ORANGES: 12 PASTORALS
I Black crows in the burnt mauve grass, as intimate as rotting rice, snot on a white linen field. Picture to yourselves Tess amidst the thorny hay, her new-born shredded by the ravenous cutter-bar, and there were only probably vague lavender flowers blooming in the next field. 0 pastures dotted with excremental discs, wheeling in interplanetary green, your brown eyes stare down 'Our innocence, the brimstone odor of your stars sneers at our horoscope! When she has thrown herself to the brook and you see her floating by, the village Ophelia, recall that she loved none but the everyday lotus, and slept with none but the bull on the hill. Mercy, mercy, drown her, rain! 2 Is it the truth .that she will finally conquer? that smiling her gravel smile with those dark teeth rolling in their sockets, bobbing brown corks in the thick pink sea-trough, she will devour me? Shall my flesh, bitten and mangled by the years, fall, a tired after-birth? Pan, your flesh alone has escaped. Promise me, god of the attainable and always perfecting fruit, when Uie, whether hidden in livid moisture or exposed on gaudy ceramic to the broiling dust, when my reclining bones have made a profound pattern on the earth and, perverse chameleon, have embarrassed mother-of-pearl with their modest chalk, you will sit in memory of thought by my fragile skull and play into my rain-sweet canals your notes of love! 3 What fire murmurs its seditions beneath the oaks, lisping and stuttering to the shrivelled leaves? I have lain here screaming for five days! It is a real pleasure to shatter the supercilious peace of these barked mammals. I hear you! You speak French! . There is water flowing underneath. The rain is making a river to wash my buttocks. My root takes to water, and eddying the filth falls from me. There is a little piIe.of excrement at my nape like a Japanese pillow. 0 delicious rest! 4 0 the changing dialects of our world! that we have loved and known a week is seen one day to be a weed! Once in bed we thrashed about; I knocked over the flower vase and the hurricane lamp. I was glad to hear them crash to the floor. Your lungs had become a monotone.
Rain is coming through the roof. Drop and drop on my spine. Paralytic. Let me get underneath. . Speak to me in Mandarin! Talk not of rice and rickshaw! Thunder was in my ears as she placed the lotus in the bud vase, the glass lipped round the stem tightly; he said, is that right? Yes. Ah! his face turned green, a briar wall: but autumn! The leaves are drop ping! The petals! he seized me. She was terrified. The storm blew the window in. We all cried. Cease playing harmonicas~ you lizards! 5 Decide what you want of my heart most particularly, eagle, and take it. I defy yoP! Eat on. Here on this pinnacle you have known what I lacked; and you have gone on eating. I owe you nothing- not'even a sentimental tic. See! where the bones of Bellini lie mossy under the bridge, and the blood of Isabella d'Este like a scarf thrown beneath them! Bellini's hair thatches a puddle. You, my centaur, bear me away with your talons and your hunger. Gods! you have chained me with airy fetters to perpetual flight. Mountainward the wind from the sea is the spume from your nostrils, centaur, the heavy slopes are your panting flanks! I struggle nakea under your great eye! Always the same landscape behind us: girls dropping dead in laundry yards, cripples sunning on the snow, the mangy cat crying, the tiny man at the factory pouring wine into his ear. All these lovers! And for us always the same <errible mountain, our beautiful flesh and our loathing, to urge us on. J'~ '6 . ~ The light only reaches half way across the floor where we lie, your hair elaborated by my breath. Your dolls grovel against you like suckling pigs. As we roll these pebQles that we picked from the sand years ago I see your eyes grow green. Hear how our lives were changed by the sea whispering from .the shell. I have ripped your dress! I shall now rip you up the middle and eat your seeds! And now at last I know you. When we meet in the streets how painfully we shall blush!- but in the fields we shall lie down together inside a bush and play secretly. We know each other better than anyone else in the world. And we have discovered something to do. 7 . As I waded through inky alfalfa the sun seemed empty, a counterfeit coin hung round the blue throat patched with leprosy. .
