After the Rain
IM Edwin Morgan
The smell of flowers. Puddles to walk on. The brightness of stars.
Take a last whiff. Splash the puddles. See yourself in the stars.
Blast that moon. Its stupid light blanks out the earth. Tomorrow sunshine. The puddles will dry up. The flowers wither. I can’t stand this, you said. I’m off.
Sun bodes no good.
Moon blast. A waste of space.
All the good work undone.
But at least you left us an umbrella.
The rain will be back.
Christ in Hell
After Reiner Maria Rilke*
Freed from the body and terrible pain,
in the darkness, not knowing where he is.
Alone with white bats; fearfully flitting.
Dead air fogs up where his corpse has been dumped.
The preying beasts of the night are dormant,
and so, the world is almost peaceable:
a place of repose to appease his anguish.
Mourning mankind, he reaches out his arms….
But the earth, parched by the thirst of his wounds,
opens under him, and he hears the pleas
of tormented souls, crying out in hope
that his sacrifice would end their torture.
Weighed down in spirit, he leaps into hell,
startling the shadows bemoaning their fate.
Seeing Adam, their eyes meet, and blinded,
he’s sucked into the depths, and lost to sight.
Weary of the human, he holds his breath,
rebounds up the pit, higher and higher.
Transfigured above the surging cries, he,
syphons pain to masters it, and is quiet.
*Rilke wrote ‘Christ in Hell’ in the divine persona. He needed an extreme analogy to sublimate terrible pain (having refused opiates).
After Tristan Corbière, Le crapaud
Yours is a stuffy night song
to the moon’s silver cauldron
(cut out from unearthly clay).
Squat recitative honk honk
rising darkly from the swamp.
where are you during the day?
Ditch nightingale, downbeat bird.
Like a poet stuck for a word
grinding his teeth. I delight
in your inchoate clear-
ing of the throat. ‘I am here
under a rock. So, goodnight.’
Dog Buried in the Dunes*
Hey doggie of the dunes,
who buried you, and why?
Senor Goya exhumes
your snout to light the sky
with an all-seeing eye
before a sand-storm resumes.
Or did you dig yourself
a shelter to hide from
the storm, and now you yelp
a greeting to the dawn,
‘Woof-woof, day! Night so-long.
A dog’s life’s beyond help’?
Or do you paw the ground
seeing a desert hare
holed up in an ant mound,
and waiting until there
comes the moment to hound
dinner out of its lair?
Le Dernier Rayon Jaune
dans le sacrẻ coin
a la jẻtee,
ồu, il etait un fois,
nous sommes connu
a couper la mer,
et mon vermeil
Mon sang jettẻ.
Le phare allume
avec un clin-d’œil.
au large. Ahoy !.
When I had a fit of coughing
my minder showed me my coffin,
‘Specially for you created’.
‘What a waste I’m being cremated’.
‘No, no’, she said, ‘it’s a sound job
to see you off. ‘Here’s the nob
that turns, as you go up in flames.
It pipes in chorus, Goodbye, James’.