a prize-winning poem by Jim Bellamy

fine photo-image of the late great genius-poet Philip Larkin.

JD Bellamy's 'The Schizoid Spreading' (after Philip Larkin’s ‘The Whitsun Weddings’)


'That mad year, I was sectioned every day.
Not until around
Fifty percent of my mind had split and strayed
Did my contusive, empty heart turn round;
All atriums drowned, all ventricles sacked, all sense
Of happy sanity in a rhapsody gone; and I ran
Beneath the backs of wheels, stamped on the feet
Of grinding quagmires, felt the temples rock; thence
This river’s revelled, drifting squelch began,
Where lies and blistering turpitude must beat.

All year, through the sprawled minds that swept
For centuries inland,
A low and sloping word was routward kept.
Loud skies went by, thought-straddled battles, and
Endless voices floating on a cough;
A rattle smashed completely: pleasures dipped
And died; and now and then a spell of sparks
Defaced each week of beauty, truth and wrath
Until the endless year, now crude and stripped,
Encroached upon a hospital of stars.

At first, I did not notice what a noise
The madness made
Each patient that I stopped at: time deploys
The dints of mental illness like a grave
And down the cold steeled wards, the groans and skirls
I took for porters hissing midst their veils,
And went by pleading. Once I’d slept there, though,
I heard them, grimacing and screaming; girls
In pastiche, torrid clothing, heels and nails,
All drugged completely, watching me flail,

As if out on the end of a scent
Raving and complaining
To something that denied them. Lost, I bent
Backwardly and forwards, now defamed
And heard the horror once again and shrill:
The brain with bad welts beneath its boots
And furrowed foreheads; nurses proud and cracked;
An empire shouting Slut! And then the ferns,
The spitting gloves and tablets on the rack,
The cocoa, coffee, medicated flaps

Marked off from me, who was now all adrift.
Yes, from ward to ward
And whitecoats by the yard, and naked breasts
In the hands of detectives, the schizoid shores
Were bleating like a fiend. All down the mind
Fixed children danced abroad. My rest was ground,
My pale complexion lost and always blown,
And, as I moved, each waif seemed to define
Just what I saw contorting. Nurses frowned
At something killed; doctors had never known

A madness so whole and purely chemical:
I shall not cry!
A million murmurs blasted up the way.
I killed the landscapes, splattered skies with sighs
A dinner then a brain-scan scuttered by,
And some dead baby drinking from a bowl – and none
Thought of the mothers they would meet
Or how their fathers would perceive the power
Of maddening fear. I thought of homeless suns,
The red-light districts and the milk in teats…

There I was trained. And as I raced across
Bright bolts of hail,
Past hang-manned bellmen, palls of mental loss
Flumed close, and I was nearly young, my frail
Unravelling plumescent; and what minds held
Stood ready to be shot with all the showers
That treatment gives. I slept again,
And as my brightened breathing furled, there swelled
A sense of seeing, like some sundering flower,
Sent past the night, somewhere becoming pain.'

Copyright James Bellamy 1998

In 2004, in a competition for South London poets, this
Poem was chosen as a prize-winner by Andrew Motion,
The former Poet Laureate, who opened the public
Performance by reading it aloud.


jim does not have mental health issues



Some more poems in the 'style' of Philip Larkin?


'The Tawny Titterer of a Slung Maid'


the tawny titterer of a slung maid nooses sex in wet flour
o an easy Hitler sea-hangs slaves where a picture of hours
sidles beneath bruised sleep; and an angled angel of flowers
vomits side-saddled to creeps. O, a magpie in a burned tower
tosses city varmints when a sheerness of mad eyes empower
laden greasers with mod men and idiots inside cod-showers 

and the eyes of March show warm blind crows where ice
caddies after motelled milky mind shows; and we ram lights
where, damaging naked wine, a flask of paint drinks to christ's
impossible boozing plower. O, the magi in a cave heard mice
swallowing brooms whereby a dreary sun fell down around
a blue-bedded waller of spies; and mental cells swallow sound
and we dance for a davy dance and we slide underground 

