division is of course a vague one -
There are several cross-references between the texts in these different sections - like the poems
The Starfarer's Dispatch and The Clone's Poem that later on became the lyrics of Hawkwind's song
Spirit of the Age.
Calvert frequently used his poetry as song-lyrics and performance material - and vice versa...
Poems / lyrics & texts that appear as links are featured on separate illustrated pages -
Robert Calvert considered himself first and foremost as a poet - with
or without sound/music - period. And that was despite the fact that he
was known throughout his life as a R`n R muscian - who did some brilliant
lyrics...(but hey, who cares about lyrics in rock music anyway...)
Calvert himself referred to this public misconception from time to time
- as you can see on the QUOTES
pages - where you will also find more infos on several of the works
that appear on the following pages.
Being an artist
with a talent for words AND music and always keen on mixing them,
it's of course hard to draw a distinctive line between these territories.
This process started very early on, when Calvert became Hawkwind's
'resident poet' in the early 70's, reciting his poetry to the band's
sound-collages - some of these poems also appeared later in his first
collection of poetry entitled Centigrade
After Calvert's departure from Hawkwind in `78 Calvert conceived various shows that consisted of a mixture of sketches, stand-up-comedy, recitations of his poetry and songs from his solo-albums & recordings with Hawkwind - exploring how far he can take the audience in this unusual but always witty and inspired mix of contemporary poetry- and rock entertainment. A selection of those texts can be found HERE.
Some Sketches of a Hand
Swing - flash-animation
Buster Keaton and the Virgin Sperm Dancer - illustrated & sound-file
for a conception card
Lady with a Looking Glass
The Day We Hunted Birdsong
Fountains in the Park
First Landing on Medusa
The Starfarer's Despatch
The Clone's Poem - illustrated & sound-file
Ode To A Time Flower
The Naked and Transparent Man Gives Thanks
Refusal to Mourn the Removal, by Surgery, of Two Benign Tumours
A Letter of Complaint to the Council
Fly on the Screen - flash-animation
Centigrade 232 - illustrated & sound-file
Churchill's Secret Rock Deal
The Red Baron Regrets - flash-animation
Voodoo Child - flash-animation
the legend of ezra pound - flash-animation / must read
Fahrenheit 451 - illustrated & sound-file
The Earth Ritual
- illustrated + sound files
Dynasty - illustrated + sound
[ i.e. an unreleased song/reading by Calvert ]
- flash + sound files [130
In the Egg - flash-animation
Ten Seconds Of Forever - illustrated + soundfiles + java-applets
Welcome To The Future - flash-animation
You Can Rely On
[ a truly visionary + must-read piece of writing - Calvert's invention of a futuristic mega-trust
this representation includes flash-animations/sound ]
[ two of Calvert's late heroes - Noel Coward and Jimi Hendrix - in heaven... ]
3 short prose-texts
[ from the early 70's - originally published in the legendary FRENDZ magazine ]
8 Days a week
[ a one-week diary from 1967, when Calvert had just rejoined Hawkwind
- originally published in the Melody Maker 2.10.76 ]
[ more infos on Calvert's first novel - incl. the final chapter of the book -]
[ a monologue - incl. sound-files - released here for the first time -]
The Star that Played with Laughing Sam's Dice
[ a stage-play focused on an incident during the time Jimi Hendrix spent in the army -]
a (lost) stageplay project on Brian Jones and Donald Crowhurst
[ infos on Calvert's plans for this play on two men who drowned under strange circumstances ]
Test Tube Baby of Mine
[ a black comedy on genetic engineering - a synopsis, photos, excerpts from the play -]
I must have accidentally tripped the switch that turns the stillness on.
When the stillness Of the beginning Was shattered By the word A fragment of it Fell to the earth. It tried to make A home for itself But could find No resting place For long. It stumbled At the roots Of a liars tongue But was soon Spat out. It lived For an instant In a murderer`s hand. It lingered At the fingertips Of a thief. For a time it hung At the edge of war By clinging To a shrug of peace Which soon gave way. A politician juggled it So much in his speech That if fell, almost Senseless to the ground. Later a small boy Who was about To stamp on an ant Got it stuck To his shoe and had A moments trouble In shaking it free.
