... Bob Dylan
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.
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.
... 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, Unloved. 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. Unloved.
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: Bathanceaster. 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...
... 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 Weaving 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 Weaving. I climb on the last ship and wave goodbye, Loving you, Grieving.
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.
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, Leaving, Grieving.
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.
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 Weaving. 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 Leaving, Grieving.
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.
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, Leaving, Grieving.
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/ email@example.com