- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Let his days be few and let
his bishoprick pass to another,
for he fed me on carrion and on a dry crust,
mouldy bread that his dogs had vomited,
I lying on my back in the dark place, in the grave,
fettered to a post in the damp cellarage.
Whereinall we differ not. But they have swept the floor,
there are no dancers, no somersaulters now,
only bricks and bleak black cement and bricks,
only the military tread and the snap of the locks.
Mine was a threeplank bed whereon
I lay and cursed the weary sun.
They took away the prison clothes
and on the frosty nights I froze.
I had a Bible where I read
that Jesus came to raise the dead - I
kept myself from going mad
by singing an old bawdy ballad
and birds sang on my windowsill
and tortured me till I was ill,
but Archipiada came to me
and comforted my cold body
and Circe excellent utterer of her mind
lay with me in that dungeon for a year
making a silk purse from an old sow's ear
till Ronsard put a thimble on her tongue.
Whereinall we differ not. But they have named all the stars,
trodden down the scrub of the desert, run the white moon to a schedule,
Joshua's serf whose beauty drove men mad.
They have melted the snows from Erebus, weighed the clouds,
hunted down the white bear, hunted the whale the seal the kangaroo,
they have set private enquiry agents onto Archipiada:
What is your name? Your maiden name?
Go in there to be searched. I suspect it is not your true name.
Distinguishing marks if any? (O anthropometrics!)
Now the thumbprints for filing.
Colour of hair? of eyes? of hands? O Bertillon!
How many golden prints on the smudgy page?
Homer? Adest. Dante? Adest.
Adsunt omnes, omnes et
Blacked by the sun, washed by the rain,
hither and thither scurrying as the wind varies.
Under the olive trees
on the green terraces
over the sea seldom
where it ravelled and spun
blue tapestries white and green
gravecloths of men
Romans and modern men
and the men of the sea
who have neither nation nor time
on the mountains seldom
the white mountains beyond
or the brown mountains between
and their drifting echoes
in the clouds and over the sea
in shrines on their ridges
the goddess of the country
silverplated in silk and embroidery
with offerings of pictures
little ships and arms
below me the ports
with naked breasts
shipless spoiled sacked
because of the beauty of Helen
precision clarifying vagueness;
boundary to a wilderness
of detail; chisel voice
smoothing the flanks of noise;
catalytic making whisper and whisper
run together like two drops of quicksilver;
factor that resolves
name of the nameless;
stuff that clings
to frigid limbs
more marble hard
than girls imagined by Mantegna ...
The sea has no renewal, no forgetting,
no variety of death,
is silent with the silence of a single note.
How can I sing with my love in my bosom?
Unclean, immature and unseasonable salmon.
Attis: Or, Something Missing
Dea magna, dea Cybele, dea domina Dindymi,
procul a mea tuus sit furor omnis, era, domo:
alios age incitatos, alios age rabidos.
Out of puff
noonhot in tweeds and gray felt,
tired of appearance and
warm obese frame limp with satiety;
slavishly circumspect at sixty;
he spreads over the ottoman
scanning the pictures and table trinkets.
(That hand's dismissed shadow
moves through fastidiously selective consciousness,
There are no colours, words only,
and measured shaking of strings,
and flutes and oboes
enough for dancers.
.... .... .... reluctant ebb:
salt from all beaches:
disrupt Atlantis, days forgotten,
extinct peoples, silted harbours.
He regrets that brackish
train of the huntress
driven into slackening fresh,
expelled when the
wreckage that drifted
in drifts out.
'Longranked larches succeed larches, spokes of a
stroll; hounds trooping around hooves; and the stolid horn's
sweet breath. Voice: Have you seen the
fox? Which way did he go, he go?
There was soft rain.
I recollect deep mud and leafmould somewhere: and
in the distance Cheviot's
heatherbrown flanks and white cap.
Landscape salvaged from
evinced notice of
Mother of Gods.'
Mother of eunuchs.
Praise the green earth. Chance has appointed her
home, workshop, larder, middenpit.
Her lousy skin scabbed here and there by
cities provides us with name and nation.
From her brooks sweat. Hers corn and fruit.
