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A Casual Knack of Living: Collected Poems

List of contents

Author's note — 'A Word'

Chimpanzees are Blameless Creatures (1969):
Chimpanzees are Blameless Creatures / 25, Vampires / 26, Venus's Flytraps / 27, Judas speaks / 28, Lazarus / 30, You see What I mean / 30, Hell / 32, True Love / 33, Two Old Ladies, A Scientist and Deadly Nightshade / 33, Something, Nothing and Everything / 34, Anyway, It isn't Somatic / 34, A Visitation from Brother Rico / 37

Private and Confidential (1974):
Notes on Wittgenstein / 41, Ezra Pound in Old Age / 41, A + B = ? / 42, Short Story / 42, The Byways of Desire / 43, Suddenly / 44, Clear Night / 45, Blue Aegean / 45, The Sins Never Committed are Worst / 45, Through the Needles / 46, Peepshow Cabinet / 46, On the Way to the Post Office / 47, Venus is married to Industry and commits Adultery with War / 48, Love Story / 48, Who? / 49, At Midnight on the Astral / 49, Precambrian Rock / 50, Birds in Finland / 50, Walnut / 51, The Struggle for the Soul of Man / 51, Musk / 52, The History of Love / 53, Haunting / 54, Epitaph / 54, At the Camden Arts / 55, Imagination / 56, Don't be Nervous, Chloe / 56, A Survior speaks / 57, A Spring called Bandusia / 58, Advice / 58, Two Poems about Art / 59, 'Inside the Thimbles were the Purple Elephants' Helicopters' / 60, Afterwards / 60, Lord suspends Law of Karma for Lucky Luciano / 61, The Papers are not An Instrument of the Ruling Class / 63, In Spite of Everything Most of the Middle Classes Never get Hurt / 64, 'Avarice ' usury ' precaution must be our gods for a little longer still' / 65, Death Valley / 65, 'Ye shall be as Gods, knowing Good and Evil' / 66, In the Cave of the Skull / 67, Private and Confidential / 67, Sought / 68, Message / 68, Being Elsewhere / 69, Olives / 69, Prodigal / 70

Public Footpath (1981):
Blackbirds in London / 75, Groves of Academe / 78, Razmak / 79, The Paper Gates of Jerusalem / 80, Sent / 83, New Sources of Sex / 83, A Present in the Park / 84, A Child of the Sun / 85, Perseus and Andromeda / 85, The Size of the Sea / 86, Hamlet / 87, A History of English Music from Byrd to Cage / 88, Services — 1. At the Maltings, December 1976 / 90, 2. Aldeburgh Beach / 91, 3. February / 91, Elegy for John Ridgewell / 92, Water into Wine / 97, Well, So That is That / 98, Imitations of Horace — 1. Palms Upwards / 100, 2. Not Yet / 101, 3. Concentrate on Loving / 102, Auden at His Villa on Ischia / 103, Minor Victorians — 1. Nude Study / 103, 2. A Tramp / 104, 3. Trippers Caught by a Wave / 105, Retreat to the Sheets / 106, Lucidity / 106, Persephone Again / 107, Clock Stop / 108

Fire in the Garden (1984):
St. Martin-in-the-Fields / 111, A Way of Life / 111, Down the Hill / 113, In the Vale / 114, Change of Address / 115, At the Funeral of Lilian Wilson / 115, The Great Church, Helsinki / 116, Elegy for Robin Lee / 118, Nunhead Cemetery / 119, How I love My Sister / 120, The Chapel Perilous / 121, The Graveyard by the Sea / 122, With the Pike behind Her / 126, Round and Round / 127, Strassenbahnen / 127, Sad Cows / 128, The Ghost of a Rose / 128, The Dew Drop Inn / 129, Two Notes on the Literary Life / 130, The Bridges that Matter / 130, Failed Ancestors / 131, Expert beyond Experience / 132, Mother Skin / 132, I Am What I am — YHVH / 133, Why is there Something rather than Nothing? / 133, After the Seminar / 134, Greece 1950 / 135, Sunday Joint / 136, Emma Lavinia Hardy / 136, Murder in the Public Sector / 137, Roses are blooming in Picardy / 138, Jesus as a Proponent of Realpolitik / 139, Hawks Stones, Kebs / 140, Wealth / 140, Dead Reckoning / 141, The Baptist Choir / 142, What She Finally said / 142, Fire in the Garden / 144

