For the Muse
ma’am I am
wave my claws at freedom
you do not expect a crab
to flower, why pick on me?
early on, mist stood around
snuffling under trees in the parkland.
towards midday when I was out for a walk
the sun shone with clumsy October warmth.
my fingers smoothing the nape rolled
an infant spider into a crumb of agony,
dropped him away.
till death from the
At The Havelock Square End
personalities, those terraced
faces. they catch the sun and
fill the screen when the camera
lifts from the field of play;
they wriggle at interstices, unique
pasty platelets, one-celled, dancing
like a wall of leaves, like
a tower of midges on a spring evening.
[*Irish for tope, a small shark]
Beneath the surface of the unconscious sea
flashes the Fiagach seeking whom he may devour.
All my lucid alcoholic days I never
dreamt of him at all. I was too sure of
myself. Always. She never was.
When she was gone, I had this other dream: a big
fiery dangerous looking insect, buzzing all over the sky
like a flying prawn, & it was bothering me, & I went
after it with the edge of a vice grip to smash it,
& every time I pinned it down it fizzed like an electric clapper &
shifted its shape, slithered away, lit off & flew at the wall
of the room, but always it shifted to the shape of some other
grosser insect... & I kept after, pinned it at the last
under a stone. I crushed it between two flat stones,
& could feel the carapace crackle, & when I looked, from squelched
& rusty bits it came together, grew until it stood
on all six legs again like a queer enamelled miniature exhibit,
scarlet & emerald & black; & then it started extruding you know those things
at airports, passenger gangways that open out like concertinas - them.
It put out six or seven, & on the end of every one
was another exhibit, striking & lovely, but each in the form
of one of the shapes it had taken earlier trying to escape.
So I wound up with a paradigm of scarabs, an arrested mobile.
First I stamped it out & then this happened,
& I felt drained & astonished & sad & peaceful. When I woke,
I knew in some way, that had been herself &
that's what I'd done to her, having to be right
all the time. (And I suppose you're proud of yourself? - No,
no no. How could you be proud of a dream?)
End-of-summer gale rushes thru the sky; sally & hawthorn
branches over my kitchen window flail
at tumbling flocks of cloud. The Insect is long gone,
crunched to fine sand. Day before yesterday 7th September
I found a dead tope embedded, at the tidemark,
the Fiagach himself, half eaten by the sea, clutching
his last few pages of tough board skin, his lifetime papyrus,
a bursted sigilla; ribs & spine like a musical
couch, a bass lyre, an insight, a missed opportunity.
Ungrammatical Obituary for 1954
Kneel, ever since, at the Altar of Repose,
on ineffable prayer-alert, before the whitefire
monstrance, wall of flowers and candleflames,
coarse soutane itching like scruples -
& O to be at a safe distance in
rainwash forgiveness! from the shoal:
aspirations with no mind, lust-herrings, gashes -
a summer lawn, a humming underskin
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