‘Still Life Without Bible’
& ‘White Noise’
& ‘Weemoed’ & ‘Strange Weather’
Still Life Without Bible
Give me your first impressions.
We always knew nothing was black
and white. Even white can be off-white.
Say it: tell me it’s dark and gloomy,
that the canvas should be brighter.
That I’ve lost my joie de vivre.
Look closely. The candles flicker a lemon
yellow hue over the missing text.
Come on, Father’s not long dead,
what did you expect? What can I possibly
administer through the medium of paint?
Absolution? Time travel? Faith?
Put down that look on your face.
I’m sorry for our troubles.
Michael, I’ve finished what I set out
to do. There’s sweat stinging my eyes
so I’ll have to imagine the golden waves,
the ratio of the tide in all this darkness.
Where’s magnetic north, anyway?
Blood is drawing me into an argument
I can’t finish but I’m still standing here,
swaying, rather, like the beeches I passed
in the park getting here. They seemed
to be saying something important
in the arrangement of their leaves,
making a sound like a TV snowing
in the early hours or a child being lulled
by a window with a sonic moon.
I turn the dial and try to find a wavelength,
some frequency to latch onto and take
comfort in but I come up short and feel
the rush around my ankles. Shock
opens my eyes, posing a spectral truth.
It’s time to write to you again.
Do you know that Rouchusse once painted
the siege of Leyden? Don’t immerse
yourself too deeply in the worldly mire.
There are many things to buoy us,
like the elm trees in moonlight
and the dew on the grass. Would you like
a Flemish imitation of Christ?
I made a list recently of all the pictures
by Briody I could remember. Lord,
keep my memory clean! One must pay
particular attention to the end
and what it means. Until next time,
accept a handshake in my thoughts.
I recently attended a free course
of lectures at the great university
of sorrow. Can you tell what goes on
within by looking what goes on
without? What you say about Barbizon
is perfectly true. I am reasonably
faithful in my unfaithfulness.
You cannot always tell what keeps you
confined and we all know the dreamer
sometimes falls into the doldrums.
Poverty stops the best minds
in their tracks but narrow is the way
and strait the gate. I have every hope
these thorns will bear white blooms.
In sorrow yet ever joyful
I suppose we’re walking but it feels like
being led past rows of flowers
weakly dying. The heart banks
wanting to be heard but it’s hard
to concentrate when there’s a monkey
on your back and a black dog eyeing you
from the side. A shower blows in
as if to mimic sudden thought, the mood
changing when a rainbow unvanishes
over everything. You’re shrinking to a cuticle
of hope, a phase in which your footsteps
register gravity. If you could speak
you would articulate with wings
and say those white butterflies.
Kevin GRAHAM’s recent poems have appeared in The Stinging Fly, Causeway/Cabhsair and Crannóg. He lives and works in Dublin.