Wednesday 22 July 2009

Basil Bunting's Complete Poems--Sonatas

Briggflatts is part of the Sonatas but will have its own post.

My tongue is a curve in the ear. Vision is lies.


                                    our doom
is, to be sifted by the wind,

heaped up, smoothed down like silly sands.
We are less permanent than thought.


precision clarifying vagueness;
boundary to a wilderness
of detail; chisel voice
smoothing the flanks of noise;
catalytic making whisper and whisper
run together like two drops of quicksilver


Out of puff
noonhot in tweeds and gray felt,
tired of appearance and
warm obese frame limp with satiety;
slavishly circumspect at sixty;
he spreads over the ottoman
scanning the pictures and and table trinkets.

(That hand's dismissed shadow
moves through fastidiously selective consciousness,
rearranges pain.)


                        In the morning
clean streets welcomed light's renewal,
patient, passive to the weight of buses
thundering like cabinet ministers
over a lethargic populace.

"Attis: Or, Something Missing"
(the first passage is the opening of the poem)

But their determination to banish fools foundered
ultimately in the installation of absolute idiots.
Fear of being imputed
naive impeded thought.


Have you seen a falcon stoop
accurate, unforseen
and absolute, between
wind-ripples over harvest? Dread
of what's to be, is and has been--
were we not better dead?

His wings churn air
to flight.
Feathers alight
with sun, he rises where
dazzle rebuts our stare,
wonder our fright.

"The Spoils"

Basil Bunting's Complete Poems (Bloodaxe, 2000) is available at The Book Depository.

1 comment:

  1. Stay tuned for the Faber edition, The Poems of Basil Bunting - and check out the new Bloodaxe Briggflatts, which has a CD and DVD! Also in the works: Bunting's Persia, from Flood Editions. A Bunting revival!