Power and conflict



These lifeless things

Hand that mocked


Passions read which yet survive

King of kings

Look on my works, ye might, and despair

Cold command

Boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch

Trunkless     Shattered     Decay     Wreck

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I wander

Every (Repetition)

Black'ning church     Blood down palace walls (French Revolution)

Mind-forged manacles

Mark in every face I meet marks of weakness, marks of woe

Youthful harlot's curse blasts the new-born infant's tear

Hapless soldier's sigh

Blights with plagues

Marriage hearse

The (General)

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My Last Duchess

Faint half-flush that dies along her throat

None puts by the curtain I have drawn for you, but I

Spot of joy (Repetition)

Too soon made glad (Repetition)

Ranked my gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name

I gave commands, then all smiles stopped together

If she let herself be lessoned

His fair daughter's self, as I avowed at starting is my object

Notice Neptune

For me! (End)

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If buildings were paper

Lets the light shine through     Sun shines through

Layer over layer, luminous script over numbers over line

Let the daylight break through capitals and monoliths

Marks that rivers make, roads, railtracks, mountainfolds

Fly our lives like paper kites

Brick or block

Never meant to last, of paper smoothed and stroked and thinned to be transparent

A hand has written in the names and histories

With living tissue     Turned into your skin

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Checking Out Me History

Dem tell me (Repetition)

Wha dem want to tell me

Dem never tell me bout dat

Bandage up me eye     Blind me

Balloon     Moon     Spoon

Toussaint de thorn/beacon

See-far woman of mountain dream fire-woman struggle hopeful stream to freedom river

Even when de British said no she still brave the Russian snow a healing star amongst the wounded a yellow sunrise to the dying

I carving out me identity

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Extract from The Prelude

One summer evening (led by her)

She was an elfin pinnace     Glittering idly

Like a swan

Troubled pleasure

Towered up between me and the stars

Huge peak, black and huge

Measured motion like a living thing

No familiar shapes (Repetition)

Trouble to my dreams

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Myself and somebody else and somebody else

Legs it     Sort of inside out     Tosses his guts

Pain itself, the image of agony

Probably armed, possibly not (Repetition)

End of story, except not really

Drink and drugs won't flush him out


Sleep     Dream

Some distant, sun-stunned, sand-smothered land or six-feet-under sand

His bloody life in my bloody hands

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Blockade of yellow bias binding

Steeled the softening of my face

Spasms of paper red

Gelled blackthorns of your hair

Sellotape bandaged

World overflowing like a treasure chest

Like we did when you were little

Words flattened, rolled, turned into felt     Stomach busy making tucks, darts, pleats

Released a song bird from its cage

Leaned against it like a wishbone. The dove pulled freely against the sky, an ornamental stitch

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The Emigree

There once was a country...

Bright, filled paperweight     Docile as paper     Graceful slopes glow     White streets

My memory of it is sunlight-clear     Branded by an impression of sunlight     My shadow falls as evidence of sunlight     Tastes of sunlight

Child's vocabulary I carried here like a hollow doll

Banned by the state

Frontiers     Tanks

I comb its hair and love its shining eyes

My city takes me dancing through the city of walls

They accuse me of being dark in their free city

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One-way journey into history

Head full of powerful incantations     Samurai sword

Recounting it later to her children     He must have

Fishing boats strung out like bunting on a green-blue translucent sea

Like a huge flag

Shoals of fishes flashing silver     Figure of eight

Tuna, the dark prince, muscular, dangerous

Cairns of pearl-grey pebbles

Treated him as though he no longer existed, only we children still chattered and laughed till we too learned to be silent     No longer the father we loved

He must have wondered which had been the better way to die

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The Charge of the Light Brigade

Theirs not to make reply/reason why/do or die

Half a league (Repetition)

Cannon to (Repetition)

Rode the six hundred (Repetition)     Not not the six hundred

Some one had blunder'd

When can their glory fade?     Horse and hero fell     Honour     Noble

Mouth of Hell     Jaws of Death     Valley of death (Biblical)

Shatter'd  and sunder'd

World wonder'd

Volley'd and thunder'd, storm'd at with shot and shell

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Like twitching agonies of men among its brambles

Like a dull rumour of some other war

Poignant misery of dawn     Dawn massing in the east her melancholy army

Flowing flakes that flock     Snow-dazed     Pale flakes with ********* stealth

Silence, sentries whisper, curious, nervous

Merciless iced winds that knive us

Sudden successive flights of bullets streak the silence. Less deadly than the air

But nothing happens (Repetition)

Love is made afraid     For love of God seems dying

All their eyes are ice

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Storm on the Island

We are prepared

Wizened earth has never troubled us with hay

You know what I mean

Trees which might prove company

Raise a tragic chorus

Spits like a tame cat turned savage

You might think that the sea is company, exploding comfortably

Salvo     Bombarded     Blast

It is a huge nothing that we fear

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Bayonet Charge

Bullets smacking the belly out of the air

Sweating like molten iron

Patriotic tear

King, honour, human dignity, etcetera dropped like luxuries

A rifle numb as a smashed arm

In what cold clockwork of the stars and the nations was he the hand pointing that second?

Threw up a yellow hare that rolled like a flame

His terror's touchy dynamite

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War Photographer

Spools of suffering

Priest preparing to intone a Mass     All flesh is grass (Biblical)

Solutions slop

Did not tremble then though seem to now

Running children in a nightmare heat

Stranger's features faintly start to twist

Blood stained into foreign dust

Half-formed ghost

Hundred agonies in black-and-white

Tears between the bath and pre-lunch beers     They do not care

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