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poems of the month

orpheus in soho

a seriously sexy man


measuring my face


old clothes

modern iranian poems

my hero

face at the bottom of the world

perhaps (maybe)

the diogenes sequence

where to store furs

i am and am not:
      fragments of rumi

destiny and destination

the zen of no-enlightenment

the iraqi monologues

already backwards

a light in ruins

separate amputations

the sexy jihad

awaiting the barbarians

the smell of possibilities

ultimate leaves

rejoice in the dog

post-millennium maggot

the book of nothing

dispatches from the war against the world

albanian poems

french poems in honour of jean genet

the hells going on

the joy of suicide

book disease

foreground trouble

the transcendental hotel

cinema of the blind

lament of the earth mother

uranian poems

haikai by okami

haikai on the edge

black hole of your heart

jung's motel

leda and the swan

confession from belgrade

gloss on rilke's
ninth duino elegy

jewels and shit:
poems by rimbaud

villon's dialogue with his heart

vasko popa:
a shepherd of wolves ?

the rubáiyát of omar khayyám

genrikh sapgir:
an ironic mystic

the love of pierre de ronsard






good riddance to mankind

the maxims of michel de montaigne

400 revolutionary maxims

nice men and
  suicide of an alien

anti-fairy tales

the most terrible event in history

the rich man and the leper


art, truth and bafflement




the three bears

three albanian tales

a little creation story



an occitanian baby-hatch

ancient violence
in the amazon

home sweet home no longer

the ivory palace

helen's tower

schopenhauer for muthafuckas

are doctors autistic ?

single track in the snow

never a pygmy

against money

did franco die ?

'original sin' followed by
crippled consciousness

a gay man's guide to soft-willy sex

the holosensual alternative

tiger wine

the death of poetry

the absinthe drinker

with mrs dalloway in ukraine

love  and  hell

running on emptiness

a holocaust near you

a note on the cathars


londons of the mind
& dealing death to the caspian


a muezzin from the tower of darkness

kegan and kagan

being or television

satan in the groin

womb of half-fogged mirrors

tourism and terrorism

the dog from sinope

in britain & america

this sorry scheme of things

the bektashi dervishes

a holy dog
& a dog-headed saint

fools for nothingness

death of a bestseller

vacuum of desire: a homo-erotic correspondence

a note on beards

translation and the oulipo

the visit






Nuadú, God of War

field guide to megalithic ireland

houses for the dead

ireland & the phallic continuum

the sheela-na-gig conundrum

french megaliths

a small town in france

western values


















translated by Anthony Weir
revised versions of those published in Tide and Undertow, Belfast 1975

Metamorphoto by Anthony Weir


(an account of his gang-rape by sailors while he was walking
from Charleroi in southern Belgium to Paris
to meet Verlaine - aged 16)

My poor heart's dribbling at the stern,
my heart so stained with nicotine:
they squirt their slime on it in turn,
my poor heart's dribbling at the stern:
beneath the drunken unconcern
of sailors raucously obscene...
my poor heart's dribbling at the stern,
my heart besmirched with nicotine.

With cocks engorged and gestures lewd,
they and their jokes have tainted it.
In the wheelhouse there are crude
graffiti - ithyphallic, lewd.
O let my heart be cleaned, renewed
By wondrous waves immersing it!
With cocks engorged, their semen spewed
they and their jokes have tainted it.

When they have chewed their quids to pulp,
O plundered heart, what shall I do ?
Drunken hiccups, sniggers, yelps.
When they have chewed their quids to pulp -
my guts (if I can only gulp
my heart back) will be churning, too.
When they have chewed their quids to pulp,
O plundered heart, what shall I do ?

Detail of the Tympanum of the Monastery Church of Conques (Aveyron)


When, full of red torment, the child's troubled head
entreats the white swarm of shadowy dreams,
two gentle grown-up sisters come up to his bed
with fragile fingers like silver-tipped machines.

Before a casement window they sit the child down,
a window open wide to where the azure air
bathes a tangle of flowers, and upon his tousled crown
their terrible, fine fingers move with magical care.