Letters in the Dark (1986):
1. I lay awake writing letters to you / 149, 2. So here I am in my usual pew, between / 149, 3. Outside the competers: competent and virtuous / 150, 4. Insight is sousing in: grizzly mist on the horizon / 150, 5. A week ago, what should I see but two young swans / 151, 6. Shakespeare buried his actor brother / 151, 7. If the brain's the mind's rind / 152, 8. Yes, you will smile, but does the mind exist / 153, 9. The hoisted leg and waddle of crows / 153, 10. I've forgotten the scruffy intellectual I once was / 154, 11. The pelican hacks her breast and suckles with blood / 154, 12. Innate science / 155, 13. Lionel Lockyer claimed his pills / 155, 14. There's something we're always missing among / 155, 15. Ave verum corpus: we're here — and halt — / 156, 16. The lake crazes into splinters, jaggings, chips / 157, 17. Hagar's in prayer — but breaks when the angel comes / 157, 18. Oaks: nervous systems / 158
19. This fly was born in this attic / 158, 20. So here's the alarming silly tale again / 159, 21. Brown in the autumn time, the grass is blown / 159, 22. St. Cuthbert's hopping — a cassock on the shore — / 160, 23. All my most intimate talkers — they've been / 160, 24. Now here's a cosy photo / 161, 25. William Austin looked on his mother's face / 161, 26. All thoughts are parrots, pretty mocking birds / 162, 27. To be sponged on / 162, 28. O God, prayed Andrewes in secret every night / 163, 29. By the standards of Parliament / 165, 30. On the cover of Honest to God there's a depressed / 166, 31. Elizabeth Newcomen once sold milk / 166, 32. The shark survives / 167, 33. You who have bitten to the core / 167, 34. We look for chocolate wrapped in silver paper / 168, 35. At the summit of St. Thomas's Hospital / 168, 36. We meet again at the kneeling place / 169, 37. Midnight Mass: Mervyn tells us / 169, 38. Listening's dissolving. After I go / 170, 39. Dear God, though I'm sweating round the park for death / 170, 40. Whisky's a risky aspect of the Body / 170, 41. Imbecile to the wise and sane, our baby divination / 171, 42. I hardly ever meet my brothers and sisters / 171, 43. Bore men if you must / 172, 44. Of hem, that writen us to-fore / 173, 45. My chest crackles with bronchitis / 174, 46. When I was thirty-two I got cancer / 175, 47. Somewhere there's a man who took me fishing / 176, 48. Perhaps those childish ecstasies of terror / 177, 49. Some day I'm going to have to meet my mother / 177, 50. There's no abiding city here / 179, 51. People that swim clambered / 180, 52. Invisible reader, impossible God / 182

Trouble (1992):
I: Feux d'Esprit:
Trouble / 187, Greenwich Park / 187, Chanson triste / 188, Remembering Adlestrop / 189, Other Life / 189, Shingle Street / 190, First Kisses / 191, Assisi and Back / 191, Two-hundred-mile-an-hour Winds / 192, Refractions / 193, In Spite of Everything / 193, Unaccompanied Voices / 194
II: Esprit du Soir
Solvitur Acris Hiems / 202, The Wild Swans at Aldeburgh / 202, Sea Lady / 204, Suffolk Evenings / 205, Heron / 208, Ashes / 209, Ignorance / 210, Night Fears / 211, Keith Vaughan's Last Journal / 212, Meeting / 213, Growing Up in the Thirties / 214, The Long Retreat / 217
III: Jeux d'Esprit
Economics in Aldeburgh / 217, Ancient Walls / 218, The Slow Motion of Trees / 219, The Opera Lovers / 219, Mathematics / 220, Holy Leisure / 220, The Longest Sentences / 221, At the Seminar / 222, Egg on a Mantelpiece / 222, Hard / 223, Waiting in Wet / 223, By the Lake / 224, Holes / 224, Notes on Lao Tzu / 225, The Santa Sophia of Air / 228

from Selected Poems (1995):
(Unpublished poems)
Visitations — 1. The Child / 231, 2. The Face / 231, 3. The Man / 232, Despatches 233, Faustus speaks — 1. Purple Heron / 235, 2. Faustus Today / 236, 3. Fly / 237, 4. Passionate Friendship / 238, 5. Sunflowers / 238, 6. The Purple Heron Again / 239, 7. Earthly Paradise / 240, 8. Why He Wants to go to Bed with Her / 240, 9. The Healer / 241, 10. Bells / 242, 11. Redemption / 243, 12. Skin / 243, 13. Sehnsucht / 244, 14. The End / 244

