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David Sylvian sings
of the waterfront - of memories
that remain,
haunting his mind like the shadow that walks
through Wilfred Owen's Shadwell Stair, the place
of sexual longing where daring souls - Jean
Cocteau was one and, from Belfast,
clad in a diaphanous gown, the Countess
of Athlone - would go
looking for sailors, most mysterious
of men, accustomed as they are
to all the moods of infinite
loneliness - the Waterfront.
If all longing is a
longing for God, here God
is dangerous. Here flesh
both cool and firm becomes
ghostly, as the hard shapes
of the wharves and the slaughterhouse give way
to the sea - to all that
oil-slick colourful
emptiness. And why should God,
Who is everywhere, not
be there? as the ghosts
open up to each other in all their
radiant loveliness? There is a
fulfilment there, a
revelation - Max
Jacob dixit. I, however,
watch from a distance.
Ever the voyeur.