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Comfort Me With Apples: For I Am Sick Of Love.

September 29, 2009

Constantin Brancusi . The Kiss, 1908
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The task this week is a little more demanding than usual and I’ll understand if you don’t feel up to it. I want a Chant Royal on the subject of carnal pleasures. Obviously, it would be presumptuous of me to advise you. I’m in no position to offer advice…but I know a man who is:

By all means sing of love but, if you do,
Please make a rare old proper hullabaloo:
When ladies ask How much do you love me?
The Christian answer is cosi-cosi;
But poets are not celibate divines:
Had Dante said so, who would read his lines?
Be subtle, various, ornamental, clever,
And do not listen to those critics ever
Whose crude provincial gullets crave in books
Plain cooking made still plainer by plain cooks
As though the Muse preferred her half-wit sons:
Good poets have a weakness for bad puns.

–from The Truest Poetry is the most Feigning by W.H. Auden

Clearly, this is a challenge beyond the abilities of the rabble of free-verse merchants who infest the on-line world (and the ‘real’ world, for that matter). This requires a degree of craftsmanship far beyond such footlers and poodle-fakers. Which is why I’m certain that if anyone can rise to the challenge, it’s you lot. And surely, after all, you can do better than this?:

Poets Are Not Celibate Divines

Poets are not celibate divines;
And should you hear a poet say:
“Not for me choice meats and wines,
I must to work; No time for play.”
Note the poet’s tone and eyes:
A poet speaking thus? He lies;
A poet’s no stranger to desire;
He burns within, a steady fire
And only flesh can douse the flame
Flesh that’s bought or flesh for hire:
To feed the senses is no shame.

And after all, what man declines
The chance to brighten up a day?
The Gods are mute and their designs
Are some remote and strange ballet;
Did not the preacher himself advise
Eat, drink and be merry? He was wise.
No puzzle here, no need to enquire,
No need to be shifty, to plot, conspire;
No need to seek to place the blame;
Take her to your bed–retire:
To feed the senses is no shame.

And should love lead to pleasing lines
Be grateful, let the donkeys bray;
We worship all at different shrines
If bed is where you choose to pray
Indulgent Gods will not chastise:
It’s only eunuchs they despise,
The monk and pious, sweaty friar;
The priestess and the canting prior;
The grasping burgher, his sour dame;
These provoke a just God’s ire:
To feed the senses is no shame.

Equip yourself with concubines
From deep Afric and far Cathay;
For work makes blunt but love refines;
Hear your heart and then obey;
Douse your head in wine, baptise
And let the font be women’s thighs;
Of those, what man can ever tire?
Let them be your funeral pyre,
A soft and lovely picture frame
(though the world may hang you higher):
To feed the senses is no shame.

In the stars you’ll see the signs,
The portents all point out the way;
When you must burst the flesh confines
And go from world of light to grey;
It comes to all, this grim demise
But see how love such fate defies
And scorns that damned celestial choir
That would make every rake a liar;
With your hands and lips proclaim
That life contains all you require:
To feed the senses is no shame.

ENVOI

Poets, sometimes you misfire
Erase a verse (or poem entire);
The universe will wipe your name,
‘Til then, whatever may transpire:
To feed the senses is no shame.

84 Comments
  1. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 29, 2009 9:54 AM

    ‘Tis time to scour the cracks and pare the cheese
    And dust with care the wrapper and the rind
    For I am on a promise, if you please
    Of boy and girl engaged in bump and grind
    The itch has turned to scratch has turned to grate
    The foreplay (to a fella means fellate)
    Arouses in me deep felicity
    Her tongue – the goddess Electricity –
    Has more twang than a thousand air guitars
    And as to her rumoured toxicity
    Who cares! She is my Venus, I her Mars

    No sooner have we burned one, than it’s seize
    The sapling! Leather it in fascist bind
    And thus fashion our fagots into trees
    Once more unto the sawmill; crank and wind,
    Be sure to time delivery as “late”
    The lumber boss is keen this time to wait!
    Once more her dazzling motricity
    Eclipses my humble mendicity
    A pauper to the kaisers and the czars
    A cap-in-hand, a curiosity
    Vernacular attempt to conquer Mars

    Some see such strident needs as a disease
    A vile indulgence that can make you blind
    Though Women’s Institutes do sometimes tease
    Unlike Doris, they never pay in kind
    They frown upon the urge to procreate
    And scowl at mistresses who masturbate
    Their masters. Is such pandemicity
    A plot constructed on duplicity?
    The men retire for brandy and cigars
    Served by Sabrina with simplicity
    With one match for Uranus, one for Mars

    A fag; (both lit and fig) I’m on my knees
    Instructed to impale her from behind
    This feat demands a certain expertise
    When one is with a writhing eel entwined
    The point of carnal jousts is to relate
    To knead and prove a malleable soul mate
    To stretch the bounds of eccentricity
    And corporeal elasticity
    The minibar proposes sundry bars
    She unwraps slow, winking complicity
    Eschewing Twix, insisting it be Mars

    Ring-A-Ding-Ding’s an album on Reprise
    Once More Unto The Breach a much-maligned
    War-cry; my strength is fading by degrees
    A jaded Henry and a Frank combined
    Failed bounty-hunter, resigned to my fate
    To search for distant isles to dessicate
    To Doris, column specificity
    Is integral to domesticity
    I’ll leave her, in her quest for superstars
    To promulgate her own publicity:
    “Earthy female seeks rocket trip to Mars”

    ENVOI
    When once again the stalk is strong and straight
    And, panting like a flabby middleweight
    I part the vulva veil mendacity
    Insert the weeping wand veracity
    Thus healing at a stroke the subtle scars
    Inflicted by her grim tenacity
    That maims and and mangles, mutilates and mars

  2. freep permalink
    September 29, 2009 10:01 AM

    Crossed with yours, mishari. A splendid piece of elevated decadence. I like that couplet very much:
    ‘Douse your head in wine, baptise
    And let the font be women’s thighs’

    Might take a while to piece one of these together. Especially since I am far too old to remember how carnal pleasures were performed. Where do you put your legs?

  3. mishari permalink*
    September 29, 2009 10:31 AM

    I should have known that bastard HLM would expose me as the fraud that I am. Stunning work, Hank…

    freep, as modern free-thinkers, we may put our legs (or their legs) any damn where we please (until this bastard government of shysters and dolts passes a law against it).

  4. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 29, 2009 11:39 AM

    @mish: maybe you can magically adjust the fifth stanza, substituting “fading” for “failing”, and “desiccate” for “desecrate”. Ta in advance. And kudos for now. (evaporate!)

    [Sorted, dude–Magical Ed.]

  5. mishari permalink*
    September 29, 2009 12:34 PM

    …in the mean time, in between times, here’s Mowbray’s theme song:

  6. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 29, 2009 5:16 PM

    Skin of Moonlight

    The forest was a cage of birch,
    its limbs of silver bright as stars;
    the forest floor a crackling mulch,
    hemmed in by greenwood’s spectral bars.
    And through the forest, naked, trod
    (her tied-up hair as brown as clod)
    an elfin princess, blue of flesh,
    her skin as soft as spider’s mesh.
    And hunting her, with heart of sin,
    a knight with lust for virgin fresh.
    Her skin of moonlight drew him in.