A Useless Passion (1998):
Called to the Colours / 249, Lincoln, Autumn 1943 - 1. Pissoles / 251, 2. Students / 251, 3. Lincoln Cathedral / 252, Maidstone, Winter 1943 — 1. The Reginmental Sergeant-major / 253, 2. First Booze-up / 253, 3. Defenders of Freedom / 253, 4. Vera Lynn / 254, 5. The War Office Selection Board / 254, 6. The Lance-corporal's Cadre / 255, 7. Lance-corporal / 256, 8. Corporal Cosgrove / 256, Dover, Spring 1944 — 1. Dover Beach / 257, 2. Arris / 257, 3. Triplane / 258, 4. Thought in the Ranks / 258, 5. Roll Me Over in the Clover / 259, 6. Shells / 259, 7. War Literature / 260, 8. June 6 / 261, 9. A Red Light in the Night / 261, Transit, Winter 1944 — 1. Pre-octu, Wrotham / 262, 2. Dancing to Victor Sylvester / 263, 3. Escaping Curfew / 263, 4. Unidentified / 264, Troopship, December 1944 — 1. Inside the Whale / 264, 2. Sea-gale Mathematics / 264, 3. The Mediterranean / 265, 4. Port Said / 265, 5. Wild Life / 265, OTS, Dehra Dun, January 1945 — 1.Bombay / 266, 2. Dehra Dun. Watch Your Saluting / 266, 3. Poetry / 267, 4. Learning Urdu / 267, 5. Infantile Paralysis / 268, 6. McCulloch / 268, 7. Religion / 269, Leave in Tehri-Garhwal, Spring 1945 — 1. Guests of the Rajah of Tehri-Garhwal / 270, 2. Killing / 270. 3. Bordering Tibet / 271, Jungle Training, Summer 1945 — 1. Saharanpur: Our First Mess / 272, 2. Ringworm / 272, 3. Albert / 273, 4. Military Exercises / 273, 5. Horses / 274, 6. Ralph / 275, 7. September 1945 / 275, The North-West Frontier, Autumn 1945 - 1. Razmak / 276, 2. Second-lieutenant Pettit / 276, 3. Out of the Body / 276, 4. Intoxication / 277, 5. Nights in the Sixth Battalion Mess / 277, 6. In the Sick Bay / 278, 7. Dum-dam / 279, 8. Dashera / 279, Kohat, Spring 1946 - 1. Holi / 280, 2. Mrs. Eaton / 281, Lansdowne, Summer 1946 — 1. The Regimental Centre, 9,000 Feet Up / 282, 2. Straw Huts in Kumaon and Albert's There Again / 282, Demobbed, September 1946 — Liverpool University / 283
Death of a Horsewoman — Cortège / 284, Je reviens / 284, Sleeping / 285, Anniversary / 285, Broken Contract / 286, Shades / 286, Distracted / 287, Voices / 287, Ghost at the Gateway 288, Bored / 288, Waiting / 289, Heart / 289, Dancing / 289, Dream Dog / 290, Red Shoes / 290, Glass Darkly / 291, Mary Moon / 292, Secret Agent / 292, Dream Chocolates / 293, Premonition / 293, At Sea / 294, Note / 294, Horses / 294, Burdens / 295, Dream Shoes / 296, Under Another Sky / 296, Martha / 297, Pansies / 297, How to die / 298, Evening Gown / 298, Manhattan / 299
A Visit from the Hill — Beach / 300, Bedroom / 300, Cat / 301, Cold February / 301, Witch Goddess / 302, Hands / 302, Breath / 302, Hydrophone / 303, Moon / 303, Fire / 304, Ice / 304, Furnace / 304, Tree / 305, Head / 305, Heart / 306, Murderer / 306, Distance / 307, Labyrinth / 307, Bridge / 308, Pilgrim / 308, Angel / 308, Black One / 309, Kali / 309, Hare / 310, The Accuser / 311, Pearl / 311, The Sign of the Ram / 311, Blue Rose / 312

