Monday, 14 October 2013

The Sea King



On the big day he said, 'Her excellence
yields to the discerning eye.'
So, who could expect much on the
wedding night?

Who could expect much of his cool pastures,
his sallow buttocks (spied juddering
from a luke-warm tub)?
She let herself have what there was of him.

The Revolution came as a relief - in the
village somebody said the Palace was
happily stormed, and now there was
a scuffle going on.

It was no time at all before the small-holders
were liberated of their proprietary concerns
(niggling though they were)
and the good word spread:

the threshold of the interval between liberation
and freedom had, on tip-toe over ice,
been crossed.

This (indefinite) perspiring interval - the hard-work of whetting the blade,
of poising the sword - liberated first
the fallow earth. And next, till such a time as tendencies
were trusted, so much else was to be suppressed.

The birth of freedom was to be gratuitously midwifed,
and so they found externalized the very
prison of their marriage: the submission
of individual desire to the rigours of discipline.

He, of bookish anti-Semitism, took to wrestling
with a tumbler or two of whiskey, and a friend,
in a shed. She got on
with it, hoping not to have a child.

Life plus electricity, plus the banning of this
or that, trampled over dogged habit,
but failed to extinguish it too thoroughly.

Like the sea king, subject to barnacles and the
battering of the tide,
all the rape and boredom of daily life,
didn't go away, it just took on mutant forms.

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