Don’t cure too many madmen,
You may need us yet.
How would you know where Hell was
If you didn’t hear us scream?
And where your Heaven was once,
Did we not wander wild and dream?
We are canaries singing in your soul,
Singing the nightmare so you can forget,
Singing until the darkness chokes us all.
In another life,
I would like to be able to sing.
I live, but I cannot rejoice,
While my songs remain unsung.
All day they lie like corpses on sills, in corners
And masquerade as dust.
Night falls. I find them fluttering
Under my cats’ paws, describing perfect circles,
Their dance enticing
The very thing they fear,
Those longed-for claws.
Death cannot come too soon for them, it seems.
Rescued, they return. Consigned to darkness,
Cling to the window-glass,
Pink eyes afire with lust, the Undead, craving
That final, fatal light.
As she walks she frowns and mutters,
Red mac hanging off her shoulders;
Late for school, she doesn’t care.
Nature doesn’t favour dreamers
With dusty shoes and tangled hair;
The world’s a place for sports and schemers
And those who see things as they are.
I fear for her, when she gets older.
“Pretty,” he said, brushing the golden apples absently.
I kissed him – but not the way I did before –
Being pierced through the heart by the one who gave them to me.
Never play word-games with Christians, they’re superstitious,
Truly believing in Serpents and Souls and Apples,
In sunlight stippling Eden’s long-ago leaves
And Jehovah’s moon asleep in the fork of the Tree.
Between my husband’s heart and mine stretches a silver chain;
I left him easily enough, but it pulls and pulls sometimes.
The links that make our chain are dainty fine:
A break in any one and the pain may end me.
“I am the serpent in your Eden,” I said
– so much throw-away imagery –
But my lover stared at me and stepped away.
When my father died
At last he came to me.
Snow falling in drifts,
Sand blown in patterns,
Atom by atom,
Assembling inside me.
Sifted into my heart,
Drifted through corners of me;
Things that we never said
Both chilled and warmed me.
He looks out through my eyes:
That lake, those swans,
That monumental sky,
No longer I, but we, see.
My body has forgotten you, forgotten all.
My mind, though tired of hating, hates you still.
But to my soul you are an early dawn,
And sunlit meadows where I may not run.