Poems by Adil Jussawalla

Copyright 1962 Adil Jussawalla

WRITERS WORKSHOP books are published by P. Lal from 162/92 Lake Gardens, Calcutta 31. Land’s End’s printers are the Calcutta Job Press Private Ltd., binders Bharati of 13 Patwar Bagan Lane.

Poems by Adil Jussawalla


All the poems in this book were written in England, or some part of Europe ; that is, away from the land where I first learnt what a poem is, what poetry, and what brings both to fruition. The poems cover four to five years. They are not arranged in the order in which they were written. A. J. J.

and only a cold assumption of arrogance is mine. Now. short time when a boy lived each moment anew. . the water is spilled killed on rocks. detached. and like a birth of flames one by one as candles are lighted things unseen before came to life and communicated. one by one the lights are snuffed dead things talk no more though I listen.Seventeen T ime was short. Water in cupped hands was life by touch playing between fingers and running round the back of my palm.

November Day As outside my window Leaves fall faded from a tree So let me let fall my thoughts Gone yellow and dry So let my thoughts Mottled. So may I Cleaned of all my deaths Once more stand firm against A lifeless sky. . stale and yellow Be swept into some gutter in the eye And burn there As this year’s funeral to futility .

Now. round its base Torn faces drift. What is the timeless here ? See. Sucked dry in her three-sixty-odd dugs. She served her litter well. after a Christian burial We’ll make merry Over her dead body. a paper star of Bethlehem Caps a Christmas commerical. Useless against the minutes spinning with revelry Where water and bodies Swirl. And look. . and from a steaming shell Rise mermaids with leaping boys and dolphins Prepared to take the plunge But . Useless the carols.31st December ‘58 W aiting for the New Year A wary restlessness in the Shadow-crossed square Hovers between the two years. . useless the city With the old bitch dying in the shadows. like the Discarded dates Of an expended calendar. . . But ah! this life! this year! That fountain! See the finger of water raised to Stop time Scattered in the swift haze of Pigeons in flight and spray. Useless the ritual’s massive complexity. and lights.

and banged across Buckled iron plates Under which ragged sweeper urchins Gazed mutely At our singing. O Clouds unfold. Medes Persians Phrygians Sassanians Sumerians Assyrians Phoenicians Lybians Etruscans Goths.In Memory Of The Old School J erusalem rang some mornings in. Towards Building a Temple PLEBEIAN. SOPHIA. to reveal (among other things) Hammered faces. Sang Blake. . give straw to my stonecarrying oxen for redfaced beefy workmen are going to carve butterfly wings of thinnest turquoise from wall to wall of my temple and as for the naming you whores. broke. Sweating schoolboys yelled for golden Spears. chariots of fire. forgotten tribes — if you want any part in the naming give my oxen some straw form your bedding. Fingers storm the piano still. Outside. taut as strings. the sun struck an asphalt Cricketpitch. you — give my oxen some straw from your bedding. On which educated Fingers play.

. sick and ugly.Sea Voyage P arting the thick. talk softly. she is Letting us brush her hair. tangled hair of this Watercurled woman this Grey world-weary old Dame Our ship plunged through. Though old Lady Sea sleeps on horizons She’ll stride across the waves And batter you if you insult her : And the gulls will still be waving Like children as you sink. Sour. But traveller.

what love grows so dearly deep As self-love ? We kissed. . my dark Lord. strung your pauper’s cards With my sovereign jacks of knowledge. you were nearer My heart than its beat. I’ve told you now. Since what we keep To ourselves to grow to perfection we hold dearer Then what we give. . Yes. keep what I hold most precious.Poker-faced I am deceiving you. while art And skill (perversely) lie not in revealing my hand But in bluffing it : in giving you what I label worthless Play an unguessed at game. Think they are only discards. pretend that I know I’m in light : end of a game squarely packed in my heart Where all ends and kings and pretences start. I hold the whole court. . as the one consummation Of self-love is Death — my one self-perfecting. But think it is merely at cards . that bring them together. We’re quits and we must part. love for each other is out of it. Self-commanding Mentor — he’ll force a conclusion When he calls his card into play : the Black King Who governs my life and my art. Should you be waiting for me tomorrow And I never come. perfecting my hand : Unsuspected. but who did you see in my eyes ? Fool ! your King of Hearts has a double-edged sword And a double-face : the Joker laughs out his lies Before my silent King of Death. But. It wasn’t hard To deceive you. Throw away rags. stacked Art against your ignorance . Think love is excluded from hands we hold—apart— As fate deals us. Think I could have packed The game before this.

a chewed duck’s wing. No shouting now as satyrs creep Slowly down the sterile roads. . you resurrect an image we may eat ( shirking the hard wine ) . spread clouds wing. dead christ. you bless. ( The base of hot urns ringing their backs. Terrier.The Moon And Cloud At Easter The glazed eye shines. like a stuff palm. The Suburb No shouting here : the beasts asleep. The drunkards in their homes. eruptions. Their feet treading. . of things you chewed and spat on your last meal. with all that remains of your leavened words this starved time and all we dare believe : punctured king. scalding coals. . the underworld. the dead eye of a fish. over stores and theatres. And the fat burghers with the field-glasses Will think of forest-fires. treading . ovens. . Bent slaves Carry their raw. embassies and pubs. Siamese. instead of moon and cloud at easter. twitless canary. ) They will propitiate Zeus Klarios In the park with burning urns. hangouts.

I think of plenished.The Dolls P assing supermarkets. holy mothers they dreamt of In confinement and wonder where they’ve gone. hung from working Fingers. . like dolls. pull them apart. seeing Mothers Blossom with washingpowder mixingbowls brasspolish backscrubbers doorknobs combs eggs mops olives insecticide frozenchicken roastchicken doormats onions tableclamps flour hoses toothpaste toothpowder beetroots hairsoftener hairspray hairdyes wasprepellant stockings deodorants tonic sanitarypads cacti spoons facepacks bread. Seeing children too. slowly.

what’s the time ? . When there’s frost on this island. hey. the glum judge think Doodling the face of the clerk on the sly. what’s the time? Morning breaks from a young girl’s eyes But evening sallows the cheeks of another The little one sees a man with a scythe Shrieks and startles her elder brother Who darkens the room as the Reaper arrives Tea-time. mister. There’s a way of ignoring the harassing Why. mister. barn-boys dream Time for my money. there’s darkness on mine Time is the X between place and necessity Time is a bar on the old Shadow Line The hours are running like sand in my veins It’s striking midnight in my mind. What’s the time. the cashier feels Tossing a match on his manager’s files Time I was happy.What’s The Time? A twisted smirk by a tongue-clicking watch A capsized grin by the jeweller’s sign A faceless O by the old church clock A trillion and one consmogonical time Night in the Western world. thinks the frail grandmother. Time for the tigresses. there’s love on another Though there’s light in your day. hey. Time and the Charioteer whistling behind : What’s the time. The scythe and the pendulum cut her together. day in the Eastern As I travel. the shot whores cry Time I rebelled. on the old Shadow Line. astray.

To My Songs Rot. fibre. Bloat themselves on transubstantial food And plug Religion. counterfeit or real. I have seen thwarted wrestlers go that way. my counterfeits—now that I’ve walked In the spring rain at dawn. I see You aren’t worth a penny. At times I am quite terrified of you In case you lead me far from sinew. rot. 2. To My Dreams You do not know how I fear you my dreams. . You do not know how you frighten me. my songs. while women wailed about them.Two Postcards 1.

the pines. The village clock Strikes . . smokes the nearby trees ? What mists the roof. back. But what disturbance strokes the upturned sky. Single flame-pods twin . Cherry and hawthorn tangled. Leaves unfurl through loam . Branches sapped with gas shoot out their fires. bustle of bush And rasping twigs chaffe in untidy clumps. twigs frill to flowers .Movements Of Spring R ural winds are rumbling through the pines . how bright The frosts burn The hollies. a greenshape spreads. Galaxies turn Complete in themselves . I have no thirst To-night for private worlds. Peels in vapours. Apparition ! I am alive to-night. collects itself in drops? When will the songless kestrel clamber higher? What movement of spring will axe the hollow elm? When will the green reject the outcry “ Liar ! ” Frost T he stars will burst To-night .

