Here we go into another year. See the first post on the year, below, for the details of KPAI and its new pal KPA Reviews and Notices. Please keep sending your previously published poems, as per the instructions in the previous post. I have now used up all the poems sent in 2015 so I am waiting for you to send me some more.
This week we have a group of quiet, philosophical, accepting, slightly wintry poems that range from difficult landscapes to Blake’s invisble worm, a lady’s pearls (painted by Gainsborough), and desire.
Grateful thanks to Dominic James, Anne Connolly, Richard Livermoe, Kat Seidemann, and Allison Grayhurst.
Hearts Ease in Winter
Late in the winter night,
all of my neighbours quiet,
I hear underneath our homes
the hum of a great,
warming the street lights’
Did some get in my eyes?
My eyes are burning. I’d choose
two drops of Oberon’s
purple flower, known
to some as Heartsease,
by an arrow-head
newly riven, fresh
pinched-in-to, veined petals
squeezed between thumb and metal:
a drop on each lid could,
in a robin’s flight,
with glycerol wet,
restore my view
of Love’s forgotten quarrel.
Although the days are cold,
begun in long-drawn hours
of yellowed windows,
two drops of Heartsease
on my scalded eyes
would awaken me
to a sky near Athens.
First published The Dawntreader, Winter 2012/13, Indigo Dreams.
“The Honourable Mrs Graham” by Thomas Gainsborough.
This silver gown is exquisite.
See how he has caught the sheen,
but what a time he took to paint
my pearls. His work is very fine
and the man knows quite well
my husband will be satisfied
that I am wearing them with pride.
The artist claims they are the price
of small irritations. Oysters ooze
their soothing milk to no avail
and divers seek their opulence
in strange seas. He says they glow
translucent like the curve of my neck.
If he were not a painter I would call
his words impudent but each day
he strives to capture me somehow
so I must bear this strange intimacy.
His sable brush caresses; I hear it sigh,
whisper, soft as the feather plume
he will resume in detail tomorrow.
First published in Love-in-a-Mist, Calder Wood Press 2011
Deviation from a theme of Blake
the rose is sick, and will get well
only if it doesn’t send
the devil-worm back into hell;
only if the rose can lend
an ear to hear the silent worm
which it was apt to smother
by calling on the violent storm,
can the rose recover.
first published in The Divine Joker, diehard 1994
Old man —
Your white fleece has marked you
with time’s swift lip prints—
your kiss good bye.
No matter how fastidious your grooming
nor how strong is your heart
your placid days are limited.
You have us to thank for this)
You amble pale, glossy floors
passing or meeting
other slick silvered brethren
all destined for demise.
As hoarfrost carpets thaw
your journey becomes tremulous.
Should you leave your bitter home
in search of sustenance or succor
avoid wandering near us,
you bring us terror–
reminding us of our own frailty
and our responsibility
for your quickened end
We trespass and hope to plunder
the precious inheritance
hidden beneath your frosty floorboards
while you still exist —
but out of sight and if possible
out of mind.
Forget your glamour, your grace,
your fine adaptability, forget
the ferocious care of your young.
Accept that the ground is no longer
stable beneath your pace.
Allow yourself to slide into
the torrid waters of your last days.
You have us to thank for this.
first published in literary and arts journal Clamor (2011)
does not come
like tolerance, learned,
worked for. Withstanding
cruelty, dry lips,
wild pain, it grows larger
than love and God and grows
until all gestures reveal it.
Secretly in the shade of devotion,
it rages. Crouching behind churches and
stairwells, it tongues its drug sweeter
than touch. Burns the stomach, starves
the heart of faithful riches.
When it comes it has no error
nor the unanchored presence
When it comes, it comes riding,
circling like nightfall
the soul’s great yolk.
This poem “Desire” was originally published in print in 1995 in “Drift, Issue #82”.