    This forest now an empty church,
    with roofless canopy of spars,
    devoid of angels, low or arch,
    offers no sanctuary or laws,
    and elfin maidens can but nod
    to evils that will curdle blood.
    The knight undresses in a rush
    as iron mail and metals clash,
    and naked now begins to grin,
    as moonshine on his garments flash.
    Her skin of moonlight draws him in.

    With skin of lunar velvet’s crush,
    this maiden is the prey of Mars,
    and in her final panic’s rush
    the seconds slow to turgid hours,
    the distant stars through Heaven plod
    and Time is nothing, unbegot.
    The Is and Is-Not start to crash
    as existential notions mash,
    and under Heaven’s grinding din
    the knight’s agendas turn to ash.
    Her skin of moonlight draws him in.

    Now from a distant stand of larch
    a chinking like the touch of jars,
    and through the night’s eternal march
    strange birdsong heals all stubborn scars.
    And standing with his clothes unshod,
    his manhood limp, the knight hears God:
    a sound that itches like a rash
    in skeins of thought that catch, un-catch,
    until he ponders clothes of tin
    strewn before that seraphic lass.
    Her skin of moonlight draws him in.

    Now mesmerized like hares in March,
    his mind a sliding bog of tars,
    he’s mindless of the maiden’s lurch
    or that her hands are sprouting claws.
    For this fine bastard, this fine sod,
    this heartless rapist once so mad
    for whorish girls and reefer hash,
    (and only loved if paying cash)
    is mired in trouble to his chin
    as slathering crone’s teeth start to gnash.
    Her skin of moonlight draws him in.

    ENVOI

    In glades of moonbeams moth-folk wish
    such foolish men with minds like fish
    to step into their traps so thin
    for humans are their favoured dish.
    Her skin of moonlight draws him in.

    Jack Brae Curtingstall

  7. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 29, 2009 5:20 PM

    Whew! Was that bloody hard to do. And yes, I cheated and I stumbled and I fell and I got bitten on the arse (more than once) by the dogg, and I am now a sadder and wearier poet, but at least I still have my pride (such as it is)….

    Jack Brae

  8. mishari permalink*
    September 29, 2009 5:54 PM

    Nah, that’s a cracker, Jack…you bozos are making me look like the light-weight simp that I fear I am.

    So my verse isn’t very good. I had a lot on my mind…Iran has missiles aimed at Whitechapel, any one of which could go right up my nose and explode, irradiating my brain with Fanatical Muslimness. 45 MINUTES FROM NOW !!!

    Oh, man…the horror…I could turn into some kind of Swarthy Muslim hankie-head (You’re already a Swarthy Muslim hankie-head, you moron–Ed)…and the progress of Mowbray’s new political party, the Newly Atomised Solent Insolvents (the Nasis) has got me worried.

    Jeesus.. civilisation as we know it could be in jeopardy from MM and his Brown Shorts (Boy Scouts going out of business sale…it’s an ill wind etc ec…) THEY SHALL NOT PASS!!!

  9. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    September 29, 2009 6:10 PM

    The once was a dude called Mishari
    Whose poetry drove a Ferrari
    Not worthy? Aw, shucks.
    My doggerel sucks
    Just like a Land Rover Safari

  10. mishari permalink*
    September 29, 2009 6:22 PM

    Out in the sand and the dust,
    Ferrari’s a bit of a bust;
    A well-found Safari
    Can make my eyes starry;
    In deserts, Land Rover’s a must.

  11. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 29, 2009 7:22 PM

    Well, I’m one better than you
    my car’s a B.. M.. W
    good for a treck
    a Big Mechanical Wreck
    with cocktail bar and outside loo

  12. mishari permalink*
    September 29, 2009 7:55 PM

    The last thing I need
    Is to crap at high speed
    Stuff the loo, keep the bar
    That’s my kind of car.


    IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!!
    Politely Homicidal does not endorse drinking and driving. That is very, very wrong…. First drink, then drive. You know it makes sense…

  13. freep permalink
    September 29, 2009 8:58 PM

    No Reason for Love

    Were Hobbes and Locke and Newton so august,
    So bent on butting hard at thought’s frontier,
    That in their souls there was no room for lust?
    Their minds, engorged with concepts so severe,
    Their deep inheritance, has left us gravel dry;
    Our pulse may beat, but how hard must we lie?
    All day my flesh it yearns for touches light,
    My tongue for taste of skin in liquid night.
    There’s no philosophy as good that could be penned
    No theory that could stretch me to a height.
    This longing has no reason, has no end.

    I know philosophers must earn a crust
    To pay for words and coal and watery beer,
    But luxury and fornication, both, we must
    Have often: thoughts are too austere.
    There’s no analysis can comprehend a thigh
    That’s warm against the loin, no reason why
    The hair that strokes my neck in soft delight,
    The perfume that enfolds me with its might
    Should not all harsh dialectic transcend
    And grant me deepest physical insight.
    This longing has no reason, has no end.

    In high scholastic thinking, love is just
    A necessary labour, entered on to cheer
    The failing appetite; it’s proof against the rust
    Of long exposure to the bitter clear
    Waters of the pool of learning. To try
    To teach the mind how it must feel is high
    In old mens’ teaching to their acolytes:
    Pah! Rot is talked by ageing sybarites;
    They sweat in vain, they have no juice to spend;
    The best they’ll do is stroke their catamites.
    This longing has no reason, has no end.

    The dogs of night take pleasure in the dust
    And with their mates in Venus persevere.
    They bark, they nip, they butt, they mount, they thrust,
    They howl their love like any sonneteer.
    But the yellow men of learning classify,
    They footnote, and they gloss the stimuli.
    Masters and Johnson’s work they know to cite
    And will rehearse the science sans respite.
    From excitement up to plateau is the trend;
    They’ll call the stage of orgasm ‘dynamite’
    But longing has no reason, has no end.

    There’s sure a way to love that’s more robust,
    A path that’s not all fouled with logorrhoea;
    A bed where we can lie for weeks and trust
    We’re not defined by specious scrutineers.
    This private place, it has no termini;
    It’s only there for us to gratify
    Each, all and every sense, and to ignite
    A fire so red and hot and fierce and bright
    We’ll stoke it, stroke it, poke at it my friend,
    And keep it burning beyond Fahrenheit.
    This longing has no reason, has no end.

    ENVOI

    When pedants print their findings, copyright
    They’re welcome to. Their amorous goodnights
    Are gaseous words worth only a fag end.
    There’s no explaining love’s dark meteorites.
    This longing has no reason, has no end.

  14. mishari permalink*
    September 29, 2009 9:33 PM

    I find myself reaching for superlatives and realising that they’re inadequate. You’ve thrown my own effort into stark, pedestrian relief.

