George Barker (26 February 1913 – 27 October 1991 / Essex, England)
Calamiterror (Section VI)
Meandering abroad in the Lincolnshire meadows day
Day and day a month perhaps, lying at night lonely,
The early September evening administering a mystery,
The moon executing its wavering sleight of hand, I sense the
Advent of the extraordinary event, the calamiterror,
Turn and encounter the mountain descending upon me
The moment of terror flashes like dead powder
Revealing the features of the mass as mine.
Time like a mountain made of my own shadow
Collapsing on me, buries me in my life.
It is the future, undermined by present,
Failing appallingly backward. I bring
The cracked escarpments hurling down, I catch
The agonised glint of years in a fall of
Rubble, the time clatters down with branches
I hear the broken life scream and sob like me.
Meandering abroad in the Lincolnshire meadows
Throw up no mountain featured with self's face.
Idling like Hylas beside the Babylonian stream
Admire the harp on the willow not the bright mask
Suspended through the depths or down
Internally and eternally drowned you go. I know.
I wandered at night admiring the moonlight mountain
The moon had made the monster of my own.
I see the elements of my growth were drawn
Not from the objects that encourage growth,
The mountain ornamented with morning tears,
The musical tree, the hesitating river,
But the distorted mountain of the bowels,
The hysterical tree that branches to the arms,
The lunar river from the sexual fountain.
Feeding on self, the internal cannibal
Stands like a gap over its swallowed self.
About the adult like the solar system
Objects revolve, holding the man in place.
The abdomen of youth is the balloon world
Twisted to fit between the ribs. The Spartan boy
Had his own fox-globe hidden at his belly.
The youth of sorrow mourns this indigestion,
The world swelling in his guts. I vomit.
This is the act that 1 now execute.
Why walk at night admiring the moonlight mountain,
It is to find and feel the real and fine.
More may the glittering angle indicate
The physiognomy of the divine than thine.
Who is the parent of the innumerable plant,
It is not the sweet onion hanging at my loin.
The green tree springing in the rear of space
Follows the Greek sun and not my face.
1 recall how the rosetree sprang out of my breast.
I recall the myriads of birds in the cage of my head,
I recall my third finger the branch of myrtle,
I recall the imprisoned women wailing in my bowels.
I was the figure of the Surrealist Exhibition
With a mass of roses face. I hung like hawk
Hungry over the running world, I hung
Like sun that pulls the bright boys, like the spider.
1 saw the moon nightly performing a circle about
The pivotal point of my eye. The bird flew
Either towards or from me, sang to me or was
Silent. I sensed the violent spinning of things, -
I was their axle like the polar tree.
The key of kings had fallen from the blue
Into my keyhole eye, I knew I knew.
I felt the crush of hell in my left side.
It was on Sunday the 12th April I saw
The figure of William Blake bright and huge
Hung over the Thames at Sonning. I had not had this.
Familiar with the spatial mathematic,
Acknowledging the element of matter,
I was acquainted with the make of things,
But not this. I had not acknowledged this.
I had not encountered prototype.
I saw William Blake large and bright like ambition,
Absolute, glittering, actual and gold.
I saw he had worlds and worlds in his abdomen,
And his bosom innumerably enpeopled with all birds.
I saw his soul like a cinema in each of his eyes,
And Swedenborg labouring like a dream in his stomach.
I remember the myrtle sprouting from his hand
And saw myself the minor bird on the bough.
1 recognized the cosmology of the objects,
The contributing and constituting things,
Which contemplated too close make a chaos,
The glorious plethora, the paradise mass, the chaos of
Glory, in which the idiot wanders collecting.
I recognized the cosmology of chaos,
Observing that the condition rendering
Chaos cosmos is the external fact.
William Blake was larger than my Lincolnshire mountain
When like my mountain fell. I heard the catastrophic
Fragments of his torso breaking past me, it was
The object of the physical world breaking on me
Like Krakatoa like Krakatoa like the
Fist shooting out of the box like the gradual
Appearance of morning at morning like Tutankhamen
Carefully divesting itself in public places.
1 achieved apocalypse - hearing slowly the sounds
Against which my ears had made their own music.
I heard first the Rhondda choral echo up the valley
Trying to find god's ear, I heard the presage
Ironically rumbling along the Channel, war:
The ancestral voice, the ancestral voice.
And 1 saw in a fog of gas Mr Baldwin orating:
We must repair the deficiencies of our forces.
I heard three women weeping in lrun's ruins.
Nothing 1 could not hear, Berliner
Tageblatt, Daily Telegraph, L'Humanite, Isvestia,
The air like newsboys shrieking, recounting
Instances of hate, of insult, aggravation, and
The Rhondda choral, the Durham hymn, over all.
I met seven saints in Salisbury with cotton wool in their ears.
I remembered with shame my own music.
The splitting of the central pillar like aural lightning,
I felt it crack my abdomen, the world.
Comments about this poem (Calamiterror (Section VI) by George Barker )
Top 500 Poems
The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Still I Rise
Edgar Allan Poe
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
William Ernest Henley
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings