2013年6月15日 星期六

Birds, Beasts and Flowers (1923) DHL II


YOU know what it is to be born alone,
Baby tortoise!

The first day to heave your feet little by little from the
Not yet awake,
And remain lapsed on earth,
Not quite alive.

A tiny, fragile, half-animate bean.

To open your tiny beak-mouth, that looks as if it would
   never open,
Like some iron door;
To lift the upper hawk-beak from the lower base
And reach your skinny little neck
And take your first bite at some dim bit of herbage,
Alone, small insect,
Tiny bright-eye,
Slow one.

To take your first solitary bite
And move on your slow, solitary hunt.
Your bright, dark little eye,
Your eye of a dark disturbed night,
Under its slow lid, tiny baby tortoise,
So indomitable.
No one ever heard you complain.

You draw your head forward, slowly, from your little wimple
And set forward, slow-dragging, on your four-pinned toes,
Rowing slowly forward.
Whither away, small bird?

Rather like a baby working its limbs,
Except that you make slow, ageless progress
And a baby makes none.

The touch of sun excites you,
And the long ages, and the lingering chill
Make you pause to yawn,
Opening your impervious mouth,
Suddenly beak-shaped, and very wide, like some suddenly
   gaping pincers;
Soft red tongue, and hard thin gums,
Then close the wedge of your little mountain front,
Your face, baby tortoise.

Do you wonder at the world, as slowly you turn your head
   in its wimple
And look with laconic, black eyes?
Or is sleep coming over you again,
The non-life?

You are so hard to wake.

Are you able to wonder?
Or is it just your indomitable will and pride of the first life
Looking round
And slowly pitching itself against the inertia
Which had seemed invincible?

The vast inanimate,
And the fine brilliance of your so tiny eye,

Nay, tiny shell-bird,
What a huge vast inanimate it is, that you must row against,
What an incalculable inertia.

Little Ulysses, fore-runner,
No bigger than my thumb-nail,
Buon viaggio.

All animate creation on your shoulder,
Set forth, little Titan, under your battle-shield.

The ponderous, preponderate,
Inanimate universe;
And you are slowly moving, pioneer, you alone.

How vivid your travelling seems now, in the troubled sun-
Stoic, Ulyssean atom;
Suddenly hasty, reckless, on high toes.

Voiceless little bird,
Resting your head half out of your wimple
In the slow dignity of your eternal pause.
Alone, with no sense of being alone,
And hence six times more solitary;
Fulfilled of the slow passion of pitching through immemorial
Your little round house in the midst of chaos.

Over the garden earth,
Small bird,
Over the edge of all things.

With your tail tucked a little on one side
Like a gentleman in a long-skirted coat.

All life carried on your shoulder,
Invincible fore-runner.


THE Cross, the Cross
Goes deeper in than we know,
Deeper into life;
Right into the marrow
And through the bone.

Along the back of the baby tortoise
The scales are locked in an arch like a bridge,
Scale-lapping, like a lobster's sections
Or a bee's.

Then crossways down his sides
Tiger-stripes and wasp-bands.

Five, and five again, and five again,
And round the edges twenty-five little ones,
The sections of the baby tortoise shell.

Four, and a keystone;
Four, and a keystone;
Four, and a keystone;
Then twenty-four, and a tiny little keystone.

It needed Pythagoras to see life playing with counters on the
   living back
Of the baby tortoise;
Life establishing the first eternal mathematical tablet,
Not in stone, like the Judean Lord, or bronze, but in life-
   clouded, life-rosy tortoise shell.

The first little mathematical gentleman
Stepping, wee mite, in his loose trousers
Under all the eternal dome of mathematical law.

Fives, and tens,
Threes and fours and twelves,
All the _volte face_ of decimals,
The whirligig of dozens and the pinnacle of seven.

Turn him on his back,
The kicking little beetle,
And there again, on his shell-tender, earth-touching belly,
The long cleavage of division, upright of the eternal cross
And on either side count five,
On each side, two above, on each side, two below
The dark bar horizontal.

The Cross!
It goes right through him, the sprottling insect,
Through his cross-wise cloven psyche,
Through his five-fold complex-nature.

So turn him over on his toes again;
Four pin-point toes, and a problematical thumb-piece,
Four rowing limbs, and one wedge-balancing head,
Four and one makes five, which is the clue to all

The Lord wrote it all down on the little slate
Of the baby tortoise.
Outward and visible indication of the plan within,
The complex, manifold involvedness of an individual creature
Plotted out
On this small bird, this rudiment,
This little dome, this pediment
Of all creation,
This slow one.


ON he goes, the little one,
Bud of the universe,
Pediment of life.

Setting off somewhere, apparently.
Whither away, brisk egg?

His mother deposited him on the soil as if he were no more
   than droppings.
And now he scuffles tinily past her as if she were an old
   rusty tin.

A mere obstacle,
He veers round the slow great mound of her--
Tortoises always foresee obstacles.

It is no use my saying to him in an emotional voice:
"This is your Mother, she laid you when you were an egg."

He does not even trouble to answer: "Woman, what have I
   to do with thee?"
He wearily looks the other way,
And she even more wearily looks another way still,
Each with the utmost apathy,

As for papa,
He snaps when I offer him his offspring,
Just as he snaps when I poke a bit of stick at him,
Because he is irascible this morning, an irascible tortoise
Being touched with love, and devoid of fatherliness.

Father and mother,
And three little brothers,
And all rambling aimless, like little perambulating pebbles
   scattered in the garden.
Not knowing each other from bits of earth or old tins.

Except that papa and mama are old acquaintances, of course,
Though family feeling there is none, not even the beginnings.

Fatherless, motherless, brotherless, sisterless
Little tortoise.

Row on then, small pebble,
Over the clods of the autumn, wind-chilled sunshine,
Young gaiety.

Does he look for a companion?

No, no, don't think it.
He doesn't know he is alone;
Isolation is his birthright,
This atom.

To row forward, and reach himself tall on spiny toes,
To travel, to burrow into a little loose earth, afraid of the
To crop a little substance,
To move, and to be quite sure that he is moving:
To be a tortoise!
Think of it, in a garden of inert clods
A brisk, brindled little tortoise, all to himself--

In a garden of pebbles and insects
To roam, and feel the slow heart beat
Tortoise-wise, the first bell sounding
From the warm blood, in the dark-creation morning.

Moving, and being himself,
Slow, and unquestioned,
And inordinately there, O stoic!
Wandering in the slow triumph of his own existence,
Ringing the soundless bell of his presence in chaos,
And biting the frail grass arrogantly,
Decidedly arrogantly.


SHE is large and matronly
And rather dirty,
A little sardonic-looking, as if domesticity had driven her
   to it.

Though what she does, except lay four eggs at random in
   the garden once a year
And put up with her husband,
I don't know.

She likes to eat.
She hurries up, striding reared on long uncanny legs,
When food is going.
Oh yes, she can make haste when she likes.

She snaps the soft bread from my hand in great mouthfuls,
Opening her rather pretty wedge of an iron, pristine face
Into an enormously wide-beaked mouth
Like sudden curved scissors,
And gulping at more than she can swallow, and working
her thick, soft tongue,
And having the bread hanging over her chin.

O Mistress, Mistress,
Reptile mistress,
Your eye is very dark, very bright,
And it never softens
Although you watch.

She knows,
She knows well enough to come for food,
Yet she sees me not;
Her bright eye sees, but not me, not anything,
Sightful, sightless, seeing and visionless,
Reptile mistress.

Taking bread in her curved, gaping, toothless mouth,
She has no qualm when she catches my finger in her steel
   overlapping gums,
But she hangs on, and my shout and my shrinking are
   nothing to her.
She does not even know she is nipping me with her curved
Snake-like she draws at my finger, while I drag it in horror

Mistress, reptile mistress,
You are almost too large, I am almost frightened.

He is much smaller,
Dapper beside her,
And ridiculously small.

Her laconic eye has an earthy, materialistic look,
His, poor darling, is almost fiery.

His wimple, his blunt-prowed face,
His low forehead, his skinny neck, his long, scaled, striving
So striving, striving,
Are all more delicate than she,
And he has a cruel scar on his shell.

