Basil du Toit

Basil du Toit

Born in Cape Town in 1951, Basil du Toit has been living in Edinburgh since 1980 and sees himself as an increasingly Scottish poet. His poems have appeared in Poetry Review, Stand, New Writing Scotland and Flora Poetica, The Chatto Book of Botanical Verse.

‘A gathering of smart poems, sophisticated in their spot-on phrasings, their elegant formal designs, and their clever ironies. A few of these acutely musical poems belong in an anthology titled 'Best All-Time Sexy Poems'

- Billy Collins



There is surely a faint olfactory foreshadowing

of death in the bodies of the very old;

the organs inside are sweating with decay

and giving off that odour of confinement,

that fungal smell of furred strawberries

and things forgotten at the back of the fridge.


Old skin is going off, has gone bad,

and is blackening with cankers to that effect,

but that premonitory whiff of putrescence

comes from deep within the autumnal lapse

of this creature – it has started to turn,

to go sour on itself, to thicken in its liquids.


Only the driest and most minimal linen

can offset these tendencies (nothing can halt them)

and the most rationed and scrupulous diet

and constant bowel-rinsing in the Ganges

and a hard bed and the works of Milton

and a dry lifestyle, a very dry lifestyle.


Titles by this author


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