The Columbus Poems

Don't follow leaders

... Bob Dylan


For Susan's baby

Child of the Americas
Born at the coming of the Comet,
It was for you that the citadel fell;
That the gates unlocked.
Your open pathway into the world
Is radiant with light.
May you live a life without fear
Of the Bomb or the dark hordes out of Asia.
May your experience be of the broad land
Girded by the Oceans.
May you grow up wise and gentle
With brother or sister
Healthy and self assured, confident in your abilities.
May your cup be overflowing
In quick intelligence and the love of others.
May you give unstinting of yourself
In service of your Maker.
May you have art and science and prosperity.
May you love and may you breed
In the quiet communion of all things.

I know so little about you that
It is difficult to be precise
But may you carry the virtues of your birth
With head held high.
America your birthright, Europe your heritage.
The love of your parents carries you through all things
To success,
To a successful life.


And we came down to the ships...

Stendhal's horsemen clatter over the cobbles of Milan...

Aquinas dictates to his four secretaries...

The old order falls as a ruddy red-haired man
swims ashore at Sagres where the ancient hunter Henry brooded
Sending his ships south and southward
To the Africa and the Indias.
But now the route is West
With praise to Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain
for the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria,
The maiden, the whore and the sainted lady.

The Navigator pointed South but our Genoese
follows the Western route. Off the edge of the world.
But we all know the globe is far too wide
to permit a journey by water to Cipango.
The fall of Ceuta. The Cape of Good Hope.
The white billowed sails cover half the world.
But a Genoese in a Spanish craft puts out
from the Azores pledging his time.

Galileo believes in the church and in mathematics...

Petrarch turns the lady Laura into an icon...

Francis Bacon classifies the future but cannot organise it...

The melting pot. MacArthur Boulevard hears the cry
of the newly born. It is a city called Washington.
The most powerful town of the most powerful.
All the riches of the world descend upon
one small baby boy. It is October 31, 1985.
Was it weaved by the magician's spell? Who knows.
The guns are long silent on the Potomac.
The passion is dead. Only the vision remains.

In her youth she was so beautiful she took away
the breath. The mother. Elegant and serene.
On her character was the rock that broke all.
Unforgiving and unyielding. She married a cipher.
The Americanised language of our day is flat and dead
compared with the Juliet of Shakespeare. But once
I had a love that outshone all the words of history.
She is immortal. She is ever and will be.

Kepler was our man. Of Plato and the Spheres.
How I love Kepler. A mathematician of a poet...

Plato. You chopped us up into your little boxes.
But you denied we poets entry to Paradise...

Regiomontanus. You are the presiding genius of our age.
The practical man. The experimenter. Ever trying...

The great highways of the future sweep on
clear and straight. The white fumes of the rocket ships
paper the sky. We have been on our way
now for 40,000 years. We are immortal.
'There are many stars and I want them'. We are
too big a people to be trapped within this solar system
forever. And before us we will carry the words
of Sandy Denny and Bob Dylan. The supreme artists.

For we are only human. We live and we love.
The flesh that makes the foetus makes all life makes man.
The sudden ripples in the genes when evolution
packs its punch. The spurt of degeneracies and
the breakthrough to the new. The most marvellous creature
in this world is the human baby. So beautiful.
How such a construct can be weaved inside a female gut
is unbelievable. In only nine months. Nature is marvellous.

Dante gambled his life on one look of the eye. And so do I...

Keats has a cold stern art at the heart of his poems. Not Fanny...

Douglas has Susan, and Penelope and Fiona. He loved them...

In my youth I was 'Die Meistersinger'.
I had a silver tongue. I trusted it to win all hearts.
I took up the challenge of Columbus.
To win the love that is beyond all knowledge.
For I knew it. I had given it to Penelope Landa.
And I hunted it out by craft in the soul of Fiona Macmillan
But it came to fruition in the solid hands of Susan Jooks.
It is there that my love rests. In Washington D.C.

Love is an impossible situation. To adore the unattainable.
To receive no thanks. But an impossible smile.
Columbus fiddled the logs. He deceived the sailors, and himself,
into thinking distance less than it was. That the extremities were close.
He never wanted to find America. He desired Japan.
And from there such a small step to Marco Polo's Cathay.
Without love life is meaningless. It is what makes us tick.
Not even an affectionate cat can compensate.

Richard Wagner has Parsifal and Nurnberg...

Wolfgang Mozart has all eternity...

I bend and kiss the ground that gave them birth...

Even a chair is intelligent. Its molecules know
that they belong. They are not foolish.
We live in an intelligent universe. Each portion
knows its place and its part. We are all apiece
of the great vision. Descending from the Big Bang.
The supreme singularity. There is only one poem
and that is of the play of molecules. As they sport
in creating complex structures. Ourselves an apex.

The imagination sports above our heads. Without
our brains we are nothing. We treasure the world
in fantasies. Goblins and whigmaleeries. Life becomes
unbearable when reduced to mechanical motion. I refuse that.
I believe in the good in children. And how it must
be nurtured. So that the child may face the world
confident assured in its abilities. Not crippled neurotic.
That is what we want for the little boy in Washington.

I looked at the world, and didn't like it, then I went away...

I have watched us from the beginning, as we soldiered on...

