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Brian Patten

Death is the only grammatically correct full stop...

Brian Patten in Schoolboy (1990)Report problemRelated quotes
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Nor the Sun its Selling Power

They say her words were like balloons
with strings I could not hold,
that her love was something in a shop
cheap and far too quickly sold;

but the tree does not price its apples
nor the sun its selling power
the rain does not gossip
or speak of where it goes.

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I have changed the numbers on my watch

I have changed the numbers on my watch,
And now perhaps something else will change.
Now perhaps
At precisely 2a.m.
You will not get up
And gathering your things together
Go forever.
Perhaps now you will find it is
Far too early to go,
Or far too late,
And stay forever

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One Another’s Light

I do not know what brought me here
Away from where I’ve hardly ever been and now
Am never likely to go again.

Faces are lost, and places passed
At which I could have stopped,
And stopping, been glad enough.

Some faces left a mark,
And I on them might have wrought
Some kind of charm or spell
To make their futures work,

But it’s hard to guess
How one person on another
Works an influence.
We pass, and lit briefly by one another’s light
Hope the way we go is right.

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Party Piece

He said:

'Let's stay here
Now this place has emptied
And make gentle pornography with one another,
While the partygoers go out
And the dawn creeps in,
Like a stranger.

Let us not hesitate
Over what we know
Or over how cold this place has become,
But let's unclip our minds
And let tumble free
The mad, mangled crocodile of love.'

So they did,
There among the woodbines and guinness stains,
And later he caught a bus and she a train
And all there was between them then

[...] Read more

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Gust Becos I Cud Not Spel

Gust becos I cud not spel
It did not mean I was daft
When the boys in school red my riting
Some of them laffed

But now I am the dictater
They have to rite like me
Utherwise they cannot pas
Ther GCSE

Some of the girls were ok
But those who laffed a lot
Have al bean rownded up
And hav recintly bean shot

The teecher who corrected my speling
As not been shot at al
But four the last fifteen howers
As bean standing up against a wal

[...] Read more

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The innocence of any flesh sleeping

Sleeping beside you I dreamt
I woke beside you;
Waking beside you
I thought I was dreaming.

Have you ever slept beside an ocean?
Well yes,
It is like this.

The whole motion of landscapes, of oceans
Is within her.
She is
The innocence of any flesh sleeping,
So vulnerable
No protection is needed.

In such times
The heart opens,
Contains all there is,
There being no more than her.

[...] Read more

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In Tintagel Graveyard

Who brought flowers to this grave?
I, said the wren.
I brought them as seeds and then
Watched them grow.

No, said the wind. That's not true.
I blew them across the moor and sea,
I blew them up to the grave's door.
They were a gift from me.

They came of their own accord,
Said the celandine.
I know best. They're brothers of mine.

I am Death's friend,
Said the crow. I ought to know.
I dropped them into the shadow of the leaning stone.
I brought the flowers.

No, said Love,

[...] Read more

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The Newcomer

'There's something new in the river,'
The fish said as it swam.
'It's got no scales, no fins and no gills,
And ignores the impassable dam.'

'There's something new in the trees.'
I heard a bloated thrush sing.
'It's got no beak, no claws, and no feathers,
And not even the ghost of a wing.'

'There's something new in the warren,'
Said the rabbit to the doe.
'It's got no fur, no eyes and no paws,
Yet digs further than we dare go.'

'There's something new in the whiteness,'
Said the snow-bright polar bear.
'I saw its shadow on a glacier,
But it left no pawmarks there.'

[...] Read more

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The Day I Got My Finger Stuck Up My Nose

When I got my finger stuck up my nose
I went to a doctor, who said,
"Nothing like this has happened before,
We will have to chop off your head."

"It's only my finger stuck up my nose,
It's only my finger!" I said.
"I see what it is," the doctor replied,
"But we'll still have to chop off your head."

He went to the cabinet and took out an axe.
I watched with considerable dread.
"But it's only my finger stuck up my nose.
It's only a finger!" I said.

"Perhaps we can yank it out with a hook
Tied to some surgical thread.
Maybe we can try that," he replied
"Rather than chop off your head."

[...] Read more

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