The End

The End


Hard-earned solitude found in denial,
restrained, channeled
into eternal pariah status; and what more
do the fastidious seek so fervently?
“Fool me once,” etc.; and apt,
quite so, when one’s a worm.
Burrowing in the dirt,
searching many years for a sign
that the Kingdom has come at last.
Terrestrial opisthopora,
you should not spend your whilsts
whittling down the hours to eschaton;
can you not see? No, you cannot;
therefore let me tell you:

Corrugated shutters nigh full adorn
the city streets, and further thus display
the signs that many yet are missing;
the paving stones of cobbled yore are wet
thro’ with blood and vomit, a lifetime’s worth;
and who spilt such foul fluids in the cold,
windy morn? who else but you, i.e. yourself?
we all bleed senseless in the gutter
quite forgotten by those who tell us to stand
and to claim our own destiny: but, yet . . .

Now does the picture become clear in your mind?
Think twice when crossing these roads,
and do not hope for such a cheerful resolution
as that which we term “The End.”


The Wastnesse, sonnets XXXI—XXXVI

The Wastnesse

Sonnets XXXI—XXXVI


XXXI

the hellish drone of street-trash splits the air
quite far from an English garden     rain in
summer snow in late spring       an idle street
condensed and partitioned         and wandering
loose amongst savage souls The     garden is
drained of moisture where   once we sat in chairs
adeckd with linen and          discoursed flatly
on meagre sums and overt   distractions
then at once in media res     a face
familière                              Taken to revisit
gramer-rule of scole-kid      ennui languor
flailing mindless with that   beauty-harlot
Face asks if i at last give      them pardon
—i drift away to my English garden


XXXII

Effervescent darling of my heart’s word,
Fulgent lighthouse of my life’s sole return!
Such fulvous eyes that keep me from the herd,
Speckled sight-tawn that I forever yearn!
Ecstatic maiden, virgo-born and plump,
Yet slight and dainty all the blessèd same;
Sweet contradictions of my lovèd one,
Thou should be hailed for seeming such a way!
So glance at me and thus condemn my fate,
Allow this fool to genuflect thy grace;
Where thou shalt walk, my path is ever-made:
So shall I catalogue thy faerie face!
      This ecstasy, it rises from the land;
      Ah, such love is as mountain to a man!


XXXIII

Crystalline beauty is but a shell for your mind: 
Leonine leader; determined in strength, and kind
In the moment when you saved my loose, fraying strength:
I were to fall apart; you cast a note at length
Which brought me back from failure’s decadent despair:
Tho more apart since heavy hand, you are yet fair
In apprehension; how you are like a goddess!
I deify you in art, you could claim no less
Than the David born of maiden form, marble dress’d:
Yes, in full aspect you signify great virtue, 
And shall thus forever bloom as you were meant to:
Ah! If it were so simple, life would be quite dull;
How sad to gain a thing so easily made full, 
When true sated love one should longform mull:
      I know you have the spark’ling wit for chrysalis 
      To guide you to a truth-form metamorphosis.


XXXIV

And then, the end: curtain close; we depart
To cast aside those cloaks, to pillage on,
In drunken judgement. How the night does call!
One final bow for the raptured ovation?
Of course! We are at the end, oh, the end!
Do you feel it? Why, it is here, my friend:
No time to construct a dissertation,
No, just a base sonnet before the fall,
And a second to contemplate our all:
Aye — what is a man? Paragon indeed—
We are surely express in our action,
Definite in calculation, our art
Born by woman alone, refined by men,
Bowing to nothing but dust at the end.


XXXV

      Embankment’s sweat, in Camden I seek death;
’Twixt Regent’s Park’s old graven oaks I hover,
A shrinking blade that captures terror’s face
In photograph of bloody disarray—
      And by the banks I wait alone with glee
To laugh at fallen men, to decry sympathy:
Now watch the sky become a deeper grey
As unknown faces lose their pallor
      And turn at once to see the shining star:
It hovers bleak atop Saint Paul’s tower,
Harbinges the tale of my rising power;
My soul becomes a nightmare’s aura—
      I am the Scholar of the Sable Joy:
      I am the Author of London’s Horror.


