augury doggerel

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Ars Moriendi

On this day in 1914�so long ago, at the start of the Great War�Dylan Thomas was expelled into cool Welsh air and started on his suckling. And on this same October day in 1932, Sylvia Plath, a Depression baby, let out her first gasp. He would have been a tottering eighty-eight had he somehow come this far, she an exact seventy. Happy bloody birthday. Here's a baby poem each from them.

Vision and Prayer [I]

Are you
Who is born
In the next room
So loud to my own
That I can hear the womb
Opening and the dark run
Over the ghost and the dropped son
Behind the wall thin as a wren's bone?
In the birth bloody room unknown
To the burn and turn of time
And the heart print of man
Bows no baptism
But dark alone
Blessing on
The wild


Clownlike, happiest on your hands,
Feet to the stars, and moon-skulled,
Gilled like a fish. A common-sense
Thumbs-down on the dodo's mode.
Wrapped up in yourself like a spool,
Trawling your dark, as owls do.
Mute as a turnip from the Fourth
Of July to All Fools' Day,
O high-riser, my little loaf.
Vague as fog and looked for like mail.
Farther off than Australia.
Bent-backed Atlas, our traveled prawn.
Snug as a bud and at home
Like a sprat in a pickle jug.
A creel of eels, all ripples.
Jumpy as a Mexican bean.
Right, like a well-done sum.
A clean slate, with your own face on.


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