early words by jim bellamy

a fine portrait of the late great genius poet John Keats.

TO A WOMAN (an old-fashioned poem)
(after Bernie Taupin)

as sure as faithful clocks count sentient seconds,
and morphean mortals drink
from secret wells of truth,
I have fostered niobe's eyes, and miss you daily.
You, sweet love, in babylonian fields, refreshing
nature's sleeping firmament,
living like motherwort amidst the damask flowers,
anoting shores with oceanic splendour.
As every dead hour of sleep swathes sightless eyes,
in rarest eiderdown, my love,
you slumber: so far from home you choose to tread,
and send'st dreams of crystal streams,
of days deceased, when we would lean,
laughing, fit to cry upon each other.
O, sweet love, I see you tasting fruits of the citrus shrub;
the asphodelian fruit, entwined
with myrtle's sentient bine,
kissed by the visage of heaven's golden patriarch.
You, sweet love, in babylonian fields,
refreshing nature's sleeping firmament,
living like motherwort midst the damask flowers,
anointing shores in oceanic splendour.
As every dead wish of living sleep swathes sightless eyes,
in rarest eiderdown, my love, you slumber:
so far from home you choose to tread,
and send'st dreams of crystal streams,
of days long deceased,
when we would lean, laughing,
fit to cry upon each other.
Ah, if I could nestle in the haven of your heart,
my arms around your shoulders,
the shadows hesperion,
whilst the swallow weds the sycamore
in yonder lucretian valley...
I miss you, sweet jazzmin,
like a queen bee misses money.

copyright JIM BELLAMY, 1989


WHERE DOST THOU RECLINE (an old-fashioned poem)
  O, where dost thou recline, my love,
  whilst day's sigh casts gloom no more
  o'er sweet treasures of chaste-pluck'd rest,
  upon the stretch of rare delight;
  athwart the jewel-lashed swallow's
  e'er rattling, raining song;
  and 'midst the breast of dew-quaffed flower?
  For then, dear love, thine delphic glow
  recites a  tome of chorale bars
  in nymph-illusive flight,
  and flays the steed of Azrael's breath,
  that crack'd, with cry of wat'ry pace,
  the wraith of Krishna's gold-slapp'd eyes,
  black'ning lips with blaze of death
  and drawing blood from whirling veins.
  where dost thou recline, my love,
  whilst day's sigh casts gloom no more,
  when I, wi' torrential prayer,
  dream of thee?!
 jd bellamy 1990


THE EYE OF BIRTH (an unreachable semblance) 

Well, in the West,
Where the spangly pleats of Night entwine
With the frowning Horizon's wayward eye,
The carpentry of Dian's sabled stamp
Breaks the sides of the Heavens:
Engulfing mortal trips and traps
In constant shapes of Ceres hue,
Thus drawing all from finite moulds
Towards the edge of pageless creation
Here motions, empty of age, collide with infant resource
Leaping to catch the pulsing breast
Of waves that measure the shores of birth
And murmur patent sanctuary
To all the earth may yearly receive
And endear so dearly to diurnal parts!

How strange to think that we
Are subject to this game of hours;
The runes of our accounts are cast
By flailing tongues of cocks and owls;
And ev'ry thrust of our hearts may weave;
(By sight of Orb and Atlas) is
A bride of tangled vacancies,
Clasped in the deeds of sadness-

And even 'mid the stride of swarthy reason,
Whence breaths and paramours deem to dance,
We are but figures of careless meanings
Whose shades of being are gladly hung
On hooks and blinds of reckless fortunes
And things beyond the natal mask.-

But, lo!, there is a sweetness in the mind
That binds and deifies the shriek of blood,
And weds the cloudy felonies of lungs
To naked knaves of Innocence:-
A feminine sweetness such
As. when bought to serve the pen's occasion,
Defies all lengths of placement,
And gives to lustive titles
A reverie of both hanker and disdain;
Awak'ning sov'reign veins to verbs of honey;
Those verbs that prance upon the spheres
And glide between the coiling moans
That couple the clocks of bed and bier,
And spin the womb of the Universe.

O, dearest Tamzin! Yes,
I speak of Joy: Holy times:-
The breathing fruit of the soul;
Fruit that crowns the quick'ning breeze
Of past and vanished Ages,
Where documents of Love
  Are sanctified and serenaded
By trembling flutes and twiring sins 
Struck from the beating stars.