He listens to the sighing of their apprehensive breath
which smells of the long honeys of the fecund earth,
interrupted now and then by a subtle hiss:
saliva caught on the lip - or desire for a kiss.

He hears their dark eyelashes flicker overhead
in the sweet-smelling silence, and their sovereign fingers, sweet,
electric in his languidness meet
in a crackle: little lice are dead.

And there rises in him the wine of listlessness,
delirium-inducing accordion-sigh.
He feels with the slowness of each careful caress
endlessly surging and ebbing the desire to cry.

5 p.m.

I'd torn my boots to shreds for seven or eight
days on the rough, stony roads. At The Green Man
in Charleroi I ordered bread and butter and a plate
of all they had to offer: some half-cold ham.

Happily I stretched out my legs beneath the green
table. I studied the wallpaper's artless designs.
And, to make it all perfect, a natural queen
of a girl with enormous teats and sparkling eyes -

(it would take more than a kiss to frighten her!)
- smilingly brought me my bread and butter there
and the lukewarm ham set on a coloured plate -

ham pink and white and flavoured with the sheer
tang of garlic - and filled up a huge mug with beer
whose froth was turned to gold by a shaft of evening light.

The French title of this poem is Au 'Cabaret-Vert', a bar in Charleroi which survived until quite recently,
but is now a Moroccan restaurant with, so far as I could see, not even a commemorative plaque
in a formerly-industrial town otherwise bereft of literary connections.



The animals of old rutted even on the run,
their glanses encrusted with blood and with shit.
Our ancestors displayed their organs as befit
the folds of the sheath and the scrotum's grainy dun.

Mediæval man needed substantial gear
for a female- whether she be angel or sow;
and to judge from his breeches (even to allow
for some exaggeration) must have been an efficient engineer.

Besides, man is equal to the very proudest beast:
we are wrong to be humbled by their genitals' great size.
But a sterile time has come: the gelding has no feast,

nor the bullock, in blood; and nobody will rise
to display a pride of parts with a wholesomeness long-ceased
in thickets which exuberate with comic children's cries.


Our buttocks aren't like theirs. I have seen diverse
unbuttonings behind shady hedges and banks;
and in pools where children splash and play licentious pranks
I've observed the plan and execution of our arse.

Firmer, often paler, underneath their screen of hairs,
our rumps are striking in the leanness of their flanks.
For women it is only on the parting furrow's banks
that the long, tufted satin blooms for love's commerce.

An ingenuity, touching and sublime
like the faces of angels in ikons, imitates
the cheek which hollows a smile incarnadine.

O that we were naked too! finding joy that satiates,
facing our companion's finest part in its prime,
both free to murmur sobs as our happiness dictates ?

(with Paul Verlaine)
Dark and wrinkling like a purpled pink
I humbly pant in moss still damp with love
that followed the soft slope to where the buttocks clove
- white buttocks leading to the puckered eyelet's brink.

Filaments have wept like tears of milk
in the cruel south wind which has driven them back
through clots of red marl, to be lost along the track
where the slope called them with surfaces of silk.

My dream has often kissed this enchanted orifice:
my soul, jealous of carnal intercourse,
has made this its tear-bottle and its nest of sobs.

It is the fig of teasing ecstasy for the flute that calls,
for the tube from which the heavenly praline falls:
feminine Canaan that dew anoints and orbs.

Corbels of the church of San Pedro de Tejada (Burgos)


A black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels
I will tell you your secret origins one day.
A - black bodice of flies, the glittering inlay
that buzzes in the stench of ripped-out bowels;

gulfs of shadow. E - whitenesses of mists and tents,
iceberg spears, white kings, tall, water-parsnips.
I -purples, spat blood, the smile of beautiful lips
in anger, or the ecstasies of penitents.

U - cycles, divine undulations of viridian seas,
peace of pastures speckled with beasts, the peace
of furrows wrought by alchemy on foreheads of the wise.

O - supreme Trumpet full of strange, piercing notes,
and silences traversed by Worlds and Angel Hosts:
O the Omega, violet beam of Her Eyes.


