From The Odes, Epigrams, & Further Sonnets Poem by Richard Craven

From The Odes, Epigrams, & Further Sonnets



II.
Diverse Knaves & Harlots, at Dawn in Bristol, Having Drugged

A specious dawn bleeds into spurious day.
The early drunks slither down slimy streets
wiped grudgingly by drizzle lately wrung
from that slate swart and dreary monocloud
pressing eternally on Baptist Mills.
Pastor appears, bald, tabarded and fey,
who with his flock communicates in tweets.
His voice - that cracking Lutine Bell - just sung
the matins to an undiscerning crowd
of party-stragglers coming down from pills.
Drink this my soup, and with me kneel and pray.
To my refrain burp your beery repeats.
Be heedless of the shadow on your lung,
for grace to th'chief of sinners doth abound.
His tambourine at eight being drowned by drills,
his sullen congregation slinks away,
trying not to contemplate the small defeats
- the virtue signalled and the false note clung -
and face, disconsolate, bled dry, and cowed,
the prospect of ascending Ninetree Hill.

XVI
An Art Deco Hermit Grotto

Of late the soul on its obsession dwells:
that quaestio subtilissima, The Shed.
'Hoc aedificavi'. Within, that smell
of treated timber overwhelms the head,
the spirituous dropsy of a shrine
where melancholy lotos eaters pray.
Two gardens hence, a plangent strimmer whines.
There's shouting, drunken, coarse. The sky is gray.
Focus instead on how the decking curves,
the cool asymmetry and distressed oak,
the glass refracting - oh, my shattered nerves! -
like granite underneath a line of coke.
A bosky cave for bikes, and eke a desk
where poetaster scrawls his high burlesque.

XXIV
Sonnet Concerning a Banlieue

Ivry-sur-Seine is difficult to love.
The revolution's curdled here; St Just
has loaned his name to the tabac. Above,
the chimneys belch their Promethean dust
into the cold hard blank November sky.
The matchstick men from Mali and Algiers
trudge past the concrete cake mix, and the pie
of unfinished apartment blocks. No tears
were shed for beauty, no Lautréamont
has milked this abscess for its clotted crème.
La France Soumise spunked dry for Mélenchon's
bijou apartment in the 10ième:
Versailles' most elegantly velvet fist
replaced the Marquis with a communist

XXVIII
A Sapphire in the Mud
Inscribed Mattress, Ashley Road, St Pauls

Behold the 'nothing mattress anymore'
mattress - king-sized, warped, stained, propped up against
damp brick. Beguiling like an unlocked door,
the truth thus written is, without pretence:
this mattress, having lost its function must
no longer as something mattress exist.
Instead, a canvas for a wit's mot juste,
the mattress bears the koanistic gist
of its own annihilation. Just this once,
one countenances some conceptual art
as something not shat out by blue-haired cunts
with attitude who hold themselves apart.
This thy Upanishad, thy Torah, Tao.
Away to the recycling centre now.

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