    I hope a nights sleep will give me enough inspiration to come up with an effort worthy of slinking along in your (and HLM’s and Jack’s) company. I expect MM, Zeph and XB will be along presently to grind the last handful of my dust beneath your collective chariot wheels…

    No false modesty or fishing here, boys. I just recognise class when I see it. Honestly, freep, if I weren’t a happily married heterosexualist, I’d bloody woo you…and the dogge if neccesary.

  15. freep permalink
    September 29, 2009 9:55 PM

    Mish, no false modesty stuff, but these things are worth doing because they’re hard work and when you’ve finished it you get satisfaction regardless of whether it’s a goer. And you give us a good site to do it, complete with pylons and jelly, encouragement and insults . Thanks for the task.
    The chant royal is a bit like topiary on a large tree, done with a nail scissors and a wobbly stepladder. What I don’t get is how HLM turned one in a hymn to Doris at (apparently) five minutes notice. Liked Jack’s touch of the faerie very much.
    If you woo my dogge you will regret it, as you will catch something.

  16. mishari permalink*
    September 29, 2009 10:08 PM

    Thing is, freep,works like this one always remind me that you really are in a class of your own.

    I mean, all of the gang scale the heights quite regularly but no matter how quickly or how often I reach the summit, I inevitably discover you comfortably esconced on the peak, dogge at your feet.

    When I went through the years worth of Poster Poems for the (now seemingly mythical) Anthology, I discovered lots of great stuff from the usual suspects–Zeph, Baron, HLM, MM, para, Al, PinkRoom et al…but I soon came to the conclusion that you should have an anthology of your own to do the range and breadth of your work justice.

    I take my hat off, daddy-o… you’re my hero. When I grow up, I want to be just like you.

  17. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 29, 2009 10:40 PM

    Seconded. Still stunned at how quickly HLM produced his fabulous piece. I’m inching through my effort and experiencing some shrinkage in this company.

  18. mishari permalink*
    September 29, 2009 10:44 PM

    I wonder if I’m hallucinating. I’m watching Brown making a scathing attack on ‘light touch regulation’ and laisezz faire crony capitalism, for all the world as if he hadn’t spent the last 12 years licking the boots of Goldman Sachs and their ilk.

    He keeps blethering on about ‘change’, desperately needed change. If one didn’t know better one would assume that Brown was the leader of the Opposition, hoping to finally have a go at the levers of power. I’m too disgusted to even be angry…depressing stuff

  19. September 29, 2009 10:53 PM

    Give me about a year and I’ll maybe come up with a royal ballad vaguely worthy of posting, I’m quite astounded at the quality and speed of the poetry reply here chaps. Mind you I’m only programmed for two verses…

    Seems I completely missed the “rock” theme at PP whilst lounging on a Cornish beach…a different kind of rock I suppose, but I was more interested in the pasties.

  20. mishari permalink*
    September 29, 2009 10:53 PM

    Hilarious…watching that chump Millbland explain to Paxo the difference between Labour’s ’97 promise to hold a referendum on electoral reform (blithely kicked into the long grass as soon as the bastards got in, natch) and today’s ‘promise’ from Brown to have a referendum on…erm…electoral reform. Dear God, these people are scum…

  21. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 29, 2009 10:55 PM

    Nice to see you back, Polly. Hope you had a good holiday.

  22. mishari permalink*
    September 29, 2009 11:00 PM

    Ditto, Poll…where are our Cornish Pasties?

    BTW, MM, I don’t know if you’ve seen American Gangster and 3:10 To Yuma but I sent them along anyway. I liked them both…

  23. MeltonMowbray permalink
    September 29, 2009 11:38 PM

    I haven’t seen American Gangster, or Yuma 2. Thanks. I’ve been sucked into Harper’s Island, which is quite good and reminds me of my own wedding.

  24. mishari permalink*
    September 29, 2009 11:47 PM

    Oh, good…I think you’ll enjoy American Gangster, which stars Denzel Washington as a Harlem drug lord. It’s based on the autobiography of the man Washington’s playing,written after a lengthy prison sentence […audience survey says ‘PAARP’. It’s actually based on an article in New York Magazine–Eagle Eye Ed.].

  25. mishari permalink*
    September 29, 2009 11:51 PM

    …andf I quite liked this, despite a general antipathy to the corpulent Kiwi . They’re both proper DVDs, purchased from proper Chinese bootleggers in a proper Whitechapel pub (junkies popping in to flog stolen meat, razors and booze). As re-makes go, it’s a pretty good one:

  26. September 30, 2009 9:07 AM

    These poems are terrifyingly good; paralysis-inducing. I’m on a regime of writing 2,000+ words of prose a day but will try to make time.

    I find the collapse of this government, whilst just – for all the reasons you regularly essay, Mishari – particularly depressing. I was young enough in 1997 (and politically-disengaged enough) to fully celebrate labour’s win as some kind of new beginning. I had no memory of government before Thatcher and grew up around the dungaree-wearing, Greenham-protesting fringes of the left. On the day Blair won I needed to take a taxi from south to north London. The driver and I were soon gleefully chatting. I got him to drop me off at Buckingham palace to join the crowds. I then made my way to Downing Street and hovered around the gates. Then, as they opened to let through a few more Labour party members, I slipped through also, ending up in the crowd seen on the oft-repeated shots of Blair arriving in Downing st for the first time.

    Of course, now I feel like one of those guys waving at the camera in Triumph of the Will must have felt in 1945, but this last 12 years of dissilussionment have been depressing and Brown’s final lurch around the podium is, for me, a sad end.

  27. mishari permalink*
    September 30, 2009 9:30 AM

    Well, this is it, XB. Although of a sceptical…no, cynical bent when it comes to politicians and despite loathing Blair from the moment I first heard him speak (sometime in the early 90s), I’d always voted Labour and I was hugely relieved and very happy after the ’97 victory.

    Within weeks, Blair and Brown were lying to us (remember the Bernie Ecclestone/tobacco advertising imbroglio?).

    But in my dangerous naivete, I imagined that the PLP would curb any of the executive’s excesses and read the riot act to Blair/Brown/Mandleson. My God, what a triumvirate…a war-criminal and fantasist, a warped, incompetent and sulky bully and a slimey, fawning toady who never met an unlovable millionaire.

    A forlorn hope, as it turned out. The PLP were so grateful to the Three Capitalist Stooges for gifting them with places at the trough that they barely raised their snouts as this bunch of unprincipled, authoritarian scumbags set about destroying long established liberties.

    I dread the advent of the Tories but my loathing for New Labour has become visceral. They must be utterly destroyed (I mean New Labour, of course). In the same way that seemingly catastrophic fires are needed by certain eco-systems, Labour needs to start again from first principles, assuming the swine can even remember what a principle is….

  28. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 30, 2009 10:02 AM

    The Labour party here in Ireland is in far better moral shape but is fairly powerless at present. Our current government, which, by the very weird standards of Irish politics is actually socialist, is a fucking disgrace. I agree with you on the analysis of New Labour, which resulted in a great betrayal for the British people. When I lived in England I always voted Labour, but if I was there now I doubt I’d be able to vote for anyone.

