The Air Vibrates With The Absence Of Life Nicola Jennings
Over the roofs of Beslan
On the first day of school
Like popping corn.
In the school gymnasium
Their solidarity with the clay
Their kinship with the earth.
At the edge of town
Green fields opened up
Received Beslan's treasures
One at a time.
From this freshly turned soil
There will be no harvest
Nothing, ever again,
The air vibrates
With the absence of life.
Often on these winter nights, the village rises
in a clamor, as if rising in a sky beyond the sky.
Often, the language of men does not seem to belong
to human lips. In a house on the edge of a stony field a man
often dreams of a shoreline. Dreams of snow
bleaching the surface of lawns; snow whitening
the roads where even the wind's gone missing.
On these winter outskirts if there is no wind, no road, the man
thinks he hears darkness ringing in a world that can't be felt.
Often a man wonders who he was before this night
to have a heart as hard
as a cool white stone,
to fit your pocket,
weighing you down,
to remind you
that my love hand placed it there,
to melt in your groin.
The Artist And His First Wife Under TheHoneysuckle Bower
Beautiful, she is. And not so shy
As you would think on first looking
At that charming face: see her hand,
How it covers his, how it hints
At pride, confidence, bodies touching.
And if his strong hosed calves
Suggest something rather darker than
Her sweet (if knowing) mien does,
Sweat and crumpled sheets and stale air
Hung with small stifled moans,
Bear in mind that this was
No angelic thing, but a smart
And bright young gentlewoman,
Born to an Antwerp patrician.
She must have been able to talk
And hold her own before people,
As befit the humanist's daughter
And talented painter's wife.
So much for this happy vision
Of handsome newlyweds.
She dies young, her face sharper
And less luminous as strokes
Yield, as life will, to the shadows.
The poet, who this time twenty years ago was busy
failing English in the Leaving Cert, waits
at the end of an aisle for the woman,
who by dinner time will be his
new American wife; remembers
on this best June day, the night
he boarded the bus at the end of a previous life,
where he was just a throwaway remark
in a kebab shop on West Green Road ; living proof
that if you keep not trying eventually
it won't happen. This best June day.
The sun extravagant, the music starting to play ...
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