March Smoking March. their pubic fan Of leaves knotted. pronged like spotted meat On twigs are offered rotten leaves To taste. webbed With coupling. Sex. fists clenched. for what though late rain feed? Giants know starved floors Burgeon on dregs. the wood drenched. Roots dangle. on rot they eat. This is the steaming floor of Hell. Beech skins snap. Before the April rain rinse The trees (like trunkless legs. dry Teeth chattering. . carnage) — before the rains Wash. Without the drugging asphodel. mushrooms smell. Terror. I walk the sodden floor : eyes Gummed with sleep. mouth fouled With clotted silence. trooped From ogrish hills . Remorse. Repentence.

withdrawn occupation. flash. like pieces of sun-blown silk. Coleridge. Here bored and exacerbated tourists fully expect to see their ‘ day-trip-convalescents ’ miracle. Wordsworth. or moving. a strange remoteness. and remote as the sound suspensions between hill and hill. A ferry steamer divides the lake. Crimson parasols. Under a summer sun. and God know who. . Gaudy-winged butterflies flit about white houses hung on the hill face. French poodles run wild in the grass. lie face upwards. laughing. Wordsworth’s face is a cottage industry. aloof. Their feet paddle rings in a glaring lake. sealed. grand hotels keep their huge doors open. sitting among the sheep-stones lodged on see-sawed slopes. These are the women. Under a cedar a faun sits. its men follow some vague. inviting the summer. away. Motorbikes lean on bridges.Westmoreland In this strange country I have entered the water is as clear as a bell tolling across the valley . Under the weight of hills their tough boots once cracked. His village loves him.

Curled on a trawler troubled in that caul ? Will he walk your Tumults first creation ? Rock Peter wavers . Lord. Cliff along cliff. roil. The sea renews itself as old rocks break. where brine-wings beat The rooted perch of weeds and brine-grains bite Raw rock or nerve exposed to their brute power. But neither sea nor Peter’s praising tower Holds Peter’s weight. pig’s footed country at last Where seas grip. hour by hour To undermine my numbed and bulwarked ground. do you extend Your power to your wan and sleeping Son. is this manna that you send The startled tourists showered where they sit ? Black crabs splatter hard against the wall. to christen and to wreck . boats rock on springs . Atlantic breakers pound our ended power. his planted footsteps fail . . the sea-gulls fall Downwind to sheets of spray. Scuttle to landed fish in crevices on cliffs .Land’s End Here in the cramped. slump and shower Across the thrusted coastland . His sloped arms gulp the bilge sea’s spurning flings . Lord. the slack waves drag and hit Their catch of sea-food against worn Land’s End. though land sings Its consecrated rock. The funnel smoke is tattered like a veil. No church stands on water . the airs kick and squall. yet fishers haul Against its tented pull . To form the rock. Nor wind’s howl . your netted round of deep lifts Its sweet fish to our lips . Atlantic breakers boom. The sea has fastened on . the sea sang earlier. Land’s End or Faith’s — what must I call This faulted coast Atlantic breakers pound ? Wave after wave explodes. Lord. beast or fowl But needs a rock’s assurance in this hour. the fast Seas race. It is finished : No man.

windbaskets swing Their captured charms and doodles out . Wildbloodstreams wreck our rooted facts.A Letter In April These are the shifting days of weather When pods of blown. tickets returning Scribble around my knocking heels. The tongueless turtle finds its voice. rewinding reels Draw in their catch . ignited clouds Float and dwindle like burning cotton Over the streetland’s roofhilled red. Fragments. primeval wishes Spawned from last year’s weedwrapped acts. tell me you’ll last the spring Shift this shifting weather out. Drifts of winter half-forgotten. These are the tempting minutes of hope When the darting eye must make its choice Between the slim. The river bucks with pairing fishes. The lonely grip a bridge of crowds. . Bobbin birches climb the slope. letters. Fused to the railing like scraps of lead. And these are the sudden weeks of learning From spinning winds . Parallel buildings crowd together. Love.