There is no place in the world for a single man...

We start off in youth with such a weight in our heads.
The tumble of ideas and emotions. We are deep.
Then we fall in love and it all explodes.
There is no place for a quiet sedentary life.
We have to live. It is our drug. The loving.
Then it all passes and we are empty, spent.
Life is so short. We may live long but life is short.
It is the active that matters. That is what mattered to
our great Admiral of the Ocean Sea. He was useless afterwards.

The great Navigator. Who knew all ports.
Master of the sextant and the compass. The astrolabe.
As you searched for a New World I searched for love.
I hunted it down the dark streets of my adolescence.
I pursued it through the alcoholism of my immaturity.
And I found it. In a few twisted souls. Who destroyed me.
I was born to suffer. And it is better to leave happy than
to survive in misery. What should be remembered of me is that 
I was a marvellous little boy who rode his bicycle thru the greenwood.
And we came down to the ships...

While Stendhal's horsemen clattered over the cobbles of Milan...

While Susan pushes her pram on MacArthur Boulevard...


Please understand. I once doubted love;
And now it has given two babies to Susan.
This world is marvellous.
Foam falls on the barren.
I never believed she'ld have the guts
Until I blew her head off with my begging letters.
I begged her for her baby.
I fought for it. In words.
For who wants their love to finish up a blue stocking.
It is the greatest triumph of my life.
For my words.
And now she has two marvellous babies.
As for her new husband ---
I hope he looks like me.

Orpheus old

The world forgot to say hullo today
Just accused me of being absent,
Said 'all must come to all in time'
Was ever a life so piteous?

The winter world of the Northland
Is swathed in ice and crisp white snow,
It is my refuge from the days of sunny warmth
When I swam in the waters of the Aegean.
That was when I escaped from Hades
as the voices entered my psyche.
I fled from them over land and sea
The voices that pop into your head
My Muses --- the eternal singers, old crones
and young girls. They have come for me
Once since then. Knife in hand whispering
Words of love. When they failed to kill me
They abused me for hours. In the coarsest language.
Now I am protected in the Northern citadel
To live out my life in peace. But I must be
ever vigilant. They are always watching, waiting.
But I have good friends in the North.
And why?
                For once I went into Hell
and charmed Aphrodite naked. I tranced
the mean old Ferryman. I dazed the spitting Dog.
And strode firmly across Pluto's land.
I was the pure singer. I was young.
For I had watched her as I went about my business.
The other. Wrapped in her mystery.
Like some great cat she stalked the Earth.
Insecure in herself. Burning with fire.
She hated every man that ever had lived.
She wanted the revenge of women
For all the insults and the injuries
Of ten thousand years.
And I was electric
So shocking, so handsome
And I sang my heartsong for her.
For the goddess.
Giving her everything but being so careful
To take nothing.
For her kiss was the coldness of the serpent,
Her muscles were taut in their revulsion,
Only her eyes and her groin burnt
With that savagery which is immortal.
I was the pure singer. And she loved me.
The goddess opened up her heart
And poured love out of her eyes. She adored me.
And I took her. I possessed her.
Fed hungrily and greedily on her body.
Loved her for being what she was.
Promised to love her all of my life.
Our communion in silence. Not a word spoken.
Talk all with the eyes.
I made her my wife. I married her.
The goddess Aphrodite. Euridyce.
And my mother Calliope was desperate:
'She will kill you!'
So I wrote her a letter declaring I was mortal
Offering my obeyances as her servant.
To this goddess.
And she was kind.
She chose to ignore me.
To forget that I ever had lived.
She bound my tongue to silence
And went off to explore the world.
I remained in Hades in a dream.
I could not believe I was alive.
But I was in excruciating pain
From the separation. I screamed.
And the scream woke me back to life
And Aphrodite set a cruel trap for me.
At Skiathos in the Aegean she spread her net.
And there she tried to kill me
With sweet voices and honeyed words.
She talked me off the Island
Into the blue blue sea. Where I swam for it.
But my mother Calliope had been clever.
She had trained me as a swimmer.
She knew I would need it one day.
And I swam to Greece. Hunted by the voices.
As a Greek once swam to warn Athens that
the Persian Fleet had arrived.
As the watchtowers burnt fire at the fall of Troy.
And I fled to the Northlands. Helplessly.
I was a marked man. The goddess my wife.
And she sent her Muses after me
To madden me. For I had seen her naked.
I knew of her lack of intimacy.
How she had rejected her own mother as a baby
As I had rejected mine.
How she lived her life by the structure of feminine rules
Because her soul was buried too deep to breathe.
How her heart never saw the upper air.
It took a singer like me to ferret it out.
She was so stupid she did not know
That I was love itself,
Come to comfort her. Sent by Zeus.
Instead imperious she continued her existence.
She wanted children so she took a man for husband.
A man identikit to her own desires.
An apparatchik.
Whom she could be safe with. Secure.
Not a teller of tall tales.
She is at peace now under the Capitol.
While her Muses keep me at bay.
They would tear me to pieces
And scatter my bones far over the Earth
If I weakened for an instant
And allowed Dionysus entry to my mind.
So I consecrate my life to Apollo, the intellect.
I study and I learn, in my old age,
How this all came about to be.
The eternal squabble of the gods;
I, an interloper.
All I can do is write what happened,
In a veiled way.
For if I wrote the truth she would come for me,
though it were five thousand miles,
And stick her own sharp knife
Through my black heart.