XXXVI

Pretty, pretty, pretty. So sweet a girl
   I am. Look at me! With my sunflower dress,
And bows in my hair. Pretty, pretty, pretty—
   Less than a whirl, a ditty, this city
Bends to my will. So I dance empowered
Upon overgrown windowsill, a prance
   For the Lost, for the Dead, for the Crier
Who cries out no more; and I am pretty
   In cornflower shawl, to rake quietus
And pet a raggled cat, a cute kitty,
And take it in my arms. Now, to the hill,
Where we may take a final glance of what was:
      O, greenest spires of glass and steel I see:
      Tho I knew you then, ’tis now that I do most love thee.


The Wastnesse, sonnets XXI—XXX

The Wastnesse

Sonnets XXI—XXX


XXI

Where were you? I waited, you damnèd sod:
I sat as thunder crashed and men in masks
Ran to and fro; was it her, or your God—
That you sacrificed me for, she asks?
What age is she, then? Younger, I would bet,
Than our daughter is quite yet? So is she
Dedicated to this life we lead? Yet
Speak you will not, I see right through thee.
   Did her father sit through all the night’s fray
   As you gamboled through the city’s decay—
As I waited in afright, did she say
“I love thee, my care—” did you affirm her?
Did you hold her close when demons did bray?
      What can I do, now that rubble is life;
      In chaos you did leave me, your wife.


XXII

Let me walk thee home, shawled love of my world,
So I may see thee make the door; so thou
Don’t cross paths of enmity with vile churls
Armed quite alert, quiet at attention,
In garb of common soul.      Shall thee walk me
      When word becomes a sin? Nay: I shall cross
Thresholds when naught but the moon doth grimace,
So thou may walk thy halls in solemn loss;
Should I pay thee mind through the sun rise—
Tho still I lay, no stiller than thou lie:
That night thou walked me home, something was amiss
      And through written line thou missed forever my lips.
My lips, my lips: where is thy kiss, O poet?
      O how I wish only for thy hands, my hips.


XXIII

Yes, I waited for you, simple in thought.
I waited tho small in height, shine of eye.
City stank — river brown, constant bustle.
Sang a song from a browning book I bought.
Threw a coin amongst the ducks that scattered.
Saw a bloodied man whose face was battered.
Still I waited, as couples said goodbye.
A church that flew a St George flag, tattered.
I wanted your hand upon my waist’s side.
I thought of our time upon the car’s seats.
I knew you wouldn’t come, I thought to hide.
Return to books, my first loves, Donne and Keats.
You could have taught me many worlds beyond
This summer grass and raging, frothing pond.


XXIV

There is no love here. There is no coffin
To hold the scorchèd feeling of despair;
No trees that stand for wretched wrens to nest in,
And none lives but austere, crumbling bindweed.
There was a rumble great beneath the planes,
And a mighty beast of malformed monstrousness
Wrenched itself, hobbling with deformed ungain,
Towards a vast, lolling metropolis;
Two folks stood upon a red mountainside,
Hands held in half-salute to shade the sun—
As Moloch’s swelt, limping mass crossed the land,
The world shrugged, ambivalent, and came undone.
Thus love was lost, and bricks were turned to sand.
      I lost you many years before this fall,
      And searched for you all down the road. And all
      Of man is like-named now—and handed down
      From Saul to Sam, and Sam to Saul.


XXV

Damn the dark. Have you seen this place, good old friend?
How have I spent such hours here? How have you? Yes, but
How young yet you are. You have a great feel for this city, more than I.
                  I’ve watched how you remark upon the grates.
   This may I have; yet still, is not my guide you? Is not
   What I have been indebted to not your guiding hand?      Friend,
I can doubt, yet I cannot deny.
                                                Ah!
This is where things fall apart, and as Adam to Eve,
                                          This ring will not concede.
Tho why cannot this city take us both? Would your neck not attest to a caress
            By my failing hand? O, here they come!
They break the crowd with masks and batons,
                                                                        Alas!


