Wednesday, May 18, 2022

A Townswoman's Cloak


The vase would be for the yellow sun-streaked

daffodil, its brilliant bouquet untold

in hues, Wales aristocracy of gold

under the watch of Gothic castles, meek

out of gentle song of a thousand trees

next to black international velvet.

Where the spires rise to the morn’s fiery stealth

the ink drawing can scarcely describe me

as I am now, my hair white, my eyes bright,

I am in waiting as the country’s sight

is just out of reach too. The stone upon

stone of Caernarfon and Harlech’s dim light

seeping out from walls within walls and tide

waters brimming far away dreamy shore.


There is light in this vase of yellow-born,

like the sun streaming across the miles, bold

and high cliffs, isolated nature, old

red sandstone,  rugged cliffs battered by storms,

wild grass hosting a long Skokholm haven:

seabirds, in heath and salt marsh, St. John’s wort

rises serene; three-lobed water crowfoot—

with whisper of dew on ancient heaven.

In the grassland there are the tree mallow,

small nettle, sea campion—the guillemots,

chiffchaff, willow warblers, common whitethroat,

over mudstones and Red Maris. Fallow,

the linen of the garment lay in knots,

and the seamstress laboured at the new cloak.


With yellow dress now tied at her thin waist,

lace enamel lapping at her pale sleeves,

the ties drew back the bodice, and the lea

glistened from beyond her locked garden gate.

Ghostly was the sound of rabbits footsteps,

quietly the dawn transpired its gold knock;

the meadow courted her favour, as clock

ticked on and guided her elder years, debt

to those who had shown her guidance, advice

over the years always wise with graying

mentors’s speech, their moment joys and shadows,

until she knelt with sentiment, chastised.

In the will of God: saints—deepest praying—

stone upon stone was an altar hallowed.  


The moor, grasslands and coast, rife with curlew:

eerily they call, and townspeople lift

their heads—shaking at the suicide rifts

which rise to sky and echo; almost rue

their grey feathered existence were they not

shrieking a blood-chilling eloquent call,

frightening as Eden’s vine at the Fall,

her austere fertility entwined brought

images of fruit and flow’r to the mind,

along with temptress of the gnarled tree,

where pressure from the dark side stormy, breaks

down walls of the imagination-kind.

Pecking in the mud with icy curved beaks

each curlew contrasts Snowdon’s snow-flaked peak.

Emily Isaacson



Photo used by permission: Armstreet Clothing Company