Earthquakes are hers too. Ravenous animals
are sent by her. Praise her and call her
Mother and Mother of Gods and Eunuchs.
(Variations on a theme by Milton)
I thought I saw my late wife (a very respectable woman)
coming from Bywell churchyard with a handful of raisins.
I was not pleased, it is shocking to meet a ghost, so I cut her
and went and sat amongst the rank watergrasses by the Tyne.
Centrifugal tutus! Sarabands!
music clear enough to
pluck stately dances from
madness before the frenzy.
Andante .... .... Prestissimo!
turbulent my Orfeo!
A tumult softly hissed
as by muted violins,
Long phrases falling like
intermittent private voices
suddenly in the midst of talk,
falling aslant like last light:
MEDUSA SÌ L'FAREM DI SMALTO
Send for Medusa: we'll enamel him!
Long loved and
too long loved, stale habit, such decay of ardour,
love never dead, love never hoping, never gay.
Ageslow venom selfsecreted. Such shame!
The gorgon's method:
In the morning
clean streets welcomed light's renewal,
patient, passive to the weight of buses
thundering like cabinet ministers
over a lethargic populace.
Streets buffeted thin soles at midday,
streets full of beggars.
Battered, filthily unfortunate streets
perish, their ghosts are wretched
in the mockery of lamps.
And O Purveyor
of geraniums and pianos to the Kaiserin!
the hot smell of the street
conversing with the bleat
of rancid air streaming up tenement stairways!
Gods awake and fierce
stalk across the night
grasping favour of men,
power to hurt or endow,
leave to inhabit
figure and name; or skulk
from impotence in light's
Day hides them, opaque day
hides their promenades; night
reveals them stalking
keeps a café in Reno.
Well, (eh, Cino?)
I dare no longer raise my eyes
on any lass
seeing what one of them has done to me.
So singlehearted, so steady
never lover, none so humble.
She made a new youth lord of her.
I lower my eyes. I say:
'I will not look on any,
maybe all are jilts.'
What mournful stave, what bellow shakes the grove?
O, it is Attis grieving for his testicles!
Attis stiffening amid the snows
and the wind whining through his hair and fingers!
'Pines, my sisters, I, your sister,
chaffered for lambs in the marketplace.
I also won the 14 carat halfhunter goldwatch
at the annual sports and flowershow.
The young girls simpered when I passed.
Now I am out of a job. I would like to be lady's-maid
Pines, my sisters, I, your sister,
tended the bull and the entire horse.
Pensive geldings gape stale adolescence religiously,
yearning for procreative energy;
call it God. I sat amongst the atheists,
I was bankrupted by affiliation orders
who now bow my chaste vegetable forehead
Pines, my sisters, I, your sister,
parch in calm weather, swelter in Scirocco, sway in northwind,
I am passive to the heave of spring.
In the season I will pay my phallic harvest
The wraith of my manhood,
the cruel ghost of my manhood,
limp in hell,
leapt sleeplessly in strange beds.
I have forgotten most of the details,
most of the names,
and the responses to
the ithyphallic hymns:
forgotten the syntax,
and the paradigms
grate scrappily against reluctant nerves.
I've been 'ad!
I've been 'ad proper!)
Shall we be whole in Elysium?
I am rooted in you,
the roses and myrtles,
the lavish roses,
corroborate the peacock.
(I've been 'ad!)'
To whom Cybele:
'The peacock's knavery
keeps you in slavery.
The roses cheat
you, butcher's meat.
The myrtles' pretence
Yet a muse defrauds
the Mother of the Gods.
