Augustus Young       light verse, poetry and prose
a webzine of new and unpublished work


Invitation to a Voyage 
After Baudelaire

My sister, life,
think how sweet
to live together
loving at leisure,
loving and dying,
in a land resembling you!
The liquid sky
mists the sun
as softly
as your eyes unveil
their mystery
behind bright tears. 
Beautiful as it should be,
luxe, calme et volupté.
The furnishings
polished with the years
lighten our room,
and exotic flowers
mix their perfume
with the ambiguous
scents of amber,
richly ornate ceilings,
infinite mirrors,
the gorgeous East,
all speak to the soul
in the secret language
of childhood,
Beautiful as it should be,
luxe, calme et volupté.
Moored in the quay
the vessels sleep
dreaming of the elsewhere
they have voyaged
to satisfy your desires.
The setting sun
redresses the fields,
the streams, the town itself
with hyacinth and gold,
the world sleeps
in a warm light.
Beautiful as it should be,
luxe, calme et volupté.
La Ronde
Quand le soleil se couche les poissons mangent.
Quand les poissons mangent les pêcheurs les attrapent.
Quand les pêcheurs les poissons attrapent
leur familles les mangent le soir,

puis vont s’endormir jusqu’à le soleil se lève
quand les poissons du jour gardent le jeûne, ou se mangent
l’une et l’autre. En plein soleil, c’est le bonheur.
Sonnet for Walter Benjamin
After Brecht 
All that I ask of you is that you stay put,
and blather on as usual. I won’t listen.
Though I’m not deaf to the human condition,
always alert to the stamping of a foot.
I hear what you’re saying when you grow quiet,
and share the darkness till the light in your eye
comes back, and it’s agreed to never say die.
In the silent watches of the northern night
the moon clears behind the running clouds. You dream
of better times. I must bring you back to earth.
The ‘now’ is where we’re at for what it’s worth.    
Nursing wounds isn’t a matter of hygiene.
And amputations aren’t necessary for us.
We’re a plural force. Time heals without a fuss. 
A Night with Roberto Bolano
Sometimes I think my life has been a great success.
I can almost touch the stars. It’s an illusion.
I scratch the poll of my head, and tap it. Madre,
it isn’t much fun being me in a hurricane.
The afternoon is clear for the tea-dance with the rum.
When the compère praises my two step, I’m not fooled.
The tannoy crackles with the whispers of whitecoats.
Violence in the air, my rhymes aren’t up to much.
But that’s poetry for you, Buttigieg. Keep in touch.
Thumbing the Leaves
I won’t be reading another book by Vargos Llosa.
There are other doors in my library that have closed too.
‘So life reduces us incessantly’, says Jorge Luis Borges.
Or should it be ‘death’? Does fear make me reorder the phrase?
But there’s a reasonable chance that one day I will live
to read again the Sportsman’s Sketches by Ivan Turgenev.
After Baudelaire
‘Anywhere, but here.’ Edgar Allan Poe
Life is a hospital where the sick are possessed by a desire to change beds.  One would like to suffer behind the stove, another thinks he would recover if he were near the window.
It seems to me I’d always feel better where I am not. The question of changing where I am is one I discuss incessantly with my soul. 
‘My poor chilly thing’, I say. ‘What would you think of moving to Lisbon? It’s warm there and soon you’d be as frisky as a lizard. It’s a city on the water, built of marble and the people hate vegetation so much they uprooted all the trees. There’s a place to your taste, pal. A prospect of mineral perfection with water to mirror the light.’
My soul says nothing.  
‘Since you’re fond of peace and quiet as long as you have something to observe, maybe Holland would make more sense? You’ve seen all the pictures in the art galleries. Or Rotterdam? You who love forests of masts and ships moored right beside the houses.’  
My soul remains silent.
‘Bavaria? European but wedded to an exotic beauty.’
Not a word.
‘My soul, are you still there? Or too numb to enjoy even your misery? If so, we must go to somewhere that isn’t dead. Let’s pack our bags for Torneo or the further reaches of the Baltic. Somewhere far away from life. We could set up house at the North Pole. The sun barely touches it, day and night are the same, and so total monotony dwells there. It’s the other side of Nothingness. There we can plunge ourselves in darkness while, from time to time, surfacing to note the aurora borealis, a roseate wreath which mirrors itself like fireworks in hell.’
At last, my soul explodes, and cries out, ‘Anywhere, but here’.    
Tailback in Le Perthus
The superstores vomit out
carrier bags of fags and booze.
Look down from Fort Bellegarde.
Sunblinks leap from car to car.
The stunned serpent of traffic
is static. Hannibal’s    
elephants once crossed this pass,
in Indian file, diadems winking.