Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Geoffrey Chaucer, "Alcione and Seys," The Book of the Duchess

For as she prayede, ryght so was don
In dede; for Juno ryght anon
Called thus hir messager
To doo her erande, and he com ner.
     Whan he was come, she bad hym thus:
"Go bet," quod Juno, "to Morpheus 
Thou knowest hiym wel, the god of slep.
Now understond wel and tak kep!
Sey thus on my half: that he
Go faste into the Grete Se,
And byd him that, on alle thyng,
He take up Seys body the kyng,
That lyeth ful pale and nothyng rody.
Bid hym crepe into the body
And doo hit goon to Alcione
The quene, there she lyeth allone,
And shewe hir shortly, hit ys no nay,
How hit was dreynt thys other day;
And do the body speke ryght soo,
Ryght as hyt was woned to doo
The whiles that hit was alyve.
Goo now faste, and hye the blyve!"
     This messager tok leve and wente
Upon hys wey, and never ne stente
Til he com to the darke valeye
That stante betwixe roches tweye
There never yet grew corn ne gras,
Ne tre, ne noght that ought was,
Beste, ne man, ne noght elles,
Save ther were a fewe welles
Came rennynge from the clyves adoun,
That made a dedly slepynge soun,
And ronnen doun ryght by a cave
That was under a rokke ygrave
Amydde the valey, wonder depe. . .
     "Hyt am I," quod the messager.
"Juno bad thow shuldst gooon 
And tolde hym what he shulde doon
(As I have told yow here-to-fore;
Hyt ys no nede reherse hyt more)
And went hys wey whan he had sayd.
Anoon this god of slep abrayd
Out of hys slep, and gan to goon,
And dyde as he had bede hym doon:
Took up the dreynte body sone
And bar hyt forth to Alcione,
Hys wif the quene, there as she lay
Ryght even a quarter before day,
And stood ryght at hyr beddes fet,
And called hir right as she het
By name, and sayde, "My swete wyf,
Awake! Let be your sorwful lyf,
For in your sorwe there lyth no red;
For, certes, swete, I am but ded.
Ye shul me never on lyve yse.
But, goode swete herte, that ye
Bury my body, for such a tyde
Ye mowe hyt finde the see besyde;
And farewel, swete, my worldes blysse!
I praye God youre sorwe lysse.
To lytel while our blysse lastesth!"
     With that hir eyen up she casteth
And saw noght. "Allas!" quod she for sorwe,
And deyede within the thridde morwe.
But what she sayede more in that swow
I may not telle yow as now;
Hyt were to longe for to dwelle.
My first matere I wil yow telle,
Wherfore I have told this thyng
Of Alcione and Seys the kyng,
For thus moche dar I saye wel:
I had be dolven everydel
And ded, ryght thurgh defaute of slep,
Yif I ne had red and take kep
Of this tale next before.
And I wol telle yow wherfore:
For I ne myghte, for bote ne bale,
Slepe or I had red thys tale
Of this dreynte Seys the kyng
And of the goddes of slepying.
     When I had red thys tale wel
And overloked hyt everydel,
Me thoghte wonder yf hit were so,
For I had never herd speke or tho
Of noo goddes that koude make
Men to slepe, ne for to wake,
For I ne knew never god but oon.

Ovid, "Alcyone and Ceyx," Metamorphoses, trans. Arthur Golding

     Among a thousand sonnes and mo that father slomber had,
     He called up Morph the feynter of mannes shape, a crafty lad.
None other could so conningly expresse mans verrye face,
His gesture and his sound of voyce, and manner of his pace,
Toogither with his woonted weede, and woonted phrased of talk.
But this same Morphye onely in the shape of man dooth walk.
There is another who the shapes of beast or bird dooth take,
Or else appeereth untoo men in likeness of a snake.
The Goddes doo call him Icilos, and mortall folke him name
Phobetor. There is also yit a third who from theis same
Woorkes diversly, and Phantasos he highteth.    Intoo streames
This turnes himself, and intoo stones, and earth, and timber beames,
And intoo every other thing that wanteth life.     Theis three
Great kings and Capteines in the night are woonted for too see.
The meaner and inferiour sort of others haunted bee.
Sir Slomber overpast the rest, and of the brothers all
Too doo dame Iris message he did only Morphye call.
Which doone he waxing luskish, streyght layd downe his drowzy head
And softly shroonk his layzye limbes within his sluggish bed.
     Away flew Morphye through the aire :   no flickring made his wings :
     And came anon too Trachine.     There his fethers of he flings,
And in the shape of Ceyx standes before Alcyones bed,
Pale, wan, stark naakt, and like a man that was but lately deade.
His berde seemd wet, and of his head the heare was dropping drye,
And leaning on her bed, with teares he seemed thus too cry.
Most wretched woman knowest thou thy loving Ceyx now?
Or is my face by death disformd?  behold mee well, and thow
Shalt know mee.     For thy husband, thou thy husbandes Ghost shalt see.
No good thy prayers and thy vowes have done at all too mee.
For I am dead.     In vayne of my returne no reckning make.
The clowdy sowth amid the sea our shippe did tardy take,
And tossing it with violent blastes asunder did it shake.
And floodes have filld my mouth  which calld in vayne uppon thy name.
No persone whom thou mayst misdeeme brings tydings of the same,
Thou hearest not thereof by false report of flying fame:
But I myself :   I presently my shipwrecke too thee showe.
Arye therefore, and wofull teares uppon thy spouse bestowe.
Put moorning rayment on, and let mee not too Limbo go
Unmoorned for.     In shewing of this shipwrecke Morphye so
Did feyne the voyce of Ceyx, that shee could none other deeme,
But that it should bee his in deede. Moreover he did seeme
Too weepe in earnest :   and his handes the verry gesture had
Of Ceyx.     Queene Alcyone did grone, and beeing sad
Did stirre her armes, and thrust them foorth his body too embrace.
In stead whereof shee caught but ayre.     The teares ran downe her face.
She cryed, tarry :   whither flyste ?  toogither let us go.
And all this whyle she was a sleepe.     Both with her crying so,
And flayghted with the image of her husbands gastly spryght,
She started up :   and sought about if fynd him there shee myght.
(For why her Groomes awaking with the shreeke had brought a light).
And when shee no where could him fynd, shee gan her face too smyght,
And tare her nyghtclothes from her brest, and strake it feercely, and
Not passing too unty her heare she rent it with her hand.
And when her nurce of this her greef desyrde too understand
The cause: Alcoyne is undoone, undoone and cast away
With Ceyx her deare spouse (shee sayd).     Leave comforting I pray.
By shipwrecke he is perrisht :    I have seene him :   and I knew
His handes.     When in departing I too hold him did pursew,
I caught a Ghost :     but such a Ghost as well discerne I myght
Too bee my husbands.     Natheless he had not too my syght
His woonted countenance, neyther did his visage shyne so bryght,
As heeretoofore it had beene wont.     I saw him wretched wyght
Starke naked, pale, and with his heare still wet:   even verry heere
I saw him stand.     With that shee lookes if any print appeere
Of footing where as he did stand uppon the floore behynd.
This this is it that I did feare in farre forecasting mind,
When flying mee I thee desyrde thou should not trust the wynd.
But syth thou wenteth too thy death, I would that I had gone
With thee.     Ah meete, it meete had beene thou shouldst not go alone
Without mee.     So it should have come to passe that neyther I
Had overlived thee, nor yit beene forced twice to dye.
Already, absent in the waves now tossed have I bee.
Already have I perrished.     And yit the sea hath thee
Without mee.     But the cruelness was greater farre of me
Than of the sea, if after thy decease I still would strive
In sorrow and in anguish still too pyne away alive.
But neyther will I strive in care too lengthen still my lyfe,
Nor (wretched wyght) abandon thee :   but like a faythfull wyfe
At leastwyse now will come as thy companion.     And the herse
Shall joyne us, though not in the selfsame coffin :   yit in verse.
Although in tumb the bones of us toogither may not couch,
Yit in a graven Epitaph my name thy name shall touch.
Her sorrow would not suffer her too utter any more.
Shee sobd and syght at every woord, until her hart was sore.
     The morning came, and out shee went ryght pensif too the shore
     Too that same place in which shee tooke her leave of him before.
Whyle there shee musing stood, and sayd :   he kissed mee even heere,
Heere weyëd hee his Anchors up, heere loosd he from the peere,
And whyle shee calld too mynd the things there marked with her eyes :
In looking on the open sea, a great way of shee spyes
A certeine thing much like a corse come hovering on the wave.
At first shee dowted what it was.     As tyde it neerer drave,
Although it were a good way of, yit did it plainely showe
Too bee a corse.     And though that whose it was shee did not knowe,
Yit forbycause it seemd a wrecke, her hart therat did ryse:
And as it had sum straunger beene, with water in her eyes
Shee sayd: alas poore wretch who ere though art, alas for her
That is thy wyfe, if any bee.     And as the waves did stirre,
The body floted neerer land :   the which the more that shee
Behilld, the lesse began in her of stayed wit too bee.
Anon it did arrive on shore.     Then plainely shee did see
And know it, that it was her feere.     Shee shreeked, it is hee.
And therewithall her face, her heare, and garments shee did teare,
And untoo Ceyx stretching out her trembling handes with feare,
Sayd :   cumst thou home in such a plyght too me O husband deere?
Returnst in such a wretched plyght?   There was a certeine peere
That buylded was by hand, of waves the first assaults too breake,
And at the havons mouth too cause the tyde too enter weake.
She lept theron.     (A wonder sure it was shee could doo so)
She flew, and with her newgrowen winges did beate the ayre as tho.
And on the waves a wretched bird shee whisked too and fro.
And with her crocking neb then growen too slender bill and round,
Like one that wayld and moorned still shee made a moaning sound.
Howbeet as soone as shee did touch his dumb and bloodlesse flesh,
And had embraast his loved limbes with winges made new and fresh,
And with her hardened neb had kist him coldly, though in vayne,
Folk dowt if Ceyx feeling it too rayse his head up strayne,
Or whither that the waves did lift it up.     But surely hee
It felt :   and through compassion of the Goddes both hee and shee
Were turned too birdes.     The love of them eeke subject too their fate,
Continued after :   neyther did the faythfull bond abate
Of wedlocke in them beeing birdes :   but standes in stedfast state.
They treade, and lay, and bring foorth yoong and now the * Alcyon sitts
In wintertime uppon her nest (which on the water flitts
A sevennyght.     During all which tyme the sea is calme and still,
And every man may too and fro sayle saufly at his will.

