Twenty Sonnets of WM. Smith

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Come live with me and be my love.Let us love's bourgeois pleasures proveWhere grasses' homely knitting spreadsAntimacassars for the hill's headsOr landlady, shrill-rattled snake,Glides through the aspidistran brake.Let us be honest, flesh is flesh,Yet there's a difference in the dishIf spiced with natural pleasantriesOr raw upon slab life-size.Where shall we fry our dish of loveAnd its more subtle pleasures prove? You know love is as we are able; The dish is done when brought to table.


Before us all who worked this leaping oarContrived to drench the handle with perfumeBut we in Love's hot galley load the grainWith natural sweat that bites the kissing palm.Let words drip honey and drunk lovers pledgeTheir raptures in the rose's cleanly breast,Our own employ will have a rougher edgeIn its own liquors by our lips confessed,Shameless of whence it sucked its raw delights,As sailors in their rough and tarry modeAnnounce what grand extraordinary sightsAre to their nest of stinking cabins owed Concealing not the thing by which they move, Old body, faithful vessel of our love.


If I obscure the flesh's endless shoutWith patterns of a stale complexityAdmit me no excuse and no regret,Traitor to you and traitor to our love.If I betray our passion's simple gustWith flavourings of vaporous romanceMay I be damned to burn in hell with lustAnd find how these vague bubbles flee my lips;But if I have exacerbated senseTo ape the soul's deep suction of delight,If I have staggered with polyvalenceThe fantasies that scorch our giddy eyes And shocked the slippery habitudes of night Count it as merit and a poet's right.


S to which mind ascribes the P of beauty!Class of all classes patient to desire!Let me pay learning and its conjuring tricksThe verbal homage of delirium,And when we write that all-or-nothing hIn which we nothing do; or utterlyExpend our energy to glut our breastsLet me profane my lips with algebra.The ten co-ordinates of space achievedThe moments' miracle I sum as youAnd tired of roses, eyes, superfluous starsI praise you with the filthy rags of time, With universes, galaxies, those tracts Of death that wait to drink our limbs and acts.


We are not what songs feign, my love my rose,but beings full of blood and filthinessAnd we must cram as desperately as beastsThe increment of our experience.Each day is a concession to despair,Each look, sigh, hope, delusion's armouryAnd while Pygmalion smooths his frigid stone,Insultingly betraying love's hot smell,Let us squeeze with the furious haste of greedThe utmost brightness from out clipping limbsUntil the body's pulp distills its tears,Salt, sweet, the tribute of our peach-fed love, Pressed from this fatty garment we have on, Joys foreign to the decent skeleton.


Lift the church and find the altar;Lift the altar; find the stone:Lift the stone and find the toad;Lift the toad and find the rock.

I heaved the rock up, heaved like hell,I pulled the rock up by the roots;I pulled a church up by the hair:Church and altar; stone and toad.

We found the occupation childish,And while the organ, solemn, godlike,Pealed out of the stained-glass windowsWe fornicated to its tune.Jones, more mystic, with a groanBashed his brains out on the stone.


Let the lovely birds and beastsExplicate our common love;How we lovers link our hopesFaithfullest of living things.

Let the spider and his mateThat digestive passion canSing each praise of constancyEach to each; it were a wonder.

Neither can the other part,Each embracing, each-embraced--Never two so dear and common.Now no fly can come between

No butterfly with violent wingsFlattering the sun and sirs of springWin one's bright regard from other;Never were such true-loves seen.

Here they lie; who knew love; could apply it; If they grew board, they could each other diet. He made one dinner; she a little tried To live without more; liked it not; and died.


Though rulers fall and nations perishLove's principality stands firm,Its feet four-square upon the floor;The floor upon the living rock.

Sweet fields of hay by yokels pressedOr water buoying the cow whaleThe earth indifferently sustainsOn her basaltic carapace.

Religion fades; art is a dream,Philosophy is bored to death;But while the globe is sound at heartIts beams will bear a lover's weight.

And gravity is with us yetLet we forget, lest we forget.


The nightingale! it only needed that--For this ex-reptile of an old-wives' taleWith her lost only assent maidenheadTo caterwaul into the sweaty night.I have worshipped this animal I must admit,Perched on many a thoughtful page, revealingLonely headlands, scraped by whispering cloudsAnd those great bumpers, filled with heady wine!But now when I walk out too cool my headHaving tried to suck some sweetness from her breastsAnd turn the greasy book of love anew,My plucked nerves trembling with a stale delight I hear this proclamation, rarely heard: It's chance. You cannot know, gossiping bird!


In your bran lists of love no firstling tilterI lease your bed from many able wightsWho to the tourney have rehearsed my partBetter than I perhaps; I am not vainNor would I now reproach your opennessWith any civil breach of guarantee.The best is ripe; yours is no colic loveNor rail I at those ghosts our converse warms,And yet I rail, tenacious of my dreamIn which I saw out only imagesLike swan and shadow solitary drawnAcross the virgin belly of a lake, Restless in rest because my poet's heart Secrets a chasteness proper to my art.


