new zealand electronic poetry centre


Ian Wedde



Akaroa: Amphedesma Press, 1975

Part IV  FOR AN OLD BITCH GONE IN THE TEETH,  Sonnets 31 – 36.



Diesel trucks past the Scrovegni chapel
Catherine Deneuve farting onion fritters
The world’s greedy anarchy, I love it !
Hearts that break, garlic fervent in hot oil
Jittery exultation of the soul
Minds that are tough & have good appetites
Everything in love with its opposite
I love it! O how I love it ! (It’s all


I’ve got


                        plus Carlos: a wide dreaming eye
above her breast,
                             a hand tangling her hair,
breath filling the room as blood does the heart.


We must amend our lives murmured Rilke
gagging on his legacy of air.
Hang on to yours Carlos it’s all you’ve got.



32     dawn friday 17 august 1973 / American bombing
        halt in Cambodia

The sky bellies
                         in the east
                                           mouths of hills
spill thin milk, the Pleiades depart leading
their bull by the snout . . .


                                                    great Taurus drooling
for your Pasiphae
                               winched up on the sill
of Deadalus’ weird machine, bollock-full
& red-eyed you gored & bellowed plunging
yourself asleep.  Ah she was a strange thing


so foreign and delicate:
                                    maddening you . . .
& that crazy egghead strapping you in . . .


Later you woke & saw monstrous children,
the cities crashing down. You were meant for
a gift, Bull, but you were hoarded & then
your huge       poison shot out into the world . . .

These are old tales Carlos
                                                      & there are more



Yes in a gentle Monday evening lush
I am ready to forgive enemies . . .


watching Carlos talking to twine, a mess
of paper & wool, a sooty hearthbrush,
a green bus ticket. Against all the harsh
established orthodoxies I set this
sentimental disorder . . .


                                        “You must place
obstacles right there in his path not push
aside stones, cutting edges . . . ”


                                                      Yeah and two-thirds
of the world’s children don’t just trip on stones


they eat them. You & I may get sore feet
Carlos but our full bellies will be heard
over there mumbling Mr Roosevelt’s Freedoms/


The enemies we have are not worth hate.


34 more

/that eastern light leaking from umber hills




               no the war has not yet ceased
Beyond the glaring threshold             the immense
appetite of the imperialist
             where the blood of Asia spills
as lightly as this spring daybreak this


new day upon these gentle hills this gorse
this lucent panorama how many miles


distant?  from that?  O the firmament does stream
with blood hills cringe into their own shadows
& darkness seems to suck like a huge boot
free of the harbour . . . no simulacrum


but a truthful vision of continents
sluiced together on the slaughterhouse floor



35     in memoriam Pablo Neruda

        Pensando, enterrando lamparas en la profunda soledad


“Thinking, burying lamps in deep solitude”


where you are now senor
                                         where no flag snaps
at the icy firmament
                                 where no sap
of illumination shoots from the crude
masonry of the earth                   ah Neruda


now you have become a lamp in that deep
sepulchre where the unending sleep
of generation dreams its beautiful
impure products


                                    your poems here among them
whispering their own enigmas through the
spaces that were your ears           ah Neruda


you have no further use for your poems
but we need them we need them: let them be

green lamps that break

                                                into your solitude




heraldry of darkness dung of ages
clotted arteries of buried forests
birdshit bugs bark timber lichen blood nests

& green & green trampling down green the huge
gravimetric weight of odds the deluge
of space pouring forever on itself /

The evidence !
                                       the chill reduction
dusky, faceted, brittle, the image


of time’s weight, buried root of the spectrum,
inky pupil of Proserpina’s eye
ETCETERA        & creeping on the scarface

of the earth comes Carlos the jaunty son

& finds this black shit of eternity

& stuffs it in his mouth
                                                and thinks it’s nice

Ian Wedde 

Last updated 21 November, 2009