Ponder this allegorical
Attis his embleme:
Excerpted from Complete Poems
by Basil Bunting
Copyright © 2000 by Estate of Basil Bunting.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
|Attis: Or, Something Missing||28|
|Aus Dem Zweiten Reich||34|
|The Well of Lycopolis||37|
|Chomei at Toyama||81|
|First Book of Odes|
|1||Weeping oaks grieve, chestnuts raise||95|
|2||Farewell ye sequent graces||96|
|3||I am agog for foam. Tumultuous come||97|
|4||After the grimaces of capitulation||98|
|5||Empty vast days built in the waste memory||99|
|6||... As to my heart, that may as well be forgotten||100|
|7||The day being Whitsun we had pigeon for dinner||101|
|8||Loud intolerant bells (the shrinking nightflower closes)||102|
|9||Dear be still! Time's start of us lengthens slowly||103|
|10||Chorus of Furies||104|
|11||Narciss, my numerous cancellations prefer||105|
|12||An arles, an arles for my hiring||106|
|13||Muzzle and jowl and beastly brow||107|
|14||Gin the Goodwife Stint||108|
|16||Molten pool, incandescent spilth of||110|
|17||Now that sea's over that island||111|
|18||The Complaint of the Morpethshire Farmer||112|
|19||Fruits breaking the branches||113|
|22||Mesh cast for mackerel||117|
|23||The Passport Officer||117|
|24||Vessels thrown awry by strong gusts||118|
|25||As appleblossom to crocus||119|
|26||Two hundred and seven paces||120|
|27||On highest summits dawn comes soonest||121|
|29||Southwind, tell her what||122|
|30||The Orotava Road||122|
|31||The soil sandy and the plow light, neither||124|
|32||Let them remember Samangan, the bridge and tower||125|
|33||Not to thank dogwood nor||126|
|34||These tracings from a world that's dead||127|
|35||Search under every veil||128|
|36||See! Their verses are laid||129|
|37||On the Fly-Leaf of Pound's Cantos||130|
|Second Book of Odes|
|1||A thrush in the syringa sings||133|
|2||Three Michaelmas daisies||134|
|4||You idiot! What makes you think decay will||136|
|5||Under sand clay. Dig, wait||137|
|6||What the Chairman Told Tom||138|
|7||O, it is godlike to sit selfpossessed||139|
|8||Carmencita's tawny paps||140|
|9||All the cants they peddle||141|
|10||Stones trip Coquet burn||142|
|11||At Briggflatts Meetinghouse||143|
|12||Now we've no hope of going back||144|
|Darling of Gods and Men, beneath the gliding stars||147|
|Yes, it's slow, docked of amours||148|
|Please stop gushing about his pink||149|
|Verse and Version||150|
|Once, so they say, pinetrees seeded on Pelion's peak||151|
|When the sword of sixty comes nigh his head||152|
|All the teeth ever I had are worn down and fallen out||153|
|Shall I sulk because my love has a double heart||155|
|Came to me -||156|
|This I write, mix ink with tears||157|
|Last night without sight of you my brain was ablaze||158|
|You can't grip years, Postume||159|
|How Duke Valentine Contrived||160|
|The Pious Cat||167|
|They Say Etna||179|
|1||Coryphee gravefooted precise, dance to the gracious music||185|
|2||Against the Tricks of Time||186|
|3||Reading X's Collected Works||187|
|4||Hymn to Alias Thor||188|
|5||The flat land lies under water||190|
|6||Gertie Gitana's hymn to waltzing||191|
|7||Envoi to the Reader||193|
|9||A Song for Rustam||195|
|10||To abate what swells||196|
|11||Such syllables flicker out of grass||197|
|12||Yan tan tethera pethera pimp||198|
|Night swallowed the sun||201|
|Many well-known people have been packed away in cemeteries||202|
|Light of my eyes, there is something to be said||203|
|O everlastingly self-deluded||204|
|Isnt it poetical, a chap's mind in the dumps||205|
|I'm the worse for drink again, it's||206|
|From Faridun's Sons||207|
|Baudelaire in Cythera||209|
|Amru'l Qais and Labid and Akhtal and blind A'sha and Qais||210|
|Night is hard by. I am vexed and bothered by sleep||211|
|You, with my enemy, strolling down my street||212|
|The thundercloud fills meadowns with heavenly beauty||213|
|Hi, tent-boy, get that tent down||214|
|You've come! O how flustered and anxious I've been||216|
|Ginger, who are you going with||217|
|Like a fawn you dodge me, Molly||218|
|That filly couldnt carry a rider nor||218|
|Snow's on the fellside, look! How deep||219|
|Poor soul! Softy, whisperer||220|
|Index of Titles and First Lines||237|