Poor darling, biting at her feet,
Running beside her like a dog, biting her earthy, splay feet,
Nipping her ankles,
Which she drags apathetic away, though without retreating
   into her shell.

Agelessly silent,
And with a grim, reptile determination.
Cold, voiceless age-after-age behind him, serpents' long
Of horizontal persistence.

Little old man
Scuffling beside her, bending down, catching his opportunity,
Parting his steel-trap face, so suddenly, and seizing her scaly
And hanging grimly on,
Letting go at last as she drags away,
And closing his steel-trap face.

His steel-trap, stoic, ageless, handsome face.
Alas, what a fool he looks in this scuffle.

And how he feels it!
The lonely rambler, the stoic, dignified stalker through
The immune, the animate,
Enveloped in isolation,
Now look at him!

Alas, the spear is through the side of his isolation.
His adolescence saw him crucified into sex,
Doomed, in the long crucifixion of desire, to seek his con-
   summation beyond himself.
Divided into passionate duality,
He, so finished and immune, now broken into desirous
Doomed to make an intolerable fool of himself
In his effort toward completion again.

Poor little earthy house-inhabiting Osiris,
The mysterious bull tore him at adolescence into pieces,
And he must struggle after reconstruction, ignominiously.

And so behold him following the tail
Of that mud-hovel of his slowly rambling spouse,
Like some unhappy bull at the tail of a cow,
But with more than bovine, grim, earth-dank persistence.

Suddenly seizing the ugly ankle as she stretches out to walk,
Roaming over the sods,
Or, if it happen to show, at her pointed, heavy tail
Beneath the low-dropping back-board of her shell.

Their two shells like domed boats bumping,
Hers huge, his small;
Their splay feet rambling and rowing like paddles,
And stumbling mixed up in one another,
In the race of love--
Two tortoises,
She huge, he small.

She seems earthily apathetic,
And he has a reptile's awful persistence.

I heard a woman pitying her, pitying the Mère Tortue.
While I, I pity Monsieur.
"He pesters her and torments her," said the woman.
How much more is _he_ pestered and tormented, say I.

What can he do?
He is dumb, he is visionless,
His black, sad-lidded eye sees but beholds not
As her earthen mound moves on,
But he catches the folds of vulnerable, leathery skin,
Nail-studded, that shake beneath her shell,
And drags at these with his beak.
Drags and drags and bites,
While she pulls herself free, and rows her dull mound along.


MAKING his advances
He does not look at her, nor sniff at her,
No, not even sniff at her, his nose is blank.

Only he senses the vulnerable folds of skin
That work beneath her while she sprawls along
In her ungainly pace,
Her folds of skin that work and row
Beneath the earth-soiled hovel in which she moves.

And so he strains beneath her housey walls
And catches her trouser-legs in his beak
Suddenly, or her skinny limb,
And strange and grimly drags at her
Like a dog,
Only agelessly silent, with a reptile's awful persistency

Grim, gruesome gallantry, to which he is doomed.
Dragged out of an eternity of silent isolation
And doomed to partiality, partial being,
Ache, and want of being.
Self-exposure, hard humiliation, need to add himself on to her

Born to walk alone,
Now suddenly distracted into this mazy side-track,
This awkward, harrowing pursuit,
This grim necessity from within.

Does she know
As she moves eternally slowly away?
Or is he driven against her with a bang, like a bird flying in
   the dark against a window,
All knowledgeless?

The awful concussion,
And the still more awful need to persist, to follow, follow,

Driven, after aeons of pristine, fore-god-like singleness and
At the end of some mysterious, red-hot iron,
Driven away from himself into her tracks,
Forced to crash against her.

Stiff, gallant, irascible, crook-legged reptile,
Little gentleman,
Sorry plight,
We ought to look the other way.

Save that, having come with you so far,
We will go on to the end.


I THOUGHT he was dumb,
I said he was dumb,
Yet I've heard him cry.

First faint scream,
Out of life's unfathomable dawn,
Far off, so far, like a madness, under the horizon's dawning rim,
Far, far off, far scream.

Tortoise _in extremis_.

Why were we crucified into sex?
Why were we not left rounded off, and finished in ourselves,
As we began,
As he certainly began, so perfectly alone?

A far, was-it-audible scream,
Or did it sound on the plasm direct?

Worse than the cry of the new-born,
A scream,
A yell,
A shout,
A paean,
A death-agony,
A birth-cry,
A submission,
All tiny, tiny, far away, reptile under the first dawn.

War-cry, triumph, acute delight, death-scream reptilian,
Why was the veil torn?
The silken shriek of the soul's torn membrane?
The male soul's membrane
Torn with a shriek half music, half horror.

Male tortoise, cleaving behind the hovel-wall of that dense
Mounted and tense, spread-eagle, out-reaching out of the
In tortoise-nakedness,
Long neck, and long vulnerable limbs extruded, spread-eagle
   over her house-roof,
And the deep, secret, all-penetrating tail curved beneath
   her walls.
Reaching and gripping tense, more reaching anguish in
   uttermost tension
Till suddenly, in the spasm of coition, tupping like a jerking
   leap, and oh!
Opening its clenched face from his outstretched neck
And giving that fragile yell, that scream,
From his pink, cleft, old-man's mouth,
Giving up the ghost,
Or screaming in Pentecost, receiving the ghost.

His scream, and his moment's subsidence,
The moment of eternal silence,
Yet unreleased, and after the moment, the sudden, startling
   jerk of coition, and at once
The inexpressible faint yell--
And so on, till the last plasm of my body was melted
To the primeval rudiments of life, and the secret.

So he tups, and screams
Time after time that frail, torn scream
After each jerk, the longish interval,
The tortoise eternity,
Age-long, reptilian persistence,
Heart-throb, slow heart-throb, persistent for the next

I remember, when I was a boy,
I heard the scream of a frog, which was caught with his foot
   in the mouth of an up-starting snake;
I remember when I first heard bull-frogs break into sound
   in the spring;
I remember hearing a wild goose out of the throat of night
Cry loudly, beyond the lake of waters;
I remember the first time, out of a bush in the darkness,
   a nightingale's piercing cries and gurgles startled the
   depths of my soul;
I remember the scream of a rabbit as I went through a wood
   at midnight;
I remember the heifer in her heat, blorting and blorting
   through the hours, persistent and irrepressible;
I remember my first terror hearing the howl of weird,
   amorous cats;
I remember the scream of a terrified, injured horse, the
And running away from the sound of a woman in labour,
   something like an owl whooing,
And listening inwardly to the first bleat of a lamb,
Tiie first wail of an infant,
And my mother singing to herself,
And the first tenor singing of the passionate throat of a
   young collier, who has long since drunk himself to
The first elements of foreign speech
On wild dark lips.

And more than all these,
And less than all these.
This last,
Strange, faint coition yell
Of the male tortoise at extremity,
Tiny from under the very edge of the farthest far-off horizon
   of life.

The cross,
The wheel on which our silence first is broken,
Sex, which breaks up our integrity, our single inviolability,
   our deep silence
Tearing a cry from us.

Sex, which breaks us into voice, sets us calling across the
   deeps, calling, calling for the complement,
Singing, and calling, and singing again, being answered,
   having found.

Torn, to become whole again, after long seeking for what
   is lost,
The same cry from the tortoise as from Christ, the Osiris-cry
   of abandonment,
That which is whole, torn asunder,
That which is in part, finding its whole again throughout the



YOU ruffled black blossom,
You glossy dark wind.

Your sort of gorgeousness,
Dark and lustrous
And skinny repulsive
And poppy-glossy,
Is the gorgeousness that evokes my most puzzled admiration.

Your aboriginality
Deep, unexplained,
Like a Red Indian darkly unfinished and aloof,
Seems like the black and glossy seeds of countless

Your wattles are the colour of steel-slag which has been
And is going cold,
Cooling to a powdery, pale-oxydised sky-blue.

Why do you have wattles, and a naked, wattled head?
Why do you arch your naked-set eye with a more-than-
   comprehensible arrogance?

The vulture is bald, so is the condor, obscenely,
But only you have thrown this amazing mantilla of oxydised
And hot red over you.

This queer dross shawl of blue and vermilion,
Whereas the peacock has a diadem.

I wonder why.
Perhaps it is a sort of uncanny decoration, a veil of loose
Perhaps it is your assertion, in all this ostentation, of raw
Your wattles drip down like a shawl to your breast
And the point of your mantilla drops across your nose, un-

Or perhaps it is something unfinished
A bit of slag still adhering, after your firing in the furnace
   of creation.

Or perhaps there is something in your wattles of a bull's
Which slips down like a pendulum to balance the throbbing
   mass of a generous breast,

The over-drip of a great passion hanging in the balance.
Only yours would be a raw, unsmelted passion, that will not
   quite fuse from the dross.

You contract yourself,
You arch yourself as an archer's bow
Which quivers indrawn as you clench your spine
Until your veiled head almost touches backward
To the root-rising of your erected tail.
And one intense and backward-curving frisson
Seizes you as you clench yourself together
Like some fierce magnet bringing its poles together.

Burning, pale positive pole of your wattled head!
And from the darkness of that opposite one
The upstart of your round-barred, sun-round tail!

Whilst between the two, along the tense arch of your
Blows the magnetic current in fierce blasts,
Ruffling black, shining feathers like lifted mail,
Shuddering storm wind, or a water rushing through.

Your brittle, super-sensual arrogance
Tosses the crape of red across your brow and down your
As you draw yourself upon yourself in insistence.

It is a declaration of such tension in will
As time has not dared to avouch, nor eternity been able to
Do what it may.
A raw American will, that has never been tempered by
You brittle, will-tense bird with a foolish eye.

The peacock lifts his rods of bronze
And struts blue-brilliant out of the far East.
Rut watch a turkey prancing low on earth
Drumming his vaulted wings, as savages drum
Their rhythms on long-drawn, hollow, sinister drums.
The ponderous, sombre sound of the great drum of Huichi-
In pyramid Mexico, during sacrifice.

Drum, and the turkey onrush
Sudden, demonic dauntlessness, full abreast,
All the bronze gloss of all his myriad petals
Each one apart and instant.
Delicate frail crescent of the gentle outline of white
At each feather-tip
So delicate;
Yet the bronze wind-well suddenly clashing
And the eye over-weening into madness.

Turkey-cock, turkey-cock
Are you the bird of the next dawn?

Has the peacock had his day, does he call in vain, screecher,
   for the sun to rise?
The eagle, the dove, and the barnyard rooster, do they call
   in vain, trying to wake the morrow?
And do you await us, wattled father, Westward?
Will your yell do it?

Take up the trail of the vanished American
Where it disappeared at the foot of the crucifix.
Take up the primordial Indian obstinacy,
The more than human, dense insistence of will,
And disdain, and blankness, and onrush, and prise open the
   new day with them?

The East a dead letter, and Europe moribund. . . . Is that so?
And those sombre, dead, feather-lustrous Aztecs, Amer-
In all the sinister splendour of their red blood sacrifices,
Do they stand under the dawn, half-godly, half-demon,
   awaiting the cry of the turkey-cock?

Or must you go through the fire once more, till you're
   smelted pure,
Slag-wattled turkey-cock,



I CAN imagine, in some otherworld
Primeval-dumb, far back
In that most awful stillness, that only gasped and hummed,
Humming-birds raced down the avenues.

Before anything had a soul,
While life was a heave of Matter, half inanimate,
This little bit chipped off in brilliance
And went whizzing through the slow, vast, succulent stems.

I believe there were no flowers, then
In the world where the humming-bird flashed ahead of
I believe he pierced the slow vegetable veins with his long

Probably he was big
As mosses, and little lizards, they say were once big.
Probably he was a jabbing, terrifying monster.

We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope
   of Time,
Luckily for us.



TOWARDS the sun, towards the south-west
A scorched breast.
A scorched breast, breasting the sun like an answer,
Like a retort.

An eagle at the top of a low cedar-bush
On the sage-ash desert
Reflecting the scorch of the sun from his breast;
Eagle, with the sickle dripping darkly above.

Erect, scorched-pallid out of the hair of the cedar,
Erect, with the god-thrust entering him from below,
Eagle gloved in feathers
In scorched white feathers
In burnt dark feathers
In feathers still fire-rusted;
Sickle-overswept, sickle dripping over and above.

Staring two ways at once, to right and left;
With iron between your two eyes;
You feather-gloved
To the feet;
Erect one;
The god-thrust entering you steadily from below.

You never look at the sun with your two eyes.
Only the inner eye of your scorched broad breast
Looks straight at the sun.

You are dark
Except scorch-pale-breasted;
And dark cleaves down and weapon-hard downward curving
At your scorched breast,
Like a sword of Damocles,
Beaked eagle.

You've dipped it in blood so many times
That dark face-weapon, to temper it well,
Blood-thirsty bird.

Why do you front the sun so obstinately,
American eagle?
As if you owed him an old old grudge, great sun: or an old,
   old allegiance.

When you pick the red smoky heart from a rabbit or a light-
   blooded bird
Do you lift it to the sun, as the Aztec priests used to lift
   red hearts of men?

Does the sun need steam of blood do you think
In America, still,
Old eagle?

Does the sun in New Mexico sail like a fiery bird of prey in
   the sky

Does he shriek for blood?
Does he fan great wings above the prairie, like a hovering,
   blood-thirsty bird?

And are you his priest, big eagle
Whom the Indians aspire to?
Is there a bond of bloodshed between you?

Is your continent cold from the ice-age still, that the sun is
   so angry?
Is the blood of your continent somewhat reptilian still,
That the sun should be greedy for it?

I don't yield to you, big, jowl-faced eagle.
Nor you nor your blood-thirsty sun
That sucks up blood
Leaving a nervous people.

Fly off, big bird with a big black back,
Fly slowly away, with a rust of fire in your tail,
Dark as you are on your dark side, eagle of heaven.

Even the sun in heaven can be curbed and chastened at last
By the life in the hearts of men.
And you, great bird, sun-starer, heavy black beak
Can be put out of office as sacrifice bringer.



The blue jay with a crest on his head
Comes round the cabin in the snow.
He runs in the snow like a bit of blue metal,
Turning his back on everything.

From the pine-tree that towers and hisses like a pillar of
   shaggy cloud
Immense above the cabin
Comes a strident laugh as we approach, this little black dog
   and I.
So halts the little black bitch on four spread paws in the snow
And looks up inquiringly into the pillar of cloud,
With a tinge of misgiving.
_Ca-a-a_! comes the scrape of ridicule out of the tree.

_What voice of the Lord is that, from the tree of smoke_?

Oh Bibbles, little black bitch in the snow,
With a pinch of snow in the groove of your silly snub nose.
What do you look at me for?
What do you look at me for, with such misgiving?

It's the blue jay laughing at us.
It's the blue jay jeering at us, Bibs.

Every day since the snow is here
The blue jay paces round the cabin, very busy, picking up
Turning his back on us all,
And bobbing his thick dark crest about the snow, as if
   darkly saying:
_I ignore those folk who look out_.

You acid-blue metallic bird,
You thick bird with a strong crest
Who are you?
Whose boss are you, with all your bully way?
You copper-sulphate blue-bird!




THE long-drawn bray of the ass
In the Sicilian twilight--

_All mares are dead!
All mares are dead!
I can't bear it, I can't bear it,
I can't!
Oh, I can't!
There's one left!
There's one left!
There's one . . . left_. . . .

So ending on a grunt of agonised relief.

This is the authentic Arabic interpretation of the braying
   of the ass.
And Arabs should know.

And yet, as his brass-resonant howling yell resounds
   through the Sicilian twilight
I am not sure--

His big, furry head.
His big, regretful eyes,
His diminished, drooping hindquarters,
His small toes.

Such a dear!
Such an ass!
With such a knot inside him!
He regrets something that he remembers.
That's obvious.

The Steppes of Tartary,
And the wind in his teeth for a bit,
And _noli me tangere_.

