Bashõ

HAIKU
(from the Japanese by DL Upton, 1972)

still pond -
frog:
splash!

 

Syd Barrett

LITTLE TWIG

Little Twig isn’t big
To you, but she is
To me.
But however I don’t like it
When she makes faces.
And she seldom talks
When we go to places
And meet people
And sit around.
But she prances at dances
Gets crushes, takes chances
With boys. Wears a hat
No shoes, and they flatter her
Madly. What of that?
Neat, maroon, blue and white
Lace and chord, velvet. Might
Even keep her coat on if its right.
Next week
All change
To purple
Or black
Perhaps.

John Betjeman, Louis MacNeice, W H Auden

EROTIC POEM

I often think that I would like
To be the saddle of a bike

 

William Blake

MERLIN'S PROPHECY

the harvest shall flourish in wintry weather
when two virginities meet together

the King and the Priest must be tied in a tether
before two virgins can meet together

 

POEM FROM THE "ROSETTI" MANUSCRIPT

they say this mystery shall never cease:
the priest promotes war and the soldier peace

 

AUGURIES OF INNOCENCE

To see a World in a Grain of Sand 
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour. 

A Robin Red breast in a Cage 
Puts all Heaven in a Rage. 
A dove house fill'd with doves & Pigeons 
Shudders Hell thro' all its regions. 
A dog starv'd at his Master's Gate 
Predicts the ruin of the State. 
A Horse misus'd upon the Road 
Calls to Heaven for Human blood. 
Each outcry of the hunted Hare 
A fibre from the Brain does tear. 
A Skylark wounded in the wing, 
A Cherubim does cease to sing. 
The Game Cock clipp'd and arm'd for fight 
Does the Rising Sun affright. 
Every Wolf's & Lion's howl 
Raises from Hell a Human Soul. 
The wild deer, wand'ring here & there, 
Keeps the Human Soul from Care. 
The Lamb misus'd breeds public strife 
And yet forgives the Butcher's Knife. 
The Bat that flits at close of Eve 
Has left the Brain that won't believe. 
The Owl that calls upon the Night 
Speaks the Unbeliever's fright. 
He who shall hurt the little Wren 
Shall never be belov'd by Men. 
He who the Ox to wrath has mov'd 
Shall never be by Woman lov'd. 
The wanton Boy that kills the Fly 
Shall feel the Spider's enmity. 
He who torments the Chafer's sprite 
Weaves a Bower in endless Night. 
The Catterpillar on the Leaf 
Repeats to thee thy Mother's grief. 
Kill not the Moth nor Butterfly, 
For the Last Judgement draweth nigh. 
He who shall train the Horse to War 
Shall never pass the Polar Bar. 
The Beggar's Dog & Widow's Cat, 
Feed them & thou wilt grow fat. 
The Gnat that sings his Summer's song 
Poison gets from Slander's tongue. 
The poison of the Snake & Newt 
Is the sweat of Envy's Foot. 
The poison of the Honey Bee 
Is the Artist's Jealousy. 
The Prince's Robes & Beggars' Rags 
Are Toadstools on the Miser's Bags. 
A truth that's told with bad intent 
Beats all the Lies you can invent. 
It is right it should be so; 
Man was made for Joy & Woe; 
And when this we rightly know 
Thro' the World we safely go. 
Joy & Woe are woven fine, 
A Clothing for the Soul divine; 
Under every grief & pine 
Runs a joy with silken twine. 
The Babe is more than swadling Bands; 
Throughout all these Human Lands 
Tools were made, & born were hands, 
Every Farmer Understands. 
Every Tear from Every Eye 
Becomes a Babe in Eternity. 
This is caught by Females bright 
And return'd to its own delight. 
The Bleat, the Bark, Bellow & Roar 
Are Waves that Beat on Heaven's Shore. 
The Babe that weeps the Rod beneath 
Writes Revenge in realms of death. 
The Beggar's Rags, fluttering in Air, 
Does to Rags the Heavens tear. 
The Soldier arm'd with Sword & Gun, 
Palsied strikes the Summer's Sun. 
The poor Man's Farthing is worth more 
Than all the Gold on Afric's Shore. 
One Mite wrung from the Labrer's hands 
Shall buy & sell the Miser's lands: 
Or, if protected from on high, 
Does that whole Nation sell & buy. 
He who mocks the Infant's Faith 
Shall be mock'd in Age & Death. 
He who shall teach the Child to Doubt 
The rotting Grave shall ne'er get out. 
He who respects the Infant's faith 
Triumph's over Hell & Death. 
The Child's Toys & the Old Man's Reasons 
Are the Fruits of the Two seasons. 
The Questioner, who sits so sly, 
Shall never know how to Reply. 
He who replies to words of Doubt 
Doth put the Light of Knowledge out. 
The Strongest Poison ever known 
Came from Caesar's Laurel Crown. 
Nought can deform the Human Race 
Like the Armour's iron brace. 
When Gold & Gems adorn the Plow 
To peaceful Arts shall Envy Bow. 
A Riddle or the Cricket's Cry 
Is to Doubt a fit Reply. 
The Emmet's Inch & Eagle's Mile 
Make Lame Philosophy to smile. 
He who Doubts from what he sees 
Will ne'er believe, do what you Please. 
If the Sun & Moon should doubt 
They'd immediately Go out. 
To be in a Passion you Good may do, 
But no Good if a Passion is in you. 
The Whore & Gambler, by the State 
Licenc'd, build that Nation's Fate. 
The Harlot's cry from Street to Street 
Shall weave Old England's winding Sheet. 
The Winner's Shout, the Loser's Curse, 
Dance before dead England's Hearse. 
Every Night & every Morn 
Some to Misery are Born. 
Every Morn & every Night 
Some are Born to sweet Delight. 
Some ar Born to sweet Delight, 
Some are born to Endless Night. 
We are led to Believe a Lie 
When we see not Thro' the Eye 
Which was Born in a Night to Perish in a Night 
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light. 
God Appears & God is Light 
To those poor Souls who dwell in the Night, 
But does a Human Form Display 
To those who Dwell in Realms of day.

