All the Poems of Muriel Spark
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Available at last are all the poems by one of the twentieth century's greatest British writers, Dame Muriel Spark: "a true literary artist, acerbic and exhilarating" (London Evening Standard).
In the seventy-three poems collected here Muriel Spark works in open forms as well as villanelles, rondels, epigrams, and even the tour de force of a twenty-one page ballad. She also shows herself a master of unforgettable short poems. Before attaining fame as a novelist (Memento Mori, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), Muriel Spark was already an acclaimed poet. The "power and control" of her poetry, as Publishers Weekly remarked, "is almost startling." With the vitality and wit typical of all her work, Dame Muriel has never stopped writing poems, which frequently appear in The New Yorker. As with all her creations, the poems show Spark to be "astonishingly talented and truly inimitable" (The San Francisco Chronicle).
used to be one,’ said Samuel Cramer. ‘How you’ve changed!’ said the girl at the desk, ‘You’ve done well for yourself, it’s clear.’ ‘The manager, please,’ said Samuel Cramer, ‘I haven’t a notion who you are.’ And the girl at the desk replied, ‘He isn’t here. Don’t you know La Fanfarlo the dancer?’ ‘You’re the worse for the wear,’ said Samuel Cramer, ‘My bed’s got bugs.’ And the Fanfarlo replied, ‘I’ll bump them flat for you But no francs, please. We like dollars here.’ ‘Nothing doing,’
were questioned. We answered. We reached our objective. We enjoyed the trip. Then we came back by a different way. And now the people are demonstrating in the streets. They say they don’t need the Kings any more. They did very well in our absence. Everything was all right without us. They are out on the streets with placards: Wise Men? What’s wise about them? There are plenty of Wise Men, And who needs them?—and so on. Perhaps they will be better off without us, But where do we go
concerning Samuel Cramer, who woke before the morning. ‘Whatever’s in my nostril is an element No different from the mist I cannot see through, And the same as a mouthful of sour condiment, As it might be a cold white slab for my pillow. In all I hear the siren vigilant: Far away the fog must be on the river, But where am I?’ cried Samuel Cramer. ‘The cloud, the taste, the smell, are feverish fancies; The touch and the sound are past all reasoning; For now I see a row of slender
Stared out of the window where there was The new moon like a pair of surgical forceps With the old moon in her jaws. And in there came a bandage-roll And a bottle of germicide, And they had bound the loose bones On the narrow benches laid. The second day, a bell rang; Then each to each called out, ‘I fear that there’s no dying here But I shall rip your throat.’ And filament from ligament were parted When in there came a roll of bandages And a little bottle of disinfectant To bind
hour. The knitting tangled, bound both necks askew, And from this loggerhead a spiral grew From which the sister-heads peered forth to pry— What cards? All six coiled there, finally. Set in a formal knot and inextricable, Two died beside the door, four at the table. How brave these darlings, and how marvellous That all their lovely necks should mingle thus. Thus twined it was in death they coincided Who always in their lives had been divided. Chrysalis We found it on a bunch of grapes