Ah then, when he tore the wind with his teeth,
And trod wolves underfoot,
And over-rode his mares as if he were savagely leaping an
   obstacle, to set his teeth in the sun. . . .

Somehow, alas, he fell in love,
And was sold into slavery.

He fell into the rut of love,
Poor ass, like man, always in a rut,
The pair of them alike in that.

All his soul in his gallant member
And his head gone heavy with the knowledge of desire
And humiliation.

The ass was the first of all animals to fall finally into love,
From obstacle-leaping pride,
Mare obstacle,
Into love, mare-goal, and the knowledge of love.

Hence Jesus rode him in the Triumphant Entry.
Hence his beautiful eyes.
Hence his ponderous head, brooding over desire, and down-
   fall, Jesus, and a pack-saddle,
Hence he uncovers his big ass-teeth and howls in that agony
   that is half-insatiable desire and half-unquenchable
Hence the black cross on his shoulders.

The Arabs were only half right, though they hinted the
Everlasting lament in everlasting desire.

See him standing with his head down, near the Porta
With the half-veiled, beautiful eyes, and the pensive face
   not asleep,
Motionless, like a bit of rock.

Has he seen the Gorgon's head, and turned to stone?
Alas, Love did it.
Now he's a jackass, a pack-ass, a donkey, somaro, burro,
   with a boss piling loads on his back.
Tied by the nose at the Porta Cappuccini.
And tied in a knot, inside, dead-licked between two
To overleap like a male all mares as obstacles
In a leap at the sun;
And to leap in one last heart-bursting leap like a male at
   the goal of a mare,
And there end.
Well, you can't have it both roads.

_Hee! Hee! Ehee! Ehow! Ehaw!! Oh! Oh! Oh-h-h_!!
The wave of agony bursts in the stone that he was,
Bares his long ass's teeth, flattens his long ass's ears,
   straightens his donkey neck.
And howls his pandemonium on the indignant air.

Yes, it's a quandary.
Jesus rode on him, the first burden on the first beast of
Love on a submissive ass.
So the tale began.

But the ass never forgets.

The horse, being nothing but a nag, will forget.
And men, being mostly geldings and knacker-boned hacks,
   have almost all forgot.
But the ass is a primal creature, and never forgets.

The Steppes of Tartary,
And Jesus on a meek ass-colt: mares: Mary escaping to
   Egypt: Joseph's cudgel.

_Hee! Hee! Ehee! Ehow—ow-!-ow!-aw!-aw!-aw!
All mares are dead!
   Or else I am dead!
   One of us, or the pair of us,
   I don't know—ow!—ow!
   Not sure-ure-ure
   Quite which!



SEE his black nose snubbed back, pressed over like a whale's
As if his nostrils were going to curve back to the root of
    his tail.

As he charges slow among the herd
And rows among the females like a ship pertinaciously,
Heavy with a rancid cargo, through the lesser ships--
Old father
Sniffing forever ahead of him, at the rear of the goats, that
    they lift the little door,
And rowing on, unarrived, no matter how often he enter:
Like a big ship pushing her bowsprit over the little ships
Then swerving and steering afresh
And never, never arriving at journey's end, at the rear of the
    female ships.

Yellow eyes incomprehensible with thin slits
To round-eyed us.

Yet if you had whorled horns of bronze in a frontal dark wall
At the end of a back-bone ridge, like a straight sierra
And nerves urging forward to the wall, you'd have eyes like
Especially if, being given a needle's eye of egress elsewhere
You tried to look back to it, and couldn't.

Sometimes he turns with a start, to fight, to challenge, to
    suddenly butt.
And then you see the God that he is, in a cloud of black
And storm-lightning-slitted eye.
Splendidly planting his feet, one rocky foot striking the
    ground with a sudden rock-hammer announcement.

_I am here_!
And suddenly lowering his head, the whorls of bone and of
Slowly revolving towards unexploded explosion,
As from the stem of his bristling, lightning-conductor
In a rush up the shrieking duct of his vertebral way
Runs a rage drawn in from the other divinely through
Towards a shock and a crash and a smiting of horns

That is a grand old lust of his, to gather the great
Rage of the sullen-stagnating atmosphere of goats
And bring it hurtling to a head, with crash of horns against
    the horns
Of the opposite enemy goat,
Thus hammering the mettle of goats into proof, and smiting
The godhead of goats from the shock.
Things of iron are beaten on the anvil,
And he-goat is anvil to he-goat, and hammer to he-goat
In the business of beating the mettle of goats to a god-

But they've taken his enemy from him
And left him only his libidinousness,
His nostrils turning back, to sniff at even himself
And his slitted eyes seeking the needle's eye,
His own, unthreaded, forever.

So it is, when they take the enemy from us,
And we can't fight.

He is not fatherly, like the bull, massive Providence of hot
The goat is an egoist, aware of himself, devilish aware of
And full of malice prepense, and overweening, determined
    to stand on the highest peak
Like the devil, and look on the world as his own.

And as for love:
With a needle of long red flint he stabs in the dark
At the living rock he is up against;
While she with her goaty mouth stands smiling the while as
    he strikes, since sure
He will never _quite_ strike home, on the target-quick, for her
Is just beyond range of the arrow he shoots
From his leap at the zenith in her, so it falls just short of the
    mark, far enough.
It is over before it is finished.
She, smiling with goaty munch-mouth, Mona Lisa, arranges
    it so.

Orgasm after orgasm after orgasm
And he smells so rank and his nose goes back,
And never an enemy brow-metalled to thresh it out with in
    the open field;
Never a mountain peak, to be king of the castle.
Only those eternal females to overleap and surpass, and
    never succeed.

The involved voluptuousness of the soft-footed cat
Who is like a fur folding a fur,
The cat who laps blood, and knows
The soft welling of blood invincible even beyond bone or
    metal of bone.

The soft, the secret, the unfathomable blood
The cat has lapped
And known it subtler than frisson-shaken nerves,
Stronger than multiplicity of bone on bone
And darker than even the arrows of violentest will
Can pierce, for that is where will gives out, like a sinking
    stone that can sink no further.

But he-goat,
Black procreant male of the selfish will and libidinous desire,
God in black cloud with curving horns of bronze,
Find an enemy, Egoist, and clash the cymbals in face-to-face
And let the lightning out of your smothered dusk.

Forget the female herd for a bit,
And fight to be boss of the world.
Fight, old Satan with a selfish will, fight for your selfish will;
Fight to be the devil on the tip of the peak
Overlooking the world for his own.

But bah, how can he, poor domesticated beast!



GOATS go past the back of the house like dry leaves in the
And up the hill like a river, if you watch.

At dusk they patter back like a bough being dragged on the
Raising dusk and acridity of goats, and bleating.

Our old goat we tie up at night in the shed at the back of
    the broken Greek tomb in the garden,
And when the herd goes by at dawn she begins to bleat for
    me to come down and untie her.

_Merr--err--err! Merr—er--errr! Mer! Mé!
Wait, wait a bit, I'll come when I've lit the fire.
Mé! Mer! Merrrrrrr!!!
Tace, tu, crapa, bestia!
Merr--ererrr--ererrrr! Merrrr!

She is such an alert listener, with her ears wide, to know
    am I coming!
Such a canny listener, from a distance, looking upwards,
    lending first one ear, then another.

There she is, perched on her manger, looking over the
    boards into the day
Like a belle at her window.

And immediately she sees me she blinks, stares, doesn't
    know me, turns her head and ignores me vulgarly with
    a wooden blank on her face.

What do I care for her, the ugly female, standing up there
    with her long tangled sides like an old rug thrown
    over a fence.
But she puts her nose down shrewdly enough when the knot
    is untied,
And jumps staccato to earth, a sharp, dry jump, still ignor-
    ing me,
Pretending to look round the stall.

_Come on, you, crapa! I'm not your servant_!

She turns her head away with an obtuse, female sort of
    deafness, bête.
And then invariably she crouches her rear and makes
That being her way of answer, if I speak to her.--Self-
_Le bestie non parlano, poverine_!

She was bought at Giardini fair, on the sands, for six
    hundred lire.

