After Dylan Marlais Thomas
REQUIEM (after Dylan Thomas's 'A Lament')
When bereft of the bible's mouth,
and the black bauble of the chapel's curling,
(screamed the preacher, stamping and raving),
god snipt down the roses of the town
and danced in the womb that is womb only,
coursing, carousing his spirit to the hilt
of the prayerbooks, wracked and lowly,
and on gamboed nights, he swore for light
and brassed away his pillow's yearning,
with a flounce and a flash and a collical dash
at the lips of the virgin's burning.
When bereft of woman and beer
and the black bauble of the chapel's furling,
(screamed the preacher, madamed in railing),
not a thing could be done for the sun
of the crucified word in its idylled flailing,
nor were the words of the zeroed birds
enough to gaggle the runes of the curs,
as the vicars cried in the snuffs of the eyes
and supped in the weirs of the year's turning
spies! Whatever christ once did for the mice
lay back in the black of the gilded ceiling.
And when bereft of life and light
and the lammers of the cross were raging,
(screamed the preacher, chaffered in failing),
brandy couldn't scour the face in the flower
nor the windows in cathedralled raining,
and time rent idly up and westward by
into the breach of its convoluted spielling,
as the felons in the jail, tawsing like a nail,
rhymed with the dyes of their christian learning -
oh, time could not find a place for the mind
as the navy dark lay black as spurning.
For when god was old and always cold
and the heavens went slappering boldly,
(screamed the preacher, flayed in braining),
no hickory-dickory priory was sleekly
slandered by into the pews of blaming
damaged, damsoned plight. Oh,
then was the war of the worlds, my son,
then was the war of the worlds,
as death came to eve and the edened seed
lay smattered in the groins of whores,
and love, beyond sight, opened doors.
Now this god is a man and man's a tower
and the potblack cord of heaven booms,
(screamed the preacher, dying entirely);
for see! the word is envied madly,
bartered by the bubbles of criminal taste,
and, ahh!, what a life is ruptured here
as ridges break on martyred cheeks...
Toward death's pont, I guide the beast
and purse these tarry lips of stone,
the western wind in the vestry's spin
as framed in death as graveward bone.
Copyright JDB 1998.