The silver of her olive tree
had spun a web around her heart
and the blue of cicada�s wings
had traced vein maps beneath her skin
and the pink of the figs she ate
had stained her lips a coral shade
The turquoise of the Aegean
had poured into her irises
and the yellow of retsina
had tinted her hair a fine gold
and the white of her courtyard walls
had lightened her palms and her soles
The brown of the surrounding hills
had deeply tanned her scented skin
and the juice of fat purple grapes
had painted and polished her nails
� the silver of her olive tree
had spun a web around her heart
(after Charles Baudelaire)
Knowing my needs, my dearest one was nude,
only wearing her jewellery for me,
these items made her seem perfectly lewd;
a slave in a harem eager to please.
As she moved slowly, gems danced, ringing out
subtle music � a mix of light and tone,
and I was transfixed by her jewelled pout,
lit up by sparkling metals and rare stones.
Reaching the bed, she spread voluptuously,
letting me love her in the ways she pleased,
my lust, like an ocean, was full and deep,
rising to her � a cliff mounted by seas.
Her eyes fixed on me, like a tiger tamed,
dreamily she tried various poses,
her candour and her willingness combined
to give charm to each metamorphosis.
Her arms and her legs, her loins and her thighs,
oil-polished, undulating like a swan,
were like a feast before my starving eyes,
then belly, breasts, her clusters on my vine.
When she thrust forward, this fallen angel
troubled me greatly, fuelling my desire,
until my lustful soul was half-deranged;
a cold crystal thrown on a raging fire.
In her I could discern a new design
of woman; smooth torso and rounded hips;
her perfect height setting off perfect lines;
her tawny skin deserving of worship!
And as the candle-light prepared to die,
and its low flames gently lit the chamber,
each time there sounded a contented sigh,
our warm flesh blushed the colour of amber.
In spring, the Cydonian quince trees grow,
watered by the streams that flow through
the sacred gardens of the virgins.
Vine blossom flourishes beneath the shade
of the vine branches � and like the north wind
carrying lightning from Aphrodite
and stirring fits of dark, shameless madness,
powerfully shaking my heart to its centre,
my love never sleeps.
(for Anna Kavan)
The girl in the park is dead now.
I know because I read her obituary and visited her grave.
I used to watch her catch leaves on windy autumn days,
when each tree stood amidst its own bright bronze storm.
She would dart about, catching fresh-minted leaves as they fell,
cramming them into her pockets like so much loose change.
The game always ended when her pockets could hold no more.
Later, when she took them out to examine them,
she�d find they�d become crumpled beyond recognition
and the colours had faded.
All she could then do (like the trees) was discard them.
I cut out her obituary
and put a bunch of flowers on her grave.
In the Shadow of the Midnight Sun
Our generation�s midnight sun rises
above the Eden we�ve rejected twice;
a place where goodness darkens into ice.
And blind in the land of the midnight sun
we open our eyes to shadows at dusk;
we�re the gold leaf that filigrees a tusk.
And when the shadow of the midnight sun
blocks out the light that should be flooding in,
we embrace everything once labelled �sin�.
And wearing nothing but the midnight sun
our sunlit love eclipses the eclipse
and passion melts the ice upon our lips.