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Saturday, May 16, 2009

At Burton Constable Hall

If I stand on the garden chessboard,
what piece am I? Only the king
is more at a loss. The thrusting pawns
jostle and sneer, the queen wants my head.
You turn leisurely cartwheels
in between moves on the orangery lawn.

A gas lamp in the turret again:
His Lordship has advertised for a hermit,
non-applicants only. I start tomorrow,
though I alone know it. Ignored
my non-fame will spread,
dissolve and so conquer all.

The board before games is not
at rest but a sticking-plaster
on slaughter and the memory
of slaughter. Bluff, double bluff.
Pin me now. J’adoube,
I adjust, I capsize.

Another shriek from the stables.
The master’s experiments
with crossbreeding rabbits and hens
are an unexpected success.
The beast crows hourly and lopes
off over the field on its hocks

but there is blood on the turrets and crosiers.
The sheep have grouped at the ha-ha
and low with something like menace.
Alone among his powers my king’s
impotence will remain with him
to the end. Checkmate.

Anything I can
believe now but my own eyes.
The donkey-wheel donkey stops,
goes into reverse, and sucks
the water backwards
out of the fountain.

Genial victor, already
rearranging our carnage
more decoratively,
pick me up by the neck,
turn me over and stub
my head into the ground.


Anonymous said...

Sure I've seen this post before...

Jon said...

Hi again,

was interested to find this post and the title because it's similar to a post that was created for a Beckett adaptation project I've been working on (again the reason that I got in touch with you)...

here's a link to one of the sites for this project where one of my readers created a short prose piece on the fatal leaning...


I mentioned before too about a question ... was wondering about your interaction (if any) with the administrator of the Beckett links and resource page... somehow he found his way to my project and the messages I'm getting from him have been quite mixed... I did a project using a portion of the text from the Unnamable and I'm not sure that he's thrilled about me using the text... you can see what he said in the comments on my site called Unnamable...

sorry if this seems an odd set of questions... but I've tried to write this guy a couple times and he's been quite abrupt... I just hope that he's not asking me to shut down my sites...

any thoughts or advice you have would be appreciated...


puthwuth said...

No longer, anonymous. Wormhole in space-time continuum now stitched closed.