Brian Swann

April 19, 2013 Swann Brian


in memoriam Basil Bunting, 1900-1985


At this beat-up plywood slab across the beat-up

chest of maple drawers, each day I am writing

my own epitaph since I’m past my sell-by date,

and today I remember Basil telling me as we sat

overlooking the Tyne valley at Wylam how

in the Sudan they put down men at seventy

and eat their women as soon as they become

grandmothers.Too late. Too bad. I’ll have to be

my own sarcophagus though maybe I could move

to Tibet where he said they chop you up and

leave you on a mountain top for vultures, “sky burial”,

but as we sat sipping the Red Label I slipped

past Sima, watching a train worm its way from

one side of England to the other, a seagull

flew over and shat on his shoulder. “That’s

good luck,” he said as he wiped it off with

a tuft of grass and tossed it down the hill.

Brian Swann’s most recent poetry collection is SUNDAY OUT OF NOWHERE: NEW AND SELECT POEMS (Sheep Meadow Press,2018). Other recent books include Companions, Analogies (poetry, Sheep Meadow Press, 2016) and Not the Real Marilyn Monroe (fiction, MadHat Press, 2017) and HUSKANAW, (novel) from MadHat Press, 2022.