You’re lovely. I’m crazy about you. All these words I’m using, don’t you see, they’ve never been said before. Can’t you see? I’m crazy about you. It’s a whirlwind. Have you ever been to the Sahara Desert? Listen to me. It’s true. Listen. You overwhelm me. You’re so lovely.— Harold Pinter, Betrayal
Loose leaves in a metal ball
Or men in a shark cage steeping,
Ideas stain the limpid mind
Even while it’s sleeping:
Ginseng or the scent of lymph
Or consequences queasing
Into wide awareness, whence,
Like an engine seizing
Society remits a shudder
Showing it has feeling,
And the divers all have shaving cuts
And the future’s in Darjeeling—
Blind, the brain stem bumps the bars
Of the shark cage, meanwhile, feeding,
And the tea ball’s cracked, its leaves cast
To catastrophic reading:
Ideas are too dangerous.
My love adjusts an earring.
I take her in my arms again
And think of Hermann Göring,
And all liquidities in which
A stain attracts an eating,
And of my country’s changing heart,
And hell, where the blood is sleeting.— Richard Kenney, “A Pot of Tea”
Things are twisted! Monsters are being hatched by the dozens and turned into saints! We can do anything here! Anything is possible here! We can recreate the world and make you swallow it whole! We can make a nightmare out of a molehill! We can tear you to shreds and make you like it.— Sam Shepard, Angel City
You may say it is all in my head, and indeed sometimes it seems to me I am in a head and that these eight, no, six, these six planes that enclose me are of solid bone. But thence to conclude the head is mine, no, never. A kind of air circulates, I must have said so, and when all goes still I hear it beating against the walls and being beaten back by them. And then somewhere in midspace other waves, other onslaughts, gather and break, whence I suppose the faint sound of aerial surf that is my silence. Or else it is the sudden storm, analogous to those outside, rising and drowning the cries of the children, the dying, the lovers, so that in my innocence I say they cease, whereas in reality they never cease.— Samuel Beckett, Malone Dies
I have a life that did not become,
that turned aside and stopped,
I hold it in me like a pregnancy or
as on my lap a child
not to grow or grow old but dwell on
it is to his grave I most
frequently return and return
to ask what is wrong, what was
wrong, to see it all by
the light of a different necessity
but the grave will not heal
and the child,
stirring, must share my grave
with me, an old man having
gotten by on what was left— A.R. Ammons, from “Easter Morning”
Where the three magenta
Breakwaters take the shove
And suck of the grey sea
To the left, and the wave
Unfists against the dun
Barb-wired headland of
The Deer Island prison
With its trim piggeries,
Hen huts and cattle green
To the right, and March ice
Glazes the rock pools yet,
Snuff-colored sand cliffs rise
Over a great stone spit
Bared by each falling tide,
And you, across those white
Stones, strode out in your dead
Black coat, black shoes, and your
Black hair till there you stood,
Fixed vortex on the far
Tip, riveting stones, air,
All of it, together.— Sylvia Plath, “Man in Black”
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.— William Butler Yeats, “When You Are Old”
Certain questions of a theological nature preoccupied me strangely. As for example.
1. What value is to be attached to the theory that Eve sprang, not from Adam’s rib, but from a tumour in the fat of his leg (arse?)?
2. Did the serpent crawl or, as Comestor affirms, walk upright?
3. Did Mary conceive through the ear, as Augustine and Adobard assert?
4. How much longer are we to hang about waiting for the antichrist?
5. Does it really matter which hand is employed to absterge the podex?
6. What is one to think of the Irish oath sworn by the natives with the right hand on the relics of the saints and the left on the virile member?
7. Does nature observe the sabbath?
8. Is it true that the devils do not feel the pains of hell?
9. The algebraic theology of Craig. What is one to think of this?
10. Is it true that the infant Saint-Roch refused suck on Wednesdays and Fridays?
11. What is one to think of the excommunication of vermin in the sixteenth century?
12. Is one to approve of the Italian cobbler Lovat who, having cut off his testicles, crucified himself?
13. What was God doing with himself before the creation?
14. Might not the beatific vision become a source of boredom, in the long run?
15. Is it true that Judas’ torments are suspended on Saturdays?
16. What if the mass for the dead were read over the living?— Samuel Beckett, Molloy
But there was a man sitting in front of me, to my right. He was absolutely still throughout the whole film. He never moved, he was rigid, like a body with rigor mortis, he never laughed once, he just sat like a corpse. I moved far away from him, I moved as far away from him as I possibly could.— Harold Pinter, Ashes to Ashes