XXVI

A teade to guide thy way in times of mirk!
O Dame of sovereign tides, keep me awake;
Such breaks and swells are all the more to hurt,
Yet ’tis thy sight that lights the Morning’s sake.
The lighted dust a-freckled on the desk,
Where thou dost write the cupid chimes of Time;
Thou’st spent such hours of thine in lonesome rest,
Then spent an age perfecting fretted clime.
And so it is to thy wont to carry bronds
All through the satin stain of Night’s entwine;
To ease the heaving Trav’ler’s woven bounds
And to the married lost display a Sign.
      Alack! To thee dictated so firm a fate,
      When I would wish to have thee as my mate.


XXVII

A final dream of greenest acre-grove:
The Paramour of Paradise does greet
The grateful litany in which I shrove;
Ne’er distayned nor forced dishonest by sleet
And hail of Man’s design: a garden treat
Buxome with red berries of honey-juice,
Beseene in seelie drapes of sweetest peat;
Endewed so soft with opal-tulip roots.
In fullsome praise — uxorious deduce—
I declare that thine is a land kindly,
O, my coy lady of the jade-leaf’d spruce—
Then wake in loss, as romance halts blindly.
      Ydle princess, I feel thee out there still;
      Between the trees, atop thy kingdom’s hill.


XXVIII

I must have thee: O, in mind and body,
Thy radiance shall be mine, all alone;
In Heaven’s arms we seek to be Godly,
And in our bed we make the Kingdom moan.
Those curvèd hips that I should trace aloud
To thee, my ample friend, they are my manse;
To be betwixt them, encompassed by thy shroud,
Sequestered inside thy heart, making plans,
Whilst thou tongue my finger-tips and do sigh,
As I bite thy flesh as if to taste thy wine;
And as thou have list this liturgy cry,
I save for thee my heart’s true design:
Tho I am no architect as God’s will,
I trust in constructed love to keep thee still.


XXIX

What thou lov’st entyre shall not last
         When in touch      with Winter’s grasp
And what thou lov’st like pages dainty deckled;
   Or admire in sight, a filly faintly freckled;
                  Shall in night                         depart
                                    And sail like slug,    in heart
         And mind on sea of salt —      and shall not halt
’Til leaves of grass and      hair of golden hay moult;
      But if thou lov’st beyond the petiole’s display
                  And seek a care      less raked by Age’s fray,
      Thou might view encroaching,      subtle, supple,
                  An entity with eyes that seek to stay.
                                    And hold her pale formèd
                                    Breasts tender, forlornèd.


XXX

Amber eye, small marks and lines, and trusted
Lapses into comely sleep as wind gusted,
A chant from the crows as I built anew
What once I dispriz’d; burning ochre dew
Held aloft as prisms akin to thine eyes:
   Morph in clay thy elven feature full,
   Flit the brick with pencil’s steel, shape thy skull
Just as it is in my waking mind’s disguise;
Yet ’tis thy details I fight to define—
In dreaming-life of nympholeptic awe
There is no thing as fabled action-time!
      I shy to leave thy face as night-gaunt’s matte mask,
      But for the skill I shall not ask:
      For thou, God’s child, are not mine to make last.


The Wastnesse, sonnets XI—XX

The Wastnesse

Sonnets XI—XX


XI

Hush, my love — the wolves walk again tonight,
Prowling blasted perimetres, hungry
For us, the wanderers of the Old World,
Searchers engaged in this desolation—
Breeding is now a sin, but who could say
A child would not live amongst the ruins
Of glass and steel? Cracked and shattered envy
Of once what was and yet is now nothing.
And tho the state is rough and entropy
Is writhing under soil so heaped with oil,
Your warmest arms have lost no inch of care;
Through the dirt, your face is an angel’s wish.
      Good night, good night, good night, good night, good night:
      I pray to wake again with you in light.


