Artwork by Veronica Aldous- stitch and stain on leaf dyed wool felt.
The Shadows of Oaks
I have spent 50 years
engaging oak trees in conversation
the answers come in the form of shadowplay
and at nightfall
certain peculiar moths.
Veronica Aldous 2017 all rights reserved
I am not one of many; I am one who knew
The volutes of your labyrinth
A sliding hand on the inner skin
The wall where pain had snagged
And wrought its patterns now overlaid
With sorrow’s bark; some sores still wept
With my hand which heeded pits and scabs
And made them call, O I said
O you replied
You whispered of his scarlet sash
and I said;
Corals are living bones.
Veronica Aldous 2017 All Rights Reserved
When I awoke
With that cold apple in my hand
They asked me
‘Is it faith or conciousness?’
As I couldn’t speak just yet
Being numbed by the chambers of my heart
The diastolic interstices, the silence
Mirrored all silences
The space around the fruit more lambent
Than the flesh, core and skin.
Veronica Aldous 2017 All rights reserved
From biting down too hard on it, the fragrant peach
Split its stone, a pit of my unbelonging, pith of dreams
A transcendental fixation on finding the right fruit
Has brought me to a hard dry embankment
Dislocation is rainsoaked map of the present
The future, a mass of wheeling birds
As if therapy were lying under a nimbus
With a dissociated angel overhead
Holding a carved fruit, waiting for the kiss
Can I wait for the extraction?
Art and poetry copyright Veronica Aldous 2017 all rights reserved
The Kitchen Gods are at it again
small things reflect
is a bewilderment
of hot wired fancies.
Veronica Aldous all rights reserved 2016
She said it would eat her, such fancies were her diet
but at last she broke the shell away from her heart
at vespers underneath her coat –
the leathern psalter in his hand,
he mounts the stairs in her spiralled mind
so take the bell and ring it thrice, he falls.
Out cold for weeks and months
beneath a blanket made of snow; they told her
what she already knew, the broken spit
upon a distant shore too hard to navigate, to find
unbound leaves , a broken spine.
Lying lies. It stays down when nailed fast
beneath the wood, the varnished unsmiling smile
his blacke wyrme bites and squirms
he is unaneled, unhouseled
a hungry ghost on skewering pins
She soars and swoops
a gold eyed ravening wild bird.
Veronica Aldous 2016 all rights reserved
writes: There is an interaction between a man and a woman in “Gothick,” but its nature is mysterious to me. The poem sounds in places like a dangerous liaison, an erotic but deadly game of cat-and-mouse. Christian imagery is threaded throughout: vespers (evening prayers), psalter (book of psalms), unaneled (not given Last Rites), unhouseled (not given Holy Communion), but there are pagan touches as well like bells ringing three times, hungry ghosts, and wild birds.
The poem begins with an image of consumption, (“She said it would eat her”), and ends with one as well (“She is a gold-eyed ravening wild bird”). The feeding throughout may be from death whose “blacke wyrme bites and squirms” but also from an erotic force. Camille Paglia has said: “Sexual intercourse, from kissing to penetration, consists of movements of barely controlled cruelty and consumption.”
The irritant geese in their stale formation-
blind Kay trying to pin his broken mind
on the ice floor of a grandiose metaphor
The chirruping messages of the yew trees
a dumbshow ; goldcrests tilting and skirmishing
amid the blood red of fairytales
everything is a snipping and unpicking
those that don’t feel it
have missed the needle’s point.
Veronica Aldous All rights reserved 2016