Euphrasie

Sometimes,
if she were given time
she would run
if no unforgiving eye turned its light on her
to the old, stone wall.
Sometimes,
if no one sent her back indoors
she climbed up on a grassy knoll
and reached one slender hand to feel
the cracks between the tow’ring stones
and held a jutting slab with the other
lest she should sleep
and give away her misdeed.
Sometimes,
if she felt that she had grown another inch
she would try to hoist her eyes above
the stony ledge, in vain to see
a cobbled street
and though many a man that way did pass
ne’er did she see a face to note
nor that for whom she longed
nor whom she feared

and then,
when the harsh yet golden chimes for service tolled
her hand withdrew
her small nails black with clinging moss
her golden head would turn and leave for mass
she prayed to one she never met, yet grew to care for
bit by bit, as had her father
with whom she spent her precious leisure minutes
the brightest in her day.
 
 
and sometimes,
if the silence, incessant and persistent, woke her from her slumber
or even banished sleep together, as silence sometimes can
sometimes she moved through the rows of other sleeping girls
taking care to tread without
the sound of feet upon the floor of icy stone
then, she could sit at the window
turn a naïve eye towards the wand’ring stars
and fix upon the body burning brightest
so that each sun or moon would dim and pale
in contrast to the shining light
that blessed the wistful-minded child
who dared to dream beyond her fleeting faith
and through her wist transcend the mortal bonds of stone
that formed her fate.

Permets-tu?

Apollo

The insurgent

drunk in a stupor

then –

Apollo

would you like your eyes to be bandaged?

Pylades drunk

No

Orestes

fasting

It really was you

Achilles

who killed the artillery sergeant?

yes

no

Patrocles

Long live the Republic –

Ephestion

– I’m one of them

turns

looks

might as well kill two birds with one stone

It is Pylades

then, turning to Orestes, gently adds

if you don’t mind?

into the eyes of the man

who brought down a shower

of bloody raindrops

saying

I believe in you

Achilles clasps his hand

and Smiles

and then –

then –

there was one

the insurgent

Apollo

admired, loved

and venerated

a splendid statue

only

twenty-six –

 

June 1832

Leaves
trodden underfoot
fading into the grey murk, one by one
that was us
one by one we fell, our colours changing
pain shows us sides we never knew we had
we fell on windowsills, looking in and crying
pleading
but this happens every year
each summer they desert us
close their doors and windows
do not want to know
so when we fell
the last, perhaps
they never noticed – rather, never seemed to notice
for the season of the fallen is but brief
we blossomed, grew, and finally were severed
from the root which clung to us so dearly
perhaps too dearly – I shall never know.
Sway, then, to and fro, blown thither by the breeze
until we land, and there we lie, unless
by chance we are retrieved, instead of being
simply swept away – we line the street
the young, the old, are all the same in death
perhaps you walk where remnants of our lives
turned slowly red to orange, then to brown
until the greyish murk absorbs us all.

Goblin

He almost did not notice her
shadowed by the shrubbery
a goblin in the corner of the churchwarden’s garden
perhaps an apparition
sent from – where?
When he could not unhook the well-chain, then she came
and watered the garden.
 
She drew three buckets
barely human, lithe yet wary in the evening twilight
a piteous angel, yet to herself a devil
only asking a name in return
in all, senility took only moments to recall
but with his utterance she as a spirit seemed to vanish
in sooth, a spirit – except the drops that still bedecked the rhododendron.