The Burial of Lord Byron – Part II

The Burial of Lord Byron – Part IIThe Burial of Lord Byron Part ii

Sails flapped and cracked on mast and spar; bellied
out to whistles, orders, rope
shanties as the florida beat upstream from Gravesend.
Hobhouse thinly filmed in spray, leaned
his forehead on the flag draped coffin as paroxysms
of grief wracked his body.‘no more
to the pugilistic arts at Gentleman Jim’s; no more
to the gaming or the gin parlours
in dandy black coat and dun
breeches with jewelled stock, silver topped
stick to circle and stab,
emphasise each exuberant flight of fancy.
no more ribald cuts at countess
or courtesan or sub voce comment
to the select few on boys. how exemplary
‘chastity’ at home was to give way
in hard beds with sharp insects to a profligate
desire: Corinth, Delphi, Thebes, Athens
and Constantinople, the whole divan replete.
almonds and sugared sherbet, fruit
and sweet meats from a remorseless tyrant
who roasted, massacred, impaled
opponents, exemplified the orient. Greece
in her age of woe, first glimpsed in subjugation
from snow bound passes of Albania.
Annabella divined me, contagion’s link
to past profligacy.You showed her that fair
lock of choirboy hair, presumed female, made
comparisons swimming with brandy and laudanum
through regions of ice humour, pistols loaded
at bedside: “i am surely in hell.”
The taper burning red through curtained marriage
bed: black moods, a raging storm, breaking
and burning, severed all connections except half
sister augusta, soft, gentle, supportive though
incestuous. annabella found your de Sade, now
the logic of her mathematical brain cut
exactly to the equation, your craved
return to that region of unrestricted desires.
about the deck, now laying its head at his feet.

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