I love you, rotten,
I love to suck you out from your skins
So brown and soft and coming suave,
So morbid, as the Italians say.
What a rare, powerful, reminiscent flavour
Comes out of your falling through the stages of decay:
Stream within stream.
Something of the same flavour as Syracusan muscat wine
Or vulgar Marsala.
Though even the word Marsala will smack of preciosity
Soon in the pussy-foot West.
What is it?
What is it, in the grape turning raisin,
In the medlar, in the sorb-apple.
Wineskins of brown morbidity,
What is it that reminds us of white gods?
Gods nude as blanched nut-kernels.
Strangely, half-sinisterly flesh-fragrant
As if with sweat,
And drenched with mystery.
Sorb-apples, medlars with dead crowns.
I say, wonderful are the hellish experiences
Dionysos of the Underworld.
A kiss, and a vivid spasm of farewell, a moment’s orgasm
Then along the damp road alone, till the next turning.
And there, a new partner, a new parting, a new unfusing
A new gasp of further isolation,
A new intoxication of loneliness, among decaying, frost-cold
Going down the strange lanes of hell, more and more
The fibres of the heart parting one after the other
And yet the soul continuing, naked-footed, ever more vividly
Like a flame blown whiter and whiter
In a deeper and deeper darkness
Ever more exquisite, distilled in separation.
So, in the strange retorts of medlars and sorb-apples
The distilled essence of hell.
The exquisite odour of leave-taking.
Orpheus, and the winding, leaf-clogged, silent lanes of hell.
Each soul departing with its own isolation.
Strangest of all strange companions,
More than sweet
Flux of autumn
Sucked out of your empty bladders
And sipped down, perhaps, with a sip of Marsala
So that the rambling, sky-dropped grape can add its
Orphic farewell, and farewell, and farewell
And the ego sum of Dionysos
The sono io of perfect drunkenness
Intoxication of final loneliness.