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Showing posts from February, 2009

"To A Pope" by Pier Paulo Pasolini -- upon death of Pius XII

A few days before you died, death
cast her eye on one of your own age:
at twenty, you were a student, he a working lad,
you noble and rich, he a plebeian son of toil:
but those days you lived together illumined with a flame
of gold our ancient Roma, restoring her to youth again.
-I've just seen his corpse, poor old Zuchetto's.
Drunk, he was roaming the dark streets round the markets
and a tram coming from San Paolo ran him down,
dragging him along the rails under the plane trees:
they left him there for hours, beneath the wheels:
a few curious passers-by were standing staring at him
in silence: it was late, not many people in the streets.
One of those men who owe you their existence,
an old cop, in a sloppy uniform, like any layabout,
kept shouting at those who went too close: "Fuck off!"
Then at last the hospital van arrived to carry him away:
the idlers began dispersing, but a few still hung around,
and the proprietress of a nearby all-night snack bar
who knew him well, told someone …

I am from workers, fishers, swilers, a poem by Andrew Taylor

I am from workers, fishers, swilers* --
my grandma's father was called "Dawe Gunner"
a sharpshooter he picked off old harps
from afar
Swinging his father’s musket to the left or right…

But born and bred
from the open seas
those hungry seasons-

like the Dirty Thirties
of my great uncles and aunts
when they say some ate grass
under the faithless Union Jack,
I was nursed on their ruin,

Their dark sweet stories…
Descending from their line
I saw life through their lenses
those eyes of dark
or light complected Newfoundlanders
the restless Scots,
the French of the west,
through the eyes
of the unmentionable ‘Labrador Wives’
(we are robbed of our Metis history to this day)

of those gentle workmen, oppressed apprentices,
good churchmen bound to heartless merchants,
communists of the heart without theory,
an ancestry stretching


the guts and holes of devon and cornwall,
in the first Elizabeth’s reign,
those English
southwest counties,…