 

LONDON

I wander thro' each charter'd street.
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear

How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every blackning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse

Marlon Brando

I'D LIKE A HAREM OF GIRLS

I'd like a harem of girls.
A nice round fat pink one
        I would chase round the room
        and pinch.
One for roller-skating,
One for an afternoon in a barn.
All kinds of girls.
All sizes. All shapes.
        All colourings.

Joseph Brodsky

MAY 24 1980

I have braved, for want of wild beasts, steel cages,
carved my term and nickname on bunks and rafters,
lived by the sea, flashed aces in an oasis,
dined with the-devil-knows-whom, in tails, on truffles.
From the height of a glacier I beheld half a world, the earthly
width. Twice have drowned, thrice let knives rake my nitty-gritty.
Quit the country that bore and nursed me.
Those who forgot me would make a city.
I have waded the steppes that saw yelling Huns in saddles,
worn the clothes nowadays back in fashion in every quarter,
planted rye, tarred the roofs of pigsties and stables,
guzzled everything save dry water.
I've admitted the sentries' third eye into my wet and foul
dreams. Munched the bread of exile: its stale and warty.
Granted my lungs all sounds except the howl;
switched to a whisper. Now I am forty.
What should I say about life? That it's long and abhors transparence.
Broken eggs make me grieve; the omelette, though, makes me vomit.
Yet until brown clay has been crammed down my larynx,
only gratitude will be gushing from it.

Jane Bryant

THE SHARING OF YELLOW FLOWERS

Talking of marigolds
have you seen the evening sky
above our buried heads;
how the wind takes our voices
across the field to the road.
Tiptoeing our conversation
through silence and chatter
I recognise the taste and sound
of every word or space.

The sharing of moments
is easier than the sharing of yellow flowers.

And how quickly the prevalence of marking time
is followed by the storm.

Kate Bush
(Catherine Bush, aged 13-14, Form III, 1971-72)

BLIND JOE DEATH

The globe spins,
Dragging collisions of clutches, to the end.
Blind Joe Death staggers to the instrument
And caresses the soft wood of the neck.
He guides the dizzy fingers through
The mist of Melancholy melody.
Blind Joe Death grins at Fahey
And moves the cap up the strings.
He stops.
Blind Joe Death dies.
He falls onto the round Persian mat
And swings the needle off the turntable.
Fahey sleeps.

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