ART OF EUROPE

George Barker - The True Confession of George Barker

I

Today, recovering from influenza,
  I begin, having nothing worse to do,
This autobiography that ends a
  Half of my life I'm glad I'm through.
O Love, what a bloody hullaballoo
  I look back at, shaken and sober,
When that intemperate life I view
  From this temperate October. 

To nineteen hundred and forty-seven
  I pay the deepest of respects,
For during this year I was given
  Some insight into the other sex.
I was a victim, till forty-six,
  Of the rosy bed with bitches in it;
But now, in spite of all pretexts,
  I never sleep a single minute. 

O fellow sailor on the tossing sea,
  O fleeting virgin in the night,
O privates, general in lechery,
  Shun, shun the bedroom like a blight:
Evade, O amorous acolyte,
  That pillow where your heart can bury -
For if the thing was stood upright
 It would become a cemetery. 

I start with this apostrophe
  To all apostles of true love:
With your devotion visit me,
  Give me the glory of the dove
That dies of dereliction. Give
  True love to me, true love to me,
And in two shakes I will prove
  It's false to you and false to me. 

Bright spawner, on your sandbank dwell
  Cold blooded as a plumber's pipe -
The procreatory ocean swell
  Warming, till they're over ripe,
The cockles of your cold heart, will
  Teach us true love can instil
Temperature into any type. 

Does not the oyster in its bed
  Open a yearning yoni when
The full moon passes overhead
  Feeling for pearls? O nothing, then,
Too low a form of life is, when
  Love, abandoning the cloister,
Can animate the bedded oyster,
  The spawning tiddler, and men. 

Thus all of us, the pig and prince,
  The prince and the psychiatrist,
Owe everything to true love, since
  How the devil could we exist
If our parents had never kissed?
  All biographies, therefore, -
No matter what else they evince -
  Open, like prisons, with adore. 

Remember, when you love another,
  Who demonstrably is a bitch,
Even Venus had a mother
  Whose love, like a silent aitch,
Incepted your erotic itch.
  Love, Love has the longest history,
For we can tell an ape his father
  Begot him on a mystery. 

I, born in Essex thirty-four
  Essentially sexual years ago,
Stepped down, looked around, and saw
  I had been cast a little low
In the social register
  For the friends whom I now know.
Is a constable a mister?
  Bob's your uncle, even so. 

Better men than I have wondered
  Why one's father could not see
That at one's birth he had blundered.
  His ill-chosen paternity
Embarrasses the fraternity
  Of one's friends who, living Huysmans,
Understandably have wondered
  At fatherhood permitted policemen. 

So I, the son of an administer
  Of the facts of civil laws
Delight in uncivil and even sinister
  Violations. Thus my cause
Is simply, friend, to hell with yours.
  In misdemeanours I was nourished -
Learnt, like altruists in Westminster,
  By what duplicities one flourished. 

At five, but feeling rather young,
  With a blue eye beauty over six,
Hand in hand and tongue to tongue
  I took a sin upon my sex.
Sin? It was pleasure. So I told her.
  And ever since, persisting in
Concupiscences no bolder
  My pleasure's been to undress sin. 

What's the point of a confession
  If you have nothing to confess?
I follow the perjuring profession -
  O poet, lying to impress! -
But the beautiful lie in a beautiful dress
  Is the least heinous of my transgressions:
When a new one's added, 'O who was it?'
  Sigh the skeletons in my closet. 

Ladybird, ladybird, come home, come home:
  Muse and mistress wherever you are.
The evening is here and in the gloom
  Each bisexual worm burns like a star
And the love of man is crepuscular.
  In the day the world. But, at night, we
Lonely on egoes dark and far
  Apart as worlds, between sea and sea, 

Yearn on each other as the stars hold
  One another in fields together.
O rose of all the world, enfold
  Each weeping worm against the cold
Of the bitter ego's weather;
  To warm our isothermal pride
Cause sometimes, Love, another
  To keep us by an unselfish side. 

The act of human procreation -
  The rutting tongue, the grunt and shudder,
The sweat, the reek of defecation,
  The cradle hanging by the bladder,
The scramble up the hairy ladder,
  And from the thumping bed of Time
Immortality, a white slime,
  Sucking at its mother's udder - 

The act of human procreation -
 The sore dug plugging, the lugged out bub,
The small man priming a lactation,
  The grunt, the drooping teat, the rub
Of gum and dug, the slobbing kiss:
  Behold the mater amabilis,
Sow with a saviour, messiah and cow,
  Virgin and piglet, son and sow: 

The act of human procreation, -
  O crown and flower, O culmination
Of perfect love throughout creation -
  What can I compare it to?
O eternal butterflies in the belly,
  O trembling of the heavenly jelly,
O miracle of birth! Really
  We are excreted, like shit.