XII

Waiting. And distant. Never never leave
   Never. And waiting. For dancing, girlishe
      Dancing. And motion. Always always staye
         Always. The anchor keeps to shore’s deep grave
            Buried. The angled fins of funny fishe
               Funny. Lying in saint’s repose, my childe
               Saintly. And writing on the parchment, wilde
            Writing. And praying in steel plate and cuishe
         Armoured. Protecting corage from the glaive
      Piercing. Eyes that watch me from far awaye
   Watching. Acting don’t be don’t be churlishe
Distant. And waiting. Never never grieve
      Tho thoughts are fractured in Death’s base decaye
      Our builded love will always always staye


XIII

The light of Heaven shines upon this place
That sleeps like infant quivering in shade;
Daybrite shakes child from night’s lucid embrace,
   And rises o’er Dhaor as sequence of replace—
   As God’s good star is often cruel to face,
Our ego shivers and seeks to hide its eyes;
   We turn from Truth, as seeking to displace
   The common tongue does give a clearer rise
   To forms of thought that soothe the maggot’s sighs
As they burrow deep into the Realm of Self
   And separate the conscience from the skies
To glean a diamond hidden in the filth.
      So cast away the shawl of lightless echo’s sound:
      Throw down your hand, for in filth it shall be found.


XIV

To Anima: you bring me priceless charms;
   Yet young you are, ’twixt woman and girl,
Your unique wisdom sings like psalms
   And bring to me a gift of mind’s unfurl:
Duality in modes of strife, you are my muse
   And sister too, I carry you to Word’s lament
When mere Chaos reigns in trapped refuse
   And rude Psyche’s atrophies dement.
Tho hurt you cause, and also that is true:
Those forming years I grappled with your pain,
Alas! No greater wish to trade myself for you;
So we fought for many years upon this plain.
      But older are we now, and stand as one:
      We share this form, unified in warmth of sun.


XV

Five years have passed since we met our end:
   Many decades more it feels. I remember yet
   Your ocean sight, whence I was snared into your net,
Your curtailed field of golden hair did rend
My heart, at once towards your soul did send
   My choice to take you as my partner fair:
   We effaced our lonely pasts, eager then to share—
And then on to live as one we did intend!
But paradise of many years is sore to growth
   When village life is poison to the heart:
When change arrived I reneged my oath;
   You could not leave, but I needed to depart
      The land of which assailed my soul’s content—
      I left alone without you, to restart.


XVI

I have not yet discussed thy smile, catlike,
   What a joy! Nor have I spoke of thy cheeks,
Those soft white domes of snowy down; thine eyes—
I say the sea, but they shone more beautifully.
A work of art by God’s good hand and brush,
   A slightness in my arms. Those tiny sounds
That did escape thy lips when we were close;
Those words of clever wit and empathy.
Just see: her form now has changed, as time will do,
   Not slight as once, but life nor I shall judge;
Tho different you are, still your face shines!
O once-love, my respect for you remains:
      You love again, and I have moved far past you;
      I wish only joy, now that it is through.


XVII

I could not write these words, my dearest friend,
When we were two as one — so now I write 
In present what I could not speak then;
A treatise on our erstwhile love: despite 
The harm I wrought on us, confusion you
Detailed, it were the years we laughed and smiled
   That matter more than all. Altho we knew
That hearts can change, we treated it quite mild;
And now I have embraced the past, I think 
Of all the good that’s born to spite the woes
That crushed our once-paired tender souls
And brought romance to smold’ring, fascist brink.
      Let’s put aside these bitter tears, and speak
      More close upon our perfect, pretty streak.


XVIII

So it begins: is lust, unasked, unbound?
Or can such desire be forced beyond such
Mammal ritual? How is this care found—
In dirt, or within geodes of your touch,
Masked from view between your Juliette dress?
I tie the mask, leave undisturbed those hairs;
If I were closer, such would be a mess—
Tho my Nostro cape belies such care,
’Tis only that Godliness in my heart,
Untouched by Death’s forgotten light embrace,
Sitting good inside a gesture’s made part;
Only with fingers that bite I do trace:
      To my smartest instinct I shall abide,
      Then watch you, costumed, away, in silk glide.


XIX

I had you there: the small of your small back
   Cupped by my warnsome hand, wrought to rupture
A noisome response; but what did you lack
   To glimpse a wry smile? Yet then did gather
A lather of citywide moans, water
      Parading our rained-out love affair;
That tender, offensive gesture brusquer
      Than my slowsome hand could intend, softer
Than your wet back in satin purple dress.
   I hone in: yes, the city now burns,
But I can feel you pulse, my budding dear:
Our response to chaos incarnate does not learn.
      I should let them know, that anarchy looms;
      Yet still your back my dissolute hand grooms.


XX

Soft dress clasped in torrent by lampost dreary:
To be destroyed, entirely? Nay. I clutch your hand,
   And we depart, yet moments ago we nearly
Entered into love decried. We stand glad
   For what we found this night; our love dearly
Cut short, my God, my sweet thing; am I mad,
To seek closer connection, when the city burns?
Nay. We enter the fray, man never learns;
Now I am your guardian, your protector:
I wish I wore cuirass of gold-leaf steel,
To reprimand our closest captors;
’Tis only to love you, girl, that I do feel.
      Through thronging crowd we wade resolute to live,
      And ’tis ’til only death that I shall give.



The Wastnesse, sonnets I—X

The Wastnesse

Sonnets I—XII


I

So fair is she, the one who lights my lips:
   To walk a step with her is near divine,
And truth is felt through all our echoed trips—
   To think I had the time to call her mine.
   The stripes of gold that waver in a line,
Her full moon face and hazel eyes ablaze;
   Please kneel astride and bear with me a sign
As supple legs remind me of those days.
I thought it wise to wander in her maze,
   Get lost in sights that only she could paint;
I fell with care into her lucid ways,
   And witnessed graces no cruel man could taint.
      Now trapped am I within her tender cell:
      A paradise that saves me yet from Hell.


II

Could I find her within the book’s embrace?
Her cheeks are stranger than a layman’s tale;
A labyrinth of literature, her face—
An impish smile she solders as her hail.
I find her name enwrote upon the page
As silence rocks the structure to the bone;
Mere words can chance to history her wage,
A solemn bow I leave to her alone.
And then a sting, a pang, the greatest fear:
That I may draw too close, tempt sedition;
When I should stay a scholar to those near,
Most umbrageous sects of our condition.
      Yet I wait in perdition’s umber gaze
      To hear her name beyond the page’s haze.


III

A word decries its meaning; fraught through sheets,
Upon the lips of youthful sapphic puck,
Connexions rise within the mind’s conceits
And activate the notation of luck—
A wrinkle now, and caught in shock it stays,
For arrow’s line is thus forever straight;
There is no shade from antiquated ways
   When we lead ourselves to the Heaven’s Gate.
   Is there escape from such a baseless fate,
And could I lead her by her dawn-spread wrist—
   To lands unseen by mortal kind, and sate
The wish to lie yfere in Baybab’s kist?
      A yea: in death, her goodly form shall crest
      The providence of Word’s unbeating chest.


IV

In days forespent, empers’d by thoughtless care
They lingered listless by the Saeble’s banks:
Emboss’d unto a chaos-ridden fare,
And caught in humours disseizing all thanks;
Their skin was dulled by history’s brute hand,
Their thoughts encased in aperture of gold—
These siblings three cast dialogue to sand,
Until but two were left in brazen hold.
At once a reminisce came from the wind:
That age had caught their deprecated lives,
All amiss amidst reverie’s rescind;
Held reverence for none but that deprives.
      But tho they spent that age in hedony,
      It shan’t denied t’was in fine companie.


V

Ah! Those earthen locks I once held so close.
   Her name — no, I remember, of course, yes;
   It was just yesterday she wore that grey dress,
When we were young, and would say “Adiós!”
Oh! How the light begins to wane, my friends,
   What left there are — if there are; I see not—
   And perhaps I am alone in empty cot,
Coddled by none whom I would make amends.
If I myself were spritely once again,
   Should I enter such darker pact of dole?
   Nemesis, take my dire hand, taketh my soul,
Guide me my youthful love in Darkwood Fen.
      Avaunt! And such I depart for fair Thebe,
      Visiting memorie of golden Hebe.


VI

I circle you from time to time, I see your stare,
As if a sister never born had stole a dare;
Give me your hand, dear one, I recall it quite well:
And how it might yet have been, I try not to dwell.
   Just see this vista — a world of undreamt fever,
   A world of amethyst driven snow and water;
   A world unbefit for such a misbeliever—
   So I make us a castle of salt and mortar.
We could live there as one, away from the hounds,
Perform our rituals, and make our subtle sounds;
Take a bow for me, and I shall perform a feat
Where I lay down the grass in blue, beautiful sheets:
      But for all of the canvases that I may dream away,
      The only miracle would to have you forever stay.