Monday, February 27, 2012

James Joyce, "The Ondt and the Gracehoper," Finnegans Wake

He larved ond he larved on he merd such a nauses
The Gracehoper feared he would mixplace his fauces.
I forgive you, grondt Ondt, said the Gracehoper, weeping,
For their sukes of the sakes you are safe in whose keeping.
Teach Floh and Luse polkas, show Bienie where's sweet
And be sure Vespatilla fines fat ones to heat.
As I once played the piper I must now pay the count
So saida to Moyhammlet and marhaba to your Mount!
Let who likes lump above so what flies be a full 'un;
I could not feel moregruggy if this was prompollen.
I pick up your reproof, the horsegift of a friend,
For the prize of your save is the price of my spend.
Can castwhores pulladeftkiss if oldpollocks forsake 'em
Or Culex feel etchy if Pulex don't wake him?
A locus to loue, a term it t'embarass,
These twain are the twins that tick Homo Vulgaris.
Has Aquileone nort winged to go syf
Since the Gwyfyn we were in his farrest drewbryf
And that Accident Man not beseeked where his story ends
Since longsephyring sighs sought heartseast for their orience?
We are Wastenot with Want, precondamned, two and true,
Till Nolans go volants and Bruneyes come blue.
Ere those gidflirts now gadding you quit your mocks for my gropes
An extense must impull, an elapse must elopes,
Of my tectucs takestock, tinktact, and ail's weal;
As I view by your farlook hale yourself to my heal.
Partiprise my thinwhins whiles my blink points unbroken on
Your whole's whercabroads with Tout's trightyright token on.
My in risible universe youdly haud find
Sulch oxtrabeeforeness meat soveal behind.
Your feats end enormous, your volumes immense,
(May the Graces I hoped for sing your Ondtship song sense!),
Your genus its worldwide, your spacest sublime!
But, Holy Saltmartin, why can't you beat time?

In the name of the former and of the latter and of their holocaust. Allmen.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Robert Duncan, "The Song of the Border-Guard"

The man with his lion under the shed of wars
sheds his belief as if he shed tears.
The sound of words waits—
a barbarian host at the border-line of sense.

The enamourd guards desert their posts
harkening to the lion-smell of a poem
that rings in their ears.

—Dreams, a certain guard said,
    were never designd so
    to re-arrange an empire.

    Along about six o’clock I take out my guitar
    and sing to a lion
    who sleeps like a line of poetry
    in the shed of wars.

The man shedding his belief
knows that the lion is not asleep,
does not dream, is never asleep,
is a wide-awake poem
waiting like a lover for the disrobing of the guard;
the beautiful boundaries of the empire
naked, rapt round in the smell of a lion.

