The Kirmes Parade

John Hartley Williams

The flies are devoted to this appassionata.
The church tower has magnetised the mob.
Nothing but jugglers, stilt-walkers, flame-spitters,
the thrashed bells’ lingering throb.

Why do they all love that farcical clanging?
Christ, we were going to stay in bed today!
It feels as if the world is splitting open.
They’re putting all its molecules on display.

Witchcraft’s what we need. A diabolic rite
to drive those plangent discords out,
repulse those clonkings from the spire, give
that consecrating caterwaul a clout.

Once it was a horse fair. Now that
makes sense. I mean, it has a point. You throw
a noose across a wild horse, and trade it.
Sense, alas, was seven centuries ago.

Now we have the present, which is loud
and forward-looking, and loves the picturesque,
to which my answer’s war. But I’ve been lazy.
I failed to rise at four and tiptoe to my desk.

I should write here snuggled up in bed with you,
naked as an animal against my skin.
We should write a Treatise against Noise.
We should heave a boogie at the din.

The bedroom’s being killed. It shakes
and writhes, and books fall off the shelves.
Your gaze arraigns me. The roof’s gone crazy.
The racket’s split me into divided selves.

Everything’s been taken over by a rush,
a Jupiter rush, a Saturn rush of goose-bo friends.
Outside, on sticks, they’re holding up the cherubs that
will not be inviolate when dark descends.

How that lewd procession clunks!
Angels wobble. Look out! Here they come!
Tense young men with futures in their fists
whack their names upon a drum.