Vol. 36 No 3-4
Greek Poetry: New Voices and Ancient Echoes
From: Gratuitous Darkness (1989)
Etude for Soprano
Her pointed hat pierces the sky,
touching the angels' underbellies.
A silky, yet hard mistress,
she waits for her lord from the war.
In her sleep she cracks walnuts and feeds the darkness.
She wakes with the dawn, mercilessly beating the maids
for her loneliness. In chapel she stares
at the confessor's toes through
his sandals. She clutches rosary and prayer
to her womb. It was (is) September twenty-seventh
and inside her there's a moon of past loves
and sperm. She went out onto the balcony to sing
- as she did every morning, at around half past nine -
she returns to her chamber, lost in thought.
She puts on a tape with hard rock
and looks at the calendar. Is it 1589 or 1958?
She doesn't know. All she knows is her voice
is in shreds from the drink and the smoke.
Every day she'd say: Now my heart's going
to stop from the pain', but her heart went
like clockwork. Some nights she'd go to the cinema
wrapped in a black cloak. At last she grew tired
of waiting and fell into John's velvet
embrace. During the hours of repose
she'd go down to the cellar and admire
the photos of her knight.
In one, with full armour and sword bared
before a conquered castle.
In another, with white tunic drinking
red wine - the colour of the wine she imagines -
In another - slightly blurred - hunting for deer.
One fine afternoon, she wanted to lie down.
She felt somewhat faint. For the first time she wished
to take off her pointed hat. She pulls it
sharply and with it pulls: her mind,
entrails, moon and voice.
All that remained was an empty body in the shadows.
(History records that she died from pining.)
Translated by David Connolly
- 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