Speech! Speech!

Speech! Speech!

by Geoffrey Hill

Paperback(New Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781582432403
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Publication date: 04/18/2003
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 80
Product dimensions: 5.54(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.22(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Erudition. Pain. Light. Imagine it great
unavoidable work; although: heroic
verse a non-starter, says PEOPLE. Some believe
we over-employ our gifts. Given identical
street parties, confusion, rapid exposure,
practise self-emulation: music for crossed
hands; for two fingers; music
for taxiing to take-off; for cremation.
Archaic means | files pillaged and erased
in one generation. Judge the distance.
Innocent bystanders on stand-by. Painful
scenes mar final auto-da-fé.


Interpose a fire-curtain; stop the applause
from getting through. But would Herr Grass accept
the dedication — our names
unromantically linked? I owe him; he
owes me nothing. Here's an awkward
question | going spare to be asked: dó
you, as I do, sit late by the Aga
with clues received from sputtering
agents of Marconi; from Imre Nagy;
from Scott of the Antarctic frozen in time
before the first crosswords. Decent old Böll —
why me, why not Günter? Help him, someone.


How is it tuned, how can it be untuned,
with lithium, this harp of nerves? Fare well
my daimon, inconstant
measures, mood- and mind-stress, heart's rhythm
suspensive; earth-stalled | the wings of suspension.
To persist without sureties | take
any accommodation. What if Scattergood
Commodity took all? Very well | you
shall have on demand, by return, presto,
my contractual retraction.
Laser it off the barcode or simply
cut here —


Reformation woodcuts enscrolled such things
between the lips of magistrates, prophets,
and visionary infants. To me it sounds
like communications breakdown, somebody
promoting his (say her) fanatical
expressionless self-creation on a stuck track.
Our show-host has died many times; the words
of welcome dismiss us.
Anomie is as good a word as any;
so pick any; who on earth will protest?
Whatever is said now I shall believe it
of the unnamed god.


Enforcer! What will you have? What can I
freely give you? The usual twist
perfected with some pain. Remind me:
for how long did my guardian spirit
cry out under your interrogation?
What intact part of her was found
to sate your inquiry? Salaam. Shalom.
Napoo Finee
. Finally, dental records.
Strengthen your signal I AM LOSING YOU. That
always gets to them. Reglue the fetish
pig made of terra cotta. Remind me:
bienvenue—is that arrival or welcome?


They invested — were invested — in proprieties,
where cost can outweigh reward. Decency, duty,
fell through the floorboards (applause). I cannot
do more now than gape or grin
haplessly. On self-advisement I erased
WE, though I | is a shade too painful, even
among these figures tying confession
to parody (laughter). But surely that's
not all? Rorke's Drift, the great-furnaced
ships off Jutland? They have their own
grandeur, those formal impromptus played
on instruments of the period (speech! speech!).


Not all they coúld do they hive done; but bring
atonement beyond dispute. Harps
in Beulah. In Hut Eight the rotors. So few
among many true arbiters: that much
is already knowledge. Now to admit
heroes of lost chance, profundity's
astronauts missing their stars; their breakages
chargeable to all parties. Still, broken
ingemination, they cannot
charge us again for that. Claimant
Fatality appears and acts
mannerist through and through. Citations please.


Be stiffened by rectitude | kept
rigid with indecision. Say: coherence
though not at any price. Would I exchange
my best gift, say, for new spools of applause,
roulette set pieces (You OWE us MONEY)?
Cameo actors can make killings
their legacies. Even so | dereliction
is seminal, to the zillionth power
indicted (vide Augustine). But for that
primal occasion I cannot believe us
absolutely struck off. And — yes — Lilith
we háve met |and do I knów you?

What People are Saying About This

Harold Bloom

Hill is the central poet-prophet of our augmenting darkness; he inherits the authority of the visionaries from Dante and Blake on to D. H. Lawrence.

Rosanna Warren

A monumental poem that changes the order of poetry in English, as Beckett changed our prose.

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