Leaving England



fading like a snapshot
talks to an empty room
packing cases line the hall

down comes the wall
it’s time for the tower to fall

I take the house apart
like a pack of cards
you look the results up in a book
and try to say what comes to pass

you turned my garden
an earthly paradise
the moon
was your slightly more than human dress
as if magician I
had called you out of earth
hard and fast and high


I have to leave Salisbury Road
it is cool
I could lie forever
in my room

six weeks more
and I’ll be really sorry to go
but I have to leave off possessing
it’s been beautiful here with you

in this garden of England’s begetting
sweetly smoking
in green evenings
under Glastonbury Tor

in a tent at Pilton
rain pouring
under the floor

your fine and subtle minds have taught me
the nicest things I know
it really seems a shame to go

maybe it’s me that needs to be moving
maybe I love you because I am leaving

I learnt
everything that goes unnoticed
flags of blue and red and yellow silk
in the wet spring wind     Oxford Street
packed with people from end to end
the battle of Grosvenor Square

long faces
like tired shakespearean heroes
narrow noses
red brown hair
falling in waves
of curls
the smallest sizes in the world

I shall always see
in my mind
these red-framed faces
like warm flames
shining through a purple haze

companions of the electric guitar
I learnt from you
that people must be treated gently
that it is possible to understand
another person’s mind

here at the point of my departure
you have never seemed more beautiful
I should wave you farewell
from a sailing boat

a snapping hawser and raw sea air
are better music than the roar
of an aeroplane bellowing into the air

To the English Department of the University of Bristol a Song in Two Parts to be Sung at My Farewell Dinner


let me introduce you to
someone you probably don’t know
it may come as a surprise to you
but this is my lover Jo


we’re both chicks
but not altogether butch chicks
we just like to dominate you know


Jo’s had a hard life
wheeling and dealing for her bread
by the whores down on Jamaica Street
she’s been fed o lordy yes


Jo’s had a hard life
wheeling and dealing for her bread
by the whores down on Jamaica Street
she’s been fed o lordy yes
she’s been fed

o you rich folks
standing there and looking so sure
I’d just like to ask you
have you ever been poor?


what a crazy chick what right on


she digs in her memories
like a bag of old clothes
brings out
patches of velvet to brag
about brings out
trinkets lovely to look upon
and she knows more than you


you don’t want
to take any notice of what she’s saying
I’m not so easy to describe
I just enjoy being alive you know
tell me something
do you think you’re alive
oh what you don’t right on


the creatures in this garden
are making life harder
for everyone


hang about     I’ve just got started


every night I go to bed
at dawn
right out of my head
when I’m completely halted
you’ll put me in that row
of geniuses on your wall


she’s getting heavy you know
I don’t like that at all
stop complaining   roll a joint
now comes the hardest part of all

when I first met her
I knew she was some groovy chick
with rather a funny scene
but at least they was all bent

after a certain amount of hustling
I got to sass it out
bit heavy you know but like
it was something to do with our minds
I can talk to her all night


on the subject of night
as I sit up waiting
I don’t ask what she’s been taking
where she’s been
who she’s been making
on what scene
she tells me
in episodes timed like guitar notes
interspersed with smokes
a history
and I want the English Department of the University of Bristol to know
that only this kind of eloquence
can begin
to teach something to someone

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