II

The Church, mediatrix between heaven
 And human fallibility
Reminds us that the age of seven
 Inaugurates the Reason we
Spend our prolonged seniority
 Transgressing. Of that time I wish
I could recount a better story
 Than finding a shilling and a fish. 

But memory flirts with seven veils
  Peekabooing the accidental
And what the devil it all entails
  Only Sigmund Freud suspects.
I think my shilling and my fish
  Symbolised a hidden wish
To sublimate these two affects:
  Money is nice and so is sex. 

The Angel of Reason, descending
  On my seven year old head
Inscribed this sentence by my bed:
  The pleasure of money is unending
But sex satisfied is sex dead.
  I tested to see if sex died
But, all my effort notwithstanding,
  Have never found it satisfied. 

Abacus of Reason, you have been
  The instrument of my abuse,
The North Star I have never seen,
  The trick for which I have no use:
The Reason, gadget of schoolmasters,
  Pimp of the spirit, the smart alec,
Proud engineer of disasters,
  I see phallic: you, cephalic. 

Happy those early days when I
  Attended an elementary school
Where seven hundred infant lives
  Flittered like gadflies on the stool
(We discovered that contraceptives
  Blown up like balloons, could fly);
We memorised the Golden Rule:
  Lie, lie, lie, lie. 

For God's sake, Barker. This is enough
  Regurgitated obscenities,
Whimsicalities and such stuff.
  Where's the ineffable mystery,
The affiancing to affinities
  Of the young poet? The history
Of an evolving mind's love
  For the miseries and the humanities? 

The sulking and son loving Muse
  Grabbed me when I was nine. She saw
It was a question of self abuse
  Or verses. I tossed off reams before
I cared to recognize their purpose.
  While other urchins were blowing up toads
With pipes of straw stuck in the arse,
  So was I, but I also wrote odes. 

There was a priest, a priest, a priest,
  A Reverend of the Oratory
Who taught me history. At least
  He taught me the best part of his story.
Fat Father William, have you ceased
  To lead boys up the narrow path
Through the doors of the Turkish Bath?
  I hope you're warm in Purgatory. 

And in the yard of the tenement -
  The Samuel Lewis Trust - I played
While my father, for the rent
  (Ten bob a wekk and seldom paid),
Trudged London for a job. I went
  Skedaddling up the scanty years,
My learning, like the rent, in arrears,
  But sometimes making the grade. 

Oh boring kids! In spite of Freud
  I find my childhood recollections
Much duller now than when I enjoyed
  It. The whistling affections,
All fitting wrong, toy railway sections
  Running in circles. Cruel as cats
Even the lower beasts avoid
  These inhumanitarian brats. 

Since the Age of Reason's seven
  And most of one's friends over eight,
Therefore they're reasonable? Even
  Sensible Stearns or simpleton Stephen
Wouldn't claim that. I contemplate
  A world which, at crucial instants,
Surrenders to adulterant infants
  The adult onus to think straight. 

At the bottom of this murky well
  My childhood, like a climbing root,
Nursed in dirt the simple cell
  That pays itself this sour tribute.
Track any poet to a beginning
  And in a dark room you will find
A little boy intent on sinning
  With an etymological lover. 

I peopled my youth with the pulchritude
  Of heterae noun-anatomised;
The literature that I prized
  Was anything to do with the nude
Spirit of creative art
  Who whispered to me: 'Don't be queasy.
Simply write about a tart
  And there she is. The rest's easy.' 

And thus, incepted in congenial
  Feebleness of moral power
I became a poet. Venial
  As a human misdemeanour,
Still, it gave me, prisoner
  In my lack of character,
Pig to the Circean Muse's honour.
  Her honour? Why, it's lying on her. 

Dowered, invested and endowed
  With every frailty is the poet -
Yielding to wickedness because
  How the hell else can he know it?
The tempted poet must be allowed
  All ethical latitude. His small flaws
Bring home to him, in sweet breaches,
  The moral self indulgence teaches. 