    Also, if I may, I just want to second Freep’s sentiments above. Yes Mishari, many thanks for providing this happy land of chat and poetry. I’m very grateful for the prodding needed to write such things as Chant Royals etc. As Freep says, they’re worth doing because they’re hard to do.

    By the way, have any of you here taken part in any of those Grauniad “poetry workshops”? I discovered the latest, facilitated by Glyn Maxwell, just forty-five minutes before the deadline (on Sunday) and decided to put something together for it. Of course, I managed to break all his “rules” so I doubt he’ll select mine for his analysis, but I did make the deadline at least. I did it for the crack really. (“crack” in the irish sense of “craic” in case you’re wondering). Anyways, if he doesn’t select it for the chop then I’ll post it here if that’s okay, and you can anlyise it instead. (God help me). It’s not formal but it isn’t “free-verse” either. It’s a fucking poem. (Unlike some of the free-verse codswallop you see around the place, most of which could have been penned by a goldfish.)

    Anyways,
    best
    Jack Brae

  29. freep permalink
    September 30, 2009 10:39 AM

    Jack: about poetry workshops. I’ve looked occasionally at the GU workshops, and have never felt minded to participate. I think there’s lot of pot luck involved. The dynamic that most of the governing poets set up doesn’t feel right, though I daresay some are much better than others. Not keen on the way Christopher James or Jon Siddique approach it – and not specially impressed with the poems they chose as having merit. Much free unfettered floaty confessional Laura Ashley verse (nuff said, on here)

    The one you’ve entered for looks better – no machinery of paedagogy, just stick in a poem about …(praise, in this case) – which seems identical to the Billy Mills project. For me, improving how you write isn’t achieved by either competition or submitting your work to a guru. prob I am a bad egg though, because some of the gurus are young enough to be my great nephews, and I have been unwise enough to teach poetry writing to aged sex offenders. That can put you off eating Twix.

  30. mishari permalink*
    September 30, 2009 10:57 AM

    My pleasure, Jack…and it is a pleasure. After the strait-jacket of the Grauniad, where you get deleted for going ‘off topic’ or for being rude or because the day has an ‘r’ in it or…it’s virtually impossible to have a civilised conversation there, i.e. a conversation that can and often does go absolutely anywhere, from the trivial to the profound by way of the bizzare re-routed through the Grand Guignol.

    I’ve looked at those ‘poetry workshops’ once or twice but quickly decided it wasn’t for me. Too po-faced.

    A poetry thread that confines itself to nothing but poetry is like going to hear the Berlin Phillharmonic to discover that the only fellow who actually plays his instrument is the triangle-player and that infrequently.

    Anyway, those ‘workshops’ are always teeming with bods who treat poetry as a branch of the psychiatric/self-help/therapy industry….ppfffffffttt…

  31. September 30, 2009 11:53 AM

    I put a poem in for one of the GU poetry workshops and it got a mention but I didn’t feel it helped me much, the poet wasn’t anybody I’ve heard of (not that I’ve heard of many) and they just sort of said ‘quite nice’. I know other people who’ve put in poems that I thought were very good but didn’t get picked out for comment. I didn’t try again as I think workshops only really ‘work’ face-to-face. I found PP much more useful – as we’ve said before, having to knock out poems on a regular basis stops you being precious and gets the muscles in better shape.

    Talking of precious, chant royal to follow shortly. Blimey, Mishari, that’s a few hours of my life I won’t have again. Could you do something easier next time for us free-verse rabble?

  32. mishari permalink*
    September 30, 2009 12:02 PM

    I serve at your pleasure, my lady. You got it. But as freep and Jack have mentioned, it’s good exercise for the poetic muscle, I think. Once you’ve done it I think you’re less daunted by the prospect of another writing challenge.

    Basically, it’s for your own good, kiddo. It might hurt a little but it builds strength.

    BTW, I don’t object to free verse qua free verse. I object to bad free verse, which so much of it is. A lot of it is just Ern Malley repeated ad infinitum (was that his name?)

  33. September 30, 2009 12:04 PM

    A recently published study has revealed that women
    have 237 reasons for having sex.

    Gentlemen, who have pondered on the cause
    Of women’s passions, and what lies behind
    Those sudden freezes and less frequent thaws,
    Why Friday’s vamp is Monday’s disinclined;
    If you were thinking that you’d maybe missed
    Some hidden motives – reasons must exist
    Could you but find them – ones that would pertain
    To why we sometimes do, sometimes abstain,
    Experts have now an answer to supply:
    It’s quite precise – there are, so they maintain
    Two hundred and thirty seven reasons why.

    It seems we women long to get our claws
    On one of two types. Only two now, mind!
    Ah, but we must pay heed, not look for flaws,
    The Experts have us females well defined.
    Their theories must not lightly be dismissed
    For they are Experts and should not be dissed.
    Type Number One may often be quite plain
    But it’s his income which we ascertain
    Is bound to put a twinkle in our eye.
    Remember there are (although it sounds inane)
    Two hundred and thirty seven reasons why.

    We drool at sight of a pre-nuptial clause
    As Mr Ugly keeps us wined and dined.
    And Mister Rich could look a bit like Jaws
    He’d still find girls willing, though unrefined.
    It seems we ladies simply can’t resist
    Someone who brings some diamonds to a tryst.
    A resource benefit, the term mundane
    Describes the man and not his private plane,
    The Experts say we really won’t be shy –
    Platinum cards remind us yet again:
    Two hundred and thirty seven reasons why.

    The other type we like as paramours
    Won’t surprise anyone who isn’t blind:
    Young Master Gorgeous makes us drop our drawers.
    (No mention’s made of Handsome and Rich combined,
    The Experts perhaps unable to enlist
    Respondents who were willing to assist –
    Speechless that they had managed to attain
    Both cute companion and financial gain,
    These lucky girls could only smirk and sigh).
    In scientific detail, lists contain
    Two hundred and thirty seven reasons why.

    They cite some motives which draw no applause,
    Revenge and spite, betrayal most unkind,
    And some which make you think they clutched at straws:
    To get the lawn mown, have they lost their mind?
    Of course, there’s always being Brahms and Liszt,
    Believing that you’ve got to, now you’ve kissed,
    The sort of thinking which can leave a jane
    Pushing a pram containing Baby Wayne.
    Enough! These foolish rules I must decry!
    These Experts have a shortage in the brain:
    “Two hundred and thirty seven reasons why.”

    So, gentlemen, this speculation’s vain –
    To save you from an ill-advised campaign
    Here is a simple method to apply:
    Just say you love us, then, with care, explain
    Two hundred and thirty seven reasons why.

  34. September 30, 2009 12:08 PM

    Free poetry has its rightdful place
    Writing it does not mean losing face
    Amongst those with a knack for rhyme and verse
    Who claim free form is always worse.
    And now to lust that turbulent emotion
    It shakes the soul, causes commotion
    Logic and reason fly out the door
    Replaced by non-reason and wanting more
    And more and more and more and more
    Your tongue is dragging on the floor.
    Thinking of those bums and tits
    Is playing havoc with your naughty bits.