Born in the U.S.A.

Denn keiner trägt das Leben allein

... Friedrich Hölderlin

I lost my money and I lost my wife

... Bruce Springsteen


I was a little boy in the North Country
Where the pink coats hunt the foxes.
I had a christening cup
Which remains unused in the china cabinet.
My memories are of woodlands and my green bicycle,
The spread of gardens and big houses,
Cricket on the lawn.
In the winter snowtime we built snowmen,
Sucked on icicles.
In the summer I could ride twenty miles on my bike
Along country lanes, exploring;
That was before they built the motorway.
The big event of the week was the Mobile Library:
I pounced on Science Fiction.
My father had sets of Scott and Dickens,
I was Ivanhoe in the greenwood;
A regular visitor to the cinema
I saw Elizabeth Taylor as Rebecca.
The great American musical comedies:
With Doris Day and Howard Keel;
I used to accompany our maid on her night off.
Train set, toy soldiers, building blocks
I had everything.

School was terrible. I hated it.
I couldn't wait to return home
And reenter my fantasy world.
In the daytime was the greenery,
But at night I thought of starships
As I peered upwards from our window.
Nighttime was radio. No TV.

I liked our dogs. Had no time for cats.
And treated my brothers as useful adjuncts
In the great games of war.
But I had no idea what love was...
I just felt that something was terribly wrong,
I couldn't feel for people.
It wasn't 'til Penny Landa blew my head off
In Glasgow that I knew feelings.
I lived in a cocoon of phantasy.
Unreal. Not knowing anybody.
I never spoke to anyone all day.

And three years after Penny the poetry came.
Every hour. Day and night.
The verses would jump into my head.
It took me over. Doesn't matter who reads it.
I lost Penny because I wasn't real. My Jewish girl.
I just had no idea how to behave,
What was expected of me in life,
I was right out of my depth,
I couldn't cope.
It is a great shock to emerge from youthful daydreams
Into the realities of love.
Never in my life had I known love before.
I bathed in it. Fed on it.
I took in enough love to last a lifetime.
She hypnotised me as she told her stories.
I had never known anything like it.
Then suddenly it was over.
I retreated to lick my wounds.
I was awake. Alive. I could feel.
Broke and alone I was so happy.
There was a chance for me yet.


All I have is poetry
The words to Susan in the night,
It seems unbelievable life's gone wrong.
I learnt from Penny that love was real
But now I know it's not enough,
Women want what I haven't got.
Whatever that is.
Keep on taking the sedatives
And think of Susan's babies.
The poet doesn't live in the real world
That is the verdict of women,
The wrecked path from childhood
Has brought me to a pretty pass.
Brilliance in the morning
Turns to dross when the sun goes down.


Fiona was genius
She cracked the psychology
She understood that we hadn't been nursed properly
As babies.
It was a small step from there
To realise that we had rejected our mothers,
Lived our lives alone in fantasyland.
That is why the girls were so independent
And I was so empty.
We were taught that we were outcasts from Paradise,
Never to know happiness,
All my life I have fought the battle for reentry
With my girls,
But they are a lost cause to begin with.
They couldn't feel.

For Hölderlin and Rimbaud

I, too, had the great vision
But it is gone;
I now scrape the pennies for my old age.

I believed in a lady in a high turret
Adoring her forever;
I believed in love and in children.

Never thinking that I would waste my talent
And my life;
Leaving behind me nothing but words.

I was poetry and I was love
For over twenty years;
But time is cruel on the innocent.

The words are gone that unravelled
A generation;
They were shipped out on the jet from Heathrow.

My vision is in the horsemen
Who thunder on;
They will gallop down some other poor fool.

What I wrote is but a fragment.


In my infancy I was Pterseus, the Destroyer,
Come to take revenge on women
For my unloved babyhood
And my terrible emptiness.
Then I fell in love with the beautiful
And adored...
I knew Paradise.

In the green woodland I was Herne, the Hunter;
I paraded my imagination thru the forest.
The chapel of my childhood lay in the greenery,
The paths, the walks
From Lomondside to Lake Thun.
I carried with me Hermes' staff
Purchased in Aeschi when I was thirteen.

I went from childhood to adolescence
And then to love:
I lived agonies. I was not empty.
I suffered all those years in the North
Writing it down.
Then came South to the Royal City:

This City was built for me.
They built it for me.
Around the hot springs constructed
The temple of the goddess.
First of earth, then of brick,
Then of Roman marble.
Old Bladud's town, Aquae Sulis.
This my inheritance.

Modern buildings for my comfort
To live in and a place of work.
Surrounded by the greenery.
They built me a University.
They built me a housing estate.
And a house where I could make a garden:
Of green bushes and colourful flowers.
Alyssum, snow-in-summer, heathers.

For I was King of the Wood,
The Cernunnos of Bath,
Lord of the Animals;
Stag-totem; Horned One; Devil.
I lived high on the hill
With my little black cat.
I collected books and record albums
And I met my fate...