Where was I? Running, so to speak,
  To the adolescent seed? I
Found my will power rather weak
  And my appetite rather greedy
About the year of the General Strike,
  So I struck, as it were, myself:
Refused to do anything whatsover, like
  Exercise books on a shelf. 

Do Youth and Innocence prevail
  Over that cloudcuckoo clime
Where the seasons never fail
  And the clocks forget the time?
Where the peaks of the sublime
  Crown every thought; where every vale
Has its phantasy and phantasm
  And every midnight its orgasm? 

I mooned into my fourteenth year
  Through a world pronouncing harsh
Judgments I could not quite hear
  About my verse, my young moustasche
And my bad habits. In Battersea Park
  I almost heard strangers gossip
About my poems, almost remark
  The bush of knowledge on my lip. 

Golden Calf, Golden Calf, where are you now
  Who lowed so mournfully in the dense
Arcana of my adolescence?
  No later anguish of bull or cow
Could ever be compared with half
  The misery of the amorous calf
Moonstruck in moonshine. How could I know
  You can't couple Love with any sense? 

Poignant as a swallowed knife,
  Abstracted as a mannequin,
Remote as music, touchy as skin,
  Apotheosising life
Into an apocalypse,
  Young Love, taking Grief to wife,
And tasting the bitterness of her lips
  Forgets it comes from swabbing gin. 

The veils descend. The unknown figure
  Is sheeted in the indecencies
Of shame and boils. The nose gets bigger,
  The private parts, haired like a trigger,
Cock at a dream. The infant cries
  Abandoned in its discarded larva,
Out of which steps, with bloodshot eyes,
  The man, the man, crying Ave, Ave! 


III

That Frenchman really had the trick
  Of figure skating in this stanza
But I, thank God, cannot read Gallic
  And so escape his influenza.
Above my head his rhetoric
  Asks emulation. I do not answer.
It is as though I had not heard
  Because I cannot speak a word. 

But I invoke him, dirty dog,
  As one barker to another:
Lift over me your clever leg,
  Teach me, you snail-swallowing frog
To make out of a spot of bother
  Verses that shall catalogue
Every exaggerated human claim,
  Every exaggerated human aim. 

I entreat you, frank villain,
  Get up out of your bed of dirt
And guide my hand. You are still an
  Irreprehensible expert
At telling Truth she's telling lies.
  Get up liar; get up, cheat,
Look the bitch square in the eyes
  And you'll see what I entreat. 

We share, frog, much the same well.
  I sense your larger spectre down
Here among the social swill
  Moving at ease beside my own
And the muckrakers I have known.
  No, not the magnitude I claim
That makes your shade loom like a tall
  Memorial but the type's the same. 

You murdered with a knife, but I
  Like someone out of Oscar Wilde
Commemorate with a child
  The smiling victims as they die
Slewing in kisses and the lie
  Of generation. But we both killed.
I rob the grave you glorify,
  You glorify where I defiled. 

O most adult adulterer
  Preside, now, coldly over
My writing hand, as to it crowd
  The images of those unreal years
That, like a curtain, seem to stir
  Guiltily over what they cover -
Those unreal years, dreamshot and proud,
  When the vision first appears. 

The unveiled vision of all things
  Walking towards us as we stand
And giving us, in either hand,
  The knowledge that the world brings
To those her most beloved, those
  Who, when she strikes with her wings,
Stand rooted, turned into a rose
  By terrestrial understandings. 

Come, sulking woman, bare as water,
  Dazzle me now as you dazzled me
When, blinded by your nudity,
  I saw the sex of the intellect,
The idea of the beautiful.
  The beautiful to which I, later,
Gave only mistrust and neglect,
  The idea no dishonour can annul. 

Vanquished aviatrix, descend
  Again, long vanished vision whom
I have not known so long, assume
  Your former bright prerogative,
Illuminate, guide and attend
  Me now. O living vision, give
The grave, the verity; and send
  The spell that makes the poem live. 

I sent a letter to my love
  In an envelope of stone,
And in between the letters ran
  A crying torrent that began
To grow till it was bigger than
  Nyanza or the heart of man.
I sent a letter to my love
  In an envelope of stone. 

I sent a present to my love
  In a black bordered box,
A clock that beats a time of tears
  As the stricken midnight nears
And my love weeps as she hears
  The armageddon of the years.
I sent my love the present
  In a black bordered box. 

