Francis Scarfe(1911-1986 / South Shields, England)
- by Francis Scarfe43
The summer season at Tyne Dock Hoisted my boyhood in a crane Above the shaggy mining town, Above the slaghills and the rocks, Above the middens in backlanes And wooden hen-huts falling down.
Vermilion grass grew in the street Where the blind pit-ponies pranced And poppies screamed by butchers' stalls Where bulls kicked sparks with dying feet, And in the naked larks I sensed A cruel god beneath it all.
Over the pit-head wheel the moon Was clean as a girl's face in school; I envied the remote old man Who lived there, happy and alone, While in the kitchen the mad spool Unwound as Annie's treadle ran.
The boyish season is still there For clapping hands and leaping feet Across the slagheaps and the dunes; And still it breaks into my care, Though I will never find the street, Nor catch the old, impulsive tune, Nor ever lose that child's despair.
Ode in Honour
- by Francis Scarfe42
Evening is part of the jig-saw truth of her, ply-wood ply-flesh, her insolent reply blinding the ace with a straight shot to centre, the woman's a delicate devil in twenty places blander and blonder, tinder tenderly setting the smiles on fire in men's faces.
On any evening gets you ready for dark swathes and saves you for the magic carpet spirits you anywhere anytime anyhow over the bridges the tunnels the hills the foothills the pools lakes oceans cataracts crystal floes the mountains and fountains the antique windows of space, the deserts orchards vineyards milky ways, over pontoons and the silting tracks of moons over the decks and the docks where the clocks chime, anywhere anytime, anyhow, any fresh place.
Anywhere where winds blow and babies grow where poor men wait for money in a row where magnates buy and sell your heaven and hell, anyhow whether the storm runs over the roof or hollow tooth aches or gangrene takes the soul, anytime when the sun splutters and throws shrapnel between the legs of dead men and mad lovers, she will be there to hold you by the cuff to give you all her stock of luck or love.
With two round lips and two round eyes and two round ears and two round palms and two round arms and two round thighs, any child, any girl, any woman, any surprise.
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