Death of Katherine Mansfield

These cows’ loud smell
Is their garments’ hem
An antique peasants’ cure—
So says Gurdjieff,

Who made the other patients
Build this balcony for me—
A gallery of wood that juts
Above the stable floor.

If only I climb up here,
Breathing deeply daily weekly—
Simply pump this green gas
Through my crumbling lungs

Then I’ll be healed;
Reborn, perhaps—a crocodile—
(Or so I read: the only beast
God built that never coughs…)

What God? Where? I wonder if—
Is God Gurdjieff? My god
He looks like he sells day old
Rugs in Portobello Road!

I know: his so-called “Russian”
Is a bag of broken bones—
And every time you say his name,
You sneeze—

But I’m a drowning man now—
Can’t be ill another year.
One look or word from him will
Bake my bloody breath to bread.

The smell’s not that rank really—
Almost sweet (or, rather, fresh)
And a monkey’s being trained
To sweep the stalls;

A nearly-famous painter’s
Easteregg’d my walls, besides:
A nursery-rhyme garden of aquamarine—
Tree ripe with hippos & cats!

(Nicer to stare at than cow’s behinds.)
And o it does get stale up here
And all this breathing in & out—
I’d never guessed what raw work living is…

But a divan’s been provided
And I lie down quite a lot—
And speaking as I was of rugs:
It’s covered with a Persian one—

Quite ugly—but it’s real
So I think I’ll take it with me when I go.

(Mark 5:25-34)