The Anathemata

Keel, Ram, Stauros (continued)

Did he walk the water-lanes of the city from east of Bridge Within, by Dowgate and Vintry to Farringdon Without.

Walking the nine river-fronting divisions of the city3 

of cities all, per se

and flower of towns4 

did he hear them say

when will you pay me?

(or had they not yet grown rich?)

when might that be?

when might that be??

I do not know!

I do not know!!

I do not know what time is at

or whether before or after

was it when

but when is when?

All that we do know is

that from before long ago he

sailed our Mori Marusam.a 

David Jones notes

3 Nine of the twenty-six wards of London have river-frontage.

4 Cf. Dunbar.

‘London thou art of townes A per se

. . . art flour of Cities all.’

additional notes

a Mori Marusam: see DJ note 1 to next page.


‘but when is when?’ seems to sum up the feeling of fluid asynchronicity that pervades the whole of The Anathemata. Often we don’t know either, so we can make it whenever we want (or the poet wants — which may be different, of course).

semantic structures