(The barbarians have passd over the significant phrase)

—When I was asleep,
         a certain guard says,
     a man shed his clothes as if he shed tears
         and appeard as a lonely lion
     waiting for a song under the shed-roof of wars.

I sang the song that he waited to hear,
I, the Prize-Winner, the Poet-Acclaimd.

Dear, dear, dear, dear, I sang,
believe, believe, believe, believe.
The shed of wars is splendid as the sky,
houses our waiting like a pure song
housing in its words the lion-smell
         of the beloved disrobed.

I sang: believe, believe, believe.

         I the guard because of my guitar
believe. I am the certain guard,
certain of the Beloved, certain of the Lion,
certain of the Empire. I with my guitar.
Dear, dear, dear, dear, I sing.
I, the Prize-Winner, the Poet on Guard.

The border-lines of sense in the morning light
are naked as a line of poetry in a war.

Friday, February 24, 2012

William Bronk, "The Beautiful Wall, Machu Picchu," "Tenochtitlan," and "In Navaho Country," The World, The Worldless

"The Beautiful Wall, Machu Picchu"

Greek stones look as though they’d flowed
into molds of figures, fluting, leaf forms, scrolls,
a sensed and sensible world turned stony-hard
and durable, medusaed to hold and be true,
as figure carving holds an impress pressed
on the carver’s eye by a visible form whose grace
and harmony his hand lays hold and holds.
This way of handling stone is to say of the world
it is workable, and yielding and full to the hand;
and their quarrying quarried a rich world.

Looking at stones the Incas laid, abstract
austerities, unimitative stones,
so self-absorbed in their unmortared, close
accommodation, stone to different stone,
exactly interlocked, deep joined,
we see them say of the world there is nothing to say.
Who had to spend such easing care on stone
found grace inherent more as idea than in
the world, loved simple soundness in a just joint,
and the pieces together once though elsewhere apart.


I did not go to Coatlicue today,
to her of the writhing skirt of serpents, skulls
suspended at her neck, clawed Mother of the Gods.

Not that it mattered: if we have learned at all,
we have learned not to deny the terrible ones
their due; they have it; we are theirs to keep.

But we also learn—not knowing is it fear
or defiance teaching us—not to think
of everything always, sometimes not to think.

Xilonen, Goddess of the Young Corn, of green
and growing, grant us the solace of sweet ears
soft in the mouth; accept our truant love.

We drink to you, Xilonen, we are drunk
with deep pleasures and a deep need, drunk
with gentleness and the pleasure of gentle needs.

"In Navaho Country"

To live in a hogan under a hovering sky
is to live in a universe hogan-shaped,
or having hogans in it to give it shape,
earth-covered hovels, holes having a wall
to heave the back of the heart against, or hide
the head, to black the heavens overhead,
a block and a shapening in the windy vast.
This could be said of other houses too.

How it is possible for this to be so
is that the universe as known-unknown
has no discernible shape and not much
in it. We give it the limits and shape we need
it to have. What we want is a here with meaning, more
than a vague void moving with weightless balls
or the distant view of a glitter of gritty dust.
We housel the universe to have it here.

We do wrong: using houses or whole
blocks of houses, or other devious
enclosed volumes, ingenious inventions of space
to have us here, has limits. We deceive
ourselves, but not for long. We only avoid
the empty vastness, leaving it there unfilled,
unknown, unlimited. Where is here
when nowhere in a place of discernible shape?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Allen Ginsberg, Prose Contribution to Cuban Revolution

In fact in Peru with witch doctors taking Ayahuasca one night I came face to face with what appeared to be the Image of Death come to warm me again as 12 years before in Harlem, that all this me-ness of mine was mere idea vanity & hollow & fleeting as the mosquitos I was killing in the tropic night.  In fact, tho I’d made a principle of Non-identity, I was scared to have my identity taken away, scared to die – clinging to the self-doomed (transient by nature) pleasures of dependable love, sex, income, cigarettes, Poesy, fame, face & cock – clinging, frightened, to stay in this identity, this body, vomiting as it was – and seeing its doom as a living monster outside me that would someday EAT ME ALIVE.

Thus faced with human limitation I turned back from Eternity again and wanted to stay the Allen I was & am.

At this point frightened, seeing my basic saint-desire might be death & madness, I wrote Burroughs long letter from Peru asking for advice – Burroughs who had kicked junk habit and thus in very real way kicked his own identity habit, as can be seen in Naked Lunch hints.

