Monday, 24 November 2014


Float me into the world heaving tumultuously, I am turning through the cosmic flux, God's brief ejaculation smeared across the void. The angels fumble for humility, cover their faces with their wings, put all heaven in a stir. And here I am, born to you. Colours flare and settle, the black shine on a rook's eye, the highbrow gilding on Simone Martini's annunciation, the blue of the hedgerow sloe. The world absorbs me as if my osmosis. Exult ye company of Heaven, here I am. Born again. Perhaps you will think it selfish, or self-indulgent at the very least, all this noise about my coming. Perhaps you would prefer the silent language of the unheard, unlistened-for, felt arrival. Me, bursting through the transparent veil between this world and the last. But hush me as you will, the Gods are glad and clap their hands for joy, for their creation, and the world's absolute refusal to be quiet.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Norwegian Eulogy

The Norwegian slide easel stands in triplicate before the mirror's triptych riddle. Two explorers from the turn of the century look out of the frame: why did the deer leap so high and so fast? The light has faded to a friendly vintage sepia. They stand on shale or scale, the mountain's dust, arms about each other's shoulders. They have climbed, hand after hand after hand, an unbreakable link, taken a turn around themselves, to send this small miraculous image and send it fluttering down the generations to land here on your birthday dressing table, beside the roses and the pumpkin-shaped box of dark chocolates.
Why is time fallow? Now it pools, as dark as the rust on a starling's breast, now it is a leap across the road, now it is read in the wind's spirited script blowing near illegible across the field. This is how to make sense of the world. The tiny silvered print shivers and is still. Macro and microcosm. We're in there somewhere. Here is the light catcher winking a semaphore of shame and redemption, of loss and restoration. Don't ask how something can be so beautiful in such a sad place. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.
Maybe his wife will suffer a push through the earth, or a slip through the feathered air, or a rising funnel of bubbles from the pond and rejoin him, here, in this moment, now. While all the other possibilities are still looking elsewhere. Maybe they will find their reunion in the multiple refractions of the mirror's threefold version of their lives and the slide will momentarily be them, on their wedding day, beneath a storm of rice, held precariously in honour on the  humble Norwegian slide easel.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele

Monday, 17 November 2014

Let Them Eat Cake

Someone to watch over me, begs Rapunzel from the moon tower. Tonight the moon is in its perigee. It is done with losing face. Inspiration has come to her through the tiny window, before which she kneels, hands folded on knees, begging. Someone to watch over me...
Rapunzel closes her eyes and imagines her celestial protector: massive, festooned in violet lights, like stars, like the lit inklings of midwinter. She imagines the sea-clean smell of him. She imagines the transformation of her shabbily lit life as he drifts in, brimming with greatness. In her mind's eye fish leap from the waters at his feet, birds chevron the sky in his wake, even drear humanity drags itself across the fields bringing him tiny handmade cakes of ginger and marzipan.
In his presence it will be possible to have your cake and eat and be fulfilled, to partake of the glowing crumb and be forever satisfied. For him she would gladly slip into the straitjackets of the old witches: Mercy and Honour. They would be soft and silky, like a sleeping child's flushed cheek. Feathers fly through the air. the bearded angels have been here.
Rapunzel stays on her knees, hoping for a future once read in the palm of her mother's hand, to be fully present. Praying for someone to watch over her.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A Woman's Right to Shoes

The King and Queen are squabbling about their dancing shoes. She is all for high art, a statement pair, something from a fantasy. The King, knowing exactly where that will lead, would prefer she went barefoot, or in something fashioned out of mud.  It is the evening of the Great Feast. Their hot words are fuelled by the anticipation of sucking on songbirds drowned in cognac, oysters rolling in straight from the sea, the tenderness of well bruised beast.
 In the kitchen Cook is pricking the skins of pigs to crackle and amuse the guests. Dry rot will provide the delicacy of funghi braised in Vintage Chablis. Just a penny here, and a penny there thinks Cook as he slices the pale stalks of the mushrooms, licks the blood off his knife, seeks snails in his earthy box.
Looking into the mirror's triptych the Queen adjusts the precise calibration of her frown. She'll take a chance she thinks, and wear the glass slippers after all. She extends a foot for the King's approval. The King flushes with a quaint retro anger, his face a pink potty hurled into a corner, and sulks towards his own wardrobe. The Queen, unable to decide whether she has won or lost, forces her feet into splintering glass and rises tottering to cross the room. Pink bubbles froth in her footsteps. The King turns his back. Nut Case, he bellows, and in the pantry the cook shivers.
The problem is, continues King, swallowing his mood as if it were  straight whisky, we have drifted apart. I could chase you in your glass slippers down the cindered path; the cook could serve us something or other - let's say for the sake of argument, wolf, as soft in death as Romeo. It wouldn't make it right.It wouldn't bring you back.
What do you want? The Queen asks, tenderly, stroking his thin hair.
Wear these instead, he begs, and hands her a pair of hare-pelt stilettos. Here, let me wipe the blood.
And in the end, it seemed such a small thing to please him. So she did.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele