Under Cosmos Blankets We May Only Sleep

A net of ubiquity drapes over the globe,
accumulating wonders for the enlightened eye
and asphyxiating every cultural anaerobe.
We’ll leave their relics to become calcified
and exhibit them with the undignified.

Any custom is a costume to be tried
and stripped away when it becomes pale.
Apply the treatment; blood of genocide,
wash away, and remember to exhale,
no need to perceive the finer detail.

Damascus sent silks to western restaurants,
but when it sent the waves of wandering souls,
the diners sat back, called them combatants.
They consumed the kamayeh in their bowls
and choked as they cried for border controls.

There stands a chapel of hollow icons;
globetrotting facades to collect and keep
safe as we let atrocities become bygones.
As the apex of tension heightens too steep
under cosmos blankets we may only sleep.

Ritual Of Inversion

The subject of this work is based directly from the medieval concept of a ‘ritual of inversion’, hence the title that is somewhat derivative of that! The concept is that, in many communities for one day a year, the natural order (within reason) would be ceremoniously and symbolically reversed. In particular, a ‘Lord of Misrule’ would be chosen to preside over the festivities. Some have suggested that this has been seen as a form of subtle social control, which I find fascinating. Here, I have written the story of a group of serfs who decide that the day of the ritual would be a symbolically opportune time to enact a revolution.

This day dawns only once a year
when the moon presides over the light
and the suns sleeps on oceanic damask.
This time, we’ll make it ours
and tear down the silken sky,
drape it over the eyes of our lords
and slip through the gauze into freedom.
-o-
We used to be fettered in seigneurial chains
for the fruits o’the Earth, to our masters’ hands.
But to subside, we toiled to survive,
grappling existence and sapping the spirit.
Always bathed in the manor’s shade;
it seemed to hang from the scales of Libra.
-o-
Our plans are born upon evening’s fall,
and we embody the violet dusk.
Tonight, the sumptuary order’s reversed
but fortune’s wheel shall hold it’s stance
for our hands shall interrupt the circle.
The Lord arrives to the sun’s demise,
of misrule he shall reign so true.
Let sceptre and orb become shield and sword.
-o-
From the weight of which we were bedecked
led us to fall so grievously.
The gold on our wrists tarnished to iron
and burning spirits were surely drowned.
Fools we were, for without our labour,
the land blooms still, once we are killed.

From The Battlefield’s Garden

This poem centres on Elizabeth of York, Queen Consort of England, but on a time just before her reign as Queen Consort had begun. At the Battle of Bosworth, in 1485, the crown of England was won by Henry Tudor over Richard III (without conjuring any images of a crown hanging from a thorn bush). Now, Elizabeth, being Richard’s niece, was seen as a way to unite the struggles of the Lancastrians (of Henry’s side) and the Yorkists (of the side of Elizabeth and Richard). The solution was to marry Elizabeth and Henry. Their marriage was said to be a happy one, but this poem focuses on how it would have been directly after the battle had finished.

She wore a garland of ivory and scarlet;
a circlet woven with blood and bone.
The famed daughter of the royal harlot,
with the red dragon claiming her home.
In all but his name, he took her throne.

They say the snow lay white no more,
they day decay has touched heaven’s door.

We sacrificed England’s frosty flower,
to the incoming serpent of the seas.
Her blood is the structure of our power,
diluted by pretence as he pleased.
Now the country bends for his alien needs.

Her soul flies with the ravens of the Tower,
stolen away with her gold and her dower.

The shining purity of the fleur-de-lis,
is violated with the slashings of red.
The hopes and ambitions of a queen to be
are burned to cinders and long dead.
She is the silent petal, it has been said.

And so the rose closes up to the sun,
for it’s sojourn to splendour is surely done