Surrounded by whys and horses and hows. . It took him a nightfall to know he was wrong Over birds and beds. but he was strong . But went for swims in a dubious stream.The Butterfly So he left with the power of flint in his eye. So he did the only thing he could do : He went for a breather. He returned to his beige and piebald cows. With no one to blame but the changing wind. With no one to blame but the changing wind. And shared her taste for clotted cream. So he married into a Petroleum dream. he went for a fall. he ran out of rows . They found him under the sandstone wall With a soothing letter tucked in his shoe : No one’s to blame but the changing wind. His pa said ma And his ma said moo. With no one to blame but the changing wind. With no one to blame but the changing wind. She ran out of petrol. His future like a prophecy Of wrought-iron beds and egg-blue skies. And returned on the back of an affluent song.

As guardians of good taste. for chance Of better prospects. pink-faced city. Dark skins serving dishes to the sallow Sweat more night than grapesblood has . The rancid oils where sweeter dishes start. like a pick-up’s words. Cooked. avoid our munching faces . their darkness grew To insight in their day . their smudged eyes know The soiled and cluttered kitchens of the mind . change. guarded. Grow expert on the epicure’s stuffed heart. Guarding the day’s unending apetites. all The long summers they abjured. Must button up their manners with the past. slip to their sleeping places In the threat of the feasted. . the polish of our eating rites . Day’s ministry complete. the soot-black roof Behind our pasted smiles . Stick in a language their clients won’t allow. they dream of a foodless heaven. Blacker than mud their Tamil minds recall. Polite of speech. Grow shift-eyed. The jab. kind. Then closing time . punctilious. But slacken in their service after eleven. Shrug of their coats like priestly coats of pity.The Waiters Blacker than wine from the loaded grapes of France. they stand aloof. a sun of contrast.

see she is paid In advance. would fling the bowls.Landlady Mendelssohn Drab. Have no guests or pets or baths . But for the decent lodgers. But for a way of keeping decent. with loosening talk. burlesqued with breakfast. sleep with the maid. punctually. stay. Do not disturb. admits to a home Not hers. An expensive city is full of thieves. Tenants to castle her lonely upkeep. whisper. the expatriate landlady Mendelssohn. sagging. Greets new arrivals . Accepts the uncoloured. sneak . Her blunt. Discover their talents in the expensive city . Circle in blenched clouds of spite Like pale poodles . but keeps her rents low Accepts on terms of decency alone. where turrets serrate the breeze. give notice to quit. patriotic sexual knot. . Is uncertain of life on her gasringed mornings . to-day. . she accuses the maid Of vulgarity . Shout. her memories Housekeep solvently . . the less uneasy By stance. She broods. Time is a leakage somewhere. Test no beds. who fidget no detail ajar. their hands. The lodgers. decent. Outsized sackful of stones. .

A vast complexity of flesh and bone relaxes Round a central lesson. or further complexity Wasting by dazed Golgotha for the sun. Upon the nude sheets quick hands place Nape. halved apple. dust and sweat. breast. Woman is soot. Wrinkled Medusa.The Model Among the naked sheets and unkempt faces Of sallow students a naked women stands . . dispassion tricks Second sight to fingers as they lift Her beauty from the city’s mauling hands And craft its lifelight from crushed charcoal sticks. In soot and sweat she stands recovered : one The city sent birth-naked from its womb Becomes an essence : Venus from the sea. thigh . for an hour being Repulsive or true or false to different hands.

But pray she hasn’t One : to stop A compromising Call to A red-eyed king For dubious dancers. She answers.The Door My shadow sidles Up the door. Ostensibly To ask her for A penny. The light goes out. humped. Hunchbacked. I knock. Towards the door . . Is the sign Auspicious ? Is The darkness good ? I confess These questions try My firm resolve To declare Eternal love For a bare Bald night.

With scythes in their teeth. But poppies in bloodstained times are rue For rememberance. uprisings : red flags Flutter and twist in paranthesis. Like scales of a red dragon in Chinese streets. fluttering and waving poppies Pitch down a verge in tattered Ranks. protest their ancient young. ugly Women with straw in their beards. Like a scarfdance by furious Cossack children. to assault Threshers. Haystacks I watched the haystacks near Cambrai When the sun.Poppies For Marx Their redcoats cropped by the sustained sabres Of breeze. Stamped the round. yellow and tall. Spot the waving. With seeds the warm wind opened And puffed to every strawless quarter . where cartwheels crunched once Carrying arguing Whigs home. . They stood on their bossed field Like a row of bent. covered fields. revolts. political field.

Crowing. . flouncing. One drank tonic One remarked Business was bad. Four ladies of Brussels. Crowing. Flaunting. Sulking. cackling. flouncing. drinking. slouching. flouncing. Three had breasts One talked shop One drank kisch One said merde ! Sulking. slouching. Four ladies of Brussels. Pouting. hulking. Flaunting. Pouting. Glinting. One smoked rings One drank beer One wore gold Instead of teeth Sulking. drinking. Four ladies of Brussels. flouncing. cackling. drinking. Sulking. slouching. drinking. Two ate seeds. hinting. hulking. Four ladies of Brussels. Flaunting. hulking.A Drinking Song For The Ladies One wore lace One drank gin One pressed moles One had scales. hulking. Pouting. Flaunting.

hinting. Four ladies of Brussels. hulking. flouncing. Flaunting. Crowing. Glinting.Outside the cars Slunk away To sniff another Street . cackling. drinking. passed Sulking. Pouting. steering. . slouching. Leering.

my vigil and valour. clockwork bear. And Peace a turbine humming in the deep . but a white palace Sits on my green acres : from sheltered lands Troubled statesmen wear away its steps For you : I’ll bring you peace : I understand. Smile. My fountain leaps a sixth of a mile in hope . in St. not one Built in a brickless desert of brick. think of Jerusalem . fertile. bless. fight A stuffed eagle and clapping. The rest you may read in my eyes. I wasn’t made between A sundown and sunrise in labour. clockwork bear. or run With sores like children . Peter’s. . as a souvenir. A stuffed eagle and clapping. The sword falls dripping through the yellowing air. Let me console you. Dwarfing the toy alps grotesquely. the streets darken . sun-burnt backs Is all my shining citizens may (publicly) show. There are no clouds. but spotless. I do not rot. love.Geneva Let me put out my welcome like a flag Of olive leaves to wrap you in my truce : Geneva : metropolis : one of the neutral cities Here to relax you. mix in my cafes. but over the dwarfed city. clockwork bear. My museums — The voice cracks. my glazed shop-windows. by hands in bitterness. Keep. nor stone From the sacked quarries of Greece . eastern suns Breed maggots like brats . What do you see there ? A stuffed eagle and clapping. Or hands weeping over rubble .

streaked North like a startled bird. its span Curving up two foothills . launched from a rock. How still it was then ! the sky thin and hollow. Deflecting the words stoned across the valley. The ears straining at each rebound .Evening On a Mountain The valley sunned itself all day. further. . . then the shadows Crossed like wings across its back . A cloud. far off. stitching Silk into its cotton. . prows snipping . . Ferries embroidered a slim lake.

With sunlight tumbling down the black hollow in their toothless heads. Three clochards prolonging night. .Les Clochards Three figures Rodin might have carved Or Daumier drawn : three clochards Slouch on a shelf outside the Louvre. While baskets stuffed with straw and bread Squat around them : wasted ones. wet and slack. A woman propped against the calm Storehouse. La Jocande ? Oui — and up the steps . While the hunched and huddled shapes Exude peculiar musky odours Of strongly acid piss and sweat. Sqeaking in the fevered light. crooks a ragged arm Across the sleeper or her lap. Paris afternoons . Their faces capped against the sun Shine like full-moons. Sleeping in the gaudy suns Of noisy. While women. bloated. red. Their mouths hang open. azure. gold and white Cadence by the huddled forms : Comme si elle voit en toute forme La lumiere et la douceur.

Aspects of you. . These are burns in Provence. And this cicatrixed car were best Forgotten. where the sharpened sticks Of sunlight stabbed against my face. And this. mine was a troubled conviction (Not your fastidious kind. lady.A La Reine Blanche Garcon. And you come wearing black All over. At best. I will always remember certain dreams Associated with your serving the petite mademoiselle Un cafe au lait—for that was when you looked Most like God when He fell in love With Himself and Beauty and forget His uglier clients. sir. At An Exhibition of Selfportraits By Van Gogh Black ties will be worn 27 of my aspects stare at you. savaged by crows. as to a funeral.) This head you call delightful’s My last cornfield.

5 o’clock. A streetlamp craned its neck for the spreading frogs.Gauntlet The sun flayed to shreds by branches When fleeing through a birchwood : This barbarity seen in England through a coach. here in Derbyshire. No alighting or descending the steps of its drizzling doors. no pattering movement On roads of sliding newspaper. disquietude only. A flock of pigeons dissolved in the viscid air Like a piece of mud in a current . I counted sixty chimneys in a quarter The size of a burgher’s courtyard. . wondered at smoke Sliding edgeways through the dawn’s widening slats. sidling dog. Pieces of smoke litter the huddled town — Card collage on felt . One senses danger. II Rain fell like a drizzle of fine slag On an anonymous town in smudged Derbyshire. checked. or why We broke our journey . Halt X I I do not know what station this is.

But children throwing stones. I would push my fingers through its grit. I would press my bones into the bony Shoulders of these scarred homes. . Holler and kill and crumple like stale newsheets. Unsatisfied with spotless skies of peace. Cities fall to let their children breathe. And I begin to count my enemies. as if the dusty rubble Were her hair starfished across a pillow. concealed .A Bomb-site As if the broken stumps were a girl’s Starved shoulders . Reach out and grasp and clean the greasy tin. Violence is a culture found on playgrounds. as I pass above their sardined tops. trenched behind mounds.

The city made unreal by the height. And “soldiers.A Prospect Of Oxford The roundabouts of shadow turn the domes And windows click and glitter in the light. our lives are timed. And should some Terror pitch the towers down. A train goes cutting through the stones with smoke . calm Rafts flow up and down this asphalt Styx . Towers crowd a broad. Trees and rooftops scribble up its fingers . open palm. . Nervesprings snap and silent heads explode. And I see things in quite a different light. our tongues run down. . This prospect will remain behind my eyes. Idle on hills or guard the chapel towers. . The sundial cannot hold the spinning hours. . Downstairs. A river cut in black : coloured.” camouflaged in leaves and sticks. . A sundial stares its signal from a wall . Under an Autumn wheel of clouds. the pale City’s made unreal by the height. .

so do I. Where the dog sniffs. Leaving his letters to inspect the Japanese fir on his lawn. not on the Acheron. retired from the University of Allahabad. Was cut down by silent samurai on casual horses Before he could touch it.Two Cuttings I. from “The Times” II. Obits. . on leave from the University of Osaka. please. From book after book of the poet’s reading. Mr. track His sources. I swim. The Academician Where the fish swims through seas of books. Carpenter. would follow where he has gone. Collapsed ( but placidly ) over his Decline and Fall. Professor Dunbarton. But please.

Grained in the planks of ceremony. thudding dull. distant sheep. his heart a jug of water. Know what brought him here To see. like charred paper Over the fuming stoke Furnaces. Flesh and devil crowd in my skull like smoke. but the world. what vacant songs rise ? My songs. left in the cold courts of Saul. unwilling To light its wires . David And was the palace empty when the boy. Squat in a clang the ringing room vibrated. Cleft on the dented javelin. Saul’s cracked tear ? . brushed the harp With thumbs of wood.Fog grey grey grey the invisible tern cries When smoke hangs wet and rises painfully Lord. Its film panicked to rings around its fear ? And did he hear those feet pace The hall. courtyard laughter. fall to the invisible river.

Deep in the tea-pots streaming void I stare Like William Yeats into his youth and try To read the leaves — A Stranger. To make a brew For a vague mouth ( we. though you hold the tea-pot nicely. once-kissed. A monstrous joke has just occurred to me. let me ( for your own health ) Withdraw behind my gaze and preach a homely Homily Empirically Logically Methodically On the analogy Of you and me And tea. to sweat to stew. DESPAIR ! Is this all we amount to ? To steam. and pour The brew precisely. we ) Were nothing more than two young leaves of tea Being in hot water Continuously Excessively Dispensably We’d solve the age-old problems easily.Tea In The Universities Dear. Death. knew ) For Love whose face we dare not see On pain of death : who sips his tea Serenely Contentedly Incumbently Buddha drinking tea-wine out of china ! . Supposing you and I ( connective.

we know we Look quite Heavenly Azurely Leisurely What a beautiful blue ! Maj. Boy! What a view! Mr. Gagarin. Book VI — line 309) — or His bloodhound Dante’s. . ) Letting the Great Tea-Taster pour us out In boiling water from the spout Interlocked more Firmly Than Virgil’s damned — those Autumn leaves in Hell (ref. May 5th. The sun plates our outside bright with silver ( Since were been up in space. since I Maintain Consistently Persistently Precisely. Never again will I drink cups of tea Madly. that People in hot water clung like tea.While in time We line our habitation in with lime. April 12th 1961. 1961. Alan Shepard. O so Gladly.

Dispeopled. Over the whistling wheat The sun danced on and on. confessing sea. some woke To knowledge of the grain The settling tribe had sown. Muddled children : some woke Twisted. Some sailed out to gain Palms from the temperate grass. Found the sowers gone . past all wit. The sea flashed like tin. Their tongues’ grain. Out went the tepid sun ! Some went dumb. II Some took the song to heart. The sea broke its crust Across our newfound land Summer ended thin When jackboot traders crossed Our island babble through. Their field’s page.The Song I it was a winter’s song The bright sea brought. through the ignorant years. at the Gates of Wrath. out of mind. . To each a winters death. Some went out to grass Midocean. Thundered. A piebald language stamped Presumptious hooves on green. As. Some. Stood in the sharp waves And scrawled the full say Of the grave. drinking miles Of death to a luminous floor. some blind. crippled. stone. rock . grew To scorn the marks . Their wordseeds mouldered white About their lock-jawed tongues.

Nick charms out of their ribs. And I dance with the tepid sun ! Dance without rhyme or reason For the grave. Inlay rock with dust. Out of the shrill water Bobbing words stitch A furrow through my throat. one crossing later. Where no one land is true. Out by a crowded bay Where bones. teeth. Harboured in its spell. I stop on all hundreds.III Three years. drowned . . And all I would undo. Make music from their skins. Edge of day enrols me In a scroll of words And rolls me out at night. confessing sea. skins Of dead companies lie— Companions of the quest. All magnitudes. And on and on I dance. all England. The siren-maddened. Deck my bones with theirs. Out by the lyrical bay.

Crowds rolled out on the street. The sea-gulls dropped like spent metal in the hissing water. blew away with shocks-a steamer explodes. Yellow triangles of butterfly. then Partition. the red acrobat of my first circus fell to the floor. I drew Fear and Love to my room : jerking straws of lightning snapped : the sky splashed on the sea . My head sucked at the stroke. ’45 . shook Black peacock wood. grey dragon-flies. The sky bunched and sprouted like a scissored paper-tree. and the packed rain burst Against the clouding house in wave after wave of applause . like a bullock’s tongue bellowing War . it was The boat-tipping sea taught me : change of home. fought With sickles and knives in markets (my father working. trained ( Who’s winning to-day ? Are we on the side of the Germans ? ) My enemy tongue to mark time silently while the rest spoke treason. three reports of cloud Hit rooms musical with gramophone rhymes : ’44. The eclipsed streets gave up their hovelled dead . nearer a sea-change brought me.A Letter For Bombay April 14th . away) Afraid if he did not return before the curfew-bell tolled seven up the hill where I stayed. the ill and crippled came to my father. devi. A stream of glucose flowed through a rickety wood in my chest. Fingering a rough photograph of a burning train. further from speech. devi. Why should I praise your formalities ? School was a treason To bursting ! it was your street-cries and great-grilled palms. .

instruct me in my art. I come of age. In a pouch wriggling against my ribs. gardened days. And I shall return and pass beyond your storm. I carry a quintessence of you. Lacking a legendary muse. Manners maketh me UnMan. Should you refuse—the rack of your hovels raising only your voice Still further—demand nothing . not wholly without potency. save That it drove me away. those careless. combine. give my chaos form. next year’s children or the aged woods. divided city. .Then I saw they were over. Away. I do not know. I wander like a mediaeval apothecary Abroad. April again : Devi. I unmake Manners : they say one does not return to an early romance Improperly conducted : and I believe it true. rocks like yours. I make an end. touch me only as far As the parted psyche can stand . Manners alter. and whether The rain praised by performance. Of age That shapes me make of splash and grit.

Brown pieces of sun. side by side . creaking in their first Unparcelling this year. the stiff Cloth ripples in the chilly air. relevant leaves. disordered. Flying planes of colour flick the spring Trees. interior streams Invisible hands raise The accusing lights of the tattered blood’s flags. and cracks. While all along their choked. crosses. colour of crocus. more beautiful than swan or waterbird. misapplied A frozen artifice on the natural will — Actors. fat . drab. These only wandering.The Flags Wavering loads of winter are being whipped Off the flags as they whirr and flap On barges . Surviving winter’s fractures. eagles. or bright anemone Against the thin green . . Denied their punctual withering . Time for retribution : for the natural order to assert The bland. whose blank masks gape out of season At the tiny. who. unchanging blaze of artificial things That cannot moult or die : like the broad flags.

English Spiders. wind blow curbed between the window’s sparkling cracks Spiders must not be disturbed. Labourers far too suave to sing . For there’s no wool to stop the cold. encouraged. Who build and drop and build again . There’s no silk to stuff the crack. will not bring. .The Spiders Spiders cower along the wall. Wind blow gentle. There’s no trapped companion.

Drake The Chinese would know how to paint it — This duck’s simple stillness — Sealed web of flesh and bone. They hear mere noises. Discordant. charged with spikes. Floating. Too bad for the ears England has plugged With its contempt four years now. . Like pedants gabbling. the squat wooden shape compact as a walnut music-box. jarring. disjointed. the rushes. but playing no notable tune. Yet the Chinese say these quaint boxes Play distinct melodies In tune with the hidden intricate stars the dipping dragon-flies. But webbed in English ironies I cough and note the beaded blue-green neck retracted against the wings .

We flew away to give her peace of mind. . and shutting up your ears Scrambled for cover. rich fathers. richer sons. We sensed her shadow trembling on the twigs . blind. When she admonished Satan in her prayers.Bats Shut in our jackets by the pale-green figs We clung a branch and slept. remember what doctrinal fears Flapped up when you saw not flying-fox Nor dog nor mouse when hunting arms brought back So many pink-tongued babies in a box. We dropped like jackfruit by the hunters’ guns. till dawn exposed The town and your grandmother praying . Bats. while we dived and bombed Peasants. Manchild. bats you cried. beggars. Or tore like paper on your sizzling wires.

in the opening month We heard your jarring cries Flash out like scratched steel. outcry the sun . March. . unreal fire of your call So that our masks crack and mouths speak Against the clear poise of these pretending walls . shatter our pedantic calm With the stark. Terror smothered by grace. or. Now. . albinos. your night’s cage. You were so gentle. then. Flames under the snow. as we watched you lie Like bales of unmelted snow. whether the cold Had cut your throats. pressed Over the warmth the sun in winter lays Deep in the shut. . Watched your strengthening wing-bones flap and lift Your cut bodies into the flaying chestnut — Its bole of branches. even the snow frightened you As you squirmed for cover under Its impossible hail of grubs : their boxes Melted in your beaks. In the muted gardens steady sinking. incubating earth. February. in the later season Of bees and chestnuts.White Peacocks At first we wondered. as though Under your necks you were cats. .

And the prevalence of coarser things. 1961 . your fan of eyes. muscular flight. Your glide back to earth. Why should a scribbler’s moral of silence and exile Enter our perfect relationship : your hundred eyes Dancing in Time and mine ? Sufficient the moral in my nearing departure.As long as I see your swift.