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Six Favorite Poems of David Mitchell | Poem


Six Favorite Poems of David Mitchell


More peculiar than anxious, this

Journey to the south by night.

The compass rose has shed its thorns and

Reefs receded into deeper water,

Where their names are little more than

Incantations of spume and flotsam.

The bearings ruled on this night's chart

Come near to being arabesques, almost

The shelling of an ear bent to

Sand on some beach still to be deposited.

It is in the mapping of you onto my

Continuum that I find shapes beyond

Any bounding of space, durations that

Enclosed and release one another.

The waves are lapidary and may

Yet cleave reflections of these

Vessels into diamonds; gathered by

Night, they can suffice to feed

The sick and heal the poor

The leprecauns have made off

With real rain again this summer,

Leaving us a dampening imitation

That lacks the verve and charisma

Of weather's truly political side;

We are in a Republican season,

Spirits sodden and unheeding of either

Misery or joy: not enough pain for one,

Not enough buoyancy for the other.

The wind has died an Independent's death,

Leaving the field to a paltry shower

Infinitely less congenial than the torrents

That once descended from now near-forgotten

Machinery rusting deep beneath a platform

Too vacuous to bear the weight

Of speakers with any gravity.


We have choked the life

From youth: sent it sprawling

On wintry ice to bow before

Gods lacking even

The sweet vitality

To be false.

A Gift

Today eager hands received

The tatters of a musician's life,

Dogeared, broken-backed,

Foxed with grief that deepens

The runically encoded beauty.

Rebirth is justice:

The dreamer's part is to hold

Joy in trust until timemoths

Have eaten away all trace of sin,

Leaving fugue, counterpoint,

And a distant oboe,

Whose wistful countenance is veiled

In forgetfulness and lace.

Report from the Bindlesphere
(Prelude to The Spacefarer's Requiem)

Dead of day, but not lost.

Another summons echoing of

Maquetry looses the poetiped

Into freefall, tumbling against

Tesselated walls as though

Possessed by falcon's lust.

It's a matter for slowness

In repenting, a chasm verged

But not encroached. Larks are

Fonder in the tongue but small

Of whispering, an artifice some

Other thief has smoothly tuned.

The falter-hearted cannot

Venture into precepts so

Finely edged; the feathering

Of dives beyond their

Meagerness as much a strain

Of atmospherics as of pinnae.

We nomads have the string and

Chalk to measure you, and that

Remains the wherefore of your

Need; without us, you will

Wither into petty vintners and

Viniform surmise.

So we come at beck and dawn;

Shine in the vast reflected

Blue of Baryonikov irradiant,

Plicated anger of a thousand

Million multiplexor nuclei;

Revel in our demi-musics,

Paired and gemmatified

Into roundels no archer's

Aim can fasten on; flicker

Like the suns that pass you

In your muckle dreams of

Endless fleeing.

Don't bother envying:

These journeys too shall

End crumpled beside the bed,

Dented damask scented by

Novels written in the

Belly of unsulfured fires.

There's little glamor left

In brigandage: it all belongs

To toffeemakers and lancers

Of unresisting boils, courtiers

Of a royalty too agued to see

Shadows of the knifely gesture

Homed on sallow throats. We

Dance in your corridas, play

The threnodies you stop your

Ears against, and eat

The veriest hollow souls

Of children you once believed

You owned but failed to sell.

We are the journeymen of

Trades no one ever thought

To see reborn; your doom

Is calling us from graves less

Quiet than you'll find. Pay

Us at your peril. We will

Earn our keep, and in

The keeping you'll do worse

Than perish: live instead

In ghastly, garish splendor.

The stones themselves will pity

You, passing limpetish from

Tongue to tongue in fevered brandy.

You'll have no respite from

This prattleskulling until

The Universe itself goes mute.

Afternoon of a Biblioparadisiac

Melted to incandescence by

The aroma of fresh ink,

Yielding stiffness

Of fine paper,

Elegant lines of the font

Of eternal renewal:

We are bound by language

As by other tyrants,

Although the torture

Remains far sweeter, even

In memory.

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