The Watchers

September 24, 2016


The world of old in its orbit moving
Chanced to pass (if there’s chance at all)
Near to the path of two Spirits’ roving,
Who stood and looked at the large green ball.
Morning flashed upon tusk and pinion,
Tooth and talon, of tribes at war.
“Who, we wonder, will win dominion?
Which will rule in the little star?”
Little scope there appeared for wonder:
The mammoth strode from the forest’s dusk.
Who but he, with his hooves of thunder?
Who but he, with his lightning tusk?
Yet there seemed in his monstrous striding,
Heaving weight and enormous ears,
Something gross. So, before deciding,
“Come again in a million years.”
Through the vault where the stars are sprinkled
Ages passed from the world away.
All of that time Orion twinkled:
Nothing changed in the Milky Way.
Again they stood where the world was rolling,
Again they watched, and saw, this time, Man,
Heard the roar of his engines coaling,
Scanned his cities to guess his plan,
Peered through clouds that his smoke turned sour,
Even spied on his hopes and fears.
“Yes,” they said, “he has surely power.
But come again in a million years.”

Lord Dunsany

The Night-Wind

September 24, 2016


I have heard the wind on a winter’s night,
When the snow-cold moon looked icily through
My window’s flickering firelight,
Where the frost his witchery drew:
I have heard the wind on a winter’s night,
Wandering ways that were frozen white,
Wail in my chimney-flue:
And its voice was the voice, so it seemed to me,
The voice of the world’s vast misery.


I have heard the wind on a night of spring,
When the leaves unclasped their girdles of gold,
And the bird on the bough sang slumbering,
In the lilac’s fragrant fold:
I have heard the wind on a night of spring,
Shaking the musk from its dewy wing,
Sigh in my garden old:
And it seemed that it said, as it sighed above,
‘I am the voice of the Earth’s great love.’


I have heard the wind on a night of fall,
When a devil’s-dance was the rain’s down pour,
And the wild woods reeled to its demon call,
And the carpet fluttered the floor:
I have heard the wind on a night of fall,
Heaping the leaves by the garden wall,
Weep at my close-shut door:
And its voice, so it seemed, as it sorrowed there,
Was the old, old voice of the world’s despair.


I have heard the wind on a summer night,
When the myriad stars stormed heaven with fire,
And the moon-moth glimmered in phantom flight,
And the crickets creaked in choir:
I have heard the wind on a summer night,
Rocking the red rose and the white,
Murmur in bloom and brier:
And its voice was the voice, so it seemed to me,
Of Earth’s primordial mystery.

Madison Julius Cawein

not knowing what poetry is…

September 24, 2016


I find it hard to give any abstract views on poetry and its present condition as I find theorizing on the subject no help to me as a writer. In fact it would be true to say that I make a point of not knowing what poetry is or how to read a page or about the function of myth. It is fatal to decide, intellectually, what good poetry is because you are then in honour bound to try to write it, instead of the poems that only you can write.

I write poems to preserve things I have seen / thought / felt (if I may so indicate a composite and complex experience) both for myself and for others, though I feel that my prime responsibility is to the experience itself, which I am trying to keep from oblivion for its own sake. Why I should do this I have no idea, but I think the impulse to preserve lies at the bottom of all art. Generally my poems are related, therefore, to my own personal life, but by no means always, since I can imagine horses I have never seen or the emotions of a bride without ever having been a woman or married.

As a guiding principle I believe that every poem must be its own sole freshly created universe, and therefore have no belief n ‘tradition’ or a common myth-kitty or casual allusions in poems to other poems or poets, which last I find unpleasantly like the talk of literary understrappers letting you see they know the right people. A poet’s only guide is his own judgement; if that is defective his poetry will be defective, but he had still better judge for himself than listen to anyone else. Of the contemporary scene I can say only that there are not enough poems written according to my ideas, but then if there were I should have less incentive to write myself.

Phillip Larkin
Statement on Poetry
Published in Poets of the fifties, edited by D J Enright


I was cautious in what I said before the young lady; for I could not be sure that she was sane; and, in fact, there was a certain restless brilliancy about her eyes that half led me to imagine she was not.

Edgar Allan Poe
The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether


September 24, 2016


I know of witches who whistle at different pitches, calling things that don’t have names.

Helen Oyeyemi
White is for Witching


Shortly after the guillotine sliced its own bloody version of a necklace into the Queen’s throat, well-born women of Paris began tying thin red ribbons around their necks as a reminder of what they might soon suffer.

Caroline Weber
Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution


Diary 23rd / 24th September

Astounding revelations that will hold you spellbound and make you breathe faster with new mental sensations…!

oh god it’s wonderful
to get out of bed
and drink too much coffee
and smoke too many cigarettes
and love you so much

oh, yes, yes – it is, it truly is…


Do you have a little voice in your head that tells you when you’ve gone too far? Yes? Well mine doesn’t do that anymore. Instead, it tells me to go that bit further! No more limits! None at all! Naughty little voice…


Like Antonin Artaud I have abandoned myself to the fever of dreams, in search of new laws, new possibilities. Ah, but to sleep so deeply – and then, perchance, encounter mademoiselle Lucifer…

What then?


Her hands were full of intent when they took hold of me. Subtle, featherlight touches of her fingertips, which felt as if she were writing a poem on my hardness, with unexpected words of fire…


‘I didn’t come out here to be alone,’ she said. ‘I needed to fart, is all. It’s that vegetable curry you made last night. I’m a bit ripe…’


D’you want to know the worse enemy to creativity? Yeah? Self-doubt, boys and girls. Self-doubt wins the prize every time.


I wonder what it is you hear in those silences that lay between us…?


The lights flicker. Dogs bark in the distance. A car grinds on the gravel outside. You’re home and the game is afoot…