She was the same as me. She hated her mother.
She was fire and earth and the warmth in the night.
I loved her and adored her.
She was my heart and my life.
Whispers in the dark tell of the bones of her face,
She was so beautiful.
She is immortal.

They built this City for her.
They built an Institute at Brighton for her.
They built Washington D.C. for her.
Me, I only had a house and my Computer.
I love my Computer.
It can talk to other computers in other cities.
Even to America.
It is the occupation of the great Hunter.

For I tracked her down and won her love
By the marvels of the language of poetry.
I knew her heart. The same wound as mine.
And I filled her soul with love
Until it overflowed from her eyes
Into my hungry heart.
I bathed in her love,
Knew immortality.
Was baptised the Cernunnos.

But she was a savage bitch
And spat in my face.
Retreated to her Institute
That was built for her.
I worked my magic
And sent out my horsemen,
Lean black horses,
The Royal Mail.
I wrote my heart for her.

I sold her children...
The love of them.
The horses clattered thru the greenwood
As they took the news.
She never uttered a word.
How I strove in my garden
Cultivating my plants
As I thought of her.
I was the craftsman.

Then she was gone to America
With her babies
And her new husband,
I lost my other half.
I am alone as Cernunnos
For I was elected in my childhood
When I ran free in the woods.
When on my green bicycle
I explored my little world.

I am the Lord of this world.
I live alone and suffer for it.
They feed me drugs
To control my imagination.
To banish the poetry
That won me my love.
I no longer have great pictures in my head.
I look over other's shoulders for those.
The liquid words have gone.
The syllables of rhyme
That marked the loves of my youth.

I am alone 'til the end of Time.
I have been alone since I was born.
Living in the tattered ruins of my imagination
In the Ruined City of the Saxons,
Constructed into a Georgian dream,
Constructed into a sad poem.
Living as an animal with an animal:
My black cat Fritz.
All I have had in my life
Has been immortal love
And that was snatched from me.

I have one lesson:
Don't believe in the love of the poets.
It leads to disaster.
The price is too great.
Better to emerge from the morning of life
With warm friendship and mutual thought
Than to burn in Hell
For loving what can never be had:
The return to before birth
When all was happy fantasy.

These dreams have occupied my mind
Since I was a child in the greenwood
Not knowing my inheritance.
I am the oldest man in Europe;
I have suffered eternity.
One day I will have a successor
As I was a successor.
And he will stride firmly over the old paths
Not believing his destiny:

It is to go from the richest experience of love
To the emptiness of the everyday world.
To see poetry and memory of childhood drain away.
To be left with an inferior language
And a grim suffering of the sadness of humanity.
There is no such thing as happiness. It is an illusion.
Wander thru the greenwood and be at one with Nature
For the Hunt for love has come to an untimely end.


I came down to the seashore
And standing on a rock
Wailed at the whole world

'Why do you hate me so
Why do you seek to destroy me
I am the future
The computer age
Yet you persecute me so.
'I have been alone for all eternity
Struggling onward with my vision
Yet the picture breaks
Fragmented tattered banners
Dip and deck in the fading sun.
'Love was an illusion
Only the hot grunt of sweat in the night
Poetry flattered to deceive
The magical does not communicate
All's left is the memory of a girl's eye.
'I was the undefeated
My horsemen thundered on forever
Cresting waves, descending valleys
In a riotous crash of sound
There was panic in the greenwood.
'The black widow was dryeyed over me
She built her nest, stone by stone
Excluding me from her old age
But I hounded her to her lair
And forced her to leave me.

I stood naked on the Aegean seashore
And yelled insults at the Greeks
For had I not come from Hell itself
My past and my future a ruin
To be alone for all eternity
Renouncing my questioning

'I am the oldest god in Europe
I see everything
The flotsam of civilisation
The debris of another try
Western man is a great striver.
'Where the satellites spin
And the space probes pout
Where a baby boy inherits the stars
And this cold machinery
Shapes our hearts.
'Who knows of the marriage with the machine
The symbiosis of man and electronics
It's only a tool
For good or for bad
The spirit is of the undefeated.
'I walked out in the morning air
For it was that time of year
And calmly looked to right and left
And the world bade me have fear,
Accept the breaking of the dream
There's another one on the way
To be sung on the seashore in summertime
By a boy who's just newborn.


I was Columbus:
My ships scoured the seven oceans
In search of love.
I was Orpheus:
I tried to drag my wife
Out of the arms of Hades.
I was the Cernunnos:
I sang a sad tune to the animals
As they enthroned me.

Everything I attempted I failed at;
It is so humorous.
With my little black cat and my house and my car
I make poetry.
I have seen so deep into souls that it is appalling;
People are simple folks,
It doesn't take much to satisfy.
But there is no changing the past or the future;
There are no great wrenches to be made,
Smooth down the tramlines approaches eternity
With a subtle jig at the sight of youth.
There is no immortal;
That is the last illusion,
It dies with us as all the rest.
We are pigmies building Paradise
And the poet leaves his mark on the world
Like everybody else.
The future is a baby boy.

January-April 1986


I never dreamt I would live so long...