I sent a liar to my love
  With his hands full of roses
But she shook her yellow and curled
  Curled and yellow hair and cried
The rose is dead of all the world
  Since my only love has lied.
I sent a liar to my love
  With roses in his hands. 

I sent a daughter to my love
  In a painted cradle.
She took her up at her left breast
  And rocked her to a mothered rest
Singing a song that what is best
  Loves and loves and forgets the rest.
I sent a daughter to my love
  In a painted cradle. 

I sent a letter to my love
  On a sheet of stone.
She looked down and as she read
  She shook her yellow hair and said
Now he sleeps alone instead
  Of many a lie in many a bed.
I sent a letter to my love
  On a sheet of stone. 

O long-haired virgin by my tree
  Among whose forks hung enraged
A sexual passion not assuaged
  By you, its victim - knee to knee,
Locked sweating in the muscled dark
  Lovers, as new as we were, spill
The child on grass in Richmond Park. 

Crying the calf runs wild among
  Hills of the heart are memories:
Long long the white kiss of the young
  Rides the lip and only dies
When the whole man stalks among
  The crosses where remorse lies -
Then, then the vultures on the tongue
  Rule empires of white memories. 

Legendary water, where, within
  Gazing, my own face I perceive,
How can my self-disgust believe
  This was my angel at seventeeen?
Stars, stars and the world, seen
  Untouched by crystal. Retrieve
The morning star what culprit can
  Who knows his blood spins in between? 

Move backward, loving rover, over
  All those unfeathered instances
I tar with kiss of pitch, the dirty
  Lip-service that a jaded thirty
Renders its early innocences.
  Pointer of recollection, show
The deaths in feather that now cover
  The tarry spot I died below. 

What sickening snot-engendered bastard
  Likes making an idiot of himself?
I wish to heaven I had mastered
  The art of living like a dastard
While still admiring oneself.
  About my doings, past and recent,
I hear Disgust - my better half -
  'His only decency's indecent.' 

Star-fingered shepherdess of Sleep
  Come, pacify regret, remorse;
And let the suffering black sheep
  Weep on the bed it made. Let pause
The orphic criminal to perceive
  That in the venue of his days
All the crimes look back and grieve
  Over lies no grief allays. 

Sleep at my side again, my bride,
  As on our marriage bed you turned
Into a flowering bush that burned
  All the proud flesh away. Beside
Me now, you, shade of my departed
  Broken, abandoned bride, lie still,
And I shall hold you close until
  Even our ghosts are broken hearted. 

So trusting, innocent, and unknowing
  What the hazards of the world
Storm and strike a marriage with,
  We did not hear the grinders blowing
But sailed our kisses round the world
  Ignorant of monsters and the vaster
Cemetery of innocence. This wreath
  Dreams over our common disaster. 

But bright that nuptials to me now
  As when, the smiling foetus carried
Rose-decked today instead of tomorrow,
  Like country cousins we were married
By the pretty bullying embryo
  And you, my friend: I will not borrow
Again the serge suit that I carried
  Through honey of moon to sup of sorrow. 

Loving the hand, gentle the reproving;
  Loving the heart, deeper the understanding;
Deeper the understanding, larger the confiding
  For the hurt heart's hiding.
Forgiving the hand, love without an ending
  Walks back on water; giving and taking
Both sides become by simple comprehending:
  Deeper the love, greater the heart at breaking. 


IV

O Bishop Andrewes, Bishop Berkeley,
  John Peale Bishop and Bishop's Park,
I look through my ego darkly
  But all that I perceive is dark:
Episcopally illuminate
  My parochial testaments
And with your vestal vested vestments
  Tenderly invest my state. 

Let grace, like lace, descend upon me
  And dignify my wingless shoulder:
Let Grace, like space, lie heavy on me
  And make me seem a little older,
A little nobler; let Grace sidle
  Into my shameful bed, and, curling
About me in a psychic bridal,
  Prove that even Grace is a darling. 

The moon is graceful in the sky,
  The bird is graceful in the air,
The girl is graceful too, so why
  The devil should I ever care
Capitulating to despair?
  Since Grace is clearly everywhere
And I am either here or there
  I'm pretty sure I've got my share. 

Grace whom no man ever held,
  Whose breast no human hand has pressed,
Grace no lover has undressed
  Because she's naked as a beast -
Grace will either gild or geld.
  Sweet Grace abounding into bed
Jumps to it hot as a springald -
  After a brief prayer is said. 

