A man’s fate is a man’s fate
And life is but an illusion

How is your husband? –
The face in the street smiled.
He died, last week
While a small hospital
Of no repute was bombed

Every writer has their cause
Where words without the warmth
A Winter sun secures
No experience drips, as frost
From a leaf when warm breath
Casts itself from itself
And the child-man smiles
Atop the bleak sequestered hill
Where snow folds with silence:
Every bomb is a clue
While children cry

A tyrant’s whim was only a whim
Since he at least must die
But an idea’s fate is an idea’s fate:
They seldom die
Lying like pain in wait

The old woman cries
While she lies in her bed awake:
For sixty years her care carried her;
There was always the house,
The children, the neat garden trimmed by a hedge.
Each Sunday would be real
And they would sit, enjoying the warmth
Of their world.
He died, last week
Before the leeches sucked their house

“In a Home” the face like her youth said
“It is warm, and in Winter we will come.”
Oh my daughter what have you done…

Every person has their Cause
When deeds drip like blood
Just as every City is a snare

Can you remember you who skirted
That path and walked like Leonidas
Can you remember the warmth
That drew Cities from Stone?
Is there no forgiving for the dreams
Of our past? No remembering of skulls
Cracked to help those cracking
To remember a question, just one question
About Life?

There is no goal worthy
For which a City might live:
But, I remember the City
We might build to the stars

DW Myatt

Here I have stopped
Because only Time goes on within my dream:
Yesterday I was awoken, again,
And she held me down
With her body warmth
Until, satisfied, I went alone
And trying to remember:

A sun in a white clouded sky
Morning dawn yellow
Sways the breath that, hot, I exhale tasting of her lips.
The water has cut, deep, into
The estuary bank
And the mallard swims against the flow –
No movement, only effort.
Nearby – the foreign ship which brought me
Is held by rusty chains
Which, one day and soon
And peeling them like its paint,
Must leave

Here I shall begin again
Because Time, at last, has stopped
Since I have remembered the dark ecstasy
Which brought that war-seeking Dream

DW Myatt

Dirty Work

Weary and sleep inclined
I watched the pools of rain
Upon a roof below a corridor
White, quiet and quite empty.

A calmness of concentration came
As I aimed and made the kill, again.
There, a bleeding body
While, somewhere, trees buds were bursting
With the Spring.

I had killed, knitting in space-time
A synchronicity since it was only
One family’s loss
But civilization’s gain.

The choice was never hard
Since Thought can never act
And in Action without Thought
Lies a perfect bliss.

But the Dragon stayed
While only I moved on:
They – the politicians – could still cry
For they forget our memories,
The things that we did in their name.

Yet our eyes betray our loss
For we few who survived are forever
And always

DW Myatt

One Grief

The worst and the best – these feelings of love:
Great, profound, best in their beginning
Yet worst with its ending
When we pace our small room
As outside the warm Sun of Spring appears
From cloud that brought such an early morning

Now, we look out toward where those flowers of Spring
Push upwards from the plush green bank
Beside the lawn that I trimmed
Only one month ago
For the first time
This year.

Beyond, sunlight caught,
Those hills whose treeful slopes
Are greener now that I am sad, sadder, saddened by a grief born
From her losing:
Such life, around – such promise filling this air
With song
As birds proclaim both territory and pride
While I, Bach-hearing, resist resist resist
That temptation to kneel
As dark anguish heavily descends to cover such life as was my life:

For there is no God now to help as when I the monk
Toiled with hands, feelings, desires – until Thought surprised me
With the perfume of a woman
And shook me to take me far from the Monk’s Garden, the cloister, that warm Summer
Of warmful Sun –
Took me, far beyond myself
To where a female deity
Was born.

But, yes, there are tears now, as if the centuries, calling
Held me with the cries of those who long before my birth
Had suffered, cried, mourned, and died –

So many tears, so many, taking me far beyond her loss
To where some future peaceful place, Sun-warmed, and rural as an English Summer,

If only – if only I, we, were there
In that Paradise serene
Where even my desire, my yearning, becomes stilled
As it was not stilled with her
As I restless even beyond myself despite my best most noble hopes
Filled her with sadness, sometimes,
Until the slim thread holding us in love thinned and broke
Breaking her down in a sadness of grief, bent over her bed
Those hours when words failed as words fail
That day of rain and Sun where light from her window beheld her clinging
To the sheets of her bed, her pillow wet with tears.

There was, is, nothing for me to do now
I am sorry, so sorry
But live – or try to live
Remembering: for the centuries, calling
Hold me with the cries of those who long before my birth
Have suffered, cried, mourned, and died,
Thus urging me with such remembering to make some goodful godful use
Of the time remaining, here,
Far from that un-causal Paradise
Which might – should – be ours
One day
When the crying, our hurting,

DW Myatt

Here I Am, Waiting

Here I am, waiting, while the cold night grows ever darker
And the thin crescent moon

Those were the moments of hope – of excuses
As to why she did not call
But the hours, the slow hours, dragged them away
Until he was left, alone, bent, desperate but not desperate
Because unwilling even then to fully believe
His loss.

He loved her so much; he had loved her so much –
She, of the weeks, months, of passionate new love –
And he held, again, her card, reading, reading until the tears came:

To my darling, I love you

What was there left? Where was the future they shared, deeply
In those weeks when three decades of mutual sorrow, loneliness, hope
Came together through embracing arms, kisses
And that intimacy of touch?
Where the joyous desire that left him trembling
When he had stood at her door, waiting,
And she, arriving, threw her arms around him
Holding him so close with her passion, her love,
That he closed his eyes in tears knowing, knowing, his dreams were there
Embodied within her flesh?

Where now the promise promising so much that never was
Never now could be

For she was gone, taken, killed, by an accident of life
As he became taken enfolded by sorrow
Until, broken, the life left him
To leave only the shell, only the physical shell
Longing for death.

What would, could, should he do?
Only exist, ambling, alone, in some wood, on some hill,
Seeking no comfort and finding no comfort, uncaring of himself –
Except when the hills, the clouds, the Sun, the trees
Their life
Came unto him as he the bearded tramp waited
For death,
For then for a moment but only a moment he might be at peace
Amid the life that was their life.

DW Myatt


Decoration by Bombs is an Art

There is a comfort here, a Winter sea breeze,
A quiet time to mould from present possibilities
Future patterns
While each will creates by being just a will
Each possibility of Thought:

There is no being that is real
No authentic Way
While the act that might have linked
All presents to their past
Becomes enfeebled
Like waves breaking on a beach

Decoration by bombing is an Art
And for each thought
That is a connection between our present
And our past
Ten thousand fruitful dead

Each tree rots, in the ambience of Time:
For each forest a silence
For each tree its allotted span;
What forest furnished your fuel
What soil your wheat?

There is good in all
The Buddhist says:
But, hell, that those bastards burn,
They started it

For decoration by bombing is an Art

All heroes die
That others might forget
And, while blood spurts,
A financier crawls across a perfumed lawn:
Berlin, Paris, Rome – it makes no difference, let others die! –
The same smile
The same golden god

Once, each people knew their gods
But now are too bored for gods
Or too relieved

Dear lady, how elegant
You look: so many jewels.
Give them a spectacle, some sports,
A passion to bleed their brains to death

For each dross, each pitcher of dross
A thousand helping hands
Keen smelling rats the lot
While the words that might have
Unpossessed those possessed
Are lost
Buried by blast and blood:
Decoration by bombing is an Art

There is a comfort here
That only war itself will break
As there is a passion among those possessed
By ideas that are not their ideas
As gutless financiers are possessed by their god.

But who will break the Seal
That delivers us to ourselves?

Little Esther’s plight made millions
And made even more men sick:
Ten thousand years, for this?

There is a comfort here
As Destiny seems doomed by The Lie.

But even seas change
Given time

DW Myatt

In The Valley

In the valley each rock
Is reduced by rain –
It runs, as small stones
Which will be soil
As I and all that I carry
Will be dead.

Was this valley a hill
Before water weathered
And each sheep trail was worn
Between fern and heather
And steep fern?
There are no people, today,
No noise lying like the dead crow

But there are gods,
If one knows where to look
And can tread the steep slopes
Of this hill.

Every road intrudes
Upon slow thinking rock.
Who tastes the silence that lies
As each Summer’s green
Upon the broken rocks of rain?

Here, near Narnell’s Rock
Where Thor’s hammer struck
Many a startled tree
And where dead men lie like seeds
Is neither day nor sun
Rain nor rock –
There is only the essence that exists
Because essence must:

There are no answers
Because no questions can exist –
Just as I am the rock which is me.

Yet there are gods, still,
If one knows where to look
And can climb the steep slopes
Of this hill

DW Myatt
(Written c. 1984)

In A Foreign Land

Hot, this sun while it breaks
As I sit quite still
Beneath cloud
On a white bench watching
Flies spiral for shade.

My head is at peace
While the body waits
In this Park
Where each shade of Summer green
Becomes real in this light
And trees speak, slowly,
Of their fears of being
Half alive:

The chanted tuneless hymns
To the god of Noise.
I met this god, once:
I was young, inexperienced, while he
Tall and unspeaking
Pointing to the deaths, the madness,
He had caused.
And I: I smiled, a little sad,
And walked away to seek
The human warmth
Of love.

For years, a war in my head
While I saught to find
A dream:
She was never real, my dream

But there was magick, I found
In sitting silent
While beams of Sun become filtered
And fractured through leaves:
A joy in watching while clouds form
And break, casting
In their myriad ways
This Sun’s gift of life.
There is ecstasy in walking
High upon hills while wind cries
Or thunders:
No suffering, except hunger,
While I wait for my Dark Daughters
Of Earth;
No pain of dreams destroyed.

Now there is rain to make me
Take up my sack and walk
As a wanderer in creaking boots
To where the Spirits of my waiting Woods
Will sigh:
Without his dreams,
He would be nothing
And I shall smile while, hot,
The Summer Sun breaks briefly
To dry my rain-soaked back

DW Myatt

(Written c. 1978)


Apple Blossom in May

There is a reality about Spring
When grass grows green with the sun:
Days lengthen bringing the warmth
That reassures and one is pleased
To run a hand where wind moves
And blossoms have been blown:

Every hour is unique
When rain stops.
In the town – three hills
And a valley to the left –
Music slithers from a shop
While people rush,
A drill strikes stone
Where youths gather
Sneering at people who pass.

There is a pleasure about Spring
When free grass grows in the sun,
A slowness when wind rushes tree:
The curlew and lark
Where sun glints
Upon rain sodden earth:

How are you today, Mr Hughes?
Oh not so bad, you know –
Better for the sun.
Aye, will dry the ground
So we can seed.

Over the fields –
White clouds making faces
In the sun

DW Myatt
(Written c.1979 CE)