Lay your sleeping head, my love Human on my faithless arm; Time and fevers burn away Individual beauty from Thoughtful children, and the grave Proves the child ephemeral; But in my arms till break of day Let the living creature lie: Mortal, guilty, but to me The entirely beautiful. .
And the poor in their fireless lodgings, dropping the sheets Of the evening paper: "Our day is our loss, O show us History the operator, the Organiser, Time the refreshing river." And the nations combine each cry, invoking the life That shapes the individual belly and orders The private nocturnal terror: "Did you not found the city state of the sponge, "Raise the vast military empires of the shark And the tiger, establish the robin's plucky canton? Intervene. Descend as a dove or A furious papa or a mild engineer, but descend." .
On that arid square, that fragment nipped off from hot Africa, soldered so crudely to inventive Europe; On that tableland scored by rivers, Our thoughts have bodies; the menacing shapes of our fever Are precise and alive. For the fears which made us respond To the medicine ad and the brochure of winter cruises Have become invading battalions; And our faces, the institute-face, the chain-store, the ruin Are projecting their greed as the firing squad and the bomb. Madrid is the heart. Our moments of tenderness blossom As the ambulance and the sandbag; Our hours of friendship into a people's army. .
To-morrow the rediscovery of romantic love, The photographing of ravens; all the fun under Liberty's masterful shadow; To-morrow the hour of the pageant-master and the musician, The beautiful roar of the chorus under the dome; To-morrow the exchanging of tips on the breeding of terriers, The eager election of chairmen By the sudden forest of hands. But to-day the struggle. To-morrow for the young the poets exploding like bombs, The walks by the lake, the weeks of perfect communion; To-morrow the bicycle races Through the suburbs on summer evenings. But to-day the struggle. .
I'll love you, dear, I'll love you Till China and Africa meet, And the river jumps over the mountain And the salmon sing in the street, I'll love you till the ocean Is folded and hung up to dry And the seven stars go squawking Like geese about the sky. .
'O plunge your hands in water, Plunge them in up to the wrist; Stare, stare in the basin And wonder what you've missed. 'The glacier knocks in the cupboard, The desert sighs in the bed, And the crack in the tea-cup opens A lane to the land of the dead.'Lines 37-44 .
By mourning tongues The death of the poet was kept from his poems. But for him it was his last afternoon as himself, An afternoon of nurses and rumours; The provinces of his body revolted, The squares of his mind were empty, Silence invaded the suburbs. The current of his feeling failed: he became his admirers. Now he is scattered over a hundred cities And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections; To find his happiness in another kind of wood And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.The words of a dead man are modified in the guts of the living. .
Follow, poet, follow right To the bottom of the night, With your unconstraining voice Still persuade us to rejoice; With the farming of a verse Make a vineyard of the curse, Sing of human unsuccess In a rapture of distress; In the deserts of the heart Let the healing fountains start, In the prison of his days Teach the free man how to praise. .
I sit in one of the dives On Fifty-second Street Uncertain and afraid As the clever hopes expire Of a low dishonest decade: Waves of anger and fear Circulate over the bright And darkened lands of the earth, Obsessing our private lives; The unmentionable odour of death Offends the September night. .
All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And the lie of Authority Whose buildings grope the sky:There is no such thing as the State And no one exists alone; Hunger allows no choice To the citizen or the police; We must love one another or die. .
Defenceless under the night Our world in stupor lies; Yet, dotted everywhere, Ironic points of light Flash out wherever the Just Exchange their messages:May I, composed like them Of Eros and of dust, Beleaguered by the same Negation and despair, Show an affirming flame. .
Base words are uttered only by the base And can for such at once be understood; But noble platitudes — ah, there's a case Where the most careful scrutiny is needed To tell a voice that's genuinely good From one that's base but merely has succeeded. .
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