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Final Poems For Kathy

BANQUETING

She was that fatal girl who said the worst goodnight.

No one but she!

None could have dished out poison with such right

Perceptive wit upon occasions

Of late merry-making when wine and beer,

Cakes and red cheese, dallied down

The honeyed round.

Skill! Skill!

Such women with such skill!

Super controllers of no destiny!

Jack and Jill

Went up the hill

To fetch a pail of scorpions.

Jill came down

With daisy-chains

But Jack was bitten to ribbons.

 

FEBRUARY 81

I found myself in Putney

after many stupid years.

It was a worthless day

before spring comes with all its biting powers.

There was nothing there in Putney

but that February hearse

and all the villainy of incredible memory

born out of pointless love and hope that blackmails.

There was traffic there, that endless vicious fume

of noise; and litter blowing pointlessly;

savage parents; hard and worried kids;

the thundering mess of London all around;

a hop of sparrows on that pointless ground.

I found myself in Putney

where I lost myself so many stupid years ago,

and by that withered house a withered love arose.

“Ah, love,” I whispered, “why have you arisen?”

“You acknowledge me?” she said.

“Of course,” I answered.

“Put your arm across my breast,” she said.

“Touch my still hair. Weep plentifully.

“Let your poor heart break. Strike here across my cheek

“To know what you have lost.”

“My love,” I whispered, “why have you arisen?”

(From the withered house the years were toppling.)

“Stupid questions from a stupid man.

“You loved me and you lost me.”

Then the roar of London hurt my head.

I saw a man go down a street

Where no street was, where no man was.

 

THE FROGS ARE CROAKING, KATHARINE

I sat under the quiet trees all the restless afternoon,

Dreaming of what had been and never more could be:

Bitten the clouds, the declining canopy of air

Weary with insects weary with bats.

Black days black nights.

The benches of the dead set out, the dining dead.

At eight I rose, bitten the clouds,

A dog barked dead and long

Down the river of dead sights.

The thistle over which the dead goldfinch dreams of seeds;

The crimson road that marks the accident.

In courts, in currencies of plenty, wherever you are,

Do you hear the frogs croak, “Katharine”?

(from “”Love” Poems For Kathy / Green. Laced. Leaves”)

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