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J A C K E T  # 6
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Bill Griffiths
Two Poems

A beacon
Welcome to the wood
"Excuse me. . . thanks"
The reduction to charcoal for the extreme manufacture of pottery, glass, gold.
And a blue filter.
A rhyming experience in a way.
"Welcome to the sensitive home."
When everything is so neatly arranged. . .
Even house-breakers respect the alphabet!
I imagine they scan the Dutch seascape.
And see it is a copy.
And the screen of cranes.
it is a reproduction.
The Olson and Williams --
too modern.
Only the video really.
And the TV maybe.
(Halt! Lasst ihm!)
Do you want to risk your reason?
Leave the amp.
Miserere. Pity the sound-system!
It's old.
There is no threat - to the music.
Just a supervision of consistency.
And you know my opinion of the rugs.

O go
So many candles (bougies) in packs on offer
Who will they light?
I pass.
Who (I ask you) on what horns
the lighting
a set
not cake-pink
or church-pale
more for scale of boats
nor in mauve or marquisite
so pastel please
palest a yellow lion
and wash --
the mist-thin pink pea
and round the door
and rabbit brings a missive to hedgehog
'It's a writ,' sez rabbit.
'We opened it. So we know,' sez squirrel.
Se kyning þe ahte þisse weald het gretan
. . . and biddeð . . .
there are seed-white clocks
above are the butter-globe-flowers
and greens
dull greens
a plank door
and bidded ye blinnan (be a lot quieter)
IO declare
such strangeness
and tendrils
bellows whispering into work
on the keys
and vines
in the hall, rasping melody
and soft note-fall, externally
wood overhung with clusters of flower
old stock of raspberry joining pipe and mineral and chest
in my play-dream
Welcome to the village, he sez.
It's a quiet life around here, you know.
A wooden kirk,
a few simple rules
There are trees (evergreens of course)
Altho' it is very quiet,
sheep there are, safely grazing
A widow could safely walk (sez Bede)
but there is not much room
in fact it is a strictly average windowsill
with models
models of things
all homes
are moulded
around a station, a farm, a church
The thing from the churchyard
that was found with its hand missing
in the excavation
undertook on the north side
several times
wanted converse
about your assumptions
regarding exotic irrational exocultures
and the Taliban.
It held a copy of The Guardian
and pointed excitedly to the bit
in 1962 about repatriating Rastas from Jamaica.
It seemed angry.
Somehow grander and grander they march banners maroon and patterned with wheat, passing stars, passion, peace.
Will call back.
Great Towers rose
I viewed
dragons are wheeled on and a hero metallurgical.
The set is a full set.
there were rooms, classes, levels, gates
Curious disposals of stone stair
carved fine wooden galleries (motifs armorial)
master chambers
twisting and spiering higher
round and around
to the silhouetted tip
se tur þone þa gigantas worhton. . .
lime in troughs, large stones brought up on winch-engines
ready for dispersal
on the little screen
they enact
"Take the tree --
Take me!" cries Sieglinde
And the Spring ruffles the spines.
in a tale of puppet-box TV and giants
all a matter of scale
Well, yes, I so seem to have brought some scrap of entrail in on my boots.
Or it could be a pungent red berry.
it will soon accommodate.

"John Jacob Astor landed in Baltimore in 1784
with 25 dollars and 7 flutes to sell."

Have you seen the bruises on a twenty-pound note?
The heather-purple patch shading to
blue to green
and the gashes of scarlet are electric.
See the frenetic disweaving of silver thread,
tugging and tearing at,
a scrunching
before dissolving the watermark forever.
Does it have to be so?
Dick on the fruit-machine.
Money in.
For lights, and chances, and decisions,
some extra spins - guess 'n' gamble
'n' lose.
Why it's like askin' aught of them,
'n' they sits in desks.
Na-win reptiles.
Sons of Sephim.
Sackless, pereant
et in exterioribus partibus extravagabunt.

coins again
back in the air, bright
each economic
resurrection of the loved
ye that were
not known
nothing in the mutty earth
a trace
                          an element
heeded not at all
when all the secrets
out and
wipe and
tip on
all it takes
all it takes is
a little pump-bump-bump-bump
freckled prongs
coiled fronds
are we up yet? up yet?
all bump it takes bump
a little prong frond ground growth pump-bump
is it? is it? is it?
are we? is it?
up yet?
up yet?
Then shall the cerements be loosed -
can you help me? can you help me with the knot?
No exit!
no, not that way
with the freckled-coiled
pegging jumping
global surge
is it? is it? is it?
are we? is it?
O my God! what are we?
We shall all be one.
But richer.
The proper product of a well-managed fugue is the total fruiting field
in this case
we display the puzzling objects.
the workmanship?
It is quite gothic.
The lettering?
not quite a roman nor anything else
kind of script.
What do you think?
It has been attributed variously to King Arthur, Moses, and Hannibal.
for the flute is all possessions rounded in one:
in triplicate
leaping n hanging
gross books derelict
there is
not a
still bit about
so much fancy
balancing /
dart up
In my temerity
I have a plus-plus view
I am doing the bruising now
purple-to-pleasant-blue appear on top
there is some webbed red and
bodily brights to come
before the thinness need to check for patterns
marks - quality - the paper (parched)
all scrunched
nothing left to do
but get in there and isolate the silver potent thread
nothing can cheat that
it is a symbol of survival like tangible out of spirit
and yes, it is properly incorporated.
The thing is genuine.


Bill Griffiths was born in Middlesex in 1948. By 1971, his first poems were published in Poetry Review under the editorship of Eric Mottram. In the second half of Bill's life, he made a new start studying Old English at King's College, London, obtaining a PhD in 1986. This led to a fruitful co-operation with Anglo-Saxon Books in Norfolk, and many new titles, including an edition of The Battle of Maldon and a book on Anglo-Saxon Magic. His latest books are Rousseau and the wicked (Invisible Books, London, 1996), a joint book with Tom Raworth and Tom Leonard (Etruscan Reader 5, Etruscan Books, Buckfastleigh, 1997) and on his own, Nomad sense (Talus Editions, London, 1998). Bill is currently working on cataloguing the Mottram Archive donated to King's College London, and has at least two more books of poems ready.

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