Basil Bunting – Ode 11

To a poet who advised me to preserve my numerous fragments and false starts

Narciss, my numerous cancellations prefer
slow limpness in the damp dustbins among the peel
tobacco-ash and ends spittoon lickings litter
of labels dry corks breakages and a great deal

of miscellaneous garbage picked over by
covetous dustmen and Salvation Army sneaks
to one review-rid month’s printed ignominy,
the public detection of your decay, that reeks.

From Basil Bunting, Complete Poems, ed. Richard Caddel (Newcastle: Bloodaxe Books, 2000), 107.


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