Come to me, Grace, and I will take
  You close into my wicked hands,
And when you come, make no mistake,
  I'll disgrace you at both ends.
We'll grace all long throughout the night
  And as the morning star looks in
And blanches at the state we're in -
  We'll grace again to be polite. 

For Marriage is a state of grace.
  So many mutual sacrifices
Infallibly induce a peace
  Past understanding or high prices.
So many forgivenesses for so many
  Double crossings or double dealings -
I know that the married cannot have any
  But the most unselfish feelings. 

But the wise Church, contemplating
  The unnatural demands
That marriage and the art of mating
  Make on egoists, commands
We recognise as sacramental
  A union otherwise destined
To break in every anarchic wind
  Broken by the temperamental. 

Off the Tarpeian, for high treason,
  Tied in a bag with a snake and a cock,
The traitor trod the Roman rock.
  But in the bag, for a better reason,
The married lovers, cock and snake,
  Lie on a Mount of Venus. Traitor
Each to each, fake kissing fake,
  So punished by a betrayed creator. 

'The willing union of two lives.'
  This is, the Lords of Justice tell us,
The purpose of the connubial knot.
  But I can think of only one
Function that at best contrives
  To join the jealous with the jealous,
And what this function joins is not
  Lives, but the erogenous zone. 

I see the young bride move among
  The nine-month trophies of her pride,
And though she is not really young
  And only virtually a bride,
She knows her beauties now belong
  With every other treasure of her
Past and future, to her lover:
  But her babies work out wrong. 

I see the bridegroom in his splendour
  Rolling like an unbridalled stallion,
Handsome, powerful and tender,
  And passionate as an Italian -
And nothing I could say would lend a
  Shock of more surprise and pride
Than if I said that this rapscallion
  Was necking with his legal bride. 

I knew a beautiful courtesan
  Who, after service, would unbosom
Her prettier memories, like blossom,
  At the feet of the weary man:
'I'm such a sensitive protoplasm,'
  She whispered, when I was not there,
'That I experience an orgasm
  If I touch a millionaire.' 

Lying with, about, upon,
  Everything and everyone,
Every happy little wife
  Miscegenates once in a life,
And every pardonable groom
  Needs, sometimes, a change of womb,
Because, although damnation may be,
  Society needs every baby. 

It takes a sacrament to keep
  Any man and woman together:
Birds of a forgivable feather
  Always flock and buck together:
And in our forgivable sleep
  What birdwatcher will know whether
God Almighty sees we keep
  Religiously to one another? 

I have often wondered what method
  Governed the heavenly mind when
It made as audience to God
  The sycophant, the seaman sod,
The solipsist - in short, men.
  Even the circus stepping mare
Lifts her nose into the air
  In the presence of this paragon. 

For half a dozen simple years
  We lived happily, so to speak,
On twenty-seven shillings a week;
  And, when worried and in tears,
My mercenary wife complained
  That we could not afford our marriage,
'It's twice as much,' I explained,
  'As MacNeice pays for his garage.' 

I entertained the Marxian whore -
  I am concerned with economics,
And naturally felt that more
  Thought should be given to our stomachs.
But when I let my fancy dwell
  On anything below the heart,
I found my thoughts, and hands as well,
  Resting upon some private part. 

I sat one morning on the can
  That served us for a lavatory
Composing some laudatory
  Verses on the state of man:
My wife called from the kitchen dresser:
  'There's someone here from Japan.
He wants you out there. As Professor.
  Oh, yes. The War just began.' 

So Providence engineered her
  Circumstantial enigmas,
And the crown of the objector
  Was snatched from me. In wars
The conscientious protester
  Preserves, as worlds sink to force,
The dignified particular.
  Particularly one, of course. 

'The hackneyed rollcall of chronology' -
  Thus autobiography to de Quincey.
And I can understand it, since he
  Lived like a footnote to philology.
But the archangelic enumeration
  Of unpredictable hejiras -
These, with a little exaggeration,
  I can adduce for my admirerers. 

And so, when I saw you, nightmare island,
  Fade into the autumnal night,
I felt the tears rise up for my land,
  But somehow these tears were not quite
As sick as when my belly laughed
  Remembering England had given me
The unconditional liberty
  To do a job for which I starved. 


