3&4 - 1976/77
A Fifteenth Century Triptych
1. Johannes Ockegheim
A Scandinavian Airlines DC9
whines over in the mist, courting the one
chance in a million, touching earth on time.
There's no danger looking at the sun today,
it's white like a new coin. And in the silence
I press a switch — no not a ghost
but fear and recognition across five
centuries. You cry out against
the black lake, obscura tenebrarum.
A space where even electricity fails.
Last night I dreamt of cancer in the thigh
and the terror of an absent-minded surgeon's knife.
2. Hieronymus Bosch
The screen crackles. A Cambodian family
still-life: caught in a shell-blast.
The damned always outnumber the saved.
Nothing moves, the camera's rock-steady.
Hell is all surface, torture by colour,
an eternity of eyes that can't close.
A marvellous statement of the obvious
is what you painted, knowing the ocean depth,
like the subconscious, is all law and order.
I press a switch and the screen is blank again.
I still have pre-electric dreams.
I am a wooden saint tortured by cracks.
3. Robert Henryson
Sub Specie aeternitatis,
a reading lamp like a prison searchlight.
Humanity feeling its way along a wall
inside of hell? outside of heaven?
Your universe has a double tongue, speaking
of the winter behind a sweating judge's brow.
'Rycht marvelous a cockle multitude' —
the mare, the swallow, the solitary saved,
true outsiders. A hand from the dark
swivels the light in my eyes: confess! confess!
I waken. The light's been on all night.
Now in the morning it hardl
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The