How vast the verdant air seeped to the crux
of cathedral close, rising innocence
as Westminster Abbey’s purple incense
catapults sun into a sky of doves.
They fluttered, blotting golden light still blush,
and with their wings they heralded a new
day, bright with cheer. Yesterday, one or two
stragglers doubted, casting our crowns for us
into an abyss of thought and deed. Smoke
rose as sacred as our naked blue heads
shivering with cold: would mercy take us
with pity into her fold? The sword smote
all fear of the future, thrones in deep reds
were lit from underneath as they were just.
What was the reason we came to this place,
alongside the vast bloodlines, majesty
draping her fingers in a serene pool
where grew the remnants of the Queen Anne’s Lace.
I was picking wildflowers, carrying
them in my bonnet for the table’s height. . .
a poem or two were clippings with light
from an herb garden, fragrance varying
with words undone, yet casualty, each rhyme
of price would droop and die with winter’s frost,
and I could no more keep them there alive
with a black thumb—I could no more grow thyme
than give a lark flight—its fledglings in moss,
hidden within ringed nest, the rain baptised.
I carried a leather book to write notes,
guarded for a King and Queen, and yet my
frivolous scribblings were nothing, yet lies,
compared to oratorio in throats
of singers, delineating past lands
of royalty who would stand here to be
crowned. Coloured symphonies, tragedians
would even bow, their feathered hats in hand.
All humble commoners took note, blissful
to see a coronation they would stand
for hours under searing heat, space of cloud,
the chorus, loud, soft, still mingling, wistful
with children running underfoot, and bland
as inebriated rioting crowd.
It was time I grew up to my full green
stature, it was time to write a dark prayer
in despair at falling translucent tears
on earth after plague. All governed clear sheen
of dreams cast light-blue dew on cloak of grass,
society having lost the cloaks off
their backs, now hunched with misery at loss
and fire. The blood of loyalty seeped mass
into the fray of dust and fear. Now hear,
listen to my soft-spoken words of glass . . .
For a time we will enter reunion
with life in the midst of hell. Now, my dear,
don’t tell me you don’t wish for latent tasks
to keep busy, that good days were common.
For a time we are once more nightmare-free,
our chained slavery, blinded, as a god
we pay futile homage to in a mob,
we served without Justice or Liberty.
For long hours the afternoon sun slanted
tall windows, noisy, the street beneath me;
I poured through Emerson, Whitman, and Keats.
There was, like water trickling grey, blunted
from a stone, with deep cooling poignant verse—
the realms of cobalt-pure revelation
in visitation austere, and languid
eyes of a Madonna: her cupped hands, purse
in every gold realm, variation
of plenty, and the earth now turning sanguine.
I stopped in vile terror of a leader
so resplendent that the sage sea married
the shore, the corpse of life now ferried
with the wave of time in blue-black meter,
in salt crashing into its rocky crags,
with an aggressive tumult at life’s end,
without much hope left to entirely mend.
Yet we would array in vast red parade
the plush side of a splashed pomegranate
hiding beneath a spray of leaf entwined
where sky meets tree, and all fruit breathes in stealth.
The silver bowl now holds its pale manna
as life drains the juice of country supine,
archaic, old blue blood of Commonwealth.
Stay here, while I sing you one last lullay,
country of many countries that in one
dying moment forgot what made its song
live. The Commonwealth sang its lullaby
in dependable rhythm, its nature rung
to princes under its prism-withered eaves
bound-laid beneath its browning lifeless leaves.
Oh, forgotten me and my mother-song
of hovering spirit and milk-white breast,
promised land, honey hospitality.
Breathing iridescent through the curtains
hung with lace against the neck of time, rest
here for a glass of timid lime, cold tea,
bubbling to surfaces of castle earth.