W. S. Graham

W
W. S. Graham
An Entertainment for W.S. Graham for Him Having Reached Sixty-Five
What are you going to do
With what is left of yourself
Now among the rustling
Of your maybe best years?
This is not an auto-elegy
With me pouring my heart
Out into where you
Differently stand or sit
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27
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Thirteen Implements
Do not allow me to sink, I said
To a top floating ribbon of kelp.
As I was lifted on each wave
And made to slide into the vale
I wanted not to drown. I wanted
To make it all right with my dear,
To tell my cat I’ll be away,
To have them all destroyed, the poems
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38
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To Sheila Lanyon, on the Flyleaf of a Book
Sheila, we speak here on the fly
Leaf of a book which was myself
A good few graves ago.
Now I am maintained by other
Words for better or for worse
To whisper my hello.

The seasons turn. Threshold on thresh
Hold forms continually and falls
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31
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Enter a Cloud
1

Gently disintegrate me
Said nothing at all.

Is there still time to say
Said I myself lying
In a bower of bramble
Into which I have fallen.

Look through my eyes up
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36
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Approaches to How They Behave
1

What does it matter if the words
I choose, in the order I choose them in,
Go out into a silence I know
Nothing about, there to be let
In and entertained and charmed
Out of their master’s orders? And yet
I would like to see where they go
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47
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Listen. Put on Morning
Listen. Put on morning.
Waken into falling light.
A man’s imagining
Suddenly may inherit
The handclapping centuries
Of his one minute on earth.
And hear the virgin juries
Talk with his own breath
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39
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The Night City
Unmet at Euston in a dream
Of London under Turner’s steam
Misting the iron gantries, I
Found myself running away
From Scotland into the golden city.

I ran down Gray’s Inn Road and ran
Till I was under a black bridge.
This was me at nineteen
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30
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To Alexander Graham
Lying asleep walking
Last night I met my father
Who seemed pleased to see me.
He wanted to speak. I saw
His mouth saying something
But the dream had no sound.

We were surrounded by
Laid-up paddle steamers
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46
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