  35. September 30, 2009 12:12 PM

    I’m sorry they don’t do pasties in electronic form, although they did have all sorts of wierd flavours at the food and drink festival we happened upon in Truro on the last day, Rick Stein was peddling haddock and cream ones, and some other stall had wild boar or venison… all new fangled stuff I’m afraid, give me a traditional steak, carrot and suede one as big as my head any day.

    I missed the GB speech, possibly fortunately, so I’m not up on the rubbish that he might have spouted… should I bother to find out?

  36. mishari permalink*
    September 30, 2009 12:22 PM

    Bravo, Zeph…a tour de force…witty, charming and beautifully crafted. I look more oafish with every passing day. You lot amaze me.

    Welcome, home, Al…I assume you are home, you naughty free-verse fondler? How was Spain? How’s our giant pig? (I’ve come to feel quite proprietal about him? her? No, him. ‘Her’ would be ungallant…(Our pig’s got teats, you idiot. Unless the pig has been abusing steroids, she’s a sow–Farmer Ed.)

    Poll, ‘…should I bother to find out?’ No. Waste of time, dear.

    Ern Malley it is. He’s even got his own website.

  37. freep permalink
    September 30, 2009 12:36 PM

    Downright brilliant, zephirine! (But I fear you understate the value of having a good mower of lawns around.) The illusion you create of an easy and conversational piece in a fiercely difficult form is amazing.

  38. parallax permalink
    September 30, 2009 12:37 PM

    yep, Ern Malley was their collective name – backfired on them but – two *reasonably* competent poets Stewart and MaAuley (aka – oh, my aching catholic anguish – and let me write enough poems about it to bore the arse off every student who has to study AusLit) took on Max Walker’s opportunity to publish and recommend modernist (in a non-obooki/billymills sense – although I’m confused, I always thought bm – given his neo/post/Abraham Lincoln style – was modernist) poetry as an alternative – not a fucking substitute for – classic/al poetry. Anyway Ern – who never existed is now considered a brilliant poet.

    Good on yer Ern

    p.s. just seen the challenge mish – will have to consult the royale rules – back later with either a poem or not

  39. InvisibleJack permalink
    September 30, 2009 12:43 PM

    Wonderful, Zephrine.

    Thanks all for the chat on that Gruaniad workshop. I’m not actually too interested in it as a “workshop”, more interested in seeing what the response is if there is one. I actually agree on the opinions you’ve all expressed about these workshops in general. I’ve found many of the choices lame in the past and have thought, “surely there’d been better poems submitted than these?”, but then again, the facilitators might have chosen some of the poems purely because they thought they could make a point about poetry. On the whole though, the points they make are usually pretty useless, with one or two notable exceptions of course.

    Agreed on free verse, Alarming and all. I write a fair bit of it myself, but what I dislike is free verse that’s not only badly written but is trying to disguise its rancidness by claiming to be a poem. Poetry has to be as well written as anything else. And bad rhyme can be as bad as bad free verse. Although, sometimes, bad rhyme makes a point in itself, which is what I like about it.

    Anyways,
    I’m off for a few days of travel and teaching and hating the people I teach. (I’m a bad person)
    Jack Brae

  40. mishari permalink*
    September 30, 2009 12:45 PM

    There’s no pressure, para…you know that. You will or you won’t, today or a month from now. I wouldn’t want anyone to do it unless they got some pleasure out of it.

    Too true, freep…getting that easy, conversational, light tone within such a relatively formal structure is fiendishly difficult but Zeph carried it off with aplomb, elan and some other words that I don’t use very often. Remarkable.

  41. September 30, 2009 12:46 PM

    Yes I’m at home. Spain was great – we did the pig in Burgos which went well ( front page photo in the press which proves it was either popular or that there’s not much happening in Burgos ) and the new show Brain Wave in Santander which we’re still on Cloud 9 about. One of the best festivals we’ve done in 28 years of touring. Huge crowds, we remembered not to bump into our props and do things in the right order, another photo on the front page of the locaL newspaper, great weather and a really well organised festival.

    Since you missed it in Hackney I’ll email you a YouTube link.

  42. parallax permalink
    September 30, 2009 1:06 PM

    nah – seen the rules, understand the *idea* of poetry muscle flexing – but I don’t fancy doing gym work. It’s all sweat and endorphins isn’t it?

    Don’t get me wrong, I totally appreciate a perfect body – I just prefer to have a fag on the other side of glass wall.

    Well crafted beauty is a wonderful object – brilliant, fantastic – thanks for showing me your honed definitions :)

  43. mishari permalink*
    September 30, 2009 1:14 PM

    Email it, Al? Why on earth just not post it here? I’d love to see it and I’m certainly not the only one. I was going to ask you to maybe email me that front-page photo of our pig.

    I’d like that to be the next PH poetry task. Assuming you don’t mind, of course. I mean, if you feel that our pig’s appearance on this blog would strip her of glamour or vulgarise her, I’ll understand perfectly…

    Just ‘fess up, para…you’re a big girls blouse. I’m surprised they haven’t evicted you from the Republic of Mateship AKA Oz…

  44. parallax permalink
    September 30, 2009 1:28 PM

    yep – you’ve nailed it mish – big girl’s blouse – more room to maneuver – none of this Plonski-pre-pubescent lycra-gymnastic confined jump-through-hoops for applause stuff.

    In a poetry sense of course.

  45. parallax permalink
    September 30, 2009 1:29 PM

    oh what a surprise I missed the ‘a’ in Polanski

  46. mishari permalink*
    September 30, 2009 1:36 PM

    No worries, mate…actually, I like ‘Plonski’ better than Polanski…

    Your disdain for the noisy, drooling plaudits of the vulgar mob does you credit. Dame Edna would be proud of you…

    para-antoinette: “Let them write chants royal”; cue tumbril to Madame Guillotine; so long, sport; been nice knowing you…

  47. September 30, 2009 1:53 PM

    Before we went away we were approached by the TV company who make Gordon Ramsay’s The F-word wanting to put Janet Street-Porter inside the Pig so she could talk about rare breeds to people looking inside. The whole thing was to take place at a rural fair in Yorkshire.

    We turned it down mainly because I have a visceral dislike of TV companies whose researchers are always very nice but whose cameramen and directors are always a pain to deal with. I could have happily slaughtered an MTV crew who approached us at a festival in Holland.

    There’s enough there for a Viking saga I should think.

    You can download the pictures off our website – go to the promoters section and there is a pdf for that use.

  48. September 30, 2009 1:54 PM

    Thank you kindly for the praise. Aplomb, elan, very nice, next time I’ll strive for panache.

    I know the form is the point of it all with this kind of poem, but I did have to find a rhyming dictionary (for the first time ever) and then work back from my list of rhymes, which I feel is a bit the wrong way round. Still, healthy exercise for the poetic muscles.