The dream was of the journey South from Camelot
In the springtime morning when we left the citadel;
It was a royal road glistening in white purity
As we put off the fables of our youth to enter the real world.
There is a strident truth in the joys of adolescence
As a horsedrawn sledge coasts over the Northern snow
Bringing the Lord to escort his Lady thru the wintry night;
But now we see the Spring and all is tears and lamentation.

It is a great downcoming to leave behind the two bright eyes
And journey into the world of men where a happy poem
Is as rare as an interrupt in the great crashing waves
Of the sea; as the white horses eternal batter our hopes.
Breeding is the ruin of it. The ills of the parents
Multiply on the children and the weight snaps the mind.
Better never to be loved at all than to know what is missing.
The black horsemen skirt the outskirts of the sane destiny.

To be alone, at one, with the greenwood in the days of infancy
Before the Lady in her ragamuffin clothes inherited the poetry.
To be joined in the embrace of eyes when eating one another
Is insufficient. To realise that the deep, the truly-felt,
Is an occasional event in life; not to be lived from day to day.
To understand that age does not suit a cavalryman
Who would rather be urging his black horsemen onto fresh conquest:
There is a time when the charge stops and it is necessary to ponder.

I never dreamt I would live so long...

The Susan Poems

Je suis de la race qui chantait dans le supplice

... Arthur Rimbaud



I want you here with me now,
In your black sweater and your amber jeans,
The love bursting out of your smile; your heart.
This Hallowe'en we begin a journey,
through the ways of the sisters and the brothers.
This is the wild hunt, the seeking;
Wrapping up the immortal in words,
for once and for all.
Taking my seat at the top table,
Your bright eyes flashing with approval.
I incantate your presence at the feast, rightly.
It is of the Lord and of the Lady,
Invoked from open graves in harmony;
Their skulls lined by worn flesh,
Their blood cooled.
My black cat will be ferocious tonight,
as he dances the magician's tumbledown paths.
And I will begin the antique story
of wonders, of enchantments, dreams;
Cheeks pressed to windowpanes eyeing the full moon.
I am peeling a peach as I sit at the table,
Oversated by the first half of my life.
The little cat sits waiting for his supper.
You sit and bathe in the glow of love,
I have summonsed you up out of the darkness.
Your eyes and ears are to listen to felicitous majesties,
Sonorous, gilded; rituals from childhood:
It is ducking for apples and the guisers' party piece.
For a rich skeleton is spread before me,
And I will munch it and crunch it bone by bone.


The grey ships are pulling out on the dawn tide,
The grey ships are leaving.
You sit in your citadel by the sea
Watching the grey ships leaving.
The city is burning all around you
Buildings crashing down, men dying
And the fighters are leaving.
Grey ships slipping out to sea on the morning tide,
The fighters are leaving.
As you sit in your citadel by the sea
Grey ships leaving.
The barbarians are over the wall
There are men dying
And the city is burning.
You weave your patterns on the page
Recording details of grand events
Watching the fighters leaving.
The barbarians are in your citadel,
They took your heart long years ago
As you sat in your citadel weaving,
And the fighters are leaving.
Grey ships pull out on the dawn tide
Sliding swiftly over the sea
While you sit in your citadel
I climb on the last ship and wave goodbye,
Loving you,

The wind and the snow

You took my children away from me,
They lie dead in your belly,
Dead as the wind and the snow.
You saved your cunt for a better man,
Dead as the wind and the snow.
They could have been playing with me today
Safe in their beds, snuggled up, home,
Dead as the wind and the snow.
There are no words for what you have done,
Dead as the wind and the snow.
I only know you loved me so,
Dead as the wind and the snow.
Is it really better not to be born?
Dead as the wind and the snow.
And I only know you loved me so
Is it better not to be born?
Dead as the wind and the snow.
You took my children away from me
You saved your cunt for a better man
It is better not to be born
Dead as the wind and the snow,
Dead as the wind and the snow.


And I wanted to fuck you so
Stuff you with love from head to toe,
Squeeze your breasts, ruffle your hair
What a shame there was nothing there.
I still can't believe that the cupboard is bare
That you're wound up far too tight to give,
I always thought we'd make enough time
To swim thru safe to a happier clime.
And I wanted to fuck you so
Oh so many years ago
And I'd seduce you again at the drop of a hat
There is no changing that.
But it's a waste of time to batter your door
You only get fucked, nothing more.
And my love for you it flows, it flows
And I'd fuck you forever if you'd take off your clothes.


I wanted to own you
Every last inch of you,
To be able to slide into your safe havens,
Happy to kiss with you and love you.
But you were spoken for, promised,
Married to the tomb.
Your love for me was fire in the snow.
You gave me nothing but your heart
And that's not good enough.
Bodies have to eat or they petrify,
Hearts too,
And I still continue feeding you,
You shrew.
A cockteaser on the grand scale
A woman who wont, a shrivelled up rose.
And I would have had every inch of you
If you hadn't been such a fool.
Do you think that love grows on a tree
To be played with out of school.
Oh there's nothing more can be done about you
A woman who can't give her most precious jewel
I grieve and I weep and I wonder why
You lock yourself in your room.


