William Blake ‘Nebuchadnezzar‘
He goes missing again, this beast of a thing
Inherited from Blake (who got him
From God knows where( – and I cannot rest
Until I check he is safely back.
He always hear me enter, knows
I will come straight to his glass quarantine –
For I swear he is almost human
As he stares at me, appalled and appalling.
If I turn away, he howls,
Invents some escape, leaps out at me,
“Demands the lead, and like some mad guide dog
Hurtles me to his own destinations.
I hold my end gladly at first
For in this place sight is not enough
And he alone has the sense and license
To slobber paint, worry the sculpture.
He sniffs out Gwen John, remembering
The fine bones she barely bothers to hide,
And the taut leather binding us
Transmits the thrills of his nostrils to my brain.
Nebuchadnezzar is ripe today –
Rubs up against Stubbs, shamelessly races me
To Dame Barbara, reclining,
Tongues the orifice, mounts her.
I break them apart, and his frustrated energy
Drags me to every last lamp-post
In Salford, to Chelsea, and on the Cookham
Where he ups the swans.
Distracted by some high call
Far beyond any human register,
He stops short, delicately nosing the excrement
Of the recently arrived.
This is more than I can take in one day –
Grab at his verminous hair
To shake the living daylights into him
As I head through the revolving door.
But he will not let me go, moves in on me
To dog my days, disturb m nights,
Disappears again, leaving only his stare
Scorched here on my white paint.