their hearts

“Speech”, 1923
WH Auden



8 Jun

I’m looking for the key to a door
That lets you out your corridor
I want you; come n’ burst my bubble

Oh fuck! My hang-ups. What’s to say
I’m just a monkey in a cage
A soul’t strafes along the lonesome rubble

But whatever future, this is true:
Beauty is truth and both are you
And I’m outta rhymes, (ain’t nothin’ left but ‘stubble’).

Still, last consider’t perchance ’twas Fate
That led me to you Heaven’s Gate
And not the drink n’ anguished search for trouble

Well I told you it was bad man. Don’t bitch at me. 🙂


5 Jun

O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Athwart men’s noses as they lie asleep;
Her wagon-spokes made of long spinners’ legs,
The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
The traces of the smallest spider’s web,
The collars of the moonshine’s wat’ry beams,
Her whip of cricket’s bone; the lash of film;
Her waggoner a small grey-coated gnat,
Not half so big as a round little worm
Pricked from the lazy finger of a maid:
Her chariot is an empty hazelnut
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.

And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love;

O’er courtiers’ knees, that dream on court’sies straight,
O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees,
O’er ladies ‘ lips, who straight on kisses dream,
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are:
Sometime she gallops o’er a courtier’s nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;
And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig’s tail
Tickling a parson’s nose as a’ lies asleep,
Then dreams, he of another benefice:
Sometime she driveth o’er a soldier’s neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
Of healths five-fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
That plaits the manes of horses in the night,
And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs,
Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes:
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
That presses them and learns them first to bear,
Making them women of good carriage:
This is she—

William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet
Act One; scene four.


29 May


Rarely, rarely, comest thou,
Spirit of Delight!
Wherefore hast thou left me now
Many a day and night?
Many a weary night and day
‘Tis thou art fled away.

How shall ever one like me
Win thee back again?
With the joyous and the free
Thou wilt scoff at pain
Spirit false! hast thou forgot
All but those who need thee not.

As a lizard with the shade
Of a trembling leaf,
Thou with sorrow art dismayed;
Even the sighs of grief
Reproach thee, that thou art not near,
And reproach thou wilt not hear.

Let me set my mournful ditty
To a merry measure;
Thou wilt never come for pity,
Thou wilt come for pleasure;
Pity then will cut away
Those cruel wings, and thou wilt stay.

I love all that thou lovest,
Spirit of Delight!
The fresh Earth in new leaves dressed,
And the starry night;
Autumn evening, and the morn
When the golden mists are born.

I love snow, and all the forms
Of the radiant frost;
I love waves, and winds, and storms,
Everything almost
Which is Nature’s and may be
Untainted by man’s misery.

I love tranquil solitude,
And such society
As is quiet, wise and good;
Between thee and me
What difference? but thou dost
The things I seek, not love them less.

I love Love though he has wings,
And like light can flee,
But above all other things,
Spirit, I love thee-
Thou art love and life! Oh, come,
Make once more my heart thy home.

“Song”, 1821
Percy Shelley


25 May

Cole Desolation
c. 1836

Thomas Cole

I’m listening to the sound of the glorious invasion, treading water as history’s calvary overwhelms the collective mind of the human herd. There’s a tangle in my mind today. My spirits are low, my energy gravitating back toward bed but my will bids I won’t go. Wait, I’ve been this way before. I know this texture. These blind fingers know the music I have yet to hear.

There is solace in marble rooms built by a now-dead empire; there is comfort in the antique harmonies of strings and wooden pipes, human breath. I am doing nothing, treading water. I have yet to declare my beautiful whatever. I see the eyes of the people about me looking up in anticipation of… something? Revelation? I engage in the safety of dispersonal conversation. Human contact deprived of its physical discomforts, the infiltration of eros and envy. How peaceful we all are in this noöspherical coccoon. My fellow monkeys puzzle me.

In these chambers crammed with Emerson and Brodsky, Aristotle, Orwell, Wilde, Rossetti, Lorca, Delillo and Blake, there’s a man who sits here every day and plays electronic solitaire. Does he win? Outside, a sixteen year old kid watches bullshit hip hop at public expense and makes very loud trade negotiations on his phone. The 21st century black market barter system: if the girl wants his drugs she shall be prepared to swallow his semen in exchange.

