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Poetry Magnum Opus

Sister Annunciata (Parts I, II and III: completto)


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Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis
Vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent:
Σιβυλλα τι θελεις; respondebat illa: αποθανειν θελω.

I have seen with my own eyes the Sibyl hanging in a jar, and when the boys asked her “What do you want?” She answered, “I want to die.”

—Petronius, Satyricon

Cumaean Sibyl was the most famous of the Sibyls, the prophetic old women of Greek mythology; she guided Aeneas through Hades in the Aeneid. She had been granted immortality by Apollo, but because she forgot to ask for perpetual youth, she shrank into withered old age and her authority declined.



The rain, the rain lashes down
as the heated car engine ticks over:
I gaze through the blearing windshield
and wonder, wonder why the hell I am here.
A terricic tall hulking hill of a hall,
Victorian Gothic, God help us all,
looms right ahead, grey and unfriendly
and I think of dear Joan, so pensive,
locked voluntarily within: so why, dear girl,
did you withdraw from your friends and from me?

Come, pensive Nun, devout and pure,
Sober, steadfast, and demure,
All in a robe of darkest grain,
Flowing with majestic train,
And sable stole of cypress lawn 35
Over thy decent shoulders drawn.
Come; but keep thy wonted state,
With even step, and musing gait,
And looks commercing with the skies,
Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes:

I’m afraid, I’m frightened to knock on the oaken door
since you walked away from us, from your family,
from every male and female friend you’ve ever known,
and also from me, who was (I thought) more than only that.
You sailed away in silence like a faery child,
and only later (bye the bye) we heard you’d become a nun.
And now I have tracked you down
to this isolated place, this hidden nunnery,
and yet I sit in the car and I feel afraid.

What will I say to you?
What, dear Joan, will you say to me?
I sigh, stub out my non-encouraging cigarette,
the very last, as I tell myself,
since I am determined to quit
once these nervous days are over.
I unroll my black umbrella, say an atheist prayer,
then resolutely head for the door
and push the bell, Bing Bong.

Bing Bong

The glitter of her jewels rose to meet it,
From satin cases poured in rich profusion; 85
In vials of ivory and coloured glass
Unstoppered, lurked her strange synthetic perfumes,
Unguent, powdered, or liquid, troubled, confused
And drowned the sense in odours; stirred by the air
That freshened from the window, these ascended 90
In fattening the prolonged candle-flames,
Flung their smoke into the laquearia,
Stirring the pattern on the coffered ceiling.

The tradesmen’ entrance is in the rear
said a peremptory tinny female voice.
I am no tradesman, I replied firmly,
but a visitor to see … Sister Annunciata.
Are you family? asked the harsh unfriendly voice.
Her brother, I lied, our parents are quite concerned.
Please remain where you are. Somebody will come.
I shifted from foot to foot for the next ten minutes.

You fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
You fled Him, down the arches of the years;
You fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of your own mind; and in the mist of tears
You hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes you sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasméd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbéd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat - and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet -
“All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.”

You walk away, a bit, as you do,
and I put a few shillings on the gee-gees
or on the football, winning slight amounts
from time to time,
always thinking that whenever you walk,
wherever you walk,
you always, damn you
walk away from me.

Love comes uncoiled
and basically unspoiled
from the highrise flats we have lived in
with the smell of piss in the lifts,
from dogs, sometimes a couple of ponies,
and then from semi-humans like your brother,
who made me hold my nose and wish for a New World,
and not this sad and silly thing we live in.

What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?

Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.

They let me in
I had to wait.
The next thing I know, I get led to this
cross-hatch wooden barrier,
and I heard a sigh and inhaled soap, not scent.
Hello, Bren. O Jesus, Joan.
We don’t have much time.
Are you happy, my dear?
Not really. Then for God’s sake, let’s away!
I cannot, she whispered. I must stay.

Damn it. Goddam.

The love the love, the love you love to love ...

http://www.vanmorrison.com/songs-lyrics ... -live.html

Unreal City
Under the brown fog of a winter noon
Mr Eugenides, the Smyrna merchant
Unshaven, with a pocket full of currants
C. i. f. London: documents at sight,
Asked me in demotic French
To luncheon at the Cannon Street Hotel
Followed by a week-end at the Metropole.

At the violet hour, when the eyes and back
Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits
Like a taxi throbbing waiting,
I Tiresias, though blind, throbbing between two lives,
Old man with wrinkled female breasts, can see
At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives
Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea,
The typist home at tea-time, clears her breakfast, lights
Her stove, and lays out food in tins.
Out of the window perilously spread
Her drying combinations touched by the sun's last rays,
On the divan are piled (at night her bed)’'
Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays.
I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs
Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest_
I too awaited the expected guest.

I am no Teresias, not sexually ambivalent,
a rather normal person throbbing between two lives,
and sometimes three or more, and the farther shore
is beyond swimming distance,and so I shall rise out of the water,
snorting, and fly instead. Rest quiet, for I do so infrequently
and seek only silence and rest, since I am not
today or tomorrow’s expected guest.

Et, O ces voix des enfants, chantant dans la coupole!

Twit twit twit
Jug jug jug jug jug jug
So rudely forced.

Will you not come away, dear Joan,
leaving all this behind, and be one with me?
I think not, dear friend.

On Margate Sands.
I can connect
Nothing with nothing.
The broken finger-nails of dirty hands.
My people humble people who expect

la la

To Carthage then I came

Burning burning burning burning
O Lord Thou pluckest me out
O Lord Thou pluckest


I make my way to the Tube station in
Walthamstow, the beginning of absolute
nowhere, really, total urban desolation, where paper cups
and Maconald wrappers adorn the tracks
along with empty tinnies. I cannot, she’d said.

I must get back to the river again …

Yet were they bred of Somers-heat they say,
In sweetest season, when each flower and weed
The earth did fresh array,
So fresh they seemed as day,
Even as their bridal day, which was not long:
Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.

O no! you horrid, greasy-green
placid drowning snake …

In this decayed hole among the mountains
In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing
Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel
There is the empty chapel, only the winds home.
It has no windows, and the door swings,
Dry bones can harm no one.
Only a cock stood on the roof-tree
Co co rico co co rico
In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust
Bringing rain
Ganga was sunken, and the limp leaves
Waited for rain, while the black clouds
Gathered far distant, over Himavant.
The jungle crouched, humped in silence.
Then spoke the thunder:

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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