Then in other fields I saw people walking dreamily in the black hay and golden cockleburs; from the firmament streamed the music of Orpheus! and on earth Pan made vivid the pink and white hunger of my senses! Snakes twined about my limbs to cool them, and springs cold and light sucked my tongue; bees brushed sweat from my eyelids; clouds washed my skin; at the end of the day a horse squandered his love. The sun replenishes, mirror and magnifier of my own beauty! and at night through dreams reminds me, moaning, of my daytime self. 8 Where is she? Thoughts, fabulous and eternal, lie unclaimed in my brain. My feet, tender with sight, wander the yellow grass in search of love. Drought and famine, blossoming souls! Once a lady asked for her milk to be changed to water; and once a kindly priest scorched the earth with his piss. 0 gods of the pagans! Out of the blue grotto near the dried river I summon Pan, god of our hearts. He bears summer heavy in his arms as a limp virgin, her hair polishes his hooves, and white against his sweaty skin her flesh sticks soft. For you, Pan, are the fruits of the earth: rocks, mountains, fountains, flagpoles, bear your seed! Companion of the beautiful, questioner of the idle, disrupter of the sly, virtuous inseminator, 0 beloved pimp of our hot flesh, roam throughout the world seeking the salvation of souls! He turns aside from the breathing limbs, Orpheus-over-the-hills, to play his pipes. Everyone! Everywhere! Dance! 9 The lily and the albatross form under your lids. A waken, love, and walk with me through the green fields. Under the mist we need not fear the sound of wings or sneak of tangled roots; the sun will lift. And until heat of day I'll not disturb the grey pearls hanging on your flesh and hair. Awaken, love, the horses are grazing at our flanks; the gramophone is damp. I forgot to post your letter yesterday. What shall we have for lunch? Where you go, I go. 10 What furious and accepted monster is this? I receive and venerate your ambition to die. Weare all brothers. You do not have tuberculosis. Kiss me. And on Sunday- oh the rapture! Only the slightest and meanest of women would stay in bed. You are the soul I never have been and your soul is that of my half-sister, moth-eaten and be-twigged. We must find ourselves before the dawn. There beneath the pool, glassed like a pheasant, is the soul of my first cousin. That is my soul. That one there. Give it me! Alice, said the Hare, you are a girl.
When I saw the light I came because I knew you'd need me. I prayed that you'd come. I pray I'll get back safely. Oh. Night, nighr with its sulphurous pulsations moans about me! Where is the vision I summoned from yonder deity? Why was it ugly? Ah! II Voyagers, here is the map our. dear dead king left us: here the rosary he last spat upon: here his score of Seraglio: here his empty purse. Let us pray and meditate always on deep things. Rhinestones and chancres, twins of our bosoms, Christian constellations, resplendent pins, fly on! Dredge for the gold dust in the snow! The blood beneath the ice! A mad mud-junket! I have won myself over to this cause. I am yours! You are mine! Light bulb! Holy Ghost! I make my passport/dossier: a portrait of the poet wrapped in jungle leaves airy on vines, skin tender to the tough wind; I ride a zebra through the scrubby plains which nevertheless now and then bloom with cattleyas and blue hydrangeas. The hollyhock is my favorite flower although I have been known to bleed when stabbed with a yucca. Standing in the photograph, then, filthy and verminous but for my lavender shaving lotion, I must confess that the poor have me always with them, and I love no god. My food is caviar, I love only music and my bed is sin. Protected souls, where love and honor gleam through the window I am a stranger. The beauty within me withers at my glance. I stand upright, whip-handle to jaw,' betrayer of my race and mud-guard of the bourgeoisie. Listen to me, you who are attracted: the other dusk in the streets I was the gentlest person you know-my periwinkle irises dripped like the corners of a jackal's mouth. Love me! Bring me my doll: I must make contact with something dead. And now that I am initiated I have only to bury you, my dear doll, before I set out. Here beneath this yew I dig a hole for wooden playthings. Man is nothing but this doggy instinct. Kiss me, kiss me! doll! I smother!
12 Marine breeze! Golden lily! Foxglove! In these symbols lives the world of erection and destruction, the dainty despots of society. Out of the cloud come Judas Agonistes and Christopher Smell to tell us of their earthy woe. By direction we return to our fulfilling world, we are back in the poem. Across the window-sill lies the body of a blue girl, hair floating weedy in the room. Upon her cypresses dance a Black Mass, the moon grins between their legs, Gregorian frogs belch and masturbate. Around the window morning glories screech of rape as dreadful bees, consummately religious, force their way in the dark. The tin gutter's clogged by moonlight and the rain barrel fills with flesh. Across the river a baboon blesses caimibals. 0 my posterity! This is the miracle: that our elegant invention the natural world redeems by filth.