Aye! Happy, Happy times,
Sensed in Life's meandering stems;
Issuing forth th' silv'ry threads
Of bright and minstrel diadems:-

Prates of slumb'ring tenderness, that never
Leave the swooping toll of trusted veins.
Dates, sweet Love, that have gather'd ever
From the boiling mountains and the skeins
That feed upon the music of your heart.

Oft in my Days of Tears do I
Relive and bless the laughing hour
When, thro' the veils of Living Sleep,
I wandered 'thwart th' dreamy bowers
Of thine Sirian eyes.

Amid all things mine heart didst lie,
Wi' solitude's fears, athwart rank weeds,
That grow betwixt Life's formless Stave,
And far Adrastea's coil-kissed Map!
Here, storms rose from careless wounds
Wedded by twines of Heavenly tongues;
Wherein there leapt a boundless sea
That coursed beneath a robeless sun:
Caressing hands of frenzied leaves,
And cursing Death's e'er sleeping curve
Of misty moulds and bloody wave,
That men forfend, wi' lusty might,
When hands becalm th' rapine streams,
Yet, wi' foam-wrapped passion, greet,
When Ares swathes th' Night in ash.

'Twas th' Noble Eye of Birth I saw;
A beauteous pool of soft'ning charm,
That seemed to lead th' breath of me
Into a pit of fiery heights;
Where Don, th' Judge of Final Christ,
Sat upon her throne of Joy
And, wi' voice of Purest Rain,
Brushed th' Air with Song,
O, ne'er could I delete the sights
That flew wi' ev'ry stirring bar,
Effusiing plinths of Wizardry
And choking thirsts with greatest sprites
Wi' twists of cordial winds.
On heath, shrub, and rock, mine eyes aligned
And drank th' dews of Heaven's comment,
Conceived 'mid cherub-blade of Light,
That none could meet in earthly folds!
Here, th' raging fruits of Dreams,
E'er blushing wi' Treasures sweet and scarce,
Fell to turfs and flattered me
Wi' fields of fever'd plenty;
Refreshing Cupid's meady crown,
And bearing decline
To Man's filth-sucked device.

Thus failless Love stood Royally there,
As time's timeless Soul, and loud Solicitor;
And Senna's Army-, bad earth's swoons, -
Beheld no sentient Protector.

Ay me ! Sweet Love,
Thy heart is living key
To bounteous Truths of spectres manifold;
Th' golden Throne of Poesy's Sanctuary,
That this thine Hymn doth Serenade-
The plashy thread of Deity,
And all th' sentiments of Being
Are moulded with the constant beat
Of thy vermeil Beauty.
Into thy flowering dream I fell,
As one who'd never felt before
Th' rage of Night and Day entwined
Along the lap of ceaseless sleep:
And mine eye beheld a Face:
An eminence of Feverish Joy
That seemed to feed on Nature's Lymph,
And, Oh, did lift the Soul of Love
Unto a pounding ridge of raptured Song.-
Lo, from hills of Celtic realms, dear Heart, you came
Wi' Don's resounding cataract
Of murm'ring Glow, amid thy fragrant form,
And thine ambrosial bosom rose,
From stealthy lakes and air-tinged Heaths
That Cynthia kissed wi' scented care;
Here, th' dappled face of patient force
Shall twire athwart the staves of May,
And bewitch th' heart wi' sapful tears
Which arose twixt child's red-laden lips-
From tranquil death of velvet dawn
Nur'tring damask'd breaths amid
Th' rose-drawn Diadem of Love.
Here th' Eye of Birth may enfold
A thousand days in momentary gasp,
And swoon forever in Eternity's fixing gaze
Wherein the Mortal Bid is woven whole.
jdb 1990.


