Arthur Seymour John Tessimond
Biography of Arthur Seymour John Tessimond
Arthur Seymour John Tessimond (Birkenhead, July 19, 1902 - Chelsea, London May 13, 1962) was an English poet.
He went to Charterhouse School, but ran away at age 16. After studying at Liverpool University, he moved to London where he worked in bookshops, and also as a copywriter.
After avoiding military service in World War II, he later discovered he was unfit for service.
An eccentric and an Imagist, Tessimond wrote astute, elegant, urban poetry. He suffered from bipolar disorder, and received electro-convulsive therapy.
He first began to publish in the 1920s in literary magazines. He was to see three volumes of poetry were published during his life: Walls of Glass in 1934, Voices in a Giant City in 1947 and Selections in 1958. He contributed several poems to a 1952 edition of Bewick's Birds.
He died in 1962 from a brain haemorrhage.
In the mid-1970s he was the subject of a radio programme entitled Portrait of a Romantic. This, together with the publication of the posthumous selection Not Love Perhaps in 1972, increased interest in his work; and his poetry subsequently appeared in school books and anthologies.
A 1985 anthology of his work The Collected Poems of A. S. J. Tessimond, edited by Hubert Nicholson, contains previously unpublished works.
In 2010 a new collected poems, based closely on Nicholson's edition, was published by Bloodaxe Books.
In April 2010 an edition of Brian Patten's series Lost Voices on BBC Radio Four was committed solely to Tessimond.
Arthur Seymour John Tessimond's Works:
Walls of Glass (1934)
Voices in a Giant City (1947)
Not Love Perhaps (1972)
Collected Poems of A.S.J. Tessimond (2010)
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Arthur Seymour John Tessimond Poems
Cats no less liquid than their shadows Offer no angles to the wind. They slip, diminished, neat through loopholes Less than themselves; will not be pinned
The Man In The Bowler Hat
I am the unnoticed, the unnoticable man: The man who sat on your right in the morning train: The man who looked through like a windowpane: The man who was the colour of the carriage, the colour of the mounting
One day people will touch and talk perhaps easily, And loving be natural as breathing and warm as sunlight,
Not Love Perhaps
This is not Love, perhaps, Love that lays down its life, that many waters cannot quench, nor the floods drown,
The birch tree in winter Leaning over the secret pool Is Narcissus in love With the slight white branches,
Attack On The Ad-Man
This trumpeter of nothingness, employed To keep our reason dull and null and void. This man of wind and froth and flux will sell The wares of any who reward him well.
If a man says half himself in the light, adroit Way a tune shakes into equilibrium, Or approximates to a note that never comes:
This shape without space, This pattern without stuff, This stream without dimension Surrounds us, flows through us,
Light's patterns freeze: Frost on our faces. Light's pollen sifts Through the lids of our eyes ...
Any Man Speaks
I, after difficult entry through my mother's blood And stumbling childhood (hitting my head against the world); I, intricate, easily unshipped, untracked, unaligned; Cut off in my communications; stammering; speaking
When you are slightly drunk Things are so close, so friendly. The road asks to be walked upon, The road rewards you for walking
To walk as you walk, green eye, smiler, not Even ostentatiously alone but simply Alone ... arching the back in courteous discourtesy, Gathering the body as a dancer before an unworthy
Cocoon For A Skeleton
Clothes: to compose The furtive, lone Pillar of bone To some repose.
The clock disserts on punctuation, syntax. The clock's voice, thin and dry, asserts, repeats. The clock insists: a lecturer demonstrating, Loudly, with finger raised, when the class has gone.
The sun, a heavy spider, spins in the thirsty sky.
The wind hides under cactus leaves, in doorway corners. Only the wry
Small shadow accompanies Hamlet-Petrouchka's march - the slight
Wry sniggering shadow in front of the morning, turning at noon, behind towards night.
The plumed cavalcade has passed to tomorrow, is lost again;
But the wisecrack-mask, the quick-flick-fanfare of the cane remain.