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Commentary on "The Vision of Enjoyment"

This poem elucidates the very pronounced attraction that its author has to the ugsome. This is a pity, because the first two stanzas are unquestionably of considerable beauty. We might then ask, why must the author always pervert and corrupt everything that his pornographic pen comes into contact with? The answer to this question is not simple, but we may, possibly, connect certain distasteful acts in the poem with the author's rather less than completely pleasant childhood. For example, when he was seven, on holiday at his uncle's farm in Dorset, the farmhands forced him to watch while they committed unnatural acts with dairy cattle in the milking shed. Similarly, his nurse, nurse January, understood by a "daily bath" of her charge a rather disgusting abrasion of his entire body with various substances: oil, baked beans, rice pudding, broken glass, etc. She was later fired - even Danny's parents felt that she had "gone over the top" in leaving him once in a bath of quick-setting cement. Indeed, we may wonder that the damage caused to the youthful Henrey was not more severe. As for the Gauloises-smoking devil, this undoubtedly refers to a later stage of the author's life: a malignant evil curse that affected adversely not only Danny, but quite a sizeable proportion of Trinity M.C.R. One can only guess at the full extent of the horror that this walking corpse, this livid, putrefied satanic mockery of the human form wrought on his impressionable mind. The only comfort to be derived - and this is no comfort at all - is that the creature also had a disturbing affect on others: particularly, and poignantly, on innocent young virgins, who this monster would ruthlessly pursue, deigning to rob them of both their virginity and their blood supply. This is not a pleasant topic to discuss, so I shall leave this to one side until we perforce are made to resurrect it in our analysis of "He walks in darkness" (CH).