Where is the word that I have heard
in Sarum by the sea?
I’ve searched for miles and years and yet
that lyric escapes me.
‘Twas neither noun nor adjective
that boggled my poor brain,
‘Twas neither a conjunction nor
pronoun that caused me pain.
It was a modifier of a
strangely regal speech
Such as the sages spoke (when they
did fin’ly deign to teach).
The song to which it must belong,
it dances on the tongue,
And tastes like boiling honey
if too long the song is sung.
It wanders in its wailing and
eclipses its subject,
Until at last the fabled thing
from that damn throat projects.
A million times in memory
I hear him sing that psalm,
Its sting in dreams unnaturally
acute and thus prolonged.
The adverb that described the way
I could not let it go
Was perfectly pronounced
And yet its meaning I don’t know!
There is no dictionary for
This loathsome elocution,
Just a rhyming madness
Without hope of restitution.

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