the tawny twitterer of a manx bird delves soap mince and a
dredger of tea spitters don waxed worlds where a soft car
crusades after naked motored mad girls. O, a parader's star
marries naked neurones with peed peals that wet sex-starred
body-clefts swill-found inside seized weals; and messy bards
bang in a booker's clancy hand as a bayer of brands scars
tremulous daughterers of nancy drams with hot-glans-bars 

and the eyes of April open out upon a dinny dream of Men
and the brides of Napels blind up with dizzy lesbotic gems
and a bone of braded basts builds a baby smiles high when
we may leap from a masted dill and slide outside old children

where topers of dragged ropers ride aside a mad angel-wind
we must roar down slagged slopers of wide madam rings
and the starlets of soft soakers peer into pride as gold swings
dollop a giddy bum upon a cleft sea where a bottomer's skin
comes searing rain with cisterns and hair. O, macadamed sin
soaps up, up and a broken bawd bays for air as she spins for
ideal salt-baiters of blood hide and sugar-shredded sex-wards 

where topers of draggled ropers rise aside a sad angel-hymn
we must roar from tit-damagers where a wifeling under sins
drops biscuits in a poisoned bin; and we store silkies when walls
widen under bridal sweat. O, raiders of red clams crush drawl
O, eaters of dog-meat drip under volved vans; and rashes fall 

deeply, deeply. Pactive messengers of milky pus pies pall for
fallen dizzy stables, rock-filled with vaginal vinyl lycra wards
and we delve for spread death as smallness sinks for dolls.. 

once upon a blonde mind, i saw teeny tawsers shaving molls
Copyright JDB 29/07/2020


'The Arses of a Purpled Greased Bum'


the arses of a purpled greased bum have to rasp
deeply down where cabled cunt-cum has to clasp
a cunny clapper with cold fangs; and weepers
grass about wet dreams as a city of creepers
cannies for dirt-drouth; and we arise for masks
and we sink swelled pulleys into faced casts

mostly, men know nothing. Mostly men fast
and a genital touch spews cabbages when dust
drools aside woven sad news; O, fast sea-musks
slay after doggers of mad truths; O, hot sea-nuts
wallah after dullers of bad coopers of odd sluts

the arses of a purpled greased body bum heaps
olden golden dirty dead cold women with sleep's
banner of wanky bed-heat; O, a tractor in heat
weeps, weeps, weeps; and wiseners trap lusts
amd we sweep a deaf eye against dirt-cusps

mostly, men know nothing. Mostly, men ask
after daggering nut-filled killed folks, and glass
rubs a pissy wanky hooty mummy with grass;
and we ride from hanky shooters and we pass
back into time to find all history dead and done.


I remember mad mary whose headmost mind seemed mad
o i must sunder sad baby as i burn. O, a dog under the mad
swells for canny walkers of dead sperm; and weepers grab
a dolter of dun vaginas with a seminal sea-crumb. O, odd slags
slapper after voices when a briner of a sea-scum eats shag

mostly, men know nothing. Mostly, men are dumb as slabs
and we i ride from too much rest to find my mental nabs
made ancient as the true moon. O, odes to de Lady stab dust
and we ride from daughtery rooms where feline drag

tips aside a grey cusp in dragon-dells; and a wept sold hag
sells filthy slagazines to petrol-pills.O, i arouse nothing
O, I had no sex with loving; and a gizzard under ceilings
whacks out cunt-coffee as a breader in slumbered readings

stops, stops, stop. Ah! snippers of slipper-signs wrap up
vinegar shadow seasons baiters and a skull in a tea-cup
drops lea-and-perrins on fabler's hands; and i will shut-up?

