Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Five Sonnets

(i)

Your face and eyes were once beyond compare,
your body was delicious to my taste;
upon your supple limbs I found no waste,
and many blisses I had taken there.
Your quiet mind, incisive, quick and clear,
was quite an ornament, and when we speak,
(though sometimes all our speech may well be Greek)
I prized our subtle conversations dear.
Fiery, deep and dark, as brisk as wind,
your spirit, of all elements compounded,
did never cease to leave my heart confounded,
my heart that always was with your heart twinned.
Just this remains that atrophies the whole:
Despite my best, I hate your jealous soul.

(ii)

How many nights in the dark were you slaving
at your creation? From a hundred fears
you shaped a nightmare; just to please your craving
for the worst certainty, to prove your tears
meaningful; to make false fates true. From years
long gone, recall your father struggling, waving
while haring down the street - your mother raving,
infantile;- while your future disappears.
More-fool-me tried to save you. You broke me
until my pieces formed your foretold shape;-
You never would be happy til I fell -
No.- Not so: "Never would you happy be":
you feared fidelity more than escape;
and my warm chasteness you made into hell.

(iii)

It is like apprehending infra-red
and ultra-violet: shades the human eye
can commonly but fail to descry:
this seeing meaning in my bones is bred,
and I for one can see when something's dead;-
through all the blinds of humdrum I can spy
the essential fact - I do not have to try: -
the invisible words are clear as plainly read.
But you, who see less, cannot understand
these truths on which I break my broken troth,
and ignorant, you eye my wedding band,
and hate my reckless striving for new growth.
So it is, so it will be ever thus:
this misconception standing dark twixt us.

(iv)

Great sinners are great liars chasing truth:
they lie out of necessity, as one
who braves himself to leap recalls his youth
and strength and kindled thus flies to the sun.
Meanwhile the audience complains and frets,
wondering what they've witnessed here tonight:
a dissembling fraud denying his regrets,
or miracle of diabolic flight.
A guiltless pose, or smoke and mirror trick,
it makes no odds: he lives by different rules,
the truth for him is hidden, queer and quick,
and not to be gainsaid by simple fools:
So leave him be to chase his saintly dreams;
he does not mind if he's traduced, or evil seems.

v)

On a cusp, desert stretching far all sides,
a bleak peak, lonely, uninhabited,
a few blue flowers, miniscule between stones,
a hint of an oasis somewhere over
the far horizon, in the dusty air
fly scavenging birds, black as evil crosses,
a broad, inspiring hollowness of space
is their imperial and bright domain.
But in this waste resides the strangest hope,
despite the seeming desolation of the world:
a dry sloughed snakeskin cast upon the sands;
I see the skids of coils sliding down
the drifting dunes, and surely making straight
for an imagined garden and a famous tree.

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