I: Yeti

Shake out your dragon streamers; autumn the snows with balefire, link, or demon thurible; strike-up the horrors of the horn and gong; shiver my citadels with incantation; and do all this in fear of me: with cause. You have not seen me: pugs or slides, perhaps; entrails and skins of the mouse-hare my food; and you have heard me - or the blizzard? - crying along the cols: but have not seen me. How should I, your darkness made external, guilt made flesh, old panic in my unman's mask, submit myself a mirror to your hatred?

II: Adam (i)

As connoisseur of the impossible, myself to choose and name the trees forbidden, I would have nothing in this garden altered. A dead leaf to be pruned (or the whole suffers), a live to bend away (and the fruit ripens); a cherishing (eidolon of possession); even a plaque (as: Malus Caritatis): these I permit. But o dilecta mea, the spoiling foxes bite at apples also; I cannot guard against their hungering. How to be sure (no mirrors in the leaves) the mask that I present you is not vulpine?

III: Adam (ii)

Bird in my stony garden, single flower, dove I shall die of, rose be ruined by, do I avenge already my unmaking? Touches and words that spelt-out love: to you are these a braille that ends in pain or pity, a vexing as from fever-bird or mynah? Knowing you native to the march of sadness, I could forgive myself in your forgiving, were this vast hand of shadow not my own that clutches me. Sweet plumage I shall never silken again, wine-petals not breathe-in, commend my ashes to your patroness.

IV: Parentheses

I am not ready for the autumn (weather, be faithless to this fallacy; St. Luke, you shall see burned a yard of maiden wax). But calendar and falling leaf and glass wear the one image - happy enough did all affections fade in the same season: how if weathered stubble yearns for daffodils? Turn, then, this planet penguin-over-walrus: australe speculum. Or (since who has magic?) cross-fold the star-map to a fair projection, sowing the photograph and not the field, peruking soon-bald almanacs with poems.

V: Autumn

Fifteen, I needed no recipient for amorous poems, nor a real object: at most the briefly-and-far-seen beauty of strangers, or some green Lilith only a new-learnt body. The empty canvas and the unfleshed air I limned and featured by the power and wish. Fifty, the wish and power dislocated, my portrait-gallery closed unlit, and poems torn out of me like mandrakes: oh, the aurora suckled in vain, is very thin and cold; I need the cottage of the flesh, its lamplight, its warmth of little walls, and supper waiting.

VI: October

Do not, among the foxed autumnal trees, wish for the lamb and hare, the parrot-green: plays are as proud in tarnished theatres as in the fancy's gilt and jewel-fires. Too manifold the dancing bells of March; I beat the steady music of the sparse ungardens of October. Love him-real, in his chrysanthemum and rowan years, that winter must inherit, and the ice. Oh let him understand his shortening light is yet sufficient for the ends of peace; his cold-roofed evening, cradle to your sleep.

VII: Last Supper

Male spiders must not be too early slain. (W. Empson) Your elder sister, with a swallow's flight already in her fury, the willow-slayer, suppered her king-deceiver upon flesh: his last meal, human; psalm her, nightingale. The paschal coven, breaking lamb for Lamb, drinking the scattered lintel-blood, consuming (as He consumed) the Man soon to be Fish, could never eat again their present symbol. I have spun poems out of time and flesh, webs I would have you lie on; if I come offering these, they also are my seed: allow my love, then: sup not yet, Arachne.

VIII: The Muse

The true terrors of Muses - flesh that kills by single contact; purpose unreadable before the final revelation; mouth by nature fastened upon all - not these I think to learn from you. But even if these, I gladly abandon guard: how else be sure I see you in the full-moon's danger? Yes, that I have learned already; but not from you. But not from you. Yet. Then I ask you this: eating me, eat me gently; dismissing me, dismiss me kindly; for I do not need pain to confirm in me the nature of darkness.

IX: Writing on Glass

I grave in diamond upon looking-glasses (across my own, my name; on yours, my poems). The white script overlays our living features, reads in their absence, holds till the mirror breaks. Windows I dare not ruin with graffiti - not my own, even; and your panes look outwards wider and oftener. By this frosty weather, from the cold still I write on them in crystals; how rarely from within, and then on breath. Keep, love, the weather cold - giving me honour that through the unvapoured looping path your vision may yet be clearer than through shrouded glass.

X: The Cheque-book

Opening my account, I took their pamphlet of twenty-four cheques all presentable if I could earn or were I given; all not limiting, yet, the powers of my credit. On eight my writing was illegible; one I forgot to sign, and one misdated; one spoiled and threw away; too many squandered; with four, perhaps, drew currency enough to keep from starving; only two, I think, were stolen and repudiated. One was not presented. Down to my last I come; but, being overdrawn, how can I pay you?

XI: Four Rooms

First was a window: Xanadu and Y Brasil beyond it, rainbow-real continents; custom and old hope statured like the ant. Second, a gift of boughs: being in secret quieter than a doll's-house, happy as grass, dark as the calling odours of the moth. And third, a city gate thrown wide: the gentle invader needing no destruction, trust of the hearth and flesh disarming as the sunlight. Fourth was an altar to the sound of bells: an only two, untouched; but on that altar custom and old hope staring, still alive.

XII: Lazarus (i)

(Luke, 16:19ff.) Lazarus, fainting at the rich man's doorstep, saw the delights that epicure commanded (as: phoenix-breast, the tongues of paradise-birds, kebab of Colchis flamed on dragons' quills, the flesh of unicorns) - and saw great panniers pouting with broken meats: what Dives cannot, servant or beggar shall not, swallow-up. But anger, no; and hatred, no; nor envy: the pauper understood the prodigal - that some wealth may be squandered but may not be shared; the very crumbs acquiring voice in protest against glory delegated.

XIII: Lazarus (ii)

I cannot wish the Dives from whose banquet myself am jalousied, the parabolic envy, despair, and flame: why should he feel them? - or I attempt the Heights of Abraham? He shall have all the water that he will, after his human sacrament. For I, crouched in the portico of the waste-panniers, taking my comfort from the tongues of dogs, reserve two prides he is not rich enough to purchase: I can live in lack of all he is fed with; and it is I who celebrate (vicarious poet) his mere happiness.

XIV: Errors

Should have been window, have instead been prism: love is a white beam; I have scattered it. Should have unjewelled; but kept on my opals: love is the clear skin; I wore necklaces. Should have breathed air, but was amazed with perfume: love is to live-by; I have made it strange. You have breathed into me, and that air is pure: my poems add the groin and offered incense. I have had your sigil on my heart all night: the gift has entered me as tender gold. Oh my impossible and lovely glass, I should be drunken, or give you pure water.