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17 December 1981
... Bony skeletons in coffinwood, some of them bad, some of them good, all of them silent, stretched out straight, hope to get in at Heaven’s Gate. Some had breasts to drive men wild or (more important) to feed a child; some had redhead cocks, to crow; now they lie there, row by row. Everything soft has drained away, hard and simple till Judgment Day they lie still in their mouldered shrouds, under the ...

The Mischievous Boy

Gavin Ewart

18 November 1982
... Love jumped on us before we knew his name, twisted our arms at prep schools, hid up our mothers’ skirts, oh! we were bent by knitted bosoms and that ladylike scent! Love was a tyrant in his belted shorts, was good at games and comely just as the Bible said, behind the scrum a hardworked angel – no wicked words like bum. Love came, not physical in any way; demanding friendship only, the simple name ...
1 May 1980
... Why on earth ever did (I wonder) Shaw and Wells so much like Grayshott, and Conan Doyle, at Hindhead, build ‘Undershaw’ – when they might have got away, shot of all those dark and dismal conifers, those larches, spruces, pines, fishboney firs, and gone on down Southwards, right on to the clear sea and sun of Sussex and the traditional naughtiness of Brighton, architecture that calls as strongly ...
18 August 1983
... Those who said that they loved us are terribly dead                  or not quite right in the head or they went missing thirty years after the last passionate kissing, gone, with no phone calls or letters; with other mates;            you could say they were now dates only in history, vanished so far that they’re not even a mystery. In ways they’re like unsolved murders ...
22 February 1990
... If you’re a man in a book by Beryl, believe me, you’re in very great peril! Unsure of purpose, weak and wobbly, or stern and strong, small bum, knees knobbly, Accidental-On-Purpose Death before the end will stop your breath! You’ll find it’s a girl who’s the great Prime Mover when your Fate sucks you in like a ghastly Hoover. Wolves are around in girl-sheep apparel (just one girl once ended ...

Tallness is all

Gavin Ewart

17 October 1985
... Pope and Keats were nothings, only two feet high – all the enormous Sitwells were towering to the sky. Edith once told Bottrall physical size was all – miniature masterpieces weren’t on, by anybody small! All long, or little, poems by Thwaite or Taner Baybars are bound to be a waste of time and, you might say, lost labours. No chance for midget madrigals – the Muse abhors dwarf dwellings. The ...
10 December 1987
... Evening News, Edited, Printed and Published in Scotland’s Capital City, Saturday, 15 August 1987 There’s a wee Evil Spirit abroad in a wee West Lothian family, a wee Invisible Force has attacked, with a knife, a girl lodger – slashed the wee girl with a knife, causing terror and turmoil in Dedridge! Along with her three wee sons, Mrs Avril Perkins is frightened. Her lodger, Lorraine Ronaldson ...
1 July 1982
... My old eyes tell me they are offering claret!What a most marvellous, unheard-of prize!Alas! dementia sapiens non caret*Poetic fame in such a Bacchic guise!Much money too! A poet in a garretno longer needs to starve, as cold he lies!Who wins? A Browning? Or a hot Miss Barrett?… that is beyond our wildest wild surmise!£5,000! For sure, the lucky winnerwill be, untaxed, the Poet Of The Yearand envied ...

Three Poems

Gavin Ewart

3 September 1981
... Black Spring Spring brings the joys of love to me and you. It stimulates the young child-murderer too. Bad News in April 1981 Robert Garioch, the best poet in Scotland, is dead. The wit stops coming from that remarkable singing head. A Rough Ballad of Old Chicago Hemingway was a Wound-and-the-Bow writer but his mother thought he was a low writer and all that Oak Park puritan set didn’t dig all that ...
4 January 1996
... arriving Late for Sweeney Agonistes in an attic theatre,    Treading fatefully up the stairs to stand in the doorway In cloak and hat as if he was some part    Of the performance. Our memories, Gavin, Will retain your own appearances at parties,    Standing, as you preferred, in some quieter corner – Forever Ewart’s! The last time we talked at one,    It was prosody, New Verse, and the ...

Two Poems

Gavin Ewart

23 May 1991
... A Place in the Hierarchy Anybody can easily see that Auden is cleverer than me, and likewise Professor Dodds or even Joseph Brods-                                       ky! And the talents that the Fates once handed out to Yeats must make me seem a wimp and very lowgrade simp-                                           ly! ...
26 September 1991
... 1. Marty South’s Letter to Edred Fitzpiers (Thomas Hardy: The Woodlanders, end of Chapter XXXIV) Deer Mister Fitzpiers A’m writen to thee now to tell thee what may lie heavy on thy belly! Yon hiair that Barber Percomb took that wer my hiair, by t’Holy Book, a zold it to’m – an’ all to deck proud Mistress Charmond’s hiead an’ neck! Zo what thou stroak’st in’t hers but mine, zo pirty ...
6 December 1984
... When I see yet another work of hagiography concerning Sir John Betjeman, it makes me want to vomit! Show me, I want to say, please, the ‘geography’ of the house!1 But Betjeman wasn’t nasty, in fact very far from it. It’s probably the Murrays who are such penny-turners (Byron’s one was a Philistine). John’s an important asset, one of the few real genuine poetic earners,2 man not mouse, in ...

Two Poems

Gavin Ewart

21 May 1981
... Violent Passions The mouth can be quite nasty in a bite The lover’s pinch can be malicious too Legs kick, as well as tangle, in a bed Words can be harsh and not console or rhyme Fighting is also love’s especial food Hands can enlace with hands or round a neck The tools that pierce can be unyielding steel Attractive nails can score, like claws, the face Fingers can spread on cheeks, harmful and ...

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