An obstinate old witch, almost jerking the rope from my
    hands to eat the acanthus, or bite at the almond buds,
    and make me wait.
Yet the moment I hate her she trips mild and smug like a
    woman going to mass.
The moment I really detest her.

Queer it is, suddenly, in the garden
To catch sight of her standing like some huge, ghoulish
    grey bird in the air, on the bough of the leaning
Straight as a board on the bough, looking down like
    some hairy horrid God the Father in a William Blake
_Come down, crapa, out of that almond tree_!

Instead of which she strangely rears on her perch in the
    air, vast beast.
And strangely paws the air, delicate,
And reaches her black-striped face up like a snake, far up,
Subtly, to the twigs overhead, far up, vast beast,
And snaps them sharp, with a little twist of her anaconda
All her great hairy-shaggy belly open against the morning.

At seasons she curls back her tail like a green leaf in the fire,
Or like a lifted hand, hailing at her wrong end.
And having exposed the pink place of her nakedness, fixedly,
She trots on blithe toes,
And if you look at her, she looks back with a cold, sardonic
Sardonic, sardonyx, rock of cold fire.
_See me_? She says, _That's me_!

That's her.

Then she leaps the rocks like a quick rock.
Her back-bone sharp as a rock,
Sheer will.

Along which ridge of libidinous magnetism
Defiant, curling the leaf of her tail as if she were curling
    her lip behind her at all life.
Libidinous desire runs back and forth, asserting itself in that
    little lifted bare hand.

Yet she has such adorable spurty kids, like spurts of black
And in a month again is as if she had never had them.

And when the billy goat mounts her
She is brittle as brimstone.
While his slitted eyes squint back to the roots of his ears.



YOU go down shade to the river, where naked men sit on
   flat brown rocks, to watch the ferry, in the sun;
And you cross the ferry with the naked people, go up the
   tropical lane
Through the palm-trees and past hollow paddy-fields where
   naked men are threshing rice
And the monolithic water-buffaloes, like old, muddy stones
   with hair on them, are being idle;
And through the shadow of bread-fruit trees, with their dark
   green, glossy, fanged leaves
Very handsome, and some pure yellow fanged leaves;
Out into the open, where the path runs on the top of a dyke
   between paddy-fields:
And there, of course, you meet a huge and mud-grey
   elephant advancing his frontal bone, his trunk curled
   round a log of wood:
So you step down the bank, to make way.

Shuffle, shuffle, and his little wicked eye has seen you as he
   advances above you,
The slow beast curiously spreading his round feet for the
And the slim naked man slips down, and the beast deposits
   the lump of wood, carefully.
The keeper hooks the vast knee, the creature salaams.

White man, you are saluted.
Pay a few cents.

But the best is the Pera-hera, at midnight, under the tropical
With a pale little wisp of a Prince of Wales, diffident, up in
   a small pagoda on the temple side
And white people in evening dress buzzing and crowding the
   stand upon the grass below and opposite:
And at last the Pera-hera procession, flambeaux aloft in the
   tropical night, of blazing cocoa-nut,
Naked dark men beneath,
And the huge frontal of three great elephants stepping forth
   to the tom-tom's beat, in the torch-light,
Slowly sailing in gorgeous apparel through the flame-light,
   in front of a towering, grimacing white image of wood.

The elephant bells striking slow, tong-tong, tong-tong,
To music and queer chanting
Enormous shadow-processions filing on in the flare of fire
In the fume of cocoa-nut oil, in the sweating tropical night,
In the noise of the tom-toms and singers;
Elephants after elephants curl their trunks, vast shadows,
   and some cry out
As they approach and salaam, under the dripping fire of the
That pale fragment of a Prince up there, whose motto is
  _Ich dien_.

Pale, dispirited Prince, with his chin on his hands, his nerves
   tired out,
Watching and hardly seeing the trunk-curl approach and
   clumsy, knee-lifting salaam
Of the hugest, oldest of beasts in the night and the fire-flare

He is royalty, pale and dejected fragment up aloft.
And down below huge homage of shadowy beasts; bare-
   foot and trunk-lipped in the night.

Chieftains, three of them abreast, on foot
Strut like peg-tops, wound around with hundreds of yards
   of fine linen.
They glimmer with tissue of gold, and golden threads on a
   jacket of velvet,
And their faces are dark, and fat, and important.

They are royalty, dark-faced royalty, showing the conscious
   whites of their eyes
And stepping in homage, stubborn, to that nervous pale lad
   up there.

More elephants, tong, tong-tong, loom up,
Huge, more tassels swinging, more dripping fire of new
   cocoa-nut cressets
High, high flambeaux, smoking of the east;
And scarlet hot embers of torches knocked out of the sockets
   among bare feet of elephants and men on the path in
   the dark.
And devil dancers luminous with sweat, dancing on to the
   shudder of drums.
Tom-toms, weird music of the devil, voices of men from the
   jungle singing;
Endless, under the Prince.

Towards the tail of the everlasting procession
In the long hot night, mere dancers from insignificant
And smaller, more frightened elephants.

Men-peasants from jungle villages dancing and running with
   sweat and laughing,
Naked dark men with ornaments on, on their naked arms
   and their naked breasts, the grooved loins
Gleaming like metal with running sweat as they suddenly
   turn, feet apart,
And dance, and dance, forever dance, with breath half
   sobbing in dark, sweat-shining breasts,
And lustrous great tropical eyes unveiled now, gleaming a
   kind of laugh,
A naked, gleaming dark laugh, like a secret out in the dark,
And flare of a tropical energy, tireless, afire in the dark, slim
   limbs and breasts,
Perpetual, fire-laughing motion, among the slow shuffle
Of elephants.
The hot dark blood of itself a-laughing, wet, half-devilish,
   men all motion
Approaching under that small pavilion, and tropical eyes
   dilated look up
Inevitably look up
To the Prince
To that tired remnant of royalty up there
Whose motto is _Ich dien_.

As if the homage of the kindled blood of the east
Went up in wavelets to him, from the breasts and eyes of
   jungle torch-men,
And he couldn't take it.

What would they do, those jungle men running with sweat,
   with the strange dark laugh in their eyes, glancing up,
And the sparse-haired elephants slowly following,
If they knew that his motto was _Ich dien_?
And that he meant it.

They begin to understand
The rickshaw boys begin to understand
And then the devil comes into their faces,
But a different sort, a cold, rebellious, jeering devil.

In elephants and the east are two devils, in all men maybe.
The mystery of the dark mountain of blood, reeking in
   homage, in lust, in rage,
And passive with everlasting patience,
Then the little, cunning pig-devil of the elephant's lurking
   eyes, the unbeliever.

We dodged, when the Pera-hera was finished, under the
   hanging, hairy pigs' tails
And the flat, flaccid mountains of the elephants' standing
Vast-blooded beasts,
Myself so little dodging rather scared against the eternal
   wrinkled pillars of their legs, as they were being dis-
Then I knew they were dejected, having come to hear the
Royal summons: _Dien! Ihr!
Serve, vast mountainous blood, in submission and splendour, serve
Instead of which, the silent, fatal emission from that pale,
   shattered boy up there:
_Ich dien_.

That's why the night fell in frustration.
That's why, as the elephants ponderously, with unseeming
   swiftness, galloped uphill in the night, going back to
   the jungle villages,
As the elephant bells sounded tong-tong-tong, bell of the
   temple of blood in the night, swift-striking,
And the crowd like a field of rice in the dark gave way like
   liquid to the dark
Looming gallop of the beasts,
It was as if the great bare bulks of elephants in the obscure
   light went over the hill-brow swiftly, with their tails
   between their legs, in haste to get away,
Their bells sounding frustrate and sinister.

