From his Collected Poems 1941–1983 (Carcanet 1984): Two bits of Martialism:
ProgressAnd the final piece, “Dying”:
Take rhetoric and wring its neck.
Ditto, with anti-rhetoric.
Then, poet, all temptation gone
To fake or posture, wring your own.
Why is your tone so low, so low,
Why is your tone so thin?–
Because I’m playing solo, solo
On a plastic violin.
So that’s what it’s like: hearing them talk still
In a whisper, and letting your love pick up
Crumbs in response from the bare table
Till – there are crumbs left, things to be said
And their voices are audible still and their faces
Clearer than ever – another need
orders withdrawal, silence.
A bad joke, you think, this pretending not to be there –
And are gone, where they will follow.
Going, have punctured the bubble, time,
So that your wide-open eyes insist:
Speak louder, my near ones, laugh, and rejoice.