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Showing posts from December, 2018
33. Winter train in Thüringen (region in former East Germany)
First posted in a Dutch version, December 2018

In its decline, the sun rolls along the rim of the hill.
Strokes her shoulder and side
down into the thigh
of the valley, where
in the rounding of the rill
she draws her glistening.

Shabby, decrepit, crippled remains of factories, beaten,
slink along the track,
incongruous doggerel.
Broken timber frame, cracked ribs,
the fill spills out. Cadavers
overwhelmed by graffiti.

The grid of the forest stutters the light.
Vertically, a red wall, a bony birch, empty, deserted, a church.
Horizontally, a dark sweep of earth, decked
by white that no longer melts,
hardens in the fall of  frost.
Light ripened to orange,
burning to purple.

The sun topples over the ridge.
A slight of light that lingers, glitters still, high
above the dark below, reflected
on lines of jet exhaust.
Pipe the sleeves of sky,
illuminated, pink, converge
on the horizon, point to the fall.
32. Deposition (painting by Rosso Fiorentino, Volterra)

Four men point, call out, with much ado, push and shove,
clumsy in this craft, not used to this,
precarious, hustle Him down,

heavy with the burden of sin. A man on the side wrings sorrow
from his eyes. A lad looking out
of place, why me, why here, what’s this,

holds a ladder, face away. A man who climbed up,
wobbly, to assist, looks away,
trembles, in fear or in lament.

Magdalena kneels, sunk deeply in folds of red, clutches the knees
of Madonna, held from a swoon. The colours
glory supreme, no matter what.
31. Diplomacy
Gaga with their glamour the plenipotentiaries congregate
to make a demarche.

Procession of forward a step and backward two, imperceptible to all not in the know,
nod yes to negation, confound affirmation.

Stiff in back and upper lip, they treasure the slack that language allows, to perform
a pirouette on points of standing.
30. Seminar on Krakmaro (Island off the coast of Stockholm)

Basalt bulges through the dress of green: there she lies in sea of cobalt sheen.

Swallows twirl the twilight, lack of dark. Yesterday I heard the song of a lark.

Clamber over wind-sanded rocks, In the linger of light that cheats the clocks.


At every turn the sea appears, when across the shrubs the view is clear.

Wooden houses stand on toes of sturdy rock, outreach any snow.

Waiting in rooms, at the top of the stairs, hang prim portraits of imprinted forebears.

Grandmother’s lace draped on the chairs, graces the presence of wealthy heirs.

Standing apart in the studded land leans an old latrine, with carvings by hand.

Hallowed by a tattered print of Christ,
ruminating above the pit of shit.

In a barn the scholars discuss, huddled in shawls,
against the whirl of wind that howls,

whistles through the slits of their wits.
29. Atlas unmoved
Ponderous deliberation, aging men, sedate, but playful in conserving the game,
cuddling their spoilt little words.

Polished but weary from endless tugs of war, they piffle the ripples,
still waters of balanced power.

Astride their horses, unaware that the merry go round has come
to a halt, the power turned off.

The committee is a haven, a lull, away from the bother, of wife
and pushy young people still intent

on moving the world, still hunting to kill riding the drive, to prove their skill,
the ritual pride of manhood unleashed.

The old dogs say little, but enough to show their status and consummate skill, parading the
shine of a burnished view, guarding their honour.

Sort out the lighter weapons, rig the regalia, armour cliché,
and if by some mishap it does get rough,

they withdraw to the never failing stratagem of further consultation, a select committee.
Atlas did not move either while he carried the world.