No 4 - 1975
In Memoariam W. H. Auden
Draw back the sackcloth from the windows.
Lock the revolver in the desk drawer.
Another kind of silence
is entering at the open door.
In the writing lamp’s circumference,
within the ambient dust,
a concentration is lost.
Throw the dust-sheets over the Cave of Making.
Pile the thirteen volumes of the Dictionary
alphabetically upon the floor.
Archaism returns to the antiquary,
logodaedaly to the ad-men and the Law.
The leaves are silent. These oracles are dumb,
and history all that mystery can become.
Light a candle in Kirkstetten.
Let Aedes Christi ring his passing bell.
He turned — the inevitable had a smell
of gas — to certain uncertainty:
for Christ has no alibi.
Nowhere Grace dances, or in
the ungracious ways of men.
Send Caliban back to Roy Plomley.
Call Ariel down from the shrouds.
Storm and sweet airs dissolve together,
as that man with the hanging look simply
vanishes into the crowd.
All that it could take the magic took.
His staff lies broken: undrowned his book.
Draw back the canvas from Achilles’ shield.
Take another look at the urchin’s field.
A whole set of assumptions died here,
and ways of soldering things with rhyme.
The true Quest summoned, a deathly bore. He lost no time,
leaving the bright coinage of his lyric style
like a crooked sixpence on a crooked stile.
As the future drills the commodious hills,
let water remember, if limestone forgets,
that nothing saves us, not capital projects,
nor uncials incised in permanent stone;
there is nothing sovereign for our ingenious ills,
only the unlettered days of moderate sunshine,
and a river to walk by, wherein to troll a line.
Record two minutes’ silence on the answer phone.
Post an empty packet on the overnight mail.
Preferring machines to be wasteful — but fun —
a technological ci-devant,
he became an industrial fossil, a leisure zone,
who thought a steamer natural to a lake,
and valued journeys for the time they take.
As the Orators pronounce with pebbles in their mouths,
while Clio turns Yggdrasil to a weeping willow;
as the tannoys in Babel count down towards zero
and the economies abort at your back,
nothing is so apt as his muzak,
the Jubilate from a Kurt Weill band,
a soft shoe shuffle through the Dead Land.
Today will be a rather more ordinary day,
tomorrow’s periodicals hold one less surprise.
Something is missing. Something extra, Audenary.
The air does not recommend itself. The skies
have darkened a shade. For Earth today
was incremented with an ambiguous freight:
brightness to gravity gave his specific weight.
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The