    Can we have pig poems next? I feel an Ode to a Tamworth coming on.

  49. parallax permalink
    September 30, 2009 1:56 PM

    Dame Edna would be mortified and not want a bar of me – Les Patterson, on the other hand, would find a reason to promote me.

    As Barry Humpries – in what ever guise – has said “Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.”

  50. mishari permalink*
    September 30, 2009 2:31 PM

    I’m not sure, but I think it was Bazza as Dame Edna who filleted Mick Jagger with an absolute zinger. Jagger was (I think) on the show and Dame Edna made some remark about his excessive wrinklyness.

    “They’re not wrinkles, they’re laugh-lines,” retorted the tax-dodging warbler.

    Dame E’s withering: “Nothing’s that funny.”, will be evrgreen in my memory…

    Game, set and match to the lady with five o’clock shadow and diamante harlequin spectacles.

  51. September 30, 2009 2:44 PM

    I’ve seen Dame Edna 3 times. Fantastic live performer – at Covent Garden h/she had the upper circle cowering in fear lest they got picked on which of course they did courtesy of a cherry picker getting the Dame as near to them as she needed to be. Particularly good at singling out late comers at the beginning of the show and keeping a series of running gags about them going until the end.

  52. mishari permalink*
    September 30, 2009 2:50 PM

    Bazza in his many guises or no guise at all has long been one of my favourite Aussies…

    Good pig photos, Al…but not quite the same as the front page (surrounding text, ect. ensuring authenticity and testimony to our pig’s credentials as international superstar).

    Politely Homicidal demands Front Page Pigs, Al…you should know that…

  53. September 30, 2009 3:42 PM

    Evidence should be in your email box about…………….now

  54. parallax permalink
    September 30, 2009 3:59 PM

    Royal Chant

    yesss

  55. mishari permalink*
    September 30, 2009 4:05 PM

    “The prostate gland-the Cinderella of organs…David Granola…”. Great stuff.

    Thanks, Al. I’ll check in a moment. Much appreciated. Verisimilitude is so important when you’re working with creative pigs, I find…

  56. parallax permalink
    September 30, 2009 4:05 PM

    oooops sorry about the above – right, that’s totally sealed my indelicate, insensitive persona

    you won’t believe this, but what I really meant was:Royal chant

    • mishari permalink*
      September 30, 2009 4:57 PM

      This one’s for you and your newly revealed Sir Les persona:

    • parallax permalink
      October 1, 2009 8:41 AM

      yeah, fair call mish – point taken

  57. Parisa permalink
    October 1, 2009 4:10 AM

    Hey you lot – it’s me again – you can’t escape!

    ~

    On Ponderng Why Love & Sex Are Good Things

    as near as I can tell
    we humans are programmed
    into loving one another
    sometimes producing fruit
    well better this than hate
    after all
    sometimes when I meditate
    with open eyes i see
    emotion is raw – like that of sunlight
    i like it when
    we play with each other
    like brother & sister
    conceived from the same watery womb
    emotions are like water
    coming & going
    in waves – at the feet – beyond
    then back again
    i too am like water
    can feel the pull of the tides
    unsure about the sky
    love seems to understand
    attraction at a very young age
    stays within itself
    all the while preparing to fall
    between the seduction
    and the act
    with a strange devotion
    to the shore
    where purity
    lives & always makes it’s
    way
    love develops & sex consumes completely
    when emotion doesn’t understand
    leave passion & foam behind
    to this mystery
    called Love

  58. mishari permalink*
    October 1, 2009 8:58 AM

    Nice to see you back, Parisa, but that’s not a chant royal…must try harder. By the way, how about providing some links to your most recent paintings?

    para, that was just meant to make you laugh. There’s no subtext. Rock the boat all you like.

  59. pinkroom permalink
    October 1, 2009 5:38 PM

    That was very hard indeed. Brilliant work by freep. Here’s my humble/sweated effort.

    Thoughts upon my Ruby Wedding.
    (Chant Royal)

    My dear old mum was a bobby soxer
    had an eye for a man in uniform
    my sad, old dad was a losing boxer
    just three wins in nineteen, when I was born.
    None surprised when she left with a gunner,
    from pictures I’ve seen, she looked a stunner
    so I was mostly brought up by my nan;
    my father’s mother, who lived in East Ham –
    what was left of it post the Luftwaafe –
    where once Mum and Dad pushed me in a pram
    and made love to the songs of Sinatra

    Then dad caught her with the gunner, clocks her
    but the gunner had fists that could perform
    another bout, left flat on the floor sir,
    gunner and mum left, my pram on the lawn.
    Me? Crying inside. They did a runner;
    had I been my dad, I would have done her
    but losing too often, breaks down a man,
    just gave a shrug as away those two ran.
    out over the hills and far, far farther.
    A new life together, they danced and sang
    and made love to the songs of Sinatra

    So after a fashion, I grew faster.
    No motherly guilt, to bind or be torn.
    My childhood was filled loud and with laughter
    as I ran with orphans, wild sown corn,
    across bricks and the weeds ev’ry summer,
    no kid seemed to have quite their own mumma,
    or any one much, to give much a damn,
    for flocks of small sparrows, out on the lam.
    The big boys and girls were no martyrs
    Babysit? No, they’d head west on the tram
    And made love to the songs of Sinatra.

    Not that I didn’t feel pains of hunger
    and rage, feeling sometimes lost and forlorn.
    Oftentimes I would just lie and wonder
    if she were off in New York, or Cape Horn?
    At those times I could not have been glummer
    And my spirits left hardly more numb-er
    As I dreamed of her dark, Bondi Beach tan
    her arms round a big, broad, Aus-tra-li-an
    and three kiddiwinks: thick, dumb and dumber,
    holidaying just south of Sumatra.
    Evenings they spent there, in talk of Siam
    and made love to the songs of Sinatra

    Of first love I soon had my first taster,
    fell for a girl with the eyes of a faun.
    So determined I was not to waste her,
    I gave her my whole thought, from morn to morn
    ‘til the day came I knew that I’d won her,
    her disposition so much sunnier
    held me close and said that I was her Dan,
    that we should do it whenever we can,
    and for a while nothing was funnier;
    to my Leytonstone digs, to walk not far
    I’d sneak her in, the dansette primed, planned
    and made love to the songs of Sinatra

    But we grew apart, sooner than later,
    like my old mum I proved quite the traitor
    I met my Irene, an affair began
    Inevitable happened, I caught the can
    Had a nipper together named Arthur.
    Forty years on, we’ve stumbled and ran
    and made love to the songs of Sinatra.

  60. mishari permalink*
    October 1, 2009 5:53 PM

    Wonderful, PR. As if someone I’d seen in the background of one of those Mass Observation films had walked into the pub, sat down and started talking. I was pretty sure you wouldn’t be able to resist the challenge and I’m delighted that you didn’t (resist, I mean).