VII

Do I love thee? I can account thy face
For swaths of prickles on my agèd skin,
And for the anxious pangs of gut within;
So thus thy blooming conscience is my chase.
Thy cupid voice is subject to this place
Whence I was made a scholar of the sin,
And followed girl I thought to be my twin;
So thus thy slender neck is my disgrace.
And what is love but simple chemistry?
Alembic wrought to distill mind’s red rain
Which patters on the roof of history—
Objective truth we cannot now regain:
So know I not of whether I love thee;
But yet I feel the sting of love’s sweet stain.


VIII

The vile disease of love comes unbidden
Unto a fractured soul, which shan’t refrain
   From holding it, ere stifling it hidden
   In morbid vault of hateful self’s retain;
It poisons common wit, and keeps afeared
The poor old fool who falls into this trance:
A hangman’s noose of harried care is seared
In St Valentine’s hideous semblance.
   It gives us life; it gives us sense: but yet
   Love also treats us like a bidden dog—
We treat it as a right; I’d like to bet
There’s not a soul not lost into its fog.
      So steersmen blind are we, lost unto the sea;
      O! to cast love ashore, and live in apathy!


IX

Thy barren heaps of rotted land do shew,
Mirksome beyond the fronds of God’s domain;
I thought thee once to be nymph as white as snow,
   Now see thy flesh does run in case of rain.
So thus I scrawl a writ of holy force
And pin it to thy door to keep thy bay,
For nevermore I want to guide thy course
   Nor lance thy putrid and corrupt delay.
Tho now I think upon my self’s retort—
Remind it of my debt and years of grief;
When I as well caused innocence distort,
Engaged in acts that Satan would as lief.
      For all the bitter vitriol I cast,
      It is as two our actions that will last.


X

Dry, dry bones of mine. I am the lonesome
I am the dry, dry heat of April. Damp
I am the voice who cries above the city
   Dry, dry city, drowned in blood. Damp with mould
Tired smog drifts through tent encampment. Shouting
Any change any cigs. Reverberant
   Dry heat. I am the dry sands of Richmond
I am the Eccho. Dem bones dem bones dem
Now hear: diving from the clouds, wings of bronze
It falls, sword of divine justice, it breathes
Blue mist onto the dry, dry city streets
Of Kensington, Westminster: Salvation.
      Dem bones, dem dry, dry bones will walk around
      And speak: Death shall not have providence here



Fragments: Canticle in Black

Fragments: Canticle in Black


I

        cobwebbed hand, arched
To hang from the ceiling-star,
In fleeting dream suffocated,
Told         a lost county far:

Where your countess calls,
A sister in your bed, she falls
Again,

II

Still this Sabbat heart— sated throbs:
Slowsoft drumming pulse, Witching—
Kindest babe, branched bitter sobs:
Is that betrayal upon your stitching?

Do not make Agamemnon of me


III

Still this Sabbat heart— my white witch:
Glowsoft breast, where I lay my cheek—
This witching hour to tear a tender stitch:
          a sanguine day in Northern bleak

You shall make Agamemnon of me!


IV

Home: O! the word repels my grace to stay—
Instill in me instead the wanderlust
Of greater heroes
Wise in their own eyes: cleverly cleaved
By their own controll’d countenance.

Yet no more deceived in faithless ART
Than                       is of Godless reticence—
So like the Semite with the Law in hand,
Yahweh turns to all who his Name misuse:
Declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not!
And sweep clean the Lord of Israel’s land:


V

Forthwith came LEVIATHAN— at his hilt
The notchèd sword Plagia, his birthright

And Shath, the Lord Below, Lucifer’s Father:
At his side, the Priests of Ancient Nemi,
Called for this one hour from darkest tide’s sigh
To fulfill their arcane purpose on earth,
Carrying censers streaming crimson smoke;

Lord LEVIATHAN, iconoclast regent
With his mother Lilith’s bloody rag


VI

As my sister calls, countess in my bed,
Deceive me from this living dream of death:
What I have wrought! o waking sin, I said:
Sister, why am I cursed to so crave your breath?


