Monday, 24 November 2014

Months: December

The poems for March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November in this sequence were posted on 24 February 2014, 21 March, 20 April, 24 May, 20 June, 29 July, 29 August, 27 September and 25 October.


The shortest day. Men slumber heavily,
Rising belatedly from their own must;
The brief hours pass in twilit lethargy:
How bitter is the sharp air’s Hades taste.

The flint church broods among its dead, their stones
Slewed beneath burdensome ivy; wind wreathes
The graveyard, polishing to corpse-grey tones
The folded frosty grass and ice-thin leaves.

A stark oak with its heart’s-vein branches bears
A derelict nest like a wart; below,
The densely-armoured holly, dour, outstares
The swart yew at whose trunk no plant will grow.

Among the graves a barrel-chested robin
Chides the rummaging blackbirds. At sundown
Magpies in the frost-hung willow come mobbing –
Their clatter stilled by mist fading to fawn.

A yelping bark: a watchful fox appears,
Scabby-brown and thin. A house-fed tabby
Sneaks to safety. A man with cold-pinched ears
Considers the pocked stone of a tomb, webby

With rotted bindweed. Ah, the dead will shiver
Tonight! The sun, apricot-small, resiles
Beneath roofs. Ice-film drifts in the river.
What fraught silence, what darkness; bead-hard frost fills

Hollows. In such nullity, how will birth
Force passage through the stiff, refusing earth?

© December 2012

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

A Thought in the Sistine Chapel

World-weary Michaelangelo
Harrowed the Sistine Chapel with
Maelstroms of the Christ-Apollo;
His blatancies of the flesh-fork
Angered dewlapped clerics who wrought
Correction, daubing veils of stuff.

Pope Benedict, enswathed in gold,
From the Sistine throne taught depth-dark
Truths, his face alight with a cold
Mosaic clarity. His warted
Cardinals shifted hams and doubted,
Seeking relief in whispered talk.

Be it the Florentine upon
His scaffold or Benedict at
His beads, those who have thought or done
Great things are wrecked in solitude:
So Dante, exiled, ate his food
On other men’s stairs and raged at that.

© May 2013