Friday, 2 January 2015

Imagined, civilised being...

One of my favourite poems by Wilcock. This is a quick, unpolished, line for line crib of the poem Hope to tidy it up at some point. Here, too, is the great actor Vittorio Gassman reading the poem in Italian (it starts after 30 seconds into the video).

Imagine, civilised being, that you are the
Last man left on the earth and imagine:
All the diamonds have returned as stones
You are the King of America and of Russia
You can clean your arse with banknotes
But why now would you need to do so
Out of some scruple towards the worms?
And just as the phallus searches the vulva, absent
Your tongue goes in search of an ear
You put on Agamemnon’s golden mask
And look at yourself in the mirror, it doesn't speak to you
You search for the Sphynx but it asks you no riddles
You read old newspapers to rediscover
The vile voice of the vanished race
Mean, hypocritical, murderous and thieving
Yet at least it spoke to you, not like now
It lied to you, it hated you, it mocked you
But it spoke to you and sometimes even listened
You mourn the judge, the cop, the hangman
Who were you mirrored with a mask,
Yet those golden lips spoke to you
Not like the riches of the earth
Which without words are dust
Ashes, rags, stones, papers and metals.

You can do as you like, he who is alone is dead.
But that civilised being, the last
man remaining on the earth, placed 

Agamemnon's mask on his face
And lay down in the tomb at Mycenae
Hoping that Someone would see him.

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