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Fri, Oct. 13th, 2006, 09:42 pm
22by7: three from 'A Primer of Birds'


Cuckoo's first cry, in light April,
Taps at the cool, suspended, ponderous jar
Of maiden blood
Like a finger-tip at a barometer.

The first ribald whoop, as a stolen kiss
Sets the diary trembling.
The orchard flushes. The hairy copse grows faint
With bluebells.

Sudden popping up of a lolling Priapus -
Hooha! Hooha!
Dizzying Milkymaids with innuendo.

Cuckoo jinks in - dowses his hawk-fright crucifix
Over the nest-bird's eye
And leaves his shadow in the egg.

Then his cry flees guilty - woodland to woodland,
Hunted by itself, all day dodging
The dropped double that dogs it.

O Orphan of Orphans! O moon-witted
Ill-bred dud-hawk!
Cavorting on pylons, you and your witchy moll!

With heartless blow on blow all afternoon
He opens hair-fine fractures through the heirloom
Chinaware hearts of spinsters in rose-cottages.

Then comes ducking under gates, pursued by a husband.
Or, invisibly, stately, through the blue shire
Trawls a vista-shimmering shawl of echo.

Later, the pair of them sit hiccoughing,
Chuckling, syncopating, translating
That lewd loopy shout

Into a ghoulish
Double-act, stuttering
Gag about baby-murder.

'Black-back Gull'

Tide sighs and turns over. The black-back gull
Capers from his yoga-sleep
On the far sand-shine. Reality touched him.

The brain-flaying sea-storm's
Old brain wakes up. You see a sun-splinter crystal,
Sharpening clear, lift off inland.

Sea can stay, lazy, sipping
Among mussels. The black-backed gull mounts earth
And crests inland, over his eyes depth,

Bending against wind with the mask-stiff
Solemnity of a mouth
God is trying to speak through.

From a sunken echo-tomb of iron
All the drowned
Gargle over his tongue

Water, stone, wind, almost spoke.

Dispersing, he whisps frailly along
The sand-hills. Opens the lamb's parcel
Finds a caring home

For the cow's afterbirth. Collects
What has slipped from human finger-bones
Into the town-dump.

The sea's wings, black-backed,
Caress the earth. And a cliff-wheel of wind
Is the fairground

Where a salt god laughs. Vomits his laughter
And gulps it back in. Laughs it and gulps it -
Like intestines hanging from the mouth.


This crack-brained African priest creates his own temple ruins
With his cry, with his sacred blade
Rending the veils, opening the throb of God.

Pale Spaniard, your throat thick with death,
Your blood is out of date. The lilac bush
Is no longer the Lord's torture chamber.

Let rip! Sing the score of the stars,
Crash your timbrel hung with negative particles,
Twang the bone guitar of protein!

Your lightning and thunderclap night-voice
Shuts back, with gaggings and splutters,
Into a nun's illuminated book.

And by day you do not exist.


I took out the 'Collected Poems' anthology from the library and I am quite... overwhelmed.

Thu, Jan. 25th, 2007 06:37 am (UTC)

did you ever get through the anthology?
how was it :)