V

Almighty God, by whose ill will
  I was created with a conscience;
By whose merciful malevolence
  I shall be sustained until
My afflictions fulfil
  His victories; by whose dispensation
Whatever I have had of sense
  Has obfuscated my salvation - 

Good God, grant that, in reviewing
  My past life, I may remember
Everything I did worth doing
  Seemed rather wicked in pursuing:
Grant, Good God, I shall have remitted
  Those earthly pleasures beyond number
I necessarily omitted,
  Exhausted by the ones committed. 

Good God, let me recollect
  Your many mercies, tall and short,
The blousy blondes, the often necked,
  And those whom I should not have thought
Given wisely to me; nor let forget
  My grateful memory the odd
Consolers, too frequently brunette,
  Who charged me for your mercies, God. 

Good God, let me so recall
  My grave omissions and commissions
That I may repent them all, -
  The places, faces and positions;
Together with the few additions
  A feeble future may instal.
Good God, only mathematicians
  Consider Love an ordinal. 

Good God, so wisely you provided
  The loving heart I suffer with,
That I am constantly divided
  By a deep love for all beneath
Me. Every man knows well
  He rides his own whores down to hell,
But, good God, every knackered horse
  Was, originally, yours. 

Good God, receive my thanksgiving
  For all the wonders I have seen
(And all the blunders in between)
  In my thirty odd years of living.
I have seen the morning rise
  And I have seen the evening set -
Anything different would surprise
  Me even more profoundly yet. 

Good God, receive my gratitude
  For favours undeserved: accept
This truly heartfelt platitude:
  You gave me too much latitude
And so I hanged myself. I kept
  Your mercy, Good God, in a box
But out at midnight Justice crept
  And axed me with a paradox. 

O loving kindness of the knife
  That cuts the proud flesh from the rotten
Ego and cuts the rotten life
  Out of the rotten bone! No, not an
Ounce of sparrow is forgotten
  As that butchering surgeon cuts
And rummages among my guts
  To succour what was misbegotten. 

I confess, my God, this lonely
  Derelict of a night, when I
And not the conscious I only
  Feel all the responsibility -
(But the simple and final fact
  That we are better than we act,
For this fortunate windfall
  We are not responsible at all) - 

I confess, my God, that in
  The hotbed of the monkey sin
I saw you through a guilt of hair
  Standing lonely as a mourner
Silent in the bedroom corner
  Knowing you need not be there:
I saw the genetic man had torn
  A face away from your despair. 

I confess, my God, my Good,
  I have not wholly understood
The nature of our holiness:
  The striking snake errs even less
Not questioning; the physicist
  Not asking why all things exist
Serves better than those who advance a
  Question to which life's the answer. 

But, O my God, the human purpose
  If at all I can perceive
A purpose in the life I live,
  Is to hide in the glass horse
Of our doubt until the pity
  Of heaven opens up a city
Of absolute belief to us,
  Because our silence is hideous 

And our doubt more miserable
  Than certainty of the worst would be.
Like infinity pitiable
  Ghosts who do not even know
They waver between reality
  And unreality, we go
About our lives and cannot see
  Even why we suffer so. 

I know only that the heart
  Doubting every real thing else
Does not doubt the voice that tells
  Us that we suffer. The hard part
At the dead centre of the soul
  Is an age of frozen grief
No vernal equinox of relief
  Can mitigate, and no love console. 

Then, O my God, by the hand
  This star-wandering grief takes
The world that does not understand
  Its own miseries and mistakes
And leads it home. Not yet, but later
  To lean an expiated head
On the shoulder of a creator
  Who knows where all troubles lead. 


VI

I looked into my heart to write.
  In that red sepulchre of lies
I saw that all man cherishes
  Goes proud, rots and perishes
Till through that red room pitiless night
  Trails only knife-tongued memories
To whose rags cling, shrieking, bright
  Unborn and aborted glories. 

And vinegar the mirages
  That, moaning they were possible
Charge me with the unholy No.
  The unaccomplished issue rages
Round the ringed heart like a bull
  Bellowing for birth. But even so
Remorselessly the clock builds ages
  Over its lifeless embryo. 

Ruined empire of dissipated time,
  Perverted aim, abused desire, 
The monstrous amoeba cannot aspire
  But sinks down into the cold slime
Of Eden as Ego. It is enough
  To sink back in the primal mud
Of the first person. For what could
  Equal the paradise of Self Love? 

