Percy the Pianist: Canto 1, stanzas 42-50


[This stanza has intentionally been left blank]

He slunk into the bath after high tea,
Bringing a wafer wiv ‘im. Today he’d say
Goodbye to innocence, as minstrelsy
Beckoned – he hoped he’d be able to stay
The course of his dream, but what could allay
The fear? Failure was no longer an option
To be contemplated at break of day:
The sun also rises to be shown
The unknown nooks before they are gone,

The shadow creeps without a second thought,
Its earnest tendrils ready to unmask
The bad faith man whose prize is sought
By all who seek the illuminated flash,
The holy grail, the endless wearisome task
Of lonely men who wander, wondering why
They never reach the end. Do not ask
“What is it?” Do not attempt to try
Persuasions – these men are lost – blissfully!

The chinks in his wooden armour leaked
Like a sieve pressed against his hollow
Heart – all life had been a startling streak
Of fire through his nether place. Swallow
Your pride? Too late. Uncritically follow
An old ‘God’? No way would he simulate
Submission – he was browned, frail and sallow
Of complexion – his love was a stalemate
Full of complexes – life, death and shallow hate.

But what of love? An English term. (the French
Amourise, the Chinese: ai! The Scottish
Lurve.) I once had a buxom one, a wench
Whose hand upon my breast soothed all skittish
Outward flights too fanciful. I’ll finish
Something one day. One day I’ll will a bird
To sing, a squirrel to hop, banishing
All doubts. I’m in a bind, solemnly unheard,
Studiously ignored, a diffident nerd

With no idea. How absurd, frightful even
That my mistress does not appear, except
In dreamy vision or in others’ heaven.
It could be that I am not enough adept
At competition – Darwin’s mantra, the precept
Of post-modern mating. Love? Pffft! Romance
Is dead. They killed it, then hungrily kept
The corpse to satiate their lust for dominance;
They think life’s a Show of extra-vagrance!

Truth hurts but still is truth, such as when the
Married bloke now finds himself the bridle, saddle,
And must bolt to pastures new and greener;
Does his woman mind? Some do and meddle
Themselves hoarse. Can you solve the riddle
Of the sphinx? It may require a fine nose
For false trails that amaze with all their muddle.
Mr Muddle! Make me happy, choose my clothes
Of fashion or soon it’ll come to blows!

This was not meant to be a serious
Verse but to hell with it. It will suffice
To say a word or three – contiguous
With fourfold root (not route – that’s a vice
Rewarded: “Had a bald case of head lice?
Try antioxidant shampoo today – it may
Be cheaper than proscribed but sage ad-vice –
Form! – a chemist’s chest – no more may I say.:

[He said heaving, scrubbing, oblivious]

To the break in rhythmic structure…Free verse
Has had its day (and to the end Charon
Will wait for Ulysses, his heavy terse
Diction – a universe folds unbeknown
To strangers of Ilium, soon to be borne
Across the Stygian Lake (the late frozen
Waste of northern Greenland, a pawn
Of Denmark), whitewashed cliffs a dozen
Break apart – the centre – a golden dawn.)

Adoración del nombre de Dios (1772) – Francisco Goya



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