Badly Chosen Lover (1963)

Rosemary Tonks

Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Links On

Criminal, you took a great piece of my life,
And you took it under false pretences,
That piece of time
— In the clear muscles of my brain
I have the lens and jug of it!
Books, thoughts, meals, days, and houses,
Half Europe, spent like a coarse banknote,
You took it — leaving mud and cabbage stumps.

And, Criminal, I damn you for it (very softly).
My spirit broke her fast on you. And, Turk,
You fed her with the breath of your neck
— In my brain’s clear retina
I have the stolen love-behaviour.
Your heart, greedy and tepid, brothel-meat,
Gulped it, like a flunkey with erotica.
And very softly, Criminal, I damn you for it.

Learn more about the language of this poem in the
Oxford English Dictionary:

Turk