And all the dark-faced, cotton-wrapped people, more
   numerous and whispering than grains of rice in a rice-
   field at night,
All the dark-faced, cotton-wrapped people, a countless host
   on the shores of the lake, like thick wild rice by the
   water's edge,
Waiting for the fireworks of the after-show,
As the rockets went up, and the glare passed over countless
   faces, dark as black rice growing,
Showing a glint of teeth, and glancing tropical eyes aroused
   in the night,
There was the faintest twist of mockery in every face, across
   the hiss of wonders as the rocket burst
High, high up, in flakes, shimmering flakes of blue fire,
   above the palm-trees of the islet in the lake,
O faces upturned to the glare, O tropical wonder, wonder,
   a miracle in heaven!
And the shadow of a jeer, of underneath disappointment, as
   the rocket-coruscation died, and shadow was the same
   as before.

They were foiled, the myriad whispering dark-faced cotton-
   wrapped people.
They had come to see royalty,
To bow before royalty, in the land of elephants, bow deep,
   bow deep.
Bow deep, for it's good as a draught of cool water to bow
   very, very low to the royal.

And all there was to bow to, a weary, diffident boy whose
   motto is _Ich dien.
I serve! I serve_! in all the weary iron of his mien--_'Tis I who
Drudge to the public.

I wish they had given the three feathers to me;
That I had been he in the pavilion, as in a pepper-box aloft
   and alone
To stand and hold feathers, three feathers above the world,
And say to them: _Dien! Ihr! Dient!
Omnes, vos omnes, servite.
Serve me, I am meet to be served.
Being royal of the gods_.

And to the elephants:
_First great beasts of the earth
A prince has come back to you,
Crook the knee and be glad_.



IN the northern hemisphere
Life seems to leap at the air, or skim under the wind
Like stags on rocky ground, or pawing horses, or springy
   scut-tailed rabbits.

Or else rush horizontal to charge at the sky's horizon,
Like bulls or bisons or wild pigs.

Or slip like water slippery towards its ends,
As foxes, stoats, and wolves, and prairie dogs.

Only mice, and moles, and rats, and badgers, and beavers,
   and perhaps bears
Seem belly-plumbed to the earth's mid-navel.
Or frogs that when they leap come flop, and flop to the
   centre of the earth.

But the yellow antipodal Kangaroo, when she sits up,
Who can unseat her, like a liquid drop that is heavy, and
   just touches earth.

The downward drip.
The down-urge.
So much denser than cold-blooded frogs.

Delicate mother Kangaroo
Sitting up there rabbit-wise, but huge, plumb-weighted,
And lifting her beautiful slender face, oh! so much more
   gently and finely lined than a rabbit's, or than a hare's,
Lifting her face to nibble at a round white peppermint drop,
   which she loves, sensitive mother Kangaroo.

Her sensitive, long, pure-bred face.
Her full antipodal eyes, so dark,
So big and quiet and remote, having watched so many empty
   dawns in silent Australia.

Her little loose hands, and drooping Victorian shoulders.
And then her great weight below the waist, her vast pale belly
With a thin young yellow little paw hanging out, and
   straggle of a long thin ear, like ribbon,
Like a funny trimming to the middle of her belly, thin little
   dangle of an immature paw, and one thin ear.

Her belly, her big haunches
And in addition, the great muscular python-stretch of
   her tail.

There, she shan't have any more peppermint drops.
So she wistfully, sensitively sniffs the air, and then turns,
   goes off in slow sad leaps

On the long flat skis of her legs,
Steered and propelled by that steel-strong snake of a tail.

Stops again, half turns, inquisitive to look back.
While something stirs quickly in her belly, and a lean little
   face comes out, as from a window,
Peaked and a bit dismayed,
Only to disappear again quickly away from the sight of the
   world, to snuggle down in the warmth,
Leaving the trail of a different paw hanging out.

Still she watches with eternal, cocked wistfulness!
How full her eyes are, like the full, fathomless, shining eyes
   of an Australian black-boy
Who has been lost so many centuries on the margins of

She watches with insatiable wistfulness.
Untold centuries of watching for something to come,
For a new signal from life, in that silent lost land of the

Where nothing bites but insects and snakes and the sun,
    small life.
Where no bull roared, no cow ever lowed, no stag cried, no
leopard screeched, no lion coughed, no dog barked,
But all was silent save for parrots occasionally, in the
   haunted blue bush.

Wistfully watching, with wonderful liquid eyes.
And all her weight, all her blood, dripping sack-wise down
   towards the earth's centre,
And the live little one taking in its paw at the door of her

Leap then, and come down on the line that draws to the
   earth's deep, heavy centre.



Little black dog in New Mexico,
Little black snub-nosed bitch with a shoved-out jaw
And a wrinkled reproachful look;
Little black female pup, sort of French bull, they say,
With bits of brindle coming through, like rust, to show
   you're not pure;
Not pure, Bibbles,
Bubsey, bat-eared dog;
Not black enough!

First live thing I've "owned" since the lop-eared rabbits
   when I was a lad,
And those over-prolific white mice, and Adolf, and Rex
   whom I didn't own.
And even now, Bibbles, little Ma'am, it's you who appro-
   priated me, not I you.
As Benjamin Franklin appropriated Providence to his

Oh Bibbles, black little bitch
I'd never have let you appropriate me, had I known.
I never dreamed, till now, of the awful time the Lord must
   have, "owning" humanity.
Especially democratic live-by-love humanity.

Oh Bibbles, oh Pips, oh Pipsey
You little black love-bird!

_Don't_ you love _everybody_!
Just everybody.
You love 'em all.
Believe in the One Identity, don't you,
You little Walt-Whitmanesque bitch?

First time I lost you in Taos plaza,
And found you after endless chasing,
Came upon you prancing round the corner in exuberant,
   bibbling affection
After the black-green skirts of a yellow-green old Mexican
Who hated you, and kept looking round at you and cursing
   you in a mutter,
While you pranced and bounced with love of her, you
   indiscriminating animal,
All your wrinkled _miserere_ Chinese black little face
And your black little body bouncing and wriggling
With indiscriminate love, Bibbles;
I had a moment's pure detestation of you.

As I rushed like an idiot round the corner after you
Yelling: _Pips! Pips! Bibbles_!

I've had moments of hatred of you since,
Loving everybody!
"To you, whoever you are, with endless embrace!"--
That's you, Pipsey,
With your imbecile bit of a tail in a love-flutter.
You omnipip.

Not that you're merely a softy, oh dear me no.
You know which side your bread is buttered.
You don't care a rap for anybody.
But you love lying warm between warm human thighs,
And you love to make somebody love you, indiscriminate,
You love to lap up affection, to wallow in it,
And then turn tail to the next comer, for a new dollop.

And start prancing and licking and cuddling again, indis-

Oh yes, I know your little game.

Yet you're so nice,
So quick, like a little black dragon.
So fierce, when the coyotes howl, barking like a whole
   little lion, and rumbling,
And starting forward in the dusk, with your little black fur
   all bristling like plush
Against those coyotes, who would swallow you like an oyster.

And in the morning, when the bedroom door is opened,
Rushing in like a little black whirlwind, leaping straight as
   an arrow on the bed at the pillow
And turning the day suddenly into a black tornado of
  _joie de vivre_, Chinese dragon.

So funny
Lobbing wildly through deep snow like a rabbit,
Hurtling like a black ball through the snow,
Champing it, tossing a mouthful,
Little black spot in the landscape!

So absurd
Pelting behind on the dusty trail when the horse sets off
   home at a gallop:
Left in the dust behind like a dust-ball tearing along
Coming up on fierce little legs, tearing fast to catch up, a
   real little dust-pig, ears almost blown away,
And black eyes bulging bright in a dust-mask
Chinese-dragon-wrinkled, with a pink mouth grinning, under
   jaw shoved out
And white teeth showing in your dragon-grin as you race,
   you split-face,
Like a trundling projectile swiftly whirling up,
Cocking your eyes at me as you come alongside, to see if
   I'm I on the horse,
And panting with that split grin,
All your game little body dust-smooth like a little pig,
   poor Pips.

Plenty of game old spirit in you, Bibbles.
Plenty of game old spunk, little bitch.

How you hate being brushed with the boot-brush, to brush
   all that dust out of your wrinkled face.
Don't you?
How you hate being made to look undignified. Ma'am;
How you hate being laughed at, Miss Superb!

Blackberry face!

