The Perceval Press Anthology of Verse 2007


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And ever-murmuring musics spill,
For there the fount immortal flows:
Its water white leaps down the hill,
By silver stairs it singing goes
To the field of the unfading rose,
Where breathing on the glowing briar
The wind beyond the the world's end blows
To living flame the wandering fire.
-J. R. R. Tolkien


Fear of Death
What is it now with me
And is it as I have become?
Is there no state free from the boundary lines
Of before and after? The window is open today
And the air pours in with piano notes
In its skirts, as though to say, "Look, John,
I've brought these and these" - that is,
A few Beethovens, some Brahmses,
A few choice Poulenc notes... Yes,
It is being free again, the air, it has to keep coming back
Because that's all it's good for.
I want to stay with it out of fear
That keeps me from walking up certain steps,
Knocking at certain doors, fear of growing old
Alone, and of finding no one at the evening end
Of the path except another myself
Nodding a curt greeting: "Well, you've been awhile
But now we're back together, which is what counts."
Air in my path, you could shorten this,
But the breeze has dropped, and silence is the last word.
-John Ashbery


Le discours sur la paix
Vers la fin d'un discours extrêmement important
le grand homme d'Etat trébuchant
sur une belle phrase creuse
tombe dedans
et désemparé la bouche grande ouverte
montre les dents
et la carie dentaire de ses pacifiques raisonnements
met à vif le nerf de la guerre
la délicate question d'argent.
-Jacques Prévert


Edison, Selected Works
In 1887 Thomas Edison began electrocuting dogs
for the press. He called it his duty to warn us
against the "evil" of Alternating Current, a power
he had failed to discover first.
It was not killing,
he told a reporter; the dogs had been
When he was twelve, Edison lost half
his hearing. No one knew how, but there were many
theories; one that he was pulled aboard a train
by his ears. Another, that he repeatedly forced coins
into them to attract lightning.
There were cats, too,
& birds when he could get the electrodes to fit. Once,
he even wired a sunflower which opened like an eye
to weep out its seeds.
From his crib, Edison
routinely blew out his bedside candles, howling until
they were relit. On several mornings, his mother
woke to find a half-eaten stub dried to the infant's
In 1903 he ran 6,600 Volts through an elephant
named Topsy. She had killed three men, the last
a drunk who gave her a cigarette. Edison
filmed her execution
to play for whomever might ask.
Upon hearing
his own voice through a phonograph, he exclaimed I am
always afraid of things that work the first time.
-Brendan Constantine

Last edited: 29 July 2007 08:25:45