let the damned ride their earwigs to hell.

Pavel Simon

Pavel Simon, Title n/a.

Peter Redgrove, Corposant.

A ghost of a mouldy larder is one thing: whiskery bread,

Green threads, jet dots,

Milk scabbed, the bottles choked with wool,

Shrouded cheese, ebony eggs, soft tomatoes

Cascading through their splits,

Whitewashed all around, a chalky smell,

And these parts steam their breath. The other thing

Is that to it comes the woman walking backwards

With her empty lamp playing through the empty house,

Her light sliding through her steaming breath in prayer.

Why exoricse the harmless mouldy ghost

With embodied clergymen and scalding texts?

Because she rises shrieking from the bone-dry bath

With bubbling wrists, a lamp and steaming breath,

Stretching shadows in her rooms till daybreak

The rancid larder glimmering from her corpse

Tall and wreathed like moulds or mists,

Spoiling the market value of the house.

 

Herbert Palmer, Rock Pilgrim.

 

Let the damned ride their earwigs to Hell, but let me not join them.

For why I should covet the tide, or in meanness purloin them?

They are sick, they have chosen the path of their apple-green folly,

I will turn to my mountains of light and my mauve melancholy.

 

Let their hands get the primrose — God wreathe me! — of lowland and lagland;

For me the small yellow tormentil of heath-hill and cragland.

Man’s days are as grass, his thought but as thistle-seed wind-sown;

I will plod up the pass, and nourish the turf with my shinbone.

 

I should stay for a day, I should seek in high faith to reclaim them?

But the threadbare beat straw, and the hole in my shirt will inflame them.

They are blinder than moles, for they see but the flies in God’s honey;

And they eat off their soles; and they kneel to the Moloch of money.

 

They have squeezed my mouth dumb; their clutch for a year yet may rankle.

I will tie Robin Death to my side, with his claw on my ankle.

Let them come, stick and drum, and assail me across the grey boulders;

I will flutter my toes, and rattle the screes on their shoulders.

 

Let the damned get to Hell and be quick, while decision is early.

I will tie a red rose to my stick, and plant my feet squarely.

My back shall be blind on their spite, and my rump on their folly;

I will plod up the ridge to the right, past the crimson green holly.

 

Ithell Colquhoun, Gorgon. 1946.

Ithell Colquhoun, The Gorgon. 1946.

Paul Celan, Psalm.

(Translated by Michael Hamburger.)

 

Praised be your name, No one.

For your sake

we shall flower.

Towards you.

 

A nothing

we were, are, shall

remain, flowering:

the nothing -, the

No one’s rose.

 

With

our pistil soul-bright,

with our stamen heaven-ravaged,

our corolla red

with the crimson word which we sang

over, O over

the thorn.

 

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