In My Craft or Sullen Art – Dylan Thomas
(The Poet Speaks on Poetry)
In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labour by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.
Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.
Not Reading From A Chair
I don't want to read my poem sitting on a chair
For poetry belongs to a time before chairs
Before table cloths and tables, it was there
It should be easy, this poemmaking - just tear
The poem from the air, for it is there, always there
Breathed by the others who breathed before
In the time of whalesong and sea, river and night
Not the carpet under the fluorescent light
Is the space for poetry,
But the panthertrodden ground beneath the tree,
The space between foot and earth, the magnetic line
Between groin and ground,the marrowstuff of the spine
That is the space, the face beneath the mask beneath the face
That is the place, the time of leaf and stone
The time of wind and watersong
The voice in the desert singing to the burning bush
That is the time the space the place the voice
I want to speak my poem from.
Zephaniah – wrong Radio Station
My ears are battered and burned, and I have just learned, that I had been listening to the wrong Radio Station.
My mind has been brutalised, now the pain can't be disquised, I have been listening to the wrong Radio Station.
My future has been brighted, I am so short-sighted, I have been listening to the wrong Radio Station.
I was begining to not trust me, in fact, I wanted to arrest me, I have been listening to the wrong Radio Station.
I have been dancing to music that I can't stand, I have been reciting commercials to my girlfriends.
I have been trying to convince myself that what i really need is a Sunday, a morgage, and some hairspray.
The kind of hairspray that will wash my grey blues away. I have been trying to convince myself that,
I could ease my concience if i gave a few pents, or a few cents to a starving baby in
African babies need my favors, because
Globalisation will bring Salvation, I have been listening to the wrong Radio Station.
I thought my neighbors formed an Axis of Evil, I wanna kill people, I have been listening to the wrong Radio Station.
I was sure I didn't inhale, so why is my mind going to hell?? I have been listening to the wrong Radio Station.
I was begining to believe that all Muslims were terrorists, and that Christian terrorists did not exist.
I really did believe that terrorism could not be done by Governments, not our Governments, not white Governments.
I just could not see what was wrong with me, I gave hungry people Hamburgers you see.
I was begining to believe that our children were better than their children, their children were dying of terrorism, but,
I could not hear their children at all, and a child from
What dispair?, no children, I was not aware, I had been listening to the wrong Radio Station.
Everytime I got ill, I took the same little white pill, I've been listening to the wrong Radio Station.
When it started I was curious, but then it got serious. I've been listening to the wrong Radio Station.
It was cool when it begun, but now I hate
I wanna make friends with
"Where the hell is
I'm sure there is a continent called the Middle-East, and I think I can bomb my way to peace.
I've been listening to the wrong Radio Station.
I've been listening to the wrong Jams, I've been listening to the wrong beats.
I've been listening to the wrong Radio Station, I've been listening to the wrong tones, from the wrong zones.
I've been listening to the wrong Radio Station, I've been listening to the wrong voices, I've made such mad choices.
I've been listening to the wrong Radio Station, I've been listening to lies, I've been listening to spies.
I needed to know what some Pop-Star somewhere was having for breakfast.
I needed to know that I was no longer.. "Working Class"
I needed to know if the stock market rose by one percent, I needed to know that I had a Ruler to give me confidence.
I needed to know that my life would improve loads, if i had an operation on my nose.
I needed to hear that DJ say.. "Good Morning, Good Morning!" I thought he was there just for me.
I loved the way he would say.. "This Show was sponsored by.."
"Oh my!, oh my!" he made me cry.. I have been listening to the wrong Radio Station.
Can you dig this?? I put myself on a Hit-List. I'm laughing, I'm crying, because I'm watching myself dying.
I've been listening to the wrong Radio Station.
The Middle Class Bengali Intellectual Makes Love to His Wife
From somewhere, afar off
The sound of Darbari comes wafting in,
Soaked by the rain, yet
Sombre and dignified
And mingles with our breath
From a recess in the wall,
Framed gods look upon our mortal love-
Do they frown? Are they taking
The measure of our sin? Or do they
Get hard-ons, thinking of framed goddesses
In their divine minds?
Of course, I know there are
No such things as gods but knowing
Is not quite enough. What if
They are there, sitting in judgement
A universe away?
Darbari swells in the night
Stray bits of Neruda flash by,
As I take your little finger and bite, not too hard
Imagining you to be a pale fruit of fire
That I unclasp from the tree of dawn.
See, Pablo? I can make metaphors too
And without private tutions from you;
Unlike that postman of yours.
You lie stretched, taut, still,
And I stop, my finger poised
Millimetres from your skin
Will the first brush of me
Break open each particle of you,
Convert you to white-hot wanting
Squaredvelocityoflight times greater
Than your fragile mass?
Darbari drifts in
Coated with dust from walls
That declaim: "Marxism is true
Because it is science."
And the truth of your erect nipples
Straining against your blouse?
Is that science too?
My tongue traces fractal shapes on your stomach
Creating and obliterating many histories
Each within the other, each like the other
And they pass into half-uttered ghosts
Of memory that find voice in your moans.
In after hours, there will be time for wistfulness
For each day is a graveyard of memories,
And when we've gathered all our graveyards,
In after hours, there will be time for silences.
But now you look at me and see
Hector before the gates of
Though your face might not launch any ships
In our dream-denuded days, and though
Hector's face has mutated for us
Into that of a
There will be a tomorrow of pots and pans
That the milkman and the paperman will bring
In the various sounds the city will make, as it awakes
There will be no music. I will walk
Into my office, a little exhausted,
Be greeted by knowing winks, and you into yours.
But now Darbari oozes
From the cold, silver body of the sarod
And you emerge from your chrysalis of cotton and synthetic,
Lambent witch!! The only adornment left on you
Is your red coral bangle
In deference to the framed gods.