If only she’d been warned these last few seconds
Of peace would be her last, she might
Have found some comfort, as swift death beckoned;
Even her Fate turned wincing from the sight,
As her frail, young frame flinched into metal,
Spun through her music, wrung, crushed, forbidden
Even the comfort of a foetal nod, to settle
Smouldering silently, unseeing and car-
For the last moments before her passing. Already
The bright blue of the coming summer’s sky
Seems full of promise to others, the future heady
With looking beyond all this. By and by,
Her form is changed, her somewhere-
Finds itself bereft; what graced each step with flair,
Reduced to a rag-
Of clothes no use now for fraying flesh and bloodied hair.
Unknowing flies already seek the sweet glaze
Which drapes her remains as she is borne
Beyond the theatre of her last memories, through the haze
To her labelled existence cold and forlorn.
APPLES (from New Spring)
Collected in the last, hazy hues of that poignant summer
Which was to be our last, and left in their plastic basket in the yard,
Still resplendent and glowing with the life that flooded them with juice,
Ripe for use and expectant for their fate of wine or pie or jam,
They came to be our epitaph, a drama for our garden guests.
Two seasons they sat there, and all the world could watch
As through the tumbling oranges of autumn they browned;
And pecked by starving robins, they moulded ever more
Into the shape of their basket, and stroked by worsening frosts
They came to stand for our own swift drift to apartness.
Now with springtime I find them there still, drowned in black,
Their sharp reek recalling cider-
And nourishing the wildlife now swarming all through.
The shock is palpable; there’s no describing how strangely
I have come to find the positive in this year’s Spring.
PARVA SED APTA MIHI (from Impressions of Rhodes)
A house of sun-
In a leafy suburb of tree-
Sings its message from antique halls,
Strikes by friendly Roman letters,
Quicker to read than angular Greek,
The coloured tiles above closed shutters
Speak words of Latin, strange and sleek:
Parva sed apta mihi,
A proud indifference to status’ features;
Not every house can rank with Tivoli,
Nor every poet be Lucretius.
And though the right words often falter
Through endless drafts which never alter,
Forget it, next year maybe Malta.
© Copyright Paul David Holland 2017
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