The wicked tearing of the leaves, the prescient window
Mouths a savage slur, wind scraping its nails up the path
A mirror smeared with grease marring a girl’s face
As she peers into the distant future
Journeys end with lovers.
Jolting cars slide and judder, their engines as coarse
As workmen’s calumnies and oaths, a hole divides the street
Somewhere a physicist finds some beauty in his chalky fingers
As the blue globe is crack’d and the white worm slithers
Into its maw, expands and shivers.
What have they done?
She cries amid the burning leaves
The bevelled crystal shatters.
Veronica Aldous 2016 all rights reserved
Here is a wonderful critique of my poem by a great poet: Christopher Thomas Schmitz.
I am very honoured to receive such an erudite and informed analysis.
The poem describes a loss of innocence, a loss which may even be a deflowering, a deflowering that may even be a rape–though the tearing and the scraping nails are accredited to the leaves and the wind, and the girl’s face in the mirror is marred by grease not blurred by tears, though cars not men “slide and jutter” with coarse noise, and though a white worm rather than a penis “slithers into the maw.”
What’s extra fascinating here is that the trauma of a sexual assault might well have its victim talking vaguely, metaphorically, self-protectively of burning leaves and shattering crystal rather than matter-of-factly about a horror. But if we accept the premise that this is a poem about a rape, that rape becomes a metaphor anyway for every violation imaginable. Our blue globe itself is conceived here as a chancred apple slithering with worms.
Veronica is writing some of the best poems I’ve ever read. One after the other, they and their characters are fragile, vivid, sensuous, and alive, charged with Eros and haunted by death.