Penned between oak pews in corners of the church
which their stinking breath heats up, every sorry eye
on the chancel dripping gilt, and the choir in their perch
with their twenty jowls yowling pious hymns to the sky.

Sniffing in the smell of wax as if it were bread,
happy and humbled, just like beaten dogs,
the poor offer up to God prayers from feet like lead,
the stubborn and ridiculous oremuses in clogs.

For the women it's relief to swear the benches smooth
after six dreary days which God has made them bear.
They comfort childrenlike creatures swathed in shawls, and soothe
the infants who cry as if they'd die forthwith from care.

With unwashed breasts exposed these eaters of soup
with prayers in their eyes but no actual prayer
watch hoydens showing off in an impudent group
with hats all awry before the women's stare.

Outside - the cold and hunger and the men on the booze;
ah well! another hour to go - then unspeakable trial.
An assortment of old dewlapped women all the while
are whimpering and whispering and sniffling in their pews

- these are the nervous and the epileptic ones
whom you avoided yesterday off the boulevards;
and, nuzzling ancient missals, sightless as stones,
are the blind whom dogs lead into bleak backyards.

And all them, dribbling a grovelling, stupid faith,
recite their unending complaint to Jesus
who dreams above, glass-yellow, like a wraith
far from wicked men (thin, or fat as cheeses),

far from the smell of mouldy clothes and meat,
and the grotesque hamming up of the repulsive black farce.
And as orisons blossom with full poetic force
and the mysteries become more mystic and more sweet,

from where the sunlight is dying in the aisles,
with shallow folds of silk and pale green smiles
the more distinguished ladies - Christ! with suffering livers! -
droop their long yellow fingers in the holy-water stoup.

Transept capitals of the parish church of Lucheux (Somme)


Mid-morning, when he feels his stomach start to churn,
Brother Milotus, one eye on the skylight pane
where the sun polished bright as a pan has returned
to make him dizzy and give him a migraine,
under the sheets gives his priestly form a turn.

He struggles underneath the blanket's dirty fluff
and gets out of bed, knees to trembling chest,
as flustered as an old man who has swallowed his snuff
because he has to gather up his nightshirt round his waist
while holding tight a pot for his arse's autograph.

Now he's squatting, frozen, with curled-up toes
and chattering teeth beneath the window-sash
where the sun daubs the paper panes with cake-yellow hues.
And snuffling in the rays like a coral-reef of flesh
is the incandescent crimson of the old man's nose.

* * *

He simmers at the fire with twisted arms,
blubber-lip on his belly. He feels his thighs slip
into the flames, and as he squirms
in scorching breeches, feeling his pipe
go out, something like a bird stirs through the alarms
in a belly serene as a mountain of tripe.

Round about him a jumble of furniture rests
on dirty stomachs among grimy rags.
Stools like weird toads are piled in strange incests,
cupboards with mouths like choirmasters sag
and yawn with a lassitude full of loathesome lusts.

The narrow room is filled with the sickening heat
and rags stuff themselves in the old man's brain.
He listens to the hairs growing in his sweaty skin,
and, sometimes, loudly hiccuping, he moves away again,
knocking down his crippled stool as he makes his retreat.

* * *

And in the evening by the moonlight which drops
dribblings of light on the contours of his arse,
against a background of pinkish snow like hollyhocks
squats a shadow with details dim and diverse.
A fantastic nose follows Venus among the sky's dark blots.

Corbel in the church of Sainte-Radegonde, Poitiers


O castles! O seasons!
What heart has not its treasons ?

I pursued the magic lore
of happiness none can ignore.

May it flourish every morning
the Gallic cock crows his warning.

Ah! I'll never want again:
it has taken me in train.

Body and soul enchanted,
my efforts dissipated.

O castles! O seasons!

Alas! the hour of its release
will be the hour of my decease.

O castles! O seasons!


A page on Absinthe


click for a translation (with original text) of Pierre de Ronsard's incomparable sonnet
"Quand vous serez bien vieille..."



poems in french by the translator

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