Timothy Adès : Poet and Translator

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Odd Lipograms by Timothy Adès

On First Looking Into Chapman’s Translation

by Adonais

I got around, saw lots of lands of gold,
Good kingdoms, many a top–class duchy too,
And sundown islands (I was shooting through)
Which bards as loan–stock from Apollo hold.
On various occasions I was told
About an old blind highbrow’s Timbuctoo:
But always was as ignorant as you,
Until Dan Chapman said it loud and bold.
That did it! Say you watch a midnight sky:
An unknown rock floats up into your bag!
Or stout Balboa’s sharp rapacity
Scans your Pacific, plants a Spanish flag,
His troops agog with curiosity,
Dumbstruck upon a Panamanian crag.

Said at PitC Drop–in, Daunts/Simpsons Bookshop, Piccadilly, London, W.

Contributed to Poetry Atlas website.

Not from Intimations of Immortality

by William Wordsworth

Let’s see whether he needed the letter E…

This world is too much with us: fairly soon
working and shopping drain our capital,
and show us almost nothing natural;
our soul is thrown away, a sordid boon.
That flood which flaunts its bosom, moon to moon,
that wind which howls and howls, continual:
all’s a sad bloom, shut down and dropsical
for our disastrous choirs that flatly croon,
lacking all passion. Think of this, good Lord:
brought up a pagan in a faith outworn,
I’d flourish, standing on this dainty sward!
Such sights and sounds, I couldn’t stay forlorn:
a zoomorph that zooms Apollo–ward,
a Triton, tooting on his wrack–fraught horn.

So You Forgot That Inn, Miranda?

by Hilarious Blloc (with admiration and an apology)

So you forgot that inn,
So you forgot that inn? Probably not!
And a smoothing-down of a lot
Of straw for a cot
And a scrat
Of a gnat
On Mount Ararat
And a Bacchic jar with a flavour of tar?
And callow mahouts
Laughing and scoffing with mirthful shouts
On a plum–drunk balcony, far
Away from old Karaganda?
So you forgot that inn,
So you forgot that inn? Probably not!
And callow mahouts with mirthful shouts
Who hadn’t a sou
And who would not pay, not a button or two
And that dunning on doors, what a din!
And a Hip! Hop! Hap!
Of a clap
Of hands to a twirl and swirl
Of a girl spun chancing,
Backing and advancing,
Snap clap clapping to a spin
Out and in —
And a Ting, Tong, Tang, of a Guitar.
So you forgot that inn,
So you forgot that inn? Probably not!

Not again, Miranda, nor
A Jamaican station on Bodmin Moor!
Only Hyrcanian high crags hoar,
Cascading of Aragon at my door.
No sound
Within walls
Of halls! It falls,
That fatal footfall clocks cold ground:
No sound
But a boom,
A Niagara Falls
Of doom.

Said at Troubadour, Old Brompton Road, London S.W.


by immortal Romantic, victim of consumption
John o’ London

Let’s see whether he needed the letter e.

First verse by HARRY GUEST;
TIMOTHY ADÈS wrote the rest.

My mind hurts and a drowsy poison pains
My soul as though of opium I had drunk
Or, quaffing a dull drug down to its drains
An hour ago, to Pluto’s lands had sunk.
‘Tis not through craving for thy happy lot
But finding too much joy in all thy bliss –
O thou, light–flying dryad of this wood,
In a harmonious plot
Of mossy boughs which shift as shadows kiss.
Thy full throat sings: May harbours all that’s good.

O, for a draught of vino! that has lain
Cooling for months a long way down in ground,
Tasting of Flora’s country, lush with rain,
Occitan song, and sunlit dancing round!
O for a glassful of that sunny South,
Full of Parnassian blushful vrai grand cru,
With strings of air–drops bubbling at its brim,
Staining maroon my mouth;
That I might drink, and slip away with you,
All lost to all, in wildwoods dark and dim.

I’d slip away, dissolving. Soon forgot,
What you among your arbours had not known,
Our worry and our quinsy and our hot
Flush of folk sitting for a mutual groan,
Our palsy, shaking sad gray hairs, not many,
Our youth grown pallid, dying, phantom–slight:
For but to think is to drink draughts of sorrow,
Look black as antimony;
Girls can’t maintain two lustrous orbs of sight;
If Cupid sighs, it’s only till tomorrow.

Away! away! for I will fly to you,
Not riding out with Bacchus’ jaguars,
But (blind–man’s buff!) on lyric wings, although
My brain is numb, and jolts and jams and jars.
Look, now I’m with you! It’s a kind, soft night;
With luck, Milady Moon is holding court,
And, round about, a throng of starry Fays;
No, it’s too dark: no light
But what from skyward airily is brought
Through branchy gloom and winding mossy ways.

I cannot scan what’s budding at my foot,
Nor what soft balsam hangs upon your boughs,
But in this fragrant dark, I try to moot
Such aromatics as this month allows
To grass, to shrub, to fruiting blossom wild;
Sunk in its fronds, fast fading violot;
Hawthorn, triantaphyll dawn–drunk with musk,
May’s coming first–born child,
And pastoral non–hybrid, which is not
A murmurous haunt of gnats at dog–star’s dusk.

Dark auscultation! and again! for oft
I am half amorous of R.I.P.,
In many musing stanzas call him, soft,
To lift in air my faint vitality:
This opportunity I shouldn’t miss,
To pass away at midnight without pain,
Whilst thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such high flights of bliss!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I’d auscult in vain
To thy contakion, at last a clod.

Thou wast not born to croak, immortal Bird!
No hungry propagations grind you down;
That song I track this passing night occurr’d
In days long past to tyrant, king and clown:
On top of that — who knows? — it found a path
To Ruth, athirst for Moab’s distant turf,
Who stood distraught amid th’ un–British corn;
And on occasion hath
Charm–d magic miradors that look on rough
Hazardous floods, in goblin lands forlorn.

Forlorn! That actual word purports to toll,
To toil yours truly back to John from you!
¡Adios! This fancy tricks us nicht so wohl
As what — fallacious fay! — it’s thought to do.
¡Adios! ¡Adios! Thy soulful singing faints
Away, past paddocks and a placid brook,
Climbing a hill; and now it sinks down, boring
Into low–lying haunts:
A vision? Or a waking think–and–look?
All’s tacit: — Am I vigilant, or snoring?

Said at Drop–In, Daunts/Simpsons Piccadilly Bookshop, March 2015

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