VII

      lustrous sight of Herod’s swinging scythe
Guide me sister dear to endless lustless night


VIII: A Song of the Damned

Blessed be our burning tongues,
For they did speak words in haste, vanity and arrogance.
Blessed be our writhing limbs,
For only flames will counter their bloody, murd’rous pasts.
Blessed be our sightless eyes,
For they looked upon the truth and it did not set them free.
Blessed be our scorched ears,
For they heard not the Word despite it spoken clear.
Blessed be our ashen nostrils,
For tho they felt the scent of brimstone, they tingled not.
Blessed be our melting flesh,
For we served it better than the God of Light.
Thanks be to the Father: and thank our Lord Satan:
He who delivered us to Fire, and he who stokes the Flames,
For we are where we earned to be:
Blessed be the Damned.

Love Song for England’s Death Knell

Love Song for England’s Death Knell

I have been down to the river, she said:
Around the way it comes to a head, and begins to froth
As ducks pick white bread from the banks;
It is quiet in places — if that you would believe—
Where the throngs subside, you may sit beside
The frothing, muddy stream, and contemplate
The love song of England’s death knell.
It is sung in voices we dare not hear, silence
Arcing and tumbling as a Roman candle,
Strapped with heretics. Dance with me, said she:
Come and see, there is a dove I like very much
With mangled stubs and cracked wing
And knobbly beak; its darting eyes can be much
Like the anxiety that rises as a tide — ebbing
Sometimes, but not often. Yet how often I have danced
In a tired trance amongst the artificial flowers
And stone giants, and pondered
The love song of England’s death knell.
It is whispered in distinct tones we all must face
When at last the last trace of the last glare of sun
Slinks beneath the final bridge. And the streets
Are piled with bodies. Colour matters no more:
For we are all just as dead in death. Just as encased
In quietude, she said. I know it isn’t a very original thought,
But it seems relevant whenever comes to mind
The love song of England’s death knell.
—I thought to interrupt then,
            but left the stranger to continue,
            wondering what words may next come.
It is like the fields of wheat, she smiled, picking
A sunflower seed from her teeth.
Reaped.
And then packaged and stored, and delivered
To be fused into plastics and oils.
Reaped:
With rotten scythe. With neutral hand.
It is what we deserve; what we have borne
Upon our slight and weary backs.
Upon the Styx it sticks, like blood and oil,
Like oily blood and bloody oil,
A rainbow of cement; when one is all and all is one,
There can be no fun, there can be nothing but
The love song of England’s death knell.
—I watched her eyes, quite grey themselves
            but with a sheen like clingfilm.
And I have been down to the streets, she said:
For stretches, it is as if the markets have all but died,
Gone away; it is as if the people have all left, as if
The smoke to breathe were not enough! And what joke
Is that, when there is plenty smog for all in the laughter of
The love song of England’s death knell.
Let us walk now, or would you chance a skip?
There are no penny farthings here, no skirts of low descent,
No shame now, yet no modesty either: no balance
In this city of burnt ends and sand-like dirt
That catches in your eye and shakes a wince
From your frowning brow. Tears not born of pain
Or pity, but a simple reaction of base biology. Acrimony
Is the common tongue. So would you dance with me? said she:
Or would you rather continue to slink
Like the beaten, trodden dog of the back-streets
Further and further into the cantos of
The love song of England’s death knell?
—I chanced a laugh. But what was there to laugh for?
            I knew this girl not,
            and yet she had always been there,
            I believe.
You spurn me, she said:
And who would not?
For truth is not lauded, no; there is no ascent here,
No joy,
And very little in the way of work. All has been done away.
A white-gloss colonnade with no forethought,
Lacking a catchy tune, and this hall, fretted with fault,
Becomes much more a vault — to store the notation of
The love song of England’s death knell,
Which now is less a song than a scream, a cry,
Like a great chorus in the sky — as a worm, crawling
To the surface for rain, to have a day of replenishment
And to seek a sightless friend, only to be met
By the rats of fatness and in countless number,
To be swallowed and chewed upon carelessly:
There is no order here, there is no happy chance chaos;
Anarchy without respite, and a hand that whips but does not feed.
So, go, said she: leave me, for we do not see eye to eye,
Nor mouth to ear, nor touch to touch; your hand is as a brush
Of bristly, cruel prickles upon my tender skin:
I will not let you in.
If you shall not dance, if you have no ears to hear,
Nor eyes for sight, nor kind flesh to rub,
Nor nose to smell the filth and roses,
Nor heart to sing, nor mind to think, nor breath
To turn to romance in the Autumn, then
What good are you to me? She said;
And if this is what you are to laugh at—
My idolisation of the land of William, of John, of Mary;
Of Elizabeth and Percy and Thomas and Polly—
Then, begone! she scowled with despight:
I shall myself dance alone upon the banks
Of England’s shore; I shall myself alone skip
Beyond the frothing, reeking mud and swollen rats,
Beyond the thrashing maw of the streetside vendors
And hassling whores and leering wretch-men,
Beyond the smog’s assail, the leman’s wail and beer’s lament,
And yes, beyond the cracked stone giants and plastic plants,
Beyond even your wicked smile and depressive wit,
To where the throngs at once subside: and I shall sit beside
This peaceful, sighing stream of mine,
Companioned by a knobbly, wounded dove:
And I alone shall descant
The love song of England’s death knell.

