ECLOGUE BETWEEN THREE POETS
(Eclogue in the English countryside between Philip Larkin, Thomas Hardy, and D H Lawrence.)
LAWRENCE: I'm transformed! Fucking birds and insects! The sulphuric pollen pushing, dry lava from anther pockets, my steel sepal saluting in perpetuity!
LARKIN: Fuck that! There's too much fucking in this world. I haven't had my dick wet since 1942. Bombs flooding copses? Keep your emotions. I just toss one off three p.m. every Sunday. And I forgot my Scotch.
LAWRENCE: Ah, Larkin, you're a Willie Wet Leg. A putz without a home. Every day above ground is a gift. What joy to be here, and away from the throng circling gaslights in cloak-and-dagger ennui.
LARKIN: And surrounded by kamikaze bugs and philosophical tawdriness. Bah!
LAWRENCE: Ha! We're in Divine presence, a holy hill of heather and broom! Celebrate!
HARDY: (waking up groggily) God is asleep. We're all toast.
LAWRENCE: Come, Tom, if God's asleep, then it's up to us to take the mantle of authority and decorate it with our ecstatic sperm!
HARDY: ( z-z-z-z-z-z .... )
LARKIN: I need a drink.
LAWRENCE: Tom, you're not fooling me, I see you peeking at the rolling clouds through the interstices of your bony fingers.
HARDY: The architecture of the sky is gothic in my imagination.
LAWRENCE: Well, at least you're not in the same pickle as Larkin. Speaking of pickles, yours must still be getting wet, Tom. Married for a half-century ....
HARDY: Huh? I've built a spiral staircase on the outside of my cottage so's I can go straight from outside to my cloistered den, never even seeing her for days. We have a good arrangement. God knows what she's all about.
LARKIN: David and Frieda are happy, though ....... I hate public poetry readings, but I'd like to read to you guys, and hear your own. Tom, "The Darkling Thrush" would be apropos for my mood.
HARDY: (sits up, clears throat):
The Darkling Thrush
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.
At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.
So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.
LAWRENCE: Bravo, Tom!
LARKIN: Here, here!
LAWRENCE: The wind sweeps this pulsing hill, a lover calling us home.