Thursday, August 2, 2007

A Winter’s Dawn

The blanket torn from off the bed,
The callous cold clamps pallid lips
Upon the startled motherhead,
Flesh naked in her rolling hips.
Stiff and haughty looms the birch
Behind the tracing paper mist.
No grain of colour doth besmirch
The frozen twigs by winter kissed.
A writhing corpse in camera snapped
With bony fingers gnarled in death,
Convulsed in shock, by violence sapped
Of gut-warmth and the spectrum’s breath.
With grotesque grin, it mocks the dawn
It’s fleshless teeth bared to the sky,
And brittle branches cry with scorn
That all souls should prepare to die.
The gripping hoar-frost clings like mud
To ear and nose and sap-choked eyes,
Tight-smothering the living blood,
Endeavouring to paralyse.
In shock, the statued monster stands,
Black silhouette against the grey,
Throwing supplicating hands
Toward the dawning of the day.
Lo! primal colours squeezed of joy
Like berries nipped ‘twixt fingertips
And thrice distilled to help destroy
The hope encased in tiny pips.
With curling lips, the stillness reigns.
No breath to warm the rock-hard buds.
No early-rising pigeon deigns
To break the cover of the woods.

But hark! Away, behind the east,
The sound of distant hoofbeats drum.
What manner of a man or beast
Dare rouse the equilibrium?
At first a paleness, nothing more
That clambers up the startled gloom,
A whisper heard above a roar,
The merest hint of gay perfume.

Behind the wall of light’ning grey,
A thousand fanfares rent the skies,
As darkness braces for the fray,
A look of terror in its eyes.
A mighty roar, the clash of steel,
The whiff of charcoal ‘pon the air.
Blood red runs the savage weal
That glistens through the tunic’s tear.
And then a yell, a sudden thrust!
The dark reels back as though harpooned.
A shaft of sunlight thick with dust
Comes streaming through the open wound.

The hawthorn hedge explodes to green,
The birch bathes in the lucent hue
And, painted in the luscious scene,
A red-eyed pigeon starts to coo.
The battle’s won, scarred night has fled,
The frost is prised off flexing boughs,
And, rising like a figurehead,
The morning dons her brightest blouse.

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