Four poems by Martin Corless-Smith

 

The Fool’s dream

In a crystalled dream impossible
to recall how the past unearthed a craft
named Mercury—poisonous quick silver wit
aimed at the moon’s alternative

native to earth yet separate
the fool digests all emptiness
until uplifted to a realm that
questions answering

It took a century to realize
Earth had died inside
a tin cup left upon a wall
the slowworm struggled in the glare until the hawk arrived.

 

 

 

A bee song

Dead bee Astronaut
who disappears in to the night
how can your dust
be brushed aside

You dance under a sun
just like the myths
where gods fought out stories
to explain our drought

The last light flickers
of the town as
we spread on to moors
the darkness like a carcass

Out of the lion’s skull
the green tin said
we’d porridge for some sweet
December night

Only a beeping now
can raise the dead
from radio silence
once we tune them out

I’m waiting for the last
bus home—although
the road has sunk
into a cake

We’ll throw out time
and dust into the atmosphere
our song—and not
be here to hear it rhyme.

 

 

 

 

In a cypress grove

aroused and all appalled
in sudden agony the soul
as wintering—a perfume closed
(the mind prophetic of some future state)
I feel the mark upon
my absent trouser leg—
the shin placed by the cog
the foot falling just so,
grand as life, small as the next act
cognition—recognition—soiled cloth.
I am forwarded
to you in kind—affection like
a magnet that induces the invisible
yet palpable attraction of its opposite
thus living and thus dead.
I begin thus with myself.

 

 

 

A fool’s dance

Enter the fool dressed as himself
A doublet doubting even that
Where on the stage is right to stop
The spirit’s state is tottering

Make me an omelette of all that
The world, the weft, the woebegone
You cannot break an egg
Without making one

Your world is balanced on an ant
Or on a teabag on a shelf
A penny drops into the lake
And wakes crossover on themselves

Make nothing out of nothing and you cease to live
Make anything and still you cease
I have increased my daily output by a factor close to nil
It’s not a lot but it does show my intent

Grasping at apples grasping at forks
I’ll never have the end of it
A cup that dribbles as it walks
Away with all my drink in it.

*

Anchored in the Thames since
The last year of the nineteenth century
Ready to depart
Into imagery, disease & poetry

A creature spilling over every bank
the slipways rinsed of evidence
the seagulls mostly still
upon the long sunk barge slung rank among the effluence

The desert under every tree
The city and the flooded tides
Abandoned underneath the skin.

*

The fool’s dance is a fever
Those denying hope all gather here
To weep against themselves
A unicorn trapped in a tapestry

I stumble at the teetering brink
To clamber out of burning fields
Where polished floors & ashen tiles of the removed farm house
Are crumbled over stubble rows

The greenhouse glass
Has all been smashed
For no good reason
I can find

With nothing to repay the dawn
Just glittering reflection of debris
We wait until we feel more certain
Along the beach drive wall, behind the camper van curtain

The back of light falls off the sky
an angel crushed into the space between
a day unfurled—alive and alone
a girl you loved so much you called her every day

Let the hearer be named
Alone on the strand
With no one to tell
An ear to the shell

*

A roman chanticleer
Have we not wings before we walk?
Before we run a path—before we wake
A day—blown into necessity from dust

Up rose the image of a memory
Black sacking in the soil
Shape of a crow, but when you pull
It is a tarp grown under growth.

The house’s shroud
Oiled and frayed
Passing from one scene
To another we embrace
The florid sky and
Dapples of the sun-dazzled ash

Where the vole goes there go I
Betrothed to earth and greenery
The nettles and queen anne’s lace
That must up stock and history

I shall die in a kitchen midden
pekoe leaves and orange peel
The recent dregs of recent meals
The sanctuary of the past unhidden

Golden spiders at the centre of their webs
Their abdomens like bulbs in early light
Here is a gift of anonymity
Sheltered in the stray wood of the shed

The jungle trout
The mountain thrush
Where nothing is suggested in the way of order
Thinking of Sligo and drinking water.

 

 

 


Martin Corless-Smith is an English poet who lives and teaches in Boise, Idaho.