I was a barbarian all those years ago
Taking your heart, easy.
You were a nun, sweet as a dove
And it was all so easy.
I loved you almost the very first time
And the passion seized me.
I wanted you, and I wanted you
And it wasn't very easy.
I loved your empty chair and the back of your head
And the thought still peeves me.
But most of all I loved your guts
As you spat at the men who leered you.
And I wanted your heart, and I wanted your all
And I wanted so to please you,
I gave my heart in a hundred ways
And it wasn't very easy
To your proud face and your warm heart
As the fire seized me.
And I fired your body and I fired your heart
And you so wanted to please me
But you wouldn't open your legs to a man
And so you had to leave me.


I have stood on the ramparts of the city of Dioce
where the sky meets with the sea
And I have watched the horsemen galloping
down the ruins of time,
And my thighs and my hips are still strong
As they were when they took me out to sea.
And they are all yours and they crack for you
It's a pity you are not there,
It'll be another woman under the thumb
But I still want to stroke your hair;
It's a long haul with a full load
And the sun beats out in the square.
You should have spread your body out like a leaf
To take what I had to give,
But you haven't the guts to lie on your back
And give your heart to the drive.
The terrible thrust breaks you in two
As you give from the depths of your soul,
You can't face what you have done
As you howl out for more.
And I love you for what you've done to me
As I pack my bags under the sky,
And wish you were there with the light on your hair
Spread out in the evening sun.


Well Jooks Clark it's difficult to see
That you've ever had any husband but me,
He just didn't know what to do
When he found himself in bed with you.
But you remember him well and you're not sad
The wound in your groin it aches like mad.
I don't know what will happen to me
But you're safe enough in your repository.
You've set up house
And you're friendly and bright
But do you ever ask them
To spend the night.
But it's all a terrible waste and a shame
You were brought up for a much better game
To crack your heels and ruffle my hair
And prove that there's something deep down there.


I wrote you a book of rhetorical poems
And then I drank and sent cards,
You have an education in art history now
And I have an empty box.
I wrote you my family and everything good
And I wrote you a poem of my love,
But most of all I liked your career
As you clawed and clawed and grew.
You'll be a great lady yet,
On top of your pile
And I'll always be somewhere below,
With my little black cat and my house and my car
And a memory that never forgets.
So I write these poems to make it all real
And not some mad phantasy,
I loved you then and I always will
Nothing changes in me.

Citadel 2

The grey ships are leaving
Slipping out on the morning tide
The grey ships are leaving.
And Juliet is come from the tomb
Straining on the shoreline,
Mercutio is up on the bridge
Directing the leaving.
He died in York in '75
And now he's leaving,
The widows are standing there on the shore
Waving and cheering.
It seems they are always ready for more
Dying and grieving.
The first was in Glasgow in '64
Edinburgh came later,
Ah these loves drive the fire through the bone
And the grey ships are leaving.
You've got to fuck yourself out of your box
I know it isn't easy
But the grey ships are leaving
The morning shore,
And at last I am ready for more
Skipping away from the girl on the shore,


You never grieved your husband
The way I grieve you,
If you had you could talk of him
And what you went through.
Perhaps you still live with him
I hope it's not true,
Even though you left him
A long time ago.
It seems very silly
When I only touched you once
To pull down your knickers
And poke at your crutch.
Though I've got to do something
I can't leave you this way,
I'll probably regret it
At the end of the day.
So remember I love you
And I don't fool around,
Just do what I tell
And don't be so proud.


I wanted to be a great poet
And look where I've got,
Playing the rhymes
On Susan's cunt.
So what I'll do next
Is describe her face,
It sits by itself
In a state of grace.
There are lines on her forehead
She works too hard,
Look at her energy
And not a bad word.
Sometimes she is surly
And deeply aggrieved,
But she keeps very quiet
And sniffs on her sleeve.


Her flesh is hot and she wants it bad,
Her jukebox swells as she hears my note.
Her breasts aren't big but you can get a hold,
Her nipples are round and they need a suck.
Her eyes are all whites, she tucks in her ruined chin,
Her lips are full but can she kiss?
She has to rouge her cheeks her face is so pale,
Her bottom is broad but it's firm enough.
She has high cheekbones and a good strong nose,
Her character is all in her stubborn chin.
Her legs aren't bad, her calves curve,
There are already lines on her brow,
Her brown hair was bleached not long ago.
Her body is dominated by her bones,
The fat hangs on in skinny folds.
She's a clotheshorse, she loves to dress
Her colours are perfect as herself,
You could wrap her legs around my neck.
Best of all is her deep inside
With her fire and her taste and being alive.
Her intelligence shows in her high brow,
And I'd like to have seen her naked.


It took me years to give myself
And I'm not very good at it yet,
I learned from them as they gave their love
You can master the fuck in yourself.
You can break it all down
Into pleasure and pain
And ignore the bit that says no,
That you wont give yourself to someone you like
You're saving it for what you don't know.
I've never been tested with someone I love
But I believe that practice is good,
And when I'm put to the final test
I'll have a better chance than you.
So open your legs and grit your teeth
And work very hard at your life,
You'll learn to give like everyone else
If you take my advice.


