This poem is taken from PN Review 30, Volume 9 Number 4, March - April 1983.The Mad Talk of George III and A Hymn to Liberty
' . . . A century that thinks about liberation and phantasises prisons . . . '
Hans Magnus Enzensberger
The slow-worm from my orchard seeking me
Creeps to my counterpane and waits,
His body curled here in my linened hands.
I lift him up and wind him round
My temples like a tender vine
Bringing his head to rise so neatly from my brow.
He is the slender vessel of my power,
My man of justice, not the stricken silver
Of a Pharaoh's crown but moving flesh,
And able to embrace us all.
I sit alone in a chair on the bare moor,
The grass in flood in the orb I hold.
I sit as I did for anointment:
Attendants bringing up the coy canopy,
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