Phaedo ‘Ersatz’ Thessaloniki 1953

Slim volume of poetry from Francis King archive.

Ersatz. (Phaedo) Privately Printed, Greece, 1953.Large 8vo. Wraps. pp 30 (unpaginated). Greek and English texts. Possibly anonymous or the author's name is there in Greek (which is Greek to me.) Presentation copy: 'To Francis King with thoughts/ Phaedo. Thessaloniki 12-5-1953 A. D.' The last 10 pages have the author's slightly angst ridden but amusing poems in English. 300 copies. Signed again on second page. From the library of Francis King (4 March 1923 - 3 July 2011), acclaimed novelist, poet, critic and editor. President Emeritus of International PEN and appointed  CBE in 1985. He came out in the 1970s and wrote the novel 'Yesterday Came Suddenly' in 1993, after the death of his long-term partner.

Two poems from 'Phaedo'

I Knew an Honest Man

I knew an honest man once
With brown eyes you could look deep in
Not read his thoughts
Or know his mind
But see his clean soul
Touch and love it

Honesty of course
Being something highly disturbing
When not kept within the limits
Of spoken words
He used to wear sunglasses

Yet when we were together
He used to take them off


You know my friend
What is terrible about the dead
Is not that they are dead
It is the infinite times we failed
them - while they were alive

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *