Samuel Beckett's Dublin

When it is cold it stinks, and not till then.
The seasonable or more rabid heats

Of love and summer in some other cities

Unseal the all too human: not in his.

When it is cold it stinks, but not before;

Smells to high heaven then most creaturely

When it is cold. It stinks, but not before

His freezing eye has done its best to maim,

To amputate limbs, livelihood and name,

Abstracting life beyond all likelihood.

When it is cold it stinks, and not till then

Can it be fragrant. On canal and street,

Colder and colder, Murphy to Molloy,

The weather hardens round the Idiot Boy,

The gleeful hero of the long retreat.

When he is cold he stinks, but not before,

This living corpse. The existential weather

Smells out in these abortive minims, men

Who barely living therefore altogether

Live till they die; and sweetly smell till then.

by Donald Alfred Davie

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