Anglosaxon Street

Original Text: 

Earle Birney, David and other Poems (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1942): 14-15.

1Dawndrizzle ended dampness steams from
2blotching brick and blank plasterwaste
3Faded housepatterns hoary and finicky
4unfold stuttering stick like a phonograph
5Here is a ghetto gotten for goyim
6O with care denuded of nigger and kike
7No coonsmell rankles reeks only cellarrot
8attar of carexhaust catcorpse and cookinggrease
9Imperial hearts heave in this haven
10Cracks across windows are welded with slogans
11There’ll Always Be An England enhances geraniums
12and V’s for Victory vanquish the housefly
13Hoy? with climbing sun march the bleached beldames
14festooned with shopping bags farded flatarched
15bigthewed Saxonwives stepping over buttrivers
16waddling back wienerladen to suckle smallfry
17Hoy! with sunslope shrieking over hydrants
18flood from learninghall the lean fingerlings
19Nordic nobblecheeked not all clean of nose
20leaping Commandowise into leprous lanes
21What! after whistleblow! spewed from wheelboat
22after daylong doughtiness dire handplay
23in sewertrench or sandpit come Saxonthegns
24Junebrown Jutekings jawslack for meat
25Sit after supper on smeared doorsteps
26not humbly swearing hatedeeds on Huns
27profiteers politicians pacifists Jews
28Then by twobit magic to muse in movie
29unlock picturehoard or lope to alehall
30soaking bleakly in beer skittleless
31Home again to hotbox and humid husbandhood
32in slumbertrough adding sleepily to Anglekin
33Alongside in lanenooks carling and leman
34caterwaul and clip careless of Saxonry
35with moonglow and haste and a higher heartbeat
36Slumbers now slumtrack unstinks cooling
37waiting brief for milkmaid mornstar and worldrise
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

© the Estate of Earle Birney. This poem is protected by Canadian copyright law. RPO is grateful to Madam Justice Wailan Low, the executor of Earle Birney's literary estate, for permission to publish. Anyone wishing to reprint this poem must seek permission in advance from the Birney estate.