To John Wilmot, the Earl and rake


In the libertine cloisters

Of a dead King’s shrine


Steps echo on stone

To the ringing of time


Here I know I will find you

Friend and foe of the King

When the stretching of years

Is sucked in


By the might of these walls

To a knot in my chest

And your face and your words

Brought to breath in my breast


And your shade will appear

In the cloisters of old

Robed in red and white silk

With a book in your hold


And your right hand performs

The theatrical task

Of expressing your work

Whilst not spilling your glass


Of the spirit or ale

That each stanza-end sips

With a four-letter word

And half-smile on your lips.


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