Two alternative Westminster Bridge Sonnets



Earth hasn’t anything to show more fair,

so pay attention.   Flick back the curtains.

slip back the duvet, contemplate my nakedness,

my open mouth, the precincts of my temple.

Still time to study my exquisite indifference,

my eyeballs twitching beneath the lids

in rapid variations indecipherable

as an ascending diver’s spume of bubbles.

This is the beauty spot, the gentle sniper’s nest,

the view from the bridge between sleeping and waking,

and this is the moment to play the immortal.

An hour from now I’ll be occupied.  Occupied?

Hell, roads will be jammed across the capital.

Ringtones, Drivetime, A-Zs.  Wakey Wakey.


Michael Donaghy

(note how each thought-phrase bleeds and alters the next, so personal busy-ness becomes a city militarily occupied, then re-transformed into quotidian noise. The poem is located deep in zen territory)


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