The best part of sex is just being inside
Safe from the storms of the world.
The longer it lasts the better the ride
Chattering six lips at a time.
The problem part is when the woman gets fucked
When the animal gets free,
You've got to learn to give to the beast
When all your repressions say cease.
For you love the beast and you hate the beast
It dominates your life,
So my little animal don't be afraid
You can be a proper wife.
Most women haven't the luck
To want it as much as you do,
So don't be afraid when you just get fucked
And you howl like a cat in the zoo.


And I'm just as much to blame
For I haven't been fucking for years,
You've been my excuse to avoid the truths
Of spurting sperm into flesh.
I think that a woman must fuck to exist
And that's not so for a man,
But I have to give love and ride the beast
Or else I'm a driedup fool.
So I'll take my prick and tout down the road
For I used to be good at it, see;
And I'll give myself in the proper way,
Not like it's been between you and me.


The truth about Greece is that I went insane
And my subconscious made me a man,
It got tired of acquiescing all the time
When they spat in my face on the sand.
For I am the beast and I ride the beast
As you very well know,
And to pretend I'm a poof is just an excuse
For not taking the matter in hand.
And I'm a good swimmer, just like you
I can swim in a woman for hours,
You know what it's like to thrash your gut
And spit out the juice and the flowers.
To give yourself up to the heave of the tide
And hope that it goes on forever,
And tear the flesh that's tearing you
As the rhythm goes on forever.
With salt in your mouth and blood on your cheek
You hang on tight as ever,
And give your heart to the beat of the waves
As they thunder in you forever.
And I'm a man and I do what I can
To nurse you through forever,
But I'm a man and I throw in my hand
I have to fuck forever.


I wanted to fuck your flaming cunt
Before it disappeared out of the room
To mix my all with the all of you
And fertilise your womb.
To take your shaking body close
And grip you with the iron in me
And spit my seed beyond your reach
Up the tubes of your distant sea.
To make of our love not just a word
But a child like you and me
To give you a bump you could call your own
That was a part of you and me.
So we could sit back and say it was done
There in the shining sea
That we broke our backs for the sake of a life
And our spirits had been set free.
For my love for you reaches the farthest shore
Of your unbounded limitless sea.


Sex should be fun but not with you
You're made of more serious stuff,
It's to the children leaping out of your arms
That your soul keeps crying tough.
I can't run away from the fire in you
I've got to face up that I'm the same too
And see how to use it and do what's best
Find a woman to soothe my chest.
I'm asking the impossible you know why
A love like this lasts till you die,
I can still see the faces that were there before
And who can take your place after all.
Yours is the voice I hear at night
You keep me warm as I put out the light,
And it's 'cos your belly has such a pain
You wont be coming my way again.


And the fuck is still burning in me,
All my life it has been there
The fuck burning in me.
I'm getting old, the prick's not so stiff
But the fuck still burns in me.
It burns for you for I love you so
The fuck still burns in me.


With your limitless kingdom
And your proud country,
Why did you give your heart to me?
It gave me the taste 
To batter your door,
And it was all such a waste
Of what I'm here for.
I love this woman
In her box by the sea,
And she wont have anything
To do with me.
So haul up the sail
And steer the prow
I've got to move
Away from her now.
To a happier land
Where the birds still sing
And I no longer care
That she hasn't my ring.

Citadel 3

I have never been so tired in my life
As I leave my love
In her city by the sea.
Mercutio's old
He's all worn out
Killed by Romeo at York,
The grey ships are leaving.
Exhausted fighters cram the decks
Full of bleed and bloody dying,
While she sits in her citadel
By the sea
She's old and she's young
She'll never change,
The limitless ocean's heaving.
She's seen this so many times before
The fighters are leaving.
She opens her legs at dead of night
Massages herself with butter,
And her old man's leaving
The ocean's heaving.
I have never been so tired in my life
As I leave my love
In her city by the sea,
The unstormed citadel


When I was the swordsman, shafting at night
And loving you in the daytime,
And all of my baubles a trick and a song
Playing the pure singer.
I must say when I first saw you
I wasn't very impressed,
At eighteen you were no beauty queen
With your hair all in a tangle.
You stood and stood in your purple suit
While my friends flirted and laughed,
And then you moved on, in your vain way
You wanted to succeed.
To meet your husband and meet your fate
'Til the years brought you back to me,
A head coiffeured and full of thought
With such fire and intensity.
And as the pump beat true
I'd whisper your name
And the thought of your body
Would drive me insane.


Oh Susie you were a dream
A handwritten culture machine,
Togged all out in your scruffy gear
Always inviting a glimpse of your rear.
A lost look on your face
That meant a lot,
Ever ready with your lips
For a parting shot.
You preferred your trousers
To wearing skirts,
Until I woke up
Your little black box.
It took some doing
I must admit,
But then I was really
A bit of a shit.
You were fun, you have to agree
You'd never seen the likes of me,
And you flaunted yourself and you loved it so
What a great pity you had to go.


In your amber pants
And the shirt off your back
You floated in front of me,
A vision of all that's good in the world
A woman waiting to be set free.
I plighted my troth
To your worn black boots
And whistled at the bones of your face,
I gave my heart to your stony stare
As you thought the place a disgrace.
And I woke your heart
So you smiled back
When you forgot who you were you see,
And my lithe brown body stirred your flesh
As you thought of loving me.
Then out of the blue
A poem took your heart
And it became you and me,
I don't really know what I did
But 'Durham' married you and me.
We didn't have long
But we had it all
Apart from ourselves in the night,
And I'd do it again without a second thought
Because of your sheer delight.
Your smile and your heart
And the love in your eyes
Are such things that hardly happen ever,
And I still remember that marvellous day
When you took my heart forever.


