Kvenna ráð

Call off your dogs. Let's talk.

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83

You know the drill by now. ©Marie Marshall

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A theory that involves cats

and carnations becomes part of

natural discourse eventually.

The herd of wild deer disappear

into the woods in the time it

takes you to ready your camera.

:

She awoke from a dream in which

someone – a sere and sallow man

in a turban – had possessed her

mind, and once she had laid him

low, fearing his hot revenge,

she pushed him through a window;

:

going outside she found no body,

woke up, slipped back again into

sleep the same dream, and a raw

justice. The swing of a cross-slung

laptop bag; the analogy is to set

up a replica Antikythera machine

:

with faults eliminated. If buck

plus doe equals deer, cat plus

carnation equals what? The woods

are loose, so beware sere, sallow

rangers. There may be a blue temple

somewhere, its emptiness is a toll.

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

81

81

Trucking counterlyricwise. ©Marie Marshall

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Left behind ©Marie Marshall

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78

78

Counterlyricwise blah blah blah. ©Marie Marshall 

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77

“All around me the city looked ripe with dying.” John Irving, The World According to Garp.

I

In summer the houses with yellow

lighted windows and open doors

pour out music. You think you know

her but you don’t. It’s natural at this

time of year to admire grace and agility,

especially when girls vie with new growth

II

on the fruit trees. Over-ripe is the word

the poet uses about herself too often,

although that’s surely for later, at a time

when there’s something to compare with.

“My decision to marry was partly to prove

a point.” The light and the sound combine,

III

the light falling on the feet of a dancing

girl. A madman is merely someone who

has deliberately abandoned civilization

in favour of walking perpetually into

light and sound; madness is therefore a

measure of quantity rather than quality,

IV

the hand being insane if it carries out

something wrong, the head being sane

if it recognises that wrong. A poet may

claim that all her poems are the same

poem and all tell the story of her life,

but how do you know she is speaking

V

the truth? Yellow roses remind us of

sunshine, but the sea is never reflected

in the character of any other thing.

“I once loved a woman with all my heart

except for the part which is iron; I once

loved you.” The wholeness of vanity.

VI

Music and light, May to July, hand to

foot, constancy and quicksilver, all

these seem to be exclusive, but each

is in fact wedded to its opposite.

No more grace, and yet the last party

visitor is sitting there on the front step.

__________

jupiterNow the poem’s over and done with, knock me off my perch. ©Marie Marshall

76

The poet is a liar who, by lying, tells the big truth,
which is so much better than the other way round.
You have walls on which you can hang ten pictures
of the sea. There are clocks that chime ten minutes
early. If dogs could talk, they would tell us a lot more
about scents that we don’t know, but we would all be
hard pressed to understand what they were saying,

but then we don’t have experts to tell us what to
think, just to question how we think. If that poet
told you that an apple, a certain apple, was blue,
would you believe her? “I am a rich woman, yes a
truly rich woman, because I measure my wealth
in blue apples!” Another poet sits in a room where

there is a clock ticking, and answers a question
about time without looking at it, or rather he asks
a supplementary question. The poet/liar sits in a
café, over coffee, with two friends, each of discrete
ethnicity an ocean apart at least, and they discuss
what makes each of them special; in doing so they
realise some common recipes, how to bake apples,

but different definitions of blueness. Some dogs are
blue, and that’s a fact. That figure weeping by the
roadside might be a demon. Poems about persimmons
are invariably Japanese, those that mention cicadas
are American, but the debate about whether music
or mathematics is the universal language continues

even though it impossible that a number or a musical
note can lie. Are you reading a poem or a lie? Read
aloud with an American voice and award yourself an
apple. If a sink hole opened in your street, and you
and all your neighbours came and looked down it, your
thoughts may stray to childhood because of a scent

that has been breezed in, rather than stay on the depth
and darkness of the hole. The poet says it’s raining
outside and you believe her. Let’s for a moment make
fragments out of our thoughts; if you want to know the
time, ask neither a dog nor a demon, but still ignore
the clock. Rain makes apples look as though they weep.

__________

jupiterThe counterlyricwise advance continues ©Marie Marshall

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Counterlyricworld. ©Marie Marshall

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No need to tell you where this is going. ©Marie Marshall

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Late news

2In case you missed it – as I did! – my poem ‘Sergeant Cuff names a rose Catherine Earnshaw’ was featured in the April issue of Jersey Devil Press. Click on the cover image to go there. Please feel free to come back here and comment.