  61. pinkroom permalink
    October 1, 2009 7:22 PM

    Thanks Mishari… strangely enough the idea came from talking to a fairly random stranger at a party years ago… very average London cabby type and he, in vino veritas so to speak, started ramnbling about how his mum had left him as a kid and the two recurring fantasies of his adolescence/indeed life were of hunting her down and either f-ing her or killing her,or both, depending upon his mood at the time. In every other way he seemed your rational, lovely family guy but the hurt/rage was still there 50 years on. I was hoping to catch the rambling, circling nature of ‘all that’.

  62. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 1, 2009 8:21 PM

    They say imagination is the key
    to a lifetime of sexual success
    and I suppose in a way you can see
    going in-house has a certain finesse,
    no problem finding candidates to shag,
    or figuring out what might be their bag
    but when your fancy’s as feeble as mine
    building a fantasy can be a swine,
    so I mainly go for the human embrace
    and ignore the argument from design:
    I love to do my lovin’ face to face.

    There are those who’ll tell you that venery
    is satiated by the porno press,
    and my teenage stash of wankery
    was an important resource, I confess;
    but there does come a time when the jizz mag
    and solo pleasuring becomes a fag;
    when you see the naked female form divine
    in some luxurious room recline
    and find yourself checking out the bookcase,
    you know your mojo is on the decline:
    I love to do my lovin’ face to face.

    Of course, you could pick up your phone and be
    in the middle of sexual congress
    (if you’ve got credit) almost instantly:
    I don’t understand the appeal, unless
    lending an ear to some raddled old hag
    assuming the part of a juicy slag
    loads the ammunition in your carbine.
    Anyway, my phone manner’s not benign,
    I struggle for a modicum of grace
    even when the vicar is on the line:
    I love to do my lovin’ face to face.

    The sex film aspires to urbanity,
    but somehow they always seem to possess
    too much in the way of humanity,
    a far too obvious self-consciousness,
    in which the details of the body nag,
    the wrinkles, pimples, the ruddy skin tag,
    those bunions, boils, that receding hairline.
    No, observing two humans intertwine
    is not exactly an erotic place,
    it’s more like a sexual stop sign:
    I love to do my lovin’ face to face.

    The arrival of new technology
    gave every Janet and John an access
    to the full grimoire of sexology,
    an encyclopaedia of excess;
    but that generous erotic grab-bag
    hides in its steaming folds of flesh a snag,
    those lurking strings of coding which define
    your taste for men or milfs or sheep or kine,
    and save it for your government to trace:
    I think I’ll stick with my carnal guideline,
    I love to do my lovin’ face to face.

    Envoi

    I’m going to run up the missionary flag,
    though I know you swingers find it a drag,
    can you conceive of anything more fine
    than having your lady in your eyeline?
    Alternative postures are a disgrace,
    and you won’t find me adopting canine:
    I love to do my lovin’ face to face.

  63. mishari permalink*
    October 1, 2009 9:25 PM

    The loquacious Mowbray
    Is a man with a mission;
    His thought for the day:
    The missionary position.

    No more boudoir contortionist
    Farewell the oily narcissist
    Reject the bedroom anarchist
    For Mowbray: sexual classicist.

    Great stuff, MM, you old reactionary, you.

  64. October 1, 2009 9:58 PM

    Great stuff, pinkroom and Melton. I noticed in the definition of the chant royal it said it was usually used for stately or heroic subjects, glad to see we’ve all managed to avoid those:)

  65. mishari permalink*
    October 1, 2009 10:07 PM

    Oh, I don’t know, Zeph…MM is, in a roundabout way, addressing his virile member which bears (I’m reliably informed) a strong resemblance to a stately home–ancient, crumbling, hasn’t worked in years, tourists part with large sums to view it and take pictures, the local Womens Institute holds raffles to help pay for its restoration and Tesco wants to build a superstore on top of it.

    …definitely stately– perhaps even heroic, in a Dunkirk/bloodied-but-unbowed sort of way…

  66. freep permalink
    October 1, 2009 10:20 PM

    Seems to me the work of MM and pinkroom are excellent, and are chants proletarian rather than royal. The upper classes are being starved of poetic adulation. What do you make of this, o noble blogminder? Is it not time to enforce a little deference? Perhaps if the next topic is to be about pigs, we will have opportunity to send trotters to Windsor. Hic.

  67. mishari permalink*
    October 1, 2009 10:40 PM

    Alas, freep, I fear we are fighting a hopeless rear-guard action. The soi disant ‘classless society’ is nothing more than the Tall Poppy Syndrome codified and administered by shiny-bottomed pen-pushers.

    Noble fellows like us are hated by the festering, inarticulate masses. Our grace, our beauty, our charm and allure and huge sexual organs, our towering intellects–all these are as red rags to a bull.

    We live in an age that worships ‘celebrities’ who have managed to acquire and insert, at eye-watering expense, giant inflatable tits. Modest, self-effacing Übermenschen such as ourselves have no place in this brave new world…

    Come, friendly bombs and fall….

  68. Parisa permalink
    October 2, 2009 12:02 AM

    Oh yes – chant royal –
    Well strike me down with a feather –
    I forgot! Rhymes are not my strength, however.

    My painting site is about to close thanks to yahoo’s reorganization plans. I’m currently planning a new site – to be announced.

    Actually I’m not sure what a Royal Chant is – I shall shuffle away now & check it out.

    best
    P

  69. Parisa permalink
    October 2, 2009 9:38 AM

    Well I’ve looked up chant royal & it’s great but rather dificile, methinks. Plus I do think that rhythm is more important than rhyme although here, both are important it seems. Without ado, I think I’ll have to pass, Mishari – ain’t got the time (like about three years) for starters – plus I can’t compete with all the expertise here………I’ll have to go away & have a little practice at this scansion thingy or else maybe you’ll ask for something that has the same rhyme structure as a Beatles song.(ahem)

    P

  70. Parisa permalink
    October 2, 2009 9:51 AM

    “It’s not formal but it isn’t “free-verse” either. It’s a fucking poem. (Unlike some of the free-verse codswallop you see around the place, most of which could have been penned by a goldfish.)”

    Yes – Jack Brae – & some rhyming verse might as well have been written by a clockwork tin soldier. The bottom line is that it be well written – free verse or rhyme – & one should know when one is really expressing a personal preference for one form over the other. Free verse isn’t all the “free” in any case.

  71. mishari permalink*
    October 2, 2009 9:53 AM

    I’ll be posting the new task today, Parisa. No particular form this time but a particular subject–Al’s 100 ft Inflatable Electric Euro-Pig. (the foto is actually a distant relative of our pig, not our pig–Ed)

    I say ‘Al’s’ but through the sheer force of our love for the 100 ft IEEP, she has become ‘ours’. Of course, nobody can truly ‘own’ so magnificent a creature but we are permitted, encouraged even, to express the depth of our feelings. Stay tuned…

  72. October 2, 2009 12:25 PM

    You claim we must to ‘purer ways’ return
    Or some infinitude of loss incur
    Of ‘how to swerve abominations’ learn
    To spill no seed and heed no serpent’s purr
    Treat ‘those who would abominate’ with scorn
    And troop upright, the lust within unborn
    You’ve told me, many thanks, and told me straight
    Of God’s sky-filling love, pit-filling hate
    How we must heed this good and great design
    Or show ourselves of life’s stern gift ingrate
    You’ll prove it, sweetheart, sure, but first some wine?

