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Collected Poems

Deep South

Deep South

Illicit stills in the pathless hills,
old legends, mostly figment,
a stagnant pond and snows beyond
of linseed oil and pigment;

a bottomless lake, a loud wind-break,
storms raging round the summit,
a tailored cassock woven of tussock,
a wiggle of shepherd's grummit;

a rowan branch and an avalanche,
with a Calvinistic foreground,
lake-water lapping and rabbiters trapping,
and a lilac park as whoreground;

page 140

a torrent of verse and an empty purse,
a loan and a hobnailed liver,
some daffadowndillies, a bout of the willies,
and sardine tins in the river;

cathedral chimes and dissonant rhymes,
a prose-style like a corset,
some hollyhock seeds and a heart that bleeds
for a cottage down in Dorset;

a drunken swagger, a crutcher-and-dagger,
the rolling plains where the wheat waves;
romantic habits of men and rabbits,
and Harris tweeds in the heat-waves.

Now boil the lot in an old iron pot
dug up in Gabriel's Gully,
and say your grace with an Anglican face
and a voice like Holy Wullie.