Friday 10 November 2023


I am revisiting a poem I have never been satified with this post. You can read the other versions here and here. I have never been happy with the third stanza. The Secret Poets felt I had not got the tone consistent and this led me to put the poem away for five years. It occasionally came to mind and I worried at that stanza. Recently I decided to overhaul the whole poem.


when I lay on my back not one day dead

having my brain extracted through my nose

while my guts were pulled out by the handful

and dumped into the jars at my feet

I did not foresee that my sleep would be disturbed

by anyone less than a God

I could even put up with the French interrupting my twilight

but to be labelled a minor figure

in the political structure of the Lower Kingdom

while accurate could have been phrased with more respect

this social event at which I am the reluctant centre piece

makes no pretence at science that has come to replace religion

for these shallow individuals who do not know their own place in the cosmos

I am simply a sideshow that allows the good matrons of Paris to gasp in awe

as their high priest professor holds aloft each wrapping

as if he was revealing a universal truth

such enlightenment is beyond the banality of his words

which reveal more the short comings of this time than my life

afterwards I will be consigned lie under glass naked

having seen too much and in my second cycle of waiting

be ignored by the passers-by making their way to the gift shop

The first stanza, I felt, was arresting enough but the others I have worked on. I think it could nearly be there. All that remains is to discuss it with the Secrets at our next meeting, having trusted collaborators is a priceless gift.

Natalie Merchant was superb when I saw her last week. It was good to see her after all these years. She was in fine voice and the supporting musicians were excellent. I leave you with a recent live recording.

Until next time.

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