Monthly Archives: April 2020

The Power Of The Pub

Tony Buzan was the creator of mind-mapping. This poem is from his first book, the poetry collection Spore One, from 1972.

The Power of the Pub

Two hack poets went seperately
into our local pub last night
and came out three hours later
each with an arm draped
around Shakespeare’s shoulder.

Tony Buzan

A Dialogue Between The Soul And The Body

Andrew Marvell poem from 1681.

A Dialogue between the Soul and the Body

SOUL
O who shall, from this dungeon, raise
A soul enslav’d so many ways?
With bolts of bones, that fetter’d stands
In feet, and manacled in hands;
Here blinded with an eye, and there
Deaf with the drumming of an ear;
A soul hung up, as ’twere, in chains
Of nerves, and arteries, and veins;
Tortur’d, besides each other part,
In a vain head, and double heart.

BODY
O who shall me deliver whole
From bonds of this tyrannic soul?
Which, stretch’d upright, impales me so
That mine own precipice I go;
And warms and moves this needless frame,
(A fever could but do the same)
And, wanting where its spite to try,
Has made me live to let me die.
A body that could never rest,
Since this ill spirit it possest.

SOUL
What magic could me thus confine
Within another’s grief to pine?
Where whatsoever it complain,
I feel, that cannot feel, the pain;
And all my care itself employs;
That to preserve which me destroys;
Constrain’d not only to endure
Diseases, but, what’s worse, the cure;
And ready oft the port to gain,
Am shipwreck’d into health again.

BODY
But physic yet could never reach
The maladies thou me dost teach;
Whom first the cramp of hope does tear,
And then the palsy shakes of fear;
The pestilence of love does heat,
Or hatred’s hidden ulcer eat;
Joy’s cheerful madness does perplex,
Or sorrow’s other madness vex;
Which knowledge forces me to know,
And memory will not forego.
What but a soul could have the wit
To build me up for sin so fit?
So architects do square and hew
Green trees that in the forest grew.

Andrew Marvell

Elegy For Lyn James

Great boxing poem by Leslie Norris from his 1967 collection Finding Gold.

Elegy for Lyn James, killed in the ring at Shoreditch Town Hall, June 16th, 1964.

I saw your manager fight. He was
Useful, but his brother had the class.
In shabby halls in Wales, or in tents
On slum ground, I saw your like
Go cuffed and bleeding from a few
Sharp rounds to set the mob aloud
Before the big men came, who had the class.

Even they did not all escape. Tim
Sheehan, whose young heart burst
In a dirty room above a fish shop;
Jerry O’Neill, bobbing his old age
Through a confusion of scattered
Fists all down the High Street; brisk
Billy Rose, blind; all these I saw.

And Jock McAvoy, swinging his right
From a wheelchair. Your murderers hide
Fatly behind the black lines of the
Regulations, your futile hands are closed
In a gloveless death. Down rotting lanes.
Behind the silent billiard hall, I hear
Your shuffling ghost, who never had the class.

Leslie Norris

A Dying Viper

Victorian aunt and niece, and lovers, Katharine Harris Bradley (27 October 1846 – 26 September 1914) and Edith Emma Cooper (12 January 1862 – 13 December 1913) used the pseudonym Michael Field for their poetry. Their intention was to keep the pen-name secret, but it became public knowledge, not long after they had confided in their friend Robert Browning.

A Dying Viper

The lethargy of evil in her eyes —
As blue snow is the substance of a mere
Where the dead waters of a glacier drear
Stand open and behold — a viper lies.

Brooding upon her hatreds: dying thus
Wounded and broken, helpless with her fangs,
She dies of her sealed curse, yea, of her pangs
At God’s first ban that made her infamous.

Yet, by that old curse frozen in her wreath,
She, like a star, hath central gravity
That draws and fascinates the soul to death;

While round her stark and terrible repose,
Vaults for its hour a glittering sapphire fly,
Mocking the charm of death. O God, it knows!

Michael Field

There It Is

Jayne Cortez from her 1982 album There It Is. The musicians were mainly from Ornette Coleman’s band, they had been married.

There It Is

My friend
they don’t care
if you’re an individualist
a leftist a rightist
a shithead or a snake
They will try to exploit you
absorb you confine you
disconnect you isolate you
or kill you

And you will disappear into your own rage
into your own insanity
into your own poverty
into a word a phrase a slogan a cartoon
and then ashes

The ruling class will tell you that
there is no ruling class
as they organize their liberal supporters into
white supremacist lynch mobs
organize their children into
ku klux klan gangs
organize their police into
killer cops
organize their propaganda into
a device to ossify us with angel dust
preoccupy us with western symbols in
african hair styles
inoculate us with hate
institutionalize us with ignorance
hypnotize us with a monotonous sound designed
to make us evade reality and stomp our lives away
And we are programmed to self-destruct
to fragment
to get buried under covert intelligence operations of
unintelligent committees impulsed toward death
And there it is

The enemies polishing their penises between
oil wells at the pentagon
the bulldozers leaping into demolition dances
the old folks dying of starvation
the informers wearing out shoes looking for crumbs
the life blood of the earth almost dead in
the greedy mouth of imperialism
And my friend
they don’t care
if you’re an individualist
a leftist a rightist
a shithead or a snake

They will spray you with
a virus of legionnaire’s disease
fill your nostrils with
the swine flu of their arrogance
stuff your body into a tampon of
toxic shock syndrome
try to pump all the resources of the world
into their own veins
and fly off into the wild blue yonder to
pollute another planet

And if we don’t fight
if we don’t resist
if we don’t organize and unify and
get the power to control our own lives
Then we will wear
the exaggerated look of captivity
the stylized look of submission
the bizarre look of suicide
the dehumanized look of fear
and the decomposed look of repression
forever and ever and ever
And there it is

Jayne Cortez