"Do you guess I have some intricate purpose?
Well I have.. for the April rain has, and the mica on the side of a rock has."
— Walt Whitman
Mica - a mineral. It glitters, like a crumb you want to pick up.
The Death of Galahad is one long poem. In it the Arthurian hero Galahad is a compromised contemporary of European man voyaging through Hell. His heroines, his army and his antagonist also
inhabit the poem, in which the sordid and the sacred meet and the anxieties and conflicts of a failed modernity and a future ideal undergo passion, as the mind battles for new vision and a painful purification.
“The Death of Galahad is a very substantial work written in the poet's second language with all the complexities that implies. It is at the same time full of vision, symbol and narrative detail. The poem seems to me to move between the fate of a specific individual, Galahad, a seeker after purity, and the world he is caught in which is far from pure, a ruined Europe of the spirit. The narrative is multi-layered, drawing on Arthurian legend but one is aware that this is less a historical poem than the enactment of a crisis. There are parts that are extraordinarily vivid, other parts where the voice seems to spread among the figures of the poem. Those who follow it to the end will discover a rough-hewn epic born out of a passionate and individual mind”.
- George Szirtes
in George Szirtes' Blog
Swollen with unusual heat
Passed away and I spent my energy
Among these firs.
I felt the blow
Winter gave and I thought:
“The cry of the land is what reminds us that
The mind of Europe
Has been defiled now because it was
Not much more than Western steam,
I sweat because I am the worst
Of a generation of bastards who conquered the land”
And I weep the condition of this Self.
Be strong my heart,
Maybe you have to tell
The same truth
In your words
And new gems are hoarded there.
About the simplicity of the way
But now I hear
What was mine only.
The new philosophers have betrayed us
And my realm is chaos.
The body of destruction is among us,
It is not a question of fire but
Which hisses in different languages
And it is rich like a blanket of mud,
Left to root and take disgusting forms,
The sense of direction is lost.
What was the top is now at the bottom
Of the clay coloured pond.
The water is stale and doesn’t stream,
Like brackish secretion of a carcass
Hanging from the ass.
Dead bream hint that the stink is
The goal of life drying on
Shales of lore and gore...
Can you imagine what has no shape?
When you lose the landmark,
The shortcut is sad.
Mull over the lavishness
That is everywhere.
You’ll be disgusted because you are the heir.