The Vale of Todmorden (1981 ' 2003):
The Pennine Way / 315, The Black Swan / 316, Water / 316, Buckley Wood / 317, Grandfather Garner / 318, Granma Garner / 318, Millstone Grit / 319, In the Old Black Swan / 320, Swag / 321, Carter / 321, Miles Weatherill at the Vicarage / 322, Miles Weatherill at the Black Swan / 322, Freedom / 323, Performing for Granma Lomas / 323, Grandfather Lomas / 324, The Town Hall / 325, Princes and Toads / 325, Cornets and Trumpets / 326, Soldiers / 327, Dad / 328, Rochdale Road / 329, Mr. Hyde / 330, Tram and Bert / 330, Brass / 331, Rebuilding / 331, The Rochdale Canal / 332, Fly / 333, Darkness / 334, Gulliver / 334, Chemistry / 335, Science / 336, Lifeboat Day / 336, Mad Mouse / 337, Keith / 337, Rabbit / 338, Kiss / 339, Dobroyd Castle / 339, Drink / 340, Love / 342, Billy Holt / 343, Father, Sons and Daughters / 343, Where are You Now? / 344, Roomfield School / 345, Urine / 346, Books at School / 347, Our Headmistress / 348, All the Animals of Empire / 348, Knickers / 349, Teachers / 350, Aquariums / 350, Olga / 351, Marjorie Green / 352, Mary Pristley / 353, The Rechabite Concert Party / 355, Sin / 356, Stoodley Pike / 357, Listening / 358, Rupert / 358, Dog Show / 358, Albion Barker / 359, Gramophone / 360, Christ Church / 360, The Choirmaster / 361, Choirboys / 362, Seeing Stars / 362, Funeral March / 363, Ridge-foot House / 364, Leaving the Choir / 364, Slump / 364, The Golden Lion / 365, Depression / 366, The Sentence / 366, Auntie Edith / 367, Uncle Herbert Rexstrew / 368, Tommy Dodd the Daisher / 369, Goodbye to the Vale / 370, Writer's Workshop at Lumb Bank / 371, Cross Stone Church / 371, Haworth / 372, 'Artemidorus Farewell' / 373

Nighlights (unpublished, 2007):
Pastorals — Essence of Lavender / 377, A Youth of Beauty / 377, Le petit pont de pierre / 378, Widowed Roses / 378, Mother and Daughter / 379, Eclipsed by the Moon / 381, Daylight comes and Night goes / 382, The Fly's Poem about Emily / 383, The Edge of Everything / 384, Three Prayers for Children / 385, Boy, Ape and Fool / 387, Christ the Tiger / 387, Intimations of Mortality / 388, Quaker Meeting / 388, Samadhi / 389, Goshawk / 389, All That's Transitory is Only a Trope / 390, Swan / 392, Elegies - The Month of Holy Souls / 393, The Matter of Eternity / 393, Restaurant on the Sumeda River / 394, At Night Outside / 394, But the Jewel You lost was Blue / 395, A Casual Knack of Living / 396, Hawthornden Castle / 397
Epistles — An Die Ferne Geliebte / 399, Aegir / 400, Eau de vie / 400, A Very Odd One / 401, Deyà , Mallorca / 402, The Wink of a Fly's Wing / 403, Gryphon / 403, Light and Angels / 404, Kentucky / 405, John XXIII / 406, A Fountain in Helsinki / 407, Seventh Seal / 407, Glass / 408
Satires — Night Fishing / 409, Sappho and He / 410, The Institution of the Family in Antarctica / 410, The Vegetable Will / 411, Sam Agonistes / 412, Streaky Bacon / 413, The Artist seen as a Camel / 414, Anyway / 415, The Alternative War / 416, Rondo on the Turd / 417, The Skin is Greater than the Banana / 418

Notes / 421
Biographical Note / 423
List of Subscribers / 425