by Kendrick Smithyman
Direct your glass towards the frigates.
The clock's hands are stayed this quarter-hour.
You have one more skull to caress
Before the routing swan indomitably beat
Their lake to quicksilver.
Here comes Doctor Malatesta with his needle,
A usual bagful of rumours and disorder.
His bees lately are distrait, warring
Daylong in the belfry till honey ran like blood,
Swarms given to aping piracy envenomed
His house entirely - oh, he has been upset!
Poor man, poor simple man, poor Idiota,
That you should come to this by wanting
Only wit. Tell me, that voyage into Tartary,
It profited? And in Cytherea once
You were thought successful?
So many miles from Zoom to Babylon
You mounted scores by galls, but vainly so,
To come to this; in a great house showing its laths,
In a great room in a great house, in a great bed
Unmade souring under a canopy, beneath wraps
Your huddled treasures are to be
Discovered. Poor man, poor forked radish,
Yellowed or washwhite, almost purged at last
You spend your plenty of ingenuousness
Contriving modes to be offensive. Now come
Old scrofulous Malatesta, and the Cardinal
His brother (in spite of asthma) to be kind.
That needles may be blunt or none too clean
Will be, in drawing from you, nothing much.
Your day protracts, but will delay no more.
Crows are roistering in the barbican.
We scatter for them crumbs of our Lenten cake.
Last updated January 14, 2019