AG: So – has anybody got any..? What other.. Some more..some more (John) Skelton
Anne Waldman: There’s a wonderful.. Do you know “Phyllp Sparowe ?
AG: What part of it is good?
Anne Waldman: The part with the list of the birds, which you could probably…
AG: Could you read it? Do you know it well enough to read it?
Anne Waldman: Well, I don’t know if I could do it, maybe..
AG: Does anybody knows Skelton well enough to read aloud?
Anne Waldman: I can read this part.. This is a poem about a dead bird , and there’s a mass and all the other birds come…
[Anne begins reading, with occasional corrections from Allen – ” soft warbelynge” (Allen corrects to “softly warbelynge”) (“The dotterel, that folyshe foolish pek”) (partyche) (“whystell”) – (chowgh) – ( “To weep with me like that ye come,/All manner of byrdes in your kind/Se none be left behind”…” The mauys with her whystell…”
Anne Waldman (following correction) : Maybe you should read it, Allen
AG: Yeah, no, I just follow along. I never read it before, it’s very pretty.
Anne Waldman (resumes reading ) : “… Shal rede there the pystell/ But with a large and a longe/ To kepe iust playne songe” … ” May there abyde/ Of cokoldry syde/ Or els phylosophy/ Maketh a great lye” – Very beautiful!
AG: Pretty, isn’t it – I’d never read that. I have that here in the Auden anthology too.
Student: Who’s the author of that?
AG: That’s Skelton. All Skeleton. These are all Skeltonics.
Anne Waldman: To Phyllp Sparowe
AG: It’s a long poem called “Phyllp Sparowe” by Skelton
Peter Orlovsky : What is “cokoldry”? cokoldry? – cookery or colkery? – what is that? – The last line? – ” cokoldry maketh no lie”?
AG: ” Or els phylosophy/ Maketh a great lye”
Anne Waldman: ” Or els phylosophy/ Maketh a great lye”
AG: Or else Philosophy maketh a great Lee – Philosophy Maketh A Great Lie
Student: The title again?
AG: The title. It’s a long poem. The one I have.. the version I have here called “Phyllp Sparowe” takes up about.. god, about from page three-seventy-one to four-thirteen in this anthology, done in that rhyme, a really great thing, done in that rhyme. I’ve never read that through, actually but…
Anne Waldman: Killed by a cat.. The sparrow’s been killed by a cat
Anne Waldman: An elegy about a sparrow. It belonged to.. I’ve forgotten the name of the woman it belongs to…
AG: The next long poem of Skelton’s he has in here is called “Speke, Parrot! ” .. Skelton. Very birdy. Lots of birds in Skelton. Bird-chirpings..
from “Phyllp Sparowe”
To wepe with me loke that ye come,
All manner of byrdes in your kynd ;
Se none be left behynde.
To mornynge loke that ye fall
With dolorous songes funerall,
Some to synge, and some to say,
Some to wepe, and some to pray,
Euery byrde in his laye.
The goldfynche, the wagtayle ;
The ianglynge iay to rayle,
The fleckyd pye to chatter
Of this dolorous mater ;
And robyn redbrest,
He shall be the preest
The requiem masse to synge,
With helpe of the red sparow,
And the chattrynge swallow,
This herse for to halow ;
The larke with his longe to ;
The spynke, and the martynet also ;
The shouelar with his brode bek ;
The doterell, that folyshe pek,
And also the mad coote,
With a balde face to toote ;
The feldefare, and the snyte ;
The crowe, and the kyte ;
The rauyn, called Rolfe,
His playne songe to solfe ;
The partryche, the quayle ;
The plouer with vs to wayle ;
The woodhacke, that syngeth chur
Horsly, as he had the mur ;
The lusty chauntyng nyghtyngale ;
The popyngay to tell her tale,
That toteth oft in a glasse,
Shal rede the Gospell at masse ;
The mauys with her whystell
Shal rede there the pystell.
But with a large and a longe
To kepe iust playne songe,
Our chaunters shalbe the cuckoue,
The culuer, the stockedowue,
With puwyt the lapwyng,
The versycles shall syng.
The bitter with his bump
The crane with his trumpe,
The swan of Menander,
The gose and the gander,
The ducke and the drake,
Shall watch at this wake;
The peacock so prowde,
Bycause his voyce is lowde,
And hath a glorious tayle,
He shall syng the grayle;
The owle, that is so foul,
Must helpe va to houle;
The heron so gaunce,
And the cormoraunce,
With the fessaunte,
And the gaglynge gaunter
And the churlish chowgh;
The route and the kowgh
The barnacle, the bussarde,
With the wilde mallard;
The dyuendop to slepe;
The water hen to weep;
The puffin and the tele
Money they shall dele
To poore folke at large,
That shall bw theyr charge;
The semewe and the titmouse;
The wodcocke with the longe nose;
The therestyl with her warblyng;
The starlyng with her brablyng;
The roke, with the osprey
That putteth fysshes to a fraye;
And the denty curlewe
With the turtyll most trew
At this Placebo
We may not well forgo
The countrynge of the coe:
The storke also,
That maketh his nest
In chymneyes to rest
Within those walles
No broken galles
May there abyde
Of cokoldry syde
Or els phyylosophy
Maketh a great lye.”
[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately sixty-seven minutes in and concluding at approximately seventy-two-and-a-quarter minutes in ]