Nothing but infinities of nought.
Nothing but the girlfriends trying to find
a better way to come. None
is the number of the thoughts.
Nothing but infinities of zilch
clamouring and climbing up the mind.
Nothing but infinities of nought
chiming with the sign of the times
Nothing is the toast; the grace
that whittles the birthday round the room.
Nothing is the boast; the face
that burns and gurns in doom. Nought
Is the series of the wastes;
the clash, the calm, the croon, the throne.
Nothing is the size of taste;
the climax and the boom. No
Man may make nought rip. The
ideal case of nought is all.
In wombs and tombs the slick
of tarry tides must call
The merchant bankers round
into some serious peace
of grinding madness. This
is why all love's deceased,
And why all girls are cold
in the final row of the cinema,
and why all lace is rolled
in arsenic-dimpled stars. Nought
Is the number and nought is the man.
Nought is the thunder and thunder the lamb
that flips through the blue into nothing at all.
Nought is the place of the pall.
Nothing but infinities of nought.
Nothing but infinities of hate.
Nothing but infinitiies of thoughts
that rape and then gyrate.
Nothing but infinities of ceased
revelries and charms. None
is the nought of it all and
the final nought on the sun.
copyright JDB 1991.
the chill? (after Roger McGough's 'The Rot')

  the chill came suddenly,
  down the chimney,
  like a bolt of lightning,
  it began in the kitchen,
  following the crash,
  it moved fast,
  twisting up our lives,
  the central heating
  emitted no heat,
  the gas fire
  no longer warmed our feet.

  the fridge became far too cold,
  how many times defrosted,
  i do not know
  the oven failed to cook a thing,
  the steak was always rare
  it spread so far, it reached the stair,
  sheets of ice for us to tread
  it reached the bedroom floor,
  the carpet became cold to touch,
  a sheet of frost spread over our lives.

  there's no way out,
  the chill will follow,
  facing the trial
  with no defence
  the ice will spread,
  reach us all
  it's midsummer's day,
  the fire is on
  we are imprisoned
  in a block of ice,
  becoming less informal

  we will no longer face the chill,
  we will no longer radiate ice
  it's over, the chill defrosts
  we can return to the warmth.
   JIM BELLAMY, 1986
Ten Years From Now 
Cold, grey city
With cold, grey faces,
Hands in pockets,
Eyes expressionless and pale

Queues of resigned people,
Standing years apart,
Each one thinking thoughts
That the other can’t impart

Five foolish girls
Share a forbidden fag,
Glancing over their shoulders
With stilettos in a bag

And ten years from now
When they have moulded
Into mature and married women,
They will stand

In queues of resigned people,
Standing years apart
In their own allotted spaces,
Choking in the dark.
jd bellamy 1986
  bent is not gay
  bent is not gay
  the trend of the bent
  is the woman in love
  and the woman in love
  is the trendless bent
  and the trendless bent
  is the woman in love
  she shall find me where
  no man shall know me
  she shall find me where
  no guy can make real
  she shall find me where
  the bender is the woman
  and the bender is the man
  and the woman is the love
  bent is not gay
  bent is not gay
  it is knickers round the mouth
  it is knickers round the south -
  there is a stow in the wold
  which is full of bender's mould -
  it is the knickers round the mouth
  that makes it go south
  she shall find me in the yield
  she shall find me in the field
  she shall find me thrice over
  in the docks of fishy dover
  and when its all over
  and whence its all over
  the toad in the hole
  shall be seen bent double
  bent is not gay
  neither is it grey
  neither is it man
  neither is it children
  all bent is real
  all bent is real
  and the poof who sings
  wears no rings
  she shall find me in the yield
  she shall find me in the field
  she shall find me seven over
  in the fishy docks of dover
  and the bent is the real
  and the bent is knicker mouth
  and the bent is the real
  and the bent is knicker south
jdb 1986
  I know you now
  I know the sadness of your smiles
  I know the madness of your wiles
  I know you now
  I know you now
  I know the rumour in the rain
  I know the humour in the vein
  I know you now
  I know you now
  I know your every whim
  I know the silence in your spin
  I know you now
  I know you now
  I know the violence in the sun
  I know the licence in the lungs
  I know you now
  I know you now
  I know the wisdom in the State
  I know the treason on the plate
  I know you now
  I know you now
  I know the all-becoming dream
  I know the soul-derising scream
  I know you now
  I know everything?
  it was so late in a winter's night
  you and your mind
  were out like a light
  plucking up courage
  to touch that phone
  so many times over- nobody's home?-
  first love let fly
  like an arrow through the bright
  colliding with the trees
  flashing out of sight
  and if this woman could really feel
  then man would know
  his heartless deal.
  a strange recession filled the bone
  that blorted round the building
  in skeins of ice and furnace foam
  i stooped beneath god's railings
  so thrice the hammer in the bone
  made manna flee and pine
  i took my pistol from my spine
  and measured god with rhyme
  no man was a friend of mine
  his hairs were filled with veilings
  in macadamic spheres atoned
  he sired my soul in flailing
  no mansion lived beyond his mind
  nor any heaven his to earn
  no man was a friend of mine
  with angled vice, his haloes burned
  so years of man lie alsoran
  and poets plead eternally
  in icen forges, summer slams
  the fairy thumbs of yearning
  and the mind's worth endless more
  than those who live in sloanes
  and the sun's worth endless more
  than strangest nights atoned