His answer, go right ahead, into space, outside of Logos, outside of time, outside of concepts of Eternity & God & Faith & Love I’d built up as an identity – Cancel all your messages, said he, and I also cancel mine…

And what was he doing with his Art? He was cutting it up with a razor as if it weren’t no sacred texts at all, just as he was cutting up all known human feelings between us, and cutting up the newspapers, and cutting up Cuba & Russia & America & making collages; he was cutting up his own consciousness & escaping as far as I can tell outside of anything I could recognize as his previous identity. And that somewhat changed my identity since that had been something built I had thought and permanently shared with him…

Now the serious technical point that Burroughs was making by his cut-ups, which I resisted and resented since it threatened everything I depend on – I could stand the loss of Peter but not the loss of Hope & Love; & could maybe even stand the loss of them, whatever they are, if Poesy were left, for me to go on being something I wanted, sacred poet however desolate; but Poesy itself became a black to further awareness. For further awareness lay in dropping every fixed concept of self, identity, role, ideal, habit & pleasure. It meant dropping language itself, words, as medium of consciousness. It meant literally altering consciousness outside of what was already the fixed habit of language-inner-thought-monologue-abstraction-mental-image-symbol-mathematical-abstraction. It meant exercising unknown and unused areas of the physical brain. Electronics, science fiction, drugs, strobiscopes, breathing exercises, exercises in thinking in music, colors, no thinks, entering and believing hallucinations, altering the neurologically fixated habit patter Reality. But that’s what I thought Poetry was doing all along! But the poetry I’d been practicing depended on living inside the structure of language, depended on words as the medium of consciousness & therefore the medium of conscious being.

Since then I’ve been wandering in doldrums, still keeping habit up with literature but uncertain if there is enough Me left to continue as some kind of Ginsberg. I can’t write, except journals and dreams down; as the next step if any for Poetry, I can’t imagine – Perhaps we’ve reached point in human or unhuman evolution where art of words is oldhat dinosaur futile, & must be left behind. I also stopped reading newspapers 2 months ago. Also the paranoid fear that I’m degenerate robot under the mind-control of the mad spectre of Burroughs. Except that it finally seems (after dreams of killing him) that he has only taken the steps, or begun to take, steps toward actual practice of expanded consciousness that were in the cards for me anyhoo, since the first days of mind break-up with Blake, and of which I was repeatedly reminded in drug trances.

I side effect of loss of dependence on words is the final break-up of my previously monotheistic memory-conception of one holy eternity, One God. Because all that conceptualization depends on the railroad track of language. And actual experience of consciousness is not Nameable as One. I suppose this is all in sophisticated form in Wittgenstein.

Meanwhile I am carrying for the last few months a dose of mushroom pills which I have been too fearful to take. Waiting for a day to look into that, or be that, THING, again. And operating still on language, thus this letter.

What to do about Cuba? Can the world Reality (as we know it through consciousness controlled by the Cortex part of the brain) be improved? Or, with expanded population & increasing need for social organization and control & centralization & standardization & socialization & removal of hidden power controllers (capitalism), will we in the long run doom man to life within a fixed and universal monopoly on reality (on materialist level) by a unison of cortex-controlled consciousness that will regulate our Being’s evolution? Will it not direct that evolution toward stasis of preservation of its own reality, its idea of reality, its own identity, its Logos? But this is not the problem of socialism, this is the problem of Man. Can any good society be founded, as all have been before and failed, on the basis of old-style human consciousness? Can a vast human-teeming world “democratically” regulate itself at all in future with the kind of communications mechanism this present known & used consciousness has available? How escape rigidification and stasis of consciousness when man’s mind is only words and these words and their images are flashed on every brain continuously by the interconnected networks of radio television newspapers wire services speeches decrees laws telephone books manuscripts? How escape centralized control of Reality of the masses by the few who want and can take power, when this network is now so interconnected, and the state so dominant, and the leaders of the state have decision of the Network? Democracy as previously sentimentally conceived now perhaps impossible (as proved in U.S.) since a vast feed-back mechanism, mass media, inescapably orients every individual, especially on subliminal levels. Same problem for Russia, China, Cuba.

