landed between paper tiger and paperweight
on the open dictionary, just short of papillon.
A natural under the spotlight
which must have drawn it from the night’s
hot lung towards its sixty watts of promise.
Perfect, the disciplined pulse of its wings:
two coffee-stained teeth and all the grace

of your grandmother in her wedding dress.
Which you will know from the message I left.
But I didn’t mention the tipulidae, the chironomidae,
that I’d had to kill the lights and I’m sitting
on a bed too small to contain your absence,
listening to something the size of a small bird
ricocheting off the walls, clicking like a stuck tape.

[Read in In the Flesh, published by Chatto Poetry. Ripped from Gists and Piths.]


I cannot dance upon my Toes—
No Man instructed me—
But oftentimes, among my mind,
A Glee possesseth me,

That had I Ballet knowledge—
Would put itself abroad
In Pirouette to blanch a Troupe—
Or lay a Prima, mad,

And though I had no Gown of Gauze—
No Ringlet, to my Hair,
Nor hopped to Audiences—like Birds,
One Claw upon the Air,

Nor tossed my shape in Eider Balls,
Nor rolled on wheels of snow
Till I was out of sight, in sound,
The House encore me so—

Nor any know I know the Art
I mention—easy—Here—
Nor any Placard boast me—
It’s full as Opera—

[Read in Everyman’s Selected Poems. Ripped from the prowling Bee.]

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.

[Read in selected poems 1923-1958, published by Faber & Faber. Ripped from]