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10 January 1983
... their rifles lightly, like dipped rods, and in a blurt of sunshine the aluminium paint on the customs shed has a dead shine like a text brushed onto basalt. It’s not that anything will happen next in this hour that is as constant as sin, and as original, though why is it they remind me of a prisoner led singing down a corridor to a floor that isn’t a ...
21 February 1985
... For me the crown is the symbol of the unity of the tribe.’ Ted Hughes St nissan mishan biskit bingo hut an skwidbone strand win me sunday fraym fotograf av momma kween. But me not want dis woolworting no lang no mor. Giv to Iron Man. He coom up dis rainrain day fram gravul pit pleec frogmen liv – wit mistultoes astrologee an beeds av glass dis kweenwite fotograf he giv to Iron Gull ...

The Revenant

Tom Paulin

3 January 2019
... after Baudelaire Like those angels with rough – rough or roughened eyes I’ll come back to the little alcove where you try to fall asleep. I’ll slip in between the sheets without a sound from the dark, no the darksome night, and I’ll give you, burnt woman the coldest of kisses and the hugs of a snake in a smelly grave. When the dawn comes without a sound you’ll find no one in my place and till the evening it’ll be cold – ah so cold there ...
7 August 1980
... A lantern-ceiling and quiet. I climb here often and stare At the scoured desk by the window, The journal’s conscience And its driven pages. It is a room without song That believes in flint, salt, And new bread rising Like a people who share A dream of grace and reason. A bit starchy perhaps. A shade chill, like a draper’s shop. But choosing the free way, Not the formal, And warming the walls with its knowing ...
2 September 1982
... Under a stony sun, a slabbed fate, there is a paved land called nothing-original which is the home – the near-buried home – of scholarship and humility; there the god of Notes & Queries takes up our references and a silver priest called Maxwell sings everything in the catalogues. This is karma, acceptance; a bent harijan brushing dung and shards in a walled courtyard ...

Prologue

Tom Paulin

25 January 2001
...  ...

Two Poems

Tom Paulin

30 September 1999
...  ...

Fivemiletown

Tom Paulin

20 February 1986
... The release of putting off who and where we’ve come from, then meeting in this room with no clothes on – to believe in nothing, to be nothing. Before you could reach out to touch my hand I went to the end of that first empty motorway in a transit van packed with gauze sacks of onions. I waited in groundmist by a hedge that was webbed with little frost nets; pointlessly early and on edge, it was like rubbing one finger along the dulled blade of a penknife, then snapping it shut ...

Two Poems

Tom Paulin

6 September 1984
... Waftage: An Irregular Ode All my mates were out of town that lunk July and though we shared a bed still it was over – she’d paid the rent till August first so each bum hour those rooms threw back at me this boxed-up, gummy warmth like a pollack’s head and eye wedged in an ironstone wall. Most every day she’d paint in the loft above the stables while I wandered right through le Carré – Murder of Quality was where I started ...
9 April 2009
... The Chorus draws nearer to Oedipus. CHORUS Those evil men that have slept since long ago. It is not proper to awaken them. But yet I must be told – OEDIPUS Told what? CHORUS Told of that great heartbreak for which there was no help. I mean the pain that you have had to suffer. OEDIPUS I ask that you be kind. I ask you not to open my ancient wound and all my shame too ...

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