1. Outstretched like this the palm Does not give much away To one unversed in palmistry. It could just as easily Slap a face as receive a gift. It was a hand, much the same As this, that spun the first wheel. 2. Solid, compact, as good For propping As for uppercutting chins: It was a fist, similar to this, That upheld the first thinker's head. 3. This opposing tackle is the secret Of the hand, its key. That makes It possible to grip. Depress A hypdermic's valve. Hitch a lift. Flick pages. Signify that all is well. It was a thumb like this Sent Christians to the lions. 4. This index could be pointing To your guilt, or the way To the public lavatories. A finger such as this Could pull a trigger Or pick a nose. 5. For a creature that only has one head One pair of hands seems quite enough.
Seeing that I still had eight more stops To go, and already read The maps and advertisements from end to end, And studied my own double- Eyed, four-eye-browed freak Of a reflected face for far too long; I took To noticing another. Through a kind Of snooker-shot of glances Aimed against the glass, I could see her Staring; but could not be sure If it was at me. I smiled, And saw her turn to speak To someone next to her. I also turned: And unexpectedly our eyes engaged For just the instant that it takes for looks To rocket through the tunnels Of an unguarded gaze, and arrive At the real self. Badly shaken With embarrasment, we both looked back At our images: safely imprisoned In the hurtling stillness of the glass.
for a conception card
She casts her eyes, like pebbles, into the pool of the mirror's stillness and stares and stares at the rippling image until her gazing trails like a net to haul the illusion of her looks. She looks out of the mirror at herself looking in. And catches little wriggling smiles then releases them to the silver of freedom
Where he'd got it I didn't ask, I was so knocked-out to see it: Double-barrelled, loaded with risk; A real shot-gun. 'Shall we try it?' Humpo said, his screwed-up lenses X-raying me for cowardice. Humpo lived for taking chances. Keep away, was my mum's advice. I followed him to Romney marsh. The gun was in a fishing-case Tied to his cross-bar. 'What's the rush?' I yelled, legs aching, 'S'not a race'. We hid our bikes in leaves and went On foot till we found a clearing. 'Bet you've never been on a hunt,' He said, in his voice for lying. I watched him open up the case The same cold way he gutted fish, Or fingered girls. He held the prize Of dented metal threat to flesh. I looked after the cartridges, While he broke the barrel to load. Thick sedge thrived along the edges Of the lake. And the birds sang loud. Then, without warning, Humpo fired Both barrels off. 'C'mon, let's get!' I croaked in panic. 'No-one heard', Said Hump, 'don't be such a pratt'. He froze, one finger raised for hush, Tilted eyes gone strangely vacant: A snap-shot trapped by Agfaflash. 'Hear the birds?' he whispered; 'I can't'.
These fabulous statues That speak an everlasting Cascading word; That declaim and endless torrent Of parabolic utterance; That spout Without regard: Are blind and deaf And ever in mid-speech.
The bloated sky has burst at last And now the air is teeming With these Arctic spores. They waste No time. By early morning They'll have grown a new world To explore. Craterless, still gleaming From creation's mint. An undefiled Planet: Until the houses loom Like some invading fleet of brick-walled Space-craft, come to stake its claim.
This house Is washed up On a mountain Of rain. The night Has made us Famous. All around Huge microphones Are being tested And flash-bulbs Blind our windows.
I'd rather the fire-storm of atmospheres Than this cruel descent from a hundred years Of dream, into the starkness of the capsule. Two of our crew still lay suspended, cool In their tombs of sleep. The nagging choirs Of memory, the lenghts of tube, and wires Worming from their flesh to machinery I would have to cut. Such midwifery Is just one function of the leader here: Floating in a sac of fluid dark, a clear Century of space away from Earth. One man stared from the trauma of this birth Attentive to the tapes asssuring him This was reality, however grim: Our journey's end. The landing itself Was nothing. We just touched upon a shelf Of rock selected by the Automind. And left a galaxy of dreams behind.....
Full waking took us days to realize. Adjusting to the newness of our eyes We stayed inside, performing simple tasks. Hardly speaking, faces set like masks. Until the time came round for us to set The first feet on this world, to get Our samples and erect all the instruments. A barren planet, but to all intents Another Eden opening its gates For this chosen few who'd outslept their fates. Anonymous, identical, in our suits We entered the air-lock. My weighted boots Would be the first to touch this unknown stone. I led some distance, then I felt alone. So I turned. And saw that the others were Standing still. I radioed to make them stir. But got no answer. So I waved my arm. But they still stood as though a stoning charm Had taken hold. I made my slow way back And found each man had frozen in his track. I hammered my gloved fist on visor-plate. And pulled at pressure-padded arms. A state Of utter trance had overtaken all my men. My mouth felt dry. My fingers stiff. And then....