In your pink dress
Your body looked great
Your bottom curved out
Like a ship of state,
With red and yellow socks
Which seemed bizarre
You spread out your arms
And loved who you were,
Your heart was alive
And who'd done it to you
I purred and I purred
You were it, my Sue.


Do you remember that walk down the path?
I couldn't stop talking and you listened and laughed.
You had your white coat on, very smart
Your hands in your pockets, your legs apart.
I told of my brothers and the Magic Flute
How good they were at it, not hirsute.
And of my own Meistersinger, I gave a hint
And you talked of your Opera, with a possessive glint.
I talked of the Eagles and Dylan too
But they didn't mean very much to you.
It was the best walk I've had in my life
And the girl I was with, I wanted to be my wife.
She had a vain way of doing things
But her heart was good, as mine still sings.
We were back in Edinburgh many years before
And our heads were too swollen to get through the door.
We were people who had come home at last
And that walk for us was our future passed.
Because of the way you gave that night
I've had too much sense to feel any spite.
And if I had to choose one moment to save
It would be you leaning back, laughing but grave.


You can lead a horse to water
But you can't make it drink
As you wanted my body
And my good strong prick.
You drifted inside yourself
And began to dream
Of what you'd had once
And the way it had been.
In your red sweater
Your heart swelling to burst
The last thing you were having
Was the whoops of my thrust.
So my little tough hero
Think what you did
You might have come out of it
Having a kid.


And then you played your balcony scene
You know how you used to sit there
In a hoarse voice, in a distant way
You told me you lived with someone.
And I'm not a fool
I knew what you meant
That it was all metaphorical,
And I looked at the distant trees and the woods
And said how do you fight another.
So I decided then that I'd write you a poem
That would blow you out of your breeks
And I thought and I thought for an idea
It took about eight weeks.
And when you played your balcony scene
You just had no idea
That Juliet was to come into her own
And take the laurel and the cheers.


The poetry's fading but now I must wind
Invisible strings around you;
Emmesh you in the web of complexes
That keep your clock so punctual.
You do everything by rule
Although your language is original,
It's when you have to give out words
That your passions become visible.
But once your love leapt out of your eyes
As you gave your soul to me,
In your black sweater and your amber jeans
You paid the price of me.
You broke your rules as you gave me all
That was all to have in you,
And I took it all and I loved you so
You were the better part of me.
But still when the clock ticked round
You stood up and walked away,
To write your ledgers and keep your books
And dream of loving me.


I wrote you a note
And asked for a talk,
Suggesting that we
Might go for a walk.
I put it on strong
But we had to touch,
It had gone too far,
It meant too much.
So you went to York,
Which I'd told you about,
And from there wrote a sentence
Which chilled my blood.
It was nice to have known me
But you were on your way,
You'd had quite enough
Of that today.
Before you'd gone
I'd watched you sit and shake,
With grief and panic
On your beautiful face.
You didn't have the guts
When the chips were down,
To ask your body
To lay itself down.
And that's when I touched you,
Warm and hot,
If you'd trusted in me
You would have won, you clot.


You sent me a card
Of Canynge's house in Bristol,
A remembrance of 'Durham'
The one time I fucked you.
You wrote nothing on it
Just the path we'd walked on,
Medieval, heraldic,
An escutcheon of the devil.
You never used the word love
You didn't have the courage,
Your rules destroyed you
And made me so much rubbish.
You cut off my prick
It's taken five years to recover,
And all because you wouldn't
Prove yourself a lover.
If you love someone you give it
You don't mess around,
All you have is your body
So there's no point in being proud.
You fuck because you love
And you give all you've got,
If you think that you can't do it
You haven't tried hard enough.

Citadel 4

Susan is safe in her room
The city burns around her,
There is lightsome laughter in the tomb
She is giggling forever.
The grey ships slip out on the dawn tide,
The grey ships are leaving,
Susan reads a dirty word
She presses nearer.
It's only a poet spitting out the truth
Nothing there to scare her,
She can uncross her legs
The barbarian's no nearer.
To her EEC and her ldc's
She is promised now forever,
And her dreams of when she was young
Does her body still excite her?
She was born for men,
That they might please her;
She was born for children,
That they might tease her;
The grey ships are leaving,
The grey ships are leaving.
The poet, last to climb aboard,
Looks back thinking of her,
Shakes his head with a sad face
Reluctant to leave her,


The thunder would rumble along the valley,
All night long it would be travelling;
And I would lie in my bed and listen,
And turn and look to the window
Where green lightning lit up the nighttime.
And then I would think of you,
For sure as sure can be
Next day you would come scooting round the corner
Into the arena,
Your tragic face expressionless.
Come for succour from the nighttime,
Where the ghosts and goblins haunted you,
Into the welcoming area of my arms.

29 October - 14 November 1982

Douglas Clark/ Cernunnos/ Benjamin Press, 69 Hillcrest Drive, Bath BA2 1HD, UK/