Poem by Ira Lightman

Barrow-in-Furness, after de Campos

June 10, 2014 at 5:53pm


I’m scum and cheap like everyone you’ve met
Ain’t got it ideal but you ain’t got nothing.
If you say you do, when you’re like me,you’re lying,
If you say you’re a seeker, it’s cause you ain’t got it yet.

With a bit of a vision I love as is right.
Yet when I’m low that won’t get my agreement.
I get on, phantom-me of the moment
sozzled, now and then, in the spirit.

Like all I don’t believe what I believe.
Perhaps someone could die for the ideal
but, while I’m not-dying, I’ll read and speak.

Justify myself? I’m what we’re all to be.
Modify myself? To my own equal?
Hello, don’t start, oh heart of me!


Forces and gods, souls of science and belief
ya what? Your explication don’t explicate!
I’m sat on the pierhead, in a wine-butt,
and I don’t think more than I do on my feet.

Why should I cogitate?
Because I should, perhaps I shouldn’t?
Riverwater streams cold and dirt
I get on like it does, no less reprobate.

O universe, bundle of thread
patiently drawn out by a boffin’s hands
to leave all the bits of it separate?

Stop the thread’s exit…
What’s the game? Love? Having indifference?
For me, I stand high on the wine-butt.


Course,damned river, and lead to the ocean,
my indifference’s subjectivity
which leads to the ocean! Your presence, slippery,
holding in me, in my inner boffin.

A slug’s lot. To ride on the coattail
shadow of a donkey. To ride to live
to ride to give names, to what’ll never be active,
dying slapping stickers on a gail.

Capacious Furness, another three days
I’ve endured you, poor trapped engineer
of my very successful vistas…

Thereon, skedaddle myself and my sneer
(And your life will go on exactly as it was),
Anyone, at the train station, got a fag to spare…


The conclusion’s in the trash. It calculates
I’m shown vindicated, eulogized well…
My heart is an enormous pedestal
Where a freestanding squit animalculates…

The microscope of disillusion
finishing prolix over minutiae’s finesse…
I conclude pragmatic and useless…
I conclude theoretical, in confusion…

What theories are there for the touchy-feeler
The brain explodes like a molar
Through an emigrating beggar’s comb?

Clapping shut my notebook of pensées
I scribble my soft scrawl in grey
on the back of the envelope I am.


How long, Portugal, how long apart
We have lived! Oh but my soul,
This soul of uncertainty, never butch or cool,
Don’t bother yourself – you’re not right or sufficient.

I’m dreaming, closeted hysteric, in vain in a bend
of the River Furness, which bathes this locale
and only with irony is companionable –
I stall and he courses sufficient…

Sufficient? Yes, sufficient relatively…
Well, let’s round off with a distinction,
a subtlety, an interstitial between,
a metaphysics of sensation.

Let’s round off with this and everything more…
Ah, how anxiously human is the river, is the pier.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maureen Weldon
    Jun 15, 2014 @ 22:30:46

    Barrow – in – Furness, after de Campos. By Ira Lightman. A very, very good poem.


  2. Jan Dean
    Jun 26, 2014 @ 08:47:22

    I’ll never see Barrow in the same light again.


  3. Ira Lightman
    Jun 27, 2014 @ 07:04:17

    I’ve never been, and neither had de Campos/Pessoa


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