Hecatomb ninety

     the Learned teach, 
              a deity would sit among us, 
                   confabulating, sharing insight.  

Anon, the god, sore nonplussed by our too high 
     esprit, bored by the jinks in point of fact, 
                abandoned the scene for good.  

  then we derived 
     vicarious gratification 
               in an Eastcheap alehouse, 
                     boozing in the spirited aura of Hal & Co.  

who long ago next locked their princely selves away, going 
      as far as to pay for protection from the jolly 
               uncool likes of us.  

                     Currently, we descend to rising to 
                        Celebrity Sightings

Take San Francisco, 
    Battery Street, midnight, no fans 
            in sight, chauffeur at black limousine's backdoor: Jane 
                 startles!  "Bree!"  But it's not me she's dismayed 
to see, 

she shares no cheer of mine.  Or Hammersmith, 
 Riverside Studios, one idle Sunday matinee, no 
          importuning eyes, exits, Condition White, Vanessa 
                   startled!  "Leonie!"  

     We're fallen.  What a lark.  Falling still.  Fess up...  

Hecatomb seventy-seven

Borne in utero the whole interminable 
record-setting cold of '48-'49.  Dunno 
else the faintest thing of natal origin, 
more than where to poke the map, 
that foreign it was to all blood parties.  
Not to say inimical, humiliating, frozen 
one month, infested the next.  Nothing 
like her forfeit home or his jerusalem.  
We split up and one sailed one way, I 
at breast, the other covering our tracks.  
Or bets.  If hades bound, all the fond 
goodbyes since is why.  Don't know fact 
one about where I'm from, barring coordinates...  

Sentinel chopper hovered way high above 
all the nothing we were up to, and who can say 
didn't listen too to our prattle, eyeballing 
lavish gesture, profiling one suspicious 
pair, high enough we were not supposed to 
notice, I dare say.  The urgent and hilarious 
tale there told being long forgotten, the teller's 
back to echt-spectacular Pacific sunset, L.A., 
all that remains in recollection, that much, is 
all that dismays me now as dubious or deprived.  

Juvenile vulture cools its heels in shallow rock pool,  
yesterday's rain, sips dainty as any songbird.  

The company of happy girls, still lifes 
, Asita's waist-length eyebrows, 
which is sexual nostalgia, which to hallow, which profane? 

Hecatomb seventy-four

Benign Ryu 

                        it may 
have been, before I knew, (as if

Baudelaire would appear in Canada...) 


invisible!, visible 
solely to I or id, 

tiny tumbling naked men&women 
by the billion into the Void— 

analog of nowt, 
apropos the whole shebang 

—or top floor rear 
Linden Gardens, W2, 


for hours
that night, '68, being of sound etc, 


Hecatomb fifty-four

following the hunt as opposed to Riding to 
, equestrian tack, bright horse brass, 
dashing canary weskit, by black push-bike 

did love red fox and kept the gentry's gift of 
one's snarling mask in quiet entranceway 

showed his little sheriff where tod denned 
in a sandbank, small gnawed bones, 
among bracken, beware the adder  

split one Murraymint with his folding knife 
pointing to where a downed jerry hanged 
in a parachute, hidden by the crown of a 
linden till autumn when the leaves fell   

possessed his rescued commander's trench
whistle on neat's-foot oiled leather lanyard 

blood-filled boots squelched retreating 

gleeful swank, right shoulder half shot, 
bowled trickiest armball on First XI  

had equable grandad been American, horrors

egalitarian, but all-Anglo and glad, beaming 

oh, the Canadian soldiers were terrors, Guy 

not the one who finally called the asshole an 
asshole, they never met, except in me, that was 
, this is the other, family name of 
yore spelled Mychyll
, consonant with our 


Hecatomb forty-two 

He was khaki-clad prairie boy cycling in Surrey, 
bred through Depression and Dust Bowl, the War 
the best break ever yet to come his ambitious way.

She pronounced that word so I heard it for years 
a homophone of carkey
in Home County accent...  
He rode the miles off-duty from Bordon Camp, 

courting, standing on the pedals, panting up 
the Devil's Punchbowl, cracking thews for her, 
to shew her folks at The Russetts
he knew no limit.

And then must quick-time cycle back, breathing 
hard, and would bow the rest of his life to some old 
beskirted lady wheeling up the steep macadam behind, 

effortlessly, scarcely taking passing notice of another 
winded young foreign bloke in uniform on Hindhead Hill.  

Hecatomb thirty-six

Moil in self-examination and self-criticism.  
(Deplore the national standards of self-justification 
and self-congratulation.)  Understand that expression 
is less venerable performance than sacrifice.  
Engage intuition
with experience with grace 
(which shadows would be intellection, education, prowess).  
Information and skill are subsets of experience, 
not of education, dammit, nor of training, but experience, 
and faith a subset of intuition.  Thus intellectuality 
enjoys little prestige with us.  "Art is reserved for 
those who feel; revenge on the intellectuals."  

, theme: sine qua non.  Only then dare start, 
falter, start over.  Anticipating no conclusion.  A hundred amends.  
More.  Deletion.  Dilation.  Heeding the sumptuary.  In the end, 
doubt.  Repeat.  Ignoring exegetical itch.  Exhaust the doubts. 
Specious challenge, diction; structure,
bona fide.  (Or v.v.)  
Such the frailty of the laity.  Poetry is simply a taste
and a practice.  
Bespoke speech that stays spoke.  No expatiation.  Ecstatic.  
"Consolation and exultation over imbecility, vanity, cupidity."   

Poetry does battle with inanity, outgunned as may be.  
Ambition is but inclination and energy; credibility, the casualty 
of loss.  What achieves the ordination
of a poet?—Overarching, 
the mysteries.  "In the mind of the beginner, 
many possibilities; in the veteran's mind are few."

    © Guy Birchard 2015