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Nocturne

May 9, 2013

By Kingsley Amis

First published in The Fantasy Poets No 22, 1954, and later included in Amis’s first mature collection, A Case of Samples 1956, a year after Larkin’s The Less Deceived, this hardly matches Wedding WindChurch Going or At Grass, but it’s pretty good.

I like Amis’s humour; on this the Watch Committee/And myself seem likely to agree. And not only using drunks and lusty couples to show up our differences from animals, but doing so in a serious and moving way – Larkin would have approved.

Under the winter street lamps, near the bus-stop,
Two people with nowhere to go fondle each other,
Writhe slowly in the entrance to a shop.
In the intervals of watching them, a sailor
Yaws about with empty beer-flagon,
Looking for something good to smash it on.

Mere animals: on this the Watch Committee
And myself seem likely to agree;
But all this fumbling about, this wasteful
Voiding of sweat and breath – is that animal?

Nothing so sure and economical.

These keep the image of another creature
In crippled versions, cocky, drab and stewed;
What beast holds off its paw to gesture,
Or gropes towards being understood?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. dulzimordash permalink
    May 10, 2013 12:47 am

    Reblogged this on Spontaneous Creativity.

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