Anyone here had a go at themselves
for a laugh? Anyone opened their wrists
with a blade in the bath? Those in the dark
at the back, listen hard. Those at the front
in the know, those of us who have, hands up,
let’s show that inch of lacerated skin
between the forearm and the fist. Let’s tell it
like it is: strong drink, a crimson tidemark
round the tub, a yard of lint, white towels
washed a dozen times, still pink. Tough luck.
A passion then for watches, bangles, cuffs.
A likely story: you were lashed by brambles
picking berries from the woods. Come clean, come good,
repeat with me the punch line ‘Just like blood’
when those at the back rush forward to say
how a little love goes a long long long way.
— Friedrich Nietzsche
— Charles Dickens
by Lionel Birch
The firelight fell; the winter room grew cold;
They watched Time pass them by with grave surprise.
For hearts were quick no more, and they were old;
And laughter dribbled from their mirthless eye.
And each was thinking how long, long ago
He found enchantment, proud and fair and free;
With lights ablaze; and motions to and fro;
And a long night beside a northern sea.
At last one rose and crossed the cheerless boards,
Whistling a song; their faces sought the fire.
(A silly tune with sentimental words.)
Sidelong they glanced ashamed. And each felt queer.
And, to their hearts, long exiled, came desire,
And to thier eyes, pale trespasser, a tear.
From: Between Sunset & Dawn by Lionel Birch
(source Front Free Endpaper)