“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)





17 January 2012



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,
til 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 blow of the axe-back
and the steam rise from their opened flesh
as their gizzards writhed alive, still digesting.
It flopped with me on their soft fresh hides
and the fleas in the hay of the barn,
with brothers playing in 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



Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr White.


One of my great memories, if not one of the saddest, will always be reading this very poem out at the funeral service of my friend. Thank you for letting me, and another friend, do that.