Sunday, 23 December 2012

A Christmas Poem



Mappa Mundi
‘What rough beast...slouches towards Bethlehem...?’

Elsewhere a king is fed grapes,
fat as globes, wondering how
it would feel to swallow
the world in a single gulp.

An emperor savours the scent
of honeysuckle, studies his elegant
hands, marvels at their power to condemn,
compel, free. Indulges his greatest truth:
I am a god.

Men and women kiss, curse, cry, and spit,
dream of riding eagle’s wings.
Somewhere a child lifts his head
watches wild horses run, certain
his legs would carry him
to the birthplace of the moon.

Here a mouth opens,
thirsty to receive.
The girl stares down at it,
as if at a puzzle, shocked if this is the answer,
stares in terror and wonder at what she has done.

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