A Cry from South Africa

On building a chapel at Cape Town, for the Negro slaves of the colony, in 1828.


Afric, from her remotest strand,
Lifts to high heaven one fetter'd hand,
And to the utmost of her chain
Stretches the other o'er the main:
Then, kneeling 'midst ten thousand slaves,
Utters a cry across the waves,
Of power to reach to either pole,
And pierce, like conscience, through the soul,
Though dreary, faint, and low the sound,
Like life-blood gurgling from a wound,
As if her heart, before it broke,


A Child's Nightmare

Through long nursery nights he stood
By my bed unwearying,
Loomed gigantic, formless, queer,
Purring in my haunted ear
That same hideous nightmare thing,
Talking, as he lapped my blood,
In a voice cruel and flat,
Saying for ever, "Cat! ... Cat! ... Cat!..."

That one word was all he said,
That one word through all my sleep,
In monotonous mock despair.
Nonsense may be light as air,
But there's Nonsense that can keep
Horror bristling round the head,
When a voice cruel and flat


8 Fragments For Kurt Cobain

1/
Genius is not a generous thing
In return it charges more interest than any amount of royalties can cover
And it resents fame
With bitter vengeance

Pills and powdres only placate it awhile
Then it puts you in a place where the planet's poles reverse
Where the currents of electricity shift

Your Body becomes a magnet and pulls to it despair and rotten teeth,
Cheese whiz and guns

Whose triggers are shaped tenderly into a false lust
In timeless illusion

2/


Between Us Now

Between us now and here -
   Two thrown together
Who are not wont to wear
   Life's flushest feather -
Who see the scenes slide past,
The daytimes dimming fast,
Let there be truth at last,
   Even if despair.

So thoroughly and long
   Have you now known me,
So real in faith and strong
   Have I now shown me,
That nothing needs disguise
Further in any wise,
Or asks or justifies
   A guarded tongue.

Face unto face, then, say,
   Eyes mine own meeting,


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