The necessary angel is
  The lie. Behind, us, all tongue splayed,
The lie triumphant and tremendous
  Shields us from what we are afraid
Of seeing when we turn - the Abyss
  Giving back a face of small
Twisted fear - and this is all,
  To conquer the lie, that we possess. 

Come, corybantic self-delusion,
  And whisper such deceptions to 
Me now that I will not care who
  Or what you are, save palliation
Of the question marked heart. Let rest
  The harp and horror horned head upon
That green regenerative breast
  By whose great law we still live on. 

Now from my window looking down
  I see the lives of those for whom
My love has still a little room
  Go suffering by. I see my own
Stopped, like a stair carpet, at this story
  Not worth the telling. O memory
Let the gilded images of joys known
  Return, and be consolatory! 

Bitter and broken as the morning
  Valentine climbs the glaciered sky
With a spike in his foot. The lover's warning
  Blazes a sunrise on our misery:
Look down, look down, and see our grey
  And loveless rendezvous, Valentine:
Fold, then, in grief and cast away
  The love that is not yours or mine. 

Of this day of the innocent
  And happy lovers, let me praise
The grotesque bestiary of those
  Who love too much. Monsters invent
Monster, like babies gypsies raise
  In odd bottles for freak shows -
Those love too deeply for the skin.
  Whose bottle are you monster in? 

The grotesque bestiary where
  Coiled the pythoness of sighs,
To keep a beast within her there
  Crushes him in her clutch of vice
Till, misshapen to her passion, dead,
  The lion of the heart survives
By suffering kisses into knives
  And a spiked pit into a bed. 

Stand in your sad and golden haired
  Accusation about me now,
My sweet seven misled into life.
  Oh had the hot headed seaman spared
Those breast-baring ova on their bough,
  There'd been no aviary of my grief,
No sweet seven standing up in sorrow
  Uttering songs of joy declared 

Of joy declared, as bird extol
  The principle of natural pleasure
Not knowing why. Declare to all
  Who disbelieve it, that delight
Naturally inhabits the soul.
  I look down at you to assure
My sense of wrong: but you declare
  Whatever multiplies is right. 

I looked into my heart to write.
  But when I saw that cesspit twisted
With the disgusting laws that live
  In royal domination under
The surface of our love, that writhe
  Among our prizes, they attested
The putrefaction of our love
  Spoils the spawner of its grandeur. 


VII

Today, the twenty-sixth of February,
  I, halfway to the minute through
The only life I want to know,
  Intend to end this rather dreary
Joke of an autobiography.
  Thirty-five years is quite enough
Of one's own company. I grow
  A bit sick of the terrestial stuff. 

And the celestial nonsense. Swill
  Guzzle and copulate and guzzle
And copulate and swill until
  You break up like a jigsaw puzzle
Shattered with smiles. The idiotic
  Beatitude of the sow in summer
Conceals a gibbering neurotic
  Sowing hot oats to get warmer. 

Look on your handwork, Adam, now
  As I on mine, and do not weep.
The detritus is us. But how
  Could you and I ever hope to keep
That glittering sibyl bright who first
  Confided in us, perfect, once,
The difference between the best and the worst?
  That vision is our innocence. 

But we shall step into our grave
  Not utterly divested of
The innocence our nativity
  Embodies a god in. O bear,
Inheritors, all that you have,
  The sense of good, with much care
Through the dirty street of life
  And the gutter of our indignity. 

I sense the trembling in my hand
  Of that which will not ever lower
Its bright and pineal eye and wing
  To any irony, nor surrender
The dominion of my understanding
  To that Apollyonic power
Which, like the midnight whispering
  Sun, surrounds us with dark splendour. 

Enisled and visionary, mad
  Alive, in the catacomb of the heart,
O lonely diviner, lovely diviner, impart
  The knowledge of the good and the bad
To us in our need. Emblazon
  Our instincts upon your illumination
So that the rot's revealed, and the reason
  Shown crucified upon our desolation. 

You, all whom I coldly took
  And hid my head and horns among,
Shall go caterwauling down with me
  Like a frenzy of chained doves. For, look!
We wailing ride down eternity
  Tongue-tied together. We belong
To those with whom we shook the suck
  And dared an antichrist to be. 

Get rags, get rags, all angels, all
  Laws, all principles, all deities,
Get rags, come down and suffocate
  The orphan in its flaming cradle,
Snuff the game and the candle, for our state -
  Insufferable among mysteries -
Makes the worms weep. Abate, abate
  Your justice. Execute us with mercies!