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This poem is taken from PN Review 198, Volume 37 Number 4, February - March 2011.

Three Poems Dannie Abse

Afterwards, late, walking home from hospital,
that December hour too blatantly moonbright
 - such an unworldly moon so widely round,
an orifice of scintillating arctic light -

I thought how the effrontery of a similar moon,
a Pirandello moon that would make men howl,
would, in future, bring back the eidolon
of you, father, propped high on pillow
your mouth ajar, your nerveless hand in mine.

At home, feeling hollow, I shamelessly wept
- whether for you or myself I do not know.
Tonight a bracing wind makes my eyes cry
while a cloud dociles an impudent moon
that is and was, and is again, and was.

Men become mortal the night their fathers die.


Sunbright sunbright, you said,
the first time we met in Venice
you, so alive with human light
I was dazzled black;
- like heavy morning curtains
in a sleeping bedroom
suddenly pulled back.

And the first time you undressed,
once more, I, frail-eyed,
undeservedly blessed,
as if it were a holy day,
as if it were yuletide,
and feeling a little drunk,
simply had to look away.

Well, circumspect Henry James
couldn't write or even think
till he turned his back to sunbright.
Chair around, just so,
to all that was alive and moving,
and to the toiling, beguiling
Caneletto scene below.

Blue Song

Some things there always are,
some things a man must lose,
Picasso paints a guitar,
that way he sings the Blues.

Russian cows jump over the moon
(very strong is Russian booze)
but Chagall's cow never lands,
otherwise he'd sing the Blues.

Rothko squares a mirror with blood
(there's blood in his every bruise).
Paints his own reflection out
and soundlessly sings the Blues.

In rage, moon-faced Francis Bacon
eerily shrieks and spews
humanoid freaks into a cage.
Odd way to sing the Blues.

Body-detective Lucian snoops
to magnify his sexless nudes
- the uglier the better.
That's how he sings the Blues.

Damian likes his sheep well pickled,
I prefer my meat in stews.
Let collectors shed their millions.
Soon they'll sing the Blues.

Do I wish to be a painter
acclaimed with buffs' reviews?
All I lack is talent.
That's why 1 sing the Blues.

This poem is taken from PN Review 198, Volume 37 Number 4, February - March 2011.

Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to
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