Tessimond can’t be said to have developed as a poet in any clearly discernible way, and it’s not easy when reading his posthumously published poems to decide which is early, which middle and which late. All seem buoyed up by his wit and curiosity and compassion; this is especially surprising given that in middle age he developed severe manic depression and underwent extensive electric shock therapy.
And here are two Tessimond poems quoted in the article, both of which I like:
Letter from Luton
Bored, malevolent and mute on
A wet park seat, I look at life and Luton
And think of spittle, slaughterhouses, double
Pneumonia, schizophrenia, kidney trouble,
Piles, paranoia, gallstones in the bladder,
Manic depressive madness growing madder,
Cretins with hideous tropical diseases
And red-eyed necrophiles – while on the breezes
From Luton Gasworks comes a stench that closes
Like a damp frigid hand on my neuroses,
And Time (arthritic deaf-mute) stumbles on
And on and on and on.
In that cold land
Ghosts do not kiss, or, if they kiss, they feel
Ice touching ice, and turn away, and shiver;
But there as here, perhaps, we still can steal
Quietly off, and talk and talk for ever.