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THE RED HEART
IV The Ivory Steeple

James Reaney

 

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The Ivory Steeple


O proletariat I weep for you!
For your appalling working conditions
For the hole in your shoe.
All my gloves and shoes
Are invisibly mended and holeless
But that is no reason why yours should be.
You really wouldn’t be any different
If you were richer
And I don’t feel at all that you’re submerged.
You make an interesting wallpaper
For my peculiar blessedness.
I can giggle at you reading the funny papers
While I peruse the works of Cyril Tourneur.
You read such things as Handy Andy
While I (for the fourth time) Tristram Shandy.
Oh hawwhawwheeheehahahawwhaww haw hoon you.
And as I can afford my hot water bottles and incense,
A Christmas rose on the window sill,
7 Pairs of brown oxfords and 4 of black,
Recordings of Stravinsky (like monstrous sea-shells)
Singing of seas (blue hands slapping blue faces)
Or Beckford’s Vathek
Or the committing of a delicate original sin
Or reading the latest collection of Anais Nin.
Tour pinched white and gray faces
Peer in
Like small white tracts held off at a distance.
Well . . . is it not all very beautiful?
As you stand hungry in the rain
Just look at what heights you too may attain.