    Just one thing more, my judge, one small concern
    A detail, maybe two, then I’ll concur
    I full-endorse that we must pleasure spurn
    We shed our license when we shed our fur
    And troop upright, of luxury full-shorn
    Face night with prayer, with ‘leuia greet the morn
    But can you, please, the founding dogma state
    Why our own bodies serve our souls as bait?
    And why each instinct wiles to undermine
    That perfect law that thrust us from the gate?
    I’m keen to learn, sweetheart, but first some wine?

    In Eden’s belly, fig-tree, frond and fern
    First waved to gentle drum, then shook ablur
    A cockatoo flapped closer to discern
    A bald backside, sweat-stuck with leaf and burr
    That rose and fell ‘midst moans that caused a fawn
    To dash the garden through, all beasts to warn
    ‘The woman bears a strange and laughing weight
    Yet cries to spur him on, not to placate
    They heave and succour, curse and intertwine.’
    The soil was tilled, made fertile by its freight
    One glass more, sweetheart, then we’ll say Compline.

    It’s late, we must theology adjourn
    I hope you’ll not offence take, or infer
    That I for cruder, pagan doctrines yearn
    Or your Head Gardener rate as some voyeur
    Before you leave, impurities foresworn
    To tropic Cancer, I to Capricorn
    I ask, I hope, you do not fluctuate
    Your wine it seems to ripple, palpitate
    A voltage, I confess, runs through my spine
    There’s figs and olives, still, upon the plate
    The bottle’s empty, sweetheart, I’ll fetch wine,

    Then scuttle from the Word unto the urn
    And all my joys and appetites inter
    Or let me every gospel truth unlearn
    My flesh takes them as slander, crime and slur
    Your body’s more than chaff to spirit’s corn
    Why starve the ruby vine to feed the thorn?
    Your Testament will leave us intestate
    Whilst mine will nourish, sweet as ripened date
    Don’t speak, don’t wink to which path you incline
    In silence, sweetheart, repossess your fate
    Just proffer up your glass if you choose wine.

    ENVOI

    The path that leads to lover, friend and mate
    Is choked with man-made walls innumerate
    But fling your holy water to the brine
    Nail up your creed in some cramped, dusty crate
    And tumble into bed, forget the wine.

  73. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 2, 2009 11:20 PM

    Nice one, Exit. A hint of Marvell in there somewhere?

  74. October 2, 2009 11:47 PM

    Very fine, ExitB. I especially like:

    But can you, please, the founding dogma state
    Why our own bodies serve our souls as bait?
    And why each instinct wiles to undermine
    That perfect law that thrust us from the gate?

    really classy.

  75. Captain Ned permalink
    October 3, 2009 11:00 AM

    Though I’m young, and my wiring’s taut –
    Mechanic cogs still run with ease –
    I’m struck by the perturbing thought
    That well-oiled engines one day freeze.
    My breath quickens, my skin goes pale:
    Even now, as I lewdly flail
    And shudder as my bedsmate brays,
    With mournful notes the music plays;
    My store of passion I expend.
    Fatigue deflates the best souffés –
    Does love’s sweet passage have an end?

    Has lusty verve no high-walled fort
    Secured against time’s harsh decrees?
    Shall stout defences come to nought,
    Their ramparts routed by the breeze?
    No castle can protect its grail;
    The king shall weaken, though he rail.
    From crag to sand each rock decays;
    The transition ought not amaze.
    This example we must perpend:
    If nothing lingers, nothing stays,
    Does love’s sweet passage have an end?

    Shall the will press on, sensing sport?
    Or falter, though the gamesmen please?
    The worn-out vessel’s held in port,
    Too old to brave the thrilling seas;
    The ship, once mighty, now is frail –
    But still the captain longs to sail!
    The ropes loosen; the canvas frays;
    The decrepit mast limply sways.
    The captain stirs to patch and mend;
    He craves those bracing ocean sprays.
    Does love’s sweet passage have an end?

    Bewail this wrong before the court,
    You’ll have poor answer to your pleas.
    There’s no redressing Nature’s tort:
    Age withers the most sturdy trees.
    No sly parliament can prevail:
    Each politician’s bound to fail.
    No knotted legislative maze
    With perplexing turns meant to faze
    Shall timeless laws a jot amend.
    These bills’ defeat the house dismays:
    Does love’s sweet passage have an end?

    Let this lesson be soundly taught:
    Those merry Metaphysic fleas
    Who with our mingled blood disport
    Must succumb to the wry disease
    That leaves no creature brisk and hale.
    Ardent verses are no avail;
    Delude yourself that lines of praise
    In honour of your lover’s ways
    Shall the unerring clock suspend,
    When re-read, the same question weighs:
    Does love’s sweet passage have an end?

    ENVOI

    Old and feeble in far-off days,
    I’ll turn to see with squinting gaze
    Time’s dark backward abysm extend,
    Tunnelling through the haunted haze.
    Does love’s sweet passage have an end?

  76. MeltonMowbray permalink
    October 3, 2009 11:25 AM

    What skill! What hwyl! A truly brilliant piece, Captain.

    Unaccountably I forgot to mention you as a possible contributor. I hang my head in shame.

  77. October 3, 2009 12:25 PM

    Blimey! Really impressive, Cap’n. Especially as you’ve used a slightly shorter line which leaves less room for manoeuvre.

  78. mishari permalink*
    October 3, 2009 1:53 PM

    I must be getting senile. I just noticed this. A brilliant piece of work, Ned. It will be consigned to Poetry Hell, of course (unless you object)…

  79. Captain Ned permalink
    October 3, 2009 7:38 PM

    Of course not, excellency. Although I shall have to think of an alternative to line 10: the best soufflés don’t deflate, they get eaten. ‘Soufflés’ is missing its ‘l’ anyway.

  80. Captain Ned permalink
    October 3, 2009 7:47 PM

    Oh, and as for possible contributors of chants royal, I’m hoping the excellent Daisy Moskowitz (spelling?) might treat us to something. An impressive talent.

  81. mishari permalink*
    October 4, 2009 1:53 AM

    No, I think soufflé works. Of course, you’re right, if any good they get eaten. But speaking from experience, I know that should a diversion occur–a family crisis or something–the soufflé does indeed deflate. Up to you, of course.

    I, too, look for Daisy’s return but the internet’s like life in that respect. People blow into your life, make an impression, then blow out again, leaving behind a mystery.

  82. InvisibleJack permalink
    October 4, 2009 1:10 PM

    Yes, Mishari. I was very impressed with Daisy’s recent villanelle in the rock-themed Poster Poems, with its much-tightened lines, so much so that I was inspired to try my own hand at a skinny villanelle. I wondered where she got to after that, but poets get waylaid and then often find their way back again…

    Jack Brae

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