Alec Derwent Hope

Tiger – Alec Derwent Hope

Tiger – Alec Derwent Hope

At noon thepaper tigers roar — Miroslav Holub The paper tigers roar at noon; The sun is hot, the sun is high. They roar in chorus, not in tune, Their plaintive, savage hunting cry. O, when you hear them, stop your ears And clench your lids and bite your tongue. The harmless paper tiger bears S... »

The School of Night – Alec Derwent Hope

The School of Night – Alec Derwent Hope

What did I study in your School of Night? When your mouth’s first unfathomable yes Opened your body to be my book, I read My answers there and learned the spell aright, Yet, though I searched and searched, could never guess What spirits it raised nor where their questions led. Those others, fa... »

The Return of Persephone – Alec Derwent Hope

The Return of Persephone – Alec Derwent Hope

Gliding through the still air, he made no sound; Wing-shod and deft, dropped almost at her feet, And searched the ghostly regiments and found The living eyes, the tremor of breath, the beat Of blood in all that bodiless underground. She left her majesty; she loosed the zone Of darkness and put by th... »

The Pleasure of Princes – Alec Derwent Hope

The Pleasure of Princes – Alec Derwent Hope

What pleasures have great princes? These: to know Themselves reputed mad with pride or power; To speak few words — few words and short bring low This ancient house, that city with flame devour; To make old men, their father’s enemies, Drunk on the vintage of the former age; To have great... »

The Gateway – Alec Derwent Hope

The Gateway – Alec Derwent Hope

Now the heart sings with all its thousand voices To hear this city of cells, my body, sing. The tree through the stiff clay at long last forces Its thin strong roots and taps the secret spring. And the sweet waters without intermission Climb to the tips of its green tenement; The breasts have borne ... »

The Commination – Alec Derwent Hope

The Commination – Alec Derwent Hope

He that is filthy let him be filthy still. Rev. 22.11 Like John on Patmos, brooding on the Four Last Things, I meditate the ruin of friends Whose loss, Lord, brings this grand new curse to mind Now send me foes worth cursing, or send more – Since means should be proportionate to ends – F... »

Standardization – Alec Derwent Hope

Standardization – Alec Derwent Hope

When, darkly brooding on this Modern Age, The journalist with his marketable woes Fills up once more the inevitable page Of fatuous, flatulent, Sunday-paper prose; Whenever the green aesthete starts to whoop With horror at the house not made with hands And when from vacuum cleaners and tinned soup A... »

Phallus – Alec Derwent Hope

Phallus – Alec Derwent Hope

This was the gods’ god, The leashed divinity, Divine divining rod And Me within the me. By mindlight tower and tree Its shadow on the ground Throw, and in darkness she Whose weapon is her wound Fends off the knife, the sword, The Tiger and the Snake; It stalks the virgin’s bed And bites ... »

Parabola – Alec Derwent Hope

Parabola – Alec Derwent Hope

Year after year the princess lies asleep Until the hundred years foretold are done, Easily drawing her enchanted breath. Caught on the monstrous thorns around the keep, Bones of the youths who sought her, one by one Rot loose and rattle to the ground beneath. But when the Destined Lover at last shal... »

Observation Car – Alec Derwent Hope

Observation Car – Alec Derwent Hope

To be put on the train and kissed and given my ticket, Then the station slid backward, the shops and the neon lighting, Reeling off in a drunken blur, with a whole pound note in my pocket And the holiday packed with Perhaps. It used to be very exciting. The present and past were enough. I did not mi... »

Morning Coffee – Alec Derwent Hope

Morning Coffee – Alec Derwent Hope

Reading the menu at the morning service: – Iced Venusberg perhaps, or buttered bum – Orders the usual sex-ersatz, and, nervous, Glances around – Will she or won’t she come? The congregation dissected into pews Gulping their strip teas in the luminous cavern Agape’s saca... »

Meditation on a Bone – Alec Derwent Hope

Meditation on a Bone – Alec Derwent Hope

A piece of bone, found at Trondhjem in 1901, with the following runic inscription (about A.D. 1050) cut on it: I loved her as a maiden; I will not trouble Erlend’s detestable wife; better she should be a widow. Words scored upon a bone, Scratched in despair or rage — Nine hundred years h... »

Easter Hymn – Alec Derwent Hope

Easter Hymn – Alec Derwent Hope

Make no mistake; there will be no forgiveness; No voice can harm you and no hand will save; Fenced by the magic of deliberate darkness You walk on the sharp edges of the wave; Trouble with soul again the putrefaction Where Lazarus three days rotten lies content. Your human tears will be the seed of ... »

Death of the Bird – Alec Derwent Hope

Death of the Bird – Alec Derwent Hope

For every bird there is this last migration; Once more the cooling year kindles her heart; With a warm passage to the summer station Love pricks the course in lights across the chart. Year after year a speck on the map, divided By a whole hemisphere, summons her to come; Season after season, sure an... »

Crossing the Frontier – Alec Derwent Hope

Crossing the Frontier – Alec Derwent Hope

Crossing the frontier they were stopped in time, Told, quite politely, they would have to wait: Passports in order, nothing to declare And surely holding hands was not a crime Until they saw how, ranged across the gate, All their most formidable friends were there. Wearing his conscience like a cruc... »

Conquistador – Alec Derwent Hope

Conquistador – Alec Derwent Hope

I sing of the decline of Henry Clay Who loved a white girl of uncommon size. Although a small man in a little way, He had in him some seed of enterprise. Each day he caught the seven-thirty train To work, watered his garden after tea, Took an umbrella if it looked like rain A nd was remarkably like ... »

Commination – Alec Derwent Hope

Commination – Alec Derwent Hope

He that is filthy let him be filthy still. Rev. 22.11 Like John on Patmos, brooding on the Four Last Things, I meditate the ruin of friends Whose loss, Lord, brings this grand new curse to mind Now send me foes worth cursing, or send more – Since means should be proportionate to ends – F... »

Australia – Alec Derwent Hope

Australia – Alec Derwent Hope

A Nation of trees, drab green and desolate grey In the field uniform of modern wars, Darkens her hills, those endless, outstretched paws Of Sphinx demolished or stone lion worn away. They call her a young country, but they lie: She is the last of lands, the emptiest, A woman beyond her change of lif... »