Then why it asked my number, I forgot

I tried to put my card in the right slot
Then  why it asked my number, I forgot
The people waiting all began to moan
So I took their picture with my mobile phone.

I’m posting it on Twitter  just for fame
It’s about time I  found  some other folks to blame
I never sign a cheque nor write with pens
As my spectacles have lost their plastic lens.

I sat down on an armchair in the Bank
And  as I did I felt my spirits sink
How will I get money or pay bills?
By the way, I just made 9 new wills.

After I had  used a credit card
I went outside; I felt my morning marred
Then  suddenly  my PIN came to my mind
My face smoothed out and lost those extra lines.

I might have it tattooed onto my arm
An action like the  Nazis might   acclaim
They numbered  Jews of Europe, stamped on them
That was when the countdown was begun.

How they tried to take their dignity.
The Jews recited Kaddish quietly
They praised Lord G-d and thanked him,  giving praise
For G-d is most mysterious in his ways.

The Nazis were the first to number man.
And decorate our arms with numbers, what elan.
But now the government seems very kind.
Or else I’m stupid, mad and  blind

Numbers have their place but we need names
We’re human and live in a larger  frame
Once we were baptised   and  named to G-d
Now we’re numbers so computers hold the Rod.

For numbers need no spelling  like words do
My name is Thornthwaite, morning, how d’ye do?
It’s so difficult to spell it makes men shout.
You’re number 870 nine trillion noughts.

One day they’ll have us microchipped
They’ll herd us into lines with their strong whips.
And as we  read the Fifty Shades we see know
The forest glades are better than Soho.

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Fear of cashpoints

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I forgot the PIN for my debit card owing to trying to hurry and because I’d not used it for 3 months,.I used my credit card.They charge interest from the day you make the withdrawal and it is about 4%.They tried to charge me £25 for cancelling a cheque I had lost within the house until I gave them a choice

1 Take your  £25 and I close my account
2.Cancel the charge

They chose 2

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Geoffrey Hill, a fine poet


From Southport to Sarajevo

“Known as one of the greatest poets of his generation writing in English, and one of the most important poets of the 20th century, Geoffrey Hill lived a life dedicated to poetry and scholarship, morality and faith. He was born in 1932 in Worcestershire, England to a working-class family. He attended Oxford University, where his work was first published by the U.S. poet Donald Hall. These poems later collected in For the Unfallen: Poems 1952-1958 marked an astonishing debut. In dense poems of gnarled syntax and astonishing rhetorical power, Hill planted the seeds of style and concern that he has continued to cultivate over his long career. Hill’s work is noted for its seriousness, its high moral tone, extreme allusiveness and dedication to history, theology, and philosophy. In early collections such as King Log (1968) and Mercian Hymns (1971), Hill sought “to convey extreme emotions by opposing the restraint of established form to the violence of his insight or judgment,” according to New York Review of Books critic Irvin Ehrenpreis. “He deals with violent public events. … Appalled by the moral discontinuities of human behavior, he is also shaken by his own response to them, which mingles revulsion with fascination.””


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Sometimes that hot waiter never boils

There’s a black  mark in the kitchen on the floor
It’s cracking with the weight of  fatal thought
I tried to get if off  with vinegar

On my kitchen, I  have got no door
But Penguin  books   about  what peasants ate
There’s a black  stain in the kitchen on the floor

I’ve got Palestinian olive oil
Oranges from Haifa, lemons bought
I  made a dressing with  wine vinegar

I  have eggs from morganatic whores
And fish enjoy their roes, which they don’t ought
There’s a black  cat in the kitchen on the floor

Sometimes that hot waiter never boils
If he’s  tipped I’ll write with him,  I hope.
I  insulate my   food with bugged cigars

Do you ask a  woman if she’s coiled?
Do you invade others in turmoil?
There’s a  sweet man in the kitchen by the door
If he’s Jesus, tell him all  and more.

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The triumph of love?




By Geoffrey Hill.
82 pp. Boston:
Houghton Mifflin Company. $22.

Geoffrey Hill’s ”Triumph of Love” is a book-length meditation on ”the fire-targeted century” now ending, an elegy for everyone who has burned. I say elegy, but in fact the poem is a carnival of literary kinds: it incorporates schoolboy gags, theological excursuses, radiant landscape pictures, mock litanies, epigrams, London music-hall routines and seething political satire. Hill rapidly shifts from one mode to the next as he proceeds through the poem’s 150 separate sections, some of which are as short as one line, some as long as a page and a half. The poem’s aim is to honor faith and innocence as embodied in victims of historical violence, above all the European war dead and the Jews of the Holocaust. It is an aim Hill has kept before him almost continuously since ”For the Unfallen” was published in 1959, the first of his eight books of poems. Always an exquisitely, even excruciatingly self-conscious poet, he now turns on himself with fresh intensity, interrogating his aims and means even as he defends them. One of the poem’s parodic voices (a stand-in for a public that would prefer to forget about its debts to the dead) wonders, ”What is he saying; / why is he still so angry?” The uncomprehending question is its own reply.

Hill’s work has always been difficult, a resistantly private art weighted with literary allusion. ”The Triumph of Love” is no exception, but there are ways into it, and Hill’s engagement with past literature is always a means of reflecting on public life. The title refers to the first of the Italian Renaissance poet Petrarch’s ”Trionfi,” a series of allegorical processions that describe the preparation of the poet’s soul to meet God. Hill’s poem is penitential too, but it lacks Petrarch’s allegorical machinery and the consolations of Christian doctrine that come with it. There is no climax to its agonized mental action, no definite promise of relief. Late in the poem, an impatient reader, schooled in Renaissance literature, breaks in: ”So what about the dark wood, eh? / When do we come to the dark wood?” Listing the names of World War I battle sites, Hill retorts:

We have already been sent to the dark
wood, by misdirection: Trones, Montauban,
High Wood, Delville, Mametz. We have been there,
and are there still, in a manner of speaking.

The forests of World War I are more real than the dark woods of literary tradition. We are still lost in them because we have not yet, as a culture, come to terms with the killing that was done there, and we allow it to go on elsewhere. It is a powerful claim. Hill no sooner makes it, however, than he qualifies it, reminding himself and us that the point is rhetorical, something true ”in a manner of speaking.” The next section begins: ”But only in a manner of speaking. / I was not there, nor were you.



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