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Dom Moraes
( , 1938-2004)


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Bells for William Wordsworth
By Loch Ness

By Loch Ness

My friend the poet fixes his blue eyes
On the grey lake in which the frail rain falls,
He cannot think why monsters do not rise,
Roaring in joy, that its he that calls.
Miracles do not happen every day,
I have informed him, hoping it was true:
But his blue eyes stayed fixed upon the grey
Lake, and he only answered that they do.

Now at the junction for the south, nearby,
The mauve industrialists invade the train
My friend the poet left early today.

Their haunches shake: their gluey mouthes complain.
They think him mad for standing in the rain
Though he believes in monsters less than they.

Bells for William Wordsworth

Today they brought me a message: Wordsworth is dead.
My God, I said. My God. I can hardly believe it.
Just as you like they answered. Take it or leave it.
He had sunk into April as into the depth of a lake,
Leaving his eyes ajar in the house of his head.
Are you sure, I said, that you havent made a mistake?
Oh no, they said, not a hope. We knew himtoo well,
A gloomy considering bloke with the nose of a preacher:
A poet in fact, with a charming affection for Nature:
Milkmaids (you know) and the shadows of clouds o the land.
His work is carefully studied in college still.
We shall not forget nor forgo it, while colleges stand.
And I said, I grant you that Wordsworth lies chilly in Grasmere
And his bones are absolved and dissolved in the tears of the rain.
I grant he is one with the plant and the fossil again,
His flesh has gone back into soil and his eyes into stones
And the roots and shoots of a new life push each year
Through the sad rotten fragment of his bones.
But although each Spring brings a newer death to the bones,
I have seen him risen again with the crocus in Spring.
I have turned my ear to the wind, I have heard him speaking.
I shrank from the bony sorrow in his face.
Yet still I hea those pedagogic tones
Droning away th snow, our old disgrace


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2001 Elena and Yakov Feldman