The leg in the subway

by Oscar Williams

When I saw the woman's leg on the floor of the subway train,
protrude beyond the panel (while her body overflowed my minds eye),
when I saw the pink stocking black shoe curve bulging with warmth,
the delicate etching of the hair behind the flesh colored gauze,
when I saw the ankle of Mrs. nobody going nowhere for a nickel,
When I saw this forward motionless on the motionless floor,
my mind caught on a nail of a distant star,

I was wrenched out of the reality of the subway ride,
I hung in a socket of distance: and this is what I saw:
The long tongue of the Earth's speed was licking the leg ,
upward and under and around went the Long tongue of speed:
it was made of a flesh invisible, it dripped the saliva of miles: it drank moment
lit shivers of insecurity in niches between bones:

it was full of eyes,
It stopped licking to look at the passengers:
it was as alive as a worm,
and busier than anybody in the train: it spoke saying:
to whom does this Leg belong ? Is it a bonus leg for the rush-hour?
It is a forgotten leg,among the many millions of legs did an extra leg fall in from Out There?

O woman, sliced off bodily by the line of the panel, shall I roll your leg
into the abdominal nothing, among digestive teeth?
Or shall I fit it in
with the pillars that hold up the headlines? But nobody spoke
Though all the faces were talking silently, as the train zoomed, a zipper closing up
swiftly the seam of time.

Alas, said the long tongue of the speed of the Earth quite faintly, what is one to do with an incorrigible leg that will not melt?
but everybody stopped to listen to the train vomiting cauldrons of silence,
or somebody's jolted out afterthought trickle down
the blazing shirt front solid with light bulbs
and just then the planetary approach of the next station exploded atoms of light , and when the train stopped the leg had grown a surprising mate,
and the long tongue hurriedly slipped out through a window :

I percieved through the hole left by the nail of the star in my mind
how civilization was as dark as a wood and dimensional with things

and how birds dipped in chromium sang
in the crevices of our deeds


bandz ahoy

The Immortal Part​

When I meet the morning beam,
Or lay me down at night to dream,
I hear my bones within me say,
"Another night, another day."

"When shall this slough of sense be cast,
This dust of thoughts be laid at last,
The man of flesh and soul be slain
And the man of bone remain?"

"This tongue that talks, these lungs that shout,
These thews that hustle us about,
This brain that fills the skull with schemes,
And its humming hive of dreams,—"

"These to-day are proud in power
And lord it in their little hour:
The immortal bones obey control
Of dying flesh and dying soul."

" 'Tis long till eve and morn are gone:
Slow the endless night comes on,
And late to fulness grows the birth
That shall last as long as earth."

"Wanderers eastward, wanderers west,
Know you why you cannot rest?
'Tis that every mother's son
Travails with a skeleton."

"Lie down in the bed of dust;
Bear the fruit that bear you must;
Bring the eternal seed to light,
And morn is all the same as night."

"Rest you so from trouble sore,
Fear the heat o' the sun no more,
Nor the snowing winter wild,
Now you labour not with child."

"Empty vessel, garment cast,
We that wore you long shall last.
—Another night, another day."
So my bones within me say.

Therefore they shall do my will
To-day while I am master still,
And flesh and soul, now both are strong,
Shall hale the sullen slaves along,

Before this fire of sense decay,
This smoke of thought blow clean away,
And leave with ancient night alone
The stedfast and enduring bone.


bandz ahoy
Horribly on brand for me to post that, the Victorian self pity puddle

But I like the conceit of the bones talking, and being the essential part


bandz ahoy

Benny B

Well-known member
Could man be drunk for ever
With liquor, love, or fights,
Lief should I rouse at morning
And lief lie down of nights.

But men at whiles are sober
And think by fits and starts,
And if they think, they fasten
Their hands upon their hearts