Three Isle of Wight poems

The following three poems are from a forthcoming publication entitled The Agony in the Garden. These poems appear in section V of the book, subtitled Wight the Words You Gave Me.

 

WIGHT THE WORDS THEY GAVE ME

Wight the words they gave me;

stones spill over thrones of rain.

My light roams in the sky’s requiem

intoning brief flurries of algae

and the lime-laden hands of a ploughman’s cell

groping in shoals of grass-light

as a priest comes home for dawn

Wight the words you gave me

    with the wild garlic’s song

where cliffs hatch plots – smuggle an older

layer (spirals of wine in circlets of bread)

as the land returns its own

in the cold dark straddling shape

that’s me showered in icy grain

peering from the doorway

fleeing the wind, though its light-goats ascend

higher and higher in joy’s requiem

dance of horn on horn and winter berries

bursting with salt from the seas down below.

Wight the words they gave me;

    poor the lighthouse on Vectis’ shores.

Wight the words obeyed me

    with the yellow hawk’s wand.

 

ST. CATHERINE’S ORATORY

In gold-shards the primeval Wight

glows with the morning star

 

green hems in mud flash

beside a trout’s lair

 

as clay beds down in soul

and St. Rhadegund’s blood foams from a well

 

ochre-black scarabs of advent flame

purring thorns gush from an island’s throat

 

throat-clouds of clotted glass

a liturgy in marble cast

 

at the foot of an Iron Age hut

on Gore Down’s green tips

 

eggs lashed by steam still coil

the baptised crofts of darkened days

 

as word-spawn breathes in voids of time

sowing then into now in primeval light

 

Chale’s white scarabs of Latin glass

blown in the furnace of Patmos

 

bright waters and sperm pyres blaze

in silver wombs of earth

 

the attracting eye’s primeval dance

where rivers ember their prayers for earth

 

and the wind cuts blade-swirls into grass

and a hermit lives an Elysium in God.

 

THE WORDFLOWER

Wordflower      in razor sharp wind

secret bells cropped from chalice mouths

wordflowers gather in sunlight

singing verb-lizards nesting on rock

strophes of rainbow swords glistening

in mitres of seaweed rapt in cream light

 

yes    the bluebells peel

green heads from my priests   yes

 

grey knots of cloud

flow into nimbus-honey

stalks of yellow oak     loveflames of sky and sea

anchoring in me a silence untouched

 

soil-waves sheer and silvery

the wordfish scales throw

black glints of drought

in my sky thawed     by honey-sun rays

 

how many wordflowers cause this stain

how many wordflowers dye my liberty

how many wordflowers make up an island

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