Tuesday 28 October 2014

Yishaq's Bequest

No poetry for months and then two poems in a row. My ditties tend to be my less than most popular jottings from a statistical perspective. Nonetheless, they are a part of me: of who I was and, thus, who I am.

This one was written about a decade ago about the person I have most loved thus far in my life-span. Today I publish it to mark the young man's birthday.


Yishaq’s Bequest

The mansion rose from the waters,
towering above the settlement;
the river, its moat;
on closer look
its wooden façade appeared
charred, ebonised
or covered in a layer of soot.
Even as he approached
the journalist was startled
for laughter was heard
tinkling, coruscating
cutting the pendulous air;
his jaded heart
let down the barriers,
shed its studied cynicism
a gleeful chortle
slipped out

Inside: blinds wouldn’t go up;
windows’ shutters remained stuck shut;
plaster flaked in discomfiting chunks;
soft furnishings grew mouldy;
woodwormed furniture lay collapsed
where once it had proudly stood;
no pictures hung on the walls;
gilded treasures and objets d’art abandoned,
all hideous grotesquerie;
chrome and acrylic minimalist items,
installed here and there,
festered unused, unpolished
and coated in dust.
The servants tottered, torpid:
marionettes with strings half cut.
Her ladyship and the paterfamilias,
in Edwardian morning dress,
greeted the reporter:
the lugubrious formalities
and so-called pleasantries
cut short by laughter -
the joyous sound of a child.

Behind the ark spread the mooring,
a flowerless alpine garden.
Freikörperkultur was the fad:
the writer shed his inhibitions
and all in which he had been clad;
he reposed on his front,
bathed under the bright clouds
in the unfiltered UV-rich light,
his milky skin warmed;
laughter suffused his being;
his tightly controlled humour relaxed.
And finally the child emerged:
laughing merrily;
yawned once,
and shivered.
The man jumped up;
grabbed a rug;
swathed the boy.
The blanket, holey,
let in the cold.
Laughter died.

A steam-train rumbled in;
quaking shook the land,
the station’s promontory;
root vegetables spilled from a barrow
to the shaking ground.
Almost silently,
almost with dignity,
the mansion fell in on itself,
a house of playing cards,
and sank.
The dreamer, somnambulantly
made his way to his carriage,
clinging on to a solitary root;
a memento of love’s demise;
a promise of love’s future fruit -
an unconventional marriage.
But no more laughter.


with my love…


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