Plenty of conceit in you.
Unblemished belief in your own perfection
And utter lovableness, you ugly-mug;
Chinese puzzle-face,
Wrinkled underhung physiog that looks as if it had done
   with everything,
Through with everything.

Instead of which you sit there and roll your head like a
And show a tiny bunch of white teeth in your underhung
Self-conscious little bitch,
Aiming again at being loved.

Let the merest scallywag come to the door and you leap
   your very dearest-love at him,
As if now, at last, here was the one you _finally_ loved,
Finally loved;
And even the dirtiest scallywag is taken in,
Thinking: _This dog sure has taken a fancy to me_.

You miserable little bitch of love-tricks,
I know your game.

Me or the Mexican who comes to chop wood
All the same,
All humanity is jam to you.

Everybody so dear, and yourself so ultra-beloved
That you have to run out at last and eat filth,
Gobble up filth, you horror, swallow utter abomination and
   fresh-dropped dung.

You stinker.
You worse than a carrion-crow.
Reeking dung-mouth.
You love-bird.

_Reject nothing_, sings Walt Whitman.
So you, you go out at last and eat the unmentionable,
In your appetite for affection.

And then you run in to vomit it in my house!
I get my love back.
And I have to clean up after you, filth which even blind
   Nature rejects
From the pit of your stomach;
But you, you snout-face, you reject nothing, you merge so
   much in love
You must eat even that.

Then when I dust you a bit with a juniper twig
You run straight away to live with somebody else,
Fawn before them, and love them as if they were the ones
   you had _really_ loved all along.
And they're taken in.
They feel quite tender over you, till you play the same trick
   on them, dirty bitch.

Fidelity! Loyalty! Attachment!
Oh, these are abstractions to your nasty little belly.
You must always be a-waggle with LOVE.
Such a waggle of love you can hardly distinguish one human
   from another.
You love one after another, on one condition, that each
   one loves you most.
Democratic little bull-bitch, dirt-eating little swine.

But now, my lass, you've got your Nemesis on your track,
Now you've come sex-alive, and the great ranch-dogs are all
   after you.
They're after what they can get, and don't you turn tail!
You loved 'em all so much before, didn't you, loved 'em
You don't love 'em now.
They want something of you, so you squeak and come
   pelting indoors.

Come pelting to me, now the other folk have found you out,
   and the dogs are after you.
Oh yes, you're found out. I heard them kick you out of the
   ranch house.
_Get out, you little, soft fool_!!

And didn't you turn your eyes up at me then?
And didn't you cringe on the floor like any inkspot!
And crawl away like a black snail!
And doesn't everybody loathe you then!
And aren't your feelings violated, you high bred little love-

For you're sensitive,
In many ways very finely bred.
But bred in conceit that the world is all for love
Of you, my bitch: till you get so far you eat filth.
Fool, in spite of your pretty ways, and quaint, know all,
   wrinkled old aunty's face.

So now, what with great Airedale dogs,
And a kick or two,
And a few vomiting bouts,
And a juniper switch,
You look at me for discrimination, don't you?
Look up at me with misgiving in your bulging eyes,
And fear in the smoky whites of your eyes, you nigger;
And you're puzzled,
You think you'd better mind your P's and Q's for a bit.
Your sensitive love-pride being all hurt.

All right, my little bitch.
You learn loyalty rather than loving,
And I'll protect you.



CLIMBING through the January snow, into the Lobo canyon
Dark grow the spruce-trees, blue is the balsam, water sounds
   still unfrozen, and the trail is still evident.

Two men!
Men! The only animal in the world to fear!

They hesitate.
We hesitate.
They have a gun.
We have no gun.

Then we all advance, to meet.

Two Mexicans, strangers, emerging out of the dark and snow
   and inwardness of the Lobo valley.
What are they doing here on this vanishing trail?

What is he carrying?
Something yellow.
A deer?

_Qué tiene, amigo?

He smiles, foolishly, as if he were caught doing wrong.
And we smile, foolishly, as if we didn't know.
He is quite gentle and dark-faced.

It is a mountain lion,
A long, long slim cat, yellow like a lioness.

He trapped her this morning, he says, smiling foolishly.

Lift up her face,
Her round, bright face, bright as frost.
Her round, fine-fashioned head, with two dead ears;
And stripes in the brilliant frost of her face, sharp, fine
   dark rays,
Dark, keen, fine rays in the brilliant frost of her face.
Beautiful dead eyes.

_Hermoso es_!

They go out towards the open;
We go on into the gloom of Lobo.
And above the trees I found her lair,
A hole in the blood-orange brilliant rocks that stick up, a
   little cave.
And bones, and twigs, and a perilous ascent.

So, she will never leap up that way again, with the yellow
   flash of a mountain lion's long shoot!
And her bright striped frost face will never watch any more,
   out of the shadow of the cave in the blood-orange
Above the trees of the Lobo dark valley-mouth!

Instead, I look out.
And out to the dim of the desert, like a dream, never real;
To the snow of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, the ice of
   the mountains of Picoris,
And near across at the opposite steep of snow, green trees
   motionless standing in snow, like a Christmas toy.

And I think in this empty world there was room for me
   and a mountain lion.
And I think in the world beyond, how easily we might
   spare a million or two of humans
And never miss them.
Yet what a gap in the world, the missing white frost face
   of that slim yellow mountain lion!



OVER the heart of the west, the Taos desert
Circles an eagle,
And it's dark between me and him.

The sun, as he waits a moment, huge and liquid
Standing without feet on the rim of the far-off mesa
Says: _Look for a last long time then! Look! Look well! I
   am going_.
So he pauses and is beholden, and straightway is gone.

And the Indian, in a white sheet
Wrapped to the eyes, the sheet bound close on his brows,
Stands saying: _See, I'm invisible!
Behold how you can't behold me!
The invisible in its shroud_!

Now that the sun has gone, and the aspen leaves
And the cotton-wood leaves are fallen, as good as fallen,
And the ponies are in corral,
And it's night.

Why, more has gone than all these;
And something has come.
A red wolf stands on the shadow's dark red rim.

Day has gone to dust on the sage-grey desert
Like a white Christus fallen to dust from a cross;
To dust, to ash, on the twilit floor of the desert.

And a black crucifix like a dead tree spreading wings;
Maybe a black eagle with its wings out
Left lonely in the night
In a sort of worship.

And coming down upon us, out of the dark concave
Of the eagle's wings,
And the coffin-like slit where the Indians' eyes are,
And the absence of cotton-wood leaves, or of aspen,
Even the absence of dark-crossed donkeys:
Come tall old demons, smiling
The Indian smile,
Saying: _How do you do, you pale-face_?

I am very well, old demon.
How are you?

_Call me Harry if you will,
Call me Old Harry says he.
Or the abbreviation of Nicolas,
Nick. Old Nick, maybe_.

Well, you're a dark old demon,
And I'm a pale-face like a homeless dog
That has followed the sun from the dawn through the east
Trotting east and east and east till the sun himself went home,
And left me homeless here in the dark at your door.
How do you think we'll get on,
Old demon, you and I?

_You and I, you pale-face,
Pale-face you and I
Don't get on_.

Mightn't we try?

_Where's your God, you white one?
Where's your white God_?

He fell to dust as the twilight fell,
Was fume as I trod
The last step out of the east.

_Then you're a lost white dog of a pale-face,
And the day's now dead_. . . .

Touch me carefully, old father,
My beard is red.

_Thin red wolf of a pale-face,
Thin red wolf, go home_.

I have no home, old father,
That's why I come.

_We take no hungry stray from the pale-face_ . . .

Father, you are not asked.
I am come. I am here. The red-dawn-wolf
Sniffs round your place.
Lifts up his voice and howls to the walls of the pueblo,
Announcing he's here.

_The dogs of the dark pueblo
Have long fangs_ . . .

Has the red wolf trotted east and east and east
From the far, far other end of the day
To fear a few fangs?

Across the pueblo river
That dark old demon and I
Thus say a few words to each other

And wolf, he calls me, and red.
I call him no names.
He says, however, he is Star-Road.
I say, he can go back the same gait.