I would have liked you to have been deep- Frozen too, and waiting Still as fresh in your flesh For my return. But your father refused To sign the forms To freeze you. Let's see you'd be, what, About sixty now. And long Dead by the time I get Back to Earth. My time- Suspended dreams were full Of you as you were when I left. Still under age. Your android replica Is playing up again. It's no joke. When she comes She moans Another's name.
Did heedless Eve
think twice before she broke
I find, as my fingers reach to grasp,
Your gleaming head to wrench from its tall
Transparent stalk, they refuse to clasp.
As did Pandora's eager hands hold still
At the thought of the box containing ill.
Or the stoned explorers of Medusa stall
For time, not entered in their log,
Before they dared the petrific fog
That holds them still in its timeless thrall.
********* a nectary
Amid the folding of all greenness left I give my thanks whole-heartedly, for life. For this vermillion tapestry, warp and weft Of the blood vein's fabric. It's threads are rife, Conspicuous; easy-meat for knife Or microbe and the many ills that kill. And yet stubborn and abundant still. With ruins of ages around me, strewn Like wreckage of an unsuccessful probe Among the craters of a wasted moon, I extend my thanks for this living robe And its pulsing weave, to the moth-holed globe, And unravelling, almost threadbare sky Of the failing sun under which I lie.
No, I will not think of you Laid out under lamps: the glare Of eyes, above white bandit- Masks, all trained on you; your flesh Cut back and held by clamps, while Instruments investigate; Your pale, blue-veined breasts both touched With expert vermillion Openings, like two lip-sticked Mouths, smiling, one on either Side, a vision of Magritte's. I will think of something else And smoke a continuous Cigarette. I will only Think of the surgeon's pencil- Marks, you wore the night before, As a fading endorsement. For readmission to some Orgy, a eunuch doorman Applied to your breasts as you Stepped outside to take the air. I refuse to think of you Asleep beneath the breathing - Mask of a black Ganesha: Your trunk sucking oxygen; Your eyes gone in; under more Dazzle than this scarred page's Angle-poise. I will not mourn Your imagined death, for the taste Of tears. I will only think Of the morning, when I'll come With grapes and flowers to rouse You from your anaesthetic Shell; to unwrap and open The shy kiss I shall give you; When you lie in albumen- Coloured sheets: As exquisite As though you were newly hatched
There is nothing more obstinate than this Primadonna of precision pens. Neglect it for a while and it will hiss at your attempt to make amends By scratching at the page without a sign Of the eloquent arias of its line. Take it to the nearest sink, unscrew, and let its pent-up blackness flood: A sudden massing of all you drew; A burst of murdered dragon's blood. Watch, as it merges with the water: plumes Of squid's secretion; of octopus fumes. In a while of soaking, the hollow nib Should free itself of clotted ink. And reassambled, be just as glib. And nimble as the speed you think. It took me less than a minute-and-a-half To write this, with my Rapidograph.
From nine in the morning Until five in the evening He worked in the office: Sat at a desk with a telephone, A typewriter, and a bottle of pills. When the telephone rang It meant that he had To pick up the receiver and say hello. When the typewriter rang It meant that he had to shift It's carriage from the left to the right When his head rang It meant that he had to take a pill. One day he found That owing to a fault In the ventilation system The only intake of air For the whole department Was through a hole in his desk. He toyed with this for a while, Placing his Roget's Thesaurus over the hole, Observing, with pleasure, The effects of air-withdrawal On the rest of the staff. (Their faces turning faintly blue). And not being one to miss a trick Next morning he turned up for work With a wad of chewing gum And an aqualung in his briefcase.
Whatever you do, don't mention politics, said his manager. Show them how you can twitch your jowels. Make a V sign like you just don't care. O.K.? O.K. They sat and listened to the tapes in the A & R department's quadrophonic office. No-one looked at anyone. They tapped their feet, and watched the spools of the Revox turn. I like that track about fighting on the beaches, said the man from promotion. Reminds me of Blood, Sweat, and Tears. I think we should have a lyric sheet. He did the cover design himself, his manager said. It's a landscape in Morocco.... Ah. Well, we'd rather have a photograph of him in the homburg and crombie, with a big cigar. That's the image We're going for. O.K.? O.K. O.K? O.K. And we'd like to put: Never Before in the Field of Human Conflict out as a single, if you'll do the remix we suggest. Right. Right? Right. Then why don't we go down to the rail- way carriage and sign the contract? It's a pleasure to do business with you Mr. Hitler.
