Awake! For in the Lavatory Bowls of Night
Old Men have peed and stained the brilliant White:
And Lo! the Yellowness of Age has dimmed
The Star of Youth that once shone bold and bright!
Ah, me, once Damsels all they had bestowed
On those Young Men who batted, bowled and rowed -
Though they to all and sundry, on their Bikes,
Their rosy Knickers in the Daylight showed!
'Tis at this age that we remember How—-
But no more have we, Friends, the Strength; enow
To lay the Loved Ones in the silken Bed!
Though HE did us so mightily endow!
Strange, is is not? That Sailors, greatly thewed,
By us with Godlike Beauty were imbued:
And now from Sea return’d lie still in Earth,
That erst so dazzled us, when in the Nude!
The Wine, the Grape, the Visions that we saw—-
And shared, it seemeth, with great Evelyn Waugh!
Ah, these the Liver faintly doth forbid.
Once Nightingales, but now the black Rook’s Caw!
I dreamed that Dawn’s Left Hand was in my Fly
And lighted was the Candle, burning high!
But, waking, saw with disappointed Gaze
That Light a flicker, and about to die.
The Roses and the Gardens, let them go!
Our Youth, our Love, that we once fancied so,
Forget them, as the Nights of Too Much Wine
Blot out all Memory like falling Snow!
Only the young are allowed to suffer
openly. Adults go to a punishment room
with water but nothing to eat.
They lock the door and suffer the noises
alone. No one is exempt
and everyone’s pain has a different smell.
— Craig Raine [C: “does everyone’s rain smell different?”]
1. Muldoon, “Starlings, Broad Street, Trenton, 2003”:
their hubbub’s the hubbub
of all-night revelers at reveille,
girls with shoes in hand, boys giving their all
to the sidewalk outside a club,
2. Larkin, “Essential Booty”:
There, dark raftered pubs
Are filled with white-clothed ones from tennis-clubs,
And the boy puking his heart out in the Gents
Just missed them, as the pensioner paid
A halfpenny more for Granny Graveclothes’ Tea
To taste old age
We might not expect, today, a politician to denigrate a rival by attributing to them a fantastic and dystopian bibliography, but they did in 1660, when Bibliotheca Fanatica: or, the Phanatique Library: Being a Catalogue of Such Books as have been lately made and by the Authors presented to the Colledge of Bedlam skewered Puritans by rolling out such titles as Lex Legum, or, A clear demonstration that there can be no better way for the security of the Saints, then by quite abolishing the Laws of England, and setting up in their stead the Canons of Beelzebub, and A Treatise written in defence of his seizing on the Boy’s Close-stool-pan, and reserving the contents for his own profit, because the Lad was so profane to carry it on a Sunday, by ‘Alderman Atkins, Shit-breeches’. The Jacobite attack on the Whigs in A Catalogue of Books, of the newest Fashion, To be sold by Auction at the Whig’s Coffee-House at the Sign of the Jackanapes in Prating Alley (1693), articulates satire through imaginary titles such as Near is my King, but nearer is my Skin (‘to be sold at the Sign of the Jack-Pudding’); A Dissertation of the No Power of a No Parliament, making a No King, that will always be doing us No Good; and A New-invented Mathematical Instrument, by the help of which one may discover, that, the higher a Jackanapes climbs, the more he shews his Arse.
Language Log: “…about the misreporting of something Governor Chris Christie’s chief spokesman Michael Drewniak said:
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Drewniak referred to the Port Authority’s executive director as a ‘piece of crap.’ While Drewniak did call him a ‘piece of excrement,’ it was David Wildstein who referred to the executive director as a ‘piece of crap.’”