Fifty Years On

Reviewed by
April 2001, no. 229

Fifty Years On

Reviewed by
April 2001, no. 229

Every Intention has something Arbitrary.
                        Goethe

Early on, my mind was in reverse.
I read a book the name I thought was From
White Cabin to Log House, and ever after
I knew ambition must go to cancrizans.

To Carthage then I came, but this was London,
Waiting for the train from rain-veiled Tilbury.
Just as I thought, I said, coming on deck
and going below. Hell is a city just

like London, but I knew I had to find
a working hell, I’d lived too long in books.
The thing I didn’t know was that I sought
a London which was in me from the start.

Not fair to this fair city. But if hearts
can bring their darkness with them, then I brought
my dark provincial hours, verandah-lit,
to match the Mayhew shadows of these streets.

I came, I saw, I conjured. I am here.
Of my ignoble comrades, most are dead.
The end is what the end is: open sea,
if mind can cross the sand bar of its fears.

Fifty years ago I’d never have
quoted a word of Goethe’s. I gave up hope
to follow a more formal entropy.
Unchanging stars parade their hemispheres.

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