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This article is taken from PN Review 9, Volume 6 Number 1, September - October 1979.

Eight Poems
Now I can see the creeping edge of life
threaten the cliff where my flesh-image waits,
the semaphore of blanched appealing paws,
dead-leaf skeletons in once-read books,
impotently beckons from the beach.

That sad sea-lumber, barnacled delight,
frets but retards not, founders in the tide
rattling the relics of our royal state,
lorn Lackland's treasure, drowned Mnemosyne,
mashed in scurf and grit to dumb fish-fodder.

Shall we go down if we can find the steps,
inspect the chaos of dismembered sense,
enquire what beam enticed from native space,
dazzled and dashed against ironic glass
this wild sea-scourer, the bold gull we knew?

If tears must be associate with despair,
touch follow sight, then both report decay
unless identity can be disproved,
weeping judged wanton, foreign to the loss;
a free creation in a mind at peace.

The crepitation of the restless grains
and the soft integration of fresh worlds
and the vermiculation of the flesh
is the procession of the pastoral soul;
a piscine epic, mammal tragedy.


In sodden trenches I have heard men speak,
though numb and wretched, wise and witty things;
and loved them for the stubbornness that clings
longest to laughter when Death's pulleys creak;

and seeing cool nurses move on tireless feet
to do abominable things ...

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