About places

This town has docks where channel boats come sidling;
Tame water lanes, tall sheds, the traveller sees
(His bag of samples knocking at his knees),
And hears, still under slackened engines gliding,
His advent blurted to the morning shore. (more…)


The curtain white in folds,
She walks two steps and turns,
The curtain still, the light
Staggers in her eyes.

The lamps are golden.
Afternoon leans, silently.
She dances in my life.
The white day burns.

Your poetry sounded like spoken salsa.
I am in love with your language, courtesies,
Hospitality, the way you spoke to me.
I could write like this for a very long time
And I could even write like this in rhyme.
Through the traffic of Caracas, I overheard
The song of the improbable linnet,
And the sorrows of Bolivar, of whom,
I’m far from fit to speak – a man my size,
With a dead love, but a real hero.

‘O brave new world that has such noises in it!’

I could wear a brimmed hat and smoke cigars
On a verandah in my coffee plantation
(If I had one) holding up my rum punch
To catch the sunset in its tawny depths.

I could do that. I could do lots of things.
But probably, I’ll do nothing at all.
There’s something in me that insists it sings
Freely, for nothing, the lovely, lonely art
Called poetry, an art you understand.

When he failed the seminary he came back home
To the Bronx and sat in a back pew
Of St Mary’s every night reciting the Mass
From memory – quietly, continually –
into his deranged overcoat.
He knew the local phone book off by heart.
He had a system, he’d explain,
Perfected by the Dominicans in the Renaissance. (more…)

Run out the boat, my broken comrades;
Let the old seaweed crack, the surge
Burgeon oblivious of the last
Embarkation of feckless men,
Let every adverse force converge —
Here we must needs embark again. (more…)

Begbick: Fine, we’ll stay here then. I’ve had an idea:if we can’t go up there, then we’ll stay down here. Look all the people who’ve come back from up there have said that the rivers aren’t exactly generous with their gold. It’s awful work, and work is the last thing we can do. But I’ve seen these people, and I’m telling you, they will hand the gold over to us! It’s easier to get gold from men than from rivers!
So: let us found a city here
And Call it Mahagonny (more…)

The first night of my second voyage to Wales,
tired as rag from ascending the left cheek of Earth,
I nevertheless went to Merthyr in good company
and warm in neckclothing and speech in the Butcher’s Arms
till Time struck us pintless, and Eddie Rees steamed in brick lanes
and under the dark of the White Tip we repaired shouting

to I think the Bengal. I called for curry, the hottest,
vain of my nation, proud of my hard mouth from childhood,
the kindly brown waiter wringing the hands of dissuasion
O vindaloo, sir! You sure you want vindaloo, sir?
But I cried Yes please, being too far in to go back,
the bright bells of Rhymney moreover sang in my brains. (more…)

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