I have no notion of future state or Government possible for man, I don’t know if continuance of machine civilization is even possible or desirable. Perhaps science may have to dismantle itself (or kill the race) – this is parallel to individual intellectual experience of cycles of reasoning leading back to non-intellectual “natural” life. However I assume (for no good reason yet) the latest cycle of human evolution is irreversible except by atomic apocalypse, so I suppose Science is here to stay in one form or other, and civilizations too. I think the possible direction of development, then, to solve problems created by vast population & centralized network control, is toward increasing the efficiency and area of brain use, i.e. widening the area of consciousness in all directions feasible. I.e. telepathy might annihilate mass media power centers of control. In any case the old sense of identity of human consciousness, the sense of separate identity, self & its limited language, may alter. Individuals may have to step into hitherto unrecognizable areas of awareness, which means, for practical purposes, unrecognizable or undiscovered areas of BEING.

The change may be so far out as to be unimaginable to present day 2-dimensional political consciousness, or even 2-dimensional Poet’s consciousness. I may have to (willingly) give up say being me, being Poet A.G., (or unwillingly depending on how fixed my cravings for security & the old life are). The social changes I can’t even guess. It may be that we find the material reality we take for granted was literally an illusion all along. We may not have bodies. Nothing can be assumed, everything is UNKNOWN.

Space exploration is secondary and only triumphant in limited areas of consciousness; whereas an evolution or scientific exploration of consciousness itself (the brain & nervous system) is the inevitable route for man to take.

I see no reason why no government on earth is really alive in this evolutionary direction. All governments including the Cuban are still operating within the rules of identity forced on them by already outmoded modes of consciousness. I say outmoded since it has brought all Govts. to edge of world destruction. No govt., not even the most Marxian revolutionary & well-intended like Cuba presumably, is guiltless in the general world mess, no one can afford to be righteous any more. Righteous and right & wrong are still fakes of the old suicidal identity.

Next day continued:
Now the Cuban Revolutionary government as far as I can tell is basically occupied by immediate practical problems & proud of that, heroic resistances, drama, uplift, reading & teaching language, and totally unoccupied as yet with psychic exploration in terms which I described above. When I talked with Franqui of Revolucion in NY he parroted the U.S. imperialist line against marijuana and added, “It should be easier for a poet to understand a revolution than for a revolution to understand poetry.” Poetry here meaning my contention that poet had right to use marijuana. He gave me all sorts of rationalistic arguments against social use of marijuana – tho he added liberally that he himself was not personally opposed to it. And also I see that there has been no evidence of real technical revolution in Poesy or language in recent Cuban poetry – it still is old hat mechanistic syntax & techniques. So that it is obvious that any, meaning ANY, medoicre bureaucratic attempt to censor language, diction or direction of psychic exploration is the same old mistake made in all the idiot academies of Russia and America. Arguments about immediate practical necessities are as far as I can tell from afar strictly the same old con of uninspired people who don’t know what the writing problem is, and don’t have any idea of the consciousness problems I’m talking about…

I’m NOT down on the Cubans or anti their revolution, it’s just that it’s important to make clear in advance, in front, what I feel about life. Big statements saying Viva Fidel are/ would be/ meaningless and just 2-dimensional politics.

Publish as much of this letter as interests you, as prose contribution to Cuban Revolution.

Oct. 16, 1961
Athens, Greece

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mary Butts, "Sequences"

We are running again
Where we ran once,
This time along the parallels that meet.

*     *     *     *    *

So I went out.
The stairs fell away,
I walked out onto the back of the moon.

Cloud upon cloud
Whirled up and broke
An each piece a perfect silence.
There was no colour,
The silence turned them
To pure light.

The snows flew,
Whirled round my hair,
Drifted on my breasts.
My body also
Dissolved in the dance,
They subdued all things to silence and radiance and speed.

Then came a time
When I was surrounded
On the back of that star
With bees.

Out of space
Out of cold
Life came. . . . .
Touched my body and became light.
Light became snow
Snow became bees,
Quiet bees.

Not the golden swarm,
The Danaan shower,
White bees, star-bred.
The Harrow road lay before me
Like a slip of the moon.
Soundless they spun down and touched my lips.

Up there you were lying,
Curled in your cold bed.
You hated me
Because of those bees.

You are so small
You and your lovers,
Greedy, afraid of the cold.
You have had me for your lover
The Companion of the Bees.

A myriad bees are better than one girl.

*     *     *     *     *

You will not come again…
She comes
She hated you.
Even when you had gone
Like a whip-snake
Her hate followed you.
A little snake over the polished floor
It followes even your memory
Into this house,
Into my mind.

I also have crawled with the snake in the dust
Remembering you.