Siegfried Sassoon: Alone

I’ve listened: and all the sounds I heard
Were music,—wind, and stream, and bird.
With youth who sang from hill to hill
I’ve listened: my heart is hungry still.

I’ve looked: the morning world was green;
Bright roofs and towers of town I’ve seen;
And stars, wheeling through wingless night.
I’ve looked: and my soul yet longs for light.

I’ve thought: but in my sense survives
Only the impulse of those lives
That were my making. Hear me say
‘I’ve thought!’—and darkness hides my day.

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Break up letter to a long term love

When I first met you, I practically jumped in to your arms, begging to be burnt. You were rough around the edges, chaotic and disinterested- all the things I needed you to be.

You were Monday to Sunday, never sleeping or dreaming; sometimes we forgot to eat, I was so high on your essence. You got in to my system, intravenous, incepting every pore on my body and running your mottled hands over me, day after day.

Those first heady years we were inseparable, it was hard to tell where you ended and I began. I threw myself in to everything you were- I couldn’t be away from you- I was intoxicated in a way I had never known. I wanted to be under your skin, find out things that no-one had ever discovered about you, be the one who lasted.

Then it starts; the slow, slow itch. The fly to swat.

It was little things, your constant drone, the way you never let me sleep; burnt out on drugs and alcohol. Tired of staying up until dawn every day, waking with nothing to hold on to, the death in frequency of joy. I told you I needed a break, some time to myself and you raged, grabbing me by the hand, pulling my arm out of its socket so hard I almost cried out. “Remember all the times we’ve had together”. “You’ve got a good thing going on here”. Even my friends couldn’t believe I would let you go. You shook me to the core and I lost certainty in myself. I guess that was one of your skills.

I ran that time, went around the world to get away from you but thought of little else. I itched to be with you all night, checking up on you, stalking you online and aching inside for the pieces of you that I no longer had within my grasp. My health started to improve, but I receded further in to a black hole, thinking about what I had lost. You called out to me a few times and I knew I had to come back to you, we were meant to be together, destined to last.

I loved seeing you again, we were fresh and new- it was like the first time all over again and I couldn’t believe how much I loved you. How could I have ever let you go? I wanted to burst just to be in your presence. Everything about you was familiar yet brand new. I wrapped myself up in your arms and rolled myself in to your core. But it didn’t last, it couldn’t.

London, I’ve given you so much and taken plenty from you. All those days and nights, the constant assault on the senses, the twilight hours which never darken or quiet. I’ve lived here, loved here, created and cried here, but it’s time for us both to move on.

I think you should consider it, I don’t think I can do this much longer.

You will always have a piece of my heart. x

Philip Larkin: Sad Steps

Groping back to bed after a piss
I part thick curtains, and am startled by
The rapid clouds, the moon’s cleanliness.

 

Four o’clock: wedge-shadowed gardens lie
Under a cavernous, a wind-picked sky.
There’s something laughable about this,

 

The way the moon dashes through clouds that blow
Loosely as cannon-smoke to stand apart
(Stone-coloured light sharpening the roofs below)

 

High and preposterous and separate—
Lozenge of love! Medallion of art!
O wolves of memory! Immensements! No,

 

One shivers slightly, looking up there.
The hardness and the brightness and the plain
Far-reaching singleness of that wide stare

 

Is a reminder of the strength and pain
Of being young; that it can’t come again,
But is for others undiminished somewhere.

Ted Hughes: Dreamers

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Dreamers

We didn’t find her – she found us.
She sniffed us out. The Fate she carried
Sniffed us out
And assembled us, inert ingredients
For its experiment. The Fable she carried
Requisitioned you and me and her,
Puppets for its performance.

She fascinated you. Her eyes caressed you,
Melted a weeping glitter at you.
Her German the dark undercurrent
In her Kensington jeweller’s elocution
Was your ancestral Black Forest whisper –
Edged with a greasy, death-camp, soot-softness.
When she suddenly rounded her eyeballs,
Popped them, strangled, she shocked you.
lt was her mock surprise.
But you saw hanged women choke, dumb, through her,
And when she listened, watching you, through smoke,
Her black-ringed grey iris, slightly unnatural,
Was Black Forest wolf, a witch’s daughter
out of Grimm.

Warily you cultivated her,
Her jewishness, her many-blooded beauty,
As if your dream of your dream-self stood there,
A glittering blackness, Europe’s mystical jewel.
A creature from beyond the fringe of your desk-lamp.
Who was this Lilith of abortions
Touching the hair of your children
With tiger-painted nails?

Her speech Harrods, Hitlers mutilations
Kept you company, weeding the onions.
An ex-Nazi Youth Sabra. Her father
Doctor to the Bolshoi Ballet.

She was helpless too.
None of us could wake up.
Nightmare looked out at the poppies.
She sat there, in her soot-wet mascara,
In flame-orange silks, in gold bracelets,
Slightly filthy with erotic mystery –
A German
Russian Israeli with the gaze of a demon
Between curtains of black Mongolian hair.

After a single night under our roof
She told her dream. A giant fish, a pike
Had a globed, golden eye, and in that eye
A throbbing suman foetus –
You were astonished, maybe envious.

I refused to interpret. I saw
The dreamer in her
Had fallen in love with me and she did not know it.
That moment the dreamer in me
Fell in love with her, and I knew it.

Philip Larkin: The Mower

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The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed.  It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably.  Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.

Interpol: The Scale

I have a sequin for an eye
Pick a rose and hide my face
This is the bandit’s life
It comes and goes and them’s the breaks
Under a molten sky, beyond the road, we lie in wait
You think they know us now?
Wait ’til the stars come out
You see that
Well, I made you and now I take you back
It’s too late but today I can define the lack
I made you and now I take you back

Sun, you sleep in clouds of fire
That’s all and that’s right
My sun, you sleep in clouds of fire
That’s all and that’s right

I can still feel it when you lie
Pick a rose just to hide my face
Well, if there’s something I should know
I seek no science when there is no shape
Under a molten sky, let the days collide
Well, I made you and now I take you back

Sun, you sleep in clouds of fire
That’s all and that’s right
My sun, you sleep in clouds of fire
That’s all and that’s right