Thursday, 23 February 2012


all these great poets
were bedridden
beyond and before
Keats and Proust
all sleepy-headed whiners

lying supine
on the whitest of sheets
softens the teeming brain
for ripe foggy thoughts

hair upon the pillow
wide and small
brushed aside
renews the white vessel

red coughs cannot undermine
the snowy world
of rising jagged ridges
of shadowed rivulets
completing the foundation
for rocky, runny thoughts
in this haven for shiftlessness

when to read
is only to write
as time is still
amongst the shafts
of the tiny Himalayas

the squirm
we can call a movement
within the discipline
of hospital corners
and the wondrous white
of no-further

yoked by white
these three layers
the dull patchwork
that sighs mediocrity
and takes no prisoners
of ambition
of fame
only the occasional sock
or a particle of dead skin

a tall order
for the gown
of a virgin

(First appeared in Crack the Spine, Issue 4, December 2011).


  1. "all sleepy-headed whiners"

    I'm so glad you said that!

    This is an amazingly singular piece.

    You know, I watched the film, "Bright Star" about Keats, and I could barely stomach it. (So many people went on about how wonderful it was.)

    I do like much of the Romantic poets - love Browning, for example, but he is darker, which is to my taste.

    I read a journal of Dorothy Wordsworth's once and was absolutely astounded at how much she complained about tooth-ache.

    I must read your poem again now.

  2. Phew! I don't wear socks to bed, so I don't have to worry about that. But I have been wondering what's been happening to all of my dead skin. I presumed the fleas were eating it. Most undiscovered writers can't afford to wash their sheets too often.

    Seriously, very interesting poem!

  3. Good poem.

    All of them were sleep-heads, lazy-bones, long-sighers. More time to ruminate and roll around the words in their heads.

  4. Nice work, Matt, too often the focus is on the substance abuse that suffering accords, I like the angle of the reclined, phlegmatic recluse (at least that's how I read it).

  5. it's a rare poem where i can't pick the lines that caught my eye as it's better perceived as a whole in its perfection. wonderful to absorb and to recite your words.