541 - 26 July 1680

he got news of his death - in the thunder
and heat of July or the spent candle
and black window of the moon - a wonder
that he survived his hate. the clock handled

the time beyond him then - at a pace
that held silence to its promised pause.
dark imposed timelessness and a place
where nothing was distinct except the floors

inferred by sense. or had the fevered spot
been lit New Style in the shrivel and swell
of August - by moon to float a grot ?
the boatman from his Bible argued well.

a draught through the open window breathed -
whether black moon white moon gave it leave.

Woodford Halse
23 July 2021

John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester again, the satirical poet I have written about before. He had written at Tunbridge Wells on 29 February 1676 that he had received news of his own unhappy death and burial and that he was resolved to live on in “spite”.