“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland)

Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin

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17 December 2012

I HAD A SOUL - A HYMN FOR NEWTOWN

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I had a soul


I had a soul.
I took it through milkshed and byre,
tussock and thistle, ragwort and bog
with a burlap sack on my head for the drizzle.
With me it watched the blackwood hewn
and the underground tank surrender its muck
to bucket and shovel,
till all was strewn on grass so green
it really needed to be seen.


I had a soul.
With me it watched the poddy-calves drop
from the neat plop of the axe-back
and the steam rise from their opened flesh
as their gizzards writhed alive, still digesting.
It flopped with me on soft fresh hides
and the fleas in the hay of the barn,
with brothers swinging on the beams:
everything was what it seemed.


I had a soul.
They flayed it over communion wine
and tortured it with hymns exhaled through trembling wattles;
pious old throats filled with the holy spit
and sanctimonious halitosis.
I fucked that soul off across the gaping graves:
kinfolk and kindred who did no harm,
young whose souls some other bastard claimed.
I carry their husks home in the rain.



Philip White


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yeah?
I still have one Whitey........
Moderate this you faithless vain and treacherous cocksucker.