Decaye: An Observation

Decaye: An Observation


(11th December 2019)


There is ne’re a face I stand to see
In the city side-streets, and underground
It’s all the worse, where shades hang
From every wall, and violence begets
Nothing but a slight, disapproving glance.

[Embankment, 6:53am]

A figure slumped at disattent
On the platform; drowned not by onlookers:
Crack pipe — erstwhile bottle — in his lap;
He rolls his own rotten teeth
Around in his mouth like marbles;
Cavernous cracks in his face
Hide nothing.

[Leicester Square, 6:15pm]

Swaths upon swaths and you know the deal—
Like anyone who’s crept the gap could—
Marble Mouth still on his route, gaping eyes
That do not look at me, nor anyone as he
Asks for what I ain’t got that he don’t got.

Go’bless. Go’bless.


This One’s Up to Me

This One’s Up to Me


As crossing like six boundaries what is wrong;
This street builds too much, executed
Actions; But wait; But see the cross’d line
That made a troubl’d, dancing fool — idiocy
To think this old mare would bare to face
The old line you pared. You thought yourself a snowman (moron)—
Yet there was a laughing girl, and a
Boy with a brain full o’ shit. To be expected
When a brain o’ shit is a brain full o’ salt like mine.

Tell me not, you young fool:
Your experience . . . is naught but a gnat to a god.
In all crystal honey.
Thy rude fortitude is but a joke I now smirk at:
How uncreated.
Counting down to Oblivion.

Yet, melting-ever is your evermask and evermore—
No, nevermore—
Your laughter is a worrisome task, and backed
Up on heaps of crud, and rotten filth; so carry
The filth inside, and cast it to the wooden panels
That are loath to bear your burden of bare
Loathsome ghostweight. For tho you have iron
In your blood, like the rest, you are gone:
and yeah, there’s the stinker, right in the
Gone! Gone! I do naught but cackle
Like an idiot, wasted god.

Now, die: die! Feel dead! For thee . . .

Come neath my roof and settle sweetly like a bairn
Basking in nearlife cooter-uterus and be calm agen.


Spyders

Spyders

Stretch sylphlike-aërial into the airwaves:
Cast your bare shoulders broad in the light;
Atomise brute efficiency, so that your etchings
May clamber vinely in this slight hour’s chamber—

Do this, Daffodil, O Budding Rosemary!
Do this, for the spyders are ambling ever close,
Mandibles manifest as words of care and joy, of love—
To suffocate inn’cence in torture of the dull.

Venom encased in silver, paralysis, in turn,
In time, chiming sibilance to enslave entyre:
And awaiting yet until unxious tongue-sin
Bares its arachnoid, translucent teeth;

So greet this life with a hammer: hear how hollow
It rings, then fill it with gold; the Sun, as Moon,
Would nod verily, artificing such arcane attachments—
An addendum to the final message of God’s creation.

Thrown: thrown into the quintessent show,
A song’n-dance on a rack’d, emboss’d stage:
Thrown not aside but headfirst into costume-chaos:
Rapt by the modern map, paved with love,

Worshipping naught but death.