  no man was a friend of mine
  he stooped beneath my railings
  i took a pistol from my spine
  & measured god with rhyme
  i took my pistol from my spine
 & measured god with twine.
jdb 1988
  On the Feast of Unleavened
  The only flesh eaten
  Shall be the flesh of children
  Bread cabinets burning
  On the limb of a brawl
  The only brandies then
  Shall be the bornes of time
  Scandal gods until the mostest
  Are brains of bored device
  On the Feast of Unleavened
  The only flesh eaten
  Shall be the cradle in the ice.
  On the Feast of Unleavened
  On the Feast of Unleaven
  On the Feast of Unleavened
  On the Feast of SEVEN
  On the Feast of Unleaven.
  With flaring snakes, the skein of love
  Shall, with shrouded rake,
  Rape aside the sigmund blood
  With madness torn and tared
  Weeded dread as a scarlet son
  On the Feast of Unleaven
  The bread & bones of a roseless gun
  Shall, like chicken laughing,
  Warp away the English Skies
  On the Feast of Unleaven
  The only flesh eaten
                               shall be a bare disguise
  On the feast of unleavened
  On the feast of unleaven
  On the feast of unleavened
  On the feasts of SEVEN.
 israel's out of town?
 JDB 1988
Were we really rain that night
Or did we
Simply trade our words for clouds?
We were not seen
To dream of common storms
And, calmly,
As if it were wrong to scream,
Gaped notes of Passion,
With skin set to war scapes
And eyes
Robed in chapel lashes…
I believe our thunder was a lie
In certainties,
Wailing over shadows of growth
But tending a jungle of drought…
We were never rain…
We could never have been…
But the madness of time burns deep in us
As this widow
Hammers our veins…

Copyright jdb 1990
James David Bellamy
Published in First Time poetry magazine
In the summer of 1996.


The vultures are being spring-cleaned:
five days have been spent writing the lean
and still the balmer comes:
I must fire my two-bossed gun

And arrive where the vultures mourn:
they who are asleep now shall know their thorns
and still arrive where beer bleeds:
five days writing where the farthest read

Can only close down a long time now:
the crowns of the avenue are one
         with the cow
and believe that they shall be
         pecked to beads,
but the vultures are yet to be believed

And still and glow beneath the reigns
that carry this baby to the granite train
and still clean their hands as
         the writer comes
spumes of mum into the sun

That knows no decent end..

The vultures are being made:
five days sat writing no poems
         but the afraid
I know letters must reach
          their resumes,
but this lady kills, and that lady tunes

A violin of the match in the pane:
pang, pang, pang: the data's nettle fame
has so long to go so long as we are glad:
shellfish have a stain, and an eye is mad

That we have the vultures poached:
cross behind the died, the valley's
tells that magenta is a house and a hill
till each felon is breath,
         and each breather killed.


JDB 1991

published 1996 First Time poetry magazine



...she's a gem-clued girl...
a mother-of-pearl guitar sutcases
then rings she pulls in a Midas gaol
and i can hardly
heave from heaven the memory
of my guilty girl and her history;
and she's my gem-clued girl?

o stopped when startling, love's heart
raises spheres from heaven
and a bed of harts heeds the garden
and love's midas-gaol sees passion
sending bright brides to missions;
and she's my gem-clued girl?

ah, as the clock of life's day winds
down, down, down
then the wives of a beating town
heed me; and my keen woman
pulls her rings from a midas-gaol;
and she's my gem-clued girl?

freedom trips the heart as pearls
clothe kind gals in magic fiction...

