To Be or Not To Be
The Wolf at the Door
The Tale of the Dragon and the Rogue
A Second Advent?
The Devil Does Not Plough or Delve
A Curled Up Man Homo in se curvatus
A Winter Tale
The Early Cocks – Get Slain

To Seamus Heaney

Its very name spells warning (when you touch it
the spit from your finger not to peel off with your skin)
and a threat with weight (get out of me way or I strike you)
while the stout missus swings it rekindling
through its gappy teeth the mouthfuls-embers
(that were previously placed in its mouth
with a poker – like when force-feeding poultry –
directly from the gut of the scalding furnace)
as the priest swings the censer with a threat
of a curse much more daunting if you don’t cross yourself…

But a different fetor was spreading from this iron-fay
while the one hand was polishing the clothes
and the other was sprinkling holy water on them:
smoke prickly from the smouldering coals and vapour
from the water frothily coughed out of the pump,
or from the graded soap not washed away from the linens
blown out by the hasty wind on the drying string,
although before that fairies with a flail beat them
on a rock, or rinsed and washed them in troughs
(so that female acrobats could fold them on a trapeze?)

As if a galley with a monster head on its prow
is breaking through dusky brume above bayou
and from the oars, almost invisible from the quick swings
and the scattered foam, the pulleys are sparkling
(poor galley-slaves, with blisters on their palms!)
and instantly they ignite the ends of the dry sedge
which drop and gurgle in the water – Greek fire,
or a procession of dusky torches with tar fumes?

The steam train from the blue train would parade like that
smoothing brotherhood (so it would not turn into fratricide)
through Potemkin fences from slogans, flags and uniforms,
and then they would open the remaining oesophagus
so it could belch smouldered dross and ashes –
its scary mouth is wide open now like
a museum fossil of an antediluvian dragon –
there it is polished with soot on a shelf! –
while once it was a vestal of an eternal fire.

2018-08-21T17:22:49+00:00 March 5th, 2012|Categories: Poetry, Blesok no. 82|0 Comments