Badly Chosen Lover
Criminal, you took a great piece of my life,
And you took it under false pretences,
That piece of time
— In the clear muscles of my brain
I have the lens and jug of it!
Books, thoughts, meals, days, and houses,
Half Europe, spent like a coarse banknote,
You took it — leaving mud and cabbage stumps.
And, Criminal, I damn you for it (very softly).
My spirit broke her fast on you. And, Turk,
You fed her with the breath of your neck
— In my brain’s clear retina
I have the stolen love-behaviour.
Your heart, greedy and tepid, brothel-meat,
Gulped it, like a flunkey with erotica.
And very softly, Criminal, I damn you for it.
This poem chosen for the BBC 100 showcase was a reading for the BBC programme Sono Montage, broadcast 21st June, 1966 (producer George MacBeth). The Poetry Archive presents here an extract for review and educational research purposes. Permissions to share the full poem audio and text are pending.