In Memory: The Miami Showband - Massacred 31 July 1975
A Snail in My Prime: New and Selected Poems
Beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace,
Of them that bring glad tidings of good things
In a public house, darkly lit, a patriotic (sic)
Versifier whines into my face: "You must take one side
Or the other, or you're but a fucking romantic."
His eyes glitter hate and vanity, porter and whiskey,
And I realise that he is blind to the braille connection
Between a music and a music-maker.
"You must take one side or the other
Or you're but a fucking romantic":
The whine is icy
And his eyes hang loose like sheets from poles
On a bare wet hillside in winter
And his mouth gapes like a cave in ice;
It is a whine in the crotch of whose fear
Is fondled a dream gun blood-smeared;
It is in war - not poetry or music -
That men find their niche, their glory hole;
Like most of his fellows
He will abide no contradiction in the mind.
He whines: "If there is birth, there cannot be death"
And - jabbing a hysterical forefinger into my nose and eyes -
"If there is death, there cannot be birth."
Peace to the souls of those who unlike my fellow poet
Were true to their trade
Despite death-dealing blackmail by racists:
You made music, and that was all: You were realists
And beautiful were your feet.