Gavin Ewart(1916-1995)

Love Song

You've got nice knees. Your black shoes shine like taxis. You are the opposite of all farting and foulness. Your exciting hair is like a special moss, on your chest are two soft medals like pink half-crowns under your dress. Your smell is far beyond the perfumes at parties, your eyes nail me on a cross of waiting. Hard is the way of the worshipper. But the heart line on my hand foretold you: In your army of lovers I am a private soldier.

Sonnet: Dolce stil novo Esercitazione Letteraria

That woman who to me seems most a woman I do not compare to angels--or digress on schismatic Popes-- or exalt above the terrestrial or consider a madonna. Nor do I search in others for her lineaments, or wish for Death to free me from desire, or consider Love an archer; or see her as a Daphne, fleeing the embraces of Apollo, transformed into a laurel. I am not lost in the amorous wood of Virgil. But although I do not rhyme or use the soft Italian, my love is a strong love, and for a certain person. Human beings are human; I can see a man might envy her bath water as it envelops her completely. That's what my love would like to do; and Petrarch can take a running jump at himself--or (perhaps?) agree.

On Seeing a Priest - Eating Veal

(from New Statesman, 14 August 1964) Put down that calf, thou Man of Flesh, Put down that veal, thou Bloody man, God's creatures are the wheels that mesh, And He will eat you when He Can. Unfrock thyself, thou Man of Blood, Thou art but meat, and so are these, And have been since before the Flood: Go down on thy unbasted knees, And ponder on Eternal Fires And battered fish and slaughtered lambs. Restrain thy animal desires, Be cured - or God will smoke thy hams!

Dream of a Slave

I want to be carried, heavily sedated, into a waiting aircraft. I want to collapse from nervous exhaustion. I want to bow my head like Samson and bring down with me the top ten advertising agencies. I want to see the little bosses vanish like harmless fairies. I want the pantomime to be over, the circus empty. I want what is real to establish itself, my children to prevail, to live happy ever after in this world that worships the preposterous. It is better to be a scribe than hacking at the salt mines, heaving the building blocks. Everybody wants to be a scribe. But I want out. I want non-existance. A passive dream, a future for my children.

Office Friendships

Eve is madly in love with Hugh And Hugh is keen on Jim. Charles is in love with very few And few are in love with him. Myra sits typing notes of love With romantic pianist's fingers. Dick turns his eyes to the heavens above Where Fran's divine perfume lingers. Nicky is rolling eyes and tits And flaunting her wiggly walk. Everybody is thrilled to bits By Clive's suggestive talk. Sex suppressed will go berserk, But it keeps us all alive. It's a wonderful change from wives and work And it ends at half past five.


The love we thought would never stop now cools like a congealing chop. The kisses that were hot as curry are bird-pecks taken in a hurry. The hands that held electric charges now lie inert as four moored barges. The feet that ran to meet a date are running slow and running late. The eyes that shone and seldom shut are victims of a power cut. The parts that then transmitted joy are now reserved and cold and coy. Romance, expected once to stay, has left a note saying gone away.


Lord I am not entirely selfish Lord I am not entirely helpish O Lord to me be slightly lavish O Lord be in a minor way lovish Lord I am not completely bad-mannered Lord I am not a crusader, mad-bannered O Lord to me be quite well-disposed O Lord to me be calm and composed Lord I am not a dog downed and to-heeled Lord I am not thick about what has been revealed O Lord you have it in your power to hurt me O Lord in your odd way please do not desert me