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 Bunter

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

Benny Bunter

Well-known member
Thought I'd The Faerie Queene a chance, half expecting it to be too boring and difficult or silly, but turns out it's brilliant so far, breezed through the first 50 pages.

I love the mix of ancient mythology, Arthurian romance and Christianity, and the allegorical aspect of it isn't as hard to follow as I thought it might be - easier than Blake anyway who I assume must have been influenced by it. And aside from that it's just great fast-paced storytelling, not boring at all.

Anyone else a fan? @jenks maybe?

Benny Bunter

Well-known member
Starts off with a proper gory battle scene where the redcrosse knight slays a monster, love it.

Therewith she spewd out of her filthy maw
A floud of poyson horrible and blacke,
Full of great lumpes of flesh and gobbets raw,
Which stunck so vildly, that it forst him slacke
His grasping hold, and from her turne him backe:
Her vomit full of bookes and papers was,
With loathly frogs and toades, which eyes did lacke,
And creeping sought way in the weedy gras:
Her filthy parbreake all the place defiled has.

Benny Bunter

Well-known member
Love the personifications of the Deadly sins. Here's Gluttony:

And by his side rode loathsome Gluttony,
Deformed creature, on a filthie swyne,
His belly was vp-blowne with luxury,
And eke with fatnesse swollen were his eyne,
And like a Crane his necke was long and fyne,
With which he swallowd vp excessiue feast,
For want whereof poore people oft did pyne;
And all the way, most like a brutish beast,
He spued vp his gorge, that all did him deteast.

In greene vine leaues he was right fitly clad;
For other clothes he could not weare for heat,
And on his head an yuie girland had,
From vnder which fast trickled downe the sweat:
Still as he rode, he somewhat still did eat,
And in his hand did beare a bouzing can,
Of which he supt so oft, that on his seat
His dronken corse he scarse vpholden can,
In shape and life more like a monster, then a man.

Vnfit he was for any worldy thing,
And eke vnhable once to stirre or go,
Not meet to be of counsell to a king,
Whose mind in meat and drinke was drowned so,
That from his friend he seldome knew his fo:
Full of diseases was his carcas blew,
And a dry dropsie through his flesh did flow:
Which by misdiet daily greater grew:
Such one was Gluttony, the second of that crew.

Benny Bunter

Well-known member
Come on though, this is brilliant!

And in his hand did beare a bouzing can,
Of which he supt so oft, that on his seat
His dronken corse he scarse vpholden can,
In shape and life more like a monster, then a man.


thread death
I’ve read some shorter stuff (and anything is short compared to the Faerie Queen) It’s been on my list for a while - it’s one of the central building blocks of English poetry, forever referenced, quotes across texts, that I feel like I’ve kind of read bits without ever having read it (which is a good trick to pull off)