ALL THE CANTS THEY PEDDLE.

All the cants they peddle
bellow entangled,
teeth for knots and
each other’s ankles,
to become stipendiary
in any wallow;
crow or weasel
each to his fellow.
Yet even these,
even these might
listen as crags
listen to light
and pause, uncertain
of the next beat,
each dancer alone
with his foolhardy feet.
    Basil Bunting, 1969

Comments

  1. Going Dotty in Kansas says:

    Ah! I choose to read this as a political commentary. Most enlightening. Thank you, Mr. Hat, and happy holidays to us all!

  2. This made me want to look up recordings of Bunting reading his work: I’m listening to Briggflatts now… found here.

  3. Fabulous! (and I wish you’d post more poetry, because I almost always like your choices and they’re almost always new to me.)

  4. Great poem, and I’ll look up Bunting soon.
    I spent a certain amount of time remembering the word “cant” used in carpentry for some kind of wedge or shim. They might be peddled, but I decided there was no relationship to the poem..

  5. always pleasantly astonished to be reminded how good this stuff is.
    would you believe, incidentally, that it is impossible to buy a copy of anything by Bunting in Newcastle upon Tyne? local poet, published by a local press, and they tell us we’re living in a City of Culture…

  6. urban jim: That’s really shocking.

  7. Ah! Sometimes when you read stuff like this it makes you wince at some, not all, of the boring atrocities (I like the sound of that!) that language and ‘post-avant” poetics have created.

  8. “would you believe, incidentally, that it is impossible to buy a copy of anything by Bunting in Newcastle upon Tyne”
    The last time I looked there was a Carcanet edition of his complete poems in Waterstones (Emerson Building) and a relatively rare copy of his lectures – Bunting on Poetry – in Waterstones (Grey Street). Run before they sell out!

Speak Your Mind

*