What is your essence, how can you have purgedYour being of the ghosts that I evoked?A million flowers uselessly tinged my brainIf your warm skin recalls no other scentHelen's advertisement was so much waste,Your proper features can blot out her looks,And ladies linking deftly chains of daysWith which to lap the shins of hero-knightsSuperfluous labour with their long white handsSince your economy ensnared my soul.Yes, you are you; you flaunt the naked factAnd mock my dream-soaked youth with all its waste. It is your trick or right and warms me well, Dream as I may, you will be what you are.


Tritons lift shells, the grapy bubbles pulpAgainst the silver blades which, music-smitten,Woo on the goddess's barge, and she, pearl-sphered,Leans forward, gold hair on curds bosom drippingAnd snuffs the crinkled incense. Doves descendAnd nymphs elaborately girt with swagsDraw back the pleated clouds from a blue seaWhere a plump brig pursues a sprouting whale.A crowd waits. In that beach of sunbrowned limbsObserve the curls, wine-spattered chins, great breastsAnd now we seen that Loves with coloured tapesHaul up the vessel. Get out, pay the fare, And in we go. It is a cheap hotel; The sheets are clean; and now they know us well.


I could inventory all the officesThat make more palatable your skeleton;The various over-valued orifices;The sense-receptors love is moulded on.I know what kiss conditions what reflexTo crook the leverage by which you move.I hate the hot condition of my sex,And yet, like any chanticleer, I love.Is it the act alone which I adore,Careless of whom so the delight is mine?No, for the act alone offends me more,A matter for that charlatan, the spine. Mark me as one whom my low breeding mocks Loving to loathe my love's cold paradox.


My notes on love: -- like an electric shockHated yet grasped and cannot now let go.A wind impalpable that blows one way.All the mind's stiff and treelike qualities,A snare of flesh in which the soul has trippedAnd brought it on its face, the human way.I am much skilled in derogation's art .-Will you hear more of an answer with a kiss?Best answer, nor indeed are you unskilledIn body's older dialecticeWhere thesis and antithesis achieveBy friction a diviner synthesis. How oft have we disputed! Till the skies Paling, have bade us cease philosophize.


When I could bite my tongue put in desireTo have your body, local now to me,You were a woman and your proper imageUnvarying on the black screen of night,What are you now? A thigh, a smile, an odour:A cloud of anecdotes and fed desiresBubblingly unfolds inside my brainTo vex its vision with a monstrous beast.There is no pure or intellectual youBut flesh usurps the brain's forsaken throneAnd soaked in vision as in native lymphResponds convulsively to sight of you: Give us this, O Lord, our daily bread. The hungry flesh looks up and is not fed.


Even the old Egyptians had more tactThan you, complaining I was cold to touchWhom winter winds had battered as I creptThrough lonely streets to sneak up draughty stairs.Be still, be still! The natural warmth we ownEndlessly monotonously stokedAnd guarded as we can from puffing deathSuffices for a while to kiss and clingBut this same you hang you warmed between our breastsConsumes the marrow of my roaring bonesAnd spite of all the sheets we wrapped us inOur furnaces hearts will burn themselves to death,And we'll not try, we two, when we are deadLike ignorant ghosts, to warm ourselves in bed.


If I have love you mainly with my brainUntil it sizzled in its pan like milkReproach me not; I cannot hope to proveMy genuine passion with prodigious featsThat bawds and bards might celebrate in sheets.You know the I am; then how I loveMark the outrageous froth upon my lipsAnd the hoarse fancies of delirium.The brain that sways me, in no rite revered,You have inflamed, distended, pumped with blood.Yes, you have heard these lips botch genteel verse,The comfortable murmur of delight Expect it not yourself; not from then ask More than the slobber of love's prentice task.


In Nature's factory not laggard workersWe've yet produced no trophy of our skillAnd she may well dismiss us both as shirkersBarren by no misfortune but ill-will.Yet she approves the ruby's fruitless splendourAnd wastes on hairy nostrils her perfume:Let her, so spendthrift, be to lovers tenderAnd take these songs as produce of your womb;Time will destroy them but they'll dance as longAs coloured flies or the short hopes of springAnd let her know, we shall not do her wrong,But every shift we work on, I shall sing, Wherefore, industrious labourer, I write While the day's light holds, and still work at night.


If I have shocked you that dislikes to hearThe thing named you so excellently doForgive me love, for I am fighting foesYou know not, proud in your unmortgaged flesh.The body of my song is too corrupt,Foul with the staleness of great athletes' beds,I could not trick her out in virgin clothesTo pass as honest among worldly men,And if I have bewhored her to the skiesAccept it not insultingly in meThat sucked fresh vigour from your tender lipsAnd the reviving greenness of your breasts. We have been honest and song's naked sight Now promises unpalated delight


In which we shall have earned the rose the roseWhose petals crumpled by a thousand thighsWere virgin and unfingered once God knowsThen worth and scented burthen of our sighs.I have been niggard of enjoying springBut yet the time must come when a ripe MuseMay hear the name pronounced without a grinAnd automatic twitching of her hams.yes, even the wood's great pimp the nightingaleIs full flood of meretricious songSet on by his unholy bawd the moonMay be permitted to observe our loveAnd sing of it, no more a leering foe,As once he used, two thousand years ago.

© Caudwell Christopher