A Vulgar Boatman
When I lay in a fox’s sleep by the wall, as they say
But I was one eye open and my legs itched for sprinting
You bedded down and gave me bees’ kisses, and much more
Some of which I was not wanting, and some of which I was –
You could never tell which bit was good, and which poor
“That is the way of lovemaking, it is not an art” , he said
(Certainly not, I thought, spitting your pretty blond hair into the brambles
and having no hankie either)
My buttons annoyed me after that, felt itchy and the pocket stained
With a lack of respect for my only being seventeen
It was my mother’s dress, so I felt put out that you dirtied it
Like Old Shuck had pissed upon me good and proper
I had to dye it purple such was my shame, I took to dyeing everything
With clots of elderberries which stank like stoat’s spoor
Cloppiting about like a shire horse after a nosebag!
Love is a series of cakes made with missing ingredients
You were one I made with no flour.
Veronica Aldous all rights reserved 2019
the tunnel makes her hair go shadowy
he pulls off her big malachite ring
and pushes it back on her finger
she shows him paper in her wallet
a child’s photo
they stroke it gently
she smiles again, he smiles
they smile at me…
long streamers of sunlight
clean the dirty window
her dress is summer brown
with white flowers thrown about
he kisses her often
I think about them often now;
they help me sleep at night
never having spoken to them
gifted some flowering branch
a Roumanian song
the old raggedy blue sky.
Veronica Aldous all rights reserved 2018
Making me a Cardigan
Watching her flick the wool
In deft lilac loops
Talking as she knits,
Knit one, yarn over.
The gas fire hisses
A hot grid in which ballerinas
Shimmy and twist, yarn forward
Passing the slip stitch over.
The apricot wallpaper yawns
The angel cat puts his paw
Into another slipper
Such a dearhearted person.
The antique painting shines
The lady leans forward
To help us with the pattern
Her stiff black crucifix
Against her fruiting bosom.
The clock chiming eight, the mossy sofa
The walnut wood with its odd devilfaces
The draught under the door
The glittering glass doorknob
Night presses behind peach silk curtains
The front door is one hundred years old
That should be enough.
The crushed violets in your drenched hand
smell of nothing, the ionone numbs the senses,
Like ghosts they cannot wither, being as they are
already gone into some nervy hinterland.
Josephine, you called me, the shadow on my breast
blue like a bruise or a bird’s wing, or something
chemical. The more you called, the less I thrived,
as though the name were not freely given
but stolen from another’s face, a mask.
Such wasted flowers I never asked for
Still reappear unasked –
Like dust or sweat they faintly linger,
Now I wear my hair pinned tight –
to stop it coiling round your finger.
Veronica Aldous all rights reserved 2018
I was thinking of visiting you
By now you will be mystified by leaves
Haunted by squirrels and small slow maggots
Fingering and boring into the sainted bark.
I feel you in the sunset when the shadows
Skitter over my hands and upturned face.
In the night I hear your low thrumming breath
The way of sleeping which is simply rusting
Composting dreams into mole hills.
Bracken sprays its spores across the humus
The deer rise astonished
Their bright muzzles wet with nuzzling
The mush of viridian and sap green grass.
I truly think the forest took you.
I swallow the juice-truth and it neither comforts
Nor disturbs; as in a deep wisdom
Or a mournful song, or the peet-peet
Of the little owls, or the spread of light
From a lit orb; I could go on
Weeping into the chasms of my heart
Stumbling along word paths
Searching in all the godly places-
The stupid lost loving little life of a beetle.
Veronica Aldous all rights reserved 2018.
Picture shows detail of a winter scene by the artists and poet
Minotaurina – stitch on silk and monoprint- Veronica Aldous
I was dreaming of a letter and of red dye seeping
When the lightning came with its cold supernal finger
Snapping the bone of night
So the room shivered in frightful agonies
Impelling me to fetch my pen and write-
As if that would change a single thing!
I live a borrowed life
Where I still may bear children
Make love to a broad backed heat
Compromise the position to please
Bargain and choose-
Electricity is inexorable
I cannot believe it is not a god.
Veronica Aldous 2017 all rights reserved
Their voices peal a gamelan of tones
Perhaps there is a paddling pool
Wriggling toe-fish in rubbery water
A too cold breeze…
I only have these little sounds to play with
A rockpool of reminders
Where each sense hunts
And stings another.
All rights reserved 2017
Photograph Veronica Aldous. – Cistus Rock Rose