At the back of my mind: a woman. Two perhaps. One spirit lying underneath a myriad of faces and curves? I hunger. Others hunger for me and I will not feed them. I have forgotten the name of a poet and retrieve some help from someone I barely knew once and do so no longer. He didn’t make the grade, still he retrieved the name of another long forgotten woman who’s words meant more to me than the legends her circle of acquaintance gave rise to. Legends with dicks of course. Ladies, it’s not that you’re not any good, it’s that you don’t care about immortality enough. You have no desire to make the world in your image.

I check in with new friends and at the same time learn about the new art forms that come of the ability to blend word and image and music at will, broadcast to the world. Things will change, fast and slow. We’re too short-lived to notice. Too fast-living to pay attention. I visit old friends, an almost daily habit. They’re different to me of course. But we communicate thanks to reason and the internet.

The brass infantry lets off a volley. The lone tenor is a cannon. The schizophrenic strings set to their frenetic, hysterical race toward spiritual orgasm: Freude, schöner Götterfunken, tochter aus Elysium…


3 Apr


Who shall tell the lady’s grief
When her Cat was past relief?
Who shall number the hot tears
Shed o’er her, belov’d for years?
Who shall say the dark dismay
Which her dying caused that day?

Come, ye Muses, one and all,
Come obedient to my call;
Come and mourn with tuneful breath
Each one for a separate death;
And, while you in numbers sigh,
I will sing her elegy.

Of a noble race she came,
And Grimalkin was her name
Young and old fully many a mouse
Felt the prowess of her house;
Weak and strong fully many a rat
Cowered beneath her crushing pat;
And the birds around the place
Shrank from her too close embrace.

But one night, reft of her strength,
She lay down and died at length;
Lay a kitten by her side
In whose life the mother died.
Spare her line and lineage,
Guard her kitten’s tender age,
And that kitten’s name as wide
Shall be known as hers that died.
And whoever passes by
The poor grave where Puss doth lie,
Softly, softly let him tread,
Nor disturb her narrow bed.

“On The Death Of A Cat”
Christine Rossetti.


7 Mar

Been listening lots to Mojo’s fourth release of a Beatles album covered by people you never heard of. Well not quite true.

We’ve all heard of Beth Orton, right? She gets two tracks, the (imho) best on the record followed by the weirdest (dunnit look like they’re havin’ fun? Not!). John and Yoko’s contribution I shouldn’t wonder.

Fabulous! Orton’s version that is. They roll into each other with “Dig It” converted into an avant-experimental epilogue for Harrison’s tune. That’s the showcase. I wonder if she thinks it’s the album’s best song too. She does it as George wrote it, as she should. It’s her sound and she knows what the words really mean.
First the lonely crowd lugubrious lament on the selfishness of people (All thru your life, I-me-mine, I-me-mine, I-me-mine) followed by the unabashed egotistical strut (I! Me-me mine!). She’s better than the boys were. By far. She digs it, she lives for it, it comes from the heart and fuck you. And that’s today me too.

At the end of “Dig It” she has a dig at Yoko. Hah! Where Lester Bangs thought John Lennon was culture climbing marrying her, Orton knows full well ’twas the other way around. I guess she sees Yoko as a rich kid opportunist maybe. I don’t know. Don’t know her. And I don’t care about John and Yoko.

Why then all the bollocks viz the motherfucking sixties! Ahhhrrrggghh! Will we ever be rid of them.


My generation that is (1963-1979). The answer: no. Why’ve I been crapping on about rock stars and their stupid drug deaths, why have I been contemplating the erosion of talent that comes of overindulgence. The cracked marriages, the fall into apelike vulgarity and the will to slavery that so many seem to, just… prefer!

Have I been doing this?

Who knows. I think I’ll just drop it. The point’s made. Those songs were writ by the Magic Group, right? But they hated each other’s guts when they did ’em. It had gone sour. Go back and look at the clip from Let It Be. Look at Harrison’s face. And check out John Lennon trying to be Bob Marley or something.

Orton’s taken all that and made magic. Doesn’t that make you happy? What? You don’t know? You haven’t heard it? Oh…

I feel the sorriest for you.

Thru talking. Ciao.