Thursday, 30 January 2014

So Green

So green it was cast aside, thrown to some minor tilt in the wind's inflection. Though they searched the forest lines, those young girls walking in an afternoon light, it was not to be found, maybe never to be found again. So green, it tucked itself among the small pears of your unripe dream, shivered in the frostbitten air. The young girls breathed out their souls, cold and radiant, clouds of broken longitude. But even there, it could not be found.
So green, its marks were antique, though they looked freshly made, a bit smudged perhaps, like the rain-merged message-in-a-bottle sea stained script of your love letters to me. The message illegible now, something starry-blurry, something wept over. So green the distance from it to us is as natural as the distance between my writs and my thumb. Imagine that! That what we longed for was there all along, at our fingertips. Something in my heart steps on a trip wire, a line so teetering green it feels like a line drawn freehand by a considerate child, a thumb in her rosy mouth. The wire dips in the Methodist wind. A pear falls from its branch with a soft thud. My brow is mapped with the lines of latitude and longing that characterise what I will do for you and how far I will go.
At this my mother's soul flies in through a tear in the atmosphere. Chagall turns over in his bed. blink if you believe me. The forest is standing in green italic against the horizon. So green, if love is still beating her soft drum let's invite her in.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

F is for February

My wild King, we are in the odd month out. Carrion birds march on the armour of the dead. I am iron turned rust; I am cedar turned charcoal. I try to divine water, anything lively in this dry land.
 Jokers are always wild, you whisper, and press the card into my palm, lined and creased with use. A is for adoration. You are my King and I am at your service. All these days I spend with you, working for the months yet to come, a time I cannot even dream of. There are twenty eight days in a leap year you say. That's wrong of course, the month unravelling itself again. B is for battered, by rains Be careful what you wish for. I grow morbid and morose. The bottom of the hole fills up so soon your Majesty. I empty your pot and watch the gold flowing around in circles.
C is for the crowned tweet bird who lands on your shoulder and pecks the worms from your ear. The sulky crows lever themselves into the storm-promised sky. I turn up the Ace of Hearts so often it is humiliating. D is for the dancers, flickering their eyes, scattering rice and puja flowers before us. They show us the palms of their hands and I look to you in fear in case you can read them as clearly as I do.
E is for the earth, root-rodded, and for energy. Your eyes light up my Lord. We are signing to each other across the abyss. Excepting envy, I begin to think we will manage this.
F is forever. Let us take refuge there. It won't be long now.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele

Saturday, 11 January 2014


Oh keep the dog of days far hence, we prayed then bitterly to the God of smashed up things. Alice had her wand and her luminous wings fashioned from chicken feathers and bones washed white. We hid in all the improbable places of childhood: spiral stone staircases that ended abruptly in stone walls; underneath the carparks and the canal bridges, in derelict lunatic asylums still creaking with their ghosts. And the days were ridged with magical and mundane treasures. We pushed open a door to see a sheep's spine turning on a string. In the midden behind the playground we unearthed a trove of soul secrets, unlit but still beating, giving off the must of smoked aubergine. Before long Alice would grow desperate. Tell me a secret, she would plead, something that nobody knows, and then another, and then another.
But in spite of our prayers time moved itself around its series of clocks, exerted its miraculous propensity to age us. We looked in mirrors just to catch a sight of our fascinatingly older selves. On the walk home, the night grew cold, and flapped around us like a freshly ripped coat. Wind wide enough to wrap a fairy in, Alice murmured, yawning, and then lay, still as a saint upon the flat wall outside the pub, listening to the warrior drunks singing their soft arias. Stretching her arms to measure the sky she asserted the randomly improving values of lemons and told me of her dreams. And we must have held each other then, as we are doing now.
And here we are, still praying to the Gods of all smashed things to mend us, spare us, and keep us. And still we pray: oh keep the dogs of day far hence.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele