Rabindranath Tagore |
Time is endless in thy hands, my lord.
There is none to count thy minutes.
Days and nights pass and ages bloom and fade like flowers.
Thou knowest how to wait.
Thy centuries follow each other perfecting a small wild flower.
We have no time to lose,
and having no time we must scramble for a chance.
We are too poor to be late.
And thus it is that time goes by
while I give it to every querulous man who claims it,
and thine altar is empty of all offerings to the last.
At the end of the day I hasten in fear lest thy gate be shut;
but I find that yet there is time.
Barry Tebb |
Here is a silence I had not hoped for
This side of paradise, I am an old believer
In nature’s bounty as God’s grace
To us poor mortals, fretting and fuming
At frustrated lust or the scent of fame
Coming too late to make a difference
Blue with white vertebrae of cloud forms
Riming the spectrum of green dark of poplars
Lined like soldiers, paler the hue of hawthorn
With the heather beginning to bud blue
Before September purple, yellow ragwort
Sways in the wind as distantly a plane hums
And a lazy bee bumbles by.
A day in Brenda’s flat, mostly play with Eydie,
My favourite of her seven cats, they soothe better
Than Diazepan for panic
Seroxat for grief
Zopiclone to make me sleep.
I smoke my pipe and sip blackcurrant tea
Aware of the ticking clock: I have to be back
To talk to my son’s key nurse when she comes on
For the night shift.
Always there are things to sort,
Misapprehensions to untangle, delusions to decipher,
Lies to expose, statistics to disclose, Trust Boards
And team meetings to attend, ‘Mental Health Monthly’
To peruse, funds for my press to raise – the only one
I ever got will leave me out of pocket.
A couple sat on the next bench
Are earnestly discussing child custody, broken marriages,
Failed affairs, social service interventions –
Even here I cannot escape complexity
"I should never have slept with her once we split"
"The kids are what matters when it comes to the bottom line"
"Is he poisoning their minds against me?"
Part of me nags to offer help but I’ve too much
On already and the clock keeps ticking.
"It’s a pity she won’t turn round and clip his ear"
But better not to interfere.
Damn my bloody superego
Nattering like an old woman or Daisy nagging
About my pipe and my loud voice on buses –
No doubt she’s right – smoking’s not good
And hearing about psychosis, medication and end-on-sections
Isn’t what people are on buses for.
I long for a girl in summer, pubescent
With a twinkle in her eye to come and say
"Come on, let’s do it!"
I was always shy in adolescence, too busy reading Baudelaire
To find a decent whore and learn to score
And now I’m probably impotent with depression
So I’d better forget sex and read more of Andr? Green
On metaphor from Hegel to Lacan and how the colloquium
At Bonneval changed analytic history, a mystery
I’ll not unravel if I live to ninety.
Ignorance isn’t bliss, I know enough to talk the piss
From jumped-up SHO’s and locums who’d miss vital side effects
And think all’s needed is a mother’s kiss.
I’ll wait till the heather’s purple and bring nail scissors
To cut and suture neatly and renew my stocks
Of moor momentoes vased in unsunny Surrey.
Can you believe it? Some arseholes letting off fireworks
On the moor? Suburban excesses spread like the sores
Of syphilis and more regulations in a decade of Blair
Than in the century before.
"Shop your neighbours.
Bring birth certificates to A&E
If you want NHS treatment free.
Be careful not to bleed to death
While finding the certificate.
Blunkett wants us all to have ID
Photo cards, genetic codes, DNA database, eye scans, the lot –
And kiss good-bye to the last bits of freedom we’ve got"
"At the end of the day she shopped me and all I’d done
Was take a few pound from the till ’cos Jenny was ill
And I didn’t have thirteen quid to get the bloody prescription done"
To-morrow I’ll be back in the Great Wen,
Two days of manic catching up and then
Thistledown, wild wheat, a dozen kinds of grass,
The mass of beckoning hills I’d love to make
A poet’s map of but never will.
"Oh to break loose" Lowell’s magic lines
Entice me still but slimy Fenton had to have his will
And slate it in the NYB, arguing that panetone
Isn’t tin foil as Lowell thought.
James you are a dreadful bore,
A pedantic creep like hundreds more, five A4 pages
Of sniping and nit-picking for how many greenbacks?
A thousand or two I’d guess, they couldn’t pay you less
For churning out such a king-size mess
But not even you can spoil this afternoon
Of watching Haworth heather bloom.
Jorie Graham |
I watched them once, at dusk, on television, run,
in our motel room half-way through
Nebraska, quick, glittering, past beauty, past
the importance of beauty.
not even hungry, not even endangered, driving deeper and deeper
They leapt up falls, ladders,
and rock, tearing and leaping, a gold river,
and a blue river traveling
in opposite directions.
They would not stop, resolution of will
and helplessness, as the eye
when the image forms itself, upside-down, backward,
driving up into
the mind, and the world
from the deep ocean of the given.
leaves, mother attempting
suicide, the white night-flying moth
the ants dismantled bit by bit and carried in
right through the crack
in my wall.
the still pool is,
awaiting the gold blade
of their hurry.
Once, indoors, a child,
I watched, at noon, through slatted wooden blinds,
a man and woman, naked, eyes closed,
climb onto each other,
on the terrace floor,
and ride--two gold currents
wrapping round and round each other, fastening,
I hardly knew
what I saw.
Whatever shadow there was in that world
it was the one each cast
onto the other,
the thin black seam
they seemed to be trying to work away
I held my breath.
as far as I could tell, the work they did
with sweat and light
they traveled far in opposite
What is the light
at the end of the day, deep, reddish-gold, bathing the walls,
the corridors, light that is no longer light, no longer clarifies,
illuminates, antique, freed from the body of
that air that carries it.
What is it
for the space of time
where it is useless, merely
beautiful? When they were done, they made a distance
one from the other
and slept, outstretched,
on the warm tile
of the terrace floor,
smiling, faces pressed against the stone.
William Topaz McGonagall |
Friends of humanity, of high and low degree,
I pray ye all come listen to me;
And truly I will relate to ye,
The tragic fate of the Rev.
Alexander Heriot Mackonochie.
Who was on a visit to the Bishop of Argyle,
For the good of his health, for a short while;
Because for the last three years his memory had been affected,
Which prevented him from getting his thoughts collected.
'Twas on Thursday, the 15th of December, in the year of 1887,
He left the Bishop's house to go and see Loch Leven;
And he was accompanied by a little skye terrier and a deerhound,
Besides the Bishop's two dogs, that knew well the ground.
And as he had taken the same walk the day before,
The Bishop's mind was undisturbed and easy on that score;
Besides the Bishop had been told by some men,
That they saw him making his way up a glen.
From which a river flows down with a mighty roar,
From the great mountains of the Mamore;
And this route led him towards trackless wastes eastward,
And no doubt to save his life he had struggled very hard.
And as Mr Mackonochie had not returned at dinner time,
The Bishop ordered two men to search for him, which they didn't decline;
Then they searched for him along the road he should have returned,
But when they found him not, they sadly mourned.
And when the Bishop heard it, he procured a carriage and pair,
While his heart was full of woe, and in a state of despair;
He organised three search parties without delay,
And headed one of the parties in person without dismay.
And each party searched in a different way,
But to their regret at the end of the day;
Most unfortunately no discovery had been made,
Then they lost hope of finding him, and began to be afraid.
And as a last hope, two night searches were planned,
And each party with well lighted lamps in hand
Started on their perilous mission, Mr Mackonochie to try and find,
In the midst of driving hail, and the howling wind.
One party searched a distant sporting lodge with right good will,
Besides through brier, and bush, and snow, on the hill;
And the Bishop's party explored the Devil's Staircase with hearts full of woe,
A steep pass between the Kinloch hills, and the hills of Glencoe.
Oh! it was a pitch dark and tempestuous night,
And the searchers would have lost their way without lamp light;
But the brave searchers stumbled along for hours, but slow,
Over rocks, and ice, and sometimes through deep snow.
And as the Bishop's party were searching they met a third party from Glencoe side,
Who had searched bracken and burn, and the country wide;
And sorrow was depicted in each one's face,
Because of the Rev.
Mr Mackonochie they could get no trace.
But on Saturday morning the Bishop set off again,
Hoping that the last search wouldn't prove in vain;
Accompanied with a crowd of men and dogs,
All resolved to search the forest and the bogs.
And the party searched with might and main,
Until they began to think their search would prove in vain;
When the Bishop's faithful dogs raised a pitiful cry,
Which was heard by the searchers near by.
Then the party pressed on right manfully,
And sure enough there were the dogs guarding the body of Mackonochie;
And the corpse was cold and stiff, having been long dead,
Alas! almost frozen, and a wreath of snow around the head.
And as the searchers gathered round the body in pity they did stare,
Because his right foot was stained with blood, and bare;
But when the Bishop o'er the corpse had offered up a prayer,
He ordered his party to'carry the corpse to his house on a bier.
So a bier of sticks was most willingly and quickly made,
Then the body was most tenderly upon it laid;
And they bore the corpse and laid inside the Bishop's private chapel,
Then the party took one sorrowful look and bade the corpse, farewell.