Open 11am to 8pm
Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 8pm
Translated from the Greek by Robert Fitzgerald. Southbank Centre, The National Poetry Library, The Presiding Spirits Project, 2000
Beautiful merciless work
around the slopes of Earth
terraces cut by curt hoe
at the orders of hunger
or a pointing lord.
Levels eyed up to rhyme
copied from grazing animals
round the steeps of Earth,
balconies filtering water
down stage to stage of drop.
Wind-stirred colours of crop
swell between walked bunds
that recall the beast tracks,
harvests down from the top
by hands long in the earth.
Baskets of rich made soil
boosted up poor by the poor,
ladder by freestone prop
stanzas of chant-long lines
by backwrenching slog, before
money, gave food and drunk
but rip now like slatted sails
(some always did damn do)
down the abrupts of earth.
Deep in a black hole see my bluest lady,
blue luminosity fixed like a jewel,
tilt 23o from vertical
the axis of her head, her upper body
and mind bent like a divining rod toward me,
allowing me latitude from pole to pole.
I hope no more than to play her footstool;
the curtains of her robe descending round me
bring night lit by aromas of the sea,
the harbors of a sunken continent
of her desire rotating hourly by our
jeweled movement. Why turn to lighter day?
Stay to rain on this mutable planet
nocturnal seed, oh nacreous seafarer.
Clouds are half-conquered. A cloud hardly ever
strays into the office nowadays. When one does
it can still be dangerous. The chairman
or office boy (clouds being quite classless)
will swivel round, dribbling cloud.
But that is exceptional. Generally
clouds can be studied through double glass
safely, or mounted on slides, That way, they contribute
to model-building. Some foreign planets
have their own 'cloud-cosies'. Certain animals crop cloud.
And when, rarely, a cloud comes mooning
against your window, you may see the white hairnet
of its blood vessels, or the clenched white brain
(which is often shadowed). At those times apply techniques
of cloud-dispersal. So far is death like Orpheus.