Basil Bunting


A strong song tows

us, long earsick.

Blind, we follow

rain slant, spray flick

to fields we do not know.

Night, float us.

Offshore wind, shout,

ask the sea

what’s lost, what’s left,

what horn sunk,

what crown adrift.

Where we are who knows

of kings who sup

while day fails? Who,

swinging his axe

to fell kings, guesses

where we go?

Theme of Coda

'Coda', a latin term meaning tail, is defined as a concluding part of a literary or dramatic work( What Bunting is trying to get at in his poem is how poetry can send the reader back to past memories or even to some historical periods and events. That is talked about in the last stanza when the poem talks about kings.


Basil Bunting was a person who was not afraid of expressing himself. Born in 1900, he was around for both world wars. He protested the first and was arrested and put in jail for doing so. Then ironically served as a translator in the second war. He was married twice and had four kids. The death of one of his sons was one of the main inspirations for his poems. His poetry often includes dense, short lines with deep meaning. Most of his major poems were written later in his life. He was born in Northumberland and lived all over the world; he was a professor in California, worked in Paris, and even worked in Persia for the British government. He died in 1985 at the age of 85.

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