Fahrenheit 451 - illustrated + sound files
On a hard night of rain the road was full Of glaring eyes alive in the headlights. I thought of demons as I slowed. Winding the window down, I saw them all Blindly staring; rows of frogs with their throats Fizzling song. The green digits glowed Like ghosts on the dashboard; the cassette played A Bartok string quartet. I turned it down And heard the rain`s deep drum on the bonnet. The wipers were on slow and ticked Like an instrument payload on the moon. These bags of bone are scaled lemmings, when it Rains like this you find they have treked Into the headlights´ tunnel and are blocked Up inside their falling walls of brightness. Not long before they were pupils gazing From the complex vision of spawn - Now, in all this dark and rain, they are eyes Again: targets threaded out on a string To face a double - barelled dawn. I wondered how many my wheels had mown As I got out of the car, taking care Not to tread on any of these soft buddhas. I herded them back to the mud - To who on earth knows what jaws lurking there, Then, with the feeling perhaps a god has, Knowing his motives to be good, I got back in the car and hit the road.
Dusk, and a worm with a wound In its side had fetched Up out of the earth to die On the altar of a crazy- Paving stone; a sacrifice To the trodden sun. The forsythia shifts its druid Robe of leaves, breathing A mystique of green. The wound is a bulge Of pink, like a blood- Shot eye: like a perished Inner tube peering through A buckled wheel`s rip. It is The budding sphere of a new sun That these curling agonies Of contraction are Labouring to give birth to. Beginning with this runic U It will, in time, spell out Whole alphabets of writhing Calligraphy for rescue to The indifferent sky - as it pumps Itself in all directions Away from the suction Of the hole. The loam Brown business end, coiled To a point in its silver Wire, would seem to be Wriggling towards independence Like a spiral on metal Shaved from a lathe. I lifted This whole kinked and twitching H.G. Wells monstrosity Back of the Beowulf blades Of the earth, and left It to its long untying Of the knots of the air. Meanwhile, the spiders continued To submit their latest designs For the wheel, or filaments For an everlasting sun - Until it grew too dark To lip-read anymore, these swollen Ulcered mouthing of soil.
He was so dozy he`d never Recognize the neat backs Of heads he`d trimmed once a fortneight, Let alone the same red faces That exchanged bursting looks From out of the mirrors in front Of his chair; so we`d follow him When he was on his bike, With its Victorian adverts For The End of the World And hurl our insults. "Holy Joe! Holy Joe!" was, usually, enough. He`d thrust his prophet`s beard at us, His patched trousers flapping Out from his cycle-clips, his eyes Blinking like scissors - and dismount, One daring aboy would dash Behind and pull the handle bars; Crashing the bike onto its side. We`d aim our kicks and run Before he had time to straighten Himself into a threat: "Holy Joe! Holy Joe!! But when Our haircut time came round we`d sit Head bowed, in the chair while he preached And snipped for a shilling A throw. (Our mums would always carp About the five bob we needed Now the price of haircuts Had gone up again); but we went, Cold-necked, to the fish shop, itchy- Backed, with our exorted Change; and later smoked our Woodbines With vinegary fingers: No longer sure how close The end of the world was at hand.
The pose they hold is the pose Of the robot: arms bent down And elbows out; trailing those Wires that could fry a town - With their x-rays of a frown They frighten away the crows. In skeletal regiments Along green fields they link Cat`s-cradles of filaments, Draw, with inedible ink, A map of how robots think: In straight lines, with no nonsense. All across the changing sky Stretch electric washing lines Where the clouds ar ehung to dry - Passing closed down mills and mines On their way to neon signs, Humming, humming merrily.
w. sound files - 130k]
more lyrics from the Hawkwind periods and Calvert's solo-projects to be found on the LYRIC pages.
the Egg - flash-animation
I would see the city as a mutant among the wonders of the world.
I would map the cities' highways and tunnels and bridges,
Its clever networks of pipes and cables and wires under the streets.
Then I would wage war against this city as if it were a living body. I would welcome the night - sister of my skin, cousin of my shadow, and have her shelter me and help me in my battle.
I would lift the steel lids from the brothers and drop explosives to
the black factories
I would wait for the midnight storm which whips the streets and blurs
I would visit the rich, and the comfortable, and the un-aware,
Then I would run to the highways and speedways that surge forward towards
And in the morning I would go to sleep,