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


1


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.


2


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.


3


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 —


4


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.


5


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?


6


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!).

7


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.


8


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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