shoppers of slappy shampy fuckers flicker under chops
o i saw my dizzy mammy rising up from feeders when
endlessness span like an eaten sparrow; and odal-men
will sleep for Eden when a gully in a barrow heaps lofts
and, oo, as we dig into desolate attics we use old cloths
and we slop for a shit-slick as we raid a boobied hop

shoppers of slappy shampy duckers dicker under slots
o i saw my easy daddy rising up from tweezers when
eaters of angry angel Bethlehem have to murder men
with machines of timed christs. And i suffer chidden
body-boxes; O, a candid canter of crams sucks children
and i enter into the green zion of a waterbead and socks

soften easy wide wives with wolfers of weepy woks
and a cooky candour of eyes sees into peasy pot and
i set alight to my head and watched my brain expand
unto timed clocking latrines; O, i watched over woman
and my dicky lip lays words to bloody waste. Eyes jam

coded kodak cranes with fayers of camera cunt-rams

i recollect my easy friends. I said nothing to them mostly
and i suck skies from friends; and i cut my tongue mostly
o i detect pushers of men who cry for quiet; O, family
felllows easy mind-rangers with hot melody; and deaths
cum in my lost mouth and i learn of monies as babies
grill a swather of a swaddler with painted head-rubies

coded kodak cranes with flavas as a camera's crimes
pictures dirty heels with splitters of deadness. Minds
slashes after daughterers; and a bone-bled sea-spine
slams bald live cathedrals with stoned layers of lined
buzzy faders. And i recollect my easy friends when I
hear my silent past rushing upon a goosed pubby gun

ahh, hens on the dummy moon wash lard in water
ahh, penners pig upon old dunes when i wet laughter's
impossible smile-screen. O, a dogger of grey fixtures
rally family gossips from danny draggers of fast mixtures

these haggard days where i lay my head upon god's palm
i notice, when laid, that my eager red-head sun heats arms
and i outstretch my hands to a girl men never knew. Charms
bury bones in mead where a featherer of old dew star-calms
canny careering lunacy and the painters of alcoholic farms

ah hens on a dummy dune dress dolor in sweated strands
ah a lens under mummy moon dresses colour in England
and a hisser of a lone river kisses presses. O, old harm
stays me with herbs and apples which ram upon brands
the easy tiller of a tricycle girl who listens to odd seasands

these haggard days where i lay my head upon god's palm
i notice, whilst slayed, that my little meadow woman's jam
jolts a pisser of a pled lave led to irons as i dine on pranged
sisterers of soriety and faceless feline females. O, strands
sickle after funeral pepper; and i lop odd retails as cramps

study just how to fucking die; and a bomb of a swift bone
hips to a gallowed beat. Deaths drinks sex dry. Cold stone
honey-comb under junder-mess; and we toast gold foam
and we shudder for feather-mess; and we drink red combs

as curriers of kindler men abuse broomy skin, grey dromes
drag a drippler of a devil whose burnt lucifers cut crones
adown in a fixed town where a candifier of butter-drones
doctors easy sleep with easter's eggy cocoa christmases

ah hens on a dummy dune dress dollars in pounded pans
and weevillers strut for ruin as a lepress in her pig-plan
pomades for sexy wanky hooty parades; and old sloanes
shop for grey punchers of bruisy dog-trades. Wee roams
aside five bad trees which moan like deadening voices
and we cum inside a wide christ as idioms of old faces

drool under navellers of sliced dreams and rolled Rome.


Copyright JDB 30/07/2020



This one is a grail within the world but also
shining above us through all growth, all seas-
hiding in the petals, in the details of the veins and
the dancing of the leaves, here the cheetah comes. Past
the four-quartered winds, more, the five-fingered sun,
in each diffidence of waves, each diverse groove,
and, in all eyes, the fist. Lion or tiger, or
a bold child outspread, this one is holy, is
a feline with gears. Its veil spotted, its
ultimate poising posed
through intimate instinct raved and unapproved
and dashed dowm the flowers. So we see
maturation, freedom, the means of home
sufficed in the turning of a weal.

They gather in groups and chant, others write
vast poems to the Nephalim, some
tap or pluck instruments, and, all prepared to roam,
peak upon paradise and dive into
further elysiums, further honeycombs. The
cheetah rides upon their backs and bribes
each of them to wave at the running surf. In
Idylls, bring the hunted era down
into threadbare, broken plains. Eyes
register on conformers; breathe
alike to a moving sloane: through
lynching revels, here the seas
rise and crash on the bones
that see. Coursed,
with dunes, plashed and skeined
with octaves, synergies and tides,
for the cheetah, time is all and all
an engine on the rise.


JDB 1999