jdb 1991



i see you wearing genes.
each move of your body is devised
to hurry your biology westward
into the curvature of a cosine;
and, where that cosine cracks,
a state of genetic loving smiles,
alike to an orange,
along your geneticised weeping,
disposing of all but the forensic.
Listen! you wear genes as if
they were the make-up of your eyes,
yet, as the DNA of your living conceives,
the charms of your painted face
shall not deface your chemical vision.
I see you feed off starfields
and, as much as I can sense and feel,
you appear as something pure,
as something scientific as love itself.
So, let me cast off the millions for you:
as the cities heave, let these words instate
a spatial slumber deep within you;
for i have known such sadnesses of breeding
such manias of birth and such genocidal schemes;
have known too much the fusions that revile,
as if demented,
by their own extinction;
and, if there should be a place for life to go on,
endless and plentied, let me hold your body there
and, as one who has peered through genetic windows,
lay you down forever, no more caring for the cells
of past and passionless womanhood.

jdb 1991

published 2000, Purple Patch magazine



And so the light falls
like a cracker cracked in half. even
beneath the pen, the breathing hogs
each moon of madness made. i
have broken down the walls; acquiesced
into the lottery of shambled figures.
even i can't taste the night.

Leaves rustle in my head.
across my bed, nudity glitters.
upon my shoulder, i say my thought
uncensored by any dream and
cross into oblivion. why

should emptiness ache like this?

..JDB 1992

1996, Psychopoetica


Now and then a deckchair opens on my mind
and quakes me to ancestry - as i hop and cuss,
it's not like the stubbing of a toe or a
bouncer's stamp, but
more like something close to a maintop
severing of coronary honours; something more like
a cognizant diversion from the sane.
And, no, I'm not willing to neigh that I need it,
but I'll submit
that there's a masochist in remembering
that rigs and molds a poet's fatal eekings
with confessional passions such as these...

..  JDB 1992

1997, Psychopoetica  


It's no fun waking up with a hoof in the eyes
when the days are rude with their promise of passing
and the alibi winds are stoning your windows
with their hits of equalising ardour, and the guns
are going off where we've seldom been
it's no fun
waking up with a devil of a glaze
when the world
is rough with the voice of home -
but no! i shall not transgress, but shall
show you an egg! shall pause to think and
mock love's manhood just the same!...

It's no fun to be prowessed with prowess
when your waking leading lady has gone
and when you have to
stand in for her salience, daily, and
forgive yourself for slouching like a Lord -
but no! i shall not digress, but shall
pro your path with burly ovaries
shot-n-locked up by me;
shall hook-n-gurn upon
the boomdocks of abeyance; shall
come home to a tea
you couldn't passably have made!...

It's no fun waking up with a hoof in the eyes;
no fun to reassemble
now your eyes have slipped away.

.. JDB 1992

1997, Psychopoetica

'You held my mind'


You held my mind each bluesday and
sent my thinking strictures on.
Midst leavened flames and golden hands
yours was No Man's song. Now,
I whisper evils through your rhymes
and collate revelries so dumb
that nothing may entreat the times
we spent besides the guns. What

Did you think you were doing when
I caught you laughing at our love?
It's things like this that kill the kiss
of ages, rape the doves, and,
in idle straits of mastered sin,
disclose to us our deadly aims.
I do not serve you; see! I am
a maniac between the brains.

So may the winnowed sexists meet you
in your half-way house; may hands
of lesser metals greet you
as you, derising, stand
this way, that way, in the sun,
despising each corrective face.
Now may your heaving loving stun
another hated place.

..JDB 1992

published First Time poetry 1997.


Reap now, swheat child; my rooms are spare
whose scarce horizons cry you clear
of manger volumes; reap these years,
swheat child, whose eyes I mould.
In open mouths, these caverns stark
caves of canine devils; barks
strip of them blind interludes,
vulture gullies, cloven hooves.
O, reap now, child, hoh, swheat child, reap
these babbelous years; my rooms are neat,
whose scarlet ruled horizons cry
you clear of manger volumes/ DIE!
Or reap and spear me, mother, child,
whose eyes are moling cold
in the open mouths; the cavern ducts,
where the boy in mad blows old
O, reap now, child, hoh, swheat child, reap
these idylls; reap, my girl, since I
am blind for you, your bark, your stare,
who mould of me this cloven lie.


jdb 1992.... won a youth george macbeth poetry award 1992/3.