As for me . . .
Since I trotted at the tail of the sun as far as ever the
   creature went west,
And lost him here,
I'm going to sit down on my tail right here
And wait for him to come back with a new story.
I'm the red wolf, says the dark old father.
All right, the red dawn wolf I am.




MOUNTAINS blanket-wrapped
Round a white hearth of desert--

While the sun goes round
And round and round the desert,
The mountains never get up and walk about.
They can't, they can't wake.

They camped and went to sleep
In the last twilight
Of Indian gods;
And they can't wake.

Indians dance and run and stamp--
No good.
White men make gold-mines and the mountains unmake them
In their sleep.

The Indians laugh in their sleep
From fear,
Like a man when he sleeps and his sleep is over, and he
    can't wake up,
And he lies like a log and screams and his scream is silent
Because his body can't wake up;
So he laughs from fear, pure fear, in the grip of the sleep.

A dark membrane over the will, holding a man down
Even when the mind has flickered awake;
A membrane of sleep, like a black blanket.

We walk in our sleep, in this land,
Somnambulist wide-eyed afraid.

We scream for someone to wake us
And our scream is soundless in the paralysis of sleep,
And we know it.

The Penitentes lash themselves till they run with blood
In their efforts to come awake for one moment;
To tear the membrane of this sleep . . .
No good.

The Indians thought the white man would awake them . . .
And instead, the white men scramble asleep in the mountains,
And ride on horseback asleep forever through the desert,
And shoot one another, amazed and mad with somnambulism,
Thinking death will awaken something . . .
No good.

Born with a caul,
A black membrane over the face,
And unable to tear it,
Though the mind is awake.

Mountains blanket-wrapped
Round the ash-white hearth of the desert;
And though the sun leaps like a thing unleashed in the sky
They can't get up, they are under the blanket.



OVER the rounded sides of the Rockies, the aspens of autumn,
The aspens of autumn,
Like yellow hair of a tigress brindled with pins.

Down on my hearth-rug of desert, sage of the mesa,
An ash-grey pelt
Of wolf all hairy and level, a wolf's wild pelt.

Trot-trot to the mottled foot-hills, cedar-mottled and piñon;
Did you ever see an otter?
Silvery-sided, fish-fanged, fierce-faced whiskered, mottled.

When I trot my little pony through the aspen-trees of the
Behold me trotting at ease betwixt the slopes of the golden
Great and glistening-feathered legs of the hawk of Horus;
The golden hawk of Horus
Astride above me.

But under the pines
I go slowly
As under the hairy belly of a great black bear.

Glad to emerge and look back
On the yellow, pointed aspen-trees laid one on another like
Feather over feather on the breast of the great and golden
Hawk as I say of Horus.

Pleased to be out in the sage and the pine fish-dotted foot-
Past the otter's whiskers,
On to the fur of the wolf-pelt that strews the plain.

And then to look back to the rounded sides of the squatting
Tigress brindled with aspen
Jaguar-splashed, puma-yellow, leopard-livid slopes of America.

Make big eyes, little pony
At all these skins of wild beasts;
They won't hurt you.

Fangs and claws and talons and beaks and hawk-eyes
Are nerveless just now.
So be easy.



ENGLAND seems full of graves to me,
Full of graves.

Women I loved and cherished, like my mother;
Yet I had to tell them to die.

England seems covered with graves to me.
Women's graves.

Women who were gentle
And who loved me
And whom I loved
And told to die.

Women with the beautiful eyes of the old days,
Belief in love, and sorrow of such belief.
"_Hush, my love, then, hush.
Hush, and die, my dear_!"

Women of the older generation, who knew
The full doom of loving and not being able to take back.
Who understood at last what it was to be told to die.

Now that the graves are made, and covered;
Now that in England pansies and such-like grow on the
   graves of women;
Now that in England is silence, where before was a moving
   of soft-skirted women,
Women with eyes that were gentle in olden belief in
Now then that all their yearning is hushed, and covered
   over with earth.

England seems like one grave to me.

And I, I sit on this high American desert
With dark-wrapped Rocky Mountains motionless squatting
   around in a ring,
Remembering I told them to die, to sink into the grave in
The gentle-kneed women.

So now I whisper: _Come away,
Come away from the place of graves, come west,
Women whom I loved and told to die.

Come back to me now,
Now the divided yearning is over;
Now you are husbandless indeed, no more husband to cherish like
   a child
And wrestle tvith for the prize of perfect love.
No more children to launch in a world you mistrust.
Now you need know in part
No longer, or carry the burden of a man on your heart,
Or the burden of Man writ large.

Now you are disemburdened of Man and a man
Come back to me.
Now you are free of the toils of a would-be-perfect love
Come to me and be still_.

Come back then, you who were wives and mothers
And always virgins

Come back then, mother, my love, whom I told to die.
It was only I who saw the virgin you
That had no home.

The overlooked virgin,
My love.

You overlooked her too.

Now that the grave is made of mother and wife,
Now that the grave is made and lidded over with turf.

_Come, delicate, overlooked virgin, come back to me
And be still,
Be glad_.

I didn't tell you to die, for nothing.
I wanted the virgin you to be home at last
In my heart.

Inside my innermost heart,
Where the virgin in woman comes home to a man.

The homeless virgin
Who never in all her life could find the way home
To that difficult innermost place in a man.

_Now come west, come home,
Women I've loved for gentleness,
For the virginal you.
Find the way now that you never could find in life,
So I told you to die_.

Virginal first and last
Is woman.
_Now at this last, my love, my many a love,
You whom I loved for gentleness,
Come home to me_.

They are many, and I loved them, shall always love them,
And they know it,
The virgins.
And my heart is glad to have them at last.

Now that the wife and mother and mistress is buried in earth,
In English earth,
_Come home to me, my love, my loves, my many loves,
Come west to me_.

For virgins are not exclusive of virgins
As wives are of wives;
And motherhood is jealous,
But in virginity jealousy does not enter.



THE dove of Liberty sat on an egg
And hatched another eagle.

But didn't disown the bird.

_Down with all eagles_! cooed the Dove.
And down all eagles began to flutter, reeling from their
Eagles with two heads, eagles with one, presently eagles
   with none
Fell from the hooks and were dead.

Till the American Eagle was the only eagle left in the world.

Then it began to fidget, shifting from one leg to the other,
Trying to look like a pelican,
And plucking out of his plumage a few loose feathers to
   feather the nests of all
The new naked little republics come into the world.

But the feathers were, comparatively, a mere flea-bite.
And the bub-eagle that Liberty had hatched was growing a
   startling big bird
On the roof of the world;
A bit awkward, and with a funny squawk in his voice,
His mother Liberty trying always to teach him to coo
And him always ending with a yawp
_Coo! Coo! Coo! Coo-ark! Coo-ark! Quark!! Quark_!!

So he clears his throat, the young Cock-eagle!

Now if the lilies of France lick Solomon in all his glory;
And the leopard cannot change his spots;
Nor the British lion his appetite;
Neither can a young Cock-eagle sit simpering
With an olive-sprig in his mouth.

It's not his nature.

The big bird of the Amerindian being the eagle,
Red Men still stick themselves over with bits of his fluff,
And feel absolutely IT.

So better make up your mind, American Eagle,
Whether you're a sucking dove, _Roo—coo--ooo! Quark!
Or a pelican
Handing out a few loose golden breast-feathers, at moulting
Or a sort of prosperity-gander
Fathering endless ten-dollar golden eggs.

Or whether it actually is an eagle you are,
With a Roman nose
And claws not made to shake hands with,
And a Me-Almighty eye.

The new Proud Republic
Based on the mystery of pride.
Overweening men, full of power of life, commanding a
   teeming obedience.

Eagle of the Rockies, bird of men that are masters,
Lifting the rabbit-blood of the myriads up into something
Leaving a few bones;
Opening great wings in the face of the sheep-faced ewe
Who is losing her lamb,
Drinking a little blood, and loosing another royalty unto the

Is that you, American Eagle?

Or are you the goose that lays the golden egg?
Which is just a